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Messages 1963 to 1986 (Part 3)

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Major Objectives of the Plan

141.4 This Five Year Plan has three major objectives: preservation and consolidation of the victories won; a vast and widespread expansion of the Baha'i community; development of the distinctive character of Baha'i life particularly in the local communities. The achievement of these overall aims requires the accomplishment of particular tasks at the World Centre of the Faith, and by national and local communities.

World Centre Goals

141.5 At the World Centre work will continue on the collation and classification of the Sacred Texts; authorized translations of three compilations of Scripture will be made and published, namely, Tablets of Baha'u'llah revealed after the Kitab-i-Aqdas, prayers and extracts from the Writings of the Bab, greatly augmenting the fragments of His Utterance now available in the West, and of the Master's works comprising a wide selection from the vast range of subjects illumined by His Divine wisdom; construction will begin on the building on Mount Carmel to serve as the Seat of the Universal House of Justice and it is hoped to complete it during the Five Year Plan; further extension and beautification of the gardens and lands surrounding the Holy Places will take place; strengthening of the relationship between the Baha'i International Community and the United Nations will continue; and efforts will be constantly made to protect the Faith from persecution and to free it from the restraints imposed by religious orthodoxy.+F294

[F294. Tablets of Baha'u'llah was published in 1978; Selections from the Writings of the Bab, in 1976; and Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, in 1978. The seat of the Universal House of Justice was completed in 1983.]

International Conferences

141.6 In the international sphere the erection of two Mashriqu'l-Adhkar -- one in India and one in Samoa -- will be initiated; eight International Teaching Conferences will be held during the middle part of the Five Year Plan; two for the Arctic, one in Anchorage and one in Helsinki during July 1976, one in Paris in August 1976, one in Nairobi in October 1976, one in Hong Kong in November 1976, one in Auckland and one in Baha'i, Brazil in January 1977 and one in Merida, Mexico in February 1977. National goals

141.7 Sixteen new National Spiritual Assemblies will be formed, namely the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahamas, Burundi, Cyprus, the French Antilles, Greece, Jordan, Mali, Mauritania, the New Hebrides, Niger, Senegal, Sierra Leone, Somalia, Surinam and French Guiana, Togo, and Upper Volta; their national Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and endowments must be acquired; the dissemination of news and messages, so vital to the knowledge, <p263> encouragement and unity of the Baha'i community, must be made efficient and rapid, and in anticipation of a vast expansion in the number of believers, of Local Spiritual Assemblies and of localities where Baha'is reside a co-ordinated programme of translating and publishing Baha'i literature with the eventual aim of providing the Sacred Text and the teachings of the Faith to all mankind is to be developed -- a programme which will include the founding of six Baha'i Publishing Trusts and the continued subvention of Baha'i literature, 409 inter-Assembly assistance projects are scheduled and, at the outset of the Plan, 557 pioneers are called for.

Financial Self-Sufficiency

141.8 One of the distinguishing features of the Cause of God is its principle of non- acceptance of financial contributions for its own purposes from non-Baha'is; support of the Baha'i Fund is a bounty reserved by Baha'u'llah to His declared followers. This bounty imposes full responsibility for financial support of the Faith on the believers alone, every one of whom is called upon to do his utmost to ensure that the constant and liberal outpouring of means is maintained and increased to meet the growing needs of the Cause. Many Baha'i communities are at present dependent on outside help, and for them the aim must be to become self-supporting, confident that the Generous Lord will, as their efforts increase, eventually enable them to offer for the progress of His Faith material wealth as well as their devotion, their energy and love.


141.9 The proclamation of the Faith, following established plans and aiming to use on an increasing scale the facilities of mass communication must be vigorously pursued. It should be remembered that the purpose of proclamation is to make known to all mankind the fact and general aim of the new Revelation, while teaching programmes should be planned to confirm individuals from every stratum of society.


141.10 The vast reservoir of spiritual energy, zeal and idealism resident in Baha'i youth, which so effectively contributed to the success of the Nine Year Plan, must be directed and lavishly spent for the proclamation, teaching, and consolidation of the Cause. Spiritual Assemblies are urged to provide consultation and the offer of guidance to Baha'i youth who seek to plan their lives in such a way as to be of utmost service to the Cause of God.

Education of Children

141.11 The education of children in the teachings of the Faith must be regarded as an essential obligation of every Baha'i parent, every local and national community and it must become a firmly established Baha'i activity during the <p264> course of the Plan. It should include moral instruction by word and example and active participation by children in Baha'i community life.

Distinctive Baha'i Characteristics

141.12 This Five Year Plan must witness the development in the world-wide Baha'i community of distinctive Baha'i characteristics implanted in it by Baha'u'llah Himself. Unity of mankind is the pivotal principle of His Revelation; Baha'i communities must therefore become renowned for their demonstration of this unity. In a world becoming daily more divided by factionalism and group interests, the Baha'i community must be distinguished by the concord and harmony of its relationships. The coming of age of the human race must be foreshadowed by the mature, responsible understanding of human problems and the wise administration of their affairs by these same Baha'i communities. The practice and development of such Baha'i characteristics are the responsibility alike of individual Baha'is and administrative institutions, although the greatest opportunity to foster their growth rests with the Local Spiritual Assemblies.

Development of Local Spiritual Assemblies

141.13 The divinely ordained institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly operates at the first levels of human society and is the basic administrative unit of Baha'u'llah's World Order. It is concerned with individuals and families whom it must constantly encourage to unite in a distinctive Baha'i society, vitalized and guarded by the laws, ordinances and principles of Baha'u'llah's Revelation. It protects the Cause of God; it acts as the loving shepherd of the Baha'i flock.

141.14 Strengthening and development of Local Spiritual Assemblies is a vital objective of the Five Year Plan. Success in this one goal will greatly enrich the quality of Baha'i life, will heighten the capacity of the Faith to deal with entry by troops which is even now taking place and, above all, will demonstrate the solidarity and ever-growing distinctiveness of the Baha'i community, thereby attracting more and more thoughtful souls to the Faith and offering a refuge to the leaderless and hapless millions of the spiritually bankrupt, moribund present order.

141.15 "These Spiritual Assemblies," wrote 'Abdu'l-Baha, "are aided by the Spirit of God. Their defender is 'Abdu'l-Baha. Over them He spreadeth His Wings. What bounty is there greater than this?" Likewise, "These Spiritual Assemblies are shining lamps and heavenly gardens, from which the fragrances of holiness are diffused over all regions, and the lights of knowledge are shed abroad over all created things. From them the spirit of life streameth in every direction. They, indeed, are the potent sources of the progress of man, at all times and under all conditions."+F295

[F295. Quoted in GPB, p. 332.]


141.16 During the Five Year Plan Local Spiritual Assemblies which are being formed for the first time are to be formed whenever there are nine or more adult believers in the relevant area; thereafter they must be elected or declared at Ridvan.+F296 National Spiritual Assemblies are called upon to assign, and encourage the Local Spiritual Assemblies to adopt, goals within the overall framework of the Five Year Plan, to consult with them and to assist them to make great efforts to gradually assume their proper function and responsibilities in the World Order of Baha'u'llah. The friends are called upon to give their wholehearted support and co-operation to the Local Spiritual Assembly, first by voting for the membership and then by energetically pursuing its plans and programmes, by turning to it in time of trouble or difficulty, by praying for its success and taking delight in its rise to influence and honour. This great prize, this gift of God within each community must be cherished, nurtured, loved, assisted, obeyed and prayed for.

[F296. For further guidance on the formation of Local Spiritual Assemblies, see messages nos 189, 199, and 219.]

141.17 Such a firmly founded, busy and happy community life as is envisioned when Local Spiritual Assemblies are truly effective, will provide a firm home foundation from which the friends may derive courage and strength and loving support in bearing the Divine Message to their fellowmen and conforming their lives to its benevolent rule.

The Hands of the Cause of God and the International Teaching Centre

141.18 The deeds and programmes, all these multifarious world-wide activities to which you are summoned have but one aim -- the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth. At every stage of this process and at all levels of Baha'i responsibility, whether individual, local or national, you will be encouraged, advised and assisted by the divinely ordained institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, an institution powerfully reinforced by the successful establishment of the International Teaching Centre. Through the emergence of this Centre the seal has been set on the accomplishment of the goal, announced nearly ten years ago, of ensuring the extension into the future of the specific functions of protection and propagation conferred upon the Hands of the Cause in the Sacred Text. Through the work of the International Teaching Centre, which supervises and co-ordinates the work of the Boards of Counsellors around the world, the love, the guidance, the assistance of the Hands, through the Boards of Counsellors, their Auxiliary Board members and their assistants, permeates the entire structure of Baha'i society.

141.19 The Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic world commonwealth have indeed assured to that growing community, the care for its welfare, for the development of its character, for its spiritual encouragement which are among the duties of their high office.


Our Opportunities

141.20 As the old order gives way to the new, the changes which must take place in human affairs are such as to stagger the imagination. This is the opportunity for the hosts of the Lord. Undismayed and undeterred by the wreckage of "long-cherished ideals and time-honoured institutions," now being "swept away and relegated to the limbo of obsolescent and forgotten doctrines," the world community of Baha'is must surge forward eagerly, and with ever-increasing energy, to build those new, God-given institutions from which will be diffused the light of the holy principles and teachings sent down by God in this day for the salvation of all mankind.+F297

[F297. WOB, p. 42.]

The Universal House of Justice



Elucidation of Five Year Plan Goals

Naw-Ruz 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

142.1 To supplement the message which is being addressed to each of your Communities giving its specific goals under the Five Year Plan, we now share with you a number of elucidations. Certain of the paragraphs which follow may apply to goals which have not been allotted to your community, but it will no doubt be of interest to you to read them in relation to the world-wide scope of the Plan.

Opening Localities

142.2 When choosing localities to be opened to the Faith and when deciding which localities should have Local Spiritual Assemblies, you should bear in mind the need to have the Baha'i community represented broadly across the area under your jurisdiction. It is likely that some areas will show themselves particularly receptive and numerous Baha'i communities will speedily arise there, but while fostering such growth you should not neglect those areas in which the Faith is as yet unrepresented.

The Development of Local Spiritual Assemblies

142.3 The institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly is of primary importance in the firm establishment of the Faith, and we hope that you will give particular attention to ensuring that as many as possible, and in increasing numbers, <p267> are, in the words of the beloved Guardian, "broad-based, securely grounded" and "efficiently functioning."+F298

[F298. CF, p. 22.]

142.4 The time has come, we believe, when increasing numbers of Local Spiritual Assemblies should assume responsibility for helping the teaching work of groups, isolated believers, and other Spiritual Assemblies in their neighbourhood. Such extension teaching goals should be assigned by the National Spiritual Assembly or one of its teaching committees, or can be spontaneously adopted by Local Spiritual Assemblies, and should be carried out within the framework of the overall teaching plans of the country. It should also be made clear that by being given such goals a Spiritual Assembly is not being given any jurisdiction over believers outside its area, still less over other Local Spiritual Assemblies, but is being called upon to collaborate with them in their work.

The Recognition of Baha'i Marriage and Holy Days

142.5 The Five Year Plan does not include specific goals for the recognition of Baha'i marriage certificates or of Baha'i Holy Days because, in most countries where these goals are not already won, achievement depends upon circumstances beyond our control. Nevertheless, National Spiritual Assemblies should bear in mind the need to increase recognition of the Faith and should be alert to possibilities of winning these goals where they are as yet unattained.

National Incorporation Goals

142.6 There are a number of national incorporation goals of the Nine Year Plan towards the attainment of which considerable progress has already been made. These have not been included as goals of the Five Year Plan although they are still pending, but of course they should be pursued to completion.

Property Acquisitions

142.7 If acquisition of a National Haziratu'l-Quds is a responsibility assigned to you under the Five Year Plan, you should treat it as an urgent matter in view of the world- wide condition of inflation and rising property costs. Such a building, which must be suitable to serve as the seat of the National Spiritual Assembly, should be purchased as economically as possible. Preferably it should be a freehold detached building, although if such is not obtainable, a semi-detached house or an apartment may be considered, or even a property on a long-term lease.

142.8 A site for a future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar can be as small as 8,000 square metres in area if a larger property would be too expensive. It should, if possible, be situated within the city designated or, if this is not feasible, within 25 kilometres from the city.


142.9 A national endowment should be regarded as an investment in real estate owned by the National Spiritual Assembly. It may be anywhere in the country and can be a small, inexpensive piece of land donated by one of the friends, or else acquired out of the resources of the National Fund.

142.10 Where we have given a goal to acquire a Haziratu'l-Quds which is to serve the entire community in a certain country, it is to be a local Haziratu'l-Quds at the present time but should be of a size and quality to serve as an administrative centre and focal point for the whole community. We envisage that some of such Haziratu'l-Quds may, at a later date, be converted into National Haziratu'l-Quds, and this fact should be borne in mind when acquiring them.

142.11 In the goal for local Haziratu'l-Quds given to some communities we state that a certain number should be large enough to accommodate activities of a number of communities in the surrounding district. While not being at all in the same category as the Haziratu'l-Quds described in the last paragraph above, these particular buildings are intended to be rather more substantial structures than the average local Haziratu'l-Quds, and should be located in areas which form easily accessible, central gathering places for districts in which large numbers of Baha'is are living. In addition to serving as a local Haziratu'l-Quds for its own town or village, such a building can be used for district gatherings, for the holding of teaching institutes, conferences, deepening classes, etc., for the larger area, and could possibly accommodate the office of the district teaching committee.

142.12 In general we intend that the local Haziratu'l-Quds called for in the Plan should be very simple structures to serve as focal points and meeting places for the local communities. It is hoped that land for them can be provided by local believers and that they can be built, for the most part, by the local friends. In certain instances the National Spiritual Assembly may feel justified in giving a small amount of assistance from the National Fund.

142.13 The acquisition of local endowments, which is given as a specific goal to some national communities, is intended to assist in the consolidation of local communities and to foster the spirit of unity and collaboration among the believers. A local endowment can be quite a small piece of land; it can be purchased by the Local Spiritual Assembly or is more usually the gift of one or more of the believers. If the Local Spiritual Assembly is incorporated, the endowment should be registered in its name, but if it is not, the endowment can be held by one or more of the believers on behalf of the community. For example, if one of the believers gives a small piece of land he can continue to hold it in his name, but it will be known that he does so on behalf of the Local Spiritual Assembly and that the land will in time be transferred legally to the Assembly when that is possible. In some countries land is owned by the state or the tribe and only the use of the land can be assigned; in such places the goal can be considered achieved if the Local Spiritual Assembly can <p269> obtain the use of a plot of land in its own name. In some countries, even if the land can be purchased, government regulations require that within a specific time a building must be erected on land held by religious institutions. This problem can be met in several ways: it may be possible for the Spiritual Assembly to obtain the use of, or acquire, a plot of land for agricultural purposes, thus avoiding the need to erect a building; or if the most practical course is to erect on the land a Baha'i institution such as a local Haziratu'l- Quds, the Assembly could, in its own records, demarcate a portion of the land to be the endowment, distinct from the portion on which the Haziratu'l-Quds stands.

Dawn Prayers

142.14 One of the characteristics of Baha'i society will be the gathering of the believers each day during the hours between dawn and two hours after sunrise to listen to the reading and chanting of the Holy Word. In many communities at the present time, especially in rural ones, such gatherings would fit naturally into the pattern of the friends' daily life, and where this is the case it would do much to foster the unity of the local community and deepen the friends' knowledge of the Teachings if such gatherings could be organized by the Local Spiritual Assembly on a regular basis. Attendance at these gatherings is not to be obligatory, but we hope that the friends will more and more be drawn to take part in them. This is a goal which can be attained gradually.

National Teaching Conferences

142.15 The holding of regular national teaching conferences has proved to be a valuable stimulus to the work in a number of countries, as well as a means for forging more strongly the bonds of unity among the believers. Beyond this, many national communities are presented with a special opportunity to hold a highly effective teaching conference at the time of the eight Intercontinental Conferences which are being called at the midway point of the Plan. Believers travelling to and from these Intercontinental Conferences are likely to be eager to assist the work in the countries through which they pass. Therefore, if you hold a national conference shortly after the Intercontinental Conference which is nearest to you, it may well be attended by believers from other lands who will bring with them the spirit of that Conference, and, by augmenting the numbers attending your national conference will greatly assist its effectiveness as a means of proclaiming the Faith and enthusing those believers who will have been unable to attend the Intercontinental Conferences.

Youth -- Specific Periods of Service

142.16 Baha'i youth should be encouraged to think of their studies and of their training for a trade or profession as part of their service to the Cause of God <p270> and in the context of a lifetime that will be devoted to advancing the interests of the Faith. At the same time, during their years of study, youth are often able to offer specific periods of weeks or months, or even of a year or more, during which they can devote themselves to travel teaching or to serving the Baha'i community in other ways, such as conducting children's classes in remote villages. They should be encouraged to offer such service, which will in itself be admirable experience for the future, and the National Assembly should instruct an appropriate committee to receive such offers and to organize their implementation so as to derive the greatest possible advantage from them.

External Affairs Work

142.17 A very important activity which has been pursued effectively in all too few countries, is the undertaking by the National Spiritual Assembly of a sustained, planned effort to foster cordial relations with prominent people and responsible government officials and to familiarize them personally with the basic tenets and the teachings of the Faith. Such an activity must be carried out with wisdom and discretion, and requires the constant attention of a responsible committee as well as periodic review by the National Spiritual Assembly itself. Where successful it can effectively forestall opposition to the Faith and smooth the way for many essential aspects of the development of the Baha'i community.

Pioneer Goals

142.18 Enclosed with this letter you will receive a list of pioneer assistance initially called for at the opening of the Plan.+F299 Any National Spiritual Assembly which has pioneers abroad from previous plans is still responsible for helping them to remain at their posts, or for replacing them, if the services they have been rendering are still needed. However, if you have any still unfilled pioneer goals from the Nine Year Plan or from the current year, you may consider them cancelled, because such unfilled goals have been taken into consideration in assigning the goals of the Five Year Plan. Best results can be obtained when pioneer projects are arranged in consultation between the sending and receiving National Spiritual Assemblies or their appropriate committees.

[F299. The list is too lengthy to include in this volume.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Call for Architects for Houses of Worship in India and Western Samoa

1 April 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

143.1 The Universal House of Justice will soon be considering the selection of architects for the Mashriqu'l-Adhkars to be erected in India and Samoa.

143.2 Those wishing to be considered as architects for either of these Temples are invited to submit statements of their qualifications. Such submissions may include examples of work previously designed and/or executed and, if desired, any thoughts or concepts of proposed designs for the Temples may be expressed in whatever way the applicant chooses.

143.3 The design of each Temple will be developed by the architect selected in relation to the climate, environment and culture of the area where it is to be built.

143.4 The initiation of construction of these Temples is a goal of the current Five Year Plan, and consequently those interested should forward their submissions at an early date to the Universal House of Justice, Baha'i World Centre, P. O. Box 155, Haifa 31-000, Israel.

143.5 Please convey the above message to the friends assembled at your Convention and thereafter to the community at large in whatever way you see fit.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Passing of Covenant-Breaker Charles Mason Remey

5 April 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies





Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas Concerning Men and Women

28 April 1974

To an individual believer

Dear Baha'i friend,

145.1 The various questions you set forth in your letter of 18 February were noted, and we offer you the following comments.

145.2 The Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and indeed all the Teachings of the Faith, form a coherent whole; therefore in order to understand their implications they must be considered in their own context. For example, in the case of intestacy, as you have noted, the eldest son receives preferential treatment in certain respects but, as 'Abdu'l- Baha has explained in one of His Tablets, he should take into consideration the needs of the other heirs.

145.3 Furthermore it should be remembered that, as Shoghi Effendi has explained (see The World Order of Baha'u'llah, page 148), Baha'u'llah has deliberately left gaps in the body of His legislative ordinances, to be filled in due course by the Universal House of Justice.

145.4 You should, therefore, when studying the Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, bear these factors in mind, and always remember Baha'u'llah's exhortation to "Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring balance established amongst men. In this most perfect balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it."+F300

[F300. SC, p. 22; see also KA P99.]

145.5 The equality of men and women, as 'Abdu'l-Baha has often explained, is a fundamental principle of Baha'u'llah; therefore the Laws of the Aqdas should be studied in the light of this. Equality between men and women does not, indeed physiologically it cannot, mean identity of function. In some things women excel men, in others men are better than women, while in very many things the difference in sex is of no effect at all. The differences are most apparent in family life. The capacity for motherhood has many far-reaching effects. For example, because of this, daughters receive preference in education over sons. Again, for physiological reasons, women are granted exemptions from fasting that are not applied to men.

145.6 It is apparent from the Guardian's writings that where Baha'u'llah has expressed a law as between a man and a woman it applies, mutatis mutandis,+F301 <p273> between a woman and a man unless the context should make this impossible. For example, the text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas forbids a man to marry his father's wife (i.e., his stepmother), and the Guardian has indicated that likewise a woman is forbidden to marry her stepfather. In the case you cite, however, that of a wife who is found by her husband not to have been a virgin, the dissolution of the marriage can be demanded only "If the marriage has been conditioned on virginity";+F302 presumably, therefore, if the wife wishes to exercise such a right in respect to the husband, she would have to include a condition as to his virginity in the marriage contract, and this would seem to be one of those matters on which the Universal House of Justice will have to legislate in due course.

[F302. KA Q47, pp. 151-52.]

[F301. A Latin term meaning "with due alteration of details".]

145.7 Although the Universal House of Justice has to apply and supplement the laws of the Aqdas, it has no right at all to change any law that Baha'u'llah has specifically revealed. As clearly stated by the Guardian, the provisions of the Kitab-i-Aqdas "remain inviolate" during the entire Dispensation. ...+F303

[F303. GPB, p. 213.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Memorandum on Establishing and Operating a Baha'i Publishing Trust

13 May 1974

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

Dear Baha'i friends,

146.1 The goal of the Five Year Plan to establish six new Publishing Trusts is by now known to you; these new publishing agencies are to be established in Australia, the Fiji Islands, Japan, Korea, the Philippines and Malaysia.

146.2 We have just sent to these six National Spiritual Assemblies the attached Memorandum on Establishing and Operating a Baha'i Publishing Trust, together with our Memorandum of 28 March 1971. We now enclose both these memoranda solely for your information. It is possible that some of the six National Spiritual Assemblies charged with this goal may apply to any one of you for information about the structure and operation of your own publishing agency and we feel sure you will answer any questions they may ask.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice <p274> Memorandum on Establishing and Operating a Baha'i Publishing Trust

May 1974

146.3 1. The name "Baha'i Publishing Trust" does not require the establishment of a Trust in the legal sense, and, in fact, more than one Baha'i publishing agency is not called a Trust.

146.4 2. By whatever name it is called the objective is to establish a publishing agency, under the complete control and direction of the National Spiritual Assembly.

146.5 3. The difference between a Baha'i Publishing Trust and any other Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly lies chiefly in the fact that the publishing agency does not operate on a budget from the National Spiritual Assembly but is established as a business with its own capital (whose sources are listed at 6 below), trading in the publishing and sale of Baha'i literature and allied items, and the results of this trading remain within its own financial structure. It is a business, owned by the National Spiritual Assembly, to carry out its publishing requirements.

146.6 4. While it may first be set up as a Committee the aim should be to form some association, legally established, by which the National Spiritual Assembly may act as a publisher. This may be achieved either through the National Spiritual Assembly's own incorporation or by the establishment of a separate legal entity with the National Spiritual Assembly having full control. But in any case legal advice must be sought.

146.7 5. The Company or Trust must be a non-profit-making organization, that is to say all proceeds from its transactions must be used for such things as paying salaries and other operational expenses, royalties and interests on loans and augmenting its own capital. It is not operated for individual profit.


146.8 6. Since the agency is to be operated solely for Baha'i purposes, capital funds may not be received from non-Baha'is, although of course the aim is to sell books to the largest possible public. Capital may be obtained from:

a) Grants from the National Spiritual Assembly

b) Gifts from individual Baha'is or from Spiritual Assemblies

c) Profit from trading


d) Loans from Baha'is or Baha'i institutions. Such loans may be interest free or interest bearing but for every loan there must be a written contract setting out the terms of the loan, its duration, condition of repayment and all details.

e) Taking over any publishing assets (stock, outstanding accounts, etc.) which your National Spiritual Assembly or one of your Committees may at present have.


146.9 7. Publishing is not the same as printing or manufacturing books. The publisher engages manufacturing firms to produce his books according to the publisher's design and specifications. The actual production and distribution of books need not be confined to the country in which the Publishing Trust operates. The printing and binding may be done anywhere it is deemed most feasible economically, and from the point of view of control, quality, economy and financial arrangements.

Publishing programme

146.10 8. Baha'i literature comprises in general the Sacred Text (works of Baha'u'llah, the Bab, 'Abdu'l-Baha); the Guardian's writings; letters and publications of the Universal House of Justice; introductory and explanatory works; historical works; teaching pamphlets and other teaching literature. The purpose of establishing Baha'i publishing agencies throughout the world is to make a wide range of such material available to everybody.

146.11 The specific programme you must devise will therefore take into consideration the following factors:

a) What are the prevailing languages in your area of jurisdiction.

b) Will other National Spiritual Assemblies be interested in your publications.

c) What are your immediate needs for teaching and study of the Faith.

d) What literature useful to you already exists.

e) Reviewing.


a) You will need to consider a programme of translation and we refer you to our Memorandum of 28 March 1971.+F304

[F304. See message no. 94.]


b) If the answer is yes, you will need to consult any such National Spiritual Assembly with a view to establishing priorities and enlisting their help in translating.

c) Together with b) and d) should enable you to establish a publishing programme by priority of need.

d) If you can, with reasonable ease, obtain needed literature from other Baha'i Publishing Trusts you should obviously do so and use your own resources for publishing items not available elsewhere. Your own publishing agency should buy such material at wholesale prices and re-sell it to Local Spiritual Assemblies and individuals.

e) Everything published must be approved; see our Memorandum of 28 March 1971

Financial Programme

146.12 9. An appeal may be made to all the believers under your jurisdiction, as well as to any National Spiritual Assemblies under 8 b) above, to support the new publishing agency. In addition to such an appeal a general invitation to the friends may be issued to take up loans, see 6 d) above.

146.13 Proper accounts must be kept and a Profit and Loss Account and a Balance Sheet drawn up and audited every year.

146.14 Pricing of publications. Two objectives have to be balanced against each other, namely, to make Baha'i literature available at as low a price as possible and to build up a sound business. Retail prices will have to cover

a) production costs

b) operating expenses (see 5)

c) discounts allowed

d) a small profit to repay loans and build up capital.

146.15 Postage on books. Cost of postage or freight may either be charged directly to the customer or included in the selling price.

146.16 If the National Spiritual Assembly wishes to sell a book at less than the commercial retail price, it should subsidize its Publishing Trust so that the Trust itself will incur no loss.


146.17 10. The Publishing Trust should be managed by a Committee, appointed by your National Spiritual Assembly and directly responsible to you. Ideally it should have in its membership one believer capable of acting as general <p277> manager and conducting the business of the Trust on behalf of the Committee. At the outset it may not be possible to make this a full-time position or to offer a salary to the manager, but this point should be borne in mind as the business of the Trust increases and its volume of sales justifies such an expense. Perhaps it may be possible to find some competent believer who, for the present, would make the management of the Publishing Trust his or her Baha'i service.

146.18 The above are not hard and fast rules but guidelines for consideration. The important thing is to tackle at once the problem of supplying literature to support the all- important work of teaching and study of the Cause. The Sacred Text, the Guardian's writings, expository and historical works are all essential to the propagation and promotion of the Faith.



Laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas not Binding in the West

9 June 1974

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Iceland

Dear Baha'i friends,

147.1 Thank you for your letter of 4 March 1974 enclosing the inquiry from the Baha'i Group of Isafjoerdur. It has become apparent from a number of questions we have received that many believers are not clear which are those laws already binding upon the Baha'is in the West. We therefore feel it is timely to clarify the situation, and the simplest way is to state those laws listed in the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas which are not at present binding upon the friends in the western world. For ease of reference we give the numbers of the sections listed.

147.2 IV.A.(4)(c) The law regarding the exemption from obligatory prayer granted to women in their courses.

147.3 IV.A.(10) The law concerning ablutions, with the exception of the ablutions required for the Medium Obligatory Prayer which are described in Section CLXXXII of Prayers and Meditations and are required for the recitation of that prayer.

147.4 IV.A.(12) The law concerning actions to be taken in place of an Obligatory Prayer missed on account of insecure conditions.

147.5 IV.B.(5)(a) The definition of travellers for the purpose of exemption from fasting. Instead of these definitions the believers in the West should observe the following guidance given by the beloved Guardian's <p278> secretary on his behalf: "travellers are exempt from fasting, but if they want to fast while they are travelling, they are free to do so. You are exempt the whole period of your travel, not just the hours you are in a train or car, etc. ..."+F305

[F305. LG, p. 234.]

147.6 IV.B.(5)(f) The law regarding the exemption from fasting granted to women in their courses.

147.7 IV.C.(1)(i) The laws governing betrothal.

147.8 IV.C.(1)(j) The law concerning the payment of a dowry by the groom to the bride on marriage.

147.9 IV.C.(1)(1) and (in) The laws concerning the travelling of a husband away from his wife.

147.10 IV.C.(1)(n) and (o) The laws relating to the virginity of the wife.

147.11 IV.C.(2)(b) That part of the divorce law relating to fines payable to the House of Justice.

147.12 IV.C.(3) The law of inheritance. This is normally covered by civil laws of intestacy at the present time.

147.13 IV.D.(1)(a) The law of pilgrimage.

147.14 IV.D.(1)(b) The law of Huququ'llah is not yet applied to the western friends.+F306

[F306. See message dated 6 August 1984 on the introduction of Huququ'llah to the West (no. 404), and message dated 4 July 1985 introducing a compilation on Huququ'llah (no. 430). For the compilation, see CC I:489-527.]

147.15 IV.D.(1)(d) The law of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is gradually being put into effect.

147.16 IV.D.(1)(f) The Baha'i Festivals are being celebrated by the western friends on their anniversaries in the Gregorian calendar until such time as the Universal House of Justice deems it desirable to pass supplementary legislation necessary for the full implementation of the Badi' calendar.

147.17 IV.D.(1)(j) The age of maturity applies only to Baha'i religious duties as yet.+F307 On other matters it is subject to the civil law of each country. The age of administrative maturity in the Baha'i community has, for the time being, been fixed at 21.

[F307. For more information on the responsibilities of youth at the age of maturity, see message no. 426.]


147.18 IV.D.(1)(k) For the burial of the dead the only requirements now binding in the West are to bury the body (not to cremate it), not to carry it more than a distance of one hour's journey from the place of death, and to say the Prayer for the Dead if the deceased is a believer over the age of 15.

147.19 IV.D.(1)(p) The law of tithes.

147.20 IV.D.(1)(q) The law concerning the repetition of the Greatest Name 95 times a day.

147.21 IV.D.(1)(r) The law concerning the hunting of animals.

147.22 IV.D.(1)(t), (u), (v) and (w) The laws relating to the finding of lost property, the disposition of treasure trove, the disposal of objects held in trust and compensation for manslaughter are all designed for a future state of society. These matters are usually covered by the civil law of each country.

147.23 IV.D.(1)(y) (xiv), (xv), (xvi) and (xvii) Arson, adultery, murder and theft are all forbidden to