Herald of the Covenant Special Edition Winter 1974/75 The HERALD OF THE COVENANT is a publication of the Orthodox
Bahá'í Faith. Its title is derived from the unique and peerless Covenant bequeathed to
the Bahá'í world by the Author of the Bahá'í Revelationa Covenant
designed to shield His Cause from man-made interpretations which in the history of all of the great
religions of the past have been such a cause of schism and divisiveness. The Editors of the HERALD OF THE COVENANT hope that this publication will bring
to both the Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í reader a fuller comprehension and a
deeper appreciation of the meaning, significance and implications of the mighty Covenant of
Bahá'u'lláh and the divinely conceived System for the regulation of men's affairs on
this earth to which It gave birth. This Issue Number 2 is a special edition devoted entirely to an article written
by the third Guardian on the Violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh at the World
Center of the Bahá'í Faith following the passing of the first Guardian. HERALD OF THE COVENANT, Issue Number 2, published by the Orthodox
Bahá'í Faith 1/75. Printed in the United States. All contents approved by the third
Guardian. Table of Contents Introduction The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá Historic Acts of Shoghi Effendi at the World Center The Passing of Shoghi Effendi Conclave of the Hands of the Cause at the Mansion of Bahji in the Holy
Land A stand against the violation at the World Center 28 February 1959, p.m. 4 March 1959 Proclamation of the Second Guardian of the Bahá'í
Faith Reaction of the Hands and the Bahá'í world to the Proclamation
of the Second Guardian. First Encyclical Letter: Second Encyclical Letter: Footnotes
Herald of the Covenant
The HERALD OF THE COVENANT is a publication of the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith. Its title is derived from the unique and peerless Covenant bequeathed to the Bahá'í world by the Author of the Bahá'í Revelationa Covenant designed to shield His Cause from man-made interpretations which in the history of all of the great religions of the past have been such a cause of schism and divisiveness.
The Editors of the HERALD OF THE COVENANT hope that this publication will bring to both the Bahá'í and non-Bahá'í reader a fuller comprehension and a deeper appreciation of the meaning, significance and implications of the mighty Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and the divinely conceived System for the regulation of men's affairs on this earth to which It gave birth.
This Issue Number 2 is a special edition devoted entirely to an article written by the third Guardian on the Violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh at the World Center of the Bahá'í Faith following the passing of the first Guardian.
HERALD OF THE COVENANT, Issue Number 2, published by the Orthodox Bahá'í Faith 1/75. Printed in the United States. All contents approved by the third Guardian.
Table of Contents
The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá
Historic Acts of Shoghi Effendi at the World Center
The Passing of Shoghi Effendi
Conclave of the Hands of the Cause at the Mansion of Bahji in the Holy Land
A stand against the violation at the World Center
28 February 1959, p.m.
4 March 1959
Proclamation of the Second Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith
Reaction of the Hands and the Bahá'í world to the Proclamation of the Second Guardian.
First Encyclical Letter:
Second Encyclical Letter:
Words of Bahá'u'lláh appointing 'Abdu'l-Bahá
His appointed successorthe Interpreter of
His Word and Center of His Covenant.
"When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root."
"When the Mystic Dove will have winged its flight from its Sanctuary of Praise and sought its far-off goal, its hidden habitation, refer ye whatsoever ye understand not in the Book to Him ('Abdu'l-Bahá) Who hath branched from this mighty Stock."Kitáb-i-Aqdas
"lt is incumbent upon the Aghsán (His sons), the Afnán (the Báb's kindred) and My kindred to turn, one and all, their faces toward the Most Mighty Branch. Consider that which We have revealed in Our Most Holy Book: 'When the ocean of My presence hath ebbed and the Book of My Revelation is ended, turn your faces toward Him Whom God hath purposed, Who hath branched from this Ancient Root.' The object of this sacred verse is none other except the Most Mighty Branch ('Abdu'l-Bahá). Thus have We graciously revealed unto you our potent Will, and I am verily the Gracious, the All-Powerful."Kitáb-i-Ahd
Words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá
"As to the most great characteristic of the revelation of Baháulláh a specific teaching not given by any of the Prophets of the pastit is the ordination and appointment of the Center of the Covenant. By this appoint- ment and provision He has safeguarded and protected the religion of God against differences and schisms, making it impossible for anyone to create a new sect or faction of belief. To insure unity and agreement He has entered into a Covenant with all the peoples of the world including the Interpreter and Explainer of His teachings so that no one may interpret or explain the religion of God according to his own view or opinion and thus create a sect founded upon his individual understanding of the divine words. The Book of the Covenant or Testament of Bahá'u'lláh is the means of preventing such a possibility, for whosoever shall speak from the authority of himself alone shall be degraded. Be ye informed and cognizant of this."Bahá'í World Faith Pg. 248
A brief history
of the violation
Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh
at the World Center
of the Bahá'í Faith
following the passing
of the first Guardian
by Joel Bray Marangella
This brief historical account is written in the hope that the inquiring student of the Bahá'í Faith may gain an insight into the true meaning of loyalty to the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh as he reviews those events which took place shortly preceding and immediately following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, and which so tragically led to the subversion of the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and a shameful betrayal of the acts and works of Shoghi Effendi by a majority of the followers of Bahá'u'lláh who, prior to the passing of Shoghi Effendi, had professed to be steadfast supporters of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and who had pledged their undying loyalty to the Guardian of the Faith, the Center of the Cause and the appointed minister of that Covenant.
As a desirable preliminary to a review of the aforementioned acts of Shoghi Effendi in subsequent pages, certain essential beliefs pertaining to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and divinely appointed institutions ordained in this unique Document will be summarized at the outset. This review will be followed by the enumeration and discussion of certain epoch making events centered on acts of unprecedented importance taken by Shoghi Effendi at the World Center of the Faith during the concluding years of his ministry, which Shoghi Effendi had hailed and extolled in superlative terms but whose import and significance had strangely been disregarded and lost sight of by the Bahá'í world even prior to the passing of Shoghi Effendi, and even more tragically and significantly were overlooked or purposely ignored by the Hands of the Cause following his passing. It will be shown that these Hands who had been so recently elevated to their high spiritual station by Shoghi Effendi were the first, with the single exception of one of them whose solitary voice raised in defense of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was ignored and stifled, to prove themselves unfaithful to the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and to repudiate essential provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, a divinely conceived Document which Shoghi Effendi in his writings had acclaimed as the very "Child of the Covenant", the "Charter of the New World Order" and the "Divine Masterpiece which the Masterbuilder of the world has designed for the unification and triumph of the world-wide Faith of Bahá'u'lláh". Having betrayed their sacred trust and ingloriously renounced their faith in the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, these Hands, led by the widow of Shoghi Effendi, established an organization at the World Center of the faith (i.e. not founded upon the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá), shamefully usurped powers and prerogatives which the Will and Testament reposes solely in the Guardian of the Faith, prosecuted an insidious campaign to destroy the faith of their fellow-believers throughout the world in the inviolability and incorruptibility of the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá pertaining to the Guardianship, and ultimate]y led the great mass of these unsuspecting believers into a massive violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh in whose satanic grip the Bahá'í world for the most part still finds itself held fast to this day.
The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá
In a previous work this writer has stressed the divine origin of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá by quoting Shoghi Effendi's words in which he described this Will "as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him Who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purposes and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient." As this Document confirms, supplements and correlates the provisions of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas (Bahá'u'lláh's most Holy Book) Shoghi Effendi pointed out that the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Aqdas should be considered as "inseparable parts of one complete unit" and as such the Will therefore is a part of the explicit Holy Text which is not subject to alteration or abrogation throughout the centuries of the Dispensation of Baháulláh, much less abrogation 36 years after 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Ascension (i.e. with the passing of Shoghi Effendi). So that the reader may fully understand the essentiality of the Guardianship to the Faith, certain points stressed by Shoghi Effendi in his writings are enumerated below. These emphasize the authority, role and functions vested in this institution under the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
(Underlinings have been added in quoted passages below for emphasis. )
Historic Acts of Shoghi Effendi at the World Center
(Underlinings have been added in quoted passages below for emphasis. )
Some seven years prior to his passing Shoghi Effendi issued the one and only Proclamation of his ministry (9 January 1951), a communication which opened with the phrase: "Proclaim to National Assemblies of East and West weighty epoch-making decision of formation of first International Bahá'í Council forerunner of supreme administrative institution..." He went on to explain in this communication the steps that had induced him to arrive at this "historic decision" which included:
Other significant statements of Shoghi Effendi, stressing the supreme importance of the formation of the International Bahá'í Council, should be quoted only because there were believers in the years to come who would claim that this council was of no importance, or that it was only a temporary institution which should take second place to the institution of the Hands of the Cause. The falsity of such views is readily perceived in the light of the following statements of Shoghi Effendi:
On the basis of the foregoing, any fair-minded observer would perceive that this "nascent institution", this "first embryonic International Institution" was not a temporary, provisional organization created by Shoghi Effendi outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, but was in reality the embryonic Universal House of Justice which He had ordained in His Will to be the supreme administrative body in the Bahá'í Administrative Order.
As President of this embryonic Institution, Shoghi Effendi appointed an American believer, Charles Mason Remey, whom he had called to serve him at the World Center some time earlier, a Bahá'í who had distinguished himself by his long and faithful services to the Faith since its earliest beginnings in Europe and the American continent; an architect of four Bahá'í Houses of Worship (chosen by 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself to be the architect of the House of Worship to be constructed on Mount Carmel), and the International Archives building on Mount Carmel.
The initial functions assigned to the International Bahá'í Council were as follows:
The president of the International Bahá'í Council, Charles Mason Remey, was never instructed by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry to convene the Council as a functioning and consultative body over which he as its appointed President would preside. Instead, Shoghi Effendi assigned specific tasks to individual members (there being nine members of this body) and in this manner preserved the Council in its originally conceived embryonic state. This precluded the President of this body who, in fact, was the embryonic head of the embryonic Universal House of Justice from exercising those responsibilities that would be automatically his upon his convocation of the Council. (It would be well to note here that the very fact that Shoghi Effendi maintained this body in an embryonic state during the remainder of his ministry later proved to be a stumbling block in the minds of the believers after his passing, as by that time other events had taken place which tended to obscure the tremendous significance he had attached to the formation of this "first embryonic International Institution" and led them to forget the superlatives with which he had hailed its formation some seven years earlier. )
Brief quotations from several other communications of Shoghi Effendi addressed to the Bahá'í World should suffice to put to rest any doubts that might still be entertained as to whether the International Bahá'í Council was, in fact, the embryonic Universal House of Justice and the Council was meant to be a permanent Institution of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, once formed under such historic and auspicious circumstances, never to be abolished but only transformed. It would evolve through successive stages until in the Golden Age of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh it would be able to exercise all the powers and functions with which it has been invested by the Pen of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
(Note: While in its embryonic and inactive state, the Council estab- lished by Shoghi Effendi consisted of both male and female members, but when this embryonic institution would, analogically speaking. emerge into full activity as the Universal House of Justice, it would be an organism in accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.)
