During the concluding years of Shoghi Effendi’s thirty-six year ministry he appointed twenty-seven living Hands of the Cause of God, the first contingent of twelve being appointed on 24 December 1951 and the last contingent of eight being appointed in his last message to the Bahá’í world in October 1957, dispatched one month prior to his passing on the 4th of November 1957 during a visit to London, England.

Some two weeks following his passing these Hands convened a conclave in ‘Akká for the purpose of determining who had been named as his successor. After undertaking a fruitless search for a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi which should have been foreseen, had they recalled that the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá clearly requires the Guardian to appoint his successor "in his own life-time," a provision that they should have realized barred him and all future Guardians from using a testamentary type document to appoint their successors. Had they realized this fact, they then would have inevitably concluded that Shoghi Effendi must have appointed and identified his successor during his life-time in some manner that they had failed to perceive. Ignoring this fact, as they then did, and failing to take any time to re-examine past acts or significant statements made by Shoghi Effendi, which they had perhaps overlooked at the time, because he had possibly made the appointment of his successor in an indirect way, the ten Persian Hands seconded the proposal that had been immediately made by one of their number, that the Guardianship be declared "Badah" (meaning that God had changed His Mind about the continuance of this Institution). This proposal was then surprisingly endorsed by Rúhíyyih Khánum, the widow of Shoghi Effendi, and ultimately by the remaining Hands of the Cause, with a single notable exception. For them to so hastily conclude on this basis that the Guardianship had ended a mere thirty-six years following the inception of an Administrative Order, that had been promised to endure for not less than a full thousand years, was not only a tragic and incredible loss of faith in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and in the immutability of every provision of the divinely-conceived Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the "Center of the Covenant," but constituted, as well, a shameful repudiation of all that Shoghi Effendi had written concerning the divine genesis of the Administrative Order and the undeniable essentiality and indispensability of the Guardianship to that Order that had been consistently and repeatedly stressed by him in his writings. They therefore undeniably failed the severe test of continued fidelity to the Covenant with which they had been faced as a result of the sudden and unexpected passing of Shoghi Effendi. While two of the Hands are known to have initially wavered in adhering to this decision taken by their fellow-Hands, one of them doing so for a considerable period of time, he finally fell into line, whereas it was only Mason Remey, who never wavered for a single moment in his unshakeable faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, although he temporarily supported his fellow-Hands in the interest of preserving unity and until such time as he was able to marshal the necessary arguments and facts to prove to his fellow-Hands that they were wrong in declaring the end of the Guardianship which, in due course, he fully did, in both verbal and magnificently written appeals that remain a matter of permanent record.

These now faithless Hands, who had gained by this time great prestige and were greatly revered by the believers, found it easy, as a result, to persuade the majority of their fellow-Bahá’ís to accept their hasty decision that the Guardianship had ended, supporting this fateful decision, as they did, with patently false interpretations and specious beliefs. Moreover, these Hands were able to ignominiously and incredibly induce most of their fellow-believers to accept a flagrantly-flawed and highly-corrupted sans-Guardian administrative organization of their own making which they had the temerity to foist upon them as a pitiful substitute for "the Administrative Order which the master-hand of its perfect Architect [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] has fashioned," and one founded, as Shoghi Effendi had declared, on the very "bedrock" of "God’s immutable Purpose for mankind in this day." Numbered amongst these patently false beliefs and interpretations initially promulgated by the Hands of the Cause (with a single notable exception, as previously mentioned) and subsequently endorsed by the current Heterodox Bahá’í organization are the following:

  • That the Guardianship was "Badah," as previously mentioned above, a term not found in the Bahá’í Writings but propounded by a Persian Hand of the Cause on the very first day of their consultations in their first conclave held in ‘Akká and ultimately embraced, as discussed above, by twenty-six of the twenty-seven Hands of the Cause, following their fruitless search for a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi. Their inordinately hasty adoption of this belief, so foreign to the Writings of the Faith and completely contrary to the writings of Shoghi Effendi concerning the Administrative Order, in effect, reduced to naught Shoghi Effendi’s labors to erect "at long last" the supreme administrative institutions of the Faith, in complete fidelity to the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. For the term, "Badah," that they now had the temerity to apply to the Institution of the Guardianship, meant, that they expected their fellow-believers to accept without question their incredulous conclusion, that God had changed His mind about the continuation of the Guardianship and that this Institution, which had been delineated, in the provisions of a divinely-conceived, sacred and immutable Will and Testament, and which, in effect, had been Co-authored, by both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, had now become null and void and the Guardianship forever ended for the duration of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh.

  • That Shoghi Effendi had been unable to appoint a successor because only an Aghsán was eligible to be appointed as his successor and all of the Aghsán had become unfaithful to the Covenant.

  • That the term Aghsán as found in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, referred to all male descendants of Bahá’u’lláh.

