BAHAI-LIBRARY.NET - English

  • Increase font size
  • Default font size
  • Decrease font size

Messages 1963 to 1986 (Part 1)

E-mail Print

MESSAGES FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 1963-1986

THE THIRD EPOCH OF THE FORMATIVE AGE

 

=================================

This etext is based on:

"Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-1986"

Compiled by Geoffry W. Marks

 

Bahá'í Publishing Trust, Wilmette, Illinois 60091-2844

Copyright (c) 1986 by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States

All Rights Reserved

 

Availability of this etext in no way modifies the copyright status of the above publication.

This etext is freely available through anonymous internet file-sharing.

=================================

 

 

 

<pv>

OCCASION WORLD-WIDE CELEBRATIONS MOST GREAT JUBILEE COMMEMORATING CENTENARY ASCENSION BAHA'U'LLAH THRONE HIS SOVEREIGNTY WITH HEARTS OVERFLOWING GRATITUDE HIS UNFAILING PROTECTION OVERFLOWING BOUNTIES JOYOUSLY ANNOUNCE FRIENDS EAST WEST ELECTION SUPREME LEGISLATIVE BODY ORDAINED BY HIM IN HIS MOST HOLY BOOK PROMISED BY HIM RECEIVE HIS INFALLIBLE GUIDANCE. MEMBERS FIRST HISTORIC HOUSE JUSTICE DULY ELECTED BY DELEGATES COMPRISING MEMBERS FIFTY-SIX NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES ARE CHARLES WOLCOTT 'ALI NAKHJAVANI H. BORRAH KAVELIN IAN SEMPLE LUTFU'LLAH HAKIM DAVID HOFMAN HUGH CHANCE AMOZ GIBSON HUSHMAND FATHEAZAM. TO JUBILATION ENTIRE BAHA'I WORLD VICTORIOUS COMPLETION BELOVED GUARDIAN'S UNIQUE CRUSADE NOW ADDED HUMBLE GRATITUDE PROFOUND THANKSGIVING FOLLOWERS BAHA'U'LLAH FOR ERECTION UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE AUGUST BODY TO WHOM ALL BELIEVERS MUST TURN WHOSE DESTINY IS TO GUIDE UNFOLDMENT HIS EMBRYONIC WORLD ORDER THROUGH ADMINISTRATIVE INSTITUTIONS PRESCRIBED BY BAHA'U'LLAH ELABORATED BY 'ABDU'L-BAHA LABORIOUSLY ERECTED BY SHOGHI EFFENDI AND ENSURE EARLY DAWN GOLDEN AGE FAITH WHEN THE WORD OF THE LORD WILL COVER THE EARTH AS THE WATERS COVER THE SEA. HAIFA, 22 APRIL 1963

HANDSFAITH

<pxxvii>

Foreword

On 21 April 1963, one hundred years after Baha'u'llah's public declaration of His world-redeeming mission, the first International Baha'i Convention was held on the majestic slopes of Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. The purpose of this momentous gathering was to elect, for the first time, the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing and legislative body of the Baha'i Faith.

The election of the Universal House of Justice was greeted with great joy by the world-wide Baha'i community, for it ensured the continuation of divine guidance until the advent of the next Manifestation of God, thereby fulfilling the prophecy that there would come a "Day which shall not be followed by night."

The continuation of divine guidance-the primary theme of this Book is a unique feature of the Baha'i Faith. Unlike any of the Manifestations of God Who preceded Him, Baha'u'llah, the Founder of the Baha'i Faith, made a Covenant with His followers to direct and channel the forces released by His Revelation, guaranteeing the continuity of infallible guidance after His death through institutions to which all of His followers must turn.

In His will and testament Baha'u'llah designated His eldest son, 'Abdu'l-Baha, His successor, the authoritative Interpreter of His Writings, and the Centre of His Covenant. In His own will and testament 'Abdu'l-Baha perpetuated the Covenant through the Administrative Order ordained in Baha'u'llah's Writings. 'Abdu'l-Baha appointed as His twin successors the institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. He named His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Cause of God and expounder of the Word of God, while giving the Universal House of Justice the role of legislating on matters not explicitly revealed in the Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l- Baha or dealt with by Shoghi Effendi.

Writing about the Universal House of Justice, Baha'u'llah explained that, "Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time. ... It is incumbent upon all to be obedient unto them." Moreover, <pxxviii> 'Abdu'l-Baha asserts in His Will and Testament that "Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the Purpose of God Himself." Thus the fundamental purpose of the Universal House of Justice is to ensure the continuity of the divine guidance that flows from the Source of the Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers, and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings. Its origin, its authority, its duties, and its sphere of action are all derived from the Writings of Baha'u'llah. His Writings, along with those of 'Abdu'l-Baha and of Shoghi Effendi constitute its bedrock foundation and its binding terms of reference.

Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986: The Third Epoch of the Formative Age brings together letters, cables, telexes, and electronic mail messages sent to Baha'i institutions and individuals during a twenty-three-year period that the Universal House of Justice has called the Third Epoch of the Formative Age of the Faith. The Formative Age stands between the Heroic Age (1844-1921), which is associated with the Ministries of the Bab (the Prophet-Herald of the Baha'i Faith), Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l- Baha, and the Golden Age, which will witness the dawning of the Most Great Peace, the emergence of a commonwealth of all the nations of the world, and the advent of the Kingdom of God on earth.

The First Epoch of the Formative Age (1921-44/46) saw the birth of the Baha'i Administrative Order and the primary stages in the erection of its framework. This epoch was characterized by its focus on forming local and national institutions in all the continents, thereby laying the foundation needed to support future systematic teaching activities. The First Epoch also witnessed the initiation of the first Seven Year Plan (1937-44), at the direction of Shoghi Effendi, by the Baha'is of the United States and Canada. This plan, inspired by 'Abdu'l-Baha's Tablets of the Divine Plan, constituted the Baha'i community's first systematic teaching campaign and began the initial stage of carrying out 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan in the Western Hemisphere.

The Second Epoch of the Formative Age (1946-63) witnessed the further development and maturation of the Administrative Order and the execution of a series of teaching plans that carried the Faith beyond the confines of the Western Hemisphere and Europe. Its two most distinguishing characteristics were the rise and steady consolidation of the World Centre of the Faith in Haifa, including the appointment of the Hands of the Cause of God, the introduction of the Auxiliary Boards, and the establishment of the International Baha'i Council, and the simultaneous and often spontaneous prosecution of Baha'i national plans in both the East and the West. Shoghi Effendi now used the internally consolidated and administratively experienced National <pxxix> Spiritual Assemblies to launch the Ten Year World Crusade (1953-63) in which he summoned the twelve existing National Spiritual Assemblies to participate in one concentrated, united effort to spread the Faith more widely throughout the world. This enterprise resulted in the opening of 131 countries to the Faith, the formation of forty- four National Spiritual Assemblies, and a vast increase in the ethnic diversity of the Baha'i community.

However, the victorious completion of the Ten Year World Crusade came with a heavy price. In 1957, midway through the Crusade, Shoghi Effendi died unexpectedly of a heart attack. The Baha'is were devastated. Not only were they deprived of their Guardian, but they were also deprived of their source of divine guidance. The Guardianship was a hereditary office, and Shoghi Effendi had left no heir. How would the unity of the Faith be preserved? How could the conflict and contention that has divided other religions be prevented? Clearly, unless the Baha'i Faith could safeguard its unity, it could never hope to unify a sorely divided world. Into this chasm of doubt and despair stepped the Hands of the Cause of God, whom Shoghi Effendi had appointed and to whom he had referred as the "Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth who have been invested by the unerring Pen of the Centre of His Covenant with the dual function of guarding over the security, and of insuring the propagation, of His Father's Faith." Through their heroic stewardship they guided the community along the course Shoghi Effendi had set. By the end of the nearly six-year interregnum they had not only preserved the unity of the Faith but also inspired a surge of sacrificial service leading to the Ten Year Crusade's victorious conclusion and crowning achievement, the culminating event of the Second Epoch-the election of the Universal House of Justice.

The Universal House of Justice proclaimed in a letter dated October 1963 that the Third Epoch of the Formative Age had begun. Outlining what would become the distinctive characteristics of the new epoch, it said the Baha'i Faith "must now grow rapidly in size, increase its spiritual cohesion and executive ability, develop its institutions and extend its influence into all strata of society." Moreover, "its members, must, by constant study of the life-giving Word, and by dedicated service, deepen in spiritual understanding and show to the world a mature, responsible, fundamentally assured and happy way of life, far removed from the passions, prejudices and distractions of present day society."

The Third Epoch called the Baha'is of the world to a yet more mature level of functioning that would be consistent with expected vast increases in the community's size and diversity, its emergence as a model to humankind, and the extension of its influence in the world at large. <pxxx>

The nature of individual and community maturity for which the Universal House of Justice called is evident as one reads the book. Through the release of translations and compilations of Baha'i writings and through a voluminous correspondence in which perplexing questions about various personal and social problems are discussed, the Universal House of Justice guides individuals and communities in their efforts to live a Baha'i life. Matters of spiritual growth, sexual morality, relations between husband and wife, family life, prejudice, politics, possession of firearms, ranks and stations in the Faith, the tests of Baha'i community life, and the suffering of humanity are a few of the topics of individual and community life that are addressed.

Numerous accounts of the vicious persecution of the Iranian Baha'is and of their efforts and the efforts of the Baha'i communities around the world to help them testify to the spiritual and administrative maturation of the world-wide Baha'i community.

The increasing maturity of the world-wide Baha'i community is further evidenced as the Universal House of Justice guides the Baha'i community to progressively more mature levels of functioning through three major world teaching plans conducted during the Third Epoch of the Formative Age: the Nine Year Plan (1964-73), the Five Year Plan (1974-79), and the Seven Year Plan (1979-86). Among the results and achievements won during these three plans are the Faith's gradual emergence from obscurity, its assumption by the Universal House of Justice of the role of a promoter of world peace, the initiation of activities intended to foster social and economic development, the establishment of the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the International Teaching Centre, the introduction of assistants to the Auxiliary Boards, and one of the crowning events of the Third Epoch-the construction and occupation of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice at the World Centre of the Faith.

The publication of Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986. The Third Epoch of the Formative Age comes ten years after the inauguration of the Fourth Epoch. Although the Baha'i Faith is well into this new stage of development, and new patterns of growth and change are evident, yet the study of the messages contained in this volume yields a treasure of insight, knowledge, and understanding of the principles guiding the unfoldment of the Baha'i Faith and the efforts of individuals and communities as they strive to adopt the pattern of life prescribed by Baha'u'llah. Moreover, the inclusion of virtually every major message of the Third Epoch enables one to survey significant developments in the organic growth of the Baha'i world community, to follow its increasing maturity and acquisition of new powers and capacities, to perceive a continuity in its development, and to detect patterns in the interplay between the forces of light and darkness, between crisis and victory. <pxxxi> Individuals, communities, and institutions will find the book an important aid in making decisions as they apply themselves to meeting current challenges and will derive continual inspiration and encouragement from the majestic pronouncements, authoritative elucidations, and ennobling, luminous, and loving counsels of the Universal House of Justice. The messages themselves are sufficient proof that the Covenant of Baha'u'llah is unbroken, that the channel of divine guidance remains open, and that "the Day which shall not be followed by night" has at last dawned upon the world. National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

<pxxxiii>

A note from the compiler

Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986: The Third Epoch of the Formative Age brings under one cover 456 letters, cables, telexes, and electronic mail messages from the Universal House of Justice to Baha'i institutions, to Baha'is gathered at special events, to individuals, or -- in one case -- to the peoples of the world. A volume long overdue, it enlarges upon and replaces two earlier compilations of messages: Wellspring of Guidance: Messages, 1963-1968, published in 1969, and Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1968-1973, published in 1976. In preparing the new volume several factors where considered. First was the need to make available the messages contained in the first two compilations and to add thirty-six messages from the 1963 through 1973 period that had not been included. Second was the need to publish messages received after 1973. Thus it was decided to publish a new volume that would encompass and expand upon the first two books.

The time frame of the new volume became clear in January 1986 when the Universal House of Justice announced the closing of the Third Epoch (1963-1986) and the inception of the Fourth Epoch, signalled by new developments in the maturation of the institutions of the Faith. Hence Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986 enables the reader to survey the full sweep of the Third Epoch, beginning with the first message issued by the Universal House of Justice after its establishment in 1963 and ending with the annual Ridvan message of 1986. The messages record the progress of the Faith through the Nine, Five, and Seven Year Plans, chronicling extraordinary advances in proclamation, expansion, and consolidation. They reach a climax in the last two years of the Seven Year Plan with the Faith's emergence from obscurity, the release of a statement on peace addressed to the peoples of the world, and the inception of the Fourth Epoch of the Formative Age. These and countless other achievements stand in marked contrast to the contemporaneous persecution of the Baha'is of Iran, throwing into sharp relief the interplay between crisis and victory. The dynamic interaction between these two forces is a chief characteristic of the unfoldment of the Baha'i Faith and a prominent theme in this volume.

Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986 includes numerous features that have been introduced for the reader's convenience. A table of epochs of the Heroic and Formative Ages of the Baha'i Faith and a list of significant <pxxxiv> milestones, anniversaries, and events in the Third Epoch offer a brief overview of recent Baha'i history. Each message has been given a heading and assigned a number, and the paragraphs or other divisions of text within the messages have been numbered to facilitate reference. An extensive index is included, its locators corresponding to the numbering system used in the text. Subheadings have been added to many longer messages; spellings have been Americanized1; and, for consistency, dates have been given in a day-month year format. Addressees, salutations, and complimentary closings have been retained, except for a few cases in which confidentiality required their omission. Because the compilation of messages covers almost a quarter of a century, footnotes have been added to explain historical details, allusions, technical terms, sources of most quotations, cross references to other messages on the same topic, and references to further details in the glossary or in other books. To help keep the notes as brief as possible, the titles of many Baha'i books were abbreviated. A list of abbreviations and the titles they stand for appears at the front of the book. A glossary has been included to give background information and define technical Baha'i terms. A bibliography provides information about books and compilations referred to in the text and footnotes.

No changes have been made to the texts of the messages without explicit permission from the Universal House of Justice. Extracts from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, and 'Abdu'l-Baha that are quoted in the messages have been checked against authenticated sources and authorized translations and have been updated accordingly where appropriate. Noticeable changes in the translations of such extracts are footnoted. The dates of certain cables may differ slightly from those of the same cables published elsewhere because cables of general interest that were addressed to a specific National Spiritual Assembly were usually conveyed to other National Spiritual Assemblies by mail a few days later. In such cases the date of the original cable is used.

Occasionally the reader will encounter references to enclosures or attachments, such as compilations and lists of pioneer assignments given to National Spiritual Assemblies. Such enclosures have been omitted because of space limitations. Most of the compilations have already been published, and, wherever possible, a reference to the published work is given.

We would like to express our deepest appreciation to the Universal House of Justice for its assistance in making available many messages that were previously unpublished and particularly for its direction in all phases of the production of this volume. Thanks are due to Ivor Stoakley, Diane Taherzadeh, and Lewis Walker for their assistance with footnotes and glossary entries; to John Walbridge for helpful comments on the glossary; to Dr Manuchehr Derakhshani for assistance with Persian and Arabic transliterations; to Dr Betty <pxxxv> J. Fisher and Terry J. Cassiday of the Baha'i Publishing Trust whose insights, scholarship, hard work, and close attention to detail have been invaluable; and to my wife, Amy, for her unwavering encouragement and support. We hope this book will prove to be a useful and convenient source of guidance and inspiration for both individuals and institutions the world over as they strive to serve the Cause of Baha'u'llah and carry the healing balm of His teachings to all humanity.

Geoffry W. Marks

<pxxxvii>

List of abbreviations

 

ABL 'Abdu'l-Baha in London

ADJ The Advent of Divine Justice, 1990 ed.

BA Baha'i Administration

BN Baha'i News

BNE Baha'u'llah and the New Era

BP Baha'i Prayers, 1991 US ed.

BW 9 The Baha'i World, Volume IX

BW 13 The Baha'i World, Volume XIII

BW 14 The Baha'i World, Volume XIV

BW 15 The Baha'i World, Volume XV

BW 16 The Baha'i World, Volume XVI

BW 17 The Baha'i World, Volume XWI

BW 18 The Baha'i World, Volume XVIII

BW 19 The Baha'i World, Volume XIX

CC The Compilation of Compilations

CF Citadel of Faith

CUHJ Constitution of the Universal House of Justice

DB The Dawn-Breakers

DND Dawn of a New Day

ESW Epistle to the Son of the Wolf

FSTS From Strength to Strength

GPB God Passes by

GWB Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah

KA The Kitab-i-Aqdas

KI The Kitab-i-Iqan

LFG Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand

LG Lights of Guidance

MA Messages to America

MBW Messages to the Baha'i World <pxxxviii>

MC Messages to Canada

MF Memorials of the Faithful

PB The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah

PDIC The Promised Day Is Come, 1996 ed.

PM Prayers and Meditations

PP The Priceless Pearl

PT Paris Talks

PUP The Promulgation of Universal Peace, 1982 ed.

SAQ Some Answered Questions, 1984 ed.

SBS Selections from Baha'i Scriptures

SC Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas

SDC The Secret of Divine Civilization

SWAB Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha

TABA Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas, Vols I-III.

TB Tablets of Baha'u'llah Revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas

TDP Tablets of the Divine Plan, 1992 ed.

TN A Traveller's Narrative

UD Unfolding Destiny

WOB The World Order of Baha'u'llah

WT Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha

 

<pxxxix>

Epochs of the Heroic Age [2]

[2. Based on the attachment to the letter dated 5 February 1986 from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies. See message no. 451.]

 

1844-1853

The First Epoch

The Babi Dispensation

 

1853-1892

The Second Epoch

The Ministry of Baha'u'llah

 

1892-1921

The Third Epoch

The Ministry of 'Abdu'l-Baha

 

<pxli>

Epochs of the Formative Age [3]

[3. Based on the attachment to the letter dated 5 February 1986 from the Universal House of Justice to all National Spiritual Assemblies. See message no. 451.]

 

1921-1944/46

The First Epoch

1921-1936

Period of Preparation

1937-1944

The first Seven Year Plan of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada

1944-1946

Consolidation of victories

 

1946-1963

The Second Epoch

1946-1953

The second Seven Year Plan of the Baha'is of the United States and

plans of varying duration pursued by nine other regional and national

Baha'i communities (Canada; Central America and South America;

Australia and New Zealand; India, Pakistan, and Burma; the British

Isles; Germany and Austria; Persia; Egypt; 'Iraq) [4]

[4. See FSTS, pp. 33-38.]

1953-1963

The Ten Year World Crusade

 

1963-1986

The Third Epoch

1963-1964

Year of Preparation

1964-1973

Nine Year Plan

1973-1974

Year of Preparation

1974-1979

Five Year Plan

1979-1986

Seven Year Plan <pxlii>

 

1986-

The Fourth Epoch

1986-1992

Six Year Plan

1992-1993

Holy Year Commemorating the Ascension of Baha'u'llah and the Inauguration of His Covenant

1993-1996

Three Year Plan

1996-2000

Four Year Plan <pxliii>

 

 

The Third Epoch

Significant Milestones, Anniversaries, and Events

Milestones

Ridvan 1963

First election of the Universal House of Justice April

28 April-2 May 1963

First Baha'i World Congress commemorating Baha'u'llah's

declaration of His mission and the victorious consummation of

the Ten Year World Crusade

Ridvan 1964

Inauguration of the Third Epoch with the launching of the Nine

Year Plan

Ridvan 1973

End of the Nine Year Plan

Naw-Ruz 1974

Beginning of the Five Year Plan

Ridvan 1979

End of the Five Year Plan

Beginning of the Seven Year Plan

January 1986

Inauguration of the Fourth Epoch

Ridvan 1986

End of the Seven Year Plan

Beginning of the Six Year Plan

Significant Anniversaries

April 1963

Centenary of Baha'u'llah's public declaration of His Mission

26 March 1966

Fiftieth anniversary of the revelation of the first Tablets of the Divine Plan

September/October 1967

Celebration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's proclamation to the Kings

27 September 1967

Celebration of the centenary of the revelation of the Suriy-i- Muluk

12 November 1967

Sesquicentennial of the Birth of Baha'u'llah

31 August 1968

Centenary of the arrival of Baha'u'llah in the Holy Land

23 June 1968

Centenary of the passing of Mirza Mihdi, the Purest Branch <pxliv>

28 November 1971

Fiftieth anniversary of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha

1973

Centenary of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas

June 1977

Centenary of the termination of Baha'u'llah's confinement in 'Akka

July 1982

Fiftieth anniversary of the passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf

4 November 1982

Twenty-fifth anniversary of the passing of Shoghi Effendi

Significant Events

Ridvan 1963

Convening of 1st International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and

election of the Universal House of Justice

Ridvan 1964

Launching of the Nine Year Plan

July 1964

Dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe, Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany

November 1965

Purification of the Most Holy Tomb

October 1967

Opening of a period of proclamation inaugurated by the

presentation by the Universal House of Justice to 140 heads of state of a

special edition of The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah

Commemoration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's proclamation to

the kings with the holding of six intercontinental conferences in

Panama City, Panama; Wilmette, Illinois, USA; Sydney, Australia;

Kampala, Uganda; Frankfurt am Main, Germany; and New Delhi, India

Assumption by the Universal House of Justice of representation

of the Baha'i International Community at the United Nations

October 1967

Laying of the foundation stone of the Mother Temple of Latin America, Panama City, Panama

February 1968

Embracing of the Faith by His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa

Ridvan 1968

Convening of the 2nd International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and election of the Universal House of Justice

June 1968

Establishment of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

August 1968

Commemoration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's arrival in the

Holy Land with the holding of First Oceanic Conference, Palermo,

Sicily <pxlv>

February 1970

Baha'i International Community's attainment of consultative

status with the United Nations Economic and Social Council

August 1970-September 1971

Holding of eight oceanic and continental conferences in La Paz,

Bolivia; Rose Hill, Mauritius; Monrovia, Liberia; Djakarta, Indonesia;

Suva, Fiji; Kingston, Jamaica; Sapporo, Japan; Reykjavik, Iceland

28 April-2 May 1972

Dedication of the Mother Temple of Latin America, Panama City, Panama

June 1972

Announcement of the decision to build the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

September 1972

Murder of three Iranian Baha'i students in the Philippine Islands

November 1972

Adoption of the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice

March 1973

Purchase of the Mazra'ih Mansion

Ridvan 1973

Convening of the 3rd International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and

election of the Universal House of Justice Publication of A Synopsis and

Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas

May 1973

Announcement of the embracing of the Baha'i Faith by His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II of Western Samoa

June 1973

Establishment of the International Teaching Centre

February 1974

Acceptance of the design for the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

Ridvan 1974

Launching of the Five Year Plan

January 1975

Acquisition of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha in 'Akka

April 1975

Excavation of the site of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

July 1976-January 1977

Holding of eight international teaching conferences in Helsinki,

Finland; Anchorage, Alaska; Paris, France; Nairobi, Kenya; Hong Kong;

Auckland, New Zealand; Bahia, Brazil; and Merida, Mexico.

September 1976

Visit of His Highness Malietoa Tanumafili II to the

resting-place of Shoghi Effendi in London, England

May 1977

Murder of Ruhu'llah Taymuri-Muqaddam, an Iranian home-front pioneer, in his home by fanatics <pxlvi>

October 1977

Laying of foundation stone for Mother Temple of Indian subcontinent, New Delhi, India

December 1977

Initiation of broadcasting by the first Baha'i radio station, Otavalo, Ecuador

Ridvan 1978

Convening of the 4th International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and election of the Universal House of Justice

August 1978

Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Ecuador

December 1978-January 1979

Intensification of the persecution of the Baha'is in Iran

January 1979

Laying of the foundation stone of the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands

Naw-Ruz 1979

Launching of the Seven Year Plan

June 1979

Fixing of Counsellors' term of service at five years

June-July 1979

Numerous appeals made by Local Spiritual Assemblies around the

world to Ayatollah Khomeini, asking him to stop the persecution of the

Baha'is of Iran

June-August 1979

Addresses by H. Borrah Kavelin, representative of the Universal

House of Justice, at a series of significant meetings in North America

and Europe about the importance of redeeming the Iranian Baha'is

sacrifices through service to the Faith

September 1979

Demolition of the House of the Bab in Shiraz

November 1979

Arrest of a member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iran

December 1979

Commencement of excavation of the site of the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands, Apia, Western Samoa

July 1980

Commencement of construction of Mother Temple of the Indian Subcontinent, New Delhi, India

August 1980

Arrest of all nine members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran and two Auxiliary Board members

November 1980

Appointment of a new contingent of Continental Counsellors to a five-year term of service

January 1981

Execution of chairman of National Spiritual Assembly of Iran

May 1981

Establishment of a European Branch Office of the Baha'i International Community

August 1981

Increase in the severity of the persecution of the Baha'is of Iran <pxlvii>

November 1981

Arrest of six members of National Spiritual Assembly of Iran Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Peru

December 1981

Demolition of the House of Baha'u'llah in Takur Arrest and

execution of eight members of the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran

May-September 1982

Holding of five international conferences in Lagos, Nigeria;

Montreal, Canada; Quito, Ecuador; Dublin, Ireland; and Canberra, Australia

July 1982

By-election to replace one member of the Universal House of Justice

December 1982

Establishment of first Baha'i radio station in North America

January 1983

Occupation by the Universal House of Justice of its permanent Seat

April 1983

Opening of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha to pilgrims

Ridvan 1983

Convening of the 5th International Baha'i Convention, Haifa, and election of the Universal House of Justice

May 1983

Increase in the responsibilities of the International Teaching

Centre Public defence of the Baha'is of Iran by the President of the

United States

June 1983

Execution of seventeen Baha'is in Shiraz, including ten women

Call for the youth of the world to vindicate the martyred youth of

Shiraz

August 1983

Banning of Baha'i administration in Iran

September 1983

Sending of an open letter from the National Spiritual Assembly

of Iran to the authorities responding to the false charges made

against the Baha'i community

October 1983

Call for Baha'i involvement in social and economic development activities

April 1984

Attempt to achieve false confessions from the Baha'is of Iran by use of torture

Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Bolivia

August 1984

Dedication of the Mother Temple of the Pacific Islands, Apia, Western Samoa <pxlviii>

July 1985

Release of compilation on the Law of Huququ'llah

Establishment of Public Information Office at the Baha'i World Centre

October 1985

Release by the Universal House of Justice of a statement on

peace addressed to the peoples of the world

Appointment of a new and expanded contingent of members of the

Continental Boards of Counsellors

November 1985

Presentation of the peace statement to the Secretary General of the United Nations

December 1985

Emergence of the Baha'i Faith from obscurity signalled by

adoption of a resolution by the United Nations General Assembly

supporting the Iranian Baha'i community

December 1985-January 1986

Conference of the Continental Boards of Counsellor in the Holy

Land with Hands of the Cause of God, members of the Universal House

of Justice, and the International Teaching Centre

January 1986

Announcement of the beginning of the Fourth Epoch of the

Formative Age by the Universal House of Justice in a letter to the Baha'is

of the world

 

Inauguration of Radio Baha'i Panama

February 1986

Setting of date for dedication of Mother Temple of the Indian

Subcontinent, New Delhi, India Invitation from the Universal House of Justice

to National Spiritual Assemblies and Continental Counsellors to

consult about national goals within the framework of the major

objectives of the Six Year Plan set by the Universal House of Justice

Ridvan 1986

Review by the Universal House of Justice of achievements of the

Seven Year Plan, comments on the Faith's emergence from obscurity and

the maturation of the institutions of the Cause and announcement of

World Centre goals of publishing an English translation of the

Kitab-i-Aqdas, education of the Baha'is about the law of Huququ'llah, planning

for the completion of the remaining buildings on the Arc, and

broadening the basis of the international relations of the Faith Launching

of the Six Year Plan

 

MESSAGES FROM THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE 1963-1986

<p3>

1963-1964

A year of preparation

 

<p5>

1 Statement of the Universal House of Justice to the First Baha'i World Congress[5]

[5. The statement was presented by Mr David Hofman, a member of the Universal House of Justice, to the Baha'is assembled in Royal Albert Hall, London, 28 April-2 May 1963, at the Baha'i World Congress, which commemorated the Most Great Jubilee, the one hundredth anniversary of Baha'u'llah's declaration of His mission, and also marked the victorious completion of the Ten Year Crusade launched by Shoghi Effendi in April 1953.]

30 April 1963

1.1 "All praise, O my God, be to Thee Who art the Source of all glory and majesty, of greatness and honour, of sovereignty and dominion, of loftiness and grace, of awe and power. Whomsoever Thou wiliest Thou causest to draw nigh unto the Most Great Ocean, and on whomsoever Thou desirest Thou conferrest the honour of recognizing Thy Most Ancient Name. Of all who are in heaven and on earth, none can withstand the operation of Thy sovereign Will. From all eternity Thou didst rule the entire creation, and Thou wilt continue for evermore to exercise Thy dominion over all created things. There is none other God but Thee, the Almighty, the Most Exalted, the All-Powerful, the All-Wise."+F6

[F6. Baha'u'llah, in BP, p. 120.]

1.2 Beloved friends: On this glorious occasion, the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee, we raise our grateful thanks to Baha'u'llah for all His bounties showered upon the friends throughout the world. This historic moment marks at one and the same time the fulfilment of Daniel's prophecy, the Hundredth Anniversary of the Declaration of the Promised One of all ages, the termination of the first epoch of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Baha designed to establish the Faith of God in all the world, and the successful conclusion of our beloved Guardian's world-encircling Crusade, enabling his lovers and loved ones everywhere to lay this glorious harvest of victory in his name at the feet of the Blessed Beauty.+F7 This Most Great Jubilee is the crowning victory of the lifework of Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Cause of God. He it was, and he alone, who unfolded the potentialities of the widely scattered, numerically small, and largely unorganized Baha'i community which had been called into <p6> being during the Heroic Age of the Faith.+F8 He it was who unfolded the grand design of God's Holy Cause, set in motion the great plans of teaching already outlined by 'Abdu'l-Baha, established the institutions and greatly extended the endowments at the World Centre, and raised the Temples of America, Africa, Australasia and Europe, developed the Administrative Order of the Cause throughout the world, and set the Ark of the Cause true on its course. He appointed the Hands of the Cause of God.

[F8. The Heroic Age, the first of three Ages of the Baha'i Dispensation, began in 1844 with the Declaration of the Bab, ended in 1921 with the passing of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and spanned the Ministries of the Bab, Baha'u'llah, and 'Abdu'l-Baha. It was followed by the Formative Age, which in turn will be followed by the Golden Age. For a fuller discussion of the Ages of the Baha'i Dispensation, see the Glossary.]

[F7. 'Abdu'l-Baha explained that Daniel's prophecy ("Blessed is he who cometh unto the thousand three hundred and thirty five days," Dan. 12:12) points to one century after Baha'u'llah's appearance and declaration of His mission in 1863 and refers to the spread of the teachings of the Baha'i Faith across the world. The first epoch of the Divine Plan, 'Abdu'l-Baha's programme of action for the world- wide propagation of the Faith, began in 1937 and ended in 1963, with the conclusion of the Ten Year Crusade (1953-63). For further information, see Glossary entries on Divine Plan; Crusade, Ten Year World; Epochs; Plans; Tablets of the Divine Plan. "Blessed Beauty' refers to Baha'u'llah.]