It was in such words as those quoted above that Shoghi Effendi extolled the creation of the International Bahá'í Council and clearly demonstrated that it was the supreme Bahá'í administrative body in the Bahá'í world although admittedly in its embryonic state.1
It now remained for Shoghi Effendi to continue "the vast process" that had been set in motion at the World Center of which the formation of the Council was one of the initial evidences and follow-up the establishment of this "first embryonic International Institution" with the appointment of the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause which he announced in the same message of 24 December quoted above with the following words:
"Hour now ripe to take long inevitably deferred step in conformity with provisions of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Testament in conjunction with the six above mentioned steps [of which the second was the formation of the International Bahá'í Council] through appointment of the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause of God twelve in number . . . Initial step now taken (1) regard as preparatory to full development of institution provided in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will paralleled preliminary measure of formation of International Council destined to culminate in emergence of Universal House of Justice." (Cable 24 December 1951) (Three of these Hands resided in the Holy Land: Mason Remey, Amelia Collins, Sutherland Maxwell.)
Two months later Shoghi Effendi announced the appointment of a second contingent of the Hands of the Cause (seven in number) each of whom assumed their duties in certain countries named of which they were already residents. In this communication Shoghi Effendi emphasized the role of the Hands in the following words:
"Members of august body are invested in conformity with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Testament with twofold sacred function of the propagation and preservation of the unity of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh."
Again Shoghi Effendi stressed the parallelism that existed in the development of the institution of the Hands of the Cause with the development of the International Bahá'í Council as both embryonic institutions developed simultaneously. For in this communication to the Baháí world, he stated that the Hands were "destined to assume individually in the course of time the direction of institutions paralleling those revolving around the Universal House of Justice." (Cable 29 February 1952)
There was scant pause as Shoghi Effendi continued the development of the international institutions of the Faith at the World Center, for it was only some nine days following his issuance of the above quoted communication that he announced the enlargement of the International Bahá'í Council to eight members, appointed additional officers and assigned their duties. Of particular significance, as one looks back in retrospect, was his appointment of a liaison between himself and the Council. This announcement read as follows:
"Second announcement. The enlargement of the International Baháí Council. Present membership now comprises: Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum [wife of Shoghi Effendi], chosen liaison between me and the Council. Hands of the Cause, Mason Remey, Amelia Collins, Ugo Giachery, Leroy loas, President, Vice-President, member-at-large, Secretary General, respectively. Jessie Revell, Ethel Revell, Lotfullah Hakim, Treasurer, Western and Eastern assistant Secretaries." (Cable 8 March 1952,) 2
A little more than a month later Shoghi Effendi again reminded the friends of the "vast process" that was going on in the Holy Land at the World Center of the Faith and cited evidences of the parallel development of the Hands of the Cause and the International Bahá'í Council. It was in the following words that he made this announcement:
"The vast process of the rise and establishment of the World Center of the Faith has been accelerated. Contingents of Hands of the Cause have been successively appointed in every continent of the globe, five of whom are shouldering responsibilities in the Holy Land. The International Bahá'í Council has been enlarged and officers designated." (Cable 23 April 1952)
Once again, only some two months later, Shoghi Effendi reemphasized the importance of the steps that he had taken in the past year and one half at the World Center in the erection in their embryonic form of the international institutions of the Faith with the following words:
"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..." (Cable 30 June 1952)
Before proceeding with this historical summary, let us examine the preceding passages from Shoghi Effendi's cable again and pose a question of critical importance. For, in the astonishing and incredulous failure of the Hands of the Cause following the passing of Shoghi Effendi to perceive the answer to this question and realize its significance lay, in no small measure, the genesis of the great violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh that not only enveloped twenty-six of the twenty-seven Hands so soon after his passing but ultimately most of the Bahá'í world as well. That question is: Is there any doubt that the International Bahá'í Council was one of the "highest institutions" and "supreme organs" of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh which Shoghi Effendi stated, in the message quoted above, had been erected at the World Center of the Faith? In other words, the Universal House of Justice had been created in its embryonic form, and the President or head of this body had been appointed.
To summarize the parallel development of these institutions of the Faith at the World Center: Shoghi Effendi established the Council in his proclamatory message of 9 January 1951 and announced the appointment of the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause on 24 December 1951. The evolutionary development of these two embryonic institutions commenced almost immediately as Shoghi Effendi announced their enlargement in his messages of 29 February and 8 March 1952. Further enlargements were made and announced with the ninth member of the International Bahá'í Council being appointed on 4 May 1955 and the last contingent of the Hands of the Cause being appointed in October 1957, less than a month before Shoghi Effendi's passing.3
In the preceding pages only the most significant excerpts incident to the subject at hand have been quoted from the veritable deluge of historic communications that flowed from Shoghi Effendi's pen in the final years of his ministry as he labored at an exhausting and feverish pace to implement the provisions of the three divine Charters that were the mandates for his work. Indeed, as we look back in retrospect at his tremendous accomplishments during this period, it is as though Shoghi Effendi sensed that but little time was left to him to carry out on this mortal plane the tasks which he felt that it was his mission to accomplish as Guardian of the Faith, so that Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Order might be established on a firm and unassailable foundation. Less than three years prior to his passing Shoghi Effendi voiced the following stirring entreaty in referring to these three divine Charters:
"It is indeed my fervent and constant prayer that the members of this firmly-knit intensely alive world-embracing Community spurred by the triple impulse generated through the revelation of the Tablet of Carmel by Bahá'u'lláh and the Will and Testament as well as the Tablets of the Divine Plan bequeathed by the Center of His Covenantthe three Charters which have set in motion three distinct processes the first operating in the Holy Land for the development of the institutions of the Faith at its World Center and the other two throughout the rest of the Baháí World for its propagation and the establishment of its Administrative Ordermay advance from strength to strength and victory to victory."
These labors of Shoghi Effendi in the evening of his life at the World Center of the Faith culminated, as already pointed out, in the erection of the machinery of the highest institutions of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh in their embryonic form. As Shoghi Effendi stated: "the process set in motion by Bahá'u'lláh's visit to Mount Carmel" some sixty years earlier attained its "consummation through the emergence of institutions of the Administrative Center of the Faith in the vicinity of its world Spiritual Center, signalizing the sailing of the Divine Ark on God's Mountain prophesied in the Tablet of Carmel." (Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, pgs. 14-17)
In reviewing this stream of communications to the Bahá'í world that flowed from Shoghi Effendi's pen, one notes that he repeatedly endeavored to give the believers a vision of the future developments in store for the Faith at the World Center as well as throughout the world. If one were to search these communications as well as the other copious writing of Shoghi Effendi concerning the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, not a single word would be found alluding in the slightest to any possibility that the divine Charters referred to above would, in part, or in their entirety, become null and void. Quite to the contrary, all his acts and words were focused on their complete implementation and fulfilment. For example, only some three years prior to his passing he clearly wrote of the future edifices that would be raised on Mount Carmel to serve as the administrative seats for the highest institutions of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, edifices that included the seat of the Guardianship. Shoghi Effendi took the occasion of a message in which he described the acquisition of a piece of land on the slopes of Mount Carmel for the erection of "the structure of the International Baháí Archives designed by the Hand of the Cause Mason Remey President of the International Baháí Council" to speak of the future edifices that would be built "in the shape of a far-flung arc" surrounding the resting places of the members of the Holy Family of Bahá'u'lláh. Shoghi Effendi stated:
"The raising of this Edifice will in turn herald the construction in the course of successive epochs of the Formative Age of the Faith of several other structures 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." And Shoghi Effendi went on to say in this message: "The ultimate completion of this stupendous undertaking will mark the culmination of the development of a world-wide divinely-appointed Administrative Order whose beginnings may be traced as far back as the concluding years of the Heroic Age of the Faith." And in the concluding passages of this message he proclaimed that "The final establishment of this seat of the future Bahá'í World Commonwealth will signalize at once the proclamation of the sovereignty of the Founder of our Faith and the advent of the Kingdom of the Father repeatedly lauded and promised by Jesus Christ." (Cable 27 November 1954)4
The last message of Shoghi Effendi to the Baháí World in which he appointed the final contingent of the Hands of the Cause proved, as it turned out, to be the supreme test, for in this message he referred to the 27 Hands now appointed as "the Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth who have been invested by the unerring Pen of the Center of the Covenant with the dual function of guarding over the security and of insuring the propagation, of His Father's Faith." For the very reason that the Hands seized upon the title "Chief Stewards" following the passing of Shoghi Effendi and construed it to have endowed them with authority and prerogatives with which they are not vested by the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, this title should be given special consideration at this point. Of first consideration is the fact that this title was bestowed upon them while Shoghi Effendi was living and there was nothing either in the title itself or in this communication or other communications of Shoghi Effendi with the Baháí world to indicate that it was Shoghi Effendi's intention that the relationship between the Hands of the Cause and the Guardian of the Faith as prescribed by the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá should be changed in anyway (that is, as Hands they were subordinate to and under the direction of the Head of the Faith, who is also Head of the Universal House of Justice) or that Shoghi Effendi meant to imply that these relationships would change at some future date, and they would be invested with powers and prerogatives over and above those with which they had been invested by the unerring Pen of the Center of the Covenant ('Abdu'l-Bahá). The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, as previously explained in the foregoing pages, invests the Hands of the Cause with spiritual functions. Shoghi Effendi did assign the Hands the responsibility to assist (not direct) National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world in the prosecution of the World Spiritual Crusade (1953-1963) a Crusade designed to implement the Charter bequeathed to us by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, a function which was in addition to their "primary obligation to watch over and insure protection to the Bahá'í world community in close collaboration with these same National Assemblies." But this assignment in no way gave them authority over these National Assemblies as the Hands exercise no authority independent of the Guardian of the Faith. A careful review of Shoghi Effendi's writings will reveal the fact that he had on more than one occasion used the term steward or stewardship in referring to the services of Bahá'ís, and Bahá'í bodies and significantly enough had in one instance in his work titled "God Passes By" referred to 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the "steward of its glory" (i.e. the servant of its glory). Therefore the term steward as applied to the Hands can only be considered within the context of the functions with which they have been invested by the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. If one does this, it is clear that stewardship and servitude as applied to their functions are synonymous terms. ( Is not servitude the highest spiritual station to which the believer can aspire?) It is interesting and pertinent to note that in the last paragraph of the last message addressed to the Bahá'í world by Shoghi Effendi he should also have used the term stewardship in referring not only to " every Hand previously or now appointed " (this message having appointed the last contingent of the Hands) but to "the entire body of the believers" and "upon their elected representatives, the members of the various Regional and National Spiritual Assemblies in both the East and West." as he urged them to display "the qualities which must distinguish a worthy stewardship of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh."