  • That when ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in His Will and Testament, had provided the Guardian with the option of choosing "another branch" to be his successor in the event that his eldest son was not worthy, that the word "branch" in this clause referred to the Aghsán.

  • That, in view of their appointment as Hands of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi, they were now to be considered, as announced in their "Unanimous Proclamation" on 25 November 1957, "the supreme body of the Bahá’í World Community."

  • That the entire body of Hands of the Cause possessed approval authority over the Guardian’s appointment of a successor, notwithstanding the fact that the Will and Testament states that it is only the nine Hands elected from their number to serve at the World Center under the direction of the Guardian who must give their assent to the Guardian’s choice (obviously during his life-time and not afterwards) and that Shoghi Effendi had clearly explained that this "assent" did not denote that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had granted them veto authority over the Guardian’s divinely-guided choice of a successor and their further disregard for the fact that this body of nine Hands at the World Center, for which Shoghi Effendi obviously had found no need in the early stage of development of the Faith at the World Center, had never been brought into existence during his ministry.

  • That the body of "nine Hands" whom they stated had been elected by their fellow-Hands, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, (not elected as falsely alleged but appointed) and given the title: "the Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith" was not only to be accepted by the believers as a legitimate body but actually was to be considered as the body of nine Hands that are elected to serve under the direction of the Guardian at the World Center, which they falsely claimed had taken place "in accordance with the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, although an obvious impossibility since they no longer accepted a living Guardian, under whose direction these Hands are required to serve. Moreover, incredulously the Hands announced in a "Resolution," under date of 25 November 1957, that the "Custodians shall be deemed to succeed the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith" and further preposterously stated in their "Unanimous Proclamation," on the same date, that these Custodians would exercise "all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith." (obviously conflicting with the belief voiced by other believers that Shoghi Effendi would, in some magical way, continue to exercise undefined and obviously limited functions, at best, from the next world).

  • That the International Bahá’í Council, appointed by Shoghi Effendi on 9 January 1951, was only a provisional body, even though he had proclaimed it in this message to be "the first embryonic International Institution."

  • That the functions of the International Bahá’í Council would continue to remain limited to matters within the Holy Land, as originally outlined by Shoghi Effendi even though he had stated in his Proclamation establishing the Council that: "to these will be added further functions" and, as a case in point, had specifically assigned this Council, referred to in his message of 23 November 1951 as "the Central Body," a future pre-eminent role in directing the "widely ramified operations" of National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá’í world in their achievement of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade, a role that was not only completely ignored by the Hands but a role flagrantly usurped by the body of the Custodian Hands.

  • That Shoghi Effendi’s appointment of Mason Remey as the President of the International Bahá’í Council was nothing more than a temporary appointment and that he would be replaced through election, similarly to the other eight members, in the future stages of the Council’s evolution outlined by Shoghi Effendi.

  • That the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice, the election for which would be held, according to their plans, at Ridván 1963, would, notwithstanding the absence of the Guardian presiding as its "sacred head," be the same infallible Institution delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in his Will and Testament.

  • That Shoghi Effendi’s plans had envisaged that the International Bahá’í Council would achieve the final efflorescent stage of its development with the election of a fully functioning Universal House of Justice at Ridván 1963, whereas this development brought about by decision of the Hands was excessively premature as Shoghi Effendi had only projected the Council’s development to its second stage as the International Bahá’í Court by the end of the Ten Year Global Crusade, at which time its irremovable appointed Head, Mason Remey, would automatically assume the role of Chief Judge.

  • That the establishment of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh did not depend upon the erection of the "twin pillars that support this mighty Administrative Structurethe institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice"–and that this World Order could be successfully brought into being, in spite of being erected upon a single highly defective and incomplete pillar.

  • That, as Shoghi Effendi had exercised his functions without the existence of the Universal House of Justice, their sans-Guardian so called Universal House of Justice could now exercise its functions without the existence of a living Guardian, ignoring the fact that the Guardian according to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is "the Center of the Cause" and the Universal House of Justice is neither a complete body nor an infallible Institution without the Guardian presiding as its "sacred head."

The false beliefs and interpretations made by the former Hands of the Cause following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, as enumerated above, and endorsed by the present leaders of the Heterodox Bahá’í organization may be directly attributed to the following:

  • A loss of faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and the sacredness and immutability of the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

  • An appalling disregard for the fact that Shoghi Effendi had extolled the Will and Testament as "the Child of the Covenant–the Heir of both the Originator [Bahá’u’lláh] and the Interpreter [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] of the Law of God" and therefore as "their Will and Testament," a sacred, divinely-conceived, immutable Co-authored Document, every clause of which is destined to last as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh endures.

  • An ignorance of the fact that Shoghi Effendi had defined the Aghsán in his writings as the Sons of Bahá’u’lláh only.

