by Grace ~hahrokh
Darius K. Shahrokh, M.D.
Published July 1998
Insights Press
5010 Austin Road
Chattanooga, TN 37343
www.imagesint. corn
Dedication, by Darius Shahroa M.D.
1. Shoghi Effendi: His Life
2. Shoghi Effendi: His Station
3. Shoghi Effendi: His Accomplishments
4. Shoghi Effendi: His Passing.
Shoghi Effendi, 0 Guardian, thou art divine,
Shoghi Effendi, 0 God's Sign --
The Priceless Pearl, a title of thine.
Ghusn-i-Mumt'az, 0 Chosen Branch,
Thou art divine.
0 Shoghi, with name Yearning Divine
Your lineage porn the Most Holy Line.
Shoghi Effendi, 0 Guardian,
Thm art divine.
0 Guardian, the Chosen Branch beyond compare -
May it be worthy, this offering of mine.
0Ghusn-i-Mumt'az, 0 Chosen Branch,
Rou art divine.
Windows to the Past is a series of audio presentations on
the history of the Baha'i Faith, written and presented by Dr. Darius
Shahrokh with the assistance of his wife, Grace Shahrokh. This
series was inspired by the author's wish to make available to the
Western audience details from a number of histories of the Faith
unavailable in English. The audio series has become a convenient
and valuable aid for those with limited time to read who wish to
become acquainted with the history of the Faith and those noble
persons whose lives are an example to others.
Since the original release of the Windowsto the Past series,
an interest has grown in making these brief and accessible histories
availablein printed form. Hence, the present publication, the first
to be edited and to become available in a form other than a simple
It is appropriate that this first book in a series be devoted
to Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Bahgi Faith. It was due to
the efforts of Shoghi Effendi that the English-speaking world was
introduced to the early events of Baha'i history. Through his
translation of Nabilk Narrative and his masterfid history, God
Passes By, Western BahBtis gained a fuller understanding of what
it was to be a "spiritual descendant of the Dawn-Breakers." But
Shoghi Effendi's modesty prevented him from any mention of his
own significant role in the formative period of Bahh'i history.
Thanks to Hands of the Cause Arnatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum,
Ugo Giachery, and Amelia Collins, and to Eunice Braun and Adib
Taherzadeh, there are now published histories that begin the task
of properly crediting Shoghi Effendi for his literary gifts,
administrative genius, and sterling character, all of which have had
an impact upon the life of every contemporary BahVi.
This modest history of the Guardian's life and works is
designed to be used in Institute courses, as a supplement to
workbooks and course materials. It makes no claim to be
comprehensive; rather, it attempts to make accessible a rapid
overview of the life of the Guardian. It is our hope that it might
open a door for the current generation of youthhl readers to a
greater appreciation of the gifts of Shoghi Effendi.
Mary K. Radpour
July, 1998
Chattanooga, Tennessee
Shoghi Effendi:
His Life and Person
Family and Destiny
Shogh Effendi was born on March 1, 1897 in 'Akkh,Israel
as his great-grandfather, BahVu'll6h, and his grandfather, 'Abdu'l-
Bahb Abbbs, had been exiled there from their native country of
I&. He was the firstborn of his mother, Diyi'iyylh Khinum, who
was the eldest daughter of 'Abdu'l-Bahh. His father was Mirzh
H6di =rid, a descendant of a relative of the Bab.
From the time of his birth, 'Abdu'l-Bahb was aware of the
capacity and hture of His first grandson. In 1897, in reply to an
inquiry fiom a believer in America about the Biblical prophecy "A
little child shall lead them,"' 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote "0Maidservant
of God! Verily, that child is born and is alive andpom him will
appear wonhous things that thou wilt hear of in the future. Tkni
shalt behold him endowed with the most perfect appearance,
supreme capacity, absolute perfection, consummate power and
unsurpassed might. His face will shine with a radiance that
illumines all the horizons of the world; therefore forget this not as
long as thou dost live inasmuch as ages and centuries will bear
traces of him.. ''
'Abdul-Bah& gave him the surname Rabbhi, which means
'divnefY3 and Shoghi, meaning "theone who yearns. " 'Effendii'"is
a term of respect, and the Master called him Shoghi Effendi from
childhood on, and required everyone else to address him as Shoghi Effendi. His Character in Childhood There is an account left by a Western pilgrim, who observed the love between 'Abdu'l-Bahb and Shoghi Effendi: "...a small figure appeared in the open doorway, directly opposite %f bdu '2-Bahd. Having dropped off his shoes he stepped into the room, with his eyes focused on the Master's face. %fbdu'l-Baha returned his gaze with such a look of loving welcome it seemed to beckon the small one to approach Him. Shoghi, that beautiful little boy with his exquisite cameo face and his soulful appealing,
dark eyes, walked slowly toward the divan, the Master drawing
him as by an invisible thread, until he stood quite close in punt of Him. As he paused there for a moment 'Abdu '1-Bahd did not offer to embrace him but sat perfectly still, only nodding His head. . . as if to say 'You see? 1172is tie connecting us is not just that of a physical grandfather, but something far deeper and more signiJicant.' While we breathlessly watched to see what he would do, the little boy reached down andpicking up the hem of 'Abdu'l- Bahd's robe he touched it reverently to his forehead and kissed it, then gently replaced it, while never taking his eyes porn the adored Master's face. fie next moment he turned away, and scampered off toplay. . . . '" This was 1899, and Shoghi Effendi was only two years old.
A pilgrim to the house of the Master in 1904 related the
following to Hand of the Cause Dr. Ugo Giachery, "Shoghi Effendi was at the time a child of seven or eightyears of age. ...When not engaged in his early morning studies, hefollowed his Grandfather ['Abdu '2-BaMJ wherever He went. He was almost like His shadow
andpassed long hours . . . listening, quietly and silently, to every
word He uttered The child had a remarkably retentive memory
. . . ,the Master would ask him either to recite some passage from
Baha'u'lldh's Writings, which he had memorized, or to chant a
prayer. It was very moving to hear the limpid, crystal chanting of
that child, because all his being and soul were engaged in
communion with God Eagerness was ever present and animated
him like aflame ofjire in all he did "6
In addition to this remarkable reverential devotion and
attachment to his beloved Grandfather 'Abdu'l-Bahh, Shoghi
Effendi had boundless energy, irrepressible exuberance with his
playmates and was so fair and tender-hearted that if any
disagreements had occurred, he would not go to sleep until he had
embraced his playmate and reestablished happiness. He urged his
little companions to make up their differences before they went to
Childhood photos of Shoghi Effendi portray a wistful,
delicate face and large dark eyes with a gaze both penetrating and
gentle. In the biography, The Priceless Pearl, his widow, Hand.of
the Cause Amatu'l-Bahi Rlihiyyih a h u r n writes that his eyes
were a clear hazel that sometimes changed to a warm and luminous
grey. '1have never seen such an expressive face and eyes as those
of the Guardian;every shade of feeling and thought was mirrored
in his visage as light and shadow are reflected on water. In She
writes that Shoghi Effendi was more akin physically to his Great-
Grandfather, Baha'u'llhh, being short of stature and fine-boned.
The Greatest Holy Leaf, his great-aunt, would say of his hands,
"These are like the hanh of my father.
Youth and Education In 1912, when he was 15, 'Abdu'l-Baha planned for Shoghi Effendi to accompany Him on His historic journey to Europe and
America, They departed together from the port of Alexandria, Egypt, but at the first docking at Naples, Italy, health authorities
denied landing privileges to Shoghi Effendi and two others in 'Abdul-Bahh 's party, claiming they had eye disease. 'Abdu'l-Baha made every effort to change this decision which had no basis in fact, but was a malicious interference by someone in the company of 'Abdu'l-Baha who later became a covenant-breaker. One can hardly imagine the distress and grief of 'Abdu'l-BahS and Shoghi Effendi when they had to part, Shoghi Effendi returning to Haifa. As was constant in his life, Shoghi Effendi suffered many blows
and heartaches from the malice of the Covenant-breakers
throughout his life, He was reunited with his beloved Grandfather in August 1913. A physician who attended the ladies of 'Abdu'l-Bahi's household left reminiscences of a visit in 1910. She reports that 'Abdu'l-Baha spoke to her about Shoghi Effendi as follows:
"Before His ascension into eternal Light the blessed Manvestation
reminded me that I . . . must observe among my sons and granakons whom God would indicate for His octjcice. My sons passed to eternity in their tenderest years, in my line, among my relatives, only little Shoghi has the shadow of a great calling in the depths ofhis eyes. .. . At the present time the British Empire is the greatest and is still expanding and its language is a world language. My Jicture Vmir shall receive the preparation for his weighty ofJice in England itselJl aftr he has obtained here in Palestine a findmental knowledge of the oriental languages and the wisdom of the East. '"
Shoghi Effendi attended school in Haifa, then at the
American University in Beirut, graduating in 19 18 as Bachelor of
Arts. He then served the Master, as His secretary and chief aide.
