Ten Persian Hands of the Cause who, during the first conclave of 26 of the 27 Hands of the Cause held in ‘Akká, 1 some two weeks following the passing of Shoghi Effendi, ignominiously conspired, to put an end to the Guardianship when, immediately following what they should have realized would be a fruitless search for a will and testament in which Shoghi Effendi had appoined his successor, they inexcusably ignored the unmistakable provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that clearly preclude the appointment of a successor by testamentary document as he is specifically required to make this appointment "in his own life-time." For their obviously nominated spokesman, Dr. Muhajir, took the floor at the very outset of the opening period devoted to consultation and incredulously proposed that, as Shoghi Effendi had left no will and testament appointing a successor, the Guardianship be declared "Badah" for the remaining duration of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh (a term, when applied in this case, meant that God had changed His mind about the continuance of the Guardianship). 2


The widow of Shoghi Effendi, Rúhíyyih Khánum, a very charming, intelligent, much loved and revered person who had served for many years as a highly capable, devoted and faithful secretary to Shoghi Effendi in his correspondence with the English speaking believers, (being of Canadian birth) and who, now that he had gone, was, quite understandably, accorded a marked deference and respect by both her fellow-Hands and all of the believers, unlike that previously shown to Shoghi Effendi. As a result, when she surprisingly and immediately endorsed this hasty and diabolical proposal, to end the Guardianship, which had also been supported and seconded by the other nine Persian Hands, her endorsement inevitably served to strongly influence the remaining sixteen non-Persian Hands (one being absent for health reasons) to fall into line and to enable this proposal to be unanimously approved when put to a vote and constitute thereby, in their minds, a final and irreversible decision (although this decision, not openly opposed at the time by Mason Remey, in order to preserve unity, was never, for a single moment, really accepted by him, for good reason, as he later explained in his Dairy). However, the finality of this decision was not revealed by the Hands to the believers throughout the world at the time who were subsequently deceitfully led to believe that the question of succession would be finally decided by the Universal House of Justice whose election they planned for Ridván 1963, whereas the Hands certainly knew that such a decision was clearly outside the province of that legislative body which according to the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is solely authorized to "enact laws" that "bear upon daily transactions . . .and formeth no part of the Divine Explicit Text" —‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will being a part of that Text according to Shoghi Effendi. This endorsement by Rúhíyyih Khánum was particularly incomprehensible as it constituted a complete reversal of her strongly expressed views in the past about the irreplaceable Institution of the Guardianship in the Bahá’í Administrative Order and a clear contradiction to statements that she had made in her past writings in which she had emphatically stressed the absolute essentiality and indispensability of the Guardianship to the Faith.


That Shoghi Effendi would not have used a conventional testamentary document to appoint his successor, nor will any future Guardian do so, as the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá makes it incumbent upon the Guardian to appoint his successor "in his own life-time" and therefore they should have realized that they had obviously overlooked some message or pronouncement made by Shoghi Effendi during his ministry in which he would have faithfully appointed his successor in complete conformance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

That Shoghi Effendi had described the divine genesis of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the following words: "The creative energies released by the Law of Baha’u’lláh, permeating and evolving within the mind of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, have, by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and promise of this most great Dispensation . . . Being the Child of the Covenant—the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God—the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him Who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it"

That Shoghi Effendi had further emphasized that the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, "together with the Kitab-i-Aqdas, constitutes the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í Faith."


They had, in effect, shamelessly declared null and void the major provisions of a divinely-conceived, sacred and immutable Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, only thirty-six years after the inception of the Administrative Order to which it had given birth, and a Document that, as explained by Shoghi Effendi, had been actually co-authored by Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and therefore expressed "their Will." Moreover, Shoghi Effendi further emphasized the immutability and immortality of this divinely-conceived Document in stating that, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Will and Testament were "not only complementary," but " mutually confirm one another" and are inseparable parts of one complete unit." As such, the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was therefore undeniably nothing less that a part of the explicit Holy Text, whose sacred and immutable provisions shall endure unchanged for at least a full thousand years.

