THAT SHOGHI EFFENDI THE FIRST GUARDIAN OF THE BAHÁÍ FAITH APPOINTED A SUCCESSOR SIGNIFICANT WORDS OF
SHOGHI EFFENDI TO A PILGRIM: (When asked about his descendants, about a son, less than
two years before his death.) "EVERYTHING THAT IS WRITTEN IN THE WILL AND TESTAMENT
WILL BE FULFILLED. THE BAHÁÍS MUST NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT
THIS." Source: Haifa Notes of Gayle Woolson, (Feb.16-25,1956)
renowned pioneer to Latin America and member of first NSA of South America FROM THE
WRITINGS OF SHOGHI EFFENDI: ("The World Order of
Baháulláh") ". . . these sacred
documents [the AQDAS Baháulláhs Most
Holy Book and the WILL AND TESTAMENT of Abdul-Bahá]
. . . are inseparable parts of ONE COMPLETE UNIT." (Caps added for
emphasis) Comment: It is clear
that all of the provisions of Abdul-Bahás Will and
Testament and certainly its most important one, pertaining to the matter of
succession, are as sacred, immutable and immortal as the Laws of
Baháulláhs Most Holy Book, the Aqdas, and
therefore are inviolate for the entire duration of His Dispensation. THE MANDATE
PRESCRIBED IN THE WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ABDUL-BAHÁ PERTAINING
TO THE MATTER OF SUCCESSION: "It is incumbent upon the guardian of the
Cause of God to APPOINT IN HIS OWN LIFE-TIME him that SHALL BECOME his successor,
that differences may not arise after his passing." (Caps
FIRST GUARDIAN OF
THE BAHÁÍ FAITH
SIGNIFICANT WORDS OF SHOGHI EFFENDI TO A PILGRIM:
(When asked about his descendants, about a son, less than two years before his death.)
"EVERYTHING THAT IS WRITTEN IN THE WILL AND TESTAMENT WILL BE FULFILLED. THE BAHÁÍS MUST NOT BE ANXIOUS ABOUT THIS."
Source: Haifa Notes of Gayle Woolson, (Feb.16-25,1956) renowned pioneer to Latin America and member of first NSA of South America
FROM THE WRITINGS OF SHOGHI EFFENDI:
("The World Order of Baháulláh")
". . . these sacred documents [the AQDAS Baháulláhs Most Holy Book and the WILL AND TESTAMENT of Abdul-Bahá] . . . are inseparable parts of ONE COMPLETE UNIT." (Caps added for emphasis)
Comment: It is clear that all of the provisions of Abdul-Bahás Will and Testament and certainly its most important one, pertaining to the matter of succession, are as sacred, immutable and immortal as the Laws of Baháulláhs Most Holy Book, the Aqdas, and therefore are inviolate for the entire duration of His Dispensation.
THE MANDATE PRESCRIBED IN THE WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ABDUL-BAHÁ PERTAINING TO THE MATTER OF SUCCESSION:
"It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause of God to APPOINT IN HIS OWN LIFE-TIME him that SHALL BECOME his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing." (Caps added)
Comment: It is clear that this explicit provision precludes the use of a testamentary document by the Guardian in appointing his successor as well as the equally clear provision in the Will that requires assent by secret ballot of the Guardians chosen successor by a body of nine Hands of the Cause who "must elect from their own number nine persons" to work under the Guardian in Haifa (a requirement that was not applicable in the case of Shoghi Effendis appointment of a successor as this body had not yet been brought into existence). It is clear that both of these provisions obviously can only be carried out by the Guardian during his lifetime and, in the latter case, it should be understood that this provision does not endow the Hands with veto authority over the divinely-guided decision of the Guardian but, for example, wisely provides nine witnesses to the Guardians appointment of a successor as an additional safeguard against any fraudulent claim to the Guardianship made by self-seeking individuals or even criminal elements outside the Faith who might endeavour to gain control over this Institution, particularly in the future, when it has become very powerful. These provisions had obviously been forgotten, had not been reviewed or understood by the Hands of the Cause assembled at conclave at Bahjí in Akká soon after Shoghi Effendis passing, as evidenced by the fact that they reported in their proclamation to the Baháí world (refer to U.S. Baháí News, 9 Jan.1958) that they had undertaken a search of the papers in his office, in their evident expectation of finding a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi. If the Hands, before initiating such a search, had undertaken but a cursory review of the pertinent provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá they would have noted that, if Shoghi Effendi had used a testamentary document to appoint a successor, this would have been contrary to the provision of Abdul-Bahás Will and Testament. As the Hands had apparently not made such a review and consequently carried out their search completely unmindful of this provision, they understandably failed to find such a testament. They, then, further confirmed their inexcusable ignorance of this all-important provision of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá by stating in their proclamation that "Shoghi Effendi had left no will and testament" as a result of which they reached an erroneous and fateful conclusion that he "had left no heir" (i.e. to the Guardianship). In their proclamation they explained the reason for this conclusion by stating that, as "The Aghsán (Branches) one and all are either dead or have been declared violators of the Covenant by the Guardian for their faithlessness to the Masters Will and Testament. . . no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him," basing this further incorrect conclusion on the terms of Abdul-Bahás Will which stipulates that, in the absence of a qualified "first born" son to appoint as a successor," then must he (the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch to succeed him," interpreting "another branch" to mean that Shoghi Effendi could only appoint a Branch (i.e. an Aghsán) from the family Tree of Baháulláh as his successor and, therefore, according to their interpretation, either a son of Shoghi Effendi or a male descendent from the bloodline of Baháulláh.
