THE AGHSÁN MYTH EXPOSED
The Aghsán have been identified by Shoghi Effendi, both in God Passes By (p.239) and in the Gleanings from the Writings of Baháulláh (p.244), as the sons of Baháulláh. Therefore, the Aghsán were contemporaries of Abdul-Bahá and could never have outlived Shoghi Effendi and been available, even if they had remained loyal to the Covenant, for appointment as successors to Shoghi Effendi. It should be obvious that Abdul-Bahá was concerned that there was the danger that the sons of Baháulláh would consider themselves superior to Baháulláh's great-grandson, Shoghi Effendi, even though he had been appointed Guardian of the Faith and therefore Abdul-Bahá enjoined them in His Testament to show their "obedience, submissiveness and subordination" unto him. But in spite of this injunction, they subsequently became disloyal as attested to by the Hands of the Cause in the proclamation they issued at the end of their first conclave following the passing of Shoghi Effendi (incidentally, no such conclave is required under the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá) in which they stated: "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 Master's Will and Testament " Significantly, this disloyalty must have already been manifested when Abdul-Bahá penned "Part Three" of His Will and Testament, at a later date than the first two parts, as He makes no mention of the Aghsán at all in that part of His Testament, In contrast, for example, to the passage found in Part One, of the Will and Testament (on page 11 of the 1944 edition, translated by Shoghi Effendi) wherein Abdul-Bahá states: "It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and be lowly before him." Abdul-Bahá, in Part Three (in the next to the last page) states, in His reference to the "guardian of the Cause of God" that "the Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him." It should therefore be crystal clear that Abdul-Bahá had never intended that only an Aghsán should inherit the Guardianship as claimed by the Hands, in the event that the eldest son did "not inherit the spiritual within him" and he had to "choose another branch" as they would not have outlived Shoghi Effendi. Yet, incredibly, the Hands of the Cause erroneously claimed that Shoghi Effendi, who, himself was not even an Aghsán, (i.e. not a son of Baháulláh) had been unable to appoint a successor because: "The Aghsán (branches) one and all are either dead or have been declared violators of the Covenant by the Guardian " and for this reason: "no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him "
In view of the foregoing, it is obvious that any claim that Abdul-Bahá had restricted the Guardians choice of a successsor, under the terms of His Will and Testament,to an Aghsán is completely without foundation and is patently false. Furthermore, there is no clause in the Will and Testament that requires the Guardian to appoint only a descendant of Baháulláh or a Persian as his successor. There is no excuse, therefore, for refusing to accept Shoghi Effendi's undeniable appointment of a successsor "in his own life-time" in complete conformity with the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Bahá and not through the instrumentality of a conventional will and testament, which the Hands of the Cause would have foreseen, had they familiarized themselves again with the provisions, of that sacred Document and not have undertaken a search for a will and testament left by Shoghi Effendi, as they announced in their "Official Statement" of November 19, 1957, that, of course, proved fruitless.
Joel Bray Marangella
Guardian of the Baháí Faith
Emphasis has been added above throughout where deemed desirable.