Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi on 4 November 1957, the living Hands of the Cause gathered in conclave at Bahji, ‘Akká to determine who Shoghi Effendi had appointed as his successor. The very fact that they held this conclave, which is not called for in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, already provided clear evidence of their complete unfamiliarity with or ignorance of the provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament, for that sacred, divinely-conceived and immutable Document requires the Guardian to appoint and make known his successor, in "his own life-time" thereby precluding the need for any meeting or conclave following the passing of the Guardian to determine his successor, such as would be required if a testamentary document were used. If any further proof of their ignorance of this fact is required, one need only read the "Official Statement" issued by the Hands, under date of 19 November 1957, in which they announced that a body of nine Hands, whom they had delegated "met, in order to open the Guardian's safe and desk [and] search for a Will and Testament if one was executed by Shoghi Effendi. . . .and the non-existence of a will and testament executed by Shoghi Effendi was definitely established."

The Hands, as evidenced above, failed to realize that such a search would inevitably prove fruitless, for Shoghi Effendi would have scrupulously and faithfully adhered to every clause of the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and this Will required him to appoint his successor in his own-lifetime. Nevertheless, having not found a will and testament, one would have expected that the Hands would have then, at the very least, considered it necessary to read over again and refresh their knowledge of those provisions of the Will and Testament dealing with the matter of succession. Had they done this, their error in expecting to find a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi appointing his successor would have been clearly revealed to them. If they had then, in the light of all that Shoghi Effendi had written about the divine genesis, the sacredness and the immutability of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the essentiality and indispensability of the Guardianship to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh, remained unwavering in their faith that Shoghi Effendi would never have failed to appoint a successor under the terms of that Will, a Document which he had extolled in his writings as the Will of Bahá’u’lláh as well and a part of the explicit Holy Text, it would have undoubtedly been obvious to them, then, that they had overlooked, some significant act, statement or message of Shoghi Effendi in which had identified his successor. Having reached this conclusion, they certainly would have undertaken a careful, thorough and comprehensive review, of his acts and particularly the historic and epoch-making messages he had dispatched to the Bahá’í world, during the concluding years of his ministry in which he had announced and acclaimed the erection"at long last" of the international institutions of the Faith at the World Center of the Faith, in anticipation of discovering the identity of his successor

Instead of taking the time to do this, they hastily, on the very first day of their deliberations, decided that the Guardianship had come to an end and incredibly announced, in an "Unanimous Proclamation" issued at the end of their conclave, under date of November 25, 1957, that "Shoghi Effendi Rabbani passed away in London (England) on the 4th of November, 1957, without having appointed his successor."

In reaching such a frightful and baseless conclusion, the Hands (with one notable exception) had, in effect, in their own minds, shamelessly and ignominiously aborted the "Child of the Covenant" and had declared this sacred Child dead and buried, incredibly ignoring the fact that Shoghi Effendi had identified the "Child of the Covenant" — the "Administrative Order" — in his writings as:


If, on the other hand, the Hands of the Cause had taken the time to initiate an intensive and comprehensive research of the acts, writings and messages of Shoghi Effendi, without bias and preconceived ideas, they may have discovered to their surprise and certainly contrary to their expectations, that Shoghi Effendi’s appointed successor was in their very midst and one whose multiple services to the Faith over a period of more than half a century had been unparalleled by any other male Hand of the Faith. They may have realized that, it had been because of this distinction and of his exemplary devotion and fidelity to the Covenant, as recognized by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in his many eulogies of Mason Remey, Shoghi Effendi had appointed Mason Remey the President of the International Bahá’í Council — the embryonic Universal House of Justice, a body over which according to the terms of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will, only the Guardian of the Faith presides as its permanent and "Sacred Head."