The repeated machinations against Abdul-Bahá and the infidelity of one of these Aghsán or Sons of Baháulláh and the half-brother of Abdul-Bahá, Mírzá Muhammad-Alí, who had become in the words of Abdul-Bahá, "The Center of Sedition, the Prime Mover of mischief" are documented in "Part One" of Abdul-Bahás three part Will and Testament as well as His strong admonition to the remaining Aghsán and the Afnán (the Bábs kindred) to "show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God." In "Part Two" of His Will He recounts the afflictions He had suffered at the hands of His enemies and the extent to which He had been "consumed with the flame of their hate enkindled by My kinsmen with whom Thou didst make Thy firm Testament" and "who have broken Thy Covenant . . . and erred from Thy [Baháulláhs] Testament." For this reason in "Part Three" of Abdul-Bahás Will and Testament (written at a later date), wherein He enjoins fidelity to Shoghi Effendi, it may be noted that He has omitted any reference to the Aghsán at all in the passage which states that: "the Afnán, the Hands (the pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him." In GOD PASSES BY Shoghi Effendi further confirms the treachery and faithlessness of the Aghsán when he states that Mírzá Muhammad-Alí succeeded in ranging on his side almost the entire family of Baháulláh including His two Sons. In spite of the fact that the Aghsán of Baháulláh had already become unfaithful and broken the Covenant of Baháulláh during the ministry of Abdul-Bahá, the Hands (with a single notable exception) through their interpretation of Abdul-Bahás Will and Testament showed that they had taken the completely incomprehensible view that Abdul-Bahá in this divinely conceived Document had made the future of the Guardianship dependent on the existence of both a faithful and qualified son or other male descendent from the bloodline of Baháulláh down through the ages to come of the Dispensation of Baháulláh from whom the Guardians of the future would choose their Successors. And now we were expected to believe, on the basis of their interpretation of this clause in Abdul-Bahás Will and Testament, that because of this alleged restrictive clause the very first Guardian of the Faith had found himself impotent to appoint a qualified successor, not more than thirty-six years following the inception of the Administrative Order, and had been unable to preserve for future Baháí generations "the Center of the Cause." In other words, the Hands were claiming, in effect, and as incredulously as it may seem, that the most important provision of the divinely conceived and immortal Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá had already become null and void by the end of the ministry of the first Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi.
It is obvious that Shoghi Effendi had not interpreted the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá to impose upon him the same restrictive and wholly unrealistic requirement in the choice of a successor that the Hands had stated in their proclamation; otherwise, he certainly would not have made the statement to a Pilgrim, less than two years prior to his passing, that:
"EVERYTHING THAT IS WRITTEN IN THE WILL AND TESTAMENT WILL BE FULFILLED."