  • A failure to note that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had, indicated in Part Three of His Will and Testament, in an indirect way, that He had already put the Aghsán out of the Faith during His own ministry, as evidenced by the fact that, in contrast to Part 1 of the Will, wherein He makes it incumbent upon "the Aghsán, the Afnan and the Hands of the Cause to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God," He conspicuously excludes reference to them in Part Three when He enjoins only the "Afnan, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord" to obey the Guardian and turn unto him.

  • A belief that Shoghi Effendi would leave a will and testament appointing a successor, as evidenced by their announcement that they had undertaken a search for a will left by him at the beginning of their first conclave at ‘Akka, which they should have realized was bound to be a fruitless one, as the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá clearly requires the Guardian to appoint his successor "in his own life-time" and not by testamentary document.

  • An unwarranted hasty decision, upon not finding a will left by Shoghi Effendi, naming a successor, to immediately declare the Guardianship ended without taking any time to review his writings and messages to determine if he had taken some action, or had made some pronouncement that they had obviously overlooked, when it had occurred, in which he had appointed and clearly designated his successor by name "in his own life-time" as required under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

  • An obviously false interpretation of the passage in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that makes it incumbent upon the Guardian to assure the uninterrupted continuance of the Guardianship as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh endures through his appointment of "another branch"– not a term, as already discussed, that referred to the Aghsán as they claimedin the event that his eldest son did not meet the required qualifications.

  • A complete and appalling disregard for both the momentous significance and implications to be found in the one and only Proclamation issued by Shoghi Effendi on 9 January 1951 in which he proclaimed his "epoch making" decision to appoint the International Bahá’í Council as the "most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order" since the Ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and the "greatest event shedding lustre on the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Bahá’í Dispensation" followed by his identification in his message of 2 March 1951 of Mason Remey as the one whom he had appointed as its permanent President.

  • A further inexcusable disregard of the subsequent "historic" message dispatched by Shoghi Effendi, further confirming the tremendous importance of his Proclamation of 9 January 1951 in which he had hailed "at long last" the "erection of the machinery of the highest institutions" at the "World Center of the Faith" and "around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding Order are in their embryonic form, unfolding." (emphasis added)

  • An appalling ignorance (to reiterate what has been stated above) that Shoghi Effendi had defined the Aghsán as the sons of Bahá’u’lláh who had not only been written off by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in part three of His will, due to their infidelity to the Covenant, but, having long since died, were no longer alive, much less eligible for any consideration by Shoghi Effendi as a successor.

  • A complete subservience and deference on the part of the Hands to Rúhíyyih Khánum who, as the widow of Shoghi Effendi, and long-time secretarial assistant, exercised an unhealthy domineering influence over the Hands and who openly admitted that she would not countenance any one replacing Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Faith and had accordingly strongly endorsed the proposal initially advanced by the Persian Hands that the Guardianship be declared ended, in sharp contrast to her writings during the ministry of Shoghi Effendi, in which she had emphasized in the strongest terms the absolute essentiality and indispensability of the Guardianship to the Cause of God.

  • An inexcusable failure to review, much less to consider, the momentous significance and implications to be found in several "epoch-making" and "historic" messages dispatched to the Bahá’í World by Shoghi Effendi during the concluding years of his ministry that provided incontrovertible proof that the International Bahá’í Council was the embryonic Universal House of Justice which should have been permitted to now function as an active Institution and which undeniably precluded any need for the Hands to appoint the illegitimate and superfluous body of the "Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith" which had then blatantly usurped the functions that indisputably should have been performed by the Council, including those pertaining to the direction of the National Spiritual Assemblies in the achievement of their respective goals during the Ten Year Global Crusade, as clearly envisaged in Shoghi Effendi’s message of 23 November 1951.

In conclusion, one may well ask how any clear-thinking and rational believer who is at all conversant with the matchless writings of Shoghi Effendi, such as those found in "The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh" in which, for example, he quotes the following stirring passage from the Pen of Bahá’u’lláh, that emphasizes the impact upon the "world’s equilibrium" and "mankind’s ordered life" of His "new World Order" and "this wondrous System" can, in utter disregard for these revealed Words, subscribe to a patently faithless belief perpetrated, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, that God had changed His mind, for some inexplicable reason, about the establishment of the divinely-conceived and sacred Bahá’í Administrative Order, bequeathed to us by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in which He designated the living Guardian as both the "Center of the Cause" and the "sacred head," of its supreme legislative Organ and therefore divinely sanctioned the establishment, in its place, of a headless, grossly deformed, defective and fallible substitute, humanly fashioned by the Hands of the Cause:

"To what else if not to the power and majesty which this Administrative Order — the rudiments of the future all-enfolding Bahá’í Commonwealth–is destined to manifest, can these utterances of Bahá’u’lláh allude: ‘The world’s equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this most great, this new World Order. Mankind’s ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System — the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed.’"

Joel Bray Marangella
Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith


August 2005