In August 1918, Palestine (now the country of Israel) was liberated
by the rapid and victorious advance of British forces, frustrating
the plan of the Turkish Commander in Chief Jamil Pi&a to crucify
'Abdu'l-BahB and His whole family.
ARer World War I, the doors were opened for
communications and pilgrims, making the lie of the Master
extremely busy. Sho& Effendi spent a happy and productive two
years serving 'Abdu'l-BahB as secretary and chief aide with
boundless energy and devotion, helping to lift the burden from His
shoulders, and receiving profound spiritual influence in close
communication with his beloved Grandfather. As Arnatu'l-Bahb
Rfihiyylh ainuni writes, "During these years, when the star of
'Abdu'l-Bahci's fame was rising . . . Shoghi E#endi had the
opportunity of observing how the Master dealt with high officials
and the numerous men of distinction drawn to one Whom many
regarded as little less than an oriental prophet and the greatest
religious &re in Asia, as well as how the Master conducted
Himself in the face of the ever-present envy and intrigue of His
enemiesand ill-wishers. l%e lessons learned were to be reflected
in the thirty-six years of Shoghi Eflend's own ministry to the Faith
of Baha 'u 'llah. '"'O
However necessary Shoghi Effendi's assistance was to the
Master, the decision had been made that Shoghi Effendi would
krther his education in England at BaUiol college of Mord
University. He started his studies there in October, 1920. His
course of study at Oxford was cut short when the most unexpected
and grievous news reached him that his beloved Grandfather had
passed away on November 28, 1921. Shoghi Effendi arrived back
in Haifa one month later which was as soon as possible for him,
physically weakened and crushed with bereavement.
Before we take up the events following his learning that
'Abdutl-Bahh had named him the Guardian of the Cause of God, we
will digress to a few of the wonderfit1 descriptions of his
personality and character given to us by some who were very close
to him, so we can have a better picture in mind of the qualities of
intellect and spirit that became completely and sacrificially devoted
to the awesome responsibility and rigors of hlfilling the station
bestowed upon him.
Shoghi Effendi's Character
Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins in A Tribute to Shoghi
Efled wrote, '!In1923Ifirst met our beloved Guardian in Haifa.
He was just a young man then, fill of determination to carry
forward the great work entrusted to his care. He was so
spontaneous, so trusting and loving and outgoing in the buoyancy
of his beautiful heart. 172rough the years we all watched with
wonder and everdeepening devotion to him and appreciation of
his Gal-given gifts, the unfoldment of Bahci'u'llah's Divine Order
which he built up so patiently and wisely all over the world But,
oh fried, at what great cost to himseljl. .. fie Guardian had a
profound and innate humility. menever the Faith was involved,
he wasfiery in its defense, kinglike in the lofiness of his bearing,
the authority with which he spoke. But as a human being he was
self-eflacing, would brush aside our adulation and praise, turn
everything we wished to shower on him towards the Central
figures of our Faibh. .. . he would never allow anyphotographs to
be taken of himselj or give any of himseg but invariably
encouraged the kiends to place the Master's picture in their
rooms; . . . how he ttisliikedanysigns ofpersonal worship-- though
he could never control what was in our hearts for him! . . .How
can I ever describe to you his eyes when he would come over to
the Pilgrim House and announce to us a new achievement; they
sparkled with light and enthusiasm and his beautiful face would
be all smiles. '"*
In 1Be Priceless Pearl, Hand ofthe Cause Amatu'l-BahB RGhiyyih
Khiinum, writes in the chapter entitled "Facets of Shoghi Effendi's
Personality," "He was fundamentally a very tender-hearted
person and. ..expressed this innate kinchess and tenderness not
only to those who surrounded him but to the believers personally
in many ways. . . .I2 Shoghi Effendi, like his grandfather and
great-grandfather before him, had a delightful sense of humour
which was ready to manifest itself if he were given any chance to
be happy or enjoy a little peace of mind . . .I3 He was very
tenacious of his purposes, very determined, but never
unreasonable. Although he never changed his objectives he
sometimes changed the course he hadplanned to take to reach
them. . . .I4 Economy was a very rigid principle with Shoghi
Effendi and he had very stern ideas on money matters. . . . . I
never saw the Guardian settle a bill he had not first carefilly
added up, whether it was for a meal or a payment of thousandr of
dollars! If there was an over-charge he pointed it out-- and also
if there was an undercharge. . . .He was against extpavagance,
osfentation and luxury as such, denying himself. . . many things
because he felt they were either not justiied or not appropriate. "I5
"The extreme reverence he showed to the twin
Manifestations of God and to Ybdu'l-Bahii, whether in his
writings, his speech or the manner in which he approached Their resting-places, provides a permanent pattern for all Bahd% to follow. Whenever Shoghi Effendi was near one of the Shrines one couldsense his awareness of this in his whole being. The way he walked as he neared it, the way he quietly and with great dignity and reverence approached the threshold, knelt and placed his forehead upon it, the way he never turned his back when inside the Shrine on that spot where one of these infinitely holy andprecious
beings was interred, the tone of his voice, his dignzjied lack of any
levify on such occasions, all bore witness to the manner in which man should approach a holy of holies, going softly on sacred ground '"' Amatu'l-BahB Rchiyyih mhum goes on to relate how the gardens in Bahji and at the BahVi World Center in Haifa were designed exclusively by the Guardian, that the style sf the Shrine of the Bib, the classic design of the International Archives Building were his, that the interior decorating in the Holy Shrines and other places connected with Baha'u'lliih was chosen and placed by Shoghi Effendi, that he was unhampered by tradition and extremely original and ingenious in achieving effects. "ne Guardian was trulyan extraordimry man. nere is no end to the examples that come to mind when one thinks of his nature and his achievements. He had a heart so faithful to those who were faithfil to him that its counterpart could scarcely be found "I7 In Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery's book
called simply Shoghi Effendi, Recollections, there is a chapter
entitled "His Spiritual Virtues." The writer lovingly details
descriptions of Shoghi Effendi's great faith, humility and
selflessness, his connection with the divine source, his eagerness
and perseverance, his generosity. Dr. Giachery writes, "Of all the
characteristics that Shoghi Effendi possessedj the one that I
believe was at the very core of his personality and was heply
rooted in his soul was the immense faith he baa: his complete
reliance on the effacy of Baha'u'llah's Revelation. He clung to
His Teachings with a tenacity that cannot be likened to anything.