Admittedly, the accuracy or validity of pilgrims notes may be challenged, even if made by a pilgrim possessing, as Gayle Woolson did, the highest degree of credibility. If one, notwithstanding, has any remaining doubt as to the interpretation of Shoghi Effendi on the matter of succession, one has only to review his writings on such subjects as the Covenant of Baháulláh, the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and the Baháí Administrative Order and re-examine particularly the historic cabled messages he dispatched to the Baháí world during the last ten years of his ministry in which he heralded the culmination of his long labors to faithfully fulfil every mandate prescribed in the three Divine Charters bequeathed to us (one by Baháulláh "The Tablet of Carmel" and two by Abdul-Bahá "The Will and Testament" and "Tablets of the Divine Plan") to find only further overwhelming, corroborative and conclusive evidence of the indisputable fact that he had looked forward until the very last days of his ministry to the ultimate establishment of the World Order of Baháulláh in all of its consummate perfection and glory as delineated by Abdul-Bahá in His sacred and immortal Charter including the uninterrupted continuance of the Guardianship for as long as the Dispensation of Baháulláh should endure. Indeed, an enquirer need look no further than THE DISPENSATION OF BAHÁULLÁH and Chapter XXII of GOD PASSES BY entitled: "The Rise and Establishment of the Administrative Order" (especially the first 9 pages) to readily note the emphasis he has repeatedly placed on the essentiality of the Guardianship to the Baháí Administrative Order. The following passage, alone, taken from his writings, should suffice to prove this fact in which he states: "the right of interpretation with which He[Abdul-Bahá] has invested its Guardian, must and will, in a manner unparalleled in any previous religion, safeguard from schism the Faith from which it has sprung." Also, the following passage, taken from his messages to the Baháí world during the period 1950-1957, will prove to any serious enquirer that Shoghi Effendi unquestionably looked forward to the continuance of the Guardianship throughout the complete duration of the Dispensation of Baháulláh for in this passage he refers to "the construction in the course of successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith of several other structures [on Mount Carmel] which will serve as the administrative seats of such divinely appointed institutions as the Guardianship, the Hands of the Cause, and the Universal House of Justice." (Cable, 27 Nov., 1954)
In an effort to attempt to comprehend, to some extent, the tragic failure of the Hands to interpret the terms of Abdul-Bahás Will correctly, let us look back in our minds eye to the sad days immediately following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, an event that had left all of the believers in a state of shock as it had come upon them without any forewarning whatsoever, suddenly and unexpectedly. Having not anticipated this event, the Hands of the Cause, as well as all of the believers throughout the world, had undoubtedly not referred to the terms of Abdul-Bahás Will and Testament for some time and perhaps not even since they had read it for the first time. Assuming this to be the case, it would explain why the Hands, as well as the other believers, had lost sight of and were guilty of such ignorance of the clear provision in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá requiring the Guardian to appoint "in his own life-time, him that shall become his successor" in much the same manner as one finds repeatedly recounted in the Old Testament where, for example, one reads that King David publicly appointed Solomon as His successor during His lifetime. Forgetful or ignorant as the Hands may have been of the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá concerning the matter of succession, this was certainly no excuse for the stand taken by a number of the Hands of the Cause during their first Bahjí conclave, (as recounted by Mason Remey in his "Daily Observations") who, upon learning that Shoghi Effendi had left no will and testament, prevailed upon their fellow-Hands, without even allowing time for appropriate consultation on the matter, or at least a careful re-examination of the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá, to hastily make the fateful and apparently, as they saw it, (with a single notable exception amongst them, as we would later learn) an irreversible decision that the Guardianship of the Faith had forever come to an end.
In the place of such unwarranted haste, had these Hands (again, with the exception cited above) been willing to free themselves from their obviously preconceived and fixed ideas on the matter of succession, and maintained an unwavering faith and assurance that every clause of Abdul-Bahás Will and Testament would be fulfilled they would have been further strengthened in such faith if they had, as mentioned above, but taken the time to again review pertinent writings of Shoghi Effendi. For, in them, they would have noted that he had acclaimed Abdul-Bahás Will and Testament in such glowing terms as the following: "the Charter of the New World Order . . . the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him [Baháulláh] Who communicated the generating influence of His Divine Purpose and the One [Abdul-Bahá] Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient. Being the Child of the Covenant the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it." Certainly, these Hands then would have perceived what they had apparently forgotten that this divinely conceived Document should be considered not only as the Will of Abdul-Bahá but the Will of Baháulláh, as well, and the reason why Shoghi Effendi has referred to it as "Their Will" and, A Document that must be equated in its sacredness, immutability and immortality with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas whose Laws will remain inviolate as long as the Dispensation of Baháulláh endures. Having renewed their understanding, these Hands would not have been disposed to so hastily declare the Guardianship ended. Furthermore, possessed as they would then have been of renewed assurance and faith, they would certainly have undertaken a further comprehensive re-examination of Shoghi Effendis important acts, decisions and pronouncements, paying particularly close attention to the momentous messages Shoghi Effendi had addressed to the Baháí world during the last ten years of his ministry, with complete certainty that they would discover in their research an auspicious decision or announcement that had been made by Shoghi Effendi pointing to a successor, the significance of which, at the time, had obviously been overlooked. As a result of such open-minded research they would have hopefully discovered the significant act they were looking for and the key to the continuity of the Guardianship in the "epoch-making decision" Shoghi Effendi had proclaimed on the 9th of January 1951 in the only Proclamation he had issued during his 36 year Ministry .
