To facilitate consideration of the request submitted to the Government of Israel for and on behalf of Mason Remey, the Second Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, and of all true believers in the Bahá'í Faith for recognition of Mason Remey as Second Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, the undersigned respectfully submits a summary of what are deemed to be the salient features of the critical evidence found in the Canons of the Faith and in the writings of the first Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith which establish the Guardianship as the position of supreme authority in the Faith and provide for and assure uninterrupted continuity of this Institution during the Bahá'í Dispensation and prove that, simultaneously with the death of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, Mason Remey became second Guardian, by virtue of his appointment to this position by Shoghi Effendi Rabbani under the terms of the said Canons.
The Bahá'í faith was heralded in 1844 by the Báb the Forerunner; it was revealed by Bahá'u'lláh, its author, in his Ministry of thirty-nine years between 1853 and 1892; it was expanded throughout the world by `Abdu'l-Bahá, the appointed "Center of the Covenant", the Perfect Exemplar of the Faith, during every moment of His Ministry of twenty-nine years from 1892 to 1921; and it was guarded, systematized and organized, pursuant to the testamentary mandate, by Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, beloved Guardian of the Faith, during every breath of his life in his thirty-six year ministry between 1921 and 1957.
They, the Herald, Founder, Exemplar, and Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, respectively, announced the inception of a divinely conceived Order, revealed its Laws, Ordinances and Principles, delineated its features, and initiated the erection of its administrative institutions.
Supreme among the Institutions of the Bahá'í Faith is the Guardianship which was anticipated by Bahá'u'lláh in His Book of Laws (The Kitab-i-Aqdas, His Most Holy Book) and whose features were delineated in a mandate issued by `Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament. The archetypal Guardian is Shoghi Effendi Rabbani. He characterised the Guardianship as a divinely appointed Institution and pronounced it an indissoluble part of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh and the only means for implanting and perpetuating in the Order the hereditary principle consistently upheld by the Law of God.
The Guardian is the Interpreter of the Holy Writ, the expounder of the Words of God to whom all of the Branches (Sons of Bahá'u'lláh), Twigs (kindred of the Bab) of the Sacred Lote-Tree and the loved ones of the Abhá Beauty (Bahá'u'lláh) must turn. It is he whom the members of the House of Justice must obey. It is he whom the Hands of the Cause must obey. It is compliance with this mandate of obedience to the Guardian which secures the Faith with the sinew of impregnability.
Inseparable from, and complementary to the Guardianship, is the Universal House of Justice to be elected by universal suffrage by the believers through the Secondary (National) Houses of Justice. Its function is to enact all laws not recorded in the Book which bear upon daily transactions, all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text. The Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith is the sacred head of the Universal House of Justice, its indefeasible, inviolable, sacrosanct head, and the distinguished member for life of this body. The Universal House of Justice has one head, one distinguished member for life, the Guardian of the Faith. Among the powers expressly conferred upon the Guardian in his capacity as head of the Universal House of Justice is that of expelling a sinning member thereof.
The Universal House of Justice is a legislative organ. It is the initiator and abrogator of its own laws. It is not empowered to abrogate, alter, or repeal any law except one enacted by the Universal House of Justice.
The earthly continuity of the Guardianship is assured by the Master, `Abdu'l-Bahá, in His Will and Testament where He enjoins the Guardian to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his successor, that differences may not arise after his passing. The first Guardian was Shoghi Effendi Rabbani. He was, therefore, the first Guardian to comply with this injunction. No fixed procedures or formalities are enjoined by the Canons of the Faith on the Guardian for the effectuation of this appointment, but the essential qualifications of the successor are prescribed. He who is appointed successor to the Guardian, be he the first-born of the Guardian or another, 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.
After the Guardian, the first-born of his lineal descendants may succeed. However, if the first-born of the Guardian does not inherit of the spiritual within the Guardian, then the Guardian is commanded to choose another branch to succeed him. Consequently, there can be no automatic successor to the Guardian, even of a first-born, for example, on intestacy. If the Guardian should have no first-born, he must choose another branch to succeed him. The branch is employed in the Will and Testament to designate another believer in the Bahá'í Faith who is firm in the Covenant, be he of the Guardian's blood or not, since the Covenant is symbolised in the Bahá'í writings as a Tree. This injunction, to choose another branch, subordinates consanguinity to the qualities the successor must manifest. Complete discretion to resolve the question of qualification is conferred upon the Guardian. If the successor be not of the Guardian's blood, he, as the spiritual descendant, "symbolizes the hereditary principle" for he supplants the lineal descendant of the Guardian, just as Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, who was not the first-born of `Abdu'l-Bahá (being his grandson) was His spiritual descendant.
On January 9, 1951, during his (the Guardian's) own life-time, he (the Guardian) announced, as a weighty epoch making decision, the formation of the first International Bahá'í Council, forerunner of the supreme administrative institution (Universal House of Justice). He characterized this enterprise as ranking second only to the glorious immortal events associated with the Ministries of the Three Central Figures of the Faith in the course of the first Age of the Faith (1844-1921). Thus, the Guardian expressly associates the formation of the International Bahá'í Council with the Forerunner, the Author, and the Exemplar of the Faith, all of whom were the sole fountain-heads of authority in the Faith during their respective Ministries.
The next cablegram from the Guardian to the Bahá'í World announced the appointment of Mason Remey as President of the International Bahá'í Council. Succeeding cablegrams from the first Guardian reiterate the themes that The International Bahá'í Council is to culminate in the emergence of the Universal House of Justice, Mason Remey is President of the International Bahá'í Council, and the newly appointed contingent of the Hands of the Cause are under the aegis of the Guardian.