His whole being was permeated with the power of the Revelation,
and this is the reason that all who came near him or in contact
with him felt so safe, so assured, so regenerated "I8
Of his humility and selflessness, he writes, "Humility of a
kind not yet known elsewhere was one of Shoghi Effendi's many
unique virtues, a humility which came from the conviction that
man's faculties are not self-created but are a precious trust from
God, . . . yet he emanated true pride and dignity, such a regal
dignity that raised him far above any man I have yet met or
known. . . . He never placed his personal interests or desires
ahead of his functions as Guardian. nose who were near to him
inevitably felt that his life was something to be filly expended in
the service of God and humanity, in a dedication unlike that of
any other human being. ...He was always ready to give comfort,
. ..to encourage, topraise and to stimulate to such a degree that
one felt the urge toplace at his disposal life, time andpossessions
within the range of one's capacity . . . ."I9
About Shoghi Effendi's involuntary connection with the
Divine source, Dr. Giachery writes, ".. . Shoghi Effendi, like a
sertsitive invtmment connected to the Source of allpowers, reacted
involuntarily to the most imperceptible spiritual impulse which
activated his organism, making him capable of executing and
discharging all&mtions and responsibilities related to the Cause
of God without the slightestprobability of error. "
"This analyss, made at the vev first meeting with him, explained to me clearly and conclusively the meaning of divine guiditnce and infallibility-- two things that Shoghi Effendi could not voluntarily choose or c~ntrol.'"'~2 few times I had the great blessing of being permitted to accompany Shoghi Effendi to the Shrines . . . .As we walked along the paths of the gardens, I was very close to him and there came a feeling I cannot well describe. He walked with much dignity and grace, his fine intelligent face glowing with an inner light; . . . During my lifetime I have met several kings and many great personages in the scientific, political and ecclesiastical worlds, but never have I had the feeling of rapture and bliss that Ifelt in those unforgettabb moments when I was so close to Shoghi Effendi. '"I Of his eagerness, Dr. Giachery wrote, " .. . I became aware
of this burningflame within his soul, for it was manifested in the
emphasis of his speech, in the penetrating and searching gaze of
his intelligent eyes, in the swifktess of his action and in the rewarding smile with which he recompensed those who acted promptly. Of his perseverance, he wrote: "Perseverance was one of Shoghi Effendi's most noble qualities and taught me many a lesson. . . .His instructions to me . . . to persevere under all circumstances, became my second nature while I wasprivileged to work for the Cause under his personal guidarzce. In nearly every letter I receivedpom him over a period of many years, the
word ;Perseverer is repeated It had the power of a talisman for
me .... 1123
Of his generosity, he wrote: "To be generous is one of the
greatest qualities man can possess. It is rare to find on this earth
an individual as generous as was Shoghi Effendi. . ..He ahvays
considered the needs of others before even thinking of himselJ:
This was true not only for the spiritual wealth which was his
greatest heritage, but also for material things as well, which he
never sought, wanted or &sired for himseg "24
Shoghi Effendi:
His Life
The Covenant of Baha'u'lliih
'Abdu'l-Bahi made a declaration in his Will and Testament
establishing His firstborn grandson, Shoghi Effendi, to be the sole
interpreter and Guardian of the BahFi Faith after the passing of
'Abdu'l-Bahk Studying this Will and Testament must be a high
priority of every believer, new or old, in order to attempt to grasp
the significance of the Guardian of the Cause of God, Shoghi
In prior religious dispensations, the newly established faith,
being unprotected by the written appointment of a clearly
appointed successor, became subject to divisions and subdivisions
for numerous causes, such as doctrinal disputes, power interests,
nationalistic interests, differing rituals and ceremonies. However
in this Day, called by Bahi'u'llih the 'Day of God,'a new
phenomenon is created which protects this Faith from the human
propensity for disagreement; and that phenomenon is known to the
Bahh'is as the Covenant of Bahh'u'lliih. An excellent explanation of
the meaning and historical impact of this Covenant on both the
steadfast believers and the rebellious is the book by Mr. Adib
Taherzadeh, entitled The Covenunt ofBaM'u'IILih.
Briefly, to ensure the protection and growth of this Faith,
Baha'u'llih in His Will appointed His eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Bahh, as
His Successor. 'Abdu'l-Bahti, in turn, prepared a Will and
Testament, appointing His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, to
guard the Cause of God, and emphatically stated that Shoghi
Effendi must be obeyed:
"0ye the faithfil, loved ones of 'A bdu '1-Baha!
It is incumbent u pyo u to take the greatest care of Shoghi
Effendi, the twig that hath branchedffom and the fruit given forth
by the two hallowed and Divine Lote-Trees, that no dust of
despondency andsom may *in his radiant nature, that day by
dayhe may waxgreater in happiness, in joy ad, spirituality, and
may grow to become even as a fruitjkl tree. "
"For he is, after 'Abdu'l-Bahd, the guardian of the Cause of
God, the A*, the Hands [pillars] of the Cause and the beloved
of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth
him not, hath not obeyed God; he that turneth away from him,
hath turned away fiom God and he that denieth him, hath denied
the True One.'RS
For those unfamiliar with some terminology, "two hallowed
and Divine Lote Trees" refers to the two Manifestations of God,
the Bib and Bahi'u'llhh to whom Shoghi Effendi is related.
Through his mother he is related to BahPu'llhh, and through his
father to the family of the Bib. "Afndn"refers to relatives of the
Bab, "Hands of the Cause" refers to four especially devoted,
selfless and capable believers chosen by Bahk1u'l16h for certain
duties. Thirty years later Shoghi Effendi appointed several more
believers as Hands of the Cause, being given the authority to do so
by 'Abdu'l-Bahir in His Will and Testament.
'Abdu'l-BahVs Will and Testament is about 23 pages in the
English translation, and was written in three parts. In it are clear
explanations about the power of the Covenant of Baha'u'llhh, and
'Abdul-Bahii's grievous experiences caused by those who rebelled
against that Covenant.
In this Will, 'Abdu'l-Baha praises Shoghi Effendi as the " . .
. most wondms, unique andpriceless pearl that doth gleam porn
out the Twin surging seas, " and " . . . the blest and sacred bough
that hath branched out from the Twin Holy Trees. Well is it with
him that seeketh the shelter of his shade that shadoweth all
mankind'R6 'Abdu'l-Baha declares that the Guardian and the
Universal House of Justice are " . . . both un&r the care and
protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring
guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One . . . Whatsoever they
decide is of God The term '!A bha Beauty" refers to Bahh'u'llhh,
and "His Holiness, the Exalted One" refers to the Bab. Also in
that document Shoghi Effendi was referred to as 'Ghusn-i-
Mumt'hz,' or the 'Chosen Branch. '
'Abdul-Baha mandates Shoghi Effendi to expound the words
of God, to appoint Hands of the Cause of God and direct them, to
be the sacred Head of the Universal House of Justice, to accept
money offerings to be expended for the advancement of the Faith
and to appoint his successor. The Guardian was unable to appoint
a successor because there was no one existing who could hlfill the
specific requirements 'Abdu'l-Bahi laid down for the successor to
Shoghi Effendi. For hrther details, the reader is referred to the
Will and Testament of 'A bdu'l-Baha.
Shoghi Effendi:
His Accomplishments
An Overview
Despite having had only a bare minimum of people assisting
him, and at times, no one, the Guardian's accomplishments are
stupendous. These include his establishing the divinely ordained
Administrative Order, setting into motion three teaching plans,
puri@ing the Faith fiom destructive association with Covenantbreakers,
engaging in an immense volume of communication with
National Spiritual Assemblies and individuals, receiving the
pilgrims, writing books, expounding and interpreting the teachings
of Bah$u'llhh, erecting the superstructure of the Shrine of the Bhb
and the International Archives Building; making the gardens
around both the Shrines of the Bhb and Baha'u'llih, translating into
English the major writings of BaM'u'llih, maintaining relations with
officials in Israel, extending Bahh'i properties on Mount Carrnel,
and appointing and directing the Hands of the Cause. Any one of
these activities could have been a life work for one man.
'Abdu'l-Bahsi's Passing and the Protection of the Faith
In the same month, January 1922, that Shoghl Effendi
learned that his beloved Grandfather, 'Abdu'l-Bahi, had appointed
him to be the Guardian, the chief Covenant-breaker who had
rebelled against 'Abdu'l-Bahh became emboldened, and demanded
that the civil authorities make himself the custodian of BahVu'llhh's
shrine. When this failed, the keys of the Holy Tomb were forcibly
seized from the Baha'i caretaker. The Governor of '&a
intervened, took the keys and posted guards at the Shrine. On top
of this blow to the young Guardian came yet another - that the
blessed House of BahB1u'llih in Baddad was confiscated by the
government of IrBq. Before the Guardian had any time to recover from his bereavement over the passing of the Master and his shock at being appointed the sole head of a loosely organized Cause, he found himself and the Cause facing malignant enemies. In March of 1922,he called a meeting of several of the most devoted and able BahB'is from Europe, Asia and America to consult about the feasibility of electing the Universal House of Justice for the protection of the Faith, but it was concurred that before this could be done, it must have a firm foundation, which would mean establishing local and national assemblies in those countries where there were BahFis. The fiends who had come to support and
consult with him were then sent home with instructions to begin
this work under his direction. By April, though, the strain of what he was being put through became unbearable. He appointed his great-aunt, Bahiyyih JQhum, 'Abdu'l-BahVs sister, entitled the Greatest Holy Leaf, to
administer the afl%ks of the Faith while he went to Germany to first
consult with physicians on his depleted physical state, and then to
Switzerland to gain healing, spiritual and physical strength in seclusion in the Swiss Alps. His loving and tender relationship with the Greatest Holy Leaf, who protected him by carrying these responsibilities for a time, sustained the Guardian and enabled him to carry on.