If the Hands had further perceived the significance of
this proclamatory message in its relationship to his message of 2 March, 1951,
that had soon followed, they would then have found to their great surprise the
one whom Shoghi Effendi had appointed to be his successor, in their very midst,
and one whom they most certainly had never remotely expected to be Shoghi
Effendis appointee. For he was not a young man who was related, in any way,
to the bloodline of Baháulláh or to that of the
Báb or one of Persian background, at all. He was of very advanced age, a
descendent from an illustrious American family and as completely dissimilar in
his characteristics from Shoghi Effendi as one could conceivably imagine.
Nonetheless, if they had objectively reflected upon his qualifications, in the
light of those stipulated by Abdul-Bahá in His Will, they
would have realised why he had been chosen by Shoghi Effendi to be his successor
for he was unquestionably the most distinguished living male
Baháí in the world at the time; one who had been a steadfast
believer and exemplary defender of the Covenant of
Baháulláh since the earliest days of
Abdul-Bahás ministry; one who had travelled the world
extensively in his teaching labors for the Faith; one of the early authors of
several books and published articles on the Faith; one who was the architect
chosen by Abdul-Bahá to design the Baháí
Temple to be constructed on Mount Carmel; the architect chosen by Shoghi Effendi
for the design of the "Mother Temple in
Baháulláhs native land" as well as the architect
of several other Baháí Temples which had already been
constructed throughout the world in such localities as Sydney, Australia and
Kampala, Africa; the architect of the International Archives building on Mount
Carmel and the Western Pilgrim House in Haifa; one who had been requested by
Shoghi Effendi in 1950 to make Haifa his permanent home; one who had been greatly
loved by Abdul-Bahá as attested by the praise He had bestowed
upon him in many of His Tablets that are published in early issues of the STAR OF
THE WEST. For example, He addresses him in the opening salutation of His Tablet
of 23 May, 1919 (Vol. 10, No. 7, p.144, translated by Shoghi Effendi) with the
following loving words so expressive of the spiritual relationship between them:
"O my dear son" and, even more significantly, He states in a Tablet addressed "To
his honor Mr. Remey" dated 2 March, 1915:
"ERE LONG, THY LORD SHALL MAKE THEE A SIGN OF GUIDANCE AMONG MANKIND." (Vol.V, No.19, p.296)
The Hands would then have finally realised that the term "another branch" referred to in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá had a spiritual meaning and had nothing to do with a relationship based on lineage and that Shoghi Effendis choice of a successor had obviously been based on this spiritual meaning. Shoghi Effendi had certainly learned this fact from Abdul-Bahá before his appointment by Him as the first Guardian of the Faith for he is recorded as the translator of a Tablet addressed by Abdul-Bahá to Mary Lesch on 22 July, 1919 (appearing in Volume 10, No. 14 of the STAR OF THE WEST) in which Abdul-Bahá indicated that "Branchhood" is a spiritual station attained through fidelity to the Covenant of Baháulláh and conversely, even when once attained, is lost upon "the least deviation from the Covenant."
Having now gained the realisation that the term "another branch" found in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá should be understood to have a spiritual meaning and denote a male believer (women being referred to as "leaves") who had proved himself to be a true and faithful branch of the "Tree of the Covenant" the Hands could understand that Mason Remeys exemplary character and outstanding record of multiple services to the Faith for more than forty years as well as his unsurpassed fidelity to the Covenant of Baháulláh had certainly endowed him with the requisite spiritual qualifications to inherit the mantle of Guardianship and although the law of primogeniture is upheld in the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá it is equally clear that spiritual qualifications take precedence over purely ancestral lineal relationships.
EXTRACTS FROM SHOGHI EFFENDIS ONE AND ONLY PROCLAMATION:
(9 January, 1951)
" PROCLAIM to National Assemblies of East and West WEIGHTY EPOCH-MAKING DECISION of formation of first INTERNATIONAL BAHÁÍ COUNCIL . . . this historic decision marking MOST SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE in the evolution of the Administrative Order in the course of the last thirty years . . . "i.e. since the passing of Abdul-Bahá" . . . Nascent Institution now created . . . this first EMBRYONIC INTERNATIONAL INSTITUTION."(Caps added for emphasis)
"Hail with thankful, joyous heart at long last the CONSTITUTION OF INTERNATIONAL COUNCIL which history will acclaim as the GREATEST EVENT shedding luster upon the second epoch of the Formative Age of the Baháí Dispensation potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since the inception of the Administrative Order of the Faith on morrow of Abdul-Bahás Ascension. . . ranking second only to glorious immortal events associated with Ministries of the Three Central Figures of the Faith . . . " (Caps added for emphasis)
Comment: It is difficult to understand as we look back in retrospect how the Baháí world apparently failed at the time to recognize the tremendous importance and significance of the establishment of the embryonic Universal House of Justice and to perceive that it was because of this historic event in the development of the Baháí Administrative Order that Shoghi Effendi had, for the first time, employed a Proclamation to announce it. We, of course, also failed to perceive any significance in the fact that this Proclamation had been addressed to the National Baháí Assemblies of the world rather than to the Baháís at large, as he most often did, emphasizing thereby the relationship that existed between these subordinate national Baháí administrative bodies and this supreme international administrative body-the International Baháí Council.
EXTRACT FROM CABLEGRAM OF SHOGHI EFFENDI, 2 MARCH, 1951
"Greatly welcome assistance of the newly-formed International Council, particularly its President, Mason Remey . . . "
Comment: In this cablegram Shoghi Effendi publicly announces the one whom he has chosen to be the Head of the embryonic Universal House of Justice. This appointed Council consisted of 9 members, 5 of whom also had been elevated to the rank of Hand of the Cause including its President, Secretary-General (Leroy Ioas) and the wife of Shoghi Effendi, Rúhíyyih Khánum. Six of them in addition to Rúhíyyih Khánum including its President, Secretary General, his wife Sylvia, Treasurer (Ethel Revell), Secretary for the West (Jessie Revell) and Secretary for the East (Lotfullah Hakim) made Haifa their permanent home in accordance with the wishes of Shoghi Effendi. Of the remaining two, (both of whom were Hands of the Cause); one resided in Italy (Ugo Giachery) and the other in the United States (Amelia Collins). These members had been appointed by Shoghi Effendi but would, with the exception of its irremovable President, following the development of the Council into its third stage, as outlined by Shoghi Effendi in his Proclamation, be replaced by a "duly elected body" in which the Baháí National Assemblies throughout the world would take part.
WORDS OF ABDUL-BAHÁ:
(Source: "BAHÁÍ WORLD FAITH")
possesses FROM THE FIRST all perfections... in one word, ALL THE POWERS but they are not visible, and become so only by degrees."(Caps added)
Comment: With the formation of The International Baháí Council the EMBRYONIC UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE and the appointment of Mason Remey as its President Shoghi Effendi had established the supreme administrative body of the Baháí Administrative Order. As long as the Council was retained in an inactive embryonic status as a functioning body for the remaining years of Shoghi Effendis ministry, the Council with its EMBRYONIC HEAD, Mason Remey, would only emerge or be born, as it were, into active life following the passing of Shoghi Effendi. Otherwise, if the Council, as a body, were to be allowed to assume an administratively active role, Shoghi Effendi would have had no recourse but to remove Mason Remey from its Presidency as only the Guardian can serve as the "sacred head" of this Institution, with the exception that the Guardian may delegate a person to temporarily act for him under the terms of Abdul-Bahás Will and Testament. Having understood the foregoing, it would then have become clear for the first time why Shoghi Effendi had carefully retained the International Baháí Council, in an embryonic, and administratively inactive state during the remaining seven years of his ministry. It would have further explained why during this period, according to its President, tasks had been consistently and always assigned by Shoghi Effendi only to the individual members of the Council and then indirectly through a "chosen liaison" (Amatul-Bahá Rúhíyyih) as announced in his message of 8 March, 1952 and why, as its President has explained, Shoghi Effendi had never directed him to convene the Council into a functioning body. The Hands should then have realised that by appointing his successor in this open but ingeniously concealed manner he had disguised from us the terrible prospect that his ministry would soon be coming to an end with his passing and in this way had precluded the consternation and the paralysis that would have otherwise enveloped the Baháí world and would have adversely affected the Ten Year Global Crusade upon which it was about to embark (his death even taking place before the mid-point of the Crusade 7 years later). Through utilizing the formation of the International Baháí Council as the instrument for the appointment of his successor, it is evident that Shoghi Effendi foresaw that we would all fail, as in fact we did, to perceive the dire implication that was to be found in the appointment of Mason Remey as his successor, a man, who in spite of being much older than himself, was destined to outlive him and accede to the Guardianship.
WORDS OF SHOGHI EFFENDI:
("Messages to Baháí World 1950-1957")
"At the World Center of the Faith, where, at long last the machinery of its highest institutions has been erected, and around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding Order, are, in their embryonic form, unfolding . . . " (30 June, 1952)
Comment: These "HIGHEST INSTITUTIONS" could be none other than the twin Institutions of the GUARDIANSHIP and the UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE (the latter, in its embryonic form) and the HANDS OF THE CAUSE. Therefore it is crystal clear that the International Baháí Council was not a temporary or provisional body to be later replaced by another body but as pointed out in his proclamation "this first embryonic International Institution" would "in the course of its development" "through successive stages" become an "officially recognized Baháí Court," a "duly elected body" prior to " its efflorescence into a Universal House of Justice." (yet since elected and by-passing the two intermediary steps delineated by Shoghi Effendi). One of the goals that had been outlined by Shoghi Effendi in the Ten Year Global Crusade commencing in 1953 and terminating at Ridván 1963 was the transformation of the International Baháí Council in the second stage of its development into an International Baháí Court which he stated in his message of 25 April, 1951 was "an essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice." The concomitant transformation of National Baháí Assemblies located in six Islamic countries into National Baháí Courts would then be authorized by the respective governments to administer the Laws of the Aqdas as they affected the Baháís residing in those countries. These National Baháí Courts would then perforce be subordinate to the International Baháí Court. Appeals that would inevitably be submitted to this supreme Baháí Court would most certainly involve the interpretation of the Writings and especially Baháí Laws as contained in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, a function reserved only to the Guardian of the Faith according to the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá. As Shoghi Effendi has explained in discussing the role of the Guardian as the "sacred head" of the Universal House of Justice he "is bound to insist upon a reconsideration by them of any enactment he conscientiously believes to conflict with the meaning and to depart from the spirit of Baháulláhs revealed utterances." This statement, alone, clearly indicates the essentiality and indispensability of the Guardian as the "sacred head" of this Institution which without him is obviously subject to error. Additionally, Abdul-Bahás Will states that "Should any of the members commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the guardian of the Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him, whereupon the people must elect another one in his stead."
Therefore, to reiterate, Shoghi Effendi had, by including the goal of establishing six National Baháí Courts as one of the objectives of The Ten Year Global Crusade, indirectly informed the Baháí world of the three following impending events of the greatest import to the future of the Faith which all of us, without exception, had failed to perceive, namely:
That his passing would take place before the expiration of the Ten Year Global Crusade in 1963 (actually taking place in 1957).
That upon his passing and the rightful assumption by the International Baháí Council this embryonic Universal House of Justice of an administratively active role in the affairs of the Faith, the President of this body whom he had been appointed would automatically inherit the Guardianship coincident with his passing, thus assuring that there would not be any interregnum, even for an instant, when the Faith would be without the protection of the Guardianship such as would have been the case if Abdul-Bahá had stipulated, instead, in His Will and Testament that a traditional-type testamentary document would be used as the instrument of appointment.
That the transformation of the International Baháí Council into an International Baháí Court prior to the end of the Ten Year Crusade in 1963 would be but further confirmation of the fact that its head or Chief Justice, Mason Remey, could be none other than the Guardian of the Faith, as discussed above.
HIGHLY SIGNIFICANT STATEMENTS MADE BY SHOGHI EFFENDI DURING PILGRIMAGE OF THIS WRITER:
One evening as we sat around the dinner table with Shoghi Effendi during my pilgrimage (28 November-7 December, 1952), in the presence of Rúhíyyih Khánum, Mason Remey and five other members of the International Baháí Council, Shoghi Effendi discussed the future development of the International Baháí Council as he had outlined it in his proclamatory message of 9 January, 1951. When he spoke of the second stage of its development as the International Baháí Court the following pertinent statement is recorded in my notes: "THE PRESENT PRESIDENT OF THE INTERNATIONAL BAHÁÍ COUNCIL WILL THEN BECOME THE JUDGE (The Guardian in an aside to Mason and with a smile asked Mason are you ready to become a Judge?)" thus confirming the fact that having been appointed the embryonic head of this embryonic body he would remain irremovable in the process of its evolution through its several stages so long as he should live. On the same evening, as if to confirm more directly the dreadful implication to be found in the above quoted statement, but which all of us had failed to perceive, he alluded so clearly to the fact that his passing was not far off that his wife, Rúhíyyih Khánum, jumped up from the table and in tears rushed out of the dining room returning only some time later when she had composed herself. As startling as the allusion that Shoghi Effendi had made to his passing in the near future had been, stating as a reason that his work-load had now become more than he could cope with and, then, drawing a parallel with the increasingly heavy work-load which had so overburdened Abdul-Bahá prior to His ascension, the comments that he had made afterwards, which although unrecorded, evidently allayed our fears to the extent that we must have considered Shoghi Effendis words, especially at the age of 56, more of a complaint of overwork than an actual allusion to his early passing and, therefore, his remarks were soon dismissed from our minds and never brought up again in any of our future conversations.