They had inexcusably ignored or carelessly overlooked the fact that Shoghi Effendi had proclaimed on 9 January 1951 the appointment of the embryonic Universal House of Justice, with the provisional name of International Bahá’í Council, and had identified this "Nascent Institution" in this Proclamation as "this first embryonic International Institution and significantly had appointed Mason Remey the President thereof as the irremovable embryonic Head of this embryonic Institution which he had carefully retained as an inactively functioning body during the remaining years of his ministry, even appointing Rúhíyyih Khánum as his "chosen liaison" thereto, so that only upon his passing it could then be activated and become the instrumentality through which Mason Remey whose appointment he had made, as required "in his own life-time" would then automatically acceded to the Guardianship as his chosen successor, faithfully appointed in accordance with the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which stipulate that the Guardian of the Faith is the "sacred head" of this Institution.

They overlooked the future pre-eminent role that Shoghi Effendi had specifically projected for the International Bahá’í Council— referred to by him, in this instance, as "the Central Body"—in which he had stated that this body would be direcing the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world in the prosecution of their respective assigned goals during the Ten Year Global Crusade, scheduled to commence at Ridván 1953 (message of 23 November 1951)

They flagrantly usurped the rightful supreme role and functions of the International Bahá’í Council, as outlined above, which this body should have been permitted to automatically and rightfully assume upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi and established in its place an illegitimate and superfluous body comprised of nine Hands, completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, upon which they bestowed the concocted appellation: "Custodians of the Bahá’í World Faith"

They then instructed all National Spiritual Assemblies in the world to recognize this admittedly temporary body as "the supreme body in the Cause" which would now assume "all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith" pending the planned election of an equally illegitimate, sans-Guardian (hence headless) so-called Universal House of Justice some six years later at Ridván 1963 and to whose equally ill-gotten authority the functions, rights and powers, which, according to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, are solely exercised by the Guardian of the Faith, would then be transferred.

As a tragic result of their decisions, plans and actions, the Hands of the Cause, (one Hand excluded) incredulously supported by Rúhíyyih Khánum, had now through the decisions and actions discussed above ignominiously, blatantly and undeniably corrupted the divinely-conceived Bahá’í Administrative Order as delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in His sacred and immortal Will and Testament. For them the Guardian of the Faith—"the Center of the Cause"—no longer existed and their own Institution of the Hands as well would be no more (as they died out). The so-called Universal House, whose election they projected to take place at Ridván 1963 would be a deformed and headless body without the Guardian as its "sacred head," presiding over its deliberations and decisions as prescribed in the Will and Testament of "Abdu’l-Bahá.


Future scholars of the Faith will not be influenced either by the fallen and wayward Hands of the Cause or Ruhiyyih Khanum, as they will have become by that time, if at all, only a distant memory. These scholars will study the matchless writings of Shoghi Effendi in which he has so magnificently explained the divine genesis of the Administrative Order and inevitably come to recognize and truly appreciate the important significance and implications to be found in the series of "historic" and "epoch-making" messages that he had addressed to the Baha’í world in the closing years of his thirty-six year ministry in which he had announced with such elation the final fruit of his labors as he finally established the international administrative institutions of the Faith in complete accordance with the Mandate of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, culminating, as he acclaimed, at "the World Center of the Faith where, at long last the machinery of its highest institutions has been erected and around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding order are in their embryonic form unfolding." They will certainly never embrace a man-made, deformed and pitiful replica that has been substituted for the God-given and divinely-conceived Baha’i Administrative Order delineated by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

In the future desolate, shattered and greatly changed world which will then surround them these future scholars will find grateful solace in and be enraptured by the supernal vision that they will inevitably gain as they study Shoghi Effendi’s matchless writings that will assure them of the ultimate establishment of Bahá’u’lláh’s Most Great Order, an undefiled Order that is divinely-conceived, ordained and founded on God’s immutable Purpose for mankind in this day. Assuredly they will then hearken with gladsome hearts to the enthralling and celestial strains that "then and only then" will be so beautifully warbled, by the "Nightingale of Paradise" firmly perched upon the glorious Tree of the Covenant.

Joel Bray Marangella

Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith

October, 2005

  1. A conclave of the Hands of the Cause is not called for in the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to determine the identity of the Guardian’s appointed successor as he is required to make known this appointment "in his own life-time" and not by testamentary document. The fact that these Hands had so gathered should have alerted them to the inescapable fact that Shoghi Effendi, ever faithful to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, would unquestionably have made this appointment during his ministry in some way that they had obviously not perceived at the time and which they should now endeavor to discover.
  2. Information about the proceedings and decisions made at this secret conclave are available in the Dairy of Mason Remey, titled: "Daily Observations."