Shoghi Effendi returned to Haifa in December of 1922 and
resumed the work laid before hirnby the provisions of the Will and
Testament of 'Abdu'l-BUM. His first activities were to initiate
correspondence with all Bahgi centers in the world and receive
pilgrims. This in itself was a full-time job, but the joy of it was
beclouded by the continuing evil machinations of the Covenantbreakers,
those souls lost in the wilderness of self and passion who
imagined they could bring the Cause of God to naught.
He appealed to the civil authorities and had proof of his right
through the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha to be the
legitimate keeper of the Shrine of Bahh'u'llih. The matter was
decided in his favor, and the safekeeping of the Qiblih, the point of
adoration of the Baha'i World, was secured, but all efforts to regain
custody of the House of Bahiiu'1lh.h in Ba@dhd were frustrated
and still are to this day. The final chapter and victory on that
remains to be revealed.
His Clarification of his Station
One of the first things the beloved Guardian did in 1922 was
to clar@ the relationship he wished the Bahsis to have with him.
In letters to the Bahh'is of several countries he stated that he
wished to be known as one and only one of the many workers in
the Cause of Bahh'u'llih, to be regarded in no other light but that
'of a true brother united in common servitude to the Master's
Sacred Threshold, and to refer to him only as Sho& Effendi. In
fie Dispensation of BaMfufll&h, written in 1934, he stated,
"mereis a fir, ffar greater ~~e separating the Guardian from
the Center of the Covenant than there is between the Center of the
Covenant and its Author. ''* In that passage the "Centerof the
Covenant" refers to 'Abdu'l-Bahh and 'Xuthor" refers to
He fixther went on to say: "nough overshadowed by the
unfailing, the unerring protection of Bahatu'ZZah and of the Bab,
and however much he may share with 'A bdu'l-Baha the right and
obligation to interpret the Bahd'i teachings, he remains essentially
human and cannot . . . arrogate to himself under any pretense
whatsoever, the rights, the privileges and prerogatives which
Baha'utZZah has chosen to confer upon His Son. lfz9 This chapter
goes on to state that he must not be addressed as lord, master or
his holiness, nor to be prayed to, nor to celebrate his birthday.
Raising Up of the Bahi'i Administrative Order
Though today it is clear that the building up of the
Administrative Order must be the firm foundation for the Universal
House of Justice, in the early years not all the believers were aware
of the need for an administrative organization to evolve within the
Faith. Indeed, many felt that the lo@ spiritual ideals and farsighted
social principles in the Bah8L'iteachings would somehow permeate
the world at large, and effect changes for the better. Some actually
felt that to impose organization would spoil the spirituality of the
Cause they loved; therefore they had to be patiently and lovingly
guided by the Guardian to accept the necessity and beauty of the
Administrative Order conceived in the Revelation of Bahi'u'llhh,
and expanded upon in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha.
Shoghi Effendi did this by expounding and elucidating the
basis and future of the Administrative Order in series of letters to
National Spiritual Assemblies. He explained, for example: ". . .
the system of Baha'i administration is not an innovation imposed
arbiirarily upon the Bahci'is of the world since the Mmter's
pmsing, but derives its authorify from the Will and Testament of
'Abdic '1-Bahci, is speciJically prescribed in unnum bered Tablets,
and rests in some of its essential features upon the explicit
provisions of the Kitcib-i-Aqdzs. . . . To dissociate the
administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual
and humanifarian teachings would be tantamount to a mutilation
of the body of the Cause, a separation that can only result in the
disintegration of its component parts, and the extinction of the
Faith itselJ: '0°
In another place he states: " . . . . the administration of the
Case is to be conceived as an instrument and not a substitute for
the Faith of B&'uf2&h . . . "'He goes on to explain that the international
character of the Cause, the complexity of its affairs, the
diversity of its adherents, necessitates administrative machinery that
will insure the unity of the Faith, the preservation of its identity,
and protection of its interests, yet warns us that we should not let
undue concern for minute details in administering the Cause,
partiality, ambition and worldliness impair the effectiveness of the
Faith of Bah&'ulfi&h.
To those who would become impatient with the seemingly
slow growth and influence of the Faith, Shoghi Effendi counseled:
'Yconsider it my duty to warn every beginner in the Faith that the
promised glories of the Sovereignty which the Bahci'i teachings
foreshadow can be revealed only in the fillness of time ....'02
He fbrther states in this letter, the first in the compilation
called %WorM Order of B&'uf21&, that the implications of this
sovereignty. ..are too far-reaching for this generation to grasp
and fully appreciate. . . ."j3 " . .. that the storms which this
struggling Faith of God must encounter as the disintegration of
society advances, shall be fiercer than any which it has already
Shoghi Effendi's Vision Implemented through His Plans
Shoghi Effendi stated that the Administrative Order is both
the nucleus and the pattern of the New World Order. A
remarkable expansion of the Administrative Order was
accomplished under his loving and patient, but always firm
direction: the establishment of National Spiritual Assemblies from
none in 1922 to 56 in 1963, which was the concluding year of the
Ten Year Crusade; the acceleration of the formation of local
Spiritual Assemt.lies; the formation of Baha'i publishing trusts and
summer schools; the establishment of local and national Baha'i
hnds. The Declaration of Trust and By-Laws of the National
Spkitual Assembly of the Baha'i of the United States and Canada
in 1927became the pattern for Bahi'i National Assemblies around
the world for incorporation and ownership of property. Many local
Spiritual Assemblies were also incorporated. Buildings were
acquired for National Centers, and land was purchased in many
countries for hture Houses of Worship.
All of this expansion and consolidation provided the strongly
united h e w o r k upon which the Universal House of Justice was
elected in 1963, exactly one hundred years after Bah~'u'1lhh
declared His mission.
The means by which such tremendous expansion took place
was through a series of teaching plans formulated by Shoghi
Effendi. This inspired the believers to make an organized response
to the directives given in 'Abdul-Bahk's Tablets of the Divine Plan.
The Charters of the Administrative Order
It is useM to understand that the framework of the Cause of
God is upheld by three charter documents. First, Baha'u'llhh
revealed the Tablet ofCurmel, providing the impetus and authority
for the development of the Bahb'i World Center in Haifa, the
'%cartandnerve-center of a world-embracing Faithfe5 secondly,
The Tablets of the Divine Plan were revealed by 'Abdu'l-Bahii
during 1916 and 1917, conferring upon the North American
Bahh'is the primary responsibility for the promulgation of the Faith
throughout the world; and last, the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-
Baha instituted the Guardianship and authorized development of
the Administrative Order. Every Baha'i who is able should be
familiar with all three of these documents to understand the
unassailable foundation upon which the Administrative Order rests.
The first plan the Guardian prepared was called the First
Seven Year Plan and ran from 1937 to 1944. Its three chief
objectives were the completion of the exterior of the Temple in
Wilmette, Illinois; the formation of a local Spiritual Assembly in
each state and province in North America; and the establishment of
a center in each republic of Latin American and the Caribbean.
The Second Seven Year Plan began in 1946. It called for
pioneers to go to the 'hrar-torn, spiritually famished European
continent,'06 to consolidate and expand the Faith throughout the
Americas, to complete the House of Worship in Wilmette, and to
form National Spiritual Assemblies in Canada, Central and South
America. Additionally, many National Spiritual Assemblies were
given concurrent teaching plans.
The last plan in the Guardian's lifetime was called the Ten
Year World Crusade, and it ran from 1953 to 1963, to conclude
with the great jubilee celebrating the 100th Anniversary of the
Declaration of Baha'u'llhh. It involved all the BahVis worldwide,
not just the North Americans, and had breathtaking and ambitious -
goals. Through the years prior to this last plan, Shoghi Effendi had
prepared Bahh'u'llih's army of light for this world spiritual
conquest. It called for the development of the World Center,
strengthening the bases of the twelve National Assemblies then
existing with a special plan for each one of them, the consolidation
of all new territories, and getting pioneers into unopened
territories. It included goals to form 48 new National Spiritual
Assemblies, to build two Temples, one in Persia and one in Europe,
to purchase eleven Teniple sites, to erect the International Archives
building on Mount Camel, to form six publishing trusts, and to
secure historic sites in Persia.