The significance and momentous implications to be drawn from Shoghi Effendis statements and the question that he had specifically addressed to Mason Remey concerning his impending judgeship were to remain unperceived at the time by all of us seated at the table that evening, including Mason Remey, himself. If we had discerned their significance we would have certainly found it impossible to accept the fact that Shoghi Effendi in both a direct statement and an allusion had confirmed what we had also failed to discern from his messages to the Baháí world that the following events of the greatest import to the Faith were soon to take place:
That Mason Remey the embryonic head of the embryonic Universal House of Justice would continue as the irremovable head of the Council when it became the International Baháí Court.
That, when this second stage in the development of the Council was attained, no one less than the Guardian of the Faith could perform the role of Chief Judge of the International Baháí Court.
That, as one of the goals set by Shoghi Effendi for the Ten Year Global Crusade (1953-1963) involved the transformation of the International Baháí Council into the International Baháí Court, no later than 1963, this presaged the passing of Shoghi Effendi prior to that date, as discussed above.
EXTRACTS FROM PROCLAMATION OF MASON REMEY
"The beloved Guardian gave me no authority to do anything about the Universal Council during his lifetime, for while he was living he was the Guardian of the Faith . . . " But with the death of Shoghi Effendi, . . . I became the acting President of the International Council . . . Therefore, I am now but assuming the powers that came to me automatically upon the death of Shoghi Effendi and that have been mine exclusively of all others upon earth . . . "
"The beloved Guardian chose me to be the President of the Baháí International Council that is according to his explanation the President of the Embryonic Universal House of Justice."
"The line of the Guardianship of the Baháí Faith is unbroken for I have been the Guardian of the Faith since the death of the Beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi."
It is clear from the foregoing that the Hands of the Cause, notwithstanding their exemplary loyalty to Shoghi Effendi, as well as all of the believers, had never grasped the significance of the "weighty epoch making decision" he had proclaimed in his message of 9 January, 1951 or in the other important messages he had addressed to the Baháí world concerning the International Baháí Council and the implication to be derived from his appointment of Mason Remey as the President of this embryonic Universal House of Justice.
Although Mason Remey had not initially perceived the significance of his appointment by Shoghi Effendi as President of the International Baháí Council, he had repeatedly implored his fellow Hands, as recorded in his "Daily Observations," not to abandon the Guardianship. He was the only one in the Baháí world to eventually perceive the significance attached to his Presidency of the Council some two years following Shoghi Effendis passing and to realize that, in this completely unexpected way, he had actually been appointed the successor to Shoghi Effendi. His effort then to enlighten the Baháí world to this fact in his Proclamation made at Ridván 1960 and sent to the National Convention convened by the Baháís of the United States at that time was immediately repudiated, out of hand, on the basis of instructions issued by the Hands of the Faith in Haifa and therefore never distributed throughout the Baháí world or translated for the benefit of those not understanding English. The tragic result was that the vast majority of the Baháís throughout the world remain in total ignorance of the contents of his Proclamation, to the present day, and, therefore, have never been given the opportunity to judge for themselves the basis or validity of Mason Remeys rightful claim to the Guardianship.
If the Hands of the Cause, following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, had not lost sight of the indisputable fact that the International Baháí Council had been created by Shoghi Effendi as the embryonic "final unit in the construction of the edifice of the Administrative Order" awaiting the time, in accordance with his ingenious plan, when coincident with his passing it would assume an active administrative role under the Presidency of his appointee and if, then, these Hands had permitted this Institution to assume its proper and rightful role in administering the world-wide affairs of the Faith under its appointed President, they would have found no need to take the following actions, after the passing of Shoghi Effendi, contrary to and completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá:
The convening of a conclave at Akká with the expectation of learning the identity of the one whom Shoghi Effendi had appointed as his successor and then, as a result of their conclusion that there was no successor, deciding to establish a provisional international administrative organization to administer the affairs of the Faith pending the formation of what they announced would be the election of a "Universal House of Justice" at Ridván 1963 pretending, although without the Guardian, that it was an authentic Baháí Institution.
