What will be your excuse when, upon your own passing, you should meet Shoghi Effendi in the next world?


He would certainly say to you how greatly shocked, dismayed and saddened he had been, upon his passing, to note that so many of the believers, like yourself, who during his ministry had ostensibly evinced such faithful and steadfast faith in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and firm belief in the sacredness and immutability of the divinely-conceived Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, in which the Guardian of the Cause of God is named as “The Center of the Cause,” and “the sacred head and distinguished member for life” of the Universal House of Justice had then readily accepted, without question, the incredulous conclusion that had been hastily reached and proclaimed to the Bahá’í World by the Hands of the Cause, gathered in conclave at Akká but a few weeks following his passing, that the Guardianship had come to a premature end based on the transparently fallacious argument that because all of the Aghsán had either died or had been declared violators of the Covenant he had left no will and testament appointing a successor.


As you considered the Hands who had been appointed by Shoghi Effendi to this exalted rank were more conversant on the Teachings and the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá than you were, they must have been right in their conclusion that the Guardianship had come to an end.


He shall certainly point out how astonished he had been that the Hands, at the outset, had expected to find a will and testament left by him and had actually searched for one that had, of course, not been found and thus had exhibited an inexcusably ignorance of, or forgetfulness of, the specific terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which require the Guardian of the Faith to appoint his successor “in his own life-time” and not by testamentary document. And moreover they had revealed an equally glaring ignorance of or duplicity in their misrepresentation of the qualifications stipulated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His Will that the Guardian’s successor must possess to be considered for appointment, none of which could ever have included a requirement to be an Aghsán, whom he had clearly identified in his writings as a term referring solely to the sons of Bahá’u’lláh.


It had been a long time since you had read the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and you had forgotten its provisions relating to the specifics concerning the manner in which the Guardian appoints his successor and the qualifications that his appointee is required to possess.


Shoghi Effendi would then certainly mention how utterly incomprehensible it had been to him that the Hands could have thought that he would have left this world without fulfilling the sacred Mandate prescribed in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that makes it incumbent upon him to appoint his successor “in his own life-time” and thereby faithfully provide for the continuation of the Guardianship and the continued vital preservation of “The Center of the Cause.”

And, moreover, he would certainly further assert how incredulous it had been that the Hands, upon finding that he had not left a will and testament, should then have not taken any time whatsoever to reexamine the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá where they would have readily discovered their error in expecting to find such a will, for under its terms he obviously would have appointed his successor and definitely revealed his identity during the course of his ministry, but notwithstanding, they, as well as all of the believers, had obviously inexplicably failed, at the time, to recognize this appointment of tremendous import. He would certainly mention how distressed and shocked he had been in noting the stand that had been so surprisingly taken by Rúhiyyíh Khánum, who had voiced vehement opposition to any thought of their being another Guardian of the Faith, a stand that was so utterly contrary to her views so often expressed during his ministry and as expressed in her well-known work titled: “Twenty-five Years of the Guardianship” in which she had emphasized the absolute essentiality of the Guardianship. He could only conclude that she had so radically changed her stand about the Guardianship because of her evident inability to reconcile herself to seeing another believer take his place as the Guardian of the Faith. This unyielding and flagrant opposition to such a possibility by one who had been so close to him and had served as his secretary for some twenty years had undoubtedly influenced her fellow-Hands, with a single notable exception, in reaching their hasty and ill-considered conclusion that the Guardianship of the Cause of God had come to a premature end with his passing.


You, would, of course, be able to claim your complete ignorance of the Hands evident loss of faith (again with a single exception) in the Covenant and in their confidence that Shoghi Effendi would have faithfully complied with every clause of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and particularly make the point that you had no idea that Rúhiyyíh Khánum, of all people, had been so adamantly opposed to the continuation of the Guardianship.