This historical summary of significant acts taken by Shoghi Effendi at the World Center in the concluding years of his ministry represents by no means the full scope of his prodigious and unremitting labors in behalf of the Cause of God during his 36-years ministry. To take the space required for a proper enumeration of his services to the Faith would detract from the central purpose of this paper. However, it is germane to mention the tremendous debt that the English-speaking Bahá'ís throughout the world owed him, not only for his superlative translations into the English language of the major Works of Bahá'u'lláh, the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and Nabil's Narrative"The Dawnbreakers"that glorious history of the earliest beginnings of our Faith, but for his matchless writings explaining and elucidating the distinguishing features of the Bahá'í Administrative Order and its institutions. There is no question that he translated for the benefit of the English-speaking world whatever they required of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh to be able to accept and grasp the full meaning of His Revelation and for His followers to be faithful to His Teachings, especially the American believers upon whom 'Abdu'l-Bahá had conferred spiritual primacy, whom he had addressed as "O ye apostles of Bahá'u'lláh" and whose land in which they dwell, He said, "is in the eyes of the one true God, the land wherein the splendors of His light shall be unveiled, where the mysteries of His Faith shall be unveiled, where the righteous will abide and the free assemble." It was these believers, too, that Shoghi Effendi had extolled as the "Champion-builders of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh" and the"chosen trustees and principal executors of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan." Indeed, could these believers carry out their glorious mission without the benefit of a comprehensive knowledge of the essential Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá? Obviously Shoghi Effendi recognized this requirement and made ample provisions for it not only in his translations of the Holy Writings but, as heretofore mentioned, in his own extensive writings in the English language. (And yet there were Persian Hands of the Cause following the passing of Shoghi Effendi who used the specious argument that, as the American believers were not able to read all of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh in their original text, they were not aware of certain Writings that supported their heretical arguments for abandonment of the Guardianship).
The Passing of Shoghi Effendi
It was at this stage in the development and progress of the Faith that the sudden and completely unexpected passing of Shoghi Effendi (4 November 1957) struck as a thunderbolt in the Bahá'í world, shattering the hearts of the believers and throwing them into a state of bewilderment and confusion. Unprepared as they were for this seemingly mortal blow, deprived of visible leadership in the person of a Guardian of the Faith, and completely forgetful and unmindful of the significance of some of the historic acts taken by Shoghi Effendi which have been outlined in the foregoing pages, the believers in their consternation, grief and loss turned initially to the widow of Shoghi Effendi to fill the void. For in their eyes she had been closest to him from a physical standpoint during his life on this earthly plane, and the one who perhaps might be privy to his innermost thoughts and uniquely aware, of course, if indeed there had been a male offspring from her marriage with Shoghi Effendi, as had been rumored persistently over the years to be the case, and whose whereabouts allegedly had been kept a well-guarded secret. Thus, for what the believers anticipated would be but a temporary period of time until the rightful successor of Shoghi Effendi became known, the mantle of leadership fell by default upon the shoulders of this charming, dynamic and intelligent woman, however much she may not have sought this leadership initially. Although as time passed, some of the power that had become hers during this apparent interregnum in the guardianship was, to outward appearances at least, diffused amongst her fellow-Hands of the Cause, she retained the upper hand and never relinquished thereafter the leadership of the Faith that she had initially gained upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi. She completely overshadowed her fellow-Hands of the Cause and dominated their thoughts and actions. They invariably deferred to her, with a single notable exception, because of her past relationship to Shoghi Effendi. It was as though these Hands and the body of the believers as well felt that because of this past relationship some of the station of Guardianship had rubbed off on her. Had she remained faithful to the Covenant of Bahaullah, the love that the believers had held for the Guardian and now transferred to her would certainly have had no ill effects. But their very adoration of her was soon to become one of the causes, if not the primary one, of their downfall and their betrayal, ironically as it may seem, of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and all that Shoghi Effendi had labored to erect during his ministry. It was she, for example, who claimed that Shoghi Effendi had said to her that there was no one fit or qualified for him to appoint as his successor. Amazingly enough her fellow-Hands, with a single exception as already noted, did not challenge her on this statement that ran so contrary to everything that Shoghi Effendi had written and announced to the Bahá'í world up until his last days concerning the essentiality and continuity of the Guardianship. It was such a statement that lent support to the Persian Hands of the Cause, as we shall see in the events that will be reviewed in the following pages, in the pernicious and diabolical doctrine that they espoused to the effect that the Guardianship of the Faith was now "Bada".5
It was evident, too, from public statements the Rúhíyyih Khánum made that she had, in her great and understandable love for Shoghi Effendi, so personalized the Guardianship in her own mind that she was completely unprepared and unwilling to see another person take his place.
Conclave of the Hands of the Cause at the Mansion of Bahjí in the Holy Land
It was in this state of affairs that the Hands of the Cause, laboring under the impression that the mantle of Guardianship would be transferred to the shoulders of Shoghi Effendi's successor in the same manner that the Guardianship had been conferred upon him, as the first Guardian of the Faith, that is, by Will and Testament, assumed the responsibility of convening a conclave at the Mansion of Bahji in The Holy Land adjacent to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh for the purpose of determining whom Shoghi Effendi had named as his successor. No one questioned this act on the part of the Hands of the Cause at the time for, as already explained, the Bahá'í world, in the vacuum of leadership that appeared to exist following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, had first turned to his widow and later to the entire body of the Hands of the Cause to fill this void. The Hands began almost immediately to walk down the path of self-delusion and self-aggrandizement, for they took this occasion to place an unwarranted interpretation upon and magnify out of proportion the appellation that Shoghi Effendi had conferred upon them in his last message to the Bahá'í world before his passing, in which he had referred to them as the "Chief Stewards of Baháulláh's embryonic World Commonwealth". In fact, they were soon to construe this appellation to mean that collective leadership of the Faith had been conferred upon them as a body. They subsequently became so blinded by this appellation that they relegated to an inferior role and eventually shoved into near oblivion the embryonic institution created by Shoghi Effendi at the World Center even before their ownthe International Bahá'í Council, an institution which, together with the institution of the Guardianship, constitute the "twin pillars" of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. In this very act of the presumption of leadership taken by the Hands of the Cause lay the seed of an unprecedented violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh that was soon destined to grow, flourish and completely envelop an unsuspecting Bahá'í world. Having initially acquiesced so readily to what appeared to be only a temporary assumption of collective leadership of the Faith by the Hands of the Cause, it was but another step for the Bahá'í world community to become so conditioned to this role on their part, and its sense of perception and perspective to be so dulled as to accept without question their perpetuation of this role on a permanent basis. This they were soon to do, and the Bahá'ís as a whole failed to perceive that such an assumption by the Hands of powers and prerogatives solely conferred upon the Guardian of the Faith was completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and that the substitution of their man-made organization in place of the divinely conceived Order of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, some 36 years after the Ascension of the Master-Architect of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, completely nullified and violated the immortal and sacred provisions of His divine Masterpiece. How was it possible, one might understandably ask, for the believers to have been so easily duped and led astray? ln fairness to them, one might offer as an excuse the fact that the Hands of the Cause had been constantly in the limelight and forefront of Bahá'í activities throughout the world since their appointment, especially in carrying out responsibilities that Shoghi Effendi had assigned them to assist and encourage the believers in carrying out the Ten Year Spiritual Crusade which had been inaugurated in 1953. They had played a particularly conspicuous role as the Guardian's appointed representatives at various international conferences. In contrast, the International Bahá'í Council had been primarily engaged up to the time of Shoghi Effendi's passing with matters involving the relationship of the Faith at the World Center to the governmental and court authorities of the State of Israel and with projects involving the development of the World Center of the Faith. Even though on two occasions the President of the International Bahá'í Council had written long letters outlining these activities for the information of the Bahá'í world and dispatched them to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States on 1 July 1952 and 2 May 1955 respectively (subsequently published in their Bahá'í News and given wide distribution throughout the world ), these infrequent reportings were very much over shadowed by the magnificent victories that were registered almost daily by the believers throughout the world in the pioneering and teaching fields. Much of the initial stimuli for these exploits had come to a large extent from the international conferences in which the Hands of the Cause, as already stated, had figured so prominently, which had been given wide publicity and which had served to enhance their image and their fame in the eyes of the believers. Indeed, theirs was a personal and direct contact with the believers while the International Bahá'í Council as a body had no direct contact with them at all. It was therefore perhaps not surprising that in the eyes of the believers the Hands of the Cause had increasingly assumed a preeminent role in Bahá'í activities next to the Guardian of the Faith; that in the publicity, enthusiasm and attention surrounding the teaching activities the believers all but forgot about the Council and the potentialities with which it was endowed. Apparently soon forgotten also were such statements as had been made by Charles Mason Remey in his letter of I July 1952 as President of the International Bahá'í Council, already referred to above, in which he stated: "On more than one occasion the Guardian has pointed out to the members of the Council that the Charter upon which the Spiritual and Administrative activities of the Faith in Israel rest is the Tablet of Carmel, revealed by Bahá'u'lláh on Mt. Carmel [Gleanings pp. 14-17] The 'City Of God' mentioned in this Tablet is the Shrine Of the Báb and the 'Ark' means the Laws Of God and refers to the Universal House Of Justice. the embryo of which is the present International Bahá'í Council. which through successive stages will develop into the Universal House of Justice to be established on this Holy Mountain." (Underlinings have been added.) No doubt the significance of the foregoing statement was forgotten too, for the reasons outlined above, as it had been written more than five years prior to the passing of Shoghi Effendi. The surge of important, widely publicized events and victories for the Faith that followed each other in quick succession during the concluding years of Shoghi Effendi's ministry had served to obscure and bury in the consciousness of the Bahá'ís their awareness of the potentialities with which the International Bahá'í Council was invested as the embryonic supreme legislative organ of the Bahá'í Administrative System (the Universal House of Justice whose appointed head is no one less than the Guardian of the Faith) and its rank in the Bahá'í Administrative hierarchy as one of the "twin pillars" that support the Administrative structure of the Faith (refer to page 147, Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh).