With an unforeseen attack upon the lives, properties and
activities of the Baha'is in Persia in 1955, the building of a Temple
in that country had to be postponed. Instead, the Guardian
announced, two Temples would rise, one in the heart of Africa and
one in Australia.
Aside fiom the setback in Persia, great successes were won.
The Guardian's 1957 Ridvh message listing the victories was filled
with joy. Little did anyone know that it would be the last Ridvh
celebration that would receive a message fkom the beloved Shoghi
Effendi. He was to live on this earthly plane only six months
The Guardian's Constant Correspondence
The enthusiasm and devotion that the BahBis brought to
these plans was for the most part generated by their contact with
the Guardian.This contact was made in two ways; one, as pilgrims
to the Shrines at the World Center, when they would also have the
privilege of being in the presence of their beloved Guardian; and,
two, through the incredible number of letters the Guardian wrote
to individuals and Assemblies, both local and national.
TheHand of the Cause Dr. Ugo Giachery in his book Shoghi
Eflendi, Recollections, described the force of these letters. Some
brief selections are as follows: "To organize the affairs of the
Cause, scattered over the continents of the globe, with the purpose
of erecting on the unassailable foundation of the Administrative
Order of the Faith . . .Shoghi .Effendi had to provide instruments
for the use of those. . . who would carry out his instructions. This
he did mainly through patient, inspiring arid illuminating letters
of guidance, letters which unfold. . . the majestic and almost
incredible plan of redemption for the whole of mankind.
'5411 the letters he has written. ..are the essence of equity,
wisdom and spirituality, and are at the same time literary gems. . . .He never denied the light of his wisdom and of his warm
rewmding love to anyone who wrote to him. '"18 "The thou& of
questions put to him, either from the Institutions (the
Administrative bodies) of the Faith or porn individuals, were
promptly and explicitly answered On any given subject,
concerning any aspect of the Teachings . . . or on personal
problems, the answers, even at intervals of many years, were
identical in concept. . . . the constancy of his answers was another
of the unfathomable prodigies of the incredible mind and
gui&nce of Shoghi Eflendi. This constancy was and is proof of
his vast, complete, orderly and deep knowledge of the Sacred
Writings, of his steadfast adherence to the principles and laws of
the Faith, arujl above all, ofthat conferred infallibility inherent in
his station of Guardimhip. "" A footnote in Dr. Giachery's book
mentions that in a statistical report from the Universal House of
Justice, they have record of Shoghi Effendi having replied to some
26,000 letters.
Entering His Presence
As for coming into the beloved Guardian's presence, it was
an experience that electrified the pilgrims and imbued them with a
vision and devotion they never imagined possible. A number of
published reports convey something of what would happen to
those who came under the spell of the Guardian's magnetism.
Hand of the Cause Ugo Giachery recalls in his book Shoghi
Eflendi, Recollections the first time he came into the presence of
the Guardian: 'Yt the far north-eastern side of the table, almost
facing the door, sat Shoghi Eflendi, his handsome face absorbed
in deep thought. A fau secondr elapsed as I paused, unable to
utter a word or a cry, while my heart was ready to burst. . . .He
lifted his head in my direction and then I met his luminous
penetra'nggaze. As he rose to greet me a broad smile illumined
his whole face, while his eyes seemed to probe my innermost
being, as if searching for proofs of love and trust. . .. I cannot
relate the emotion Ifelt on going near to him. "
"'Welcome! Welcome!' he said with a gentle and yet
compelling voice. 'At last you have come. 'And with a rapid and
unforeseen motion he embraced me with such a tenderness that for
a time I felt I was in the arms of all the mothers in the world "
"Satisjaction and contentment filled my heart; unable to utter a
word andyet electr~pedb y all the love expressed in this gesture,
I had to steel myself not to fall at his feet. A strong urge to
embrace him, again and again, to make myself inconspicuous,
small, humble, was overpowering me. But Shoghi Effendi must
have sensed this perplexidy within me, and guided me to aplace at
the table. As soon as I was seated and had regained my control,
I had the feeling that finally I had reached home. . . . " "This
feeling of nothingness in his presence never left me. Even years
afterwards, whenever I came near him, there was an overwhelming
force that$lledmy heart with joy and awe, with the certainty that
even my thoughts were visible to him.'*'
The following are excerpts from the Hand of the Cause
William Sears'pilgrim notes of 1954: 'My feelings were of mingled
fear and courage, fear to stand before him and look into those
eyes that must see all the stuins that &ken the inside of a person;
courage that if only I could look upon him, tell him of my love and
beg forgiveness in my heart, nothing else would really matter. .
. . I had saffened my liquid knees for the moment of going through
the dining room door into his presence. My business life had been
filled for years with firstnights, but never had there been one such
as this. . . . I had tried to prepare myself to meet him by praying
with such fervor as I had never used before in all my Baha'i life,
At this point, I realized that ifI had used that fewor before during
all my Bahd'i life, I would have been prepared to meet him now. "
". . . liben I was in the room. I heard his voice for the first time.
. . . He held out his arms and embraced me. 'We have been
expecting you for a long time, 'he said as he kissed me on the
right cheek, then the left, then the right. I clung to him ever so
tightly. My predominate feeling was, 'Ihave come home.' My
chest hurt. . . My throat was stopped up. My eyes tried to shed
tears that werepouring@om every part of my being. . . . 'We have
heard much about you, 'he said I held him tightly hoping I need
never let go. 'Nowwe are happy that you are with us at last.'
". . . When my vision cleared, I could see that every other eye was
also misty. . ..'"' My fears had all vanished now, and Ifelt only
a transcendent happiness. . . . This was as close, in our h y , as
man could come to the direct source of the power of God,His
Majsty, His Justice, His Mercy, His Love. Ifelt them all flowing
from the Guardian" ". . . .This Guardian could be impressed by
only one thing service to the Faith. Nothing would ever influence
his judgment; not wealth, position, power or friendship. fie only
gift that could be given him was the gift of service" ':. . . The
Guar&and syo u to a higher service. He lifts you up to heights
of limitless joy, then sets you gently down. Having revealed the
tremre, he requests the payment, which is service to the Faith of
God '**
The Guardian's Literary Accomplishments
In addition to transforming and d i g th e believers through
letters and personal contact with the pilgrims, the Guardian
educated and inspired the BahVis worldwide by his matchless
translations of the major writings of Bah&'u'll& including parts of
the Kithb-i-Aqdas, plus translating and editing the first volume of
fie Dawn-Breakers.
This was no easy task as Hand of the Cause Dr. Giachery
explains: "To translate fiom one language to another is an art
which requires knowledge, imagination and perfect mastery of
both langucrges involved. . . . mere are words in one language
that cannot be tramlated into another because they actually do
not exist. ...from thispoint of view, Shoghi Effendi's translations
into English from either Persian or Arabic -- two jlowery
languages so rich in imagery and abundant in synonyms, the
structure of which is so different from any modern European
language -- we can then better understand the immensity of his
labor and the greatness of his accomplishment.
In Ehe Priceless Peml, the biography of the Guardian by his
widow, Hand of the Cause Arnatu'l-Baha Rhhiyyih Khhum, an
entire chapter is devoted to describing the Guardian's prodigious
abilities in both translating and original writing.
We cherish the hope that our readers will be inspired to read
the writings of the Guardian and study them again and again. His
works, in addition to the biography Ehe Priceless Pearl, provide
a meansto a deeper appreciation of the amazing accomplishments
of the Guardian. His clear and beautifid writing offers an education,
not attainable anywhere else in such depth, on the past, present and
future of the Faith of Bahii'u'llih. His insights into the processes of
change and the role of spiritual transformation instill in the reader
the resolve to be valiant, upright and steadfast.