1.3 The paeans of joy and gratitude, of love and adoration which we now raise to the throne of Baha'u'llah would be inadequate, and the celebrations of this Most Great Jubilee in which, as promised by our beloved Guardian, we are now engaged, would be marred were no tribute paid at this time to the Hands of the Cause of God. For they share the victory with their beloved commander, he who raised them up and appointed them. They kept the ship on its course and brought it safe to port. The Universal House of Justice, with pride and love, recalls on this supreme occasion its profound admiration for the heroic work which they have accomplished. We do not wish to dwell on the appalling dangers which faced the infant Cause when it was suddenly deprived of our beloved Shoghi Effendi, but rather to acknowledge with all the love and gratitude of our hearts the reality of the sacrifice, the labour, the self-discipline, the superb stewardship of the Hands of the Cause of God. We can think of no more fitting words to express our tribute to these dearly loved and valiant souls than to recall the Words of Baha'u'llah Himself: "Light and glory, greeting and praise be upon the Hands of His Cause, through whom the light of fortitude hath shone forth and the truth hath been established that the authority to choose rests with God, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Unconstrained, through whom the ocean of bounty hath surged and the fragrance of the gracious favours of God, the Lord of mankind, hath been diffused."+F9

[F9. TB, p. 83.]

1.4 The members of the Universal House of Justice, all being in Haifa at the time of the election, were able to visit the Holy Shrines of Baha'u'llah, the Bab and of 'Abdu'l-Baha where they prostrated themselves at the Sacred Thresholds and humbly sought strength and assistance in the mighty task before them. Later in London they have paid homage at the resting-place of Shoghi Effendi, the blessed and sacred bough of the Tree of Holiness.

1.5 As soon as the House of Justice is able to organize its work and deploy its forces it will examine carefully all the conditions of the Cause of God, and <p7> communications will be made to the friends. At this time we call upon the believers everywhere to follow up vigorously the opportunities opened up by the World Crusade. Consolidation and deepening must go hand in hand with an eager extension of the teaching work so that the onward march of the Cause may continue unabated in preparation for future plans. Now that the attention of the public is becoming more and more drawn to the Cause of God the friends must brace themselves and prepare their institutions to sustain the gaze of the world, whether it be friendly or hostile, eager or idle.

1.6 The Universal House of Justice greets you all lovingly and joyfully at this time, and asks you to pray fervently for its speedy development and the spiritual strengthening of its members.

 

2

Message to National Conventions 1963

7 May 1963

To the annual National Conventions of the Baha'i World

Beloved friends,

2.1 The marvellous happenings which have transpired during and immediately after the twelve days of Ridvan attest the greatness of the Cause of God, and fill every Baha'i heart to overflowing with joy and gratitude.+F10 It was in obedience to the summons of the Lord of Hosts Himself that the elected representatives of the fifty-six national and regional communities of the Baha'i world were called to elect, in the shadow of God's Holy Mountain and in the house of the Centre of His Covenant, the members of the Universal House of Justice.+F11 It was the Sign of God on Earth, the Dayspring of Divine Guidance, <p8> the Guardian of the Cause of God, who gathered more than six thousand Baha'is from all parts of the earth to the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee in London.+F12

[F12. the following day, and the Hands of the Cause of God announced the results in a cable to the Baha'i world (see epigraph).]

[F11. Baha'u'llah wrote, in Tablets of Baha'u'llah (pp. 27, 68): "Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time. ... It is incumbent upon all to be obedient unto them." "It is incumbent upon the Trustees of the House of Justice to take counsel together regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book, and to enforce that which is agreeable to them. God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth, and He, verily, is the Provider, the Omniscient." 'Abdu'l-Baha, in His Will and Testament (p. 19), wrote: "Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice." The election of the Universal House of Justice was held in the House of 'Abdu'l-Baha in Haifa, 7 Haparsim Street, at the foot of Mount Carmel, on 21 April 1963. The results of the election were announced to the delegates]

[F10. The happenings referred to were the First International Baha'i Convention held 21-23 April 1963 at the Baha'i World Centre, during which the Universal House of Justice was first elected, and the first Baha'i World Congress, held in London 28 April through 2 May 1963. Immediately following the World Congress the Universal House of Justice met for several days in the council room of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the British Isles at 27 Rutland Gate, dealing with essential matters concerning its establishment and initial functioning. At the same time, the Hands of the Cause of God were meeting in conclave in another room of the same Haziratu'l-Quds, preparing a first draft of the next teaching plan for submission to the Universal House of Justice and arranging the future disposition of their own work. For the message issued by the Hands of the Cause of God announcing the results of the election of the Universal House of Justice, see the epigraph.]

Events of Spiritual and Administrative Significance

2.2 The first of these historic occasions was marked by events of extreme spiritual and administrative significance at the World Centre of the Faith. The daily visits of large groups of believers, of many varying backgrounds, to the sacred Shrines in the twin holy Cities;+F13 the holding of the First International Baha'i Convention and the successful accomplishment of its main task; the celebration of the Ridvan Feast by some three hundred believers in the company of the Hands of the Cause of God in the precincts of the Haram-iAqdas,+F14 are events of unique character and untold significance in the history of our beloved Faith.

[F14. Haram-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Court) is a designation Shoghi Effendi gave to the northwestern quadrant of the garden surrounding the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji.]

[F13. Haifa and 'Akka.]

2.3 The celebration of the Most Great Jubilee in London must be described elsewhere. Suffice it to say now that this greatest gathering of Baha'is ever held in one place was permeated by a spirit of such bliss as could only have come from the outpourings of the Abha Kingdom. The review of the progress of the Cause, the presentation of believers from the new races and countries of the world brought within the pale of the Faith during the Beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, of the Knights of Baha'u'llah, those valiant souls who carried the banner of Baha'u'llah to the unopened and often inhospitable regions of the earth, the spontaneous outbursts of singing of "Allah-u-Abha," the informal gatherings, the constant greetings of Baha'u'llah's warriors known to each other only by name and service, the youth gatherings, the unprecedented publicity in the press, on radio and television, the daily stream of visitors to the beloved Guardian's resting-place, the radiant faces and heightened awareness of the true and real brotherhood of the human race within the Kingdom of the Everlasting Father, are among the outstanding events of this supreme occasion, the crowning victory of the lifework of Shoghi Effendi.

Reaffirmation of Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God

2.4 The Universal House of Justice wishes to reaffirm at this time the tribute which it felt moved to pay to the Hands of the Cause of God at the World <p9> Congress, those precious souls who have brought the Cause safely to victory in the name of Shoghi Effendi. We wish also to remember the devoted work of their Auxiliary Board members, as well as the services of the Knights of Baha'u'llah, of the army of pioneers, the members of the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies, the services and prayers and sacrifices of the believers everywhere, all of which in the sum total have attracted such bounties and favours from Baha'u'llah.

2.5 The Universal House of Justice, in several sessions held in the Holy Land and in London, has been able to initiate its work and to make arrangements for the establishment of the Institution in Haifa. It has no officers, and henceforth its communications to the Baha'i World will be signed Universal House of Justice over an embossed seal.

Second Epoch of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan

2.6 The Cause of God, launched on the sea of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Baha, has achieved, under the superb leadership of its beloved Guardian, a spread throughout the world and a momentum which must now carry it forward on the next stage of its world- redeeming mission, the second epoch of the Divine Plan.+F15 The Universal House of Justice, in close consultation with the Hands of the Cause, is examining the vast range of Baha'i activity and growth in order to prepare a detailed plan of expansion for the whole Baha'i community, to be launched at Ridvan 1964. But there are some objectives to be achieved at once.

[F15. For information on the epochs of the Divine Plan, see message no. 451.]

Immediate objectives

2.7 The consolidation of the goals and new communities of the Baha'i world is an urgent and immediate task facing the fifty-six National Spiritual Assemblies, and an essential preparation for the launching of the new plans. Pioneers must be maintained at their posts and all the Local Spiritual Assemblies strengthened through a firm establishment of Baha'i community life and an active teaching programme. Those National Spiritual Assemblies which rest on the basis of a small number of Local Spiritual Assemblies must make great efforts to insure that this number will be increased at Ridvan 1964. Pioneers ready to go to consolidation areas, as well as those eager to open new territories, should make their offers through their National Spiritual Assembly.

2.8 The great work of teaching must be extended, not only in those areas where mass conversion is beginning, but everywhere. The high intensity of teaching activity reached at the end of the World Crusade, far from slackening, must now be increased as the friends everywhere draw on the vast spiritual powers released as a result of the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee and the emergence of the Universal House of Justice.

<p10>

2.9 The Ten Year Crusade witnessed the completion of the structure of the Mother Temple of Europe.+F16 It is now imperative to complete, without delay, the interior decoration, to install utilities and lay access roads, to landscape grounds and to construct the caretaker's house. This work will cost not less than $210,000.00, but if delayed it will cost considerably more. The House of Justice calls upon the National Spiritual Assemblies to allocate substantial budgets for the immediate completion of this work.

[F16. The Mother Temple of Europe is the Baha'i House of Worship in Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Its cornerstone was laid on 20 November 1960; construction was completed in the spring of 1963. It was dedicated in July 1964 (see message no. 17).]

Preview of the new plan

2.10 The plan to be embarked upon next Ridvan,+F17 the details of which will be announced during the coming year, will include such projects as the extension and embellishment of the endowments at the World Centre; collation of the Writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi; continual reinforcement of the ties binding the Baha'i World to the United Nations;+F18 formation of many more National Spiritual Assemblies, both by division of existing Regional Spiritual Assemblies and the development of new Baha'i communities, together with the purchase of national Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and national endowments; the opening of new territories to the Faith; detailed plans for National Spiritual Assemblies involving, in some areas, consolidation goals, in others the multiplication of Baha'i institutes and schools, in others a great enrichment of Baha'i literature, and in all a vast increase in the number of Baha'is, and the holding of oceanic and intercontinental conferences.

[F18. For more details on the development of the relationship between the Baha'i community and the United Nations, see messages nos 49, 78, 263, 283.]

[F17. The Nine Year Plan, 1964-73.]

2.11 All such expansion and development of the Faith will be dependent upon the Baha'i Fund. The Universal House of Justice calls the attention of every believer to this vital and pressing matter, and asks the National Spiritual Assemblies to pay special attention to the principle of universal participation, so that every single follower of Baha'u'llah may make his offering, however small or great, and thereby identify himself with the work of the Cause everywhere. It is our hope that a constant flow of contributions to the International Fund will make it possible to build up sufficient reserves for the launching of the new plan in 1964.

2.12 Beloved friends, we enter the second epoch of the Divine Plan blessed beyond compare, riding the crest of a great wave of victory produced for us by our beloved Guardian. The Cause of God is now firmly rooted in the <p11> world. Forward then, confident in the power and protection of the Lord of Hosts, who will, through storm and trial, toil and jubilee, use His devoted followers to bring to a despairing humanity, the life-giving waters of His supreme Revelation. The Universal House of Justice

 

3

Seat of the Universal House of Justice; New Arrangements for Pilgrims

16 June 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

3.1 The Universal House of Justice has been deeply moved and its hopes have been raised high by the many messages of love, devotion and eager anticipation which have been received from National Conventions and National Spiritual Assemblies.

3.2 Two decisions have been taken by the Universal House of Justice involving a further development of the institutions at the World Centre. The former offices of the International Baha'i Council at 10 Haparsim Street being inadequate for the far greater volume of work facing the Universal House of Justice, it has been decided to take over the whole of this building (until now called the Western Pilgrim House) as the seat, for the present time, of the Universal House of Justice.+F19

[F19. The International Baha'i Council, a body first appointed by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 and elected in 1961 after his passing by members of National Spiritual Assemblies, ceased to exist upon the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. The Universal House of Justice made 10 Haparsim Street its seat until 1 February 1983; the building now houses the International Teaching Centre. For more information on the International Baha'i Council, see the Glossary.]

3.3 This decision made it necessary to find other accommodation for the western pilgrims and led directly to the second decision. After careful consideration of the alternatives the House of Justice has decided that the time has come to take the significant step, anticipated by our beloved Guardian, of housing all pilgrims in one place.+F20 It was found possible, by slight alterations, to accommodate all pilgrims, without lessening the number, in the former Eastern Pilgrim House and its adjacent buildings. We have therefore established one Pilgrim House, at the Baha'i Gardens on Mount Carmel. The friends should note that this is where they should go on arrival.

[F20. In April 1969, during the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice took a new action, opening the door of pilgrimage to a greater number of believers and instructing the National Spiritual Assemblies in procedures to be followed. See the Ridvan 126 (1969) message, no. 68.]

<p12>

3.4 All friends whose pilgrimages have been confirmed for 1963-64 are therefore expected. There are still vacancies after December 1963, but only a very few before that date.

3.5 We have asked the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land to continue to be responsible for the programme of the pilgrims while they are here, but letters requesting permission to come should be addressed to the Universal House of Justice.

With loving greetings,

In His Service,

The Universal House of Justice

 

4

Destruction of the 'Ishqabad Temple

25 August 1963

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i World

Dear Baha'i friends,

4:1 The whole Baha'i World will be grief-stricken at the news of the sad fate which has overtaken the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in 'Ishqabad, the first Temple raised to the glory of Baha'u'llah.+F21 Due to its unsafe condition, resulting from earthquakes, the building has been entirely demolished and the site cleared.

[F21. The temple was located in Turkmenistan, near the Iranian border, north of the Iranian province of Khurasan.]

4.2 The building of this edifice, the only structure of its kind to be raised and completed in the lifetime of 'Abdu'l-Baha, was described by the beloved Guardian as "a lasting witness to the fervour and the self-sacrifice of the Oriental believers." This "enterprise," the Guardian further wrote, "must rank not only as the first major undertaking launched through the concerted efforts of His followers in the Heroic Age of His Faith, but as one of the most brilliant and enduring achievements in the history of the first Baha'i century."+F22

[F22. GPB, p. 300. The first Baha'i century ended in 1944.]

4.3 The Baha'i centre in 'Ishqabad was founded in the days of Baha'u'llah. Already during His lifetime preliminary steps had been adopted by the friends of that community to build, in accordance with the provisions of the Most Holy Book, a Mashriqu'l- Adhkar.+F23

[F23. The Most Holy Book is the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha'u'llah's book of laws.]

4.4 However, the project had to be postponed until 1902, at the end of the first decade of the Ministry of 'Abdu'l-Baha, when He initiated its construction, called on the friends in the East to offer their contributions towards the <p13> fulfilment of this goal, and personally encouraged and directed its development at every stage. The Bab's cousin, the venerable Haji Mirza Muhammad-Taqi, the Vakilu'd- Dawlih, offered his total wealth towards this meritorious enterprise, established his residence in that city, and personally supervised its construction.

4.5 The laying of the cornerstone of this edifice at a ceremony attended by the delegate of the Czar -- the Governor-general of Turkistan -- and the initial steps taken to raise this first House of Worship of the Baha'i World, inspired the friends in America, who, in 1903, eager to demonstrate the quality of their faith, petitioned 'Abdu'l-Baha for permission to erect the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the West.

4.6 In addition to the Temple itself, two schools, one for boys and one for girls, and a pilgrim house were built. The local community, and the activities of the friends throughout the provinces of Turkistan expanded and developed in stature until 1928, when the law expropriating religious edifices was applied to this Temple. However, under the terms of two five-year leases, the Baha'i community was permitted to continue to use the building as a house of worship. In 1938 the Temple was completely expropriated and converted into an art gallery.

4.7 In 1948 violent earthquakes shook the whole town causing devastation and ruin. The building was seriously damaged. The only section which remained relatively secure was the central rotunda. Heavy yearly rains further weakened the structure to such a degree as to endanger the safety of houses in the vicinity. It was at this point that the authorities decided to demolish the remaining edifice and clear the site.

4.8 A reliable report, recently received, indicates that had the Temple been restored to us at this point, we should have had no option but to raze the building ourselves.

4.9 Please share this news with the friends but we do not wish National Assemblies, Local Assemblies or individual believers to take any action.

With loving greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p14>

5

The Guardianship

6 October 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved friends,

5.1 We wish to share with you the text of the following resolution: After prayerful and careful study of the Holy Texts bearing upon the question of the appointment of the successor to Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Cause of God, and after prolonged consideration of the views of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land, the Universal House of Justice finds that there is no way to appoint or to legislate to make it possible to appoint a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi.

5.2 Please share this message with the friends in your jurisdiction.

With loving greetings.

The Universal House of Justice

 

6

Announcement of the Nine Year Plan

October 1963

To the Followers of Baha'u'llah throughout the World

Fellow believers in the Cause of God,

6.1 Six years ago when nearing the midway point of the Ten Year Crusade, the Baha'i World found itself abruptly deprived of the guiding hand of its beloved Guardian. The anguish which then seized our hearts, far from paralyzing the progress of the Cause, stiffened our resolve and fired our zeal to complete the tasks which God, through His Chosen Branch, had laid upon us.+F24 The august institution of the Hands of the Cause of God which he had, but recently, in compliance with the instructions of the Master's Will, raised up, kept the people of this Cause faithfully to the path which had been shown to us by the pen of divine guidance, and brought us not only to the triumphal conclusion of that Crusade but to the culminating point of the construction of the framework of Baha'u'llah's World Order.+F25

[F25. 'Abdu'l-Baha included in His Will and Testament a provision for the appointment of Hands of the Cause of God (see WT, pp. 12-13).]

[F24. The Chosen Branch is Shoghi Effendi, Baha'u'llah's great-grandson.]

<p15>

6.2 In March 1930 Shoghi Effendi wrote that Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha had "in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the Faith to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the incorruptible inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have bequeathed to the world." After long and prayerful consultation, the House of Justice, as the friends have already been informed, found that there is no way in which it can legislate for a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi.+F26 The Universal House of Justice has therefore begun, in humble obedience to the Will of God, and strengthened by daily prayer in the Holy Shrines, to undertake the heavy tasks laid upon it. In the words of our beloved Guardian it "will guide, organize and unify the affairs of the Movement throughout the world" and "will have to consider afresh the whole situation, and lay down the principle which shall direct, so long as it deems advisable, the affairs of the Cause."+F27

[F27. BA, pp. 39, 41.]

[F26. See message no. 6.]

The Covenant of Baha'u'llah

6.3 The Covenant of Baha'u'llah is unbroken, its all-encompassing power inviolate. The two unique features which distinguish it from all religious covenants of the past are unchanged and operative. The revealed Word, in its original purity, amplified by the divinely guided interpretations of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi, remains immutable, unadulterated by any man-made creeds or dogmas, unwarrantable inferences or unauthorized interpretations. The channel of divine guidance, providing flexibility in all the affairs of mankind, remains open through that Institution which was founded by Baha'u'llah and endowed by Him with supreme authority and unfailing guidance, and of which the Master wrote: "Unto this body all things must be referred."+F28 How clearly we can see the truth of Baha'u'llah's assertion: "The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an unassailable, an enduring foundation. Storms of human strife are powerless to undermine its basis, nor will men's fanciful theories succeed in damaging its structure."+F29

[F29. Quoted in WOB, p. 109.]

[F28. WT, p. 14.]

Responsibility of the Institutions

6.4 As the significance of the Cause of God continues in the years ahead to become more clearly apparent to the eyes of men, a great responsibility to watch over its security rests upon all of its institutions. The Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, charged in the sacred Texts with the specific <p16> duties of protecting and propagating the Faith, has a particularly vital responsibility to discharge. In their capacity as protectors of the Faith, the Hands will continue to take action to expel Covenant-breakers and to reinstate those who sincerely repent, subject in each instance to the approval of the Universal House of Justice.+F30 Exercising their function of propagating the Faith, the Hands of the Cause will inspire, advise and assist the National Spiritual Assemblies in the work as they did in the time of our beloved Shoghi Effendi, assisted by the members of their Auxiliary Boards who will continue to fulfil those functions outlined for them by him.

[F30. To maintain the unity and incorruptibility of the Faith, the Covenant of Baha'u'llah established a Centre of authority to which all are to turn. This Centre has been, successively, 'Abdu'l-Baha, Who is uniquely the Centre of the Covenant; Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith; and the Universal House of Justice, which is the apex of its Administrative Order. A Baha'i who turns against and defies this Centre breaks the Covenant and, if he is adamant in his disobedience, is expelled from the Faith as a Covenant-breaker.]

6.5 We stand now upon the threshold of the second epoch of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Divine Plan, with the outposts of the Cause established in the remotest corners of the earth, and having already witnessed the beginnings of that entry into the Faith by troops promised by the Master Himself. The foundation of the Kingdom has been securely laid, the framework has been raised. The friends must now consolidate these achievements, safeguard their institutions and gather the peoples and kindreds of the world into the Ark which the Hand of God has built.

Second Global Plan

6.6 Next Ridvan will be launched the second of those world-encircling enterprises destined in the course of time to carry the Word of God to every human soul. The Standard-bearers of this Nine Year Plan are the Hands of the Cause of God. The responsibility for directing the work will rest upon the shoulders of the National Spiritual Assemblies, the generals of the Army of Light, under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice.

6.7 As the first step inaugurating this great undertaking we rejoice to announce the formation next Ridvan of nineteen National Spiritual Assemblies, resulting in the dissolution of six of the existing Regional National Spiritual Assemblies, and bringing the total number of these pillars of the Universal House of Justice to sixty-nine. The National and Regional National Assemblies now to be formed are:

1. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of North West Africa, with its seat in Tunis, comprising Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Spanish Sahara, Rio de Oro, Mauritania, the Canary Is., and Madeira.

2. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of West Africa, with its seat in Monrovia, comprising Liberia, Senegal, Gambia, Portuguese <p17> Guinea, Guinee, Sierra Leone, Mali, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast and Cape Verde Is.

3. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of West Central Africa, with its seat in Victoria, comprising Cameroon, Spanish Guinea, St. Thomas I., Fernando Po I., Corisco I., Nigeria, Niger, Dahomey, Togo, and Ghana.

4. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Uganda and Central Africa, with its seat in Kampala, comprising Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Republic of the Congo (ex-Belgian), the Congo Republic (ex-French), Central African Republic, Gabon and Chad.

5. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Kenya, with its seat in Nairobi.

6. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, with its seat in Dar-es-Salaam, comprising Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Mafia I., and Pemba I.

7. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of South Central Africa, with its seat in Salisbury, comprising Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Bechuanaland.

8. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of South and West Africa, with its seat in Johannesburg, comprising Angola, Southwest Africa, South Africa, Zululand, Swaziland, Basutoland, Mozambique and St. Helena.

9. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Indian Ocean, with its seat in Port Louis, comprising Mauritius, the Malagasy Republic, Reunion I., Seychelles Is., Comoro Is., and the Chagos Archipelago.

10. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Hawaiian Islands, with its seat in Honolulu.

11. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the South Pacific Ocean, with its seat in Suva, comprising the Gilbert and Ellice Is., Nauru I., Fiji, Samoa Is., Tonga Is., and Cook Is.

12. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the South West Pacific Ocean, with its seat in Honiara, comprising the Solomon Is., New Hebrides Is., New Caledonia and Loyalty Is.

13. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of North East Asia, with its seat in Tokyo, comprising Japan, Formosa, Hong Kong and Macau.

14. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Korea, with its seat in Seoul.

15. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Malaysia, with its seat in Kuala Lumpur, comprising Malaya, Singapore, Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak.

16. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Indonesia, with its seat in Djakarta, comprising Indonesia, the Mentawai Is., Portuguese Timor and West Irian

<p18>

17. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Vietnam, with its seat in Saigon, and having jurisdiction over the Baha'is of Cambodia.

18. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Thailand, with its seat in Bangkok, and having jurisdiction over the Baha'is of Laos.

19. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Philippines, with its seat in Manila.

6.8 The detailed goals of the Plan, which will include sixty-nine national plans, have yet to be announced, but they must be such as to develop still further the World Centre of the Faith and the work of its institutions; to consolidate those territories which have already been opened to the Faith; to bring God's healing Message to many more of the peoples and territories of the world including all the unopened territories of the Ten Year Crusade and all the remaining independent states of the planet; and to achieve world-wide proclamation of the Faith to mark the Centenary of Baha'u'llah's Proclamation to the kings and rulers in 1867-1868.+F31

[F31. For details on Baha'u'llah's proclamation to the kings and rulers of the world and a description of the events held throughout the Baha'i world to commemorate its anniversary, see letters dated Ridvan 1965, 17 March 1967, and October 1967 (messages nos 24, 41, and 46). For the Tablets Baha'u'llah sent to the kings and rulers of the world, see The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah.]

6.9 In the spring of 1968 the next election for the Universal House of Justice will take place.

Third Epoch of the Formative Age

6.10 Beloved friends, the Cause of God, guarded and nurtured since its inception by God's Messengers, by the Centre of His Covenant and by His Sign on earth, now enters a new epoch, the third of the Formative Age.+F32 It must now grow rapidly in size, increase its spiritual cohesion and executive ability, develop its institutions and extend its influence into all strata of society. We, its members, must, by constant study of the life- giving Word, and by dedicated service, deepen in spiritual understanding and show to the world a mature, responsible, fundamentally assured and happy way of life, far removed from the passions, prejudices and distractions of present day society. Relying upon God alone, we can promote His Cause and establish His Kingdom on earth. Only thus can we prove our love for Those Who brought this new day into being. Only thus can we prove the truth of Their Divine Mission and demonstrate how valid was Their Sacrifice.

[F32. For information on the Formative Age, see entries on Ages and Epochs in the Glossary.]

The Universal House of Justice

<p19>

7

Request for Prayers for Moroccan Baha'i Prisoners

17 October 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

7.1 Our Baha'i friends who were tried at Nador, Morocco, last year and who received sentences of death or life imprisonment are still being held in prison.+F33 Their appeal which has been pending for nearly a year still has not been heard. However, we are pleased to report that another Baha'i prisoner, Muhammad Mannan,+F34 of Tangier was recently provisionally released.

[F34. Spelt Manaan here and Ma'anan in message no. 8. -- M.W.T.]

[F33. In April 1962 fourteen Moroccan Baha'i men were arrested in Nador. On 31 October 1962, after more than six months of imprisonment, they were tried before the Criminal Court of Nador on charges of rebellion and disorder, attacks on public security, constitution of an association of criminals, and attacks on religious faith. On 10 December 1962 they were found guilty and sentenced. Their cases were then appealed to the Supreme Court of Morocco, which overruled the lower court's verdict and released the men. A world-wide campaign to publicize the plight of the Baha'i prisoners focused public opinion, favourable to the Baha'is, on the Moroccan authorities. For further information, see BW 13:288-89, and messages nos 8 and 12.]

7.2 We are calling for believers throughout the world to pray at the Feast of Qawl (23 November) that early favourable action may be taken in the cases of these devoted and steadfast friends whose long suffering on behalf of our Faith has been an inspiration to Baha'is everywhere.

7.3 The friends at the World Centre will join you on that day by saying prayers at the Holy Shrines for our Moroccan friends.

With loving greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p20>

8

Report on Moroccan Baha'i prisoners

15 November 1963

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the British Isles, France, and the United States

Dear friends,

8.1 The case of the Baha'i prisoners in Morocco has passed through three stages:

a) The arrest, detention and trial which began in April, 1962 and ended on 15 December 1962 when they appeared in court and received their respective sentences.

b) The second stage began when the verdict was known and widely publicized, attracting the attention of many influential people both within and without Morocco resulting in widespread sympathy on behalf of the prisoners and many petitions to the Moroccan government.

c) The third stage has been characterized by relative quiet and lack of publicity while all are waiting for the appeal to be heard. We are now in this stage, the most difficult of all.

8.2 The Universal House of Justice wishes to share with you a summary of the present situation as it appears from reports received from many sources, and to outline the policies which it believes should govern our immediate actions.

8.3 The prisoners, except for one who will be referred to later, are still in prison awaiting their unknown fate with great firmness and patience. For more than a year and a half they have withstood all manner of harassment and difficulty. We are informed that the three sentenced to death have been kept in solitary confinement for twenty-three hours of every day. Because of recent political developments it has become more and more difficult for Baha'i friends to meet these dear souls in prison, but when it has been possible the Baha'is and non-believers alike are astonished that the prisoners are able to demonstrate such exemplary steadfastness and patience.

8.4 It is still not known when the appeal will be heard. At first it was promised that it would be among the first cases taken up after the courts reconvened in October. Again, some felt that it would be delayed until the opening of parliament in November. Now it is thought that the appeal will be heard very soon because it has been presented to the Court in such a way that they cannot delay it longer than one month. A favourable result is also anticipated.

8.5 The prisoner in Tangier, Mr Mannan,+F35 has been provisionally released. His release followed a finding by the magistrate of that city that he could not find any convincing evidence in the file proving the charges regarding political sub- <p21> version and incitement against Islam were justified. In the view of the magistrate the prisoner is guilty of no other crime than that of being a Baha'i. Nevertheless, the prosecution appealed from this finding, and it was only after later efforts on the part of the legal committee in Morocco that Mr Mannan was released.

[F35. Spelt Ma'anan here and Manaan in message no. 7. -- M.W.T.]

8.6 Recently there has been a proposal for a change in the law which would provide a penalty of up to three years in prison for persons who are convicted of enticing Muslims to change their faith. While this law cannot be applied retroactively to the Baha'i prisoners, it is felt that this change in the law together with the result in the Tangier case will have a favourable effect on the other cases since it indicated the injustice of the convictions and the harshness of the penalties meted out.

8.7 We have had many excellent suggestions from all of you as to courses of action which might be taken to secure the release of our fellow Baha'is. All have been carefully considered and weighed together in arriving at our present course of action ...

8.8 If the appeal should be further delayed, we must reconsider our present policy and do whatever is reasonably required to bring about an early hearing of the appeal. In the meantime the entire Baha'i world is offering prayers on behalf of the prisoners at the Feast of Qawl.

8.9 This letter is for your own information and is not to be circulated.

8.10 With grateful appreciation and with warm Baha'i love and greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

9

Development of National Baha'i Funds

15 November 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

9.1 While it is understood that many communities do not have the resources to fully sustain their administrative and teaching work, it is important that each National Assembly make every effort to work out a programme and budget which will enable it to become self-sustaining as rapidly as possible.

9.2 To accomplish this, the friends should be made to appreciate the bounties which come from regular and systematic contribution to the National Fund. The amount of the contribution is not as important as universal participation. In a letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa dated 8 August 1957 the beloved Guardian said:

<p22>

9.2a The institution of the National Fund, so vital and essential for the uninterrupted

progress of these activities must, in particular, be assured of the wholehearted the ever-increasing and universal support of the mass of believers, for whose welfare, and in whose name, these beneficent activities have been initiated and have been conducted. All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. ...

9.3 National Assemblies needing supplemental assistance for budgets after Ridvan, 1964 should direct their appeal to the Universal House of Justice. They should not appeal to another National Assembly except in specific cases authorized by the Universal House of Justice.

9.4 We shall pray that the bounties of the Almighty will descend upon the growing Administrative Order of His promised Kingdom on Earth so that we may be enabled to take His healing message to all peoples everywhere.