In view of the foregoing, an enquirer now reviewing the question objectively and removed from the highly emotional atmosphere that prevailed in the days following Shoghi Effendi's passing, might well ask where did the authority in the Faith really lie upon his death? Did it reside in the Hands of the Faith or in the International Bahá'í Council or in some other person? Who held foremost rank amongst the Bahá'ís now that Shoghi Effendi was dead? In what institution was he to be found? On what authority did the Hands of the Faith take it upon themselves to convene a conclave to determine Shoghi Effendi's successor? Is such authority conferred upon them by the Will and Testament? An examination of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá will reveal no such authority. This in itself should have alerted the Hands to the fact that they had started out on the wrong track in assuming such authority and convening such a conclave. If these Hands had but paused in their head-long rush to usurp this authority and given some time to reflection and reconsideration of the Will and Testament and the acts and writings of Shoghi Effendi, perhaps they would have discovered the second Guardian in their midst. But such was not to be.
Alas, no record exists of this first conclave of the Hands assembled at the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji on November 18-19. (Mason Remy describes in his diary, titled "Daily Observations", that its deliberations were kept secret and unrecorded at the insistence of Rúhíyyih Khánum.)6
The account of their activities and the result of their deliberations was published in the form of a Proclamation, dated 25 November 1957, and appeared in the United States Bahá'í News of January 1958 under the title of "Proclamation by the Hands of the Cause to the Bahá'ís of East and West". In this first public statement by the Hands of the Faith following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, one perceives the tragic and fatal error that was theirs in adhering to a preconceived and obviously false interpretation of the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Bahá concerning the manner in which the Guardian of the Faith must appoint his successor. As the appointment of a successor by Shoghi Effendi did not conform to this preconception, these Hands forthwith lost faith in the immortality and immutability of every clause of the divinely conceived Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baháthe very Child of the Covenantand declared the Guardianship ended. Having thus betrayed the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, they presumptuously usurped authority for the direction of the Faith for which no foundation whatsoever can be found in the Divine Masterpiece penned by the unerring Pen of the Center of the Covenant as His Charter for the New World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Let us examine some of the passages contained in this Proclamation as evidence of the foregoing.
Statement by the Hands: "On the following morning November 19th, nine Hands of the Cause selected from the Holy Land and the several continents of East and West with Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum, broke the seals placed upon the beloved Guardian's safe and desk and made careful examination of their precious contents. These same Hands rejoining the other Hands assembled in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji certified that Shoghi Effendi had left no Will and Testament. It was likewise certified that the beloved Guardian had left no heir. 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 and their hostility to him named first Guardian in that sacred document.''
Comment: It is clear from the above that the Hands anticipated that Shoghi Effendi would use a testamentary type document to name his successor, and that because a search of his papers had revealed no such document their stated conclusion was that Shoghi Effendi had left no heir to the Guardianship. As explained earlier in this paper, the use of a testamentary document by an incumbent Guardian to appoint his successor actually would run counter to the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá which make it mandatory for him to appoint his successor in his lifetime. The wisdom of this provision can readily be perceived in the events that followed the passing of Shoghi Effendi, when the Bahá'ís labored under the misapprehension that there had been an interruption, however short-lived it might be, in the guidance and protection of the Guardianship vouchsafed us by the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá until the successor Guardian, should become known, and turned to an alternate source of guidance and direction for what they thought would be an interim period. A careful review of The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá will show that no such interregnum in the actual functioning of the Guardianship will ever exist, notwithstanding the fact that at a given time some or all of the Bahá'ís may refuse or fail to recognize his existence and authority. For the continuity of the Guardianship endures without any interruption throughout the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh (at least 1,000 years). Of course there was no Will left by Shoghi Effendi as he had already appointed his successor some seven years earlier "in his own lifetime" as prescribed under the terms of the Will and Testament of the Master. The statement made by the Hands that none of the Aghsán (the sons of Bahá'u'lláh as explained by Shoghi Effendi in "God Passes By" on page 239) were living or loyal to the Covenant implies that they were the only ones, other than a son of the Guardian, who would be eligible for appointment as Shoghi Effendi's successor. This, again, was a misinterpretation of the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and has been covered in an earlier work titled: "The Tree of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh". It is equally a misinterpretation if the implication is that only descendants of Bahá'u'lláh are eligible to inherit the Guardianship
Statement by the Hands: "In our capacity as Chief Stewards of the Embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh we Hands of the Cause have constituted a body of nine Hands to serve at the Bahá'í World Center . . . On matters involving administrative questions this same body will assist National Assemblies by citing those passages of the Baháí Sacred Literature which direct the Assemblies to a sound solution."
Comment: Not only did the Hands in this statement show conclusively that they consider that the appellation "Chief Stewards" endowed them with authority and special prerogatives to decide how the Faith should be administered, but they had the audacity to constitute an organization of their own making with its seat at the World Center, an organization that was clearly outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. (Note: This body is not to be confused with the body of nine Hands who are elected from their own number and who serve under the Guardian. The Hands had not been instructed by Shoghi Effendi to conduct such an election for the creation of this body prior to his passing. He had, however, instructed five Hands to permanently reside in Haifa to assist him in his work at the World Center. This body of five appointed Hands could also be considered as embryonic to the body of the nine that would be elected sometime in the future.) The above statement by the Hands was also the first intimation that they planned to involve themselves in administrative matters which were clearly outside their domain as Hands of the Cause (an involvement which inevitably became more prevalent as National Assemblies looked to Haifa for guidance and instructions and to them rather than to the International Bahá'í Counciltheir counterpart at the International level).
Statement by the Hands: ". . . the entire body of the Hands assembled by the nine Hands of the World Center will decide when and how the International Baháí Council is to evolve through the successive stages outlined by the Guardian culminating in the call to election of the Universal House of Justice by the membership of all National Spiritual Assemblies."
Comment: This statement by the Hands made it clear that they considered their organization of nine Hands at the World Center as a nine headed substitute for the Guardianship with self-appointed authority to decide when and how the embryonic Universal House of Justice (i.e. the International Bahá'í Council) would evolve. What about the President of this Council appointed by Shoghi Effendi? By what authority did they, in effect, propose to divest him of his authority, an authority founded on the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá? The Hands certainly had been given no authority over the International Bahá'í Council by Shoghi Effendi, and as it shall be later shown it was in this very body that the key to the continuity of the Guardianship was to be found. The Hands also spoke of the eventual election of the Universal House of Justice. With the termination of the Guardianship, by what magic would this be possible? For the Universal House of Justice described in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá consists of an elected body and an appointed head, or President, who is none other than the Guardian of the Faith (obvious not a figure-head). Did the Hands propose to create a headless body, dignify it by the title of Universal House of Justice and pass it off as the divinely conceived Institution prescribed in the Will and Testament of the Master? How could such a patently counterfeit body pretend to be endowed with infallibility and be "free from all error" as promised in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá? Yet, this is exactly what the Hands planned to do (and actually did do in 1963, and incidentally by so doing completely by-passed the two additional intermediary stages through which Shoghi Effendi had stipulated the International Bahá'í Council would develop prior to becoming the Universal House of Justice, i.e. the "Bahá'í Court" and "elected body").
Statement by the Hands: "When that divinely ordained body comes into existence, all the conditions of the Faith can be examined anew, and the measures necessary for its future operation determined in consultation with the Hands of the Cause."
Comment: As discussed above, it is glaringly obvious that the headless body that the Hands proposed to create could not be construed by any stretch of the imagination to be the "divinely ordained body" established by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament which, as previously explained, must be comprised of two indispensable parts: the Guardian of the Faith as "its sacred head" and the elected members that constitute the remainder of its body. Not content with this attempted deception of the Bahá'ís and apparently unaware of their own self-deception, they stated that they proposed to consult with this so-called Universal House of Justice upon its establishment to determine the measures for its future operation. This statement clearly shows that they considered that they could act as a substitute collegiate head, as it were, of the Universal House of Justice, taking the place of the Guardian of the Faith who exercises this function according to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
From the foregoing one can perceive the tragic results, blunders and perversions that stemmed from a loss of faith in the immortality and immutability of the provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdu'l-Bahá. Having lost this faith these Hands, as incomprehensible as it may seem, and not more than two weeks following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, set about to emasculate the divinely conceived Administrative Order of the Faith and substitute in its place a man-made organization with all of the defects and weaknesses that such a humanly devised organization would inherently possess. By their abandonment of the Guardianship, these Hands, however much they might try, could do naught else from then on but destroy the unique and peerless System designed by the Master-Architect of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh and forever deprive the Faith of the distinguishing feature of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Could a tragedy of greater proportions than this for the Faith be imagined? The Hands would have their fellow-believers accept the fact that that divinely conceived Childthe Child of the Covenant(The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá) the mystic off-spring of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, whose life span had been ordained by God to endure for at least a full thousand years had suddenly been cut short 36 years after its birth. Was not this loss of faith in the immortality of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá a loss of faith in the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, Itself, of which it was the Child? And, therefore, did not the acts taken by the Hands of the Cause to establish a substitute organization of their own making constitute a flagrant violation of that mighty Covenant, whatever pretension to the contrary might be made? There can be no other answer but an affirmative one to this question. And how could it be that the great mass of the believers throughout the world should have followed these fallen Hands of the Faith so blindly and unthinkingly down the path of violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh in the face of all that Shoghi Effendi had done and written to implant within the minds of the Bahá'ís a profound understanding and supernal vision of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh? How could they accept the pernicious doctrine of "Bada" as applied to the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh? Had, indeed, God changed His mind and decided that this mighty Order should not be? Was not each soul in the Faith responsible for his own salvation? Was it any guarantee that because the Hands of the Cause had been so recently elevated to their high station by Shoghi Effendi that they would not be tested as any other believer and that their feet would not slip on the straight Path? Was it an acceptable excuse under these circumstances for any believer to proclaim that he had only followed the example of these Hands and taken their word that the Guardianship of the Faith was ended? Had we not learned from the history of our infant Faith how often in the past members of the Holy Family and believers who not only had been closest to Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and Shoghi Effendi but had distinguished themselves by outstanding services to the Faith later treacherously betrayed them and caused them and the Faith injury?
Would these Hands of the Cause now have us believe that the mighty Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh had been brought to naught? Were they asking us to believe that the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, "His greatest legacy to posterity" the "brightest emanation of His mind" and the "Charter of a future world Civilization" was not an immortal Document (destined to be that Charter for at least a full thousand years), but a mortal one which had now become a dead letter (some 36 years after the Ascension of its Author)? Could any thinking individual be deceived into believing that the mighty structure reared by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will could fulfill its glorious purpose and destiny minus its head (the Guardian), its future Hands (who are solely appointed by the Guardian) and its supreme legislative organ, the Universal House of Justice, which is only whole and able to function in its divinely ordained capacity when under the presidency of "its sacred head"the Guardian of the Cause of God? The answers to all these questions are self-evident!