In appointing Mason Remey, President of the International Bahá'í Council, the First Guardian employed the qualifying adverb "particularly", thus distinguishing him from everyone else in the Bahá'í World. This distinction he had not theretofore employed and did not in his writings thereafter employ with respect to any other person. He called particular attention to Mason Remey because he was the appointed successor, the embryonic successor since the head of the International Bahá'í Council, its President, Mason Remey, was the embryonic head of the embryonic Universal House of Justice. In this manner did Shoghi Effendi Rabbani appoint his successor, Mason Remey, during his lifetime. Mason Remey is thus distinguished from all in the congregation of the Bahá'í World by the exalted truth that he is the only person in the Bahá'í World whom the Guardian, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, appointed to a position of authority.
Shoghi Effendi Rabbani was the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith from 28 November 1921 (the date of the ascension of `Abdu'l-Bahá) to 4 November 1957 (the date of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani's passing).
The Guardian is infallible according to the Canons of the Faith. His infallibility is the perfect guarantee that he appointed his successor during his lifetime as enjoined in the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá. This essential truth, therefore, admits of only one question following his death, the question of the identity of him whom he appointed during his lifetime as his successor. This question he had answered, in 1951, when he insured the Bahá'í World against the possibility of a hiatus occurring in the continuity of the Guardianship, by making the emergence of his successor contingent on a single certainty, his, Shoghi Effeni Rabbani's, physical death. Thus, the death of Shoghi Effendi infused the human temple of Mason Remey with the breath of the Guardianship.
Why did Shoghi Effendi Rabbani choose to envelope the appointment of his successor in a veil of secrecy? Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, himself, has supplied the answer in a pointed reference in his book "Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh" where he discusses a Tablet of `Abdu'l-Bahá relating to the Institution of the Guardianship and the question of succession. This Tablet `Abdu'l-Bahá addressed to three of His friends in Persia. To their questions as to whether there would be any person to whom all the Bahá'ís would be called upon to turn after His ascension he made the following reply: "As to the question ye have asked me, know verily that this is a well-guarded secret. It is even an a gem concealed within its shell. That it will be revealed is predestined. The time will come when its light will appear, when its evidences will be made manifest and its secrets unravelled".
The procedure whereby Shoghi Effendi Rabbani carried out the Mandate of `Abdu'l-Bahá to appoint his successor abundantly testifies to the unimpeachable authenticity of the incumbency of Mason Remey as successor-Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith. It enshrines the following realities: During the lifetime of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, no one on earth except Shoghi Effendi Rabbani knew whom he had appointed as his successor. It was, therefore, a secret. The identity of his successor was not discernible to anyone but his successor until a lapse of time after his, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani's death, proof that it had been indeed a well-guarded secret. It had been concealed within a shellthe Presidency of the International Bahá'í Council. How and when Shoghi Effendi Rabbani had appointed his successor were the secrets that were revealed, exposed to light, and thus unravelled, following the death of Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, through the Proclamation of Mason Remey.
In the absence of a mandate concerning the procedure to be followed in naming his successor, it is manifest from the foregoing that Shoghi Effendi Rabbani had chosen to conceal the identity of his successor during his lifetime, just a `Abdu'l-Bahá had concealed His appointment of the first Guardian, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani.
That the Guardianship is hereditary means that it is capable of being transmitted from a parent to an offspring, who could and, if he possessed the prescribed qualifications, would be, according to the Will and Testament, the first-born son of the Guardian. This does not make it imperative that the successor of the Guardian be the subject of a legacy transmitted by Will. `Abdu'l-Bahá made the first bestowal of the Guardianship by legacy in His Will and Testament to a lineal descendant, his grandson. A Will is the instrument usually employed to devise and bequeath property when the regular recipients are lineal descendants. However, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani had no lineal descendants. Since he was not disposing of his, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani's, estate as much as he was carrying out the provisions of the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá,a Document which had been admitted to probate and which had disposed of the estate of `Abdu'l-Bahá, he, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, did not execute a Will. To have done so would have exposed the succession to the uncertainties and vicissitudes to which a Will is subject when, as in his case, there were no lineal descendants. If he had executed a Will to appoint his successor and the Will were to be attacked and, as a result, denied probate, for whatever reason, he Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, by having used a Will, in effect, would have been a party, however unwittingly, to the subversion rather than the effectuation of the Mandate of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Accordingly, to replace any possible uncertainty with certainty, he chose to avoid all the dangers inherent in a testamentary disposition, such as, for example, the lack of guarantee that the Will would be recognized as a valid legal instrument since it could be probated only after his death.
Shoghi Effendi, therefore, appointed his successor in a cablegram published and delivered to all followers of the Bahá'í Faith during his lifetime, but he cloaked this appointment under a protective veil which would be shed on his, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani's, death and replaced instantaneously with the light of reality. No probate was needed, no uncertainties existed. Shoghi Effendi Rabbani had fulfilled with the maximum degree of certainty possible the supreme task of his Mission, with the latent admonition that all followers of the Bahá'í Faith study and meditate upon the revelations and writings of the Faith.
In this manner, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, the first Guardian of the Faith, guarded the Faith even unto his last breath on earth. In this manner, the first Guardian appointed his successor during his lifetime. In this manner, the first Guardian insulated his successor-Guardian against vilification and attack during his, the Guardian's lifetime. In this manner, the first Guardian assured that following his death there would be an immediate and incontrovertible succession to the Institution of the Guardianship, the "Center of the Cause" and the Head-cornerstone of the Bahá'í Administrative Order.
J. FERGUS BELANGER
16 October 1961