These are a few statements from The Priceless Pearl on the
writings of the Guardian: '! ... the sryle of Shoghi Effendi st&
out in dazzling beauty. His joy in words was one of his spongest
personal characteristics. ... Shoghi Effendi wrote what he meant
and meant exactly what he wrote. It is impossible to eliminate any
word from one of his sentences without sacrificing part of the
meaning, so concise, so pithy is his style. . . . fie language in
which Shoghi Effendi wrote, whether for the Baha% of the West
or of the Easf,hset a st&d which should effectively prevent
themJLom descending to the level of illiterate literates which often
so sad& characterizes the present generation as far as the use and
appreciation of words are concerned . . . Shoghi Effendi chose -
. . . the right vehicle for his thought and it made no diffence to
him whether the average person was going to know the word he
used or not. After all, what one does not know, one canJind
As for translating, Amatu'l-Bahi Rihiyyih IQinum writes,
"i%e supreme importance of Shoghi Efled's English translations
and communicatiom can never be sufficntly stressed because of
his function as sole and authoritative interpreter of the Sacred
Writings, appointed as such by 'Abdu'l-Bahd in His Will. . . . "
"Often by referring to Shoghi Effendi 's translation into English
the original meaning of the BabJ Baha'u 'llah, or 'Abdu '1-Bahd
becomes clear and is thus safeguarded against misinterpretation
in the future. "" Every time we open a book of the Writings or
prayers of Bahh'u'llhh translated into English, we owe a debt of
gratitude to the Beloved Guardian for the countless hours, the
complete sacrifice he made of personal time, so that we, who are
untutored in Persian and Arabic, are not deprived of the
transforming power of the Holy Words. The translations of the
Holy Words into all other languages are based upon Shoghl
Effendi's matchless English translations.
The first book he translated was the Kitdb-i-Iqan, or Book
of Certitude, in 1930, which is Bah&'u'llWs profound explanation
of the Progressive Revelation, the persecution of successive
Manifestations of God, the role of the divines, and the
interpretation of scriptural prophecies. In 1932, Shoghi Effendi
translated the first part of the narrative of Nabil under the title The
Dawn-Breakers, portraying in vivid language the life and times of
the Bab and His followers. Additionally, fie Dawn-Breakers
includes photos of the Bib's tablets to the Letters of the Living, a
concise history of Islam enabling the Western reader to better
understand the circumstances of the Bab, the genealogy of the BAb
showing connection with the descendants of Baha'u'llhh, and also
numerous photographs and copious footnotes. A translation of
several of the major tablets of BahA'u'llhh entitled Gleaningsfrom
the Writings of Baha'u'lldh was presented in 1935. In quick
succession followed the translation of some of the Prayers and
Meditations of Baha'u'llah and The Hidden Worh.
The Guardian's Guidance of the Believers
Between 1929 and 1936, Shoghi Effendi wrote several long
general letters to the Baha'is ofthe West which are gathered in one
volume entitled The World Order of Baha'u'llah, designed to
cl* for the believers the true meaning and purpose of the Faith,
its destiny and future, and provide guidance about our
responsibilities. The titles of the letters within this volume are The
World Order of Bahci'u'llah, The World Order of Bahci'u'llah-
Further Considerations, The Goal of a New World Order, me
Golden Age of the Cause of Baha'u'llah, America and the Most
Great Peace, me Dispensation of Bahci'u'llah, and The
Unfolhent of World Civilization. Amatu'l-Baha writes %lZ this
bounty the Guardian spread for the believers in feast aftr feast,
nourished them &raised up a new strong generation of servants
in the Faith. His words fired their imagination, challenged them
to rise to new heights, drove their roots deeper in the fertile soil
of the Cause.
Due to terrorist activities in Palestine during 1939, Shoghi
Effendi stayed in Europe where he wrote a long general letter to
the Baha'is of Canada and United States, entitled The Advent of
Divine Justice. In it he set forth the role this community was
destined to play in the unfolding plan of God for the planet,
emphasized the spiritual requisites involved in a truly Bahti'i life,
and among other topics, announced that the reason the Western
believers had been chosen for the Cradle of the Administrative
Order was not due to any inherent excellence, but by reason of the
evilswithin that civilization. ". . .B&'u'llah can best demonstrate
to a heedless generation His almighty power to raise up from the
very mi&t of a people, immersed in a sea of materialism, aprey
to one of the most virulent and long-standing forms of racial
prejudice, and notorious for its political corruption, lawlessness
and laxiv in moral stanhr&, men and women who as time goes
by will increasingly exemplzfi those essential virtues of selfrenunciation,
of moral rectitude, of chastity, of indiscriminating
fellowship, of holy discipline, and of spiritual insight that will fit
them for the preponderating share they will have in calling into
being that World Order and that World Civilization of which their
counfry, no less than the entire human race, stands in desperate
Mer this he translated the last major work of Bahaiu'll& the
book, lIitre Epistle to the Son-of the WolJ:
The Guardian as Historian
In 1941he composed another long, general letter called The
Promised Day is Come, addressed to the Bahh'is of the West in
which he analyzes the events of the nineteenth and early twentieth
centuries in relation to the kings and ecclesiastics having rejected
the Message of Bahb'u'llhh. All the leaders who received Tablets
from Baha'u'llhh are described as well as what happened to them
and their positions. Reading this book enables one to understand
recent history in a way not possible by any other means.
GodPwesBy, published in 1944, is an exciting, moving, yet
concise history of the first hundred years of the Bahh'i Cause.
Amatu'l-Bahb describes it as one of the most concentrated and
stupendous achievements of Shogh~E ffendi's life, the only true
book we have from his pen. She states that for one year he read
about two hundred books as research; then for another year he
wrote every page first by hand, then on a manual typewriter,
sometimes ten hours on end. '2ndhow many more hours we spent
late into the night, when the daily typing was over . . .each with
three copies of the typescript before us, proof-reading, making
corrections, putting in by hand the thousan& of accents on
~ansliteratedwords which Shoghi Efendi would read aloud, until
his eyes were bloodshot and blurred, his back and arms stiff with
exhaustr'on."". . .Titrere was no possibility of working at a slower
pace. He was racing against time to present the BUM% of the
West with this inimitable gifton the occasion of the One
Hundredth Anniversary of the inception of their Faith.'*'
Producing such a magnificent work would be all-consuming
even if it could have been done in times of ease and tranquility.
What were the circumstances for Shoghi Effendi at that time?
Arnatu'l-Bahh writes such a heart-rending passage: "Shoghi
Effendi, already crushed and overbur&nedfiom the weight of
twenty years of Guardianship, when the tides of World War 11
threatened to sweep over the Holy Land and engulf him and the
World Centre of the Faith in one catastrophic flow,during a
period when his home was convulsed by the repercussions of
Covenant-breaking now affecting his own family, set himself the
task of appraising for all time the signzj?cance of the events of the
first century of the Baha'i Era. On rare occasions it was my
misfortune during these years to see him weep as if his heart
would break -- so great was his agony, so overwhelming the
pressures that bore down upon him!'*8
It is incomprehensible that we might ever, even slightly,
appreciate the incredible sacrifices that the beloved Guardian made
for us, out of his great loving heart, to tenderly educate us, to bring
to us the spirit of true reverence for the Manifestations of God.
However, we must try.
Amazingly, after God Passes By was finished, he wrote a
shorter version in Persian for the long-suffering and persecuted
followers in the native land of Bahh'u'llhh. It was the last book he
could write, for the remaining thirteen years of his life were
consumed with developing the World Centre and the international
community. However, messages of guidance and encouragement
contiilued to pour forth to Spiritual Assemblies and to individual
believers up to his last days.
The Guardian's Challenges with Covenant-Breakers
The Guardian accomplished the development of the Holy
Places in Haifa and 'Akkh as stunning successes in the face of
serious obstacles. The Bahh'i properties at the time that Shoghi
Effendi became the Guardian were the Shrine of Bahi'u'llih, the
Mansion of Bahji, and the Ridvh gardens, all in the countryside a
little ways from the limits of 'Akkh, and in 'Akkh, the house of
'Abbbd in which Bahh'u'llah revealed the Most Holy Book, the
Kitdb-i-Aqdas. On the slopes of Mt. Carmel in Haifa across the
Bay from 'Akki, there was the Shrine of the Bhb in its first stage
of construction surrounded by some land, the house of 'Abdu'l-
BahA and a pilgrim house. The ownership registry of these were
mostly in the names of individuals which rendered the properties'
legal position insecure. Shoghi Effendi lost no time in registering
them in the names of incorporated Baha'i institutions, and securing
tax exemptions. His goal was to win recognition for the Bahh'i
Faith as a world religion entitled to the same status that other
religions in Israel had possessed for centuries, and he achieved this
with great success.