A stand against the violation at the World Center
During this interregnum (not to imply that the Faith did not have a Guardian but only that he had not been recognized) of some two-and-a-half years, the Hands of the Faith, and particularly the so-called Custodian Hands of the Faith at the World Center (which included the widow of Shoghi Effendi ), could not help but entrench themselves further in their new-found power and in the authority that they exercised over the believers throughout the World. The Bahá'í world looked to this center of authority in the Holy Land as a substitute for the Guardianship, and the Bahá'ís became gradually conditioned to this sad state of affairs. Only here and there would the voice of a courageous and steadfast soul, whose faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh had remained undimmed be heard declaring his conviction that somehow the Guardianship of the Faith would be restored. The Hands of the Faith endeavored to still such voices by promulgating their own insidious and pernicious doctrine that Shoghi Effendi remained "The Guardian of the Faith" although in the other world and in some mystical way continued to guide our affairs from that world. This doctrine is still promulgated today. One has only to read, for example, Balyuzi's book on the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the latest edition of which was published in 1973, to find numerous references to "The Guardian of the Faith" as though he was the only Guardian that the Faith was ever meant to have. What deception! (A discerning enquirer might well ask the proponents of such a doctrine why the guidance of Shoghi Effendi from the other world would be needed when both the "Lord of the Covenant" Bahá'u'lláh, and the "Center of the Covenant'' , 'Abdu'l-Bahá, are both in that world).
Was there no one to stand up against these pernicious doctrines and champion the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and defend the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in this period of spiritual darkness that now engulfed the Bahá'í world? Yes, unbeknownst to us at the time, God had raised up such a person at the World Center of the Faith itself, who would fearlessly, singly and alone stand against this mighty tide of violation that ominously threatened to sweep the entire Bahá'í world into its vortex and destroy the true Faith of God. This person was none other than the as yet unrecognized second Guardian of the Faith, the President of the International Bahá'í Council, Charles Mason Remey, and one of the nine who had been selected by his fellow-Hands (having been appointed a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi in the first contingent appointed in 1951) to serve as the so-called Custodian Hands at the World Center of the Faith in the Holy Land. lt was only some years later that those of us who were privileged and open-minded enough to read his published works, entitled "Daily Observations of the Bahá'í Faith made to the Hands of the Faith in the Holy Land" (in four volumes), "The Question of the Guardianship of the Baháí Faith" and his "Appeals made to the Hands of the Faith", came to learn of the valiant spiritual battle that he had waged during this period with his fellow-Hands in Haifa and as well with the other Hands during their annual conclaves. His repeated appeals and efforts to convince them that their abandonment of the Guardianship of the Faith and the course of action upon which they had embarked was nothing less than a flagrant repudiation of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and therefore a violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh had, alas, proved of no avail, and his arguments had fallen upon deaf ears. So feeble, indeed, had their faith become in this Covenant and so profound the depths of their own self deception that they were unable to realize the degree or enormity of their violation of this Covenant or the perfidy of which they were guilty in their shameful perversion and betrayal of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Nor were they able to comprehend the danger to which they had exposed the continued life of the Faith through the deception they had practiced upon the believers in promulgating fallacious and heretical doctrines completely opposed to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and at such variance with all that the first Guardian of the Faith had written concerning the Covenant and the Guardianship ( notwithstanding their professed loyalty to him ). It was towards the close of this two and a half year period that Charles Mason Remey left Haifa, refusing any longer to be a party, as one of the "Custodian" Hands, to the heretical doctrines they were espousing which he considered nothing less than clear violation of the Covenant. He had been patiently forbearing with them up to this time, not exposing this violation in his contacts with the believers outside the Hands, in the hope that his efforts to restore the faith of these Hands in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá might prove fruitful, and that they would then be induced to seek out the living Guardian of the Faith before their faithlessness had become evident to the believers at large. He had already, sometime previously, declined to continue to sign communications issued by the custodian Hands to the Bahai world under the closing phrase: "In the service of the beloved Guardian" for, as he had repeatedly endeavored to make them understand, the station of the Guardianship, according to the Will and Testament, is a station confined to this world and not a station that had been taken by Shoghi Effendi to the world beyond. For if we understand the Will and Testament aright, the mantle of Guardianship which the Guardian wears while he occupies this office in this world is one which he must inevitably relinquish and transfer to the shoulders of his successor. Two passages of the many passages that might be chosen from the "Daily Observations" of Charles Mason Remey are quoted below. These should suffice for one to gain appreciation and an insight into the flagrant violation of the Covenant that he perceived around him and so dominated the Hands of the Cause at the World Center of the Faith, and the lonely position he found himself in as the only one either there, or in the Baháí world at large, that was openly supporting the continuity of the Guardianship.
28 February 1959, p.m.
"In the meeting of us Custodians this afternoon the great importance of teaching the message of the Cause the world around was discussed and urged at some length during which I ran over in my mind the question that I have on several occasions brought up to the Hands'What are we to teach now that we have no Guardian?'
"Today I did not put this question because it only irritates and annoys these friends when I speak to this point; therefore I sat in silencean unhappy silence for me, for I see the Hands of the Faith devoting great energy and resources in putting forth a teaching program that so lacks a center and a heart and a direction that if supplied now would bring forth a result that is impossible under this present campaignaimless and pointless without direction that it is.
"In the days of the Báb all confirmations came to those who were teaching that He was the Bábthe Door and then the first point of this latter day revelation of God to the world.
"In the days of Bahá'u'lláh confirmation came to those who taught that the Promised One was upon earthhere in the flesh with mankind.
"In the days of the Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá confirmation came to those who were proclaiming that Hethe Center of the Covenantwas directing the Cause. All who turned to Him were confirmed and the Cause flourished.
"In the days of the first Guardian of the Faiththe beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendiall who turned to him and obeyed him, according to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, were confirmed and blessed and under his guidance the Cause was organized and spread the world around and according to the divine plan the succeeding Guardians of the Faith were to be commanders of the Faith on through the ages to come each in turn carrying on the works of those who preceded them confirmations and progress under each Guardian coming to those and to those only who were following him the living Guardian of the Faith in their own days. Thus the Cause was to be led onward from victory to victory through the ages to comesuch was and is yet to be the source of guidance to mankind when the Cause is back again in working order when it is out of this interregnum of this present substitution of a 'New Baháí Era' as explained by that Manifesto gotten out from Chicago by the Hands in America in collaboration with the NSA (National Spiritual Assembly) of the U.S.A. in which it was definitely stated that there would be no further Guardianship but (and) the Administration of the Will and Testament of the Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá was definitely ended forever.7
"Such was the BaháiATTITUDE of these friends in Chicago and such is the present attitude of the Hands of the Faith as testified to by the Proclamation and the communications issued by them to the Bahá'í world up until this present time."
4 March 1959
"I need not even mention in detail any of the points of contest between these Hands that developed at this morning's sessionthese were many and varied but they all stemmed from the fact that they all refuse to even consider a second Guardian and are bent upon thinking that the beloved Guardian now in the world beyond is still directing (spiritually of course) the work of the Hands in this world. They insist that if we but follow the commands of the beloved Guardian and love one another sufficiently all will be well with this present plan of the nine Custodian Hands in command of the Cause. Upon this principle the Hands stand firmly maintaining that a Guardian to follow the beloved Guardian (Shoghi Effendi) shall not be anticipated or looked forward to. To be sure, this has not been announced to the Bahá'í world in so many words; nevertheless it is the attitude and the unspoken and unmentioned conviction of the majority of the Hands of the Faith that came out in the First Bahjí Conclave and ever since has been closely adhered to although not mentioned in any of the messages of the Hands to the Bahá'í public.
"This unspoken stand of the Hands that is now unspoken but that is evident in their attitude that there shall never be another Guardian is the source of our present dilemma for which there is no cure other than for this all to change for us Hands of the Faith to discover the Second Guardian of the Faith and by this means get the workings of the Cause back upon the right track of the Administration of the Faith when we will have a commander and a guide to lead us onto victory continuing the methods and the policies as laid down and demonstrated by our beloved now departed Guardian."
After his departure from Haifa, Mason Remey (as he preferred to be called) addressed three stirring appeals to the Hands of the Faith in his attempt to open their eyes to their violation of the Covenant and their repudiation of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. These appeals were addressed to them as the President of the International Bahá'í Council. His last appeal issued to them in April 1960 carried the following inscription on its cover page: "A Last Appeal to the Hands of the Faith exhorting them to abandon their program for 1963 and that they seek to find the second Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith and that they uphold the Will and Testament of the Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the Administration of the Faith as established by the beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi that at present is under a cloud of violation that threatens the fulfilment of its mission to mankind." The introductory statement to this appeal contained the following highly significant statement: "The assertions that I present in this last appeal to the Hands of the Baháí Faith are of the same general nature and character as those of the first appeal so this last appeal may be considered as a continuation of the first appeal added to which is emphasized the importance that the Hands of the Faith should give to preparing themselves to recognize and to accept the Second Guardian of the Faith when they realize that the beloved Guardian actually made this appointment himself some time before his death in escrow to take effect at his death. Thus the chair of Guardianship has never been vacant but only hidden from the world to be recognized by the believers as some may or will do now at almost any time; then he will be known to the Bahá'í world! He the successor of the beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi! He the Second Guardian of the Baháí Faith!" (Underlining has been added.)
Space available in this paper does not permit a fuller representation of these writings. However, the sincere scholar of the Faith will be unsatisfied until he has read for himself the entire content of these Appeals of the Hands of the Cause as well as Mason Remey's "Daily Observations". Having done so, he cannot but fail to be filled with wonderment and admiration for his indomitable faith and sense the deep inner suffering which he had felt in the face of such a flagrant violation by those whose highest duty and obligation it was to protect and defend the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and its sacred "Child"the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. What was there left for him to do now that the Hands of the Faith had turned a deaf ear to all of his exhortations and entreaties? Had he not been overly patient and for bearing long enough? The Faith could not be permitted to continue any longer under this cloud of violation and remain alive. The time for action to save the Faith was at hand!
Proclamation of the Second Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith
The period of Ridván (Bahá'í Era 117), 21 April - 2 May 1960, dawned upon the Bahá'í world, when suddenly and unexpectedly it was flooded with the dazzling rays of the second Guardian's Proclamation addressed initially to the Baháís assembled at their annual convention held at Wilmette, Illinois during the Ridván period. With what great joy this Proclamation was received by those believers who during these past uncertain years, since the passing of Shoghi Effendi, had never lost faith in the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh or in the immortality and immutability of its sacred off-spring the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
A few excerpts quoted in these pages of this momentous Proclamation should serve to demonstrate the weight and impact of its message to the believers:
"I as the President of the International Council was one of those things that every Bahá'í knows but that just never happened to be talked about nor even mentioned in any of the conclaves or in the conferences of the Hands of the Faith; therefore as this subject was never mentioned I having promised the Hands never to divulge any of their discussions proceedings or decisions am not breaking faith with them now by explaining to the believers about this subject of my Presidentship of the International Council a subject that was never even mentioned nor brought up for discussion by the Hands of the Faith in any conference that I ever attended or know anything about.
"The Hands of the Faith can only function as protectors of the Faith when they are serving under the direction following the commands of the infallible Guardian of the Faith. They have no authority vested in themselves as Hands of the Faith to act in their own capacity nor in any other capacity. save under the direction of the living Guardian of the Faith
"The beloved Guardian chose me to be the President of the Bahá'í International Council that is according to his explanation the President of the Embryonic Universal House of Justice. When this august body becomes the Universal House of Justice if such being during my lifetime I will then be the President of the First Universal House of Justice of the Bahá'í Dispensation. [Presidency of the Universal House of Justice and Guardianship are synonymous terms according to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, that is, the President of this body and the Guardian are one and the same person.]
"Therefore inasmuch as the beloved Guardian in his infallibility has thus placed me in command of the Faith to protect and to guard the Faith I can do nothing but assume my place that he has given me with all of the responsibilities the perquisites and emoluments that go with this position therefore by his infallible orders I now alone after him command the Cause and guard its integrity.
"The delay until now of my calling the attention of the believers to the provisions for the protection and guarding of the Cause made some years ago by our beloved Guardian when he appointed me to be the President of the Bahá'í International Council has given the Hands of the Faith and the believers of the Faith ample time to discover for themselves, had that been possible for them to have discovered my unique position in the Faith. But until now no one other than I has discovered that such authority was vested in me by our beloved Guardian. To the moment of my sending out into the Bahá'í world of this proclamation I have taken no one into this confidenceI have stood single and alone in all the world guarding the Faith.
"That I was to occupy this august position in the Bahá'í Faith that the beloved Guardian has chosen me to occupy, I have definitely known for the past twelve years more or less, without ever mentioning it to anyone until very recently when privately and in secret, I made this declaration to the Hands of the Faith in the Holy Land. In this proclamation statement to you I am now declaring my position of command in the Cause to the believers here in America , The Cradle of the Administration of the Bahá'í Faith and through this convention to all the Bahá'í world.
"I have delayed as long as I dare before issuing this command to the
Baháí worldI hoping that the Hands of the Faith would see for themselves
that the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was being violated and that they would of
themselves abandon their stand . . .
"The line of the Guardianship of the Bahá'í Faith is unbroken for I have been the Guardian of the Faith since the death of the beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi." 8
Reaction of the Hands and the Bahá'í world to the Proclamation of the Second Guardian.
To any unbiased and open-minded believer, the proof that Mason Remey had furnished in his Proclamation of his accession to the Guardianship upon the death of Shoghi Effendi was as clear as the sun in the sky. In fact, such a believer could not fail but be amazed that he had not perceived this fact for himself and realized the potentiality with which Mason Remey's Presidency of the Council had been invested. How quickly had the believers lost sight of the preeminent position of the International Bahá'í Council as the embryonic Universal House of Justice whose appointed embryonic head could be none other than the second Guardian of the Faith. Had the Hands of the Faith not been in such a head-long rush under the instigation of the Persian Hands and laboring under a misinterpretation of the Will and Testament to declare the Guardianship of the Faith forever ended; had they not been led astray and deluded by the completely false interpretation they had placed upon the appellation that Shoghi Effendi had bestowed upon them of "Chief Stewards" and construed this title to give them authority to usurp leadership of the Faith; had they taken the time to carefully review the acts and study the writings of Shoghi Effendi, and once again review the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá concerning the Guardianship; had they meditated and reflected upon all these; had their faith in the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh remained unshakeable and unwavering, and had they with assured and yearning hearts searched for the second Guardian of the Faith, would they not have found him there in their midst all the time? What now would be the reaction of these Hands who had by this time become fully entrenched in their self-appointed authority and power?
In order to better understand the reaction of the Bahá'í world to this historic and momentous Proclamation, the enquirer unfamiliar with the Bahá'í Administrative system at the national and local levels should be apprised of the situation when this Proclamation was received by the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, and also take cognizance of certain, critical limitations that the second Guardian labored under in endeavoring to inform the Bahá'í world of his Proclamation. As explained in his Proclamation, Mason Remey stood singly and alone, and in sending his Proclamation to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States he had depended on that body to disseminate it to the rest of the Bahá'í world. Mason Remey, himself, had no secretarial staff or the means to accomplish such a task himself. It, therefore, fell to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States to publish this document and distribute it to its sister National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world which would in turn, under normal circumstances, translate it into the respective languages of the countries over which they exercised jurisdiction and disseminate it to the local Spiritual Assemblies and believers in these countries. This never happened. The Chairman and Secretary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States were both Hands of the Cause. Their minds were already made up. They and their fellow-members rejected Mason Remey's Proclamation out of hand. The remaining Hands in Haifa forthwith dispatched a highly derogatory and denunciatory message to the Bahá'ís throughout the world (who, with the exception of a handful, had not even seen or heard of the Proclamation, much less read it at the time their denunciatory cable was received) labelling Mason Remey an impostor. As the domination and control that these Hands had come to exercise over the Bahá'ís throughout the world was now complete, this act on the part of the Hands assured that the Proclamation would never be read, much less be considered, studied and meditated upon by the great mass of the believers so that they might determine for themselves the validity of Mason Remey's claim to the Guardianship. Therefore, as paradoxical as it may seem, Mason Remey found arrayed against him the concerted opposition, power and influence of the Hands of the Cause, and the National and Local Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í World with the single exception of the National Spiritual Assembly of France, which had received a copy of the Proclamation, accepted Mason Remey as the second Guardian and then arose with alacrity to translate this Proclamation into French and disseminate it to the believers throughout France. A few copies of Mason Remey's Proclamation found their way into other hands, but the mass of believers throughout the world were never given an opportunity to read the Proclamation in their respective languages and judge for themselves the validity of the second Guardian's claims (nor, indeed, have they read it to this day).
Thus was this great violation foisted upon the world and the mass of believers turned away from the second Guardian by the machinations, denunciation and opposition of the Hands of the Faith. The three Encyclical letters issued to the Bahá'í World soon after his Proclamation by the second Guardian suffered a similar fate and were only read by a handful of those who had already embraced his Guardianship (a few others as time went on had this opportunity). Space available in this work will permit quotation of but the few excerpts below:
First Encyclical Letter:
"All Bahá'ís understand that the Guardian of the Faith is to be the President of the Universal House of Justice and that the Universal House of Justice cannot exist without co-existence of the Guardianship. He who is President of the Universal House of Justice is the Guardian of the Faith for he who is the Guardian of the Faith is President of the Universal House of Justice. These two offices are one and the same. Therefore when the Beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi appointed me President of the Baháí International Council that he explained was the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice that was the Embryonic Universal House of Justice that would eventually develop into the Universal House of Justice. I or one of my successors in Guardianship would be President of this divinely instituted infallible body the Universal House of Justice; therefore the Guardianship of the Faith and the Presidency of the Universal House of Justice are one and the same position in the Faith."
Second Encyclical Letter:
"Shoghi Effendi's pronouncement first appointed me President of the International Council, saying that this was his first step toward the establishment of the Universal House of Justice. His next explanation was that the Bahá'í International Council under my Presidency, was the embryonic Universal House of Justice that would develop into the Universal House of Justice. Consequently, when this embryonic House of Justice becomes the fully developed House of Justice, I, Mason Remey, would find myself to be the President of the full functioning Universal House of Justice of the Bahá'í world.
"As explained in the Will and Testament, the Guardian of the Faith is to be the President of the Universal House of Justice; therefore, he who is President of the Universal House of Justice can be none other personage than the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith.
"This is indeed a clear and understandable statement of my appointment by the beloved Guardian Shoghi Effendi, as the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith; for as the President of the Universal House of Justice is the Guardian of the Faith, so this same President of this same living embryonic Universal House of Justice can be none other than the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith.
"Thus did Shoghi Effendi indicate to the Bahá'í world that I, Mason Remey, was to be his successor in the Guardianship of the Faith!
"When the Hands of the Faith in the Holy Land come out, as they are doing in these days, condemning me for telling the Bahá'ís that I am their Guardian, they are in reality condemning and violating the beloved Guardian of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi himself. It was he who made the pronouncement: President of the embryonic Universal House of Justice that would develop into the Universal House of Justicethis embryonic Universal House of Justice in reality actually being The Universal House of Justice that could only exist with The Guardian of the Faith as its President, which is no other person that I, Mason Remey, Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, thus appointed to this supreme position in the Cause by The First Guardian of the Faith during his lifetime and to take office as Second Guardian of the Faith upon his (Shoghi Effendi's) death; all is according to the Will and Testament of The Blessed Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
"What manner of appointment of the Second Guardian of the Faith could be more clear and understandable than this?
"Therefore, when the Hands of the Faith condemn me for telling the Bahá'í world of this appointment and accuse me of attempting to usurp the Guardianship of the Faith, they are in reality denying that which The Beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi himself, wrought: for it was he who thus appointed me his successor. It was all accomplished by him. I have never made any claim at all for myself. According to the Will and Testament, such was not my role as The Second Guardian of the Faith to perform.
"Now why Shoghi Effendi made my appointment of Guardianship in the particular way in which he did, I do not know. Nor is it admissible or permissible for any Bahá'í to inquire about or attempt to understand, because none of the Faith would question this which was done by the Beloved Guardian of the Faith.
"Therefore, the fact that the Hands of the Faith now do question and condemn me for announcing my Guardianship to the Bahá'í world, this very action of theirs is in violation to that which The Beloved Guardian did and performed thus showing and clearly demonstrating to all the Bahá'í world their own violation as the Hands of the Faith when they condemn the action of the Beloved Guardian and seek to nullify that which he performed."