And they would have perhaps come to understand that, although Shoghi Effendi had proclaimed his decision to establish this "Nacent Institution" on 9 January 1951 as the "most significant milestone in the evolution of Administrative Order..." and one that "...history will acclaim as the greatest event shedding lustre upon second epoch of Formative Age...", he had, of necessity, not instructed Mason Remey, to activate this Council as a functioning body during the remaining years of his ministry. He had assigned tasks to individual members only to carry out its initial "threefold function" pertaining to matters within the Holy Land but had stated that to these would " added further functions in course of evolution of this first emryonic International Institution..." And if they had recalled that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had stated that "The Embryo possesses from the first all one word, all the powers..." they may have then perceived the tremendous implications involved in Mason Remey's appointment as the embryonic head of this embryonic Universal House of Justice.

In their research the Hands would have further found Shoghi Effendi's highly significant message of 23 November 1951 in which he had projected the important role the International Bahá’í Council, during the Ten Year Global Crusade then in progress, once it had become an actively functioning body. An extract of this message is quoted below:

"For unlike the first and second Seven Year Plans, inaugurated by the American Bahá’í Community, the scope of the third Seven Year Plan, [subsequently replaced by the 10 year Global Crusade] the termination of which will mark the conclusion of the first Epoch in the evolution of the Master Plan designed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will embrace all the continents of the earth, and will bring the Central Body directing these widely ramified operations into direct contact with all the National Assemblies of the Bahá’í world, which, in varying degrees, will have to contribute their share to the world establishment of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, as prophesied by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and envisioned by Daniel, — a consummation that, God willing, will be befittingly celebrated on the occasion of the Most Great Jubilee commemorating the hundredth anniversary of the formal assumption by Bahá’u’lláh of His Prophetic Office."

The Central Body mentioned in the message above is, of course, none other than the International Bahá’í Council that Shoghi Effendi had appointed only some eleven months earlier. But, significantly, Shoghi Effendi had not authorized this International Council to assume an active role as a functioning body under the Presidency of Mason Remey and one that involved "directing" the "operations" of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá’í world in their prosecution of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade, while he was still living, for the very reason that the President of the Council, Mason Remey, who had been appointed by him, and identified in his message of 2 March 1951, was, as a consequence, undeniably the Guardian-to-be. Therefore, the Council's activation had to await Shoghi Effendi's demise which actually took place on 4 November 1957 at the mid-point of the Crusade.

Neither the Hands nor the believers throughout the world had perceived, at the time, the tremendous implication in the message quoted above in which Shoghi Effendi had not only confirmed the appointment of his successor but, in an indirect but clear way, had predicted that his own passing would take place some time during the Ten Year Crusade. He obviously realized, that by veiling the prospect of his unexpected passing in this indirect way, the believers would not perceive the imminence of his passing which otherwise would have had a highly deleterious impact on the believers as they labored to achieve the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade scheduled to commence in little more than a year from the date of this message.

The Hands of the Cause, tragically enough, perceived none of the foregoing, and with two exceptions (later only one) inexcusably lost faith in the immutability of every clause of the provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s divinely-conceived and sacred Will and Testament and the immortality of that "Child, of the Covenant" and, in unseemly haste, ignominiously decided, on the first day of their conclave in ‘Akká, that the Guardianship had come to an end.

Furthermore, the Hands did not permit the International Bahá’í Council to exercise the active role that Shoghi Effendi had projected for it in his message of 23 November 1951, cited above, but appointed a body of nine Hands titled "Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith," a superfluous and illegitimate body completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which usurped not only the functions of the International Council but those of the Guardianship as well for a brief period of some five and a half years when they were assumed by an equally illegitimate sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice elected in 1963.

The inquirer at this point may well ask::

  • Why had Shoghi Effendi appointed his successor in this indirect manner (although within the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá) as a result of which, not only had the Hands obviously failed to perceive this appointment but the entire Bahá’í world, as well?
  • Why didn't Mason Remey inform the Hands during the first conclave of the Hands of the manner in which he had inherited the Guardianship?

The answers to these questions as well as others, are discussed in detail in articles found on my web page where further irrefutable evidence is also provided based on the clear statements of Shoghi Effendi that attest to the legitimacy of Mason Remey's accession to the Guardianship and which prove conclusively that the Hands completely failed in their contemptible attempted abortion of the" Child of the Covenant."

Joel Bray Marangella
Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith

Australia, 2003