Shoghi Effendi would then have undoubtedly pointed out that had the Hands taken the time to undertake even a cursory review of the “historic” and “epoch making” messages he had dispatched to the Bahá’í World during the concluding years of his ministry, in which, for example, he had hailed in one of his messages the erection of the highest institutions of the Faith at the World Center of the Faith, they would have perceived and realized, not only the significant import of the acts he had announced but most importantly the significance that they should have accorded to the one and only Proclamation he had issued during his ministry on 9 January 1951 in which he had extolled the “historic decision” that he had taken “at long last” to form the International Bahá’í Council and had eulogized this act “as the most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh,” in whose constitution they would have found, the key, although purposely and necessarily obscured by him, at the time, to the identity of his successor whom they had tragically failed to recognize. Had they, on the other hand, made a comprehensive reexamination of these communications they should have recognized the identity of his successor, and then have understood that, although he had made this appointment publicly and in complete conformity with the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, at the time, he had wisely chosen to make this appointment in such an indirect and unexpected manner, that it had successfully veiled his identity from the believers, as he had intended at the time. For had the highly distinguished Hand of the Cause he had chosen as his successor, a believer who had been eulogized in numerous Tablets by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and whose multiple services to the Faith during half a century had been unsurpassed by any other believer, been recognized by the Bahá’í World, at the time of his appointment, this knowledge would have caused universal consternation amongst the Bahá’ís and virtually paralyzed them in their labors to achieve the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade soon to begin, For the one whom he had chosen as his successor was not a young man, or even of middle age, but twenty-three years his senior and yet despite this advanced age was destined to succeed him. This was a clear indication that he had foreseen the imminence of his own passing. While he had, in this manner, been successful in obscuring the appointment of his successor, at the time, he would certainly point out that he had expected that the identity of his successor would inevitably be recognized and announced to the Bahá’í World when the International Bahá’í Council—the embryonic Universal House of Justice—would, for the first time, assume upon his passing, its rightful active role as the supreme administrative body in the Bahá’í World, at which time, Charles Mason Remey, who had been appointed by him as its President and irremovable Head, would then preside over this body as it directed the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world in their prosecution of the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade in accordance with the role he had projected in his message to the Bahá’í World in 1952.


You would observe that your failure to perceive the import of his appointment of a successor in this way had revealed the same obvious lack of perception that had inexcusably been exhibited by Mason Remey’s fellow Hands of the Cause and all of the other believers as well.


He had therefore been appalled when the Hands, contrary to his plans, and lacking any authority to do so, did not permit the International Council to assume its rightful role and had instead shamefully relegated this Council to a subordinate position to an illegitimate body they had fashioned themselves comprised of nine Hands, who as so-called Custodians of the Faith, constituted themselves in the role of a collective Guardianship and took over direction of their now sans-Guardian Faith for a period of some six years until their demise and replacement at Ridván 1963 with an elected equally illegitimate sans-Guardian so-called Universal House of Justice.

He would certainly now point out that in their abandonment of the Guardianship it was if he had never existed or had ever written a single word about the Bahá’í Administrative Order for they had ignored, as a case in point, the emphasis he had placed in his writings on the sacredness and immutability of the divinely-conceived Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in explaining that it was as much the Will of Bahá’u’lláh as that of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and that together with the Kitab-i-Aqdas these two sacred documents were to be considered as “inseparable parts of one complete unit,” thus making it clear that, as this Will was a part of the explicit Holy Text, the institutions delineated in that Document were destined to endure unchanged and remain in effect as long as the sacred laws of the Aqdas itself were observed. Moreover, he had emphasized in the “Dispensation” that the “bedrock on which the Administrative Order is founded is God’s immutable Purpose for mankind in this day.”

He would finally state how heartened he had been by the fact that there had been a few stalwart believers who had retained their steadfast and unshakeable faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh and in the immortality of its sacred and divinely-conceived Child—the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá—and had welcomed with elation the receipt of Mason Remey’s Proclamation at Ridván 1960, in which their unwavering faith in the Covenant and in the immortality and immutability of the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that provide for an unbroken line of Guardians of the Cause of God as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh endures, had at last been fully vindicated. For, in this Proclamation, they had joyfully found a completely sound and valid explanation that undeniably proved the basis upon which he had rightfully acceded to the Guardianship. These few believers and those who shall inevitably follow in their footsteps in increasing numbers will assuredly preserve intact and unaltered the institutions of the divinely-conceived Bahá’í Administrative Order in all of their perfection as bequeathed to the world through the inspired Pen of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and thus in this way insure by their exemplary constancy, the ultimate establishment of the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh in all of its destined glory and perfection in accordance with God’s immutable Purpose.


In the light of all that Shoghi Effendi had explained it would now be obvious that he had appointed his successor in faithful compliance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and that you, on the other hand, had not presented a valid excuse for your own faithless abandonment of the continuing Guardianship of the Cause of God. And you, will now have sadly realized that you, had actually been a party, however unwittingly, to the shameful betrayal of Shoghi Effendi in voicing no objection, at the time or had questioned the dismantlement shamefully carried out by the erstwhile Hands of the Cause of the highest institutions of the Administrative Order that Shoghi Effendi had but recently erected at the World Center of the Faith “at long last” during the concluding years of his ministry and moreover had blindly and erroneously recognized, and had accorded allegiance initially to both a body of nine Hands, created outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that had shamelessly been foisted upon the Bahá’í World following his passing, and had subsequently granted undeserved allegiance to their equally illegitimate sans-Guardian so-called Universal House of Justice, as corrupted substitutes for the institutions of“the Administrative Order which the master-hand of its perfect Architect has fashioned.”

Joel Bray Marangella

Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith

June 2008