1. The "Limb of the Law of God" and "Branch" referred to in this sentence are obviously spiritual Limbs and are terms not to be confused with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's blood-line relationship to Bahá'u'lláh.
2. If we reflect upon the strong emphasis of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on the protection that had been afforded the Faith through Bahá'u'lláh's appointment of Him as the Center of the Covenant and sole interpreter of the Holy Word it becomes clear why 'Abdu'l-Bahá provided in His Will and Testament for the Institution of the Guardianship which, through an unbroken line of guardians down through the ages to come of the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, would continue to insure this same essential safeguard and protection.
3. In this supplication of the Báb to God He clearly indicates the preeminence of spiritual relationships to Him of those who profess to be adherents of His Cause including His own kin. It will be noted that in referring to the relationship that binds the faithful believers to Himself as the "Tree" the Báb identifies the male believers as branches, the female believers as leaves and any offspring as "fruit". The use of this same symbology has been carried forward into the Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh and appears in the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh and is used by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will.
4. Again, in this quotation we observe that the term "branch" denotes a spiritual relationship as neither 'Alí (the first Imám) nor Joshua were Sons or lineal descendents of these Manifestations. They were spiritual sons or branches of these two Holy Trees.
5. Notwithstanding Shoghi Effendi's clear statements concerning the inviolability of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the then Hands of the Cause following the passing of Shoghi Effendi completely ignored and repudiated the words of Shoghi Effendi and nullified those provisions of the Will and Testament pertaining to the continuity of the Guardianship declaring them to be "BADA" (i.e. God had changed His Mind). Thus in one fell swoop they destroyed all three of the supreme international Institutions of the Faith delineated in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, namely: the guardianship, the Hands of the Cause (appointed only by the Guardian) and the Universal House of Justice (a complete organ only when presided over by its "sacred head for life" - the Guardian or, on occasion, by his specifically appointed representative).
6. It is apparent that 'Abdu'l-Bahá was disinclined to capitalize terms referring to Himself and therefore wrote "primal branch" rather than "Primal Branch". Another example is the following statement: "it is incumbent upon everyone to hold fast unto the Text of the clear and firmly established blessed verse, revealed about him". It is obvious that "primal branch" and "Most Great Branch", the term used by Bahaullah, are synonymous terms. Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi the then Hands of the Cause interpreted the "primal branch" to refer to Shoghi Effendi. Whereas it will become clear even after only a cursory review of the Will that the terms: "youthful branch" and "twig" used by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in subsequent passages to refer to Shoghi Effendi cannot be equated with "primal branch" It is from this "primal branch" that the youthful branch or twig - the Guardian - has spiritually sprung and from which all future Guardians will spiritually spring. This symbolically denotes the spiritual relationship of the Guardians to the Center of the Covenant.
7. It is clear that being cut off from the Holy Tree denotes a spiritual severing from the Manifestation of God and that this statement again emphasises the primordial importance of spiritual relationships as contrasted with physical or blood-line relationships. This is reiterated in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's "Last Tablet to America" wherein He quotes the account found in the New Testament of the brothers of Christ who came to Him and reminded Him that they were His brothers whereupon He replied that "His brothers were those who believed in God." Afterwards, He refused to associate with these brothers. In this same Tablet He also recounts the history of Qurratu'l-'Ayn ,(a "Letter of the Living" during the Dispensation of the Báb) who forsook her two eldest sons. He quotes her words: "All the friends of God are my children but these two [sons] are not. I will have nothing to do with them."
This is further emphasized in May Maxwell's book "An Early Pilgrimage" wherein she relates the following statement made by 'Abdu'l-Bahá to a young American believer whose parents had not accepted the Faith: "Material relationship is nothing, it bears no eternal fruits. You are the child of God and of the Kingdom and the ties of the flesh are nothing, but the ties of the spirit are all. I am your father, these [the other believers present] are your brothers and sisters, and you must be glad and rejoice, for I love you exceedingly."
8. The Aghsán are the Sons of Bahá'u'lláh and the term "Branches" in this instance (note capitalization used by Shoghi Effendi in his translation) does not denote a spiritual relationship but their blood-line relationship as members of Bahá'u'lláh's Family Tree. One can perceive the wisdom of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in making specific reference to these Branches as well as the Afnán (Twigs), the kindred of the Báb, when one considers the rebellion of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's brothers against Him following the ascension of Bahá'u'lláh. As they were enjoined, together with the other believers, to turn unto Shoghi Effendi, the first Guardian of the Faith, they were not able to claim any special prerogatives or station or put forward any excuse exempting them from the same obedience, submissiveness, and loyalty to the Guardian as the other believers. The Báb had no living son or Branch. His relatives, therefore, being more distant in their relationship to the Holy Tree, in terms of lineage, are Twigs of that Tree.