With loving greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

10

Relationship of Hands of the Cause of God and National Spiritual Assemblies

19 November 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

10.1 The relationship of the Continental Hands+F36 and their respective National Assemblies was clearly delineated in the Message of the beloved Guardian dated 4 June 1957:

[F36. Hands of the Cause of God to whom continental responsibilities are assigned as distinct from those whose responsibility it is to serve in the Holy Land.]

10.1a CALL UPON HANDS NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES EACH CONTINENT SEPARATELY ESTABLISH HENCEFORTH DIRECT CONTACT DELIBERATE WHENEVER FEASIBLE AS FREQUENTLY POSSIBLE EXCHANGE REPORTS TO BE SUBMITTED THEIR RESPECTIVE AUXILIARY BOARDS NATIONAL COMMITTEES EXERCISE UNRELAXING VIGILANCE CARRY OUT UNFLINCHINGLY SACRED INESCAPABLE DUTIES. SECURITY PRECIOUS FAITH PRESERVATION SPIRITUAL HEALTH BAHA'I COMMUNITIES VITALITY FAITH ITS INDIVIDUAL MEMBERS PROPER FUNCTIONING ITS LABORIOUSLY ERECTED INSTITUTIONS FRUITION ITS WORLD-WIDE ENTERPRISES FULFILMENT ITS ULTIMATE DESTINY ALL DIRECTLY DEPENDENT BEFITTING DISCHARGE <p23> WEIGHTY RESPONSIBILITIES NOW RESTING MEMBERS THESE TWO INSTITUTIONS OCCUPYING WITH UNIVERSAL HOUSE JUSTICE NEXT INSTITUTION GUARDIANSHIP FOREMOST RANK, DIVINELY ORDAINED ADMINISTRATIVE HIERARCHY WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH.

10.2 These highly significant words of the beloved Guardian clearly foreshadow the tremendous importance of the joint responsibility which he placed upon the Hands and the National Assemblies in protecting the believers and fostering the world-wide development of the Faith.

10.3 We stress the necessity of doing everything possible to expedite and facilitate this free play of consultation between the Hands and the National Assemblies within the spirit and framework of these instructions of Shoghi Effendi. The two institutions have joint and complementary functions which can be discharged successfully only if the greatest degree of understanding and co-operation exists between them.

10.4 We are confident that this relationship will be further strengthened and developed in the manner envisioned by the Guardian, and that it will contribute in large measure to the successful achievement of the goals of the Nine Year Plan which is to be inaugurated this coming Ridvan.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p24>

11

Auxiliary Board members on National Spiritual Assemblies

25 November 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved friends,

11.1 The Hands of the Cause at their London Conclave last May decided that Auxiliary Board members should be free of administrative responsibilities in order to devote their full energies to their work as Board members.+F37 Those Board members serving on National Assemblies were therefore requested to decide, before Ridvan 1964, in which capacity they could best serve the Cause.

[F37. After Shoghi Effendi's passing in 1957, the functions of preserving the unity of the Baha'i community, guiding it to the victorious conclusion of the Ten Year Crusade, and calling the election of the Universal House of Justice fell to the Hands of the Cause of God in their capacity as "the Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth" (MBW, p. 127). In order to carry out these vital functions, the Hands of the Cause of God met periodically in conclaves at the World Centre to confer on the affairs of the Cause. After the Most Great Jubilee, the one hundredth anniversary of Baha'u'llah's declaration of His mission, the Hands of the Cause of God met in London to discuss a number of matters, among those being the evolving role of the members of the Auxiliary Board in light of the increasing maturity of the Baha'i Administrative Order, as evidenced by the formation of the Universal House of Justice at Ridvan 1963 and the existence of fifty-six National Spiritual Assemblies. The Hands of the Cause of God submitted their views to the Universal House of Justice, which made the decisions enumerated in this letter.]

11.2 In view of this request made by the Hands of the Cause to their Auxiliary Board members, the Universal House of Justice has reached the following decisions:

11.2a 1. National Assemblies in whose areas of jurisdiction Board members reside, should point out to the delegates at Convention that whilst teaching and administrative duties are not mutually exclusive, it is desirable that Auxiliary Board members, whether for teaching or protection, be left free to concentrate on the work allotted to them by the Hands of the Cause in each Continent. The following extract from the Guardian's letter, written through his secretary, could be shared with the delegates for their guidance when casting their votes:

11.2b "The teachers of the Cause can surely become members of any Assembly or committee. There should be no incapacity attached to them. But Shoghi Effendi would just prefer to see them devote all their time to teaching and leave the administrative functions for those who cannot serve as teachers." (Baha'i News, October 1932)

11.2c 2. Should Board members still be elected on National Assemblies after the above explanation, it should rest with each Board member to decide <p25> which of the two functions he feels best suited to perform. The Universal House of Justice, therefore, approves the request made by the Hands of the Cause to their Board members that they choose between the two functions.

11.2d 3. In the event of the resignation of Auxiliary Board members from National Assemblies, this should be considered as good reason for resignation. If, however, the National Assembly, in view of special conditions, should consider such resignations to be detrimental to the interests of the Faith of that National Community, and the Board member should insist upon resigning on the grounds of his membership on the Board, the matter should be at once referred to the Universal House of Justice by the National Spiritual Assembly for examination and final decision. Pending such a decision, the Board member should continue his membership on the National Assembly, and explain his position to the Hands of the Cause in his continent.

11.2e 4. Measures will have to be taken by National Assemblies according to normal procedure to fill any vacancies created in this way. If the vacancy is recognized while Convention is still in session, a by-election could be arranged before Convention disbands.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

12

Release of Moroccan Baha'i prisoners

18 December 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

12.1 Following twenty months of close confinement, and one year after hearing sentences of death and imprisonment imposed on them, our brave and steadfast brother believers in Morocco were set free on Friday, 13 December 1963. The long-sought objective has been obtained.

12.2 As we prayed for their release during the Feast of Qawl, now let the entire Baha'i world join in prayers of thanksgiving for this joyful outcome and that the Blessed Beauty enabled these devoted friends to remain firm in their faith through this trying ordeal.+F38

[F38. See message dated 17 October 1963 (no. 7) requesting prayers world-wide at the Feast of Qawl (Speech), 23 November.]

<p26>

12.3 In view of the situation which continues to be delicate in Morocco, you are urged not to seek publicity in this matter. If you are contacted by the press, make no statement beyond expressing thankfulness for the just decision.

12.4 Each National Assembly is requested, wherever possible, to express gratification to King Hassan II of Morocco for this just decision of the Supreme Court. This should be done in writing through the Moroccan Embassy, or Consulate, serving your area.

12.5 We also request that wherever you consider it advisable you write letters of appreciation to individuals and organizations within your jurisdiction who offered assistance in connection with this case.

With warm and loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

13

The Baha'i Funds

18 December 1963

To the Baha'is of East and West

Dear friends,

13.1 With the rapid approach of the launching of the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice feels that it is timely to lay clearly before the Baha'is of all countries, the needs of the Fund at all its levels: local, national, continental and international.

13.2 The continual expansion of the Faith and the diversification of the activities of Baha'i communities make it more and more necessary for every believer to ponder carefully his responsibilities and contribute as much and as regularly as he or she can. Contributing to the Fund is a service that every believer can render, be he poor or wealthy; for this is a spiritual responsibility in which the amount given is not important. It is the degree of the sacrifice of the giver, the love with which he makes his gift, and the unity of all the friends in this service which bring spiritual confirmations. As the beloved Guardian wrote in August 1957: "All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. Upon the degree of self-sacrifice involved in these individual contributions will directly depend the efficacy and the spiritual influence which these nascent administrative institutions, called into being through the power of Baha'u'llah, and by virtue of the Design conceived by the Centre of His Covenant, will exert."+F39

[F39. The nascent administrative institutions referred to are the Local and National Spiritual Assemblies. Baha'u'llah ordained the institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly in the Kitab-i-Aqdas (KA P130, n. 49.); 'Abdu'l-Baha established the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly (see WT, pp. 14-15). The design conceived by 'Abdu'l-Baha is embodied in His Will and Testament, the Charter of the New World Order.]

<p27>

13.3 Not only the individual's responsibility to contribute is important at this time, but also the uses to which the fund is put and the areas in which it is expended.

13.4 Much of the present rapid expansion of the Faith is taking place in areas of great poverty where the believers, however much they sacrifice, cannot produce sufficient funds to sustain the work. It is these very areas which are the most fruitful in teaching, and a sum of money spent here will produce ten times -- even a hundred times -- the results obtainable in other parts of the world. Yet in the past months the Universal House of Justice has had to refuse a number of appeals for assistance from such areas because there just was not enough money in the International Fund.

13.5 It should therefore be the aim of every local and national community to become not only self-supporting, but to expend its funds with such wisdom and economy as to be able to contribute substantially to the Baha'i International Fund, thus enabling the House of Justice to aid the work in fruitful but impoverished areas, to assist new National Assemblies to start their work, to contribute to major international undertakings of the Nine Year Plan such as Oceanic Conferences, and to carry forward the work of beautifying the land surrounding the Holy Shrines at the World Centre of the Faith.

13.6 Nor should the believers, individually or in their Assemblies, forget the vitally important Continental Funds which provide for the work of the Hands of the Cause of God and their Auxiliary Boards. This divine institution, so assiduously fostered by the Guardian, and which has already played a unique role in the history of the Faith, is destined to render increasingly important services in the years to come.

13.7 In the midst of a civilization torn by strifes and enfeebled by materialism, the people of Baha are building a new world. We face at this time opportunities and responsibilities of vast magnitude and great urgency. Let each believer in his inmost heart resolve not to be seduced by the ephemeral allurements of the society around him, nor to be drawn into its feuds and short-lived enthusiasms, but instead to transfer all he can from the old world to that new one which is the vision of his longing and will be the fruit of his labours.

With loving greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p28>

Blank Page

<p29>

1964-1973

The Nine Year Plan

<p30>

Blank Page

<p31>

14

Launching of the Nine Year Plan

April 1964

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

14.1 The divinely propelled process, described in such awe-inspiring words by our beloved Guardian, which began six thousand years ago at the dawn of the Adamic cycle and which is destined to culminate in "the stage at which the light of God's triumphant Faith shining in all its power and glory will have suffused and enveloped the entire planet," is now entering its tenth and last part.+F40

[F40. MBW, p. 155. The Baha'i teachings assert that Adam was a Prophet of God and that He inaugurated the Adamic, or prophetic, cycle that ended with the advent of the Bab and that is followed by the cycle of fulfilment Baha'u'llah inaugurated. Shoghi Effendi explains that "The Faith of Baha'u'llah should indeed be regarded, if we wish to be faithful to the tremendous implications of its message, as the culmination of a cycle, the final stage in a series of successive, of preliminary and progressive revelations. These, beginning with Adam and ending with the Bab, have paved the way and anticipated with an ever-increasing emphasis the advent of that Day of Days in which He Who is the Promise of All Ages should be made manifest" (WOB, p. 103). For a full description of the ten-part, divinely propelled process and for a discussion of the nature of cycles, see entries on Ten-Part Process and Cycles in the Glossary.]

14.2 The Ten Year Crusade, so recently consummated in a blaze of victory and rejoicing, constituted the entire ninth part of this process. It saw the Cause of God leap forward in one mighty decade-long effort to the point at which the foundations of its Administrative Order were laid throughout the world, thus preparing the way for that awakening of the masses which must characterize the future progress of the Faith.

14.3 From the beginning of this Dispensation the most urgent summons of the Word of God, voiced successively by the Bab and Baha'u'llah, has been to teach the Cause. 'Abdu'l-Baha, in His own words, "spent His days and nights in promoting the Cause and urging the peoples to service."+F41 Shoghi Effendi, discharging the sacred mission laid upon him, raised the Administrative Order of the Faith, already enshrined within the Sacred Writings, and forged it into a teaching instrument to accomplish through a succession of plans, national, international, and global, the entire Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l- Baha, and he clearly foresaw in the "tremendously long" tenth part of the process already referred to, a series of plans to be launched by the Universal House of Justice, extending over 'successive epochs of both the Formative and Golden Ages of the Faith."+F42

[F42. MBW, pp. 153, 155.]

[F41. WT, p. 10.]

<p32>

14.4 The first of these plans is now before us. Opening at Ridvan 1964, while the memories of the glorious jubilee of 1963 still surge within our hearts, it must, during its nine-year course, witness a huge expansion of the Cause of God and universal participation by all believers in the life of that Cause.

World Centre goals

14.5 At the World Centre of the Faith the tasks of the Plan include publication of a synopsis and codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book; formulation of the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice; development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, in consultation with the body of the Hands of the Cause, with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation; continued collation and classification of the Baha'i Sacred Scriptures as well as of the writings of Shoghi Effendi; continued efforts directed towards the emancipation of the Faith from the fetters of religious orthodoxy and its recognition as an independent religion; the preparation of a plan for the befitting development and beautification of the entire area of Baha'i property surrounding the Holy Shrines; extension of the existing gardens on Mount Carmel; development of the relationship between the Baha'i Community and the United Nations; the holding of Oceanic and Intercontinental Conferences; the co-ordination of world-wide plans to commemorate, in 1967/68, the centenary of Baha'u'llah's Proclamation to the kings and rulers which centred round His revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk in Adrianople.+F43

[F43. Tablet to the Kings, referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah" (GPB, p. 171). For passages of the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English, see PB, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03. For details on the celebration of the centenary, see messages dated October 1963, Ridvan 1965, 17 March 1967, and October 1967 (nos. 6, 24, 41, and 46).]

International Goals

14.6 In the world community the Plan involves the opening of seventy virgin territories and the resettlement of twenty-four; the raising of the number of National Spiritual Assemblies, the pillars sustaining the Universal House of Justice, to one hundred and eight, nine times the number which embarked on the first historic World Crusade in 1953; increasing the number of Local Spiritual Assemblies to over thirteen thousand seven hundred, scattered throughout the territories and islands of the world, at least one thousand seven hundred of them to be incorporated; the raising of the number of localities where Baha'is reside to over fifty-four thousand; the building of two more Mashriqu'l-Adhkars, one in Asia and one in Latin America;+F44 the acquisition <p33> of thirty-two Teaching Institutes, fifty-two national Haziratu'l-Quds, fifty-four national Endowments, and sites for sixty-two future Temples; wide extension of recognition by civil authorities of the Baha'i Holy Days and Baha'i Marriage Certificates; the translation of literature into one hundred and thirty-three more languages, and its enrichment in major languages into which translations have already been made; the establishment of four new Baha'i Publishing Trusts, and a vast increase in the financial resources of the Faith.

[F44. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Asia was to be located in Tihran, Iran. Antagonism toward the Baha'i Faith caused the plans for its construction to be held in abeyance. The Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Latin America is in Panama and was dedicated in 1972.]

The Role of the Individual

14.7 The healthy development of the Cause requires that this great expansion be accompanied by the dedicated effort of every believer in teaching, in living the Baha'i life, in contributing to the Fund, and particularly in the persistent effort to understand more and more the significance of Baha'u'llah's Revelation. In the words of our beloved Guardian, "One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah."+F45

[F45. BA, p. 66.]

Twin objectives of the Plan

14.8 Expansion and universal participation are the twin objectives of this initial phase of the second epoch of the Divine Plan, and all the goals assigned to the sixty-nine National Communities are contributory to them. The process of co-operation between National Spiritual Assemblies, already initiated by the beloved Guardian, will, during the course of this Plan, apply to over two hundred specific projects and will further strengthen this process which may well assume great importance in future stages of the Formative Age.

14.9 Once more, dear friends, we enter the battle but with an incomparably greater array than that which embarked upon the World Crusade in 1953. To that small force of twelve national communities, now veteran campaigners, have been added fifty-seven new legions, each under the generalship of a National Spiritual Assembly, each destined to become a veteran of this and future campaigns. That Crusade began with slightly more than six hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies, the greater part of which were situated in Persia, North America and Europe; the home-fronts now comprise nearly four thousand six hundred Local Spiritual Assemblies scattered throughout the continents and islands of the world. We begin this Plan with a tremendous momentum, exemplified by the addition, since last Ridvan, of over four thousand new centres and thirteen National Spiritual Assemblies, and by the beginning, in several countries, of that entry by troops into the Cause of God prophesied by 'Abdu'l-Baha and so eagerly anticipated by Him.

<p34>

Standard-bearers of the Plan

14.10 The Standard-bearers of this Nine Year Plan are those same divinely appointed, tried and victorious souls who bore the standard of the World Crusade, the Hands of the Cause of God, whose advice and consultation have been invaluable in the working out of this Nine Year Plan. Supported by their "DEPUTIES, ASSISTANTS [and] ADVISERS,"+F46 the members of the Auxiliary Boards, they will inspire and protect the army of God, lead through every breach to the limit of available resources and sustain those communities struggling over intractable or stony ground, so that by 1973 the celebrations befitting the centenary of the Revelation of the Most Holy Book may be undertaken by a victorious, firmly established, organically united world community, dedicated to the service of God and the final triumph of His Cause.

[F46. Shoghi Effendi, MBW, p. 59.]

14.11 Therefore let each of the sixty-nine communities seize its tasks, at once consider how best to accomplish them within the allotted span, raise its band of pioneers, consecrate itself to unremitting labour and set out on its mission. Now is the golden opportunity. For whatever convulsions the waywardness of a godless and materialistic age may yet precipitate in the world, however grievous may be the effects of the rolling up of the present order on the plans and efforts of the Community of the Most Great Name, we must seize the opportunities of the hour and go forward confident that all things are within His mighty grasp and that, if we but play our part, total and unconditional victory will inevitably be ours.

The Universal House of Justice

 

15

Convention greetings 1964

19 April 1964

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

15.1 OCCASION RIDVAN FESTIVAL EXTEND LOVING GREETINGS HANDS DELEGATES FRIENDS PRESENT HISTORIC CONVENTIONS LAUNCHING FIRST ENTERPRISE SECOND EPOCH UNFOLDMENT 'ABDU'L-BAHA'S DIVINE PLAN. HAIL FORMATION THIRTEEN ADDITIONAL NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES TESTIFYING RESISTLESS DEVELOPMENT WORLD ORDER BAHA'U'LLAH. CONVEY ALL FRIENDS JOYFUL NEWS DEDICATION MOTHER TEMPLE EUROPE JULY FOURTH. ASSURE ARDENT PRAYERS VICTORIES BOUNTIFUL FAVOURS COURSE PLAN NOW LAUNCHED.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p35>

16

Guidelines for the Nine Year Plan

14 May 1964

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear friends,

16.1 We have been receiving with deep joy and gratification, reports of the Conventions held throughout the Baha'i world during the Ridvan period just concluded and the national and regional elections resulting in the formation of sixty-nine National Spiritual Assemblies.

16.2 The announcement of the goals of the Nine Year Plan has received universally a warm response. Individuals, Conventions and Assemblies have pledged loyalty and given assurance of the execution of the assigned goals with determination and dedication. In two cases a goal has already been declared accomplished.

16.3 If your Assembly has been given what appears to be a heavy task, particularly in terms of home-front goals, you should consider how this can be phased so that your teaching programme is conducted systematically. When you do work out such an internal plan we would appreciate receiving a copy.

16.4 We feet that at this time certain guidelines could be given to the National Spiritual Assemblies to assist them in the understanding and attainment of the goals assigned to them.

 

16.5 New and Unsettled Territories: this aspect of the Plan is of vital importance. It involves the establishment of points of light in new territories, the further diffusion of the radiance of the Faith of God and is directly linked with the prestige and international status of the Faith. It is essential that the enthusiasm generated at the Conventions be capitalized upon and the pioneers who have offered their services are directed wisely and energetically to the posts to be opened and resettled.

16.6 Acquisition of Properties: as prices generally are soaring everywhere it is important that properties called for in the Plan be purchased as soon as funds are made available. Your National Assembly is no doubt conscious of the fact that wherever a Haziratu'l-Quds has been allocated it should be a modest structure, acquired in a dignified location within the civil limits of the town or city named in the Plan. However, a Temple site could be near the city, as it is not essential that it be located within the civil limits of the city.

16.7 National Endowments: the object here is not to buy an extensive property. A token piece of land, possibly donated by a believer, is all that is required for the moment.

<p36>

16.8 Teaching Institute: this is essentially an activity aimed at deepening the knowledge of the friends to prepare them for active participation in the teaching work. In some countries it may continue to be an activity conducted either in local Baha'i Centres or possibly housed in hired quarters, like most Summer Schools. However, in other countries, and particularly in mass teaching areas, it may have to be a modest structure acquired or erected in the rural areas where the majority of the believers reside rather than in capital cities, to obviate transportation expenses for those attending.

16.9 Recognition of the Faith: such goals as national and local incorporations, as well as applications to obtain recognition of the Baha'i Marriage Certificate and Baha'i Holy Days, should be embarked upon only when circumstances are propitious and there is reasonable assurance that the goal can be attained.

16.10 New Languages: the translation of Baha'i literature into new languages should be carefully co-ordinated with the settlement of pioneers in areas using such languages. Therefore, this is a goal which must be pursued vigorously and without delay so that the teaching work may proceed effectively in these areas.

16.11 If in the pursuit of any of the above or other goals your Assembly should experience any difficulty or need any clarification, you are welcome to write to us at once.

16.12 We assure you of our constant prayers at the Holy Shrines for the befitting discharge of your responsibilities under the Nine Year Plan.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p37>

17

Dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe, Langenhain, Germany

July 1964

To the beloved of God gathered in the European Teaching Conference called on the occasion of the dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe

Dear Baha'i Friends,

17.1 We have just witnessed the dedication of the Mother Temple of Europe -- a project of untold significance and tremendous potential for the spread of the light of God's Faith in that Continent. One of the major achievements called for by our beloved Guardian at the outset of the Ten Year Crusade, this Mashriqu'l-Adhkar was triumphantly raised during its closing years as the fruit of long and arduous labours in the face of determined opposition and upon the sacrificial gifts of believers from all parts of the world. Now dedicated in the opening months of the Nine Year Plan; it forms a striking link between these two great crusades, demonstrating afresh the organic progress of the Cause whereby the efforts exerted in one period bear fruit in the next, which in turn endow the Baha'i Community with new and greater capacities for the winning of still greater victories.

17.2 You are now gathered in this Conference to deliberate on ways and means of accomplishing the goals which are set before you. Let every believer, as he considers in detail these various goals, bear in mind four supreme objectives: to carry the Message of Baha'u'llah to every stratum of society, not only in the towns and cities but also in the villages and country districts where the virus of materialism has had much less effect on the lives of men; to take urgent, wise and well-considered steps to spread the Faith to those countries of Eastern Europe in which it has not yet become established; to reinforce strongly the heroic band of pioneers in the islands of the Mediterranean and the North Sea -- islands which are to play such an important role in the awakening of the entire continent -- as well as to prosecute energetically the goals you are called upon to achieve in other continents and oceans; and to foster the co-operation between National Communities and between National Spiritual Assemblies and the Hands of the Cause of God which has contributed so markedly to the work of the Faith on that Continent and is so essential for its future development.

17.3 Above all let every European Baha'i have ever-present in his mind that these are the five years during which Baha'u'llah sojourned on the soil of that Continent <p38> a century ago.+F47 Let him resolve so to deepen his knowledge of the Faith and so to increase his standards of self-sacrifice and dedication to the Cause as to play his part in building a Community which will be worthy of this supreme bounty and which will be a beacon light to the peoples of this fear-wracked world.

[F47. Baha'u'llah was exiled from Constantinople (now Istanbul) to Adrianople (now Edirne, Turkey), where He remained from 12 December 1863 through 12 August 1868. Edirne lies West of the Bosphorus, near Turkeys border with Greece.]

17.4 In 1953 Shoghi Effendi wrote that the Continent of Europe had "at last at this critical hour -- this great turning point in its fortunes -- entered upon what may well be regarded as the opening phase of a great spiritual revival that bids fair to eclipse any period in its spiritual history."+F48 Those who have been privileged to witness the extraordinary strengthening and consolidation of the Cause in Europe during the course of the last eleven years are well aware of the reservoir of spiritual potential that has been building up and the transformation of the life of the European Baha'i Community that has ensued. May the completion and dedication of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar be the signal for the unleashing of this potential, bringing about on the European mainland and in the islands around its shores a quickening of the process of individual conversion comparable to those events which have transpired with such astonishing suddenness in other continents of the globe.

[F48. MBW, p. 161.]

The Universal House of Justice

 

18

Teaching the Masses

13 July 1964

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

18.1 When the masses of mankind are awakened and enter the Faith of God, a new process is set in motion and the growth of a new civilization begins. Witness the emergence of Christianity and of Islam. These masses are the rank and file, steeped in traditions of their own, but receptive to the new Word of God, by which, when they truly respond to it, they become so influenced as to transform those who come in contact with them.

18.2 God's standards are different from those of men. According to men's standards, the acceptance of any cause by people of distinction, of recognized fame and status, determines the value and greatness of that cause. But, in the words <p39> of Baha'u'llah: "The summons and the message which We gave were never intended to reach or to benefit one land or one people only. Mankind in its entirety must firmly adhere to whatsoever hath been revealed and vouchsafed unto it." Or again, "He hath endowed every soul with the capacity to recognize the signs of God. How could He, otherwise, have fulfilled His testimony unto men, if ye be of them that ponder His Cause in their hearts."+F49 In countries where teaching the masses has succeeded, the Baha'is have poured out their time and effort in village areas to the same extent as they had formerly done in cities and towns. The results indicate how unwise it is to solely concentrate on one section of the population. Each National Assembly therefore should so balance its resources and harmonize its efforts that the Faith of God is taught not only to those who are readily accessible but to all sections of society, however remote they may be.

[F49. GWB, pp. 96, 105-06.]

18.3 The unsophisticated people of the world -- and they form the large majority of its population -- have the same right to know of the Cause of God as others. When the friends are teaching the Word of God they should be careful to give the Message in the same simplicity as it is enunciated in our Teachings. In their contacts they must show genuine and divine love. The heart of an unlettered soul is extremely sensitive; any trace of prejudice on the part of the pioneer or teacher is immediately sensed.

18.4 When teaching among the masses, the friends should be careful not to emphasize the charitable and humanitarian aspects of the Faith as a means to win recruits. Experience has shown that when facilities such as schools, dispensaries, hospitals, or even clothes and food are offered to the people being taught, many complications arise. The prime motive should always be the response of man to God's message, and the recognition of His Messenger. Those who declare themselves as Baha'is should become enchanted with the beauty of the Teachings; and touched by the love of Baha'u'llah. The declarants need not know all the proofs, history, laws, and principles of the Faith, but in the process of declaring themselves they must, in addition to catching the spark of faith, become basically informed about the Central Figures of the Faith, as well as the existence of laws they must follow and an administration they must obey.

18.5 After declaration, the new believers must not be left to their own devices. Through correspondence and dispatch of visitors, through conferences and training courses, these friends must be patiently strengthened and lovingly helped to develop into full Baha'i maturity. The beloved Guardian referring to the duties of Baha'i Assemblies in assisting the newly declared believer has written: "... the members of each and every Assembly should endeavour, by their patience, their love, their tact and wisdom, to nurse, subsequent to his <p40> admission, the newcomer into Baha'i maturity, and win him over gradually to the unreserved acceptance of whatever has been ordained in the teachings."+F50

[F50. MA, p. 11.]

Expansion and consolidation -- simultaneous processes

18.6 Expansion and consolidation are twin processes that must go hand in hand. The friends must not stop expansion in the name of consolidation. Deepening the newly enrolled believers generates tremendous stimulus which results in further expansion. The enrolment of new believers, on the other hand, creates a new spirit in the community and provides additional potential manpower that will reinforce the consolidation work.

18.7 We would like to share with you some of the methods used by National Assemblies in various continents that have proved useful in teaching the masses, and attach a list. Certain of these may be valuable in your area, in addition to any methods you may yourself devise.

18.8 We are fervently praying that all National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, supported by the individual believers, will achieve outstanding success in the fulfilment of this glorious objective.

18.9 Please share this communication with all the friends.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

Teaching the masses

Annex

18.10 1. Materials are sent at once to the new believers. In some places this material is in the form of printed cards, mainly in colour, portraying a Baha'i theme or principle. This helps the new believer to know that his declaration has been accepted and to feel that he now belongs to the new Faith.

18.11 2. Training courses of about 2 weeks duration are held. To facilitate attendance and reduce cost, a number of villages are grouped together as one zone in which the course is held. The students to the courses are usually selected, so that the more capable participate, and teaching is facilitated. Transportation expenses, feeding and accommodation are provided, if it is found that the participants are unable to cover such expenses themselves. The material to be taught is prepared ahead of time, presented in simple language, and translated into the vernacular. After the course, the more promising students are picked out, and with their consent, are requested to undertake teaching projects for a limited period. It is sometimes found that long-term projects are also useful. These projects generally are carefully planned as to their duration, places to be visited, and material to be taught. If the travelling teachers are not able to cover their expenses, travelling <p41> and living expenses are provided by the Fund for the execution of a given and temporary teaching project.

18.12 3. Shorter training courses in the form of conferences over a long weekend are held.

18.13 4. These activities -- training courses and conferences -- are repeated as frequently as possible and are not dependent upon the acquisition of Teaching Institutes. In the absence of such Institutes, these courses and conferences are normally held in Baha'i homes or hired quarters, such as schools, etc. In order to facilitate the physical catering and accommodation of the participants they are sometimes asked to come to the course with their eating utensils and bedding.

18.14 5. In the visits made to the villages, the visiting teacher meets with the Local Communities to give them basic Baha'i knowledge, such as living the Baha'i life, the importance of teaching, prayer, fasting, Nineteen Day Feasts, Baha'i elections, and contributions to the Fund. The question of contributions to the Fund is of utmost importance, so that the new believers may quickly feel themselves to be responsible members of the Community. Each National Assembly must find ways and means to stimulate the offering of contributions, in cash or kind, to make it easy for the friends to contribute and to give proper receipts to the donors.

18.15 These are but suggestions based on experience which may help you in your efforts to teach and deepen the spiritually starved multitudes in your area.

18.16 In the course of carrying out such a tremendous spiritual campaign among the masses, disappointments will well be encountered. We tabulate a few instances that have been brought to our notice:

a) Visiting pioneers or teachers may find in some places newly enrolled believers not so enthusiastic about their religion as expected, or not adjusting to standards of Baha'i life, or they may find them thinking of material benefits they may hope to derive from their new membership. We should always remember that the process of nursing the believer into full spiritual maturity is slow, and needs loving education and patience.

b) Some teaching committees, in their eagerness to obtain results, place undue emphasis on obtaining a great number of declarations to the detriment of the quality of teaching.

c) Some travelling teachers, in their desire to show the result of their services, may not scrupulously teach their contacts, and in some rare cases, if, God forbid, they are insincere, may even give false reports.

18.17 Such irregularities have happened and can be repeated, but must not be a source of discouragement. By sending a team of teachers to an area, or by sending at intervals other teachers to those areas, and through correspondence and reports, such situations can be detected and immediately adjusted. The <p42> administration of the Faith must at all times keep in close touch with the teaching work.