The constitution of "a body of nine Hands" with its seat at Haifa, which would, in effect, serve as a collegial substitute body in place of the Guardian and arrogate unto itself, pending the establishment of their sans-Guardian so-called "Universal House of Justice," in 1963, supreme administrative authority that rightfully should have clearly been exercised instead, by a fully functioning active International Baháí Council.
Having usurped the authority that should have been exercised by the International Baháí Council they relegated it to an insignificant and obscure role subordinate to the Hands of the Faith in Haifa. Upon their receipt of Mason Remeys Proclamation and their rejection of him as the Guardian, they automatically abolished this newly-born Institution, as it had been constituted by Shoghi Effendi with its appointed President and Guardian-to-be, that had been extolled in such unprecedented and laudatory terms by Shoghi Effendi in his Proclamation as an event "potentially unsurpassed by any enterprise undertaken since the inception of the Administrative Order on the morrow of Abdul-Bahás Ascension..."
It should be clearly evident that the hasty and ill-considered decision reached by the Hands of the Cause at their first conclave that the Guardianship of the Faith had come to an end with the death of Shoghi Effendi had the following tragic results for the Faith:
They destroyed the three highest international institutions delineated by "the Architect of the Administrative Order" in His divinely-conceived Will and Testament; namely: the Guardianship, the Hands of the Cause and, in effect, the Universal House of Justice which was left headless by removal of the "sacred head and the distinguished member for life" of that body.
They insured that any counterfeit so-called "Universal House of Justice" that they would establish in the future (such as they did in 1963) would be nothing more than a disfigured, headless and man-made substitute for the Institution delineated by Abdul-Bahá in His Will and Testament.
They permanently deprived the Faith of the "the continuity of that unerring guidance vouchsafed to it since its birth" and the sole interpreter of "Holy Writ," a right solely conferred upon the Guardian of the Faith the "Center of the Cause" and thereby dangerously exposed the Faith, throughout the centuries to come, to the risk of varying man-made interpretations of the Words of Baháulláh leading inevitably to future schisms within the Faith such as those which have plagued all major religions of the past.
They repudiated, in effect, the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and even its continued usefulness, in shameful disregard of its characterization by Shoghi Effendi as the divinely-conceived "Child of the Covenant," and "The Charter which called into being, outlined the features and set in motion the processes" of the Administrative Order. Incomprehensible as it may seem, they lost sight of the fact that Shoghi Effendi had further eulogized this Document in such terms as "His greatest legacy to posterity, the brightest emanation of His mind, and the mightiest instrument forged to insure the continuity of the three ages which constitute the component parts of His Fathers Dispensation."
"THE ORDER OF BAHÁULLÁH"
In closing this defense of the continued applicability of the sacred and immortal provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and the existence of the Guardianship as assured by Shoghi Effendi, one could do no better than to quote the following passage to be found in GOD PASSES BY (pp.324-325):
"To this World Order the Báb Himself had whilst a prisoner in the mountain fastnesses of Adhirbáyján, explicitly referred in His Persian Bayán, the Mother-Book of the Bábí Dispensation, had announced its advent, and associated it with the name of Baháulláh, Whose Mission He Himself had heralded. "Well is it with him, is His remarkable statement in the sixteenth chapter of the third Váhid, who fixeth his gaze upon the Order of Baháulláh, and rendereth thanks unto his Lord ! For He will assuredly be made manifest..." To this same Order Baháulláh Who, in a latter period, revealed the laws and principles that must govern the operation of that Order, had thus referred in the Kitáb-i Aqdas, the Mother-Book of His Dispensation:
"The worlds equilibrium hath been upset through the vibrating influence of this Most Great Order. Mankinds ordered life hath been revolutionized through the agency of this unique, this wondrous System, the like of which mortal eyes have never witnessed." Its features Abdul-Bahá, its great Architect, delineated in His Will and Testament, whilst the foundations of its rudimentary institutions are now being laid after Him by His followers in the East and West in this, the Formative Age of the Baháí Dispensation."
Can any sincere, open-minded and clear thinking enquirer, after reviewing the undeniable evidence provided above, continue to entertain the slightest doubt that Shoghi Effendi faithfully complied with those provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá requiring him to appoint his successor in his lifetime? And, having recognized the identity of Shoghi Effendis successor can such an enquirer do anything less than joyfully join the ranks of those who have long since accepted him and, in turn, have pledged their fidelity to his duly appointed successor?
Joel Bray Marangella
29 August, 1995