In the face of this solid front of opposition instigated by the Hands and blindly followed by the believers is there little wonder that most of the Bahá'ís not only failed to recognize the second Guardian but rejected him on the word of the Hands alone without so much as a hearing? Only a mere handful of intrepid, stalwart and independently-minded believers who had never forsaken their faith in the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh were undeterred by the denunciation and the calumnies heaped upon Mason Remey, investigated dispassionately his claims, recognized the clear and irrefutable logic of his arguments and with grateful hearts warmly embraced his Guardianship. These believers rallied to his support and defense and immediately arose to combat the massive violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh whose ill-winds had so quickly enveloped the mass of their fellow-believers. How sad it was for them to find that the very concept of fealty to that Covenant had become so warped and perverted in the minds of these believers, strange as it may seem, that loyalty to the Hands had for them become synonymous with loyalty and faithfulness to the Covenant (whereas any student of the Faith knows that loyalty and faithfulness to the Covenant according to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá are attributes solely of those who remain loyal to the "Center of the Cause"the living Guardian of the Faith). The spiritual battle to which these valiant warriors now dedicated their lives would indeed be a long and arduous one waged against seemingly insurmountable odds. But they hurled themselves unflinchingly and unwaveringly into the fray, meeting with initial successes only to be followed by reverses and setbacks as some weakened in their resolve, fell prey to various tests and slipped back into violation or, in some cases, even apostasized their Faith. But a faithful and heroic band fought on undaunted and undismayed, never losing their faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant and its invincibility over the overwhelming forces of opposition arrayed against it. As this account is being written we find this faithful band of champions still in the fray under the banner of the third Guardian of the Faith, waging their battle, with undiminished intensity and fortitude, assured and confident of the ultimate success of their efforts on this spiritual battlefield for the victory of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh and its sacred, immortal and divinely conceived Childthe Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
Thus ends this historical summary of the inception of the greatest violation of the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh that the Faith has ever known. Future scholars and historians of the Faith and much abler pens than mine will assuredly disclose more fully and adequately than has been recorded in this work the lurid details of this sad chapter in the history of our Faith. They will also assuredly record that this massive violation of the Covenant never completely halted but only temporarily arrested the triumphant march of this infant Faith of God and World Order of Bahá'u'lláh onwards towards their glorious destiny and promise.
30 August 1974
Copy of a letter written by Shoghi Effendi through his secretary to an individual believer, published in the Bahá'í News of the United States, June 1950.
"He feels that if .... ponders more deeply about the fundamentals of Divine Revelation she will also come to understand the Guardianship. Once the mind and heart have grasped the fact that God guides men through a Mouthpiece a human being a Prophet infallible and unerring it is only a logical projection of this acceptance to also accept the station of 'Abdu'l Bahá and the Guardians. The Guardians are the evidence of the maturity of mankind in the sense that at long last men have progressed to the point of having one world management for human affairs. In the spiritual realm they have also reached the point where God could leave in human hands (i.e. the Guardians') guided directly by the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh as the Master states in His Will the affairs of His Faith for this Dispensation. This is what is meant by 'this is the day which will not be followed by the night'. In this Dispensation divine guidance flows on to us in this world after the Prophet's ascension through first the Master and then the Guardians. If a person can accept Bahá'u'lláh's function it should not present any difficulty to them to also accept what He has ordained in a divinely guided individual in matters pertaining to the Faith."FOOTNOTES:
1.Significance of the term "embryonic" as applied to the International Bahá'í Council: In considering the significance of the term "embryonic" as applied to the International Bahá'í Council in its relationship to the Universal House of Justice. of which it was the embryo, it would prove helpful to quote words taken from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Bahá concerning the embryo as applied to the human species and draw a parallel comparison with the projected development of the International Bahá'í Council as outlined and projected by Shoghi Effendi in his messages to the Bahá'í World.
In the Words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá referring to the human embryo: "...the embryo passes through different states .... the embryo ... in the womb of the mother was at first in a strange form; then this body [with its originally conceived head] passes from shape to shape from state to state from form to form until it appears in utmost beauty and perfection. But even when in the womb . . . his species and essence undergo no change."
Shoghi Effendi in proclaiming the formation of the first International Bahá'í Council traced four stages or states in the projected development of this "first embryonic International Institution", namely the Council, the "officially recognized Baháí Court", "its transformation into a duly elected body" and "its efflorescence into the Universal House of Justice." The President or embryonic head of this embryonic body appointed by Shoghi Effendi was Charles Mason Remey. This head as an essential and integral organ of this embryonic creation would certainly remain with this body as long as it survived. The embryo in the womb of the mother does not acquire its head upon birth for it has been there since the moment of conception. Nor is this head severed from the body upon its birth and replaced with another. Therefore, the embryonic head is admittedly irremovable and irreplaceable from the body of which it is a part. Therefore, is it not clear that so long as Mason Remey lived he was the appointed irremovable head or President of the embryonic Universal House of Justice? And further; the Council being the embryo of the Universal House of Justice was not a separate body apart from this Institution but, in fact, the Universal House of Justice whose "sacred head" and "distinguished member for life" according to the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá is none other than the Guardian of the Faith. It was for this reason that Shoghi Effendi never instructed Mason Remey to convene the Council into a functioning body during his lifetime (as explained by Mason Remey in his writings) but assigned tasks only to individual members. For had Shoghi Effendi activated this Council as a functioning body he would have had to first depose Mason Remey as its President because he, the Guardian of the Faith, would have had to automatically assume the Presidency.
2.At the time that Shoghi Effendis message of 8 March 1952 was written, appointing a liaison between himself and the International Baháí Council, it certainly contained an element of mystery to anyone giving any thought to this statement. Why was such a liaison necessary, for wasnt Shoghi Effendi right there with the Council members every day? They even sat down together almost daily for the evening meal. Couldnt he transmit his instructions to individual members himself, admitting that sometimes it might be more convenient to transmit them through his wife? How about the President of the Council? Why didnt he use him for this purpose, etc.? These and perhaps others flooded the mind.
Let us in considering this matter reflect once more on the significance of the term embryonic as applied to the International Baháí Council. As outlined in Note 1, once this Council was activated as a functioning body only the Guardian of the Faith could serve as its President for, under the terms of the Will and Testament of Abdul-Baha, only the Guardian can serve as the permanent head of the Universal House of Justice of which the Council was its embryo.
Therefore, one can perceive that in order for Shoghi Effendi to avoid any act that might be considered as taking charge or presiding over the Council, he established what one might consider as an umbilical cord relationship between himself and this embryonic creationthe Councilby employing Rúhíyyih Khánum, his wife, in this role as the chosen liaison officer.Thus he had no direct relationship with the Council.
3.ln the light of what has already been written in Notes 1 and 2 concerning the functioning of the International Bahá'í Council, it is hardly necessary to point out the distinction between the two embryonic international institutions of the Faith so recently appointed by Shoghi Effendi in their relationship to him. His relationship to the Council members was indirect and through the intermediary of his appointed liaison officer. The Council was not activated and did not function as a body under its appointed President. In contrast, the Hands of the Cause in accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament worked directly under the supervision of the Guardian of the Faith.
5.For the reader unfamiliar with the language of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá concerning the manner in which the Guardian of the Faith must appoint his successor, the following extracts from this Document are quoted below. (Underlinings have been added for emphasis.)
"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 . He that is appointed must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things, must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God, knowledge, wisdom and learning. Thus, should the first-born of the guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the words: The child is the secret essence of its sire, that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he,(the guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch, to succeed him."
Let us renew the essential points of the above passage and consider certain observations.
Only the living Guardian can appoint his successor. This appointment must be made in his own lifetime. (One may ask what other time could he make it?) He certainly could not write a Will and Testament or appoint a successor during someone else's lifetime. Therefore, what is the significance of this phrase: "in his own lifetime"? When this phrase is conjoined with the two phrases that immediately follow, namely: " him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his after his passing " (in other words, if such differences were to arise they could be dealt with during his lifetime, such a violation of the Covenant) the intent becomes very clear. That is, the living Guardian must make known to the believers the identity of his successor while he is still living, not after he has left this world such as would be the case if a testamentary document were the instrument of appointment. With this understanding one can then make sense of the provision found in the Will and Testament that confers authority on the body of nine Hands elected from their number to serve the Guardian at the world Center to give their assent to the successor appointed by the Guardian. The Will and Testament requires the Hands of the Cause to "elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the Guardian of the Cause of God", a requirement that incidentally had not been implemented as of Shoghi Effendi's death. (In the embryonic stage of development of the Hands, Shoghi Effendi had only appointed five Hands to work directly with him at the World Center just as he had appointed the Council initially, although it was to become an elected body in the fullness of time). The Will goes on to say that these nine Hands, "whether unanimously or by a majority vote, must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor. This assent must be given in such wise as the assenting and dissenting voices may not be distinguished (i.e. secret ballot)." Putting aside the fact that this Institution in the developing stages of the embryonic World Order of Bahá'u'lláh had not as yet come into existence, let us consider this provision of the Will in conjunction with the requirement for the Guardian to appoint his successor "in his own lifetime", for it lends support to our understanding that the appointment must not only be made but be known during the Guardian's lifetime. If, on the contrary, the use of a Will and Testament to make this appointment was intended which would be opened and the appointment revealed only after the passing of the Guardian, what would happen in the event that the body of nine Hands voted not "to give their assent" to the Guardian's choice? The Guardian would no longer be with us to make known his wishes and the Faith would be then left without a Guardian. No, it again is obvious that this act on the part of the nine elected Hands must take place while the Guardian is still living so that any failure of these Hands to give their assent can then be dealt with. (For the benefit of the enquirer, Shoghi Effendi has explained in his Writings that when this proviso is considered together with the other provisions of the Will, it is not meant to imply that the nine Hands have been granted a veto authority over the Guardian's appointment of a successor. There is another wisdom in this proviso that has been treated in other works of the writer.)
It is clearly understood from the Will and Testament that the first-born of the Guardian will normally inherit the Guardianship if he satisfies the spiritual prerequisites enumerated in this Document. It is this requirement that the Persian Hands particularly were obsessed with, claiming that it was the intent of the Will that only someone descended from the blood line of Bahá'u'lláh could inherit the Guardianship; that is, in this instance the son of Shoghi Effendi (who, incidentally, was not the son, but grandson of 'Abdu'l-Bahá). As Shoghi Effendi had no son to inherit the Guardianship coupled with the lack of a Will and Testament which, in their minds as well as in the minds of the other Hands of the Cause, was essential, they forthwith (in the first consultative day of the first Bahji Conclave) espoused their doctrine of "Bada" (already familiar to those of Islamic background as it Is found in the Koran) which meant that God had changed His plan with respect to the Guardianship (thus, in effect, destroying the entire structure of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh). These Hands and those who followed their lead failed altogether to even consider the alternative provision contained in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá that not only permits but makes it mandatory for him to "choose another branch to succeed him." Why, one might ask, was this alternative choice given the Guardians in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá if it were not meant to apply to the very situation in which Shoghi Effendi had found himself, that is, without a son to inherit the Guardianship? This alternative provision of the Will and Testament of the Master, notwithstanding specious arguments made by the Hands and others to the contrary, does not stipulate that the Guardian exercising his appointive right under its provision must choose someone from the blood line of Bahá'u'lláh or, as some Bahá'ís would contend, that this alternate choice of the Guardian's successor must be of a particular nationality (Persian, for example), must be capable of writing and reading Arabic or Persian, or be drawn from one of the Hands of the Cause (although, in the case under consideration, he was), and other requirements imposed by their imaginations. No, the Guardian is completely unfettered in making this choice according to the guidance that is given him from on High.