Shoghi Effendi brought his determination first to
safeguarding the Shrine of Bahafu'llhh, and situated right next to it
the last home of Bahh'u'llhh, known as the Mansion of Bahji,
meaning "delight,"an architecturally unique building. It had been
built by a very rich Christian man of 'Akki who occupied it briefly,
and when he passed away, 'Abdu'l-Bah6 rented it in 1879for His
Father, BaM'u'llhh, and extended family. Some time later it was
purchased. After the Ascension of Baha'ufllhh, the half-brother of
'Abdul-Bahh, Muhammad-'Ali and relatives continued living at the
Mansion. 'Abdul-Bahfi never moved Himself and a s fa mily to the
Mansion of Bahji, but remained in 'Akkh, later moving to Haifa.
Muhamrnad-Ali and his relatives all became Covenant-breakers by
reffisiig to accept 'Abdu'l-Baha as the Center of the Covenant and
sole authority of the Faith as was clearly defined in the last Will
and Testament of Baha'u'llah.
Therefore the Covenant-breakers were wily and hardened
adversaries of Shoghi Effendi as well. By the 1920's the Mansion
was in a serious state of disrepair, almost in ruins. The occupants
demanded that Shoghi Effendi repair it for them, but he would not
unless they evacuated. At the end of 1929, when the roof was
about to collapse, they did evacuate the Mansion, but occupied an
adjacent house for the next 28 years.
It brought the Guardian and the Baha'i World great joy when
in mid-1957, State authorities granted an expropriation order for
the buildings occupied by the Covenant-breakers; they had to
move, and the precincts of the Holy Shrine of Bah4u'llhh were
finally cleansed from what Shoghi Effendi termed "spiritual
defilement. "49 He was looking forward to the demolition of their
unsightly apartments right next to the Shrine, but passed away
before it was accomplished.
In 1929, when the Mansion was vacated, such was its
deterioration at the hands of the former tenants that it took two
years of reconstruction to bring the Mansion back to its original
beauty. Upon completion, one of the first visitors to be invited by
Shoghi Effendi was the British High Commissioner who agreed
that the Mansion did indeed deserve to be preserved as a place of
pilgrimage and historical museum rather than remain at the mercy
of neglectfiil and inimical heirs. In 1952, Shoghi Effendi was able
to obtain a good deal of land surrounding the Shrine and Mansion
of BaMbllhh, and designed gardens spreading out as rays from its
center, the Holy Shrine of Baha'u'llbh. When the last of the
Covenant-breakers' buildings were removed, the glorious
landscaping was completed.
The Guardian as Builder
At the same time that the Guardian was dealing with
safeguard'mg and restoring the Mansion and Shrine of Baha'u'llah,
he also had another immense project, the completion of the Shrine
of the Bab which the Master, 'Abdu'l-Bahh, had started; the
acquisition of a protective belt of land surrounding it; and the
eventual erection of a beautiful and majestic domed superstructure
over the plain stone building housing the precious remains of the
The B&, which means the Gate, was not only the Herald of
Baha'u'llhh, but was also an independent prophet or Manifestation
of God. He was martyred in Iran in 1850. His sacred remains
were then kept in secret places, safeguarded from the enemies of
His Cause. In the late 189O8s, His precious casket was brought to
the Holy Land and concealed in the Master's house.
Prior to that, Baha'u'llkh had pointed out to the Master the
very spot on the slope of Mt. Camel where the mausoleum should
be built to enshrine the holy Dust of the Blessed Bab. 'Abdu'l-Baha
was able to overcome incredible obstacles and opposition to
purchase the plot of land and erect sii rooms of a nine room
mausoleum of native stone. In 1909, the building received its
sacred Trust. Nineteen years later, Shogh~E ffendi arranged for the
excavation of solid rock, making space for the construction of the
remaining three rooms. The next step was to bring into being the
superstructure as envisioned by 'Abdu'l-Baha. It was to have an
arcade surrounding the nine rooms and to be surmounted by a
Time passed until the right architect was found. Arnatu'l-
Baha Rmyyih urn's father was a deeply devoted Bahh'i and a
well-known architect in Canada. After her mother, May Bolles
Maxwell, passed away in 1940 at a pioneering post, her father, Mr.
William Sutherland Maxwell came to live with them in Haifa. The
Guardian invited Mr. Maxwell (whom he later honoured with the
station of Hand of the Cause of God) to design the superstructure
for the Shrine of the Bab. Working in close and loving
collaboration, a unique design was formulated that was neither
eastern nor western in style, nor did it resemble either a mosque or
a church. On May 22, 1944, it was announced that a design for the
Shrine of the Bab had been chosen, an auspicious date, the One
Hundredth Anniversary of the Declaration of the Bab. However,
because of the impact of World War 11 on the economy and
availability of materials, over three years passed before a building
permit was requested.
Because of civil strife in Palestine, soon to become the State
of Israel in 1948, it was impossible to get stone from Palestinian
quarries. Knowing that costs would keep rising by delaying, Shoghr
Effendi decided to investigate obtaining carved stone from Italy.
Dr. Giachery, a very energetic, educated and devoted BahFi, living
in Rome, served as the Guardian's personal representative in
locating stone that would endure over five hundred years.
Thiswas not an easy task as Italy had not recovered from the
devastation of World War 11. Through fortuitous and a near
miraculous chain of events, the proper granite and marble was
located in addition to all other building materials. Shipments of
over one hundred fifty tons of cut, carved and polished stone began
in November 1948. The interior decoration includes one immense
crystal chandelier in the inner chamber and numerous precious
Persian carpets on the floors. The Holy Threshold fronting the
inner chamber is covered every morning with fi-esh fragrant flowers.
The tomb of 'Abdu'l-Bahb, in an adjacent room, is also decorated
with a crystal chandelier, Persian carpets and fresh flowers. The
fascinating details of the materials, workmanship and sacred
symbolisms of the design of the Shrine of the Bhb are reported in
Dr. Giachery's book, entitled Shoghi Effendi, Recollections.
The beloved Guardian joyously announced to the BahVi
World the completion of the Holy Edifice in October 1953. In the
message he poetically describes the Shrine: ".. . Queen of Carmel
enthroned on God'sMountain, crowned in glowing gold, robed in
shimmering white, girdled in emerald green, enchanting every eye
from air, sea, plain and hill. " 50 He also stated that it was not only
the first and most holy Edifice at the World Centre of the Faith, but
was the "initial international institution heralding the
establishment of the Supreme Legislative Body of the World
Ahinistrative Cenfre."'' It was only ten years later, in 1963, that
the Supreme Legislative Body, the Universal House of Justice, was
The Guardian's Plans for the Future
Such accomplishments constitute a tribute to the visionary
capacity of Shogh~E ffendi. His vision extended far into the future,
even anticipating the h r e construction of a majestic
superstructure over the basic building now known as the Shrine of
Bahh'ullh. Dr. Giachery recounts in his book a discussion Shoghi
Effendi gave on the fitture embellishment of the Shrine of
Baha'u'lllth. The beloved Guardian contemplated surrounding the
Sepulchre with a colonnade which would dramatize it fiom far and
near, ninety-five monolithic columns of Carrara marble, seven
metres high, arrayed in pairs, over a platform of the same marble,
the whole ensemble like arms stretching ready to embrace--an
awesome complex whose brilliant majesty would glorif) and
enshrine the precious and sacred Holy of Holies. The future
glorification of the Shrine of Baha'u'llhh is referred to in some
messages from Shoghi Effendi to the Bahit'i World.
One more monumental building on Mt. Carmel was to be
erected in the Guardian's lifetime. It is known as the International
Archives Building and its purpose is to reverently preserve and
display precious original sacred writings and historical articles
which had been associated with the lives of the Bhb, Bahi'u'llih,
and 'Abdul-Bahit, as well as the martyrs and heroes. The collection
steadily grew as families who had safeguarded these articles for
generations found that the proper place for their preservation would
be at the BahVi World Centre.
In 1954, Shoghi Effendi decided to begin the planning of an
archives building. He announced the plan with far-sighted certitude
of its meaning for the fbture; "the first of the major edijces
destined to constitute the seat of the World Bahci't Administrative
Centre to be established on Mt Carmel." 52 Shoglu Effendi held
great admiration for ancient Greek architecture as it is dignified and
timeless in style. He chose the proportions of the Parthenon as his
model for the Archives building and as a precedent for the type of
fiiture buildings at the Baha'i World Centre. Again, Dr. Giachery
was his agent in Italy for the acquisition of carved white marble.
Interestingly, its one immense stained glass window is fiom Sicily,
the roof tiles fiom Holland, the crystal chandeliers from
Czechoslovakia, the floor tiles from England, cabinets of Japanese
and Chinese work -- truly international in more than one way. The
stunningly beautifhl building was finished in mid- 1957, set into
gardens already planned and planted before the construction
Shoghi Effendi planned the site for the Archives building at
the far right side of a large arc which sweeps across the slope of
the mountain. At the top of the center of the arc now stands the
Seat of the Universal House of Justice. At this time (1998)
construction is under way for the magnificently landscaped terraces
below and above the Shrine of the Bab, the International Bahgi
Library, the International Teaching Center, the Center for the Study
of the Texts, plus a basement expansion to the International
Archives, all in fhlfillment of the beloved Guardian's vision of
mystical allusions by Bahit'u'lltih in the Tablet of Camel, "Erelong
will Godsail His Ark upon thee.
The year 1957 was the one hundred thirteenth year fiom the
beginning of the Baha'i Era. The Ten Year World Crusade was
progressing with marvelous advances. The Holiest House of
Worship, Mother Temple of the West, after fiRy years of struggle,
had been finished and dedicated four years earlier. Three Temples
were under construction; in Africa, Europe, and Australia; sites for
fbture temples had been purchased in many countries. Record
numbers of valiant pioneers were establishing the Faith in countries
previously unopened.
The Guardian's Anticipation of the Need for Protection
For many years the weighty messages from the Guardian had
become the guiding light and focus of attention for Bahh'is around
the world. No one could anticipate that a happy and victorious
message to the Bahi'i World from the Guardian in October 1957
was to be his last. But the Guardian himself made preparations for
his own passing. In this message he appointed eight more Hands of
the Cause, doubled the number of Auxiliary Board members who
assisted the Hands, and charged them with the specific duty of
watching over the security of the Faith. He now designated the
Hands of the Cause as the Chief Stewards of Bahh'u'llhh's
embryonic World Commonwealth, an act which assured the Faith
the protection it would surely require.
Shoghi Effendi:
His Passing
The Events of His Passing
The closing of the earthly life of the Guardian came so
unexpectedly, so quietly and swiftly, that the Baha'is of the world
who had relied upon him unremittingly for thq-six years were sent
reeling in shock and dismay. In the fall of 1957, Shoghi Effendi and
his beloved wife, closest companion and helper, Hand of the Cause
Amatu'l-Bahh Rchiyyih Khbum were in London to purchase
fbrnishings for the Archives building. He had a brief illness from
influenza and was recuperating. His last evening was spent listing
names and places on a map of the world, recording the victories
won for the Faith by the pioneers. It was at last finished, but then
he stayed up to read the vast amount of reports that came to him
from Bahb'is all over the world.
On the morning of November 4th Amatu'l-Bahb spoke to
him as he appeared to be awake and resting as if quietly thinking,
but this time there was no answer. Shoghi Effendi, that Priceless
Pearl, had joined his beloved Grandfather, 'Abdu'l-Bahb, at the
court of the Blessed Beauty.
The fbneral was in a chapel of a cemetery in London,
attended by hundreds of his inconsolable loved ones fi-om every
race and nation. The monument to his memory is a single white
marble column with a Corinthian capital, surmounted by a globe,
atop of which is a bronze eagle, with wings outspread, a synlbol of
victory. Inscribed on the column are these words from the Will and
Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha:
"Behold he is the blest
And sacred bough that has
Branched out@om the
TwinHoly Trees. Well is it
With him that seeketh the
Shelter of his shade that
Shadoweth all mankind."54
After the blinding heat of sorrow had passed, the Hands of
the Cause then undertook the new responsibilities which the
Guardian had laid upon them in his last messages. They guided and
guarded the Faith of Bahh'u'llih through the added sorrow of
realiing that no one existed who met the requirements in 'Abdu'l-
Bahb's Will for Shoghi Effendi's successor. This became a great
test to the insincere and ambitious. The ocean of the Covenant
surged and the bodies of the dead were cast out.
The Successful Conclusion of the Ten Year Crusade
Through the guidance of the Chief Stewards, the Ten Year
World Crusade came to a glorious conclusion in the Centenary year
of the Declaration of Bahb'u'llih, which was celebrated by a World
Congress held in London. With 56 National Assemblies
established, the fruit of the Guardian's labors, these pillars of the
Universal House of Justice were ready to support it, according to
the plans of Shoghi Effendi. Therefore, under the direction of the
Hands of the Cause, the Universal House of Justice was elected,
and its members were introduced to the Baha'i World Congress in
London, in 1963.
It is impossible to do justice to the accomplishments of
Shoghi Effendi, the Priceless Pearl and the Sign of God on Earth,
no matter how monumental the effort. This brief presentation,
therefore, is far fkom adequate. But it is hoped that it will inspire
our reader to understand and appreciate our beloved Guardian more
1. Holy Bible, Isaiah 1 1 :16
2. R. Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 2
3. Ibid., p. 17
4. Ibid., p. 4
5. Ibid., p. 5-6
6. U. Giachery, Shoghi Efendi, Recollections, p. 15
7. R. Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 7
8. Ibid., p. 7
9. Ibid., p. 12
10. Ibid., p. 29
1 1. A. Collins, A Tribute to Shoghi Effendi, p. 1-3
12. R. Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 125
13. Ibid., p. 129
14. Ibid., p. 130
15. Ibid., p. 131
16. Ibid., p. 139
17. Ibid., p. 143
18. U. Giachery, Shoghi Effendi, Recollections, p. 16
19. Ibid., p. 19-20
20. Ibid., p. 21
21. Ibid., p. 21-22
22. Ibid., p. 24
23. Ibid., p. 25
24. Ibid., p. 27
25. 'Abdu '1-Bahd Will and Testament of 'Abdu '1-
Bahh, p. 25
26. Ibid., p. 3
27. lbid., p. 11
28. S. Effendi, World Order ofBahd 'u 'llah, p. 151
29. Ibid., p. 15 1
30. Ibid., p. 5
3 1. Ibid., p. 9
32. Ibid., p. 16
33. Ibid., p. 16
34. Ibid., p. 17
35. S. Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 3-4
36. S. Effendi, Messages to America, p. 88
37. U. Giachery, Shoghi Effendi, Recollections, p. 30
38. Ibid., p. 41
39. Ibid., p. 41 -42
40. Ibid., p. 10-1 1
4 1. William Sears, Pilgrim 's Notes, manuscript
42. U. Giachery, Shoghi Efendi, Recollections, p. 36
43. R. Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 196-1 97
44. Ibid., p. 202
45. Ibid., p. 214
46. S. Effendi, Advent of Divine Justice, p. 16
47. R. Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 224
48. Ibid., p. 224
49. Ibid., p. 234
50. Ibid., p. 246
51. Ibid., p. 247
52. Ibid., p. 264
53. BahB'u'llLh, Gleamingsfiom the Writings of
Bahd'u 'lldh, p. 16
54. U. Giachery, Shoghi Effendi, Recollections, p. 186
'Abdu'l-Bahh. The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha.
Wilmette, Illinois: Baha'i Publishing Committee, 1944.
Bahb'uYll&.Gleaningsfrom the Writings of Baha 'u 'lldh. Bah2i
Publishing Trust, 1952.
Braun, Eunice. From Strength to Strength. Wilmette, Illinois:
Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1978.
Collins, Amelia. A Tribute to Shoghi Effendi. Wilmette, Illinois:
Baha'i Publishing Trust, undated pampl~let.
Giachery, Ugo. Shoghi Effendi, Recollections. London: George
Ronald, 1973.
Holy Bible (King James Version).
Rabbani, Ruhiyyih. The Priceless Pearl. London, Baha'i
Publishing Trust, 1969.
Sears, William. Pilgrim's Notes, manuscript
Shoghi Effendi. Zle Advent of Divine Justice. Wilmette, Illinois:
Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1939.
Shoghi Effendi. Messages to America. Wilmette, Illinois: Baha'i
Publishing Trust, 193 8.
Shoghi Effendi. The World Order of Bahd'u'llhh. Wilmette,
Illinois: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 193 8.Publish Post
Taherzadeh, Adib. The Covenant of Bahh'u'llah. Kidlington,
Oxford: George Ronald, 1992.

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