18.18 To sum up:

1. Teaching the waiting masses is a reality facing each National Assembly.

2. The friends must teach with conviction, determination, genuine love, lack of prejudice, and in a simple language addressed to the heart.

3. Teaching must be followed up by training courses, conferences, and regular visits to deepen the believers in their knowledge of the Teachings.

4. The close touch of the National Office or Teaching Committees with the work is most essential, so that through reports and correspondence not only is information obtained and verified, but stimulation and encouragement is given.

5. Expansion and consolidation go hand in hand.

 

19

Universal participation

September 1964

To the Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

19.1 In our message to you of April, 1964, announcing the Nine Year Plan, we called attention to two major themes of that Plan, namely "a huge expansion of the Cause of God and universal participation by all believers in the life of that Cause."

19.2 The enthusiastic vigour with which the believers throughout the world, under the devoted guidance of their National Spiritual Assemblies, have, arisen to meet the challenge of the Plan, augurs well for the huge expansion called for. We now ask you to bend your efforts and thoughts, with equal enthusiasm, to the requirements of universal participation.

19.3 In that same message we indicated the meaning of universal participation: "the dedicated effort of every believer in teaching, in living the Baha'i life, in contributing to the Fund, and particularly in the persistent effort to understand more and more the significance of Baha'u'llah's Revelation. In the words of our beloved Guardian, 'One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely the extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah.'"+F51

[F51. BA, p. 66.]

19.4 "Regard the world as the human body," wrote Baha'u'llah to Queen Victoria.+F52 <p43> We can surely regard the Baha'i world, the army of God, in the same way. In the human body, every cell, every organ, every nerve has its part to play. When all do so the body is healthy, vigorous, radiant, ready for every call made upon it. No cell, however humble, lives apart from the body, whether in serving it or receiving from it. This is true of the body of mankind in which God "hast endowed each and all with talents and faculties,"+F53 and is supremely true of the body of the Baha'i World Community, for this body is already an organism, united in its aspirations, unified in its methods, seeking assistance and confirmation from the same Source, and illumined with the conscious knowledge of its unity. Therefore, in this organic, divinely guided, blessed and illumined body the participation of every believer is of the utmost importance, and is a source of power and vitality as yet unknown to us. For extensive and deep as has been the sharing in the glorious work of the Cause, who would claim that every single believer has succeeded in finding his or her fullest satisfaction in the life of the Cause? The Baha'i World Community, growing like a healthy new body, develops new cells, new organs, new functions and powers as it presses on to its maturity, when every soul, living for the Cause of God, will receive from that Cause, health, assurance and the overflowing bounties of Baha'u'llah which are diffused through His divinely ordained order.

[F53. 'Abdu'l-Baha, in BP, p. 103.]

[F52. ESW, p. 62.]

19.5 In addition to teaching every believer can pray. Every believer can strive to make his "own inner life and private character mirror forth in their manifold aspects the splendour of those eternal principles proclaimed by Baha'u'llah."+F54 Every believer can contribute to the Fund. Not all believers can give public talks, not all are called upon to serve on administrative institutions. But all can pray, fight their own spiritual battles, and contribute to the Fund. If every believer will carry out these sacred duties, we shall be astonished at the accession of power which will result to the whole body, and which in its turn will give rise to further growth and the showering of greater blessings on all of us.

[F54. BA, p. 66.]

19.6 The real secret of universal participation lies in the Master's oft expressed wish that the friends should love each other, constantly encourage each other, work together, be as one soul in one body, and in so doing become a true, organic, healthy body animated and illumined by the spirit. In such a body all will receive spiritual health and vitality from the organism itself, and the most perfect flowers and fruits will be brought forth.

19.7 Our prayers for the happiness and success of the friends everywhere are constantly offered at the Holy Shrines.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p44>

20

Development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God

November 1964

To the Baha'is of the world

Beloved friends,

20.1 Once again the World Centre of our Faith has been the scene of historic events, affecting profoundly the immediate prosecution of the Nine Year Plan and the future development of the World Order of Baha'u'llah. The occasion was the gathering in the Holy Land, for a period of fourteen days, of the Hands of the Cause of God to discuss their vital responsibilities, and particularly as Standard-bearers of the Nine Year Plan.

20.2 The Universal House of Justice took advantage of this opportunity not only to receive the advice, opinions and views of the Hands on the progress of the Nine Year Plan but to consult them on the highly important goal announced at Ridvan 1964 under World Centre Goals as "Development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, in consultation with the body of the Hands of the Cause, with a view to the extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation."

20.3 It was apparent that the elucidation of this vital goal, affecting as it does the relationship of the Hands of the Cause of God to all other institutions of the Cause, was imperative to the prosecution of the all-important teaching work and the development of the Baha'i World Order.

20.4 Accordingly, the Universal House of Justice gave its full attention to this matter and, after study of the sacred texts and hearing the views of the Hands of the Cause themselves, has arrived at the following decisions:

20.4a There is no way to appoint, or to legislate to make it possible to appoint, Hands of the Cause of God.

20.4b Responsibility for decisions on matters of general policy affecting the Institution of the Hands of the Cause, which was formerly exercised by the beloved Guardian, now devolves upon the Universal House of Justice as the supreme and central institution of the Faith to which all must turn.

20.5 It is with great joy that we are able to share with you the initial steps now taken to attain the goal.

Continental zones

20.6 The assignment of the Hands to various continents remains unchanged but, in order to expedite the work, the continents of Asia and the Western Hemisphere will each be divided into zones for the day-to-day work of the <p45> Hands, one or more Hands being responsible for each zone. Asia will consist of two zones: the Middle East comprising the countries from and including Pakistan westwards and also Asiatic USSR; and South and East Asia comprising the remainder of the continent. The Western Hemisphere will consist of three zones: North America, Central America (including Mexico) and the Antilles, and South America. The Hawaiian Islands will be in the Australasian continental area, as listed in the recently issued statistical summary.

Increases in membership of Auxiliary Boards

20.7 The number of members of the Auxiliary Boards for the propagation of the Faith will be increased in every continent, raising the total number of Auxiliary Board members in Africa from eighteen to twenty-seven; in Asia from fourteen to thirty-six; in Australasia from four to nine; in Europe from eighteen to twenty-seven; and in the Western Hemisphere from eighteen to thirty-six.

20.8 The Hands of the Cause in each continent are called upon to appoint one or more members of their Auxiliary Boards to act in an executive capacity on behalf of and in the name of each Hand, thereby assisting him in carrying out his work.

Freeing Hands of the Cause from elected or appointed positions

20.9 The exalted rank and specific functions of the Hands of the Cause of God make it inappropriate for them to be elected or appointed to administrative institutions, or to be elected as delegates to national conventions. Furthermore, it is their desire and the desire of the House of Justice that they be free to devote their entire energies to the vitally important duties conferred upon them in the Holy Writings. The importance of close collaboration between the Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies cannot be over-stressed, and a separate communication is being addressed to National Assemblies on this subject, supplementing guidance given in earlier letters.+F55

[F55. See messages dated October 1963 (no. 6) and 19 November 1963 (no. 10). See also the message dated November 1964 that follows.]

20.10 We anticipate announcing at Ridvan 1965 plans for Oceanic and Inter-continental Conferences, an overall plan for world-wide proclamation of the Faith during 1967-68, the centenary year of the revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk,+F56 involving co-operation of National and Local Assemblies throughout the world, and conditions of entry for a competition for the design of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Panama.

[F56. The Suriy-i-Muluk is Baha'u'llah's Tablet to the Kings, portions of which are published in The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03.]

20.11 Teaching the masses is the greatest challenge now facing the followers of Baha'u'llah. No work is more important than that of carrying His Message with utmost speed to the bewildered and thirsting peoples of a spiritually <p46> parched world. Now, as the Hands return to their various continents, reinforced by a wider and more efficient organization of their work, we are confident that the whole Baha'i world will, with rising enthusiasm and ever-increasing success, press forward with the teaching work, greatly increase the flow of pioneers, more widely participate in the financial support of the work of the Cause and add rapidly to the list of goals already accomplished.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

21

Relationship of Hands of the Cause of God and the National Spiritual Assemblies

November 1964

To National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i World

Dear Baha'i friends,

21.1 The gathering in the Holy Land of the Hands of the Cause of God has been an occasion of vital significance to the Faith. Please share the enclosed general message, as soon as possible, with all believers under your jurisdiction.+F57

[F57. See message no. 20.]

21.2 We now wish to elaborate the recent decisions as they affect the relationship between the Institution of the Hands of the Cause and yourselves, the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world.

21.3 It is of the utmost importance that the Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies be fully informed of the situation of the Cause in the areas for which they are responsible. We ask you therefore to work out with the Hands in your continent more efficient and easier methods of communication. The sharing of National Assembly minutes with the Hands of the Cause is entirely a matter for each National Spiritual Assembly to decide, but it is vitally important for you to regularly provide the Hands of the Cause with all information which is necessary to their work, including copies of pertinent committee reports.

21.4 The Hands of the Cause are preparing a schedule of proposed meetings with National Assemblies and will also be inviting members of National Assemblies to meet them in conferences with their Board members from time to time, a form of consultation which has been found most effective wherever it has been practised.

21.5 Members of Auxiliary Boards should be freed from administrative responsibilities including serving on Committees and as delegates to conventions. In <p47> the event of any member of a National Assembly accepting appointment to a Board, the National Assembly should accept this as valid reason for that member's resignation from the Assembly; should a Board member be elected to a National Assembly, he must choose on which body he will serve.

21.6 We ask each National Assembly to extend a warm and cordial invitation to the Hands of its continent to attend its national convention. All Hands of the Cause present should be given the freedom of the convention. If no continental Hands can attend a convention they may appoint one or two Board members to act as special deputies for that convention, who will, of course, be warmly welcomed and given the courtesy of taking part in convention as deputies of the Hands.

21.7 The increase in the numbers of Board members will inevitably be reflected in an increase in the needs of the Continental Funds. This is a matter for discussion with the Hands in your continent, and we feel sure that you will do your utmost to meet the new requirements, bearing in mind the importance which the beloved Guardian attached to direct contributions to these Funds by National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, as well as by individual believers.

21.8 The fostering of this important relationship between the exalted body of the Hands of the Cause and the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'i world will inevitably strengthen the foundation and functioning of the Cause of God and enable its embryonic world order to grow as a healthy tree under whose shade all mankind will eventually find security and peace.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

22

Appointment of five Continental Pioneer Committees

8 February 1965

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of Australia, the British Isles, Germany, Persia and the United States

Dear Baha'i friends,

22.1 To intensify the prosecution of the Nine Year Plan we call upon your Assemblies to appoint Pioneer Committees respectively for Australasia, Africa, Europe, Asia and the Americas for raising up and deploying the huge army of pioneers necessary to win the goals of the Plan.

22.2 The importance of this step is emphasized by the need, during the coming Baha'i year, to settle no less than four hundred and two pioneers in teaching and consolidation areas -- twenty-eight for Australasia, seventy-one for Africa, <p48> sixty-seven for Europe, one hundred and sixty-eight for Asia, and sixty-eight for the Americas.

22.3 These Pioneer Committees, to be appointed by and be responsible to your respective National Assemblies, will have functions set forth in the enclosed outline.+F58 Since they are essentially service committees, a membership of three will suffice. The secretary should be a competent and knowledgeable Baha'i having time, ability and facilities for carrying on a volume of correspondence. All members of the committee should have organizing ability as well as an aptitude for dealing with problems in a warm and loving Baha'i way.

[F58. The Universal House of Justice later assumed responsibility for appointing the members of Continental Pioneer Committees and transferred responsibility for directing their work to the International Teaching Centre (see message dated 19 May 1983, no. 361). For other letters on the evolving duties of Continental Pioneer Committees, see messages dated Ridvan 1965, 18 March 1966, Ridvan 1966, and 22 July 1974 (nos. 24, 31, 34, and 148).]

22.4 The Pioneer Committees will in no way infringe upon or substitute for existing committees which your Assemblies may have already appointed to deal with the teaching and pioneer requirements of either internal or external goals assigned to your Assembly. Rather they will supplement the work of existing committees of all National Assemblies in the respective continental areas, provide an effective means of exchange of vital information, and assist in the processing of pioneer applications and the transfer of pioneers to goal areas.

22.5 The Pioneer Committees should be appointed immediately, and, as soon as acceptances have been received and the committees organized, you should send us the names of the committee members and the address of the committee for inclusion in a dossier to be sent to all National Assemblies as an addendum to the Ridvan message.

22.6 The Pioneer Committees should be prepared to assume their full responsibilities and functions at Ridvan so that no time will be lost in the rapid transfer of pioneers to their posts, thus avoiding any possible dampening of their spirits.

22.7 In the meantime, we will be forwarding additional information and instructions which will enable the committees to swing into action at Convention time. Since announcement of the appointment of these committees will be a part of the Ridvan message, your Assembly should wait until the Convention to inform the friends of these plans.

22.8 Time is of the essence. It is imperative that we have the names of Pioneer Committee members and the address of the committee within thirty days of your receipt of these instructions.

22.9 Assuring you of prayers at the Holy Shrines.

Deepest love,

The Universal House of Justice <p49> Pioneer Committees

Responsibilities and Functions

22.10 I. To assist National Spiritual Assemblies and their relevant committees in the following respects:

a. Information on availability and qualifications of pioneers.

b. Act as a clearing house for information both continentally and inter- continentally.

c. Determine travel and subsistence budgets needed.

d. Supply information on needs for pioneers in various localities within their respective continental areas, this information to be furnished initially by the Universal House of Justice, and any later needs to be cleared through the Universal House of Justice.

e. Supply information on the types of pioneering service needed in specific localities, such as: for teaching in mass conversion areas, or for deepening in administration; also special qualifications for pioneers to specific localities (e.g., language, ethnic background, work opportunities, etc.), and useful information about the territory itself (e.g., climate, geography, living conditions, visas and governmental regulations).

22.11 II. To assist prospective pioneers in the following respects:

a. Place them in contact with the National Assemblies and/or national committees responsible for settling or consolidating specific localities in which pioneers would like to serve or are qualified to serve.

b. Furnish useful information (such as that set forth in items I. d and e above) which will enable the prospective pioneers to determine where, when and how they can best volunteer their services.

c. Work out, in consultation with the relevant National Assembly and the prospective pioneer, such assistance budgets as may be necessary.

22.12 The Committee will obtain the information called for above from the various National Assemblies (or their committees) in their continental areas, and there should be an exchange of vital information between the five Pioneer Committees.

22.13 Pioneer Committees will in no case assume direct responsibility for filling goals. Their function is in the nature of secondary assistance to the responsible or assisting National Assembly (or national committee). If a National Assembly can fill a goal without assistance, it need not consult a Pioneer Committee, but should keep the relevant Pioneer Committee informed as to the status of pioneer goals.

22.14 Pioneer Committees will clear with the prospective pioneer's own National Assembly before offering his services.

<p50>

22.15 Foremost is the Pioneer Committee's responsibility to expedite and facilitate the transfer of pioneers from the place where they are to the goal areas where they will serve. Only such procedures as will be useful to this purpose should be adopted.

 

23

Election and infallibility of the Universal House of Justice

9 March 1965

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the Netherlands

Dear Baha'i friends,

23.1 We are glad that you have brought to our attention the questions perplexing some of the believers. It is much better for these questions to be put freely and openly than to have them, unexpressed, burdening the hearts of devoted believers. Once one grasps certain basic principles of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah such uncertainties are easily dispelled. This is not to say that the Cause of God contains no mysteries. Mysteries there are indeed, but they are not of a kind to shake one's faith once the essential tenets of the Cause and the indisputable facts of any situation are clearly understood.

23.2 The questions put by the various believers fall into three groups. The first group centres upon the following queries: Why were steps taken to elect a Universal House of Justice with the foreknowledge that there would be no Guardian? Was the time ripe for such an action? Could not the International Baha'i Council have carried on the work?

The Election of the Universal House of Justice

23.3 At the time of our beloved Shoghi Effendi's death it was evident, from the circumstances and from the explicit requirements of the Holy Texts, that it had been impossible for him to appoint a successor in accordance with the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha. This situation, in which the Guardian died without being able to appoint a successor, presented an obscure question not covered by the explicit Holy Text, and had to be referred to the Universal House of Justice. The friends should clearly understand that before the election of the Universal House of Justice there was no knowledge that there would be no Guardian. There could not have been any such foreknowledge, whatever opinions individual believers may have held. Neither the Hands of the Cause of God, nor the International Baha'i Council, nor any <p51> other existing body could make a decision upon this all-important matter.+F59 Only the House of Justice had authority to pronounce upon it. This was one urgent reason for calling the election of the Universal House of Justice as soon as possible.

[F59. The International Baha'i Council, first appointed by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 and, after his passing, elected in 1961 by members of National Spiritual Assemblies, was a precursor of the Universal House of Justice. It ceased to exist upon the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963.]

23.4 Following the passing of Shoghi Effendi the international administration of the Faith was carried on by the Hands of the Cause of God with the complete agreement and loyalty of the National Spiritual Assemblies and the body of the believers. This was in accordance with the Guardian's designation of the Hands as the "Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World Commonwealth."+F60

[F60. MBW, p. 127.]

23.5 From the very outset of their custodianship of the Cause of God the Hands realized that since they had no certainty of divine guidance such as is incontrovertibly assured to the Guardian and to the Universal House of Justice, their one safe course was to follow with undeviating firmness the instructions and policies of Shoghi Effendi. The entire history of religion shows no comparable record of such strict self-discipline, such absolute loyalty and such complete self-abnegation by the leaders of a religion finding themselves suddenly deprived of their divinely inspired guide. The debt of gratitude which mankind for generations, nay, ages to come, owes to this handful of grief-stricken, steadfast, heroic souls is beyond estimation.

23.6 The Guardian had given the Baha'i world explicit and detailed plans covering the period until Ridvan 1963, the end of the Ten Year Crusade. From that point onward, unless the Faith were to be endangered, further divine guidance was essential. This was the second pressing reason for the calling of the election of the Universal House of Justice. The rightness of the time was further confirmed by references in Shoghi Effendi's letters to the Ten Year Crusade's being followed by other plans under the direction of the Universal House of Justice. One such reference is the following passage from a letter addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of the British Isles on 25 February 1951, concerning its Two Year Plan which immediately preceded the Ten Year Crusade:

23.6a On the success of this enterprise, unprecedented in its scope, unique in its character and immense in its spiritual potentialities, must depend the initiation, at a later period in the Formative Age of the Faith, of undertakings embracing within their range all National Assemblies functioning throughout the Baha'i world -- undertakings constituting in <p52> themselves a prelude to the launching of world-wide enterprises destined to be embarked upon, in future epochs of that same Age, by the Universal House of Justice, that will symbolize the unity and co-ordinate and unify the activities of these National Assemblies.+F61

[F61. UD, p. 261.]

23.7 Having been in charge of the Cause of God for six years, the Hands, with absolute faith in the Holy Writings, called upon the believers to elect the Universal House of Justice, and even went so far as to ask that they themselves be not voted for. The sole, sad instance of anyone succumbing to the allurements of power was the pitiful attempt of Charles Mason Remey to usurp the Guardianship.+F62

[F62. Charles Mason Remey, a prominent early American believer who was much loved by 'Abdu'l-Baha, travelled widely in service to the Faith. In January 1951 he was appointed by Shoghi Effendi to be President of the International Baha'i Council and, the following year, was appointed a Hand of the Cause of God to serve in the Holy Land. After the passing of Shoghi Effendi on 4 November 1957, Charles Mason Remey served as one of the nine Custodian Hands designated by the body of the Hands of the Cause to administer the Faith from Haifa. In April 1960 he proclaimed himself to be the Second Guardian of the Cause (see BW 13:353 n). This attempt to usurp the Guardianship resulted in his expulsion from the Faith as a Covenant-breaker. For the announcement of his passing, see the message dated 5 April 1974 (no. 144).]

Principles governing the election of the House of Justice

23.8 The following excerpts from a Tablet of 'Abdu'l-Baha state clearly and emphatically the principles with which the friends are already familiar from the Will and Testament of the Master and the various letters of Shoghi Effendi, and explain the basis for the election of the Universal House of Justice. This Tablet was sent to Persia by the beloved Guardian himself, in the early years of his ministry, for circulation among the believers.

23.9 ...for 'Abdu'l-Baha is in a tempest of dangers and infinitely abhors differences of opinion... Praise be to God, there are no grounds for differences.

23.10 The Bab, the Exalted One, is the Morn of Truth, the splendour of Whose light shineth through all regions. He is also the Harbinger of the Most Great Light, the Abha Luminary. The Blessed Beauty is the One promised by the sacred books of the past, the revelation of the Source of light that shone upon Mount Sinai, Whose fire glowed in the midst of the Burning Bush. We are, one and all, servants of Their threshold, and stand each as a lowly keeper at Their door.

23.11 My purpose is this, that ere the expiration of a thousand years, no one has the right to utter a single word, even to claim the station of Guardianship. The Most Holy Book is the Book to which all peoples shall refer, and in it the Laws of God have been revealed. Laws not mentioned <p53> in the Book should be referred to the decision of the Universal House of Justice. There will be no grounds for difference ... Beware, beware lest anyone create a rift or stir up sedition. Should there be differences of opinion, the Supreme House of Justice would immediately resolve the problems. Whatever will be its decision, by majority vote, shall be the real truth, inasmuch as that House is under the protection, unerring guidance and care of the one true Lord. He shall guard it from error and will protect it under the wing of His sanctity and infallibility. He who opposes it is cast out and will eventually be of the defeated.

23.12 The Supreme House of Justice should be elected according to the system followed in the election of the parliaments of Europe. And when the countries would be guided, the Houses of Justice of the various countries would elect the Supreme House of Justice.

23.13 At whatever time all the beloved of God in each country appoint their delegates, and these in turn elect their representatives, and these representatives elect a body, that body shall be regarded as the Supreme House of Justice.

23.14 The establishment of that House is not dependent upon the conversion of all the nations of the world. For example, if conditions were favourable and no disturbances would be caused, the friends in Persia would elect their representatives, and likewise the friends in America, in India, and other areas would also elect their representatives, and these would elect a House of Justice. That House of Justice would be the Supreme House of Justice. That is all.

(Makatib-i-'Abdu'l-Baha, Vol. III, pp. 500-501)

23.15 The friends should realize that there is nothing in the Texts to indicate that the election of the Universal House of Justice could be called only by the Guardian. On the contrary, 'Abdu'l-Baha envisaged the calling of its election in His own lifetime. At a time described by the Guardian as "the darkest moments of His [the Master's] life, under 'Abdu'l-Hamid's regime, when He stood ready to be deported to the most inhospitable regions of Northern Africa," and when even His life was threatened, 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote to Haji Mirza Taqi Afnan, the cousin of the Bab and chief builder of the 'Ishqabad Temple, commanding him to arrange for the election of the Universal House of Justice should the threats against the Master materialize.+F63 The second part of the Master's Will is also relevant to such a situation and should be studied by the friends.

[F63. WT, p. 20; WOB, p. 17.]

<p54>

The Authority of the Universal House of Justice

23.16 The second series of problems vexing some of the friends centres on the question of the infallibility of the Universal House of Justice and its ability to function without the presence of the Guardian. Particular difficulty has been experienced in understanding the implications of the following statement by the beloved Guardian:

23.16a Divorced from the institution of the Guardianship the World Order of Baha'u'llah would be mutilated and permanently deprived of that hereditary principle which, as 'Abdu'l-Baha has written, has been invariably upheld by the Law of God. "In all the Divine Dispensations," He states, in a Tablet addressed to a follower of the Faith in Persia, "the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright." Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperilled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking, and the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn.

("The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 148)

23.17 Let the friends who wish for a clearer understanding of this passage at the present time consider it in the light of the many other texts which deal with the same subject, for example the following passages gleaned from the letters of Shoghi Effendi:

23.17a They have also, in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the Faith to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the incorruptible inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have bequeathed to the world.

(Letter dated 21 March 1930, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 20)

23.17b It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the institution of Guardianship does not under any circumstances abrogate, or even in the slightest degree detract from, the powers granted to the Universal House of Justice by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by 'Abdu'l-Baha in His Will. It does not constitute in any manner a contradiction to the Will and Writings of Baha'u'llah, nor does it nullify any of His revealed instructions. It <p55> enhances the prestige of that exalted assembly, stabilizes its supreme position, safeguards its unity, assures the continuity of its labours, without presuming in the slightest to infringe upon the inviolability of its clearly defined sphere of jurisdiction. We stand indeed too close to so monumental a document to claim for ourselves a complete understanding of all its implications, or to presume to have grasped the manifold mysteries it undoubtedly contains. ...

(Letter dated 27 February 1929, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 8)

23.17c From these statements it is made indubitably clear and evident that the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the teachings. The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on such laws and ordinances as Baha'u'llah has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested. ("The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," The World Order of Baha'u'llah, pp.

149-50)

23.17d Each exercises, within the limitations imposed upon it, its powers, its authority, its rights and prerogatives. These are neither contradictory, nor detract in the slightest degree from the position which each of these institutions occupies.

("The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 148)

23.17e Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow- members ...

("The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 150)

23.18 Above all, let the hearts of the friends be assured by these words of Baha'u'llah:

23.18a The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an unassailable, an enduring foundation. Storms of human strife are powerless to, undermine its basis, nor will men's fanciful theories succeed in damaging its structure.

(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 109)

<p56>

and these of 'Abdu'l-Baha:

23.18b Verily, God effecteth that which He pleaseth; naught can annul His Covenant; naught can obstruct His favour nor oppose His Cause! He doeth with His will that which pleaseth Him and He is powerful over all things! ...

(Tablets of Abdul-Baha Abbas, Vol. III, p. 598)

23.19 It should be understood by the friends that before legislating upon any matter the Universal House of Justice studies carefully and exhaustively both the Sacred Texts and the Writings of Shoghi Effendi on the subject. The interpretations written by the beloved Guardian cover a vast range of subjects and are equally as binding as the Text itself.

Interpretations of the Guardian and Elucidations of the Universal House of Justice

23.20 There is a profound difference between the interpretations of the Guardian and the elucidations of the House of Justice in exercise of its function to "deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book." The Guardian reveals what the Scripture means; his interpretation is a statement of truth which cannot be varied. Upon the Universal House of Justice, in the words of the Guardian, "has been conferred the exclusive right of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the Baha'i writings."+F64 Its pronouncements, which are susceptible of amendment or abrogation by the House of Justice itself, serve to supplement and apply the Law of God. Although not invested with the function of interpretation, the House of Justice is in a position to do everything necessary to establish the World Order of Baha'u'llah on this earth. Unity of doctrine is maintained by the existence of the authentic texts of Scripture and the voluminous interpretations of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi together with the absolute prohibition against anyone propounding "authoritative" or "inspired" interpretations or usurping the function of Guardian. Unity of administration is assured by the authority of the Universal House of Justice.

[F64. WOB, p. 153.]

23.21 "Such," in the words of Shoghi Effendi, "is the immutability of His revealed Word. Such is the elasticity which characterizes the functions of His appointed ministers. The first preserves the identity of His Faith, and guards the integrity of His law. The second enables it, even as a living organism, to expand and adapt itself to the needs and requirements of an ever-changing society."

(Letter dated 21 March 1930, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 23)

<p57>

23.22 Every true believer, if he is to deepen in his understanding of the Cause of Baha'u'llah must needs combine profound faith in the unfailing efficacy of His Message and His Covenant, with the humility of recognizing that no one of this generation can claim to have embraced the vastness of His Cause nor to have comprehended the manifold mysteries and potentialities it contains. The words of Shoghi Effendi bear ample testimony to this fact:

23.22a How vast is the Revelation of Baha'u'llah! How great the magnitude of His blessings showered upon humanity in this day! And yet, how poor, how inadequate our conception of their significance and glory! This generation stands too close to so colossal a Revelation to appreciate, in their full measure, the infinite possibilities of His Faith, the unprecedented character of His Cause, and the mysterious dispensations of His Providence.

(Letter dated 21 March 1930, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 24)

23.22b We are called upon by our beloved Master in His Will and Testament not only to adopt it [Baha'u'llah's new world order] unreservedly, but to unveil its merit to all the world. To attempt to estimate its full value, and grasp its exact significance after so short a time since its inception would be premature and presumptuous on our part. We must trust to time, and the guidance of God's Universal House of Justice, to obtain a clearer and fuller understanding of its provisions and implications. ...

(Letter dated 23 February 1924, published in Baha'i Administration, p. 62)

23.22c As to the order and the management of the spiritual affairs of the friends, that which is very important now is the consolidation of the Spiritual Assemblies in every centre, because on these fortified and unshakeable foundations, God's Supreme House of Justice shall be erected and firmly established in the days to come. When this most great Edifice shall be reared on such an immovable foundation, Gods purpose, wisdom, universal truths, mysteries and realities of the Kingdom, which the mystic revelation of Baha'u'llah has deposited within the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, shall gradually be revealed and made manifest.

(Letter dated 19 December 1923 -- translated from the Persian)

23.23 Statements such as these indicate that the full meaning of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, as well as an understanding of the implications of the World Order ushered in by that remarkable document can be revealed only gradually to men's eyes, and after the Universal House of Justice has come into being. The friends are called upon to trust to time and to await the guidance of the Universal House of Justice, which, as circumstances require, will make pronouncements that will resolve and clarify obscure matters.

<p58>

The Authority to Expel Members of the House of Justice

23.24 The third group of queries raised by the friends concerns details of functioning of the Universal House of Justice in the absence of the Guardian, particularly the matter of expulsion of members of the House of Justice. Such questions will be clarified in the Constitution of the House of Justice, the formulation of which is a goal of the Nine Year Plan. Meanwhile the friends are informed that any member committing a "sin injurious to the common weal," may be expelled from membership of the House of Justice by a majority vote of the House itself.+F65 Should any member, God forbid, be guilty of breaking the Covenant, the matter would be investigated by the Hands of the Cause of God, and the Covenant-breaker would be expelled by decision of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land, subject to the approval of the House of Justice, as in the case of any other believer. The decision of the Hands in such a case would be announced to the Baha'i world by the Universal House of Justice.

[F65. WT, p. 14. See also CUHJ, p. 12.]

23.25 We are certain that when you share this letter with the friends and they have these quotations from the Scriptures and the Writings of the Guardian drawn to their attention, their doubts and misgivings will be dispelled and they will be able to devote their every effort to spreading the Message of Baha'u'llah, serenely confident in the power of His Covenant to overcome whatever tests an inscrutable Providence may shower upon it, thus demonstrating its ability to redeem a travailing world and to upraise the Standard of the Kingdom of God on earth.

With loving greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p59>

24

Ridvan Message 1965

Ridvan 1965

The Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

24.1 The tide of victory which carried the Baha'i World community to the celebrations of the Most Great Jubilee is still rising. A ceaseless shower of divine confirmation rains upon our efforts, its evidences apparent in the many noteworthy achievements of the few brief months since the launching of the Nine Year Plan. The most spectacular of these is the increase in the number of centres where Baha'is reside from fifteen thousand one hundred and sixty-eight at Ridvan 1964 to twenty-one thousand and six at the present time, an increase of nearly six thousand in one year. No less remarkable is the progress of the teaching work in India where the number of believers now exceeds a hundred and forty thousand, an increase of more than thirty thousand since Ridvan 1964. Pioneers are moving to those few remaining territories of the earth as yet un-illumined by the light of God's new Revelation; "the vast increase" in the size of the Cause, called for at the launching of the Plan, appears to be developing, while in country after country the institutions and endowments of the Faith are being steadily and firmly established.

World Centre Goals

24.2 During the past twelve months the goals assigned to the World Centre have been actively pursued. Basic decisions and actions to implement the goal of "Development of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, with a view to extension into the future of its appointed functions of protection and propagation," have already been conveyed to the friends. Following their meeting in the Holy Land last October, the members of this august body, the Standard-bearers of this Nine Year Plan as well as of the beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, already laden with honours and services, have arisen with renewed and matchless vigour to rouse the spirits of the friends to meet the supreme teaching challenge, to lend their counsel and assistance to the administrative bodies, and to diffuse the divine fragrances and love of God through all the world. The increase in the numbers of Board members and the new executive arrangements will, it is confidently anticipated, enable the beloved Hands to discharge their important duties with even greater effectiveness and give them more time to travel and teach.

24.3 A preliminary survey of the conditions affecting the construction of the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of Latin America, one of the two edifices to be erected during the Plan, has already been undertaken, and we now invite Baha'i and <p60> non-Baha'i architects to submit designs for the Panama Temple.+F66 The terms and conditions of the submission, and the specifications of the structure, may be obtained from the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama, whose choice of design will be subject to the ultimate approval of the Universal House of Justice. It is our hope that the construction of this sacred House of Worship, in a location accorded such special significance by both the Master and the Guardian, will be speedily accomplished, so that its beacon of spiritual light may radiate to all the Americas.

[F66. The other edifice that was to be erected during the Nine Year Plan was the Mashriqu'l- Adhkar planned for Tihran, Iran. Due to antagonism toward the Baha'i Faith in that country, plans for its construction were held in abeyance.]

World-Wide Achievements

24.4 During the past twelve months the following new territories have been opened to the Faith: in the continent of Africa, Gabon, Ifni, Mali, Mauritania, Rodrigues Island and Upper Volta; in the continent of America, Aruba Island, Cozumel Island, Guadeloupe, Las Mujeres Island, Prince of Wales Island and St. Vincent; in the continent of Asia, the Ryukyu Islands; in the continent of Australasia, the Line Islands; in the continent of Europe, the Isle of Wight, the East and West Frisian Islands. The following territories have been reopened: in the continent of Africa, Mafia Island; in the continent of America, Antigua, French Guiana and Martinique; West Irian in the continent of Asia; and Admiralty Islands in Australasia. National Haziratu'l-Quds have been acquired in nine places, the seats of National Spiritual Assemblies, and land has been acquired in two others on which to build this institution. Six National Spiritual Assemblies have become incorporated and the Faith has been recognized in Cambodia, a country destined to have its own National Spiritual Assembly during the Nine Year Plan. National Endowments have been acquired in eight countries; six Teaching Institutes have been established, and land has been acquired for six others; a Baha'i Publishing Trust for the provision of literature in the French language has been established in Brussels; Baha'i Holy Days have been recognized in three territories; Baha'i literature has been published in the following eleven new languages: lbibio-Efik in the continent of Africa, Aguacateca, Athabascan, Carina and Motilon-Yukpa in the continent of America, Kenyah, Melanau and Temiar in the continent of Asia, and Ghari, Marshallese and Motua in Australasia. The progress of the Cause in Borneo makes possible the achievement of a goal supplementary to the Plan, namely the establishment at Ridvan 1966 of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Brunei.

Two Conditions of the Baha'i World Community

24.5 The passage of the first year of the Plan discloses two conditions in the Baha'i World community. The first, within the Faith itself, is its capacity to <p61> accomplish all and any definitive goals assigned to it, goals such as the purchasing of Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple Sites, Endowments, or the incorporation of Spiritual Assemblies; such objective and highly important goals as these, by which the Cause is established physically, legally and socially in the world, are now taken in its stride by the Administrative Order. It should be noted, moreover, that the accomplishment of many goals of this type, involves inter-Assembly co-operation, an international activity vital to the development of world order.

24.6 The second condition apparent after the passage of the first year of the Plan, involves the relationship of the Cause to humanity. Almost universally there is a sense of an impending breakthrough in large-scale conversion. Reports of the Hands of the Cause and of Board members constantly mention it; many National Spiritual Assemblies believe that they have reached the shores of this ocean. And, indeed, entry into the Cause by troops has been a fact in some areas for a number of years. But greater things are ahead. The teaching of the Faith must enkindle a world-encircling fire in whose light the Cause and the world-protagonists of the greatest drama in human history are clearly illumined. Destiny is carrying us to this climax; we must gird ourselves for heroism. Four immediate tasks

24.7 Four challenging and immediate tasks present themselves. The first is to raise and dispatch, during the coming year, no less than four hundred and sixty pioneers who will open the fifty-four remaining virgin territories of the Plan, resettle the eighteen unoccupied ones, reinforce areas where the numbers and cohesion of the Baha'i communities are at present inadequate to launch effective teaching plans, and support and extend the work in the areas of mass teaching. Let every believer consider this challenge, be he, in the words of the beloved Guardian, "in active service or not, of either sex, young as well as old, rich or poor, whether veteran or newly enrolled ..."

24.8 To assist the pioneer efforts of the friends and their transfer to their Posts during the next twelve months we announce the formation of five Continental Pioneer Committees, namely: Pioneer Committee for Africa appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the British Isles; Pioneer Committee for the Americas appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States; Pioneer Committee for Asia appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Persia; Pioneer Committee for Australasia appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Australia; Pioneer Committee for Europe appointed by the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Germany.

24.9 These Committees will in no way infringe the responsibilities of other Pioneer Committees, or of National Spiritual Assemblies, who are in charge of the teaching work, and under whose jurisdiction they will function. They are <p62> established to facilitate and assist the work of these national bodies by providing effective exchange of vital information, both continentally and inter-continentally, by assisting in the routing of pioneer offers and in the transfer of pioneers to their posts.

24.10 A careful estimate has been made of the pioneer needs of every area during the next twelve months and the result, including those for the seventy-two areas mentioned above, is a call for four hundred and sixty-one pioneers; eighty-six for Africa, ninety-six for the Americas, one hundred and ninety-one for Asia, twenty-nine for Australasia, and fifty-nine for Europe. Each National Spiritual Assembly has been consulted as to its pioneer needs and these have been made known to all National Spiritual Assemblies as well as to the five Continental Pioneer Committees, who will be kept currently informed of progress by the National Spiritual Assemblies. The friends, therefore, are urged to consult their National Spiritual Assemblies for information about pioneer needs and responsibilities both of their own communities and in general.

24.11 For the first time in Baha'i history, an International Deputization Fund has been established at the World Centre under the administration of the Universal House of Justice. From it supplementary support will be given to specific pioneering projects when other funds are not available. All friends, and particularly those who are unable to respond to the pioneer call are invited to support this Fund, mindful of the injunction of Baha'u'llah, "Centre your energies in the propagation of the Faith of God. Whoso is worthy of so high a calling, let him arise and promote it. Whoso is unable, it is his duty to appoint him who will, in his stead, proclaim this Revelation, Whose power hath caused the foundations of the mightiest structures to quake, every mountain to be crushed into dust, and every soul to be dumbfounded."+F67

[F67. GWB, pp. 196-97.]

24.12 The second challenge facing us is to raise the intensity of teaching to a pitch never before attained, in order to realize that "vast increase" called for in the Plan. Universal participation and constant action will win this goal. Every believer has a part to play, and is capable of playing it, for every soul meets others, and, as promised by Baha'u'llah, "Whosoever ariseth to aid Our Cause God will render him victorious ..."+F68 The confusion of the world is not diminishing, rather does it increase with each passing day, and men and women are losing faith in human remedies. Realization is at last dawning that "There is no place to flee to" save God.+F69 Now is the golden opportunity; people are willing, in many places eager, to listen to the divine remedy.

[F69. GWB, p. 703.]

[F68. Quoted in MBW, p. 101.]

24.13 The third challenge is to acquire as rapidly as possible all the remaining National Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple Sites, National Endowments and Teaching Institutes called for in the Plan. The speedy conclusion of these projects will <p63> save tremendous expense later and endow the Faith with increasingly valuable properties. These basic possessions are the embryos of mighty institutions of the future, but it is this generation, which, for its own protection and as its gift to posterity, must acquire them. We call upon the National Spiritual Assemblies charged with responsibility in this field to accord it high priority. A further, but equally important consideration, is, that the achievement of this goal in the early years of the Plan will liberate the energies and resources of the growing world community for a concentrated, resolute and relentless pursuit in its later stages of great victories whose foundations are now being laid.

The Centenary of Baha'u'llah's Proclamation to the Kings

24.14 The fourth challenge is to prepare national and local plans for the befitting celebration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's proclamation of His Message in September/October, 1867, to the kings and rulers of the world, celebrations to be followed during the remainder of the Nine Year Plan by a sustained and well-planned programme of proclamation of that same Message to the generality of mankind.

24.15 A review of the historic proclamation by Baha'u'llah, as described by Shoghi Effendi in God Passes By, reveals that its "opening notes" were "sounded during the latter part of Baha'u'llah's banishment to Adrianople," and that, six years later, it "closed during the early years of His incarceration in the prison-fortress of 'Akka." These "opening notes" were the mighty and awe-inspiring words addressed by Him to the kings and rulers collectively in the Suriy-i-Muluk, "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah." It was penned some time during the months of September and October, 1867, and was followed by "Tablets unnumbered ... in which the implications of His newly-asserted claims were fully expounded." "Kings and emperors, severally and collectively; the chief magistrates of the Republics of the American continent; ministers and ambassadors; the Sovereign Pontiff himself; the Vicar of the Prophet of Islam; the royal Trustee of the Kingdom of the Hidden Imam; the monarchs of Christendom, its patriarchs, archbishops, bishops, priests and monks; the recognized leaders of both the Sunni and Shi'ah sacerdotal orders; the high priests of the Zoroastrian religion; the philosophers, the ecclesiastical leaders, the wise men and the inhabitants of Constantinople -- that proud seat of both the Sultanate and the Caliphate; the entire company of the professed adherents of the Zoroastrian, the Jewish, the Christian and Muslim Faiths; the people of the Bayan; the wise men of the world, its men of letters, its poets, its mystics, its tradesmen, the elected representatives of its peoples; His own countrymen"; all were "brought directly within the purview of the exhortations, the warnings, the appeals, the declarations and the prophecies which constitute the theme of His momentous summons to the leaders of mankind ..." "Unique and stupendous as was this proclamation, it proved <p64> to be but a prelude to a still mightier revelation of the creative power of its Author, and to what may well rank as the most signal act of His ministry the promulgation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas."+F70 In this, the Most Holy Book, revealed in 1873, Baha'u'llah not only once more announces to the kings of the earth collectively that "He Who is the King of Kings hath appeared" but addresses reigning sovereigns distinctively by name and proclaims to the "Rulers of America and the Presidents of the Republics therein" that "the Promised One hath appeared."+F71 Such was the proclamation of Baha'u'llah to mankind. As He Himself testified, "Never since the beginning of the world hath the Message been so openly proclaimed."+F72

[F72. Quoted in GPB, p. 212.]

[F71. GWB, p. 211; PB, p. 63; KA P88.]

[F70. See GPB, pp. 171, 212, 213.]

24.16 The celebration of this fate-laden centenary period will open with a visit, in September 1967, on the Feast of Mashiyyat, by a few appointed representatives of the Baha'i World to the site of the house in Adrianople, where the historic Suriy-i-Muluk was revealed.

Six Intercontinental Conferences

24.17 Immediately following this joyful and pious act, six Intercontinental Conferences will be simultaneously held during the month of October in Panama City, Wilmette, Sydney, Kampala, Frankfurt, and New Delhi. The host and convenor of each Conference will be the National Spiritual Assembly in whose area it takes place. The following Hands of the Cause of God will represent the Universal House of Justice at these Conferences: Panama City -- Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, who will, on that occasion, lay the foundation stone of the Temple; Wilmette -- Leroy Ioas; Sydney -- Ugo Giachery; Kampala -- 'Ali-Akbar Furutan; Frankfurt -- Paul Haney; New Delhi -- Abu'l- Qasim Faizi.

24.18 All National Spiritual Assemblies are called upon to arrange befitting observances, on a national and local scale, of the opening of the centenary period during September/October, 1967, and between the above Conferences and Ridvan 1968, at which time the second International Convention for the election of the Universal House of Justice will be held at the World Centre.

24.19 The successful carrying out of all these plans will constitute a befitting commemoration, commensurate with the resources of the Baha'i World community, of the sacred event they recall.

A Period of Proclamation

24.20 These six Conferences, like the epoch-making event whose centenary they commemorate, will sound the "opening notes" of a period of proclamation of the Cause of God extending through the remaining years of the Nine Year Plan to the centenary, in 1973, of the Revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and <p65> activity which calls for the ardent and imaginative study of all National and Local Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world.

24.21 The international scene will witness the holding of Oceanic Conferences forecast by Shoghi Effendi. The first one will be held during August 1968 on an island in the Mediterranean Sea to commemorate Baha'u'llah's voyage upon that sea, a hundred years before, from Gallipoli in Turkey to the Most Great Prison in 'Akka. In the subsequent years of the Nine Year Plan, others will be held in the Atlantic Ocean, in the Caribbean Sea, the Pacific Ocean, and the Indian Ocean.

24.22 In calling upon all National Spiritual Assemblies to consider now the appointment of National Proclamation Committees charged with laying feasible and effective plans for the proclamation of the Faith throughout the entire centenary period, we can do no better than call attention to the following passage from a letter written by our beloved Guardian in connection with the celebrations of the centenary of the birth of the Baha'i Era:

24.22a An unprecedented, a carefully conceived, efficiently co-ordinated, nation-wide campaign, aiming at the proclamation of the Message of Baha'u'llah, through speeches, articles in the press, and radio broadcasts, should be promptly initiated and vigorously prosecuted. The universality of the Faith, its aims and purposes, episodes in its dramatic history, testimonials to its transforming power, and the character and distinguishing features of its World Order should be emphasized and explained to the general public, and particularly to eminent friends and leaders sympathetic to its cause, who should be approached and invited to participate in the celebrations. Lectures, conferences, banquets, special publications should, to whatever extent is practicable and according to the resources at the disposal of the believers, proclaim the character of this joyous Festival.+F73

[F73. MA, p. 62.]

Gathering Momentum of the Process Launched in 1953

24.23 The majestic process launched by our beloved Guardian in 1953, when he called the widely scattered, obscure Baha'i World community to embark upon that first, glorious, world-encompassing crusade, is gathering momentum, and posterity may well gaze with awe upon the development, by so small a fraction of the human race and in a world entangled in opposition, enmity and disruption, of the very pattern and sinews of world order. This divinely propelled and long-promised development must continue its historic course until its final consummation in the glories and splendours of the World Order of Baha'u'llah, the Kingdom of God on earth.

The Universal House of Justice

<p66>

25

Passing of the Hand of the Cause of God Leroy Ioas

22 July 1965

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

25.1 GRIEVE ANNOUNCE PASSING OUTSTANDING HAND CAUSE LEROY IOAS. HIS LONG SERVICE BAHA'I COMMUNITY UNITED STATES CROWNED ELEVATION RANK HAND FAITH PAVING WAY HISTORIC DISTINGUISHED SERVICES HOLY LAND. APPOINTMENT FIRST SECRETARY GENERAL INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL PERSONAL REPRESENTATIVE GUARDIAN FAITH TWO INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES ASSOCIATION HIS NAME BY BELOVED GUARDIAN OCTAGON DOOR BAB'S SHRINE TRIBUTE SUPERVISORY WORK DRUM DOME THAT HOLY SEPULCHRE NOTABLE PART ERECTION INTERNATIONAL ARCHIVES BUILDING ALL ENSURE HIS NAME IMMORTAL ANNALS FAITH. LAID TO REST BAHA'I CEMETERY CLOSE FELLOW HANDS ADVISE HOLD BEFITTING MEMORIAL SERVICES. ...+F74

[F74. For an account of the life and services of Leroy Ioas, see BW 14:291-300. For an explanation of the International Baha'i Council, see the Glossary.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

26

Purification of the Most Holy Shrine of Baha'u'llah, the Qiblih of the Baha'i World

11 November 1965

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

26.1 ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD REMOVAL FROM IMMEDIATE PRECINCTS HOLY SHRINE BAHA'U'LLAH REMAINS MIRZA DIYA'U'LLAH YOUNGER BROTHER MIRZA MUHAMMAD-'ALI HIS ACCOMPLICE IN EFFORTS SUBVERT FOUNDATIONS COVENANT GOD SOON AFTER ASCENSION BAHA'U'LLAH. THIS FINAL STEP IN PROCESS PURIFICATION SACRED INTERNATIONAL ENDOWMENTS FAITH IN BAHJI FROM PAST CONTAMINATION WAS PROVIDENTIALLY UNDERTAKEN UPON REQUEST FAMILY OLD COVENANT-BREAKERS A PROCESS WHOSE INITIAL STAGE WAS FULFILLED BY 'ABDU'L- BAHA WHICH GATHERED MOMENTUM EARLY YEARS BELOVED GUARDIAN'S MINISTRY THROUGH EVACUATION MANSION ATTAINED CLIMAX THROUGH PURIFICATION HARAM- I-AQDAS AND NOW CONSUMMATED THROUGH CLEANSING INNER SANCTUARY MOST HALLOWED SHRINE QIBLIH BAHA'I WORLD PRESAGING EVENTUAL CONSTRUCTION BEFITTING MAUSOLEUM AS ANTICIPATED BELOVED SIGN GOD ON EARTH.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p67>

27

Reasons for delay in translating and publishing the Kitab-i-Aqdas

6 December 1965

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

Dear Baha'i friends,

27.1 We have received a number of inquiries as to the translation and publication of the Kitab-i-Aqdas from friends who are unable to read it in its original form. We feel the following extract from a letter written on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary dated 27 December 1941, addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of India and Burma clarifies this question:

27.1a The reason it [the Kitab-i-Aqdas] is not circulated amongst all the Baha'is is, first, because the Cause is not yet ready or sufficiently matured to put all the provisions of the Aqdas into effect and, second, because it is a book which requires to be supplemented by detailed explanations and to be translated into other languages by a competent body of experts. The provisions of the Aqdas are gradually, according to the progress of the Cause, being put into effect already, both in the East and the West. ...

27.2 As is well known, the beloved Guardian has already given in God Passes By, pp. 214-15, a summary of the contents of this Most Holy Book, and included the codification of all the laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas as one of the objectives of the Ten Year Crusade. It is the intention of the Universal House of Justice to achieve this objective by publishing a synopsis and codification of these laws during the current Nine Year Plan.

27.3 Much of the Kitab-i-Aqdas has already been translated by the beloved Guardian and has been given to the friends in the West, although not designated, in every case, as coming from the Most Holy Book.+F75 We give you below a list of such references for your guidance:

[F75. In 1973, the last year of the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice published A Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. The volume includes all of the extracts in the list of references that follows. The Baha'i World Centre published a copiously annotated English translation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and related texts in 1992.]

Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah

Sections XXXVII, LVI, LXX, LXXI, LXXII, XCVIII, CV, CIV, CLIX, and CLXV

The Promised Day is Come

pp. 26 (1st para.), 36-37 (until the end of 2nd para.), 40 (2nd para.), and 84-85 (until the end of 1st para.)

<p68>

The Challenging Requirements of the Present Hour+F76

[F76. This message of Shoghi Effendi was later published in CF, pp. 4-38; the passage from the Kitab-i-Aqdas appears on pp. 18-19 (see also PB, p. 63).]

pp. 16-17 (until the end of 1st para.)

Baha'i Administration

p. 21 (1st para.)

The World Order of Baha'u'llah

p. 134 (2nd para.)

The Baha'i Community (1963 edition)

p. 4 (2nd & 3rd paras)

Star of the West, XIV

pp. 112-14

27.4 The two reasons given by the Guardian in the extract of the letter quoted above need further amplification:

27.4a 1. As regards the first reason, regarding the timeliness of putting into effect all the provisions of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, it must be borne in mind that the beloved Guardian further stated:

... the Laws revealed by Baha'u'llah in the Aqdas are, whenever practicable and not in direct conflict with the Civil Law of the land, absolutely binding on every believer or Baha'i institution whether in the East or in the West. Certain laws, such as fasting, obligatory prayers, the consent of the parents before marriage, avoidance of alcoholic drinks, monogamy, should be regarded by all believers as universally and vitally applicable at the present time. Others have been formulated in anticipation of a state of society destined to emerge from the chaotic conditions that prevail today. When the Aqdas is published this matter will be further explained and elucidated. What has not been formulated in the Aqdas, in addition to matters of detail and of secondary importance arising out of the application of the Laws already formulated by Baha'u'llah, will have to be enacted by the Universal House of Justice. ...

(Baha'i News, October 1935)

The Guardian has further written:

It should be noted in this connection that this Administrative Order is fundamentally different from anything that any Prophet has previously established, inasmuch as Baha'u'llah has Himself revealed its principles, established its institutions, appointed the person to interpret His Word and conferred the necessary authority on the body designed to supplement and apply His legislative ordinances. Therein lies the secret of its strength, its fundamental distinction, and the guarantee against disintegration and schism. ...

(The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 145)

<p69>

27.4b 2. As to the second reason given by the beloved Guardian in the extract referred to above, it must be noted that the supplementary material to go with the publication of the laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas may well include the following items, all of which require careful research and translation:

a. The Annex to the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the Questions and Answers. (God Passes By, p. 219)

b. Tablets of Baha'u'llah in "elaboration and elucidation of some of the laws He [Baha'u'llah] had already laid down." (God Passes By, p. 216)

c. Tablets of Baha'u'llah establishing "subsidiary ordinances designed to supplement the provisions of His Most Holy Book." (God Passes By, p. 216)

d. The Letters and Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi in interpretation of the laws and ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

e. Other explanations and footnotes that may be required in elucidation of the provisions of that Book.

27.5 We hope the foregoing will clarify the matter for the friends. ...

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

28

Call for pioneers

10 December 1965

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

28.1 ANNOUNCE ALL BELIEVERS REJOICE RESPONSE BAHA'I WORLD PIONEER CALL RAISED RIDVAN MESSAGE REQUIRING 460 PIONEERS COURSE CURRENT YEAR. THUS FAR 93 SETTLED POSTS INCLUDING 15 VIRGIN TERRITORIES ST. ANDRES ISLAND PROVIDENCIA ISLAND MARMARA ISLAND CHAD NIGER CAYMAN ISLANDS TURKS AND CAICOS ISCHIA GOTLAND ALASKA PENINSULA BARBUDA ST. KITTS-NEVIS INNER HEBRIDES BORNHOLM CAPRI 35 ADDITIONAL SETTLED SAME GOALS 167 MORE ARISEN AND IN PROCESS SETTLING TOTALLING 295 SOULS RESPONDED CALL. FURTHER 200 BELIEVERS NEEDED NEXT FOUR SWIFTLY PASSING MONTHS FILL REMAINING GOALS. FATE PIONEER PLAN HANGING BALANCE PRAYING FERVENTLY HOLY SHRINES REQUIRED NUMBER HEROIC SOULS PROMPTLY ARISE MEET CHALLENGE CRITICAL HOUR URGE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES NEEDING FUNDS EXECUTE ASSIGNMENTS APPLY IMMEDIATELY INTERNATIONAL DEPUTIZATION FUND. IMPERATIVE SETTLE ALL TERRITORIES ANNOUNCED RIDVAN EXCEPT THOSE DEPENDENT FAVOURABLE CIRCUMSTANCES. VIRGIN AND RESETTLEMENT TERRITORIES PRIORITY CONFIDENT SPIRIT DEVOTION FRIENDS GLORIOUS FAITH ENSURE BRILLIANT VICTORY THIS PRIMARY OBJECTIVE SO VITAL NINE YEAR PLAN.

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p70>

29

Observance of Baha'i' Holy Days

28 January 1966

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

29.1 From time to time questions have arisen about the application of the law of the Kitab-i-Aqdas on the observance of Baha'i Holy Days. As you know, the recognition of Baha'i Holy Days in at least ninety-five countries of the world is an important and highly significant objective of the Nine Year Plan, and is directly linked with the recognition of the Faith of Baha'u'llah by the civil authorities as an independent religion enjoying its own rights and privileges.

29.2 The attainment of this objective will be facilitated and enhanced if the friends, motivated by their own realization of the importance of the laws of Baha'u'llah, are obedient to them. For the guidance of believers we repeat the instructions of the beloved Guardian:

29.2a He wishes also to stress the fact that, according to our Baha'i laws, work is forbidden on our nine Holy Days. Believers who have independent businesses or shops should refrain from working on these days. Those who are in government employ should, on religious grounds, make an effort to be excused from work; all believers, whoever their employers, should do likewise. If the government, or other employers, refuse to grant them these days off, they are not required to forfeit their employment, but they should make every effort to have the independent status of their Faith recognized and their right to hold their own religious Holy Days acknowledged.

(From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the American National Spiritual Assembly, dated 7 July 1947 -- Baha'i News, No. 198, p. 3)

29.2b This distinction between institutions that are under full or partial Baha'i control is of a fundamental importance. Institutions that are entirely managed by Baha'is are, for reasons that are only too obvious, under the obligation of enforcing all the laws and ordinances of the Faith, especially those whose observance constitutes a matter of conscience. There is no reason, no justification whatever, that they should act otherwise ... The point which should be always remembered is that the issue in question is essentially a matter of conscience, and as such is of a binding effect upon all believers. ...

(From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the American National Spiritual Assembly, dated 2 October 1935 -- Baha'i News, No. 97, p. 9)

<p71>

29.3 In addition, steps should be taken to have Baha'i children excused, on religious grounds, from attending school on Baha'i Holy Days wherever possible. The Guardian has said:

29.3a Regarding children: at fifteen a Baha'i is of age as far as keeping the laws of the Aqdas is concerned -- prayer, fasting, etc. But children under fifteen should certainly observe the Baha'i Holy Days, and not go to school, if this can be arranged, on these nine days.

(From letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the American National Spiritual Assembly, dated 25 October 1947)

29.4 National Assemblies should give this subject their careful consideration, and should provide ways and means for bringing this matter to the attention of the believers under their jurisdiction so that, as a matter of conscience, the mass of believers will uphold these laws and observe them.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

30

Further thoughts about mass teaching

2 February 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies engaged in mass teaching work

Dear Baha'i friends,

30.1 Since writing to the National Spiritual Assemblies of the world regarding the importance of teaching the masses, we have received reports from all over the world indicating the steady increase in the number of believers, the concentration of the friends on the more receptive areas, however remote these may have been, and the opening up of new and challenging fields for expansion and service. In this letter we wish once again to stress the importance of this subject, share with you our thoughts regarding the supreme need to preserve the victories you have already won and the necessity to pursue the vital work in which you are engaged and to which the eyes of your sister communities in East and West are turned with admiration.

30.2 It has been due to the splendid victories in large-scale conversion that the Faith of Baha'u'llah has entered a new phase in its development and establishment throughout the world. It is imperative, therefore, that the process of teaching the masses be not only maintained but accelerated. The teaching committee structure that each National Assembly may adopt to ensure best results in the extension of its teaching work is a matter left entirely to its discretion, <p72> but an efficient teaching structure there must be, so that the tasks are carried out with dispatch and in accordance with the administrative principles of our Faith. From among the believers native to each country, competent travelling teachers must be selected and teaching projects worked out. In the words of our beloved Guardian, commenting upon the teaching work in Latin America: "Strong and sustained support should be given to the vitally needed and highly meritorious activities started by the native ... travelling teachers, ... who, as the mighty task progresses, must increasingly bear the brunt of responsibility for the propagation of the Faith in their homelands."+F77

[F77. CF, p. 15.]

30.3 While this vital teaching work is progressing each National Assembly must ever bear in mind that expansion and consolidation are inseparable processes that must go hand in hand. The interdependence of these processes is best elucidated in the following passage from the writings of the beloved Guardian: "Every outward thrust into new fields, every multiplication of Baha'i institutions, must be paralleled by a deeper thrust of the roots which sustain the spiritual life of the community and ensure its sound development. From this vital, this ever-present need attention must, at no time, be diverted; nor must it be, under any circumstances, neglected, or subordinated to the no less vital and urgent task of ensuring the outer expansion of Baha'i administrative institutions. That this community ... may maintain a proper balance between these two essential aspects of its development ... is the ardent hope of my heart."+F78 To ensure that the spiritual life of the individual believer is continuously enriched, that local communities are becoming increasingly conscious of their collective duties, and that the institutions of an evolving administration are operating efficiently, is, therefore, as important as expanding into new fields and bringing in the multitudes under the shadow of the Cause.

[F78. LFG, p. 76.]

30.4 These objectives can only be attained when each National Spiritual Assembly makes proper arrangements for all the friends to be deepened in the knowledge of the Faith. The National Spiritual Assemblies in consultation with the Hands of the Cause, who are the Standard-bearers of the Nine Year Plan, should avail themselves of the assistance of Auxiliary Board members, who, together with the travelling teachers selected by the Assembly or its Teaching Committees, should be continuously encouraged to conduct deepening courses at Teaching Institutes and to make regular visits to Local Spiritual Assemblies. The visitors, whether Board members or travelling teachers should meet on such occasions not only with the Local Assembly but, of course, with the local community members, collectively at general meetings and even, if necessary, individually in their homes.

<p73>

30.5 The subjects to be discussed at such meetings with the Local Assembly and the friends should include among others the following points:

1. the extent of the spread and stature of the Faith today;

2. the importance of the daily obligatory prayers (at least the short prayer);

3. the need to educate Baha'i children in the Teachings of the Faith and encourage them to memorize some of the prayers;

4. the stimulation of youth to participate in community life by giving talks, etc. and having their own activities, if possible;

5. the necessity to abide by the laws of marriage, namely, the need to have a Baha'i ceremony, to obtain the consent of parents, to observe monogamy; faithfulness after marriage; likewise the importance of abstinence from all intoxicating drinks and drugs;

6. the local Fund and the need for the friends to understand that the voluntary act of contributing to the Fund is both a privilege and a spiritual obligation. There should also be discussion of various methods that could be followed by the friends to facilitate their contributions and the ways open to the Local Assembly to utilize its local Fund to serve the interests of its community and the Cause;

7. the importance of the Nineteen Day Feast and the fact that it should be a joyful occasion and rallying point of the entire community;

8. the manner of election with as many workshops as required, including teaching of simple methods of balloting for illiterates, such as having one central home as the place for balloting and arranging for one literate person, if only a child, to be present at that home during the whole day, if necessary;

9. last but not least, the all-important teaching work, both in the locality and its neighbouring centres, as well as the need to continuously deepen the friends in the essentials of the Faith. The friends should be made to realize that in teaching the Faith to others they should not only aim at assisting the seeking soul to join the Faith, but also at making him a teacher of the Faith and its active supporter.

30.6 All the above points should, of course, be stressed within the framework of the importance of the Local Spiritual Assembly, which should be encouraged to vigorously direct its attention to these vital functions and become the very heart of the community life of its own locality, even if its meetings should become burdened with the problems of the community. The local friends should understand the importance of the law of consultation and realize that <p74> it is to the Local Spiritual Assembly that they should turn, abide by its decisions, support its projects, co-operate wholeheartedly with it in its task to promote the interests of the Cause, and seek its advice and guidance in the solution of personal problems and the adjudication of disputes, should any arise amongst the members of the community.

30.7 As the Universal House of Justice intends to have on file a full record of the progress of the teaching work in large-scale conversion areas, we request you to send us any published material, such as forms, cards, pamphlets, pictures, audio-visual aids, deepening booklets, etc. that you are currently using, with adequate explanations by your Assembly as to how they are being used, and any comments you may wish to make about their usefulness. Your National Assembly should also feel free to share with us your problems and needs as well as any recommendations you may have. We are looking forward to receiving a prompt reply to this letter, as we feel that an early evaluation of the methods used in various fields of teaching is vital and essential at this time.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

31

Call for pioneers and travelling teachers

18 March 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

31.1 The message of the Universal House of Justice to the Baha'i world this Ridvan will raise a call for volunteers to engage in travelling teaching in all parts of the world and for whatever periods of time are possible. The purpose is to develop a band of international teachers who will, by the very fact of being visitors from other countries, stimulate interest on the various home-fronts which they visit.

31.2 The Continental Pioneer Committees for Africa, the Americas, Asia, Australasia and Europe have been given the additional function of assisting National Assemblies to make the most efficient use of any who may volunteer to travel and teach in countries other than their own.+F79 The procedures to be followed are attached to this letter. As you will note we are extending the use of the International Deputization Fund to deserving international teaching projects which cannot otherwise be financed.

[F79. See message no. 22.]

<p75>

 

31.3 This advanced information is given to National Assemblies so that they may be prepared to accept and utilize the offers of travelling teachers as soon as they arise.

31.4 It is requested that the subject of travelling teachers be placed on the Agenda for consultation at the National Convention, and that the friends be given every encouragement to respond to this call.

31.5 Since the announcement of this plan is a part of the Ridvan message, your Assembly should wait until the Convention before announcing it to the friends.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

31.6 P.S. The locale of the Pioneer Committee for Africa is being changed to Uganda effective at Ridvan. For the time being please contact the Committee in care of that National Assembly.

 

32

Fiftieth anniversary of the Revelation of the Tablets of the Divine Plan

22 March 1966

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States

32.1 JOYOUSLY HAIL FIFTIETH ANNIVERSARY REVELATION FIRST OF TABLETS DIVINE PLAN CHARTER PROPAGATION FAITH THROUGHOUT WORLD.+F80 PRAYING SHRINES OBSERVANCE OCCASION MAY BE SOURCE RENEWED ENTHUSIASM DEDICATION FRIENDS ACCOMPLISH GOALS WIN FRESH LAURELS SHARE NATIONAL SPIRITUAL ASSEMBLIES CANADA ALASKA HAWAII.

[F80. The Tablets of the Divine Plan are fourteen Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha revealed in 1916 and 1917 to the Baha'is of the United Sates and Canada. In them He conveys His mandate for the transmission of the Faith of Baha'u'llah throughout the world.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p76>

33

Passing of Jessie Revell, member of the International Baha'i Council

15 April 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

33.1 WITH PROFOUND GRIEF ANNOUNCE PASSING JESSIE REVELL HER TIRELESS STEADFAST DEVOTION FAITH SINCE BEFORE MASTER'S VISIT AMERICAN CONTINENT EARNED LOVE TRUST ADMIRATION SHOGHI EFFENDI CROWNED BY APPOINTMENT INTERNATIONAL BAHA'I COUNCIL DISTINGUISHED BY SERVICE TREASURER BOTH APPOINTED ELECTED COUNCILS.+F81 URGE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES HOLD MEMORIAL GATHERINGS TRIBUTE UNFORGETTABLE EXEMPLARY SERVICES FAITH. ...

[F81. For an account of the life and services of Jessie Revell, see BW 14:300-03. For an explanation of the International Baha'i Council, see the Glossary.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

34

Ridvan Message 1966

Ridvan 1966

The Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

34.1 The Fiftieth Anniversary of the revelation by 'Abdu'l-Baha, in March and April 1916, of the first Tablets of the Divine Plan, has witnessed the conclusion of a feat of pioneering unparalleled in the annals of the Cause. A year ago the call was raised for four-hundred-and-sixty-one pioneers to leave their homes within twelve months and scatter throughout the planet to broaden and strengthen the foundations of the world community of Baha'u'llah. There is every hope that with the exception of thirty-four posts whose settlement is dependent upon favourable circumstances all the pioneer goals will be filled by Ridvan or their settlement will be assured by firm commitments. The gratitude and admiration of the entire Baha'i world go out to this noble band of dedicated believers who have so gloriously responded to the call. These pioneers, who have arisen for the specified goals, have been reinforced by a further forty-five believers who have settled in the goal territories, while sixty-nine more have left their homes to reside in twenty-six other countries already opened to the Faith. All told, in the course of the year, five-hundred-and-five Baha'is have arisen to pioneer beyond their homelands, the largest number ever to do so in any one year in the entire history of the Cause.

<p77>

34.2 This is a resounding victory, and in the light of the Master's statement in the first of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, "It has often happened that one blessed soul has become the cause of the guidance of a nation," of wonderful portent for the future.+F82 Its immediate results are the opening of twenty-four new territories to the Faith, the resettlement of four others, and the consolidation of ninety-three more. The newly opened territories are: Chad and Niger in Africa; Alaskan Peninsula, Barbuda, Cayman Islands, Chiloe Island, Providencia Island, Quintana Roo Territory, Saba, St. Andres Island, St. Eustatius, St. Kitts-Nevis, St. Lawrence Island, Tierra del Fuego, and Turks and Caicos Islands in the Americas; Laccadive Islands and Marmara Island in Asia; Niue Island in Australasia; and Bornholm, Capri, Elba, Gotland, Inner Hebrides, and Ischia in Europe.

[F82. TDP 10.3.]

34.3 The resettled territories are: Corisco Island and Spanish Guinea in Africa and Maldive Islands and Nicobar Islands in Asia.

34.4 As announced last Ridvan, the first Convention of the Baha'is of Brunei will be held this year, during the second weekend of the Ridvan period, when the first National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Brunei will be elected. Hand of the Cause Collis Featherstone will represent the World Centre of the Faith on this historic occasion.

Formation of Nine National Assemblies at Ridvan 1967

34.5 A further result of the confirmations which have rewarded the tremendous teaching effort of the past two years is the call now made by the House of Justice for the formation at Ridvan 1967 of the following nine National Spiritual Assemblies: in Africa -- the National Spiritual Assembly of Algeria and Tunisia with its seat in Algiers; the National Spiritual Assembly of Cameroon Republic with its seat in Victoria and with Spanish Guinea, Fernando Po, Corisco and Sao Tome and Principe Islands assigned to it; the National Spiritual Assembly of Swaziland, Mozambique and Basutoland with its seat in Mbabane; the National Spiritual Assembly of Zambia with its seat in Lusaka. In the Americas -- the National Spiritual Assembly of the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands with its seat in Charlotte Amalie. In Asia -- the National Spiritual Assembly of Cambodia with its seat in Phnom Penh; the National Spiritual Assembly of Eastern and Southern Arabia with its seat in Bahrayn; the National Spiritual Assembly of Taiwan with its seat in Taipei. In Australasia -- the National Spiritual Assembly of the Gilbert and Ellice Islands with its seat in Tarawa. These nine new National Spiritual Assemblies constituting, together with the new National Spiritual Assembly of Brunei, ten additional pillars of the Universal House of Justice, will bring to seventy-nine the number which will take part during Ridvan 1968 in the second International Convention for the election of that Institution.

<p78>

Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God

34.6 This momentous year cannot be allowed to pass without mention of the tireless and dedicated services of the beloved Hands of the Cause, the Standard-bearers of the Nine Year Plan, and the able support rendered them by their Auxiliary Boards. The special missions which they have discharged on behalf of the Universal House of Justice, the teaching tours they have undertaken, the conferences they have organized, their constant work at the World Centre, and above all their never-ending encouragement of the friends and watchfulness over the welfare of the Cause of God, have given distinction and effective leadership to the work of the entire community. The grievous loss which they sustained in the passing of Hand of the Cause Leroy Ioas is shared by the whole Baha'i world.

Threefold Purpose of the Intercontinental Conferences

34.7 The splendid achievements in the pioneering and teaching fields, together with the enthusiastic attention given to the preparation of plans for the befitting celebration of the centenary of Baha'u'llah's proclamation of His Message to the kings and rulers of the world, have sealed with success the first, and opened the way for the second phase of the Nine Year Plan, a phase in which the Baha'i world must prepare and arm itself for the third phase, beginning in October 1967 when the six intercontinental conferences will sound the "opening notes" of a period of proclamation of the Cause of God extending through the remaining years of the Nine Year Plan to the centenary, in 1973, of the revelation of the Kitab-i-Aqdas.+F83 The threefold purpose of these conferences is to commemorate the centenary of the opening of Baha'u'llah's Own proclamation of His Mission, to proclaim the Divine Message, and to deliberate upon the tasks of the remaining years of the Nine Year Plan. Five tasks of the second phase of the Nine Year Plan

[F83. GPB, p. 212.]

34.8 Five specific tasks face the Baha'i world as it enters this second phase of the Plan:

The first is to complete the settlement of the pioneers, and the dispatch of others wherever needed.

The second is intensive preparation for the third phase of the Plan through development of new teaching measures and expansion of the various Baha'i funds at international, national and local levels.

The third is acceleration of the provision of Baha'i literature, particularly its translation and publication in those languages in which, as yet, none has been published or the supply is inadequate.

<p79>

The fourth is the acquisition of the remaining national Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites, national endowments and teaching institutes called for in the Plan, before the developing inflation now affecting nearly the whole world adds too greatly to the financial burden of acquiring these properties.

The fifth is development of the Panama Temple Fund. The Universal House of Justice is initiating this Fund with a contribution of $25,000, and now calls upon the believers and Baha'i communities to contribute liberally and continuously until the funds for the completion of this historic structure are assured. Such contributions should be sent directly to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama. More than fifty designs have been received, and the House of Justice is now considering the recommendations of the National Assembly. The choice will be announced and the friends will be kept fully informed of the progress of this highly significant and inspiring project.

Our Challenge -- To Raise the Intensity of Teaching

34.9 Every individual follower of Baha'u'llah, as well as the institutions of the Faith, at local, national, continental and world levels, must now meet the challenge to raise the intensity of teaching to a pitch never before attained, in order to realize that vast increase called for in the Plan. For those believers living in countries where they have freedom to teach their Faith, this challenge is the more sharply pointed by the oppressive measures imposed on the Faith elsewhere. In Persia the believers are denied their elementary rights and the Faith is still largely proscribed. In 'Iraq the national and one local Haziratu'l- Quds have been seized and the activities of the friends severely restricted. In Egypt Baha'i properties are still confiscated and recently several believers were imprisoned for a period, and are now awaiting trial. New oppression has broken out in Indonesia where the national Haziratu'l-Quds has been seized and organized activities of the believers have been forbidden. In yet other countries the believers are subject to restrictions and surveillance. The friends in all cases are steadfast and confident, looking forward to their emancipation and the eventual triumph of the Cause.

34.10 The challenge to the local and national administrative institutions of the Faith is to organize and promote the teaching work through systematic plans, involving not only the regular fireside meetings in the homes of the believers, the public meetings, receptions and conferences, the weekend, summer and winter schools, the youth conferences and activities, all of which are so vigorously upheld at present, but in addition through a constant stream of visiting teachers to every locality. The forces released by this latter process have been extolled by Baha'u'llah in these words:

<p80>

34.10a The movement itself from place to place, when undertaken for the sake of God, hath always exerted, and can now exert, its influence in the world. In the Books of old the station of them that have voyaged far and near in order to guide the servants of God hath been set forth and written down.+F84 while 'Abdu'l-Baha in the Tablets of the Divine Plan, says:

[F84. Quoted in ADJ, p. 84.]

34.10b Teachers must continually travel to all parts of the continent, nay, rather, to all parts of the world ...+F85

[F85. TDP 8.11.]

34.11 Such plans must be initiated and developed now, during this period of preparation, so that they may be fully operative by the beginning of the proclamation period from which time they must be relentlessly pursued until the end of the Plan.

34.12 The Universal House of Justice attaches such importance to this principle of travelling teaching that it has decided to develop it internationally, and now calls for volunteers to offer their services in this field. By their visits to lands other than their own, these friends will lend a tremendous stimulus to the proclamation and teaching of the Cause in all continents. It is hoped that such projects will be self-supporting, since the International Deputization Fund will still be needed for pioneering. However, when a proposal which is considered to be of special benefit to the Faith cannot be financed by the individual or the receiving National Assemblies, the House of Justice will consider a request for assistance from the Deputization Fund. Offers, which may be for any period, should be made to one's own National Spiritual Assembly or to the Continental Pioneer Committees, which have been given the additional task of assisting National Assemblies to implement and co-ordinate this new enterprise. Let those who arise recall the Master's injunction to "travel like 'Abdu'l-Baha ... sanctified and free from every attachment and in the utmost severance."+F86

[F86. TDP 8.11.]

Consolidation -- Coequal with Expansion

34.13 Simultaneous and coequal with this vast, ordered and ever-growing teaching effort, the work of consolidation must go hand in hand. In fact these two processes must be regarded as inseparable parts of the expansion of the Faith. While the work of teaching inevitably goes first, to pursue it alone without consolidation would leave the community unprepared to receive the masses who must sooner or later respond to the life-giving message of the Cause. The guidance of our beloved Guardian in this vital matter is, as ever, clear and <p81> unambiguous: "Every outward thrust into new fields, every multiplication of Baha'i institutions, must be paralleled by a deeper thrust of the roots which sustain the spiritual life of the community and ensure its sound development. From this vital, this ever- present need attention must, at no time, be diverted; nor must it be, under any circumstances, neglected, or subordinated to the no less vital and urgent task of ensuring the outer expansion of Baha'i administrative institutions."+F87 A proper balance between these two essential aspects of its development must, from now on, as we enter the era of large-scale conversion, be maintained by the Baha'i Community. Consolidation must comprise not only the establishment of Baha'i administrative institutions, but a true deepening in the fundamental verities of the Cause and in its spiritual principles, understanding of its prime purpose in the establishment of the unity of mankind, instruction in its standards of behaviour in all aspects of private and public life, in the particular practice of Baha'i life in such things as daily prayer, education of children, observance of the laws of Baha'i marriage, abstention from politics, the obligation to contribute to the Fund, the importance of the Nineteen Day Feast and opportunity to acquire a sound knowledge of the present-day practice of Baha'i administration.

[F87. LFG, p. 76.]

The Urgent Need for an Increased Flow of Funds

34.14 The onward march of the Faith requires, and is indeed dependent upon, a very great increase in contributions to the various funds. All the goals assigned to the World Centre of the Faith, and particularly those dealing with the development and beautification of the properties surrounding the Holy Shrines and the extension of the gardens on Mount Carmel entail heavy expenditures. The building of the two Temples called for in the Plan will require further large sums,+F88 and the world-wide process of teaching and consolidation now to be intensified must be sustained by a greatly increased and uninterrupted flow of funds. The International Deputization Fund must be maintained and expanded, not only for further pioneering needs, but in order to assist and develop the travelling teacher programme now called for. Since only those who have openly proclaimed their recognition of Baha'u'llah are permitted to contribute financially to the establishment of His World Order, it is apparent that more, much more is required from the few now so privileged. Our responsibilities in this field are very great, commensurate indeed with the bounty of being the bearers of the Name of God in this day.

[F88. The two Temples referred to are the Houses of Worship that were to be built in Asia and Latin America. Plans for the construction of a Temple in Asia, to be located in Iran, had to be held in abeyance, due to antagonism toward the Faith in that country. The Temple for Latin America, completed in 1986, is in Panama.]

<p82>

The Individual's Challenge

34.15 The challenge to the individual Baha'i in every field of service, but above all in teaching the Cause of God is never-ending. With every fresh affliction visited upon mankind our inescapable duty becomes more apparent, nor should we ever forget that if we neglect this duty, "others" in the words of Shoghi Effendi, "will be called upon to take up our task as ministers to the crying needs of this afflicted world."+F89 Now, it seems, we may well be entering an era of the longed-for expansion of our beloved Faith. Mankind's growing hunger for spiritual truth is our opportunity. While reaching forth to grasp it we would do well to ponder the following words of Baha'u'llah:

[F89. BA, p. 66.]

34.15a Your behaviour towards your neighbour should be such as to manifest clearly the signs of the one true God, for ye are the first among men to be recreated by His Spirit, the first to adore and bow the knee before Him, the first to circle round His throne of glory.+F90

[F90. GWB, p. 316-17.]

34.16 As humanity plunges deeper into that condition of which Baha'u'llah wrote, "to disclose it now would not be meet and seemly," so must the believers increasingly stand out as assured, orientated and fundamentally happy beings, conforming to a standard which, in direct contrast to the ignoble and amoral attitudes of modern society, is the source of their honour, strength and maturity.+f91 It is this marked contrast between the vigour, unity and discipline of the Baha'i community on the one hand, and the increasing confusion, despair and feverish tempo of a doomed society on the other, which, during the turbulent years ahead will draw the eyes of humanity to the sanctuary of Baha'u'llah's world-redeeming Faith.

[F91. GWB, p. 118.]

34.17 The constant progress of the Cause of God is a source of joy to us all and a stimulus to further action. But not ordinary action. Heroic deeds are now called for such as are performed only by divinely sustained and detached souls. 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Commander of the hosts of the Lord, in one of the Tablets of the Divine Plan, uttered this cry: "O that I could travel, even though on foot and in the utmost poverty, to these regions and, raising the call of 'Ya Baha'u'l-Abha' in cities, villages, mountains, deserts and oceans, promote the Divine teachings! This, alas, I cannot do. How intensely I deplore it." And He concluded with this heart-shaking appeal, "Please God, ye may achieve it."+F92

[F92. TDP 7.8.]

The Universal House of Justice

<p83>

35

The Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice

27 May 1966

To an individual Baha'i+F93

[F93. Passages from a letter written by the Universal House of Justice on 27 May 1966 in response to questions asked by an individual believer on the relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice.]

Dear Baha'i friend,

35.1 ... You query the timing of the election of the Universal House of Justice in view of the Guardian's statement: "... given favourable circumstances, under which the Baha'is of Persia and of the adjoining countries under Soviet rule, may be enabled to elect their national representatives ... the only remaining obstacle in the way of the definite formation of the International House of Justice will have been removed."+F94 On 19 April 1947 the Guardian, in a letter written on his behalf by his secretary, replied to the inquiry of an individual believer about this passage: "At the time he referred to Russia there were Baha'is there, now the Community has practically ceased to exist; therefore the formation of the International House of Justice cannot depend on a Russian National Spiritual Assembly. But other strong National Spiritual Assemblies will have to be built up before it can be established."

[F94. WOB, p. 7.]

The Provisions of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will

35.2 You suggest the possibility that, for the good of the Cause, certain information concerning the succession to Shoghi Effendi is being withheld from the believers. We assure you that nothing whatsoever is being withheld from the friends for whatever reason. There is no doubt at all that in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha Shoghi Effendi was the authority designated to appoint his successor, but he had no children and all the surviving Aghsan had broken the Covenant.+F95 Thus, as the Hands of the Cause stated in 1957, it is clear that there was no one he could have appointed in accordance with the provisions of the Will. To have made an appointment outside the clear and specific provisions of the Master's Will and Testament would obviously have been an impossible and unthinkable course of action for the Guardian, the divinely appointed upholder and defender of the Covenant. Moreover, that same Will had provided a clear means for the confirmation of the <p84> Guardian's appointment of his successor, as you are aware. The nine Hands to be elected by the body of the Hands were to give their assent by secret ballot to the Guardian's choice. In 1957 the entire body of the Hands, after fully investigating the matter, announced that Shoghi Effendi had appointed no successor and left no will. This is documented and established.

[F95. Aghsan (Branches) are the sons and male descendants of Baha'u'llah. In His Will and Testament 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote, 'should the firstborn of the Guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the words: 'The child is the secret essence of its sire,' that is, should he not inherit of the spiritual within him (the Guardian of the Cause of God) and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must he (the Guardian of the Cause of God) choose another branch [Aghsan] to succeed him" (WT, p. 12).]

A Sign of Infallible Guidance

35.3 The fact that Shoghi Effendi did not leave a will cannot be adduced as evidence of his failure to obey Baha'u'llah -- rather should we acknowledge that in his very silence there is a wisdom and a sign of his infallible guidance. We should ponder deeply the writings that we have, and seek to understand the multitudinous significances that they contain. Do not forget that Shoghi Effendi said two things were necessary for a growing understanding of the World Order of Baha'u'llah: the passage of time and the guidance of the Universal House of Justice.

The Infallibility of the Universal House of Justice

35.4 The infallibility of the Universal House of Justice, operating within its ordained sphere, has not been made dependent upon the presence in its membership of the Guardian of the Cause. Although in the realm of interpretation the Guardian's pronouncements are always binding, in the area of the Guardian's participation in legislation it is always the decision of the House itself which must prevail. This is supported by the words of the Guardian: "The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on such laws and ordinances as Baha'u'llah has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested.

35.5 "Though the Guardian of the Faith has been made the permanent head of so august a body he can never, even temporarily, assume the right of exclusive legislation. He cannot override the decision of the majority of his fellow-members, but 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 Baha'u'llah's revealed utterances."+F96

[F96. WOB, p. 150.]

35.6 However, quite apart from his function as a member and sacred head for life of the Universal House of Justice, the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, had the right and duty "to define the sphere of the legislative action" of the Universal House of Justice.+F97 In other words, he had the authority <p85> to state whether a matter was or was not already covered by the Sacred Texts and therefore whether it was within the authority of the Universal House of Justice to legislate upon it. No other person, apart from the Guardian, has the right or authority to make such definitions. The question therefore arises: In the absence of the Guardian, is the Universal House of Justice in danger of straying outside its proper sphere and thus falling into error? Here we must remember three things: First, Shoghi Effendi, during the thirty-six years of his Guardianship, has already made innumerable such definitions, supplementing those made by 'Abdu'l-Baha and by Baha'u'llah Himself. As already announced to the friends, a careful study of the Writings and interpretations on any subject on which the House of Justice proposes to legislate always precedes its act of legislation. Second, the Universal House of Justice, itself assured of divine guidance, is well aware of the absence of the Guardian and will approach all matters of legislation only when certain of its sphere of jurisdiction, a sphere which the Guardian has confidently described as "clearly defined." Third, we must not forget the Guardian's written statement about these two Institutions: "Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other."+F98

[F98. WOB, p. 148, 150.]

[F97. WOB, p. 148.]

35.7 As regards the need to have deductions made from the Writings to help in the formulation of the enactments of the House of Justice, there is the following text from the pen of 'Abdu'l-Baha:

35.7a Those matters of major importance which constitute the foundation of the Law of God are explicitly recorded in the Text, but subsidiary laws are left to the House of Justice. The wisdom of this is that the times never remain the same, for change is a necessary quality and an essential attribute of this world, and of time and place. Therefore the House of Justice will take action accordingly.

35.7b Let it not be imagined that the House of Justice will take any decision according to its own concepts and opinions. God forbid! The Supreme House of Justice will take decisions and establish laws through the inspiration and confirmation of the Holy Spirit, because it is in the safekeeping and under the shelter and protection of the Ancient Beauty, and obedience to its decisions is a bounden and essential duty and an absolute obligation, and there is no escape for anyone.

35.7c Say, O people: Verily the Supreme House of Justice is under the wings of your Lord, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful, that is, under His protection, His care, and His shelter; for He has commanded the firm believers to obey that blessed, sanctified and all-subduing body, whose sovereignty is divinely ordained and of the Kingdom of Heaven and whose laws are inspired and spiritual.

<p86>

35.7d Briefly, this is the wisdom of referring the laws of society to the House of Justice. In the religion of Islam, similarly, not every ordinance was explicitly revealed; nay not a tenth part of a tenth part was included in the Text; although all matters of major importance were specifically referred to, there were undoubtedly thousands of laws which were unspecified. These were devised by the divines of a later age according to the laws of Islamic jurisprudence, and individual divines made conflicting deductions from the original revealed ordinances. All these were enforced. Today this process of deduction is the right of the body of the House of Justice, and the deductions and conclusions of individual learned men have no authority, unless they are endorsed by the House of Justice. The difference is precisely this, that from the conclusions and endorsements of the body of the House of Justice whose members are elected by and known to the world-wide Baha'i community, no differences will arise; whereas the conclusions of individual divines and scholars would definitely lead to differences, and result in schism, division, and dispersion. The oneness of the Word would be destroyed, the unity of the Faith would disappear, and the edifice of the Faith of God would be shaken.+F99

[F99. Rahiq-i-Makhtum 1:302-04; BN, no. 426 (September 1966): 2.]

The Continuity of Authority

35.8 In the Order of Baha'u'llah there are certain functions which are reserved to certain institutions, and others which are shared in common, even though they may be more in the special province of one or the other. For example, although the Hands of the Cause of God have the specific functions of protection and propagation, and are specialized for these functions, it is also the duty of the Universal House of Justice and the Spiritual Assemblies to protect and teach the Cause -- indeed teaching is a sacred obligation placed upon every believer by Baha'u'llah. Similarly, although after the Master authoritative interpretation was exclusively vested in the Guardian, and although legislation is exclusively the function of the Universal House of Justice, these two Institutions are, in Shoghi Effendi's words, "complementary in their aim and purpose." "Their common, their fundamental object is to ensure the continuity of that divinely appointed authority which flows from the Source of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings."+F100 Whereas the Universal House of Justice cannot undertake any function which exclusively appertained to the Guardian, it must continue to pursue the object which it shares in common with the Guardianship.

[F100. WOB, p. 148.]

<p87>

The Principle of Inseparability

35.9 As you point out with many quotations, Shoghi Effendi repeatedly stressed the inseparability of these two institutions. Whereas he obviously envisaged their functioning together, it cannot logically be deduced from this that one is unable to function in the absence of the other. During the whole thirty-six years of his Guardianship Shoghi Effendi functioned without the Universal House of Justice. Now the Universal House of Justice must function without the Guardian, but the principle of inseparability remains. The Guardianship does not lose its significance nor position in the Order of Baha'u'llah merely because there is no living Guardian. We must guard against two extremes: one is to argue that because there is no Guardian all that was written about the Guardianship and its position in the Baha'i World Order is a dead letter and was unimportant; the other is to be so overwhelmed by the significance of the Guardianship as to underestimate the strength of the Covenant, or to be tempted to compromise with the clear texts in order to find somehow, in some way, a Guardian."

Our Part -- Fidelity, Integrity, And Faith

35.10 Service to the Cause of God requires absolute fidelity and integrity and unwavering faith in Him. No good but only evil can come from taking the responsibility for the future of God's Cause into our own hands and trying to force it into ways that we wish it to go regardless of the clear texts and our own limitations. It is His Cause. He has promised that its light will not fail. Our part is to cling tenaciously to the revealed Word and to the Institutions that He has created to preserve His Covenant.

35.11 It is precisely in this connection that the believers must recognize the importance of intellectual honesty and humility. In past dispensations many errors arose because the believers in God's Revelation were overanxious to encompass the Divine Message within the framework of their limited understanding, to define doctrines where definition was beyond their power, to explain mysteries which only the wisdom and experience of a later age would make comprehensible, to argue that something was true because it appeared desirable and necessary. Such compromises with essential truth, such intellectual pride, we must scrupulously avoid.

35.12 If some of the statements of the Universal House of Justice are not detailed the friends should realize that the cause of this is not secretiveness, but rather the determination of this body to refrain from interpreting the teachings and to preserve the truth of the Guardian's statement that "Leaders of religion, exponents of political theories, governors of human institutions ... need have no doubt or anxiety regarding the nature, the origin, or validity of the institutions which the adherents of the Faith are building up throughout the world. For these lie embedded in the teachings themselves, unadulterated and <p88> unobscured by unwarrantable inferences, or unauthorized interpretations of His Word."+F101

[F101. WOB, p. 24.]

Authoritative Interpretation and Individual Understanding

35.13 A clear distinction is made in our Faith between authoritative interpretation and the interpretation or understanding that each individual arrives at for himself from his study of its teachings. While the former is confined to the Guardian, the latter, according to the guidance given to us by the Guardian himself, should by no means be suppressed. In fact such individual interpretation is considered the fruit of man's rational power and conducive to a better understanding of the teachings, provided that no disputes or arguments arise among the friends and the individual himself understands and makes it clear that his views are merely his own. Individual interpretations continually change as one grows in comprehension of the teachings. As Shoghi Effendi explained: "To deepen in the Cause means to read the Writings of Baha'u'llah and the Master so thoroughly as to be able to give it to others in its pure form. There are many who have some superficial idea of what the Cause stands for. They, therefore, present it together with all sorts of ideas that are their own. As the Cause is still in its early days we must be most careful lest we fall under this error and injure the Movement we so much adore. There is no limit to the study of the Cause. The more we read the Writings, the more truths we can find in them and the more we will see that our previous notions were erroneous."+F102 So, although individual insights can be enlightening and helpful, they can also be misleading. The friends must therefore learn to listen to the views of others without being overawed or allowing their faith to be shaken, and to express their own views without pressing them on their fellow Baha'is. The Covenant -- the cord to which all must cling

[F102. Written by the Guardian's secretary on his behalf to an individual believer, on 25 August 1926.]

35.14 The Cause of God is organic, growing and developing like a living being. Time and again it has faced crises which have perplexed the believers, but each time the Cause, impelled by the immutable purpose of God, overcame the crisis and went on to greater heights.

35.15 However great may be our inability to understand the mystery and the implications of the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the strong cord to which all must cling with assurance is the Covenant. The emphatic and vigorous language of 'Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament is at this time, as at the time of His own passing, the safeguard of the Cause:

<p89>

35.16 Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the truth and the purpose of God Himself. Whose, doth deviate therefrom is verily of them that love discord, hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord of the Covenant. ..." And again: "... All must seek guidance and turn unto the Centre of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error."+F103

[F103. WT, pp. 19-20, 26.]

The Universal House Of Justice: Recipient of Divine Guidance

35.17 The Universal House of Justice, which the Guardian said would be regarded by posterity as "the last refuge of a tottering civilization," is now, in the absence of the Guardian, the sole infallibly guided institution in the world to which all must turn, and on it rests the responsibility for ensuring the unity and progress of the Cause of God in accordance with the revealed Word.+F104 There are statements from the Master and the Guardian indicating that the Universal House of Justice, in addition to being the Highest Legislative Body of the Faith, is also the body to which all must turn, and is the "apex" of the Baha'i Administrative Order, as well as the "supreme organ of the Baha'i Commonwealth."+F105 The Guardian has in his writings specified for the House of Justice such fundamental functions as the formulation of future world-wide teaching plans, the conduct of the administrative affairs of the Faith, and the guidance, organization and unification of the affairs of the Cause throughout the world. Furthermore in God Passes By the Guardian makes the following statement: "the Kitab- i-Aqdas ... not only preserves for posterity the basic laws and ordinances on which the fabric of His future World Order must rest, but ordains, in addition to the function of interpretation which it confers upon His Successor, the necessary institutions through which the integrity and unity of His Faith can alone be safeguarded."+F106 He has also, in "The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah," written that the members of the Universal House of Justice "and not the body of those who either directly or indirectly elect them, have thus been made the recipients of the divine guidance which is at once the lifeblood and ultimate safeguard of this Revelation."+F107

[F107. WOB, p. 153.]

[F106. GPB, pp. 213-14.]

[F105. GPB, p. 332; WOB, p. 7.]

[F104. WOB, p. 89.]

35.18 As the Universal House of Justice has already announced, it cannot legislate to make possible the appointment of a successor to Shoghi Effendi, nor can it legislate to make possible the appointment of any more Hands of the Cause, but it must do everything within its power to ensure the performance <p90> of all those functions which it shares with these two mighty Institutions. It must make provision for the proper discharge in future of the functions of protection and propagation, which the administrative bodies share with the Guardianship and the Hands of the Cause; it must, in the absence of the Guardian, receive and disburse the Huququ'llah, in accordance with the following statement of 'Abdu'l-Baha: "Disposition of the Huquq, wholly or partly, is permissible, but this should be done by permission of the authority in the Cause to whom all must turn";+F108 it must make provision in its Constitution for the removal of any of its members who commits a sin "injurious to the common weal."+F109 Above all, it must, with perfect faith in Baha'u'llah, proclaim His Cause and enforce His Law so that the Most Great Peace shall be firmly established in this world and the foundation of the Kingdom of God on earth shall be accomplished.

[F109. WT, p. 14. See also CUHJ, p. 12.]

[F108. See CC I:512. For information on Huququ'llah, see the Glossary.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

36

Pioneering and a programme of consolidation

5 June 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

36.1 The historic and dazzling accomplishment last year of a feat in pioneering unparalleled in the annals of our Faith should not blind us either to the need of filling the remaining gaps which are still open, or to the ever-present necessity of reinforcing the settled territories with a well-conceived programme of consolidation.

36.2 The tasks that lie ahead of us in this particular field of Baha'i activity are as follows:

1. As pointed out in the Ridvan Message, the settlement of the minimum number of pioneers called for under last year's goals should be completed. A recent letter has been sent to all National Assemblies responsible for supplying manpower, calling on them to find and dispatch as soon as possible the pioneers to the few remaining territories for which no offers have as yet been received and to expedite the completion of those projects which are in process.

<p91>

2. The pioneers who have already settled or are settling in their posts, particularly in virgin and unoccupied territories must be reminded that their movement to their goals is far from being a short stay designed to class a particular territory or island as opened, or label it as having received one or more pioneers, even if, in some cases, new believers native to the land have been enrolled. It is basically and clearly intended to establish the Faith of God securely and firmly in the hearts of people of the area and to ensure that its divinely ordained institutions are understood, adopted and operated by them. The perseverance of the pioneers in their posts, however great the sacrifices involved, is an act of devoted service, which, as attested by our teachings, will have an assured reward in both worlds. The admonitions of the Guardian on this subject are too numerous to cite and amply demonstrate the vital nature of this clear policy.

3. The pioneers and settlers, as well as the National Assemblies responsible for the administration of the Faith in areas assigned to them, should ever bear in mind that in the initial stages of the establishment of the Faith in any territory, the obscurity surrounding the work of the pioneer or the local Baha'is is in itself a protection to the Faith. Patience, tact and wisdom should be exercised. Public attention should not be attracted to the Faith until such time as the believers see the Faith touch more and more of the hearts of receptive souls responding to its Divine Call.

4. As the numbers fixed last year for settlers in goal areas were minimum figures, each National Assembly should carefully assess the needs of the territories assigned to its jurisdiction. If more pioneers are needed for any of these territories, a full report should at once be sent to the House of Justice, including recommendations as to numbers required and preferred nationalities of the prospective pioneers.

5. The practical aspects of these pioneering projects are of vital importance. The financial responsibilities assigned under last year's goals do not end because the pioneer has arrived at his post. These responsibilities continue until the objectives are permanently and securely attained. In any case where the National Assembly assigned the responsibility is unable to meet its obligation, application to fill the ascertained need should at once be made to the House of Justice for assistance from the Deputization Fund.

36.3 We assure you of our prayers at the Holy Shrines that the friends in every land may rise above their local and personal problems, realize the needs of the <p92> Cause of God at this juncture of its inexorable onward development, and offer on the altar of sacrifice their measure of service and assistance with complete self-abnegation and wholehearted devotion to His infinitely precious Cause.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

37

Message to youth -- three fields of service

10 June 1966

To the Baha'i youth in every land

Dear Baha'i friends,

37.1 In country after country the achievements of Baha'i youth are increasingly advancing the work of the Nine Year Plan and arousing the admiration of their fellow believers. From the very beginning of the Baha'i Era, youth have played a vital part in the promulgation of God's Revelation. The Bab Himself was but twenty-five years old when He declared His Mission, while many of the Letters of the Living were even younger. The Master, as a very young man, was called upon to shoulder heavy responsibilities in the service of His Father in 'Iraq and Turkey, and His brother, the Purest Branch, yielded up his life to God in the Most Great Prison at the age of twenty- two that the servants of God might "be quickened, and all that dwell on earth be united."+F110 Shoghi Effendi was a student at Oxford when called to the throne of his guardianship,+F111 and many of the Knights of Baha'u'llah, who won imperishable fame during the Ten Year Crusade, were young people. Let it, therefore, never be imagined that youth must await their years of maturity before they can render invaluable services to the Cause of God. A time of decision

[F111. At the time of 'Abdu'l-Baha's passing in 1921, Shoghi Effendi was twenty- four years old.]

[F110. GPB, p. 188. See also MA, p. 34.]

37.2 For any person, whether Baha'i or not, his youthful years are those in which he will make many decisions which will set the course of his life. In these years he is most likely to choose his life's work, complete his education, begin to earn his own living, marry and start to raise his own family. Most important of all, it is during this period that the mind is most questing and that the spiritual values that will guide the person's future behaviour are adopted. These factors present Baha'i youth with their greatest opportunities, their greatest challenges, and their greatest tests- opportunities to truly apprehend <p93> the Teachings of their Faith and to give them to their contemporaries, challenges to overcome the pressures of the world and to provide leadership for their and succeeding generations, and tests enabling them to exemplify in their lives the high moral standards set forth in the Baha'i Writings. Indeed the Guardian wrote of the Baha'i youth that it is they "who can contribute so decisively to the virility, the purity, and the driving force of the life of the Baha'i community, and upon whom must depend the future orientation of its destiny, and the complete unfoldment of the potentialities with which God has endowed it."+F112

[F112. ADJ, p. 22.]

An Opportunity Unique in Human History

37.3 Those who now are in their teens and twenties are faced with a special challenge and can seize an opportunity that is unique in human history. During the Ten Year Crusade -- the ninth part of that majestic process described so vividly by our beloved Guardian -- the Community of the Most Great Name spread with the speed of lightning over the major territories and islands of the globe, increased manifoldly its manpower and resources, saw the beginning of the entry of the peoples by troops into the Cause of God, and completed the structure of the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah.+F113 Now, firmly established in the world, the Cause, in the opening years of the tenth part of that same process, is perceptibly emerging from the obscurity that has, for the most part, shrouded it since its inception, and is arising to challenge the outworn concepts of a corrupt society and proclaim the solution for the agonizing problems of a disordered humanity. During the lifetime of those who are now young the condition of the world, and the place of the Baha'i Cause in it, will change immeasurably, for we are entering a highly critical phase in this era of transition.

[F113. For Shoghi Effendi's description of the vast and "majestic" ten-part process that began at the dawn of the Adamic Cycle and will continue into the Golden Age of the Faith, see the entry on Ten Part Process in the Glossary.]

Three Fields of Service

37.4 Three great fields of service lie open before young Baha'is, in which they will simultaneously be remaking the character of human society and preparing themselves for the work that they can undertake later in their lives.

37.5 First, the foundation of all their other accomplishments is their study of the teachings, the spiritualization of their lives and the forming of their characters in accordance with the standards of Baha'u'llah. As the moral standards of the people around us collapse and decay, whether of the centuries-old civilizations of the East, the more recent cultures of Christendom and Islam; or of the rapidly changing tribal societies of the world, the Baha'is must increasingly stand out as pillars of righteousness and forbearance. The life of a Baha'i <p94> will be characterized by truthfulness and decency; he will walk uprightly among his fellowmen, dependent upon none save God, yet linked by bonds of love and brotherhood with all mankind; he will be entirely detached from the loose standards, the decadent theories, the frenetic experimentation, the desperation of present-day society, will look upon his neighbours with a bright and friendly face and be a beacon light and a haven for all those who would emulate his strength of character and assurance of soul.

37.6 The second field of service, which is linked intimately with the first, is teaching the Faith, particularly to their fellow-youth, among whom are some of the most open and seeking minds in the world. Not yet having acquired all the responsibilities of a family or a long-established home and job, youth can the more easily choose where they will live and study or work. In the world at large young people travel hither and thither seeking amusement, education and experiences. Baha'i youth, bearing the incomparable treasure of the Word of God for this Day, can harness this mobility into service for mankind and can choose their places of residence, their areas of travel and their types of work with the goal in mind of how they can best serve the Faith.

37.7 The third field of service is the preparation by youth for their later years. It is the obligation of a Baha'i to educate his children; likewise it is the duty of the children to acquire knowledge of the arts and sciences and to learn a trade or a profession whereby they, in turn, can earn their living and support their families. This, for a Baha'i youth, is in itself a service to God, a service, moreover, which can be combined with teaching the Faith and often with pioneering. The Baha'i community will need men and women of many skills and qualifications; for, as it grows in size the sphere of its activities in the life of society will increase and diversify. Let Baha'i youth, therefore, consider the best ways in which they can use and develop their native abilities for the service of mankind and the Cause of God, whether this be as farmers, teachers, doctors, artisans, musicians or any one of the multitude of livelihoods that are open to them.

37.8 When studying at school or university Baha'i youth will often find themselves in the unusual and slightly embarrassing position of having a more profound insight into a subject than their instructors. The Teachings of Baha'u'llah throw light on so many aspects of human life and knowledge that a Baha'i must learn, earlier than most, to weigh the information that is given to him rather than to accept it blindly. A Baha'i has the advantage of the divine Revelation for this Age, which shines like a searchlight on so many problems that baffle modern thinkers; he must therefore develop the ability to learn everything from those around him, showing proper humility before his teachers, but always relating what he hears to the Baha'i teachings, for they will enable him to sort out the gold from the dross of human error.

<p95>

Baha'i Consultation -- Tracing New Paths of Human Corporate Action

37.9 Paralleling the growth of his inner life through prayer, meditation, service and study of the teachings, Baha'i youth have the opportunity to learn in practice the very functioning of the Order of Baha'u'llah. Through taking part in conferences and summer schools as well as Nineteen Day Feasts, and in service on committees, they can develop the wonderful skill of Baha'i consultation, thus tracing new paths of human corporate action. Consultation is no easy skill to learn, requiring as it does the subjugation of all egotism and unruly passions, the cultivation of frankness and freedom of thought as well as courtesy, openness of mind and wholehearted acquiescence in a majority decision. In this field Baha'i youth may demonstrate the efficiency, the vigour, the access of unity which arise from true consultation and, by contrast, demonstrate the futility of partisanship, lobbying, debate, secret diplomacy and unilateral action which characterize modern affairs. Youth also take part in the life of the Baha'i community as a whole and promote a society in which all generations -- elderly, middle-aged, youth, children -- are fully integrated and make up an organic whole. By refusing to carry over the antagonisms and mistrust between the generations which perplex and bedevil modern society they will again demonstrate the heating and life-giving nature of their religion.

37.10 The Nine Year Plan has just entered its third year. The youth have already played a vital part in winning its goals. We now call upon them, with great love and highest hopes and the assurance of our fervent prayers, to consider, individually and in consultation, wherever they live and whatever their circumstances, those steps which they should take now to deepen themselves in their knowledge of the divine message, to develop their characters after the pattern of the Master, to acquire those skills, trades and professions in which they can best serve God and man, to intensify their service to the Cause of Baha'u'llah and to radiate its message to the seekers among their contemporaries.

The Universal House of Justice

<p96>

38

Formation of three more National Spiritual Assemblies at Ridvan

1967

1 September 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

38.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE FORMATION AT RIDVAN 1967 ADDITIONAL NEW NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES BELIZE SEAT BELIZE, LAOS SEAT VIENTIANE, SIKKIM SEAT GANGTOK, CALLING UPON NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES GUATEMALA, THAILAND, INDIA RESPECTIVELY CALL FIRST CONVENTIONS ELECTION NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES. SIKKIM ASSEMBLY SUPPLEMENTARY ACHIEVEMENT NINE YEAR PLAN. CHANGED SITUATION CAMBODIA REQUIRES POSTPONEMENT FORMATION NATIONAL ASSEMBLY THAT COUNTRY. ADDITION ABOVE NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES RAISES TOTAL THROUGHOUT THE WORLD TO EIGHTY-ONE WHOSE MEMBERS WILL PARTICIPATE SECOND INTERNATIONAL CONVENTION. OFFERING PRAYERS OF GRATITUDE BAHA'U'LLAH SUPPLICATING DIVINE CONFIRMATIONS EXPANSION CONSOLIDATION THESE TERRITORIES ASSURING SOLID FOUNDATION FUTURE PILLARS UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE.+F114

[F114. The pillars referred to are the National Spiritual Assemblies.]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

39

Incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of Italy

22 December 1966

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

39.1 JOYFULLY ANNOUNCE INCORPORATION ITALIAN NATIONAL ASSEMBLY SIGNIFICANT MILESTONE PROCESS RECOGNITION FAITH HEART CHRISTENDOM. THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

<p97>

40

Development of the Baha'i World Centre and the needs of the Baha'i International Fund

7 March 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved friends,

40.1 The time has now come in the progress of the Nine Year Plan when the Baha'i world must devote a greater effort towards the development of the Faith at its World Centre.

40.2 Nearly all the accessible unsettled territories of the Plan have now been Settled, bases have been established throughout the world for the future expansion of the Faith; a programme of progressive consolidation is being pursued hand-in-hand with continued expansion; plans for the construction of the Panama Temple are well advanced; the Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and endowments called for in the Plan are being steadily acquired; by the end of the next Ridvan period 81 out of the 108 National Spiritual Assemblies called for by 1973 will have been established; and the opening of the period of the proclamation of the Faith is fast approaching.

40.3 Since the Universal House of Justice came into being in 1963, its primary concern at the World Centre of the Faith has been with the basic, minimum essentials of undertaking repairs to the Holy Places; establishing its administrative offices; reorganizing the accommodation of pilgrims; gathering its staff, developing a suitable housing programme for the Hands of the Cause and their families, the members of the House of Justice and their families, and all other believers serving at the World Centre; formulating plans for the expansion of the Gardens and taking the first steps in their initiation; collating the Sacred Texts and the letters of Shoghi Effendi and indexing them; and fostering relations with the Government of the State of Israel and with the United Nations.

40.4 The increased burden which these essential steps have imposed upon the International Fund we have endeavoured to keep at a minimum so that, in the early stages of the Plan, the maximum resources could be utilized in the teaching work throughout the world.

40.5 However, we must now embark upon certain major undertakings vital to the future progress of the Cause. Extensive beautification of the sacred endowments surrounding the Holy Shrines in Bahji and Haifa, as well as at the site of the future Mashriqu'l- Adhkar on Mount Carmel must be undertaken, both for its own sake and for the protection of these lands which are situated within the boundaries of rapidly expanding cities; the work of classifying and codifying the Holy Texts must be urgently prosecuted; the arrangements for pilgrimage <p98> may have to be greatly expanded to provide for the ever-increasing number of applications from East and West; the Intercontinental Conferences and the International Convention must be held and paid for; and the auxiliary institutions of the Universal House of Justice must begin to unfold so that the ever-growing and increasingly complex work of the World Centre of the Faith may continue to be efficiently discharged. Moreover, the vital assistance given by the International Fund to the work of the Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies must be maintained.

40.6 The minimum budget requirements of the International Fund have nearly doubled since 1963, and if in addition we are to be enabled to undertake these developments, a much greater flow of funds will be needed than is now available.

40.7 We call upon every National Spiritual Assembly to consider now the amount that it can allocate as a contribution to the International Fund in its budget for the coming year. In some cases this may mean that contributions made hitherto will be doubled, trebled, or even more greatly increased. Please write as soon as your decision has been made, and not later than 21 April, telling us the estimated amount of your allocation.

40.8 This is a vitally important matter, and we shall pray in the Holy Shrines that the friends throughout the world will respond wholeheartedly to this call.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Universal House of Justice

 

41

Commemoration of the Revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk

17 March 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

41.1 In the 1965 Ridvan Message from the Universal House of Justice we announced that in September 1967, on the Feast of Mashiyyat, a few appointed representatives of the Baha'i world would visit the site of the House of Baha'u'llah in Adrianople where the Suriy-i-Muluk was revealed. We have decided that the six Hands of the Cause of God who will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Intercontinental Conferences in October are the ones to make this visit. Immediately following this historic act they will proceed to their respective Conferences.+F115

[F115. The Hands of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Ugo Giachery, Tarazu'llah Samandari, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, Paul Haney, and Abu'l-Qasim Faizi visited Adrianople on 27 September 1967 (the Feast of Will) to mark Baha'u'llah's Revelation of His Tablet to the Kings (Suriy-i-Muluk), referred to by Shoghi Effendi as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah" (GPB, p. 171). See PB, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03, for passages from the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English.]

<p99>

41.2 For the protection of the Faith it is essential that no one, except the Hands, travel to Turkey on this occasion.

41.3 National Spiritual Assemblies are requested to make this announcement at the National Convention this year, and to repeat it in their newsletters and at other times and places as may be appropriate.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

42

Ridvan Message 1967

Ridvan 1967

The Baha'is of the world

Dearly loved friends,

42.1 At the conclusion of the third year of the Nine Year Plan we acknowledge with thankful hearts the evidences of Divine favour with which Baha'u'llah unfailingly sustains and confirms the dedicated efforts of His servants everywhere, and we unhesitatingly affirm our confidence that the community of the Most Great Name can and will, by its determination and sacrificial efforts, achieve complete victory. World-wide achievements

42.2 Last year the call was raised for the formation, in 1967, of eleven new National Spiritual Assemblies. All will be elected during the Ridvan period. We welcome with great joy the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Baha'is of Algeria and Tunisia with its seat in Algiers; Cameroon Republic with its seat in Victoria; Swaziland, Lesotho and Mozambique with its seat in Mbabane; Zambia with its seat in Lusaka; Belize with its seat in Belize; the Leeward, Windward and Virgin Islands with its seat in Charlotte Amalie; Eastern and Southern Arabia with its seat in Bahrayn; Laos with its seat in Vientiane; Sikkim with its seat in Gangtok; Taiwan with its seat in Taipei; the Gilbert and Ellice Islands with its seat in Tarawa. The World Centre of the Faith will be represented at each National Convention by a Hand of the Cause of God, who will present a message from the Universal House of Justice welcoming the new national community and assigning it its share of the goals of the Nine Year Plan.

<p100>

42.3 At this Ridvan eighty-one of the 108 National Spiritual Assemblies, and more than six thousand of the 13,737 Local Spiritual Assemblies called for by 1973 will have been established; of a required 54,102 localities where Baha'is reside, 28,217 are reported; fifteen of the sixty-five National Incorporations called for have been achieved; seventeen of fifty-two National Haziratu'l-Quds, seven of sixty-two Temple sites, thirteen of fifty- four National Endowments, fourteen of thirty-two Teaching Institutes, have been acquired; of the 973 Local Incorporations called for in the Plan, 123 have been completed; Local Haziratu'l-Quds acquired are, twenty-four in India, seventeen in Kenya, nine in Uganda, two in South Africa, two in Turkey and a number in Congo (Kinshasa), while land for eight others has been acquired in Kenya, for four in Cameroon, for two in Pakistan and for one in Mauritius; in eight countries Local Endowments supplementary to those called for in the Plan have been acquired.

42.4 Iceland, Korea, Liberia, Luxembourg and Rhodesia now recognize the Baha'i Marriage Certificate; the Dominican Republic, Guyana, Hawaii, Iceland, Italy, Kenya and Luxembourg recognize Baha'i Holy Days. A Summer School has been established in Liberia, and one, beyond the requirements of the Plan, in Canada, while land for others has been acquired in Argentina, Ethiopia and Samoa. Twenty-five new languages have been added to the list of those in which Baha'i literature is available, bringing the total number to 397. The number of territories now opened to the Faith has reached 311, including the recently settled virgin areas of Chiloe Archipelago, Bonaire, Phoenix Islands and St. Martin, and two territories in addition to those called for in the Plan, namely Melville Island in Australasia and Montserrat in the Windward Islands.

42.5 After protracted frustration the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia has finally gained possession of the historic fortress of Chihriq, that bleak and lonely citadel which was the last earthly residence of the blessed Bab, and from which He was led forth to His martyrdom in Tabriz.+F116 Realization of the long-sought recognition of the Faith in Italy is a wonderful victory, resulting not only in the incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly, but also of all Local Spiritual Assemblies in Italy and the ability to establish that National Spiritual Assembly's Publishing Trust. In Iceland the Faith has been recognized as one of the island's religions. This provides not only for incorporation of the Local Spiritual Assembly of Reykjavik but authorizes the chairman of that Assembly to perform Baha'i marriages and Baha'i burials, exempts the Faith from certain taxes, permits the observance of Baha'i Holy Days and paves the <p101> way for incorporation of the National Spiritual Assembly of that country when it will be formed. The full number of Local Spiritual Assemblies, Groups and Localities called for in the Plan has been established in fifty-three territories and islands under the direction of twenty-six National Spiritual Assemblies; five territories have formed the required number of Local Spiritual Assemblies and seven have reached the specified number of Localities.

[F116. Chihriq, designated the "Grievous Mountain" by the Bab, is the remote fortress to which He was transferred on to April 1848. Tabriz is the town in north-western Iran where the Bab was martyred 9 July 1850.]

42.6 Since the call was raised a year ago, international travelling-teaching, ranging over the five continents and affecting nearly all national communities, has been undertaken. Seventy-eight projects have been completed in Europe, forty-three in America, twenty- seven in Asia, twenty-five in Australasia which, with those in Africa brings the total number to about two hundred. It is greatly hoped that this stimulating activity, so dear to the beloved Master's heart, will be constantly expanded.

42.7 Sustaining all these visible achievements is a constant activity throughout the world of teaching and administration -- a perpetual movement, like the ceaseless surge of the sea, within the Baha'i community, which is the real cause of its growth. National and Local Spiritual Assemblies facing difficult problems, devising new plans, shouldering responsibility for a community growing in numbers and consciousness, Committees striving to accomplish objectives, Baha'i Youth in eager and dedicated activity, individual Baha'is and families making efforts for the Cause, to give the Message, or hold a fireside, these constant services attract the confirmation of Baha'u'llah, and the more they are supported by prayers and intense dedication and the more extensive they become, the more they release into the world a spiritual charge which no force on earth can resist, and which must eventually bring about the complete triumph of the Cause. It is this organic vitality of the Faith, so readily felt at the World Centre, whose exhilaration we wish every believer to share.

Work at the World Centre

42.8 At the World Centre of the Faith codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas and collation of other important Texts has continued. Work on the highly important task of formulating the Constitution of the Universal House of Justice is well advanced. Development and extension of the gardens surrounding the sacred Shrines in both Haifa and Bahji is continuing. Publication of The Baha'i World, Volume 13 has been undertaken; this book covers nine years, from 1954 to 1963, almost the entire period of the Ten Year Crusade, and includes a comprehensive article on the beloved Guardian by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum. A planned development of relationships with the United Nations is being actively pursued. An important supplementary achievement is the establishment of an International Baha'i Audio-visual Centre whose function is to provide teaching and deepening aids to all National Spiritual Assemblies, as well as to store and index audio- visual records.

<p102>

Service of the Hands of the Cause of God

42.9 Throughout the year the services of the beloved Hands of the Cause have shone with an unfailing light. Their constant encouragement of National Spiritual Assemblies and of believers everywhere to pursue the goals of the Plan and to obtain a deeper understanding of the true meaning of Baha'u'llah's Revelation is contributing in no small measure to the progress of that Plan and must exercise a lasting effect on the development of the Baha'i community. These few gallant and dedicated believers, whose place in history is forever assured by virtue of their appointment to their high office, are indeed a precious legacy left to us by our beloved Guardian, and as the years go by there is increasingly added to the honour and respect which is their due by reason of their exalted rank, the love and admiration of the friends evoked by their constant services.

42.10 In response to special needs two changes have been made in the disposition of the Hands during the year, Hand of the Cause John Robarts returning to the Western Hemisphere with a special assignment to his native Canada, and Hand of the Cause William Sears returning to Africa. In addition we are delighted to announce that Hand of the Cause Tarazu'llah Samandari, whose eyes were blessed by beholding Baha'u'llah, will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Intercontinental Conference in Chicago, replacing the late Hand of the Cause Leroy Ioas.

The Panama Temple

42.11 In the international sphere the great project of raising the Panama Temple has begun with choice of a design submitted by Mr Peter Tillotson, an English architect. Mr Robert McLaughlin, sometime member of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Dean Emeritus of the School of Architecture of Princeton University, who served as a member of the Technical Advisory Board for the construction of the interior of the Mother Temple of the West in Wilmette, has been appointed Architectural Consultant to the Universal House of Justice for the building of the Temple. He and Mr Tillotson have visited the site together, and are working in close co-operation. Pictures and drawings of the new Temple will be published shortly, and the friends will be kept informed of the progress of construction of this House of Worship "situated between the two great oceans," a location which 'Abdu'l-Baha indicated would become very important in the future and whence the Teachings, once established, "will unite the East and the West, the North and the South."+F117 <p103> Pioneer Goals

[F117. TDP 14.8. For the message announcing the laying of the foundation stone of the Panama Temple, see letter no. 50; for the message sent on the occasion of its dedication, see letter no. 108.]

42.12 The brilliant pioneering feat of the second year of the Plan is beginning to reveal its beneficent effects, but pioneers are still urgently needed and will continue to be needed in all parts of the world for consolidation and development of the Faith in the newly won territories as well as for those resettled during the opening years of the Plan. The immediate requirement is for 209 pioneers to settle in eighty-seven territories named on the attached list, and the call is now raised for the speedy achievement of this task.+F118 Service in this highly meritorious field is open to every believer and all those who are moved to respond to this particular call are asked to consult the list of territories and to make their offers to their own National Spiritual Assembly. Full details of the requirements in each territory have been sent to the National Spiritual Assemblies concerned and to the Pioneer Committees.

[F118. The list is too lengthy to include.]

The Home-Fronts -- Solid Bases for Expansion

42.13 The constant need for pioneers no less than the approaching world-wide proclamation render it imperative to pay special attention, in every continent, to the home-fronts, for they are the sources of manpower and of administrative experience, the solid bases from which all expansion begins, both at home and abroad. The largest increases in numbers of Local Spiritual Assemblies, of Groups, and of believers, are called for on the home-fronts, and these tasks must be vigorously pursued. Some National Spiritual Assemblies have phased these important goals, assigning a specified number for achievement each year, thus ensuring a planned and flexible approach to the total requirements. Such a systematic and determined prosecution of the home-front goals is highly recommended.

The Fund -- Our Honour and Challenge

42.14 The pressing and ever-growing needs of the Baha'i Fund are called to the attention of all believers. There are great projects already under way or lying ahead which require very large amounts of money for their realization. The Panama Temple -- the first only of the two called for in the Nine Year Plan -- the beautification and development of the World Centre itself, involving a necessary and inevitable increase in facilities to serve the growing needs of the Faith; support of the vital teaching programme in many parts of the world; establishment and development of new National Spiritual Assemblies -- all these urgently require the support of the friends everywhere through sustained and sacrificial contributions. As inflation spreads around the world, the consequent increase in the cost of living is balanced, at least in the more affluent countries, by a corresponding increase in personal incomes. The expenses of the Baha'i Fund are inevitably and seriously affected by this inflationary condition <p104> which can only be relieved by contributions, both of larger amounts and from a larger number of contributors. The House of Justice believes that the financial needs of the Cause should be met by universal participation in giving and urges National and Local Spiritual Assemblies to pursue this goal with vigour and imagination, recalling to the friends the plea of the beloved Guardian to every believer "unhesitatingly, to place, each according to his circumstances, his share on the altar of Baha'i sacrifice."+F119 The fact that only we, the Baha'is, can contribute financially to the Cause is both our honour and our challenge.

[F119. CF, p. 131.]

Centenary of Baha'u'llah's Summons to the Kings

42.15 As we approach the third phase of the Nine Year Plan there opens before us a prospect of enthralling opportunities such as to thrill the heart of every ardent follower of Baha'u'llah. For more than a century we have toiled to teach the Cause; heroic sacrifices, dedicated services, prodigious efforts have been made in order to establish the outposts of the Faith in the chief countries, territories and islands of the earth and to raise the framework of the Administrative Order around the planet. But the Faith of Baha'u'llah remains, as yet, unknown to the generality of men. Now at last, at long last, the world- wide community of the Most Great Name is called upon to launch, on a global scale and to every stratum of human society, an enduring and intensive proclamation of the healing message that the Promised One has come and that the unity and well-being of the human race is the purpose of His Revelation. This long-to-be-sustained campaign, commencing next October in commemoration of the centenary of the sounding of the "opening notes" of Baha'u'llah's own proclamation,+F120 and gathering momentum throughout the remainder of the Nine Year Plan, may well become the spearhead of other plans to be launched continually until humanity has recognized and gratefully acclaimed its Redeemer and its Lord.

[F120. GPB, p. 212.]

42.16 A hundred years ago Baha'u'llah Himself addressed the kings, rulers, religious leaders and peoples of the world. The Universal House of Justice feels it its bounden duty to bring that Message to the attention of the world's leaders today. It is therefore presenting to them, in the form of a book, the essence of Baha'u'llah's announcement. Entitled The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, a special edition will be presented to Heads of State during the opening of the proclamation period and a general edition will be available to the friends in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish.

42.17 The Hands of the Cause of God, Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Ugo Giachery, Tarazu'llah Samandari, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan, Paul Haney, Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, who will represent the Universal House of Justice at the Inter-continental <p105> Conferences in October to be held in Panama, Sydney, Chicago, Kampala, Frankfurt and New Delhi respectively, will gather at the World Centre in September, a few days before the Feast of Mashiyyat. The members of the House of Justice will join these Hands in supplication at the Shrine of Baha'u'llah in Bahji and will meet with them for consultation in the Mansion. From that Holy Spot these Hands of the Cause will make a special pilgrimage on behalf of the entire Baha'i world to Adrianople where the Suriy-i-Muluk was revealed.+F121 One hundred years after the historic event which it is their purpose to commemorate, they will, on 27 September gather in the House of Baha'u'llah for prayer and meditation, while the members of the Universal House of Justice will, in the Most Holy Shrine at Bahji, share in the same commemoration and pray for the success of the Conferences and of the Proclamation programme. The entire Baha'i world will, between the Conferences and Ridvan 1968, commemorate the centenary of the opening of that wonderful period in human history when the clouds of Divine bounty showered in lavish profusion their treasures upon men and the portals of the Kingdom were thrown open, disclosing to all who had eyes to see, a new heaven and a new earth, and the new Jerusalem coming down from God.

[F121. The occasion marked the centenary of Baha'u'llah's revelation of His Suriy- i-Muluk (Tablet to the Kings), which Shoghi Effendi describes as "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah ... in which He, for the first time, directs His words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West, and in which the Sultan of Turkey, and his ministers, the kings of Christendom, the French and Persian Ambassadors accredited to the Sublime Porte, the Muslim ecclesiastical leaders in Constantinople, its wise men and inhabitants, the people of Persia and the philosophers of the world are separately addressed. ... (GPB, pp. 171-72). For a brief account of the proclamation of Baha'u'llah to the kings and rulers of the world, see BW 14:195-204. For a full and detailed account and for a depiction of the fate of the recipients in the wake of their neglect of Baha'u'llah's summons, see Shoghi Effendi, Promised Day is Come.]

42.18 Immediately after the Feast of Mashiyyat the Hands of the Cause will travel from Adrianople to their Conferences, each bearing the precious trust of a photograph of the Blessed Beauty, which it will be the privilege of those attending the Conferences to view. These distinguished Hands will, on their own behalf, each address the Conference which they attend, and will bear a message to each Conference from the Universal House of Justice whom they represent.

42.19 These six Conferences, convened to commemorate the opening of Baha'u'llah's own Proclamation and to inaugurate a period of proclamation of His message by the entire company of His followers, will doubtless demonstrate yet again the spirit of joy which pervades such gatherings of the friends and will reinforce them in their determination to seize whatever means and opportunities they may find to raise the Divine call. Honoured by the presence of Hands of the Cause, these Conferences, focal points of the love and prayers <p106> of the friends everywhere, magnets to attract the spiritual powers which alone can confirm their work, will, it is confidently hoped, be potent sources of unity spiritual enthusiasm and realistic planning. National Spiritual Assemblies are called upon to ensure that they are represented at the Conference held in their continent so that they may share their plans for proclamation with other National Spiritual Assemblies as well as discuss with them the remaining goals of the Nine Year Plan.

42.20 To all those friends in so many countries, suffering in varying degrees from restrictions and oppression which will either prevent altogether, or greatly inhibit their public commemoration and subsequent proclamation programmes, we send a special message of love and assurance. To them we convey the love and admiration of their fellow believers, who, in gratitude for their greater freedom, are determined to blaze abroad such a proclamation of the Divine Message as may well pave the way for the eventual emancipation of the entire body of the Faith.

Proclamation, Expansion, and Consolidation-Interrelated Processes

42.21 World-wide proclamation, the unknown sea on which we must soon sail, will add another dimension to our work, a dimension which will, as it develops, complement and reinforce the twin processes of expansion and consolidation. This pattern of teaching, emerging so soon after the completion of the framework of the Administrative Order, may well be the means of advancing the vital work of consolidation and of rendering more effective the teaching wisdom which has been gained in a hundred years, and more particularly since the beloved Guardian called us to systematic and planned activity. Therefore, in those countries where we are free to publicize our religion, this activity must become part of our regular work, included in budgets, assigned to National and Local Committees for study and implementation and above all for co-ordination with the programmes operating to achieve the goals of the Nine Year Plan. Every effort of proclamation must be sustained by teaching, particularly locally where public announcements should be related to such efforts. This co-ordination is essential, for nothing will be more disheartening than for thousands to hear of the Faith and have nowhere to turn for further information.

The Nature of Deepening

42.22 The beloved Guardian wrote, "To strive to obtain a more adequate understanding of the significance of Baha'u'llah's stupendous Revelation must, it is my unalterable conviction, remain the first obligation and the object of the constant endeavour of each one of its loyal adherents," a statement which places the obligation of deepening in the Cause firmly on every believer.+F122 It is therefore <p107> upon the nature of deepening, rather than upon the desirability of pursuing it, that we wish to comment.

[F122. WOB, p. 100.]

42.23 A detailed and exact knowledge of the present structure of Baha'i Administration, or of the By-laws of National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, or of the many and varied applications of Baha'i law under the diverse conditions prevailing around the world, while valuable in itself, cannot be regarded as the sort of knowledge primarily intended by deepening. Rather is suggested a clearer apprehension of the purpose of God for man, and particularly of His immediate purpose as revealed and directed by Baha'u'llah, a purpose as far removed from current concepts of human well- being and happiness as is possible. We should constantly be on our guard lest the glitter and tinsel of an affluent society should lead us to think that such superficial adjustments to the modern world as are envisioned by humanitarian movements or are publicly proclaimed as the policy of enlightened statesmanship -- such as an extension to all members of the human race of the benefits of a high standard of living, of education, medical care, technical knowledge -- will of themselves fulfil the glorious mission of Baha'u'llah. Far otherwise. These are the things which shall be added unto us once we seek the Kingdom of God, and are not themselves the objectives for which the Bab gave His life, Baha'u'llah endured such sufferings as none before Him had ever endured, the Master and after Him the Guardian bore their trials and afflictions with such superhuman fortitude. Far deeper and more fundamental was their vision, penetrating to the very purpose of human life. We cannot do better, in this respect, than call to the attention of the friends certain themes pursued by Shoghi Effendi in his trenchant statement "The Goal of a New World Order." "The principle of the Oneness of Mankind" he writes, "implies an organic change in the structure of present-day society, a change such as the world has not yet experienced." Referring to the "epoch-making changes that constitute the greatest landmarks in the history of human civilization," he states that "... they cannot but appear, when viewed in their proper perspective, except as subsidiary adjustments precluding that transformation of unparalleled majesty and scope which humanity is in this age bound to undergo."+F123 In a later document he refers to the civilization to be established by Baha'u'llah as one "with a fullness of life such as the world has never seen nor can as yet conceive."+F124

[F124. PDIC, P302.]

[F123. WOB, pp. 42-43, 45, 46.]

42.24 Dearly loved friends, this is the theme we must pursue in our efforts to deepen in the Cause. What is Baha'u'llah's purpose for the human race? For what ends did He submit to the appalling cruelties and indignities heaped upon Him? What does He mean by "a new race of men"? What are the profound changes which He will bring about? The answers are to be found in <p108> the Sacred Writings of our Faith and in their interpretation by 'Abdu'l-Baha and our beloved Guardian. Let the friends immerse themselves in this ocean, let them organize regular study classes for its constant consideration, and as reinforcement to their effort, let them remember conscientiously the requirements of daily prayer and reading of the Word of God enjoined upon all Baha'is by Baha'u'llah.

42.25 Such dedicated striving on the part of all the friends to deepen in the Cause becomes imperative with the approach of the proclamation programme. As this becomes effective more and more attention will be directed to the claims of Baha'u'llah and opposition must be expected. "HOW GREAT, HOW VERY GREAT IS THE CAUSE!" wrote the Master; "HOW VERY FIERCE THE ONSLAUGHT OF ALL THE PEOPLES AND KINDREDS OF THE EARTH! ERELONG SHALL THE CLAMOUR OF THE MULTITUDE THROUGHOUT AFRICA, THROUGHOUT AMERICA, THE CRY OF THE EUROPEAN AND OF THE TURK, THE GROANING OF INDIA AND CHINA BE HEARD FROM FAR AND NEAR. ONE AND ALL THEY SHALL ARISE WITH ALL THEIR POWER TO RESIST HIS CAUSE. THEN SHALL THE KNIGHTS OF THE LORD, ASSISTED BY HIS GRACE FROM ON HIGH, STRENGTHENED BY FAITH, AIDED BY THE POWER OF UNDERSTANDING AND REINFORCED BY THE LEGIONS OF THE COVENANT, ARISE AND MAKE MANIFEST THE TRUTH OF THE VERSE: 'BEHOLD THE CONFUSION THAT HATH BEFALLEN THE TRIBES OF THE DEFEATED!'"+F125

[F125. WOB, p. 17.]

42.26 Mindful of the countless expressions of Divine love found in our Scriptures and aware of the extraordinary nature of the crisis facing humanity, we call the friends to a new realization of the very great things which are expected from us in this Day. We recall that the Blessed Beauty, Baha'u'llah, as well as His "Best-Beloved",+F126 before Him and 'Abdu'l-Baha after Him bore Their sufferings in this world in order that mankind might be freed from material fetters and "attain unto true liberty," "Might prosper and flourish," "attain unto abiding joy, and be filled with gladness,"+F127 and we pray that the endeavours of the friends may be the means by which this glory and felicity will speedily come to pass.

[F127. GWB, pp. 99, 100.]

[F126. The Bab.]

The Universal House of Justice

<p109>

43

Release of a compilation on teaching the masses

11 May 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

43.1 We have recently made a compilation from the writings of the Guardian and from letters written on his behalf regarding the importance and nature of the teaching work among the masses. Attached is a copy of this compilation, which we sincerely recommend to you for your earnest study.+F128 The extracts have been arranged chronologically.

[F128. See CC II:61-71.]

43.2 It is our hope and belief that this compilation will guide and assist you in better appreciating the manner of the presentation of the teachings of the Faith; the attitude that must govern those responsible for enrolling new believers; the need to educate the newly enrolled Baha'is, to deepen them in the teachings and to wean them gradually away from their old allegiances; the necessity of keeping a proper balance between expansion and consolidation; the significance of the participation of the native believers of each country in the teaching work and in the administration of the affairs of the community; the formulation of budgets within the financial capabilities of the community; the importance of fostering the spirit of self-sacrifice in the hearts of the friends; the worthy goal for each national community to become self-supporting; the preferability of individuality of expression to absolute uniformity, within the framework of the Administrative Order; and the lasting value of dedication and devotion when engaged in the teaching work.

43.3 We are confident that the implementation of these principles as set forth in the writings of the Guardian will aid you in your teaching work. With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p110>

44

Sesquicentennial of the birth of Baha'u'llah

25 June 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

44.1 12 November 1967, will mark the 150th anniversary of Baha'u'llah's birth. We call the entire Baha'i world to joyful celebration, befitting an event so momentous to the fortunes of humanity.

44.2 The Universal House of Justice feels that the coincidence of this great occasion with the opening of the proclamation period provides a splendid opportunity for bringing to public attention both the spiritual and social import of the Cause. Not only its message, but the historical fact of a new Revelation, with all its implications of a new and world-wide civilization, should be made clear.

44.3 Let the friends not hesitate to welcome to their observances, even to those of a devotional character, the non-Baha'i public, many of whom may well be attracted by the prayers and expressions of gratitude of the believers, no less than by the exalted tone of passages from Baha'i Writings.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

45

The nature and purpose of proclamation

2 July 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

45.1 In just over three months the period of the world-wide proclamation of the Faith will be opened at the six Intercontinental Conferences called to celebrate the centenary of the revelation of the Suriy-i-Muluk.+F129 Those conferences will provide an opportunity for representatives of the National Spiritual Assemblies to exchange ideas and co-ordinate plans for the proclamation which will continue throughout the remaining four and a half years of the Plan.

[F129. The Suriy-i-Muluk is Baha'u'llah's Tablet to the Kings. For further information about its significance, see messages nos 24, 41, and 42. See also PB, pp. 7-12, 47-54, and 102-03 for the passages of the Suriy-i-Muluk that have been translated into English.]

45.2 The stimulating effect of this interchange of ideas will produce greatly increased momentum throughout the world, but inasmuch as many projects <p111> must be worked out before that date, we feel a few additional comments on the nature and purpose of proclamation will be helpful now.

45.3 Proclamation comprises a number of activities, of which publicity is only one. The Universal House of Justice itself will be conveying the Message of Baha'u'llah to the heads of all states, but, in addition to this, one of the most important duties of each National Spiritual Assembly is to acquaint leaders of thought and prominent men and women in its country with the fundamental aims, the history and the present status and achievements of the Cause. Such an activity must be carried out with the utmost wisdom, discretion and dignity. Publicity connected with such approaches must be weighed very carefully, as it may be unwise or discourteous. This is, of course, a long- range programme, for such things cannot be rushed, but it must be given constant attention.

45.4 Another aspect of proclamation is a series of teaching programmes designed to reach every stratum of human society -- programmes that should be pursued diligently and wisely, using every available resource.

45.5 Publicity itself should be well-conceived, dignified and reverent. A flamboyant approach which may succeed in drawing much initial attention to the Cause, may ultimately prove to have produced a revulsion which would require great effort to overcome. The standard of dignity and reverence set by the beloved Guardian should always be upheld, particularly in musical and dramatic items; and photographs of the Master should not be used indiscriminately. This does not mean that activities of the youth, for example, should be stultified; one can be exuberant without being irreverent or undermining the dignity of the Cause.

45.6 Every land has its own conditions, thus the kind of proclamation activity to be followed in each country should be decided by its National Spiritual Assembly. National Spiritual Assemblies need not follow or copy programmes initiated in other countries.

45.7 In all proclamation activities, follow-up is of supreme importance. Proclamation, expansion and consolidation are mutually helpful activities which must be carefully interrelated. In some places it is desirable to open a teaching campaign with publicity -- in others it is wiser to establish first a solid local community before publicizing the Faith or encouraging contacts with prominent people. Here, again, wisdom is needed.

45.8 We have been elated by the enthusiasm with which the Baha'i community is preparing for the challenging months and years ahead, and we eagerly await those days but a few short months away which will open a period of such promise for the diffusion of God's Word.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p112>

46

Message to the six Intercontinental Conferences

October 1967

To the Six Intercontinental Conferences+F130

[F130. For an account of the six conferences, see BW 14:223-28.]

Dearly loved friends,

46.1 On this, the hundredth anniversary of the sounding in Adrianople of the opening notes of Baha'u'llah's proclamation to the rulers, leaders and peoples of the world, we recall with profound emotion the circumstances surrounding the Faith of God at that time. In a land termed by Him the "Land of Mystery," the Bearer of God's Revelation had arisen to carry that Faith a stage further in its divinely ordained destiny.+F131

[F131. Baha'u'llah was exiled to Adrianople in December 1863, some eight months after proclaiming His mission to His followers, friends, and companions in the Garden of Ridvan outside of Baghdad, 'Iraq. Shoghi Effendi explains that toward the latter part of His stay in Adrianople "a period of prodigious activity ensued. ..." "Such are the outpourings ... from the clouds of Divine Bounty," Baha'u'llah Himself wrote, "that within the space of an hour the equivalent of a thousand verses hath been revealed." "I swear by God! In those days the equivalent of all that hath been sent down aforetime unto the Prophets hath been revealed" (GPB, pp. 170-70). Among the Tablets revealed during this period is the Suriy-i-Muluk (Tablet to the Kings), "the most momentous Tablet revealed by Baha'u'llah in which He, for the first time, directs his words collectively to the entire company of the monarchs of East and West. ..." (GPB, p. 171). For further information on the Suriy-i-Muluk, see messages nos 24, 41, and 42.]

46.2 Internally, the infant Cause of God was convulsed by a crisis from whose shadows emerged the majestic figure of Baha'u'llah, the visible Centre and Head of a newly established Faith.+F132 The first pilgrimages were made to His Residence, a further stage in the transfer of the remains of the Bab was achieved, and above all the first intimations were given of the future station of 'Abdu'l-Baha as the Centre of the Covenant and of the revelation of the new laws for the New Day. Externally, the full significance of the new Revelation <p113> was proclaimed by no one less than its Divine Bearer, His followers began openly to identify themselves with the Most Great Name, the independent character of the Faith became established and its fearless exponents took up their pens in defence of its fair name.+F133

[F133. GPB, pp. 176-77. The first pilgrimages were made to the House of Amru'llah (the House of God's Command) and foreshadowed later pilgrimages made by Baha'is from the East and the West to 'Akka. The remains of the Bab were moved secretly at Baha'u'llah's instruction by two Baha'is from Tihran from the Shrine of the Imam- Zadih Ma'sum to some other place of safety, an act that proved providential when the shrine later underwent reconstruction. Concerning the station of 'Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'llah revealed the Tablet of the Branch in which 'Abdu'l-Baha is extolled as the "Branch of Holiness, the "Limb of the Law of God," and the "Trust of God, I'll sent down in the form of a human temple" (quoted in WOB, pp. 134-35). The new laws Baha'u'llah revealed were those of pilgrimage and fasting, later set forth in the Kitab-i-Aqdas. With respect to external developments, during the days in Adrianople Baha'u'llah revealed Tablets to the kings and rulers of the world; the terms "Babi" and "the people of the Bayan" gave way to "Baha'i" and "the people of Baha"; the greeting "Allah-u-Abha" (God is Most Glorious) replaced 'Allah-u-Akbar" (God is Most Great); and certain disciples of Baha'u'llah arose to defend the Faith by refuting "in numerous and detailed apologies" the arguments of its opponents and "to expose their odious deeds." See GPB, pp. 176-77, and Hasan Balyuzi, Baha'u'llah: The King of Glory, p. 250.]

[F132. The crisis was caused by Mirza Yahya, Baha'u'llah's half-brother, whose covetousness and jealousy of Baha'u'llah prompted him to openly challenge Baha'u'llah's authority and to issue his own claim to be the Promised One. Mirza Yahya went so far as to attempt to murder Baha'u'llah by serving Him tea in a cup smeared with poison while Baha'u'llah was a guest in his home. The poison induced an illness that lasted over a month and was accompanied by severe pains and a high fever and left Baha'u'llah with a shaking hand for the rest of His life. This incident and other actions of Mirza Yahya's led to his separation from Baha'u'llah's family and companions. "This supreme crisis," Shoghi Effendi wrote, was designated by Baha'u'llah as the "Days of Stress," "during which 'the most grievous veil' was torn asunder, and the 'most great separation' was irrevocably effected. It immensely gratified and emboldened its [the Baha'i Faith's external enemies, both civil and ecclesiastical, played into their hands, and evoked their unconcealed derision. It perplexed and confused the friends and supporters of Baha'u'llah, and seriously damaged the prestige of the Faith in the eyes of its western admirers. ... It brought incalculable sorrow to Baha'u'llah, visibly aged Him, and inflicted, through its repercussions, the heaviest blow ever sustained by Him in His lifetime" (GPB, pp. 163-64).]

46.3 Now, a hundred years later, the friends gathered in the six Intercontinental Conferences to commemorate the events of the past, privileged to gaze upon the portrait of their Beloved, must consider the urgent needs of the Cause today. As the Baha'i world enters the third phase of the Nine Year Plan we are called upon to proclaim once again that Divine Message to the leaders and masses of the world, to aid the Faith of God to emerge from obscurity into the arena of public attention, to demonstrate through steadfast adherence to its laws the independent character of its mission and to brace ourselves in preparation for the attacks that are bound to be directed against its victorious onward march. Upon our efforts depends in very large measure the fate of humanity. The hundred years' respite having ended, the struggle between the forces of darkness -- man's lower nature -- and the rising sun of the Divine teachings which draw him on to his true station, intensifies day by day.

46.4 The Centenary campaign has been opened by the Universal House of Justice presenting to 140 Heads of State a compilation of Baha'u'llah's Own proclamation. The friends must now take the Message to the rest of humanity. The time is ripe and the opportunities illimitable. We are not alone nor helpless. Sustained by our love for each other and given power through the Administrative Order -- so laboriously erected by our beloved Guardian -- the Army of Light can achieve such victories as will astonish posterity.

46.5 We pray at the Holy Shrines that these Intercontinental Conferences will be centres of spiritual illumination inspiring the friends to redouble their efforts in further expanding and consolidating the Faith of God, to arise to <p114> fill the remaining pioneer goals, to undertake travelling teaching projects, and to offer generously of their substance to the various funds, particularly to the vital project of erecting the Panama Temple, the foundation stone of which is being laid by Amatu'l- Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum during the course of these Conferences.

46.6 As humanity enters the dark heart of this age of transition our course is clear -- the achievement of the assigned goals and the proclamation of Baha'u'llah's healing Message. It is our ardent hope that from these Conferences valiant souls may arise with noble resolve and in loving service to ensure the successful and early accomplishment of the sacred tasks that lie ahead.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

47

Inauguration of the third phase of the Nine Year Plan

15 October 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

47.1 The following cable has just been sent to the United States National Spiritual Assembly for publication in Baha'i News. Please share it with all friends in your jurisdiction.

47.2 HEARTS FILLED PROFOUND GRATITUDE REJOICE ANNOUNCE INAUGURATION THIRD PHASE NINE YEAR PLAN THROUGH SUCCESSFUL CONSUMMATION SIX INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES ATTENDED BY 9,200 BELIEVERS INCLUDING NEARLY ALL HANDS CAUSE LARGE NUMBER BOARD MEMBERS REPRESENTATIVES ALMOST ALL NATIONAL ASSEMBLIES BAHA'I WORLD OVER 140 TERRITORIES AND HOST OF ASIAN AFRICAN AMERINDIAN TRIBES. INESTIMABLE PRIVILEGE CONFERRED PARTICIPANTS THROUGH VIEWING PORTRAIT ABHA BEAUTY.+F134 SPIRIT HOLY LAND AND ADRIANOPLE CONVEYED SIX DISTINGUISHED REPRESENTATIVES HOUSE JUSTICE. FIRST PRESENTATIONS BEHALF HOUSE JUSTICE PROCLAMATION BOOK HEADS OF STATE MADE BEFORE AND DURING CONFERENCE. FRUITFUL DELIBERATIONS HELD PROCLAMATION EXECUTION REMAINING GOALS PLAN. SOLIDARITY BAHA'I WORLD FURTHER EVINCED THROUGH INGENIOUS SCHEME TELEPHONIC EXCHANGE GREETINGS ALL SIX CONFERENCES. SPIRITUAL POTENCIES THIS NEW PHASE REINFORCED THROUGH FORMAL LAYING BY AMATU'L-BAHA OF CORNERSTONE MOTHER TEMPLE LATIN AMERICA. OVER 230 OFFERS MADE AT CONFERENCES JOIN RANKS VALIANT PIONEERS CAUSE. RAISE <p115> SUPPLIANT HANDS BAHA'U'LLAH ENDOW FRIENDS EVERY LAND FRESH MEASURE CELESTIAL STRENGTH ENABLE THEM PURSUE WITH INCREASED VISION UNABATED RESOLVE GLORIOUS GOALS AHEAD UNTIL THIS NEW PERIOD PROCLAMATION YIELDS ITS SHARE IN DIVINELY PROPELLED PROCESS ESTABLISHMENT KINGDOM GOD HEARTS MEN.

[F134. Baha'u'llah.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

48

Announcement of the Resignation of Dr Lutfu'llah Hakim

from the Universal House of Justice

15 October 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

48.1 After a lifetime of devoted and self-sacrificing service to the Cause of God Dr Lutfu'llah Hakim has asked the Universal House of Justice to accept his resignation from that Institution because his health and advancing age make it increasingly difficult for him to participate as effectively as he would wish in its work.

48.2 The Universal House of Justice has regretfully accepted Dr Hakim's resignation, but in view of the imminence of the next election, has asked him to continue to serve as a member until that time, and Dr Hakim has kindly consented to do so.

48.3 Having served the Master Himself in the Holy Land, as well as accompanying Him during His historic visits in England and Scotland, and been intimately associated with Shoghi Effendi in his youth, Dr Hakim was called again to the World Centre by the beloved Guardian in 1950 for important service at the World Centre and was later appointed to the first International Baha'i Council, of which he was the Eastern Assistant Secretary.+F135 He continued to serve on that body and then on the Universal House of Justice with undiminished devotion but with increasing difficulty during the subsequent sixteen years, earning the love and admiration of his co-workers.

[F135. For an explanation of the International Baha'i Council, see the Glossary.]

48.4 Please share this announcement with the friends in your area.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

<p116>

49

Assumption by the Universal House of Justice of Representation of the Baha'i International Community at the United Nations

17 October 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

49.1 MORROW SIX INTERCONTINENTAL CONFERENCES INAUGURATING PROCLAMATION PERIOD ANNOUNCE BAHA'I WORLD SIGNIFICANT STEP DEVELOPMENT RELATIONS UNITED NATIONS THROUGH ASSUMPTION BY UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE FUNCTION REPRESENTATION BAHA'I INTERNATIONAL COMMUNITY CAPACITY NON- GOVERNMENTAL ORGANIZATION AT UNITED NATIONS. TAKE THIS OCCASION EXPRESS NATIONAL ASSEMBLY UNITED STATES AND MILDRED MOTTAHEDEH GRATEFUL LOVING APPRECIATION MANY YEARS DEVOTED TIRELESS SUCCESSFUL SERVICES AS REPRESENTATIVE AND OBSERVER RESPECTIVELY.+F136

[F136. In 1947 the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of the United States and Canada was accredited to the United Nations as a national non-governmental organization qualified to be represented at United Nations Conferences through a designated observer. One year later the eight existing National Spiritual Assemblies were recognized collectively as an international non-governmental organization under the title "The Baha'i International Community." Each National Spiritual Assembly designated the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States as its representative at the United Nations. Mrs Mildred Mottahedeh, who also served as a member of the International Baha'i Council from 1961 to 1963, was the observer for the Baha'i International Community for nearly twenty years. The Baha'i International Community, which now includes at least five million believers, 165 National Spiritual Assemblies, and approximately twenty thousand Local Spiritual Assemblies, maintains offices in New York and Geneva that are responsible for relations between the Baha'i International Community and the United Nations. For more information about the development of the relationship between the Baha'i International Community and the United Nations during the years 1963-73, see BW 15:364-73.]

UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

 

50

Laying of the Foundation Stone of the Panama Temple

23 October 1967

To National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

50.1 We are happy to share with you the joyous news that the Foundation Stone of the Mother Temple of Latin America has been laid by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum on behalf of the Universal House of Justice.

<p117>

50.2 This inaugurates the next phase in the planning and construction of this important edifice which will culminate in the commencement of the erection of the Temple itself in January, 1969. During the current phase the final working plans and specifications will be drafted, bids will be obtained and contracts for construction will be placed. All this will call for funds in ever-increasing amounts.

50.3 We therefore call upon all National Spiritual Assemblies to:

1. Inform the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama of the amount of your budget allocation for the Panama temple during this year and when they may expect contributions to be received.

2. Transmit as soon as possible all available funds, either accumulated or earmarked, directly to the National Spiritual Assembly of Panama.

3. Encourage all Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals to contribute to this project.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

51

Selection of Travelling Teachers

26 October 1967

To National Spiritual Assemblies engaged in mass teaching

Dear Baha'i friends,

51.1 We have been watching with keen interest the development of the teaching work among the masses, and from time to time have offered suggestions to guide and assist the efforts of National Spiritual Assemblies engaged in this highly meritorious activity.

51.2 Many National Spiritual Assemblies in carrying out their plans for expansion and consolidation have found it necessary to select a number of believers for service as travelling teachers. While we appreciate the valuable services these travelling teachers have already rendered we are nevertheless deeply conscious of the problems facing your National Assemblies in your desire to carry out your teaching programmes with as much dispatch as possible. The purpose of this letter is to draw your attention to the fact that these problems could well be minimized if the selection of such teachers were done with great care and discretion.

51.3 It must be realized that people who are mostly illiterate cannot have the benefit of reading for themselves the written word and of deriving directly from it the spiritual sustenance they need for the enrichment of their Baha'i lives. They become dependent, therefore, to a large extent on their contacts <p118> with visiting teachers. The spiritual calibre or moral quality of these teachers assumes, therefore, great importance. The National Spiritual Assembly or the Teaching Committees responsible for the selection of these teachers should bear in mind that their choice must depend, not only on the knowledge or grasp of the teachings on the part of the teachers, but primarily upon their pure spirit and their true love for the Cause, and their capacity to convey that spirit and love to others.

51.4 We are enclosing some extracts from the Writings which will no doubt assist you in your deliberations on this vital subject.+F137 What wonderful results will soon be witnessed in the areas under your jurisdiction if you devise ways and means to ensure, as far as circumstances permit, that the travelling teachers you are encouraging to circulate among the friends will all be of the standard called for in these quotations -- pure and sanctified souls, with nothing but true devotion and self-sacrifice motivating them in their services to God's Holy Cause. We also suggest that the study of quotations such as these should form part of the courses offered at your Teaching Institutes for the deepening of the friends.

[F137. The same extracts were also included in the Universal House of Justice's letter dated 31 October 1967 (message no. 52).]

51.5 We wish to assure you once again of our fervent prayers at the Holy Shrines for the solution of your problems and the removal of all obstacles from the path you are so valiantly pursuing.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

 

52

Extracts on Teaching the Masses

31 October 1967

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

52.1 We have recently sent to those National Spiritual Assemblies which are engaged in mass teaching the enclosed extracts from the Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha and from the letters of Shoghi Effendi. We feel that they will also be of great assistance to all other National Spiritual Assemblies.

52.2 The paramount goal of the teaching work at the present time is to carry the message of Baha'u'llah to every stratum of human society and every walk of life. An eager response to the teachings will often be found in the most unexpected quarters, and any such response should be quickly followed up, <p119> for success in a fertile area awakens a response in those who were at first uninterested.

52.3 The same presentation of the teachings will not appeal to everybody; the method of expression and the approach must be varied in accordance with the outlook and interests of the hearer. An approach which is designed to appeal to everybody will usually result in attracting the middle section, leaving both extremes untouched. No effort must be spared to ensure that the healing Word of God reaches the rich and the poor, the learned and the illiterate, the old and the young, the devout and the atheist, the dweller in the remote hills and islands, the inhabitant of the teeming cities, the suburban businessman, the labourer in the slums, the nomadic tribesman, the farmer, the university student; all must be brought consciously within the teaching plans of the Baha'i Community.

52.4 Whereas plans must be carefully made, and every useful means adopted in the furtherance of this work, your Assemblies must never let such plans eclipse the shining truth expounded in the enclosed quotations: that it is the purity of heart, detachment, uprightness, devotion and love of the teacher that attracts the divine confirmations and enables him, however ignorant he be in this world's learning, to win the hearts of his fellowmen to the Cause of God.

With loving greetings,

The Universal House of Justice

Teaching the Masses Annex

52.5 Whoso ariseth, in this Day, to aid Our Cause, and summoneth to his assistance the hosts of a praiseworthy character and upright conduct, the influence flowing from such an action will, most certainly, be diffused throughout the whole world.

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, Rev. ed. [Wilmette: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1983], sec. 131, p. 287)

52.6 Whoso ariseth to teach Our Cause must needs detach himself from all earthly things, and regard, at all times, the triumph of Our Faith as his supreme objective. ... And when he determineth to leave his home, for the sake of the Cause of his Lord, let him put his whole trust in God, as the best provision for his journey, and array himself with the robe of virtue. ...

52.7 If he be kindled with the fire of His love, if he forgoeth all created things, the words he uttereth shall set on fire them that hear him. ...

(Baha'u'llah, Gleanings from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, sec. 157, pp. 334-35)

52.8 I swear by Him Who is the Most Great Ocean! Within the very breath of such souls as are pure and sanctified far-reaching potentialities are hidden.