For the sake of discussion let us return to the doctrine of "Bada" espoused so readily by the Hands of the Faith and let us agree with them that the provision of the Will and Testament pertaining to a son of Shoghi Effendi inheriting the Guardianship has gone "Bada", and as Shoghi Effendi was unable to appoint any relative from the blood line of Bahá'u'lláh to succeed him as they had all become Covenant Breakers, this possibility had been closed to him. But this fact, however, does not nullify the free choice bestowed upon the Guardian by the Will in the alternative procedure that is open to him to choose such other Bahá'ís as meets the spiritual prerequisites of this Document to be his rightful successor. No, Heaven forbid! The divinely conceived Masterpiece of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, His "greatest legacy to posterity", the "Child of the Covenant", the "Charter of the World Order of Bahaullah" remained a living and immortal organism destined to reveal all of Its potentialities, fulfill its God-given destiny and establish the Kingdom of God on earth as it is in Heaven.
As outlined elsewhere in this paper, Shoghi Effendi fully carried out his mandate under the terms of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
"Twenty six of the twenty-seven Hands of the Faith assembled in conclave in the great pillared hall of the Mansion of Bahji in the early afternoon, after the reading of prayers, read the report of those of us who had searched in the Guardian's rooms and found no will and testament among his paperssuch in a few words was our report. Upon Rúhiyyíh Khánum's insistence no minutes or written records were kept of the proceedings of the conclave. To me this seemed unwise; I felt that a record should be kept of this most important meeting of the Hands of the Faith but as no one made any objection to this procedure, and as I myself was quite conditioned through my years of residence in Haifa [Shoghi Effendi having summoned him to move to and make Haifa his permanent home as long ago as 1951] to accept and to follow without question everything that Rúhíyyih Khánum told us to doI therefore refrained from saying anything about this subject. No one objected to her insistence in this matter so no records were taken. There followed as I remember some talk upon the part of a number of our members about inconsequential things and then the meeting was adjourned until the following morning.
"Several of us including myself returned to Haifa for the night while the rest consisting of all of the Persian Hands remained the night at Bahji where we who had gone to Haifa for the night met with them on the following morning. Following prayers and some mention of the Guardianship to the effect that no will and testament had been found in the safe or in the desk of Shoghi Effendi, Dr. Muhajir, the youngest of the Persian Hands sprang to his feet proposing that the Will and Testament of the Master 'Abdu'l-Bahá be pronounced "BADAH" and that the Guardianship be ended forever and closed forever. This was immediately seconded and carried enthusiastically and supported by all the Persian Hands who spoke to the point supporting putting aside for a thousand years (until the coming of the next Manifestation) the institution of the Guardianshipallowing that this next coming Manifestation might then possibly see fit to reestablish the Guardianship if He thought best in a thousand years from this present datebut as far as this Dispensation was concerned that there should be no more Guardianship."
"Each of the Persian Hands spoke supporting this motioneach repeating practically verbatim the same argument so one could understand at first thought that they had talked it up and decided it all beforehand. This entire matter was so quickly done and its passage pressed and accomplished so quickly that it was very apparent that at some time during those night hours these Persian Hands at Bahji had consulted together and made a covenant amongst themselves and had made this arrangement to pronounce the Guardianship BADAH and thus railroad the matter through and carry the day. Furthermore, Rúhíyyih Khánum concurred with this majority so their point was carried by the majority."
7.In April 1958, some five months after the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the three Hands of the Cause residing in America together with the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States on their own initiative and without consulting the Hands in Haifa published a four page document which was distributed throughout the world to National and Local Spiritual Assemblies. Why the Hands in America and the National Spiritual Assembly of that country should have found it necessary to publish this document is not known. It would appear that they may have considered that the Proclamation that had been issued by all of the Hands following their Bahji Conclave had not gone far enough in putting to rest any hopes that the Bahá'ís might have had for the continuance of the Guardianship. For the wording of the Proclamation had been such as to permit some believers to hold the hope that perhaps the sans-Guardian Universal House of Justice that the Hands were proposing to establish in 1963 (incidentally, by-passing completely the two intermediary stages that Shoghi Effendi had outlined for the development of the International Bahá'í Council before its emergence as the Universal House of Justice) would somehow find a way to the reestablishment of the Guardianship (admittedly a false hope in the light of the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá which confers authority solely on the Guardian to appoint his successor.)
Two extracts from this pernicious document which ultimately gained such notoriety as to be labelled the "Chicago Manifesto" will suffice to reveal how far its authors had strayed from loyalty to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the degree of self-delusion in which the Hands had become immersed:
"The Proclamation prepared by the Hands of the Cause assembled in the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh adopted and promulgated in their capacity of 'Chief Stewards of the Embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh, a station conferred upon the Hands by the Guardian in his last message to the Bahá'í worlda message written only a few weeks before his death. It is known from the physicians' examination after the Guardian's passing that his death was not caused by disease but by the complete exhaustion incurred during the unremitting labors of his thirty-six years of sacrifice to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. This particular responsibility was therefore assigned to the Hands in the Guardian's awareness of his condition in order to create an international Bahá'í authority [what about the International Bahá'í Council?] qualified to act after his own passing. The very phrase Chief Stewards of the Embryonic World Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh' establishes this fact." (In other words, what they are saying is that Shoghi Effendi had invested the Hands with an authority outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá.)
Note: The statement to the effect that Shoghi Effendi did not die from a disease is at variance with the message dispatched by Rúhíyyih Khánum to the world (published in Bahá'í News of the United States, December 1957) which contained these words: "Shoghi Effendi beloved all hearts . . . passed away suddenly heart attack in sleep following asiatic flu"and seems to have been calculatingly designed to leave the impression that Shoghi Effendi was so certain of his imminent death that he, in effect, by his use of the term "Chief Stewards" in his last message to the Bahá'í world had endowed them with the authority, powers and prerogatives that he, as the Guardian alone possessed.
"The Proclamation, likewise, in appointing [not electing] nine of their number to serve at the World Center, revealed obedience to a definite provision of the Master's Testament."
Note: There is only one provision of the Will and Testament to which they must be referring and this act on their part is not in conformance with it and. in fact, makes no sense, in the absence of a Guardian. This provision reads: "The Hands of the cause of God must elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the Guardian of the cause of God."
"No Bahá'í text declares that the House of Justice cannot be elected without a Guardian. [Using this kind of logic, they could equally say that there is no Bahá'í text saying, in so many words, that the Bahá'í Faith cannot exist without a Guardian]. The House, as an independent institution, is assured of Divine Guidance in acting upon matters Iying within its own special province."
Note: Can the Universal House of Justice be considered as a whole and complete Institution without Its "sacred head and the distinguished member for life"the Guardian? Certainly, anyone who reflects upon it will realize that the interpretive authority of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh with which the Guardian of the Faith is alone invested brings to this body a source of divine guidance which would be completely lacking in his absence. That is why Shoghi Effendi has explained in his work "The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh" that while the Guardian "cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow-members" of the 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 Bahaullahs revealed utterances." And, if the Guardian were to "insist upon a reconsideration" of an enactment, would his fellow-members ever dream of trying to overrule him in the light of the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá which enjoin upon these members "obedience submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the cause of God"? It is also pertinent to note that the Will and Testament states: "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."
When this Manifesto came to the attention of the Hands in Haifa, Mason Remey in his "Daily Observations" reports that they were greatly disturbed, not because they disagreed with its contents but only because it revealed prematurely to the Bahá'í world what the attitude and convictions of all of the Hands were (except his own) with respect to the Guardianship. They felt that the Bahá'ís were not ready yet to accept with such finality the termination of the Guardianship. They, therefore, asked the American Hands and the National Assembly of the United States to endeavor to withdraw from circulation as many copies as possible of this publication.
8.The enquirer may understandably ask why Shoghi Effendi did not make it clearer to the believers throughout the world that his appointment of Charles Mason Remey as the President of the International Bahá'í Council the embryonic Universal House of Justiceconstituted his appointment of a successor. No one can say with certainty what was in Shoghi Effendi's mind, but let us consider the fact that at the time that Mason Remey was appointed to the Presidency of the Council he was already a man of 77 Years of age and more than 20 years senior to Shoghi Effendi. Would any Bahá'í then have believed that Mason Remey would outlive Shoghi Effendi and that the end of Shoghi Effendi's life was so imminent that Mason Remey would, only six years later, inherit the Guardianship of the Faith? If Shoghi Effendi had spelled this out in so many words it would have been received with incredulity and disbelief and produced only consternation and spiritual paralysis at a time when Shoghi Effendi was endeavoring to marshal all of the energies of the believers throughout the world to fulfill the goals of the Ten Year Global Spiritual Crusade. It also would have produced a shock, particularly in the oriental Bahá'í world, as the Bahá'ís were expecting Shoghi Effendi's successor to be a young man, such as he had been when he became Guardian. who would be either a son whom he had carefully hidden from view these many years or someone descended from the blood line of Bahá'u'lláh and one versed in the Persian or Arabic languages. In marked contrast, Mason Remey was an American of venerable age who did not fit this misconceived image in any of his characteristics, background or qualifications. Therefore, although the appointment of Charles Mason Remey as the Guardian-to-be was made by Shoghi Effendi in a public manner for all the Bahá'í world to see, it was still veiled because the significance of the appointment was not perceived either by the Hands of the Cause or by the believers. It remained for Mason Remey to disclose the significance of this appointment to them through his Proclamation. (Even Mason Remey admitted himself that he did not perceive the significance of his appointment as President of the embryonic Universal House of Justice immediately following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, but only gradually did it dawn upon his consciousness as he awoke to his new-born station of Guardian of the Faith.)
There may be a remaining question about Mason Remey's statement that he had known for the past twelve years that he was to occupy the august station of second Guardian of the Faith (this preceding his appointment as President of the International Bahá'í Council by several years). A detailed explanation is contained in Mason Remey's writings.