9. The term "youthful branch" denotes the spiritual relationship of the Guardian (in this case Shoghi Effendi) to the "primal branch", 'Abdu'l-Bahá. In this sense all the future Guardians of the Faith will be youthful branches when they initially inherit the guardianship irrespective of their physical age at the time.
10. The "two offshoots" mentioned here are the mother and father of Shoghi Effendi, his mother being the daughter of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and his father a relative of the Báb. Therefore, Shoghi Effendi, "the fruit grown from" or offspring of this union was related to both Bahá'u'lláh and the Báb. But, more than this, 'Abdu'l-Bahá emphasises the spiritual relationship of Shoghi Effendi's father and mother to the "Tree of Holiness" (note that "Tree" is singular). As previously pointed out 'Abdu'l-Bahá has defined "offshoots of the Tree of Holiness" in the first page of His Will as "they that in the Day of the Great Dividing have stood fast and firm in the Covenant ."
11. 'Abdu'l-Bahá had no son (or lineal Branch) to succeed Him and chose His grandson (a spiritual "branch" ) to be the first guardian of the Cause of God.
12. Shoghi Effendi has pointed out in his writings that the law of primogeniture which endows the first-born with the exclusive right of inheritance has been upheld by the Prophets of the past.
13. It is clear that under these terms the incumbent Guardian of the Faith is free to choose any other male believer whose fidelity to the Covenant and spiritual qualifications make him worthy to be considered a "branch" of the Holy Tree and to be appointed, therefore, as the Guardian's successor. In this event the following words of 'Abdu'l-Bahá contained in His "Last Tablet to America" are pertinent: "Consider! The Divine Gardener cuts off the dry or weak branch from the good tree and grafts to it, a branch from another tree." One can see that under this provision the Guardian is not bound in any way to appoint a successor from his lineal descent nor the lineal descent of Bahá'u'lláh.
14. It should be borne in mind that the Universal House of Justice consists of two parts, namely: The Guardian as "its sacred head" or President and the body of this House whose members are elected by the secondary or National Houses of Justice. Shoghi Effendi has pointed out in his writings that the Guardian "symbolizes the hereditary principle in this Dispensation" and "has been made the interpreter of the words of its Author." Therefore, "he ceases, consequently by virtue of the actual authority invested in him, to be the figurehead invariably associated with the prevailing systems of constitutional monarchies." Under this authority the Guardian "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 Bahá'u'lláh's revealed utterances." It is clear from the foregoing that this supreme administrative institution of the Faith can only be an infallible legislative organism when it is presided over by its "sacred head" - the Guardian of the Cause of God as delineated in Abdu'l-Bahás Will and Testament.
15. The first living contingent of the Hands of the Cause were appointed by Shoghi Effendi on 24 December 1951 (previous Hands having been named by him posthumously). During the remaining six years of his ministry he did not call upon the Hands to exercise the function of expulsion from the Faith but reserved this decision to himself.
16. ;The new believer may well ask why it was that in view of this very explicit provision of the 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will calling for the Guardian to appoint his successor during his lifetime the Hands of the Cause, after his passing should have searched for a testamentary document left by Shoghi Effendi. It appears that these Hands, not to mention the believers at large, had misunderstood or forgotten this provision. When one considers the fact that Shoghi Effendi was only 61 years of age when he passed away so suddenly and unexpectedly it is understandable that the Bahá'í world, occupied so completely with achieving the goals of the Ten Year Global Crusade and having no intimation that Shoghi Effendi's life was nearing its end, would not have given close consideration to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament, and particularly this clause, for a long time, if, in fact, they ever had.
17. This body of nine elected Hands did not come into existence during the ministry of Shoghi Effendi. However, it was formed embryonically by Shoghi Effendi in the last few years of his ministry in that he appointed four Hands whom he called upon to reside in Haifa permanently. These together with Rúhíyyih Khánum, (his wife), also a Hand, constituted a body of five Hands working directly under Shoghi Effendi in the Holy Land.
18. In the light of those provisions of the Will that require all to be submissive and obedient to the Guardian it is clear that the intent of this provision is not to give the Hands a veto over the one whom the Guardian has chosen as his successor but rather the intent is to safeguard the guardianship from any person or persons who might attempt to foist upon the believers a false pretender to the guardianship (i.e. not one chosen by his predecessor). In the light of those provisions of the Will that require all to be submissive and obedient to the Guardian it is clear that the intent of this provision is not to give the Hands a veto over the one whom the Guardian has chosen as his successor but rather the intent is to safeguard the guardianship from any person or persons who might attempt to foist upon the believers a false pretender to the guardianship (i.e. not one chosen by his predecessor).
19. 'Abdu'l-Bahá states that "the Supreme Tribunal which His Holiness Bahá'u'lláh has described will fulfil this sacred task (of establishing Universal Peace) with the utmost might and power. And His plan is this: that the national assemblies of each country and nation -- that is to say parliaments -- should elect two or three persons who are the choicest men of that nation, and are well informed concerning international laws and the relations between governments and aware of the essential needs of the world of humanity in this day. The number of these representatives should be in proportion to the number of inhabitants of that country. The election of these souls who are chosen by the national assembly, that is the parliament, must be confirmed by the upper house, the congress and the cabinet and also by the president or monarch so these persons may be the elected ones of all the nation and the government. From among these people the members of the Supreme Tribunal will be elected and all mankind will thus have a share therein, for every one of these delegates is fully representative of his nation. When the Supreme Tribunal gives a ruling on any international question, either unanimously or by majority-rule, there will no longer be any pretext for the plaintiff or ground of objection for the defendant. In case any of the governments or nations, in the execution of the irrefutable decision of the Supreme Tribunal, be negligent or dilatory, the rest of the nations will rise up against it, because all the governments and nations of the world are the supporters of this Supreme Tribunal." (BWF, p 292).
20.Huqúqu'llah (the Right of God) requires that "If a person has possessions equal in value to at least 19 mithqals in gold (approximately 3 1/2 grams) it is a spiritual obligation to pay 19% of the total amount once only". However, "Certain categories of possessions, such as one's residence, are exempt from this." After the initial payment, "whenever his income, after all expenses have been paid, increases the value of his possessions by the amount of at least 19 mithqals of gold, he is to pay 19% of this increase, and so on for each further increase." This provision of the Aqdas was not implemented during the ministry of Shoghi Effendi nor has it been implemented as of this writing (December 1984).
21.Shoghi Effendi writes that Muhammad-'Alí "as testified by Mírzá Badí'u'lláh (his brother) in his confession, written and published on the occasion of his repentance and his short-lived reconciliation with 'Abdu'l-Bahá, had, while Bahá'u'lláh's body was still awaiting internment, carried off, by a ruse, the two satchels containing His Fathers most precious documents, entrusted by Him, prior to His ascension, to 'Abdu'l-Bahá" and "by an exceedingly adroit and simple forgery of a word recurring in some of the denunciatory passages addressed by the Supreme Pen to Mírzá Yahyá, and by other devices such as mutilation and interpolation, had succeeded in making them directly applicable to a Brother ['Abdu'l-Bahá] Whom he hated with such consuming passion."
22. It should be reiterated that this body cannot alter or nullify in any way the institutions of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order delineated by the Master-Architect of that Order in His Will and Testament -- a Document that Shoghi Effendi has stressed is a part of the explicit Holy Text.
23. It is obvious that the "twig" can in no wise be confused with "the primal branch" praised and glorified in the early passages of the Will, which as already explained, refers to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's own station.
24. It is apparent that when 'Abdu'l-Bahá penned these lines all of the Aghsán had become disloyal and joined the company of the Covenant-breakers.
25. This statement alone makes it clear that the Hands of the Cause had no authority to declare the guardianship ended following the passing of Shoghi Effendi.
26. Some publications issued by the violators following the passing of Shoghi Effendi pretended that the "Center of the Cause" was Haifa and not the person of the Guardian of the Cause of God as clearly intended by 'Abdu'l-Bahá.
27. In view of this clear warning by 'Abdu'l-Bahá it is obvious that the Bahá'ís were in error in turning to the Hands of the Cause as a substitute for the Guardian following his passing. They were duty bound to diligently search for the Guardian's successor. Had they instituted a careful re-examination of the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and the acts taken by Shoghi Effendi in accordance therewith together with his momentous messages to the Bahá'í world during the concluding years of his ministry they would certainly have discovered that he had established the embryonic Universal House of Justice and had appointed its embryonic Guardian-President, Charles Mason Remey, who awaited the assumption of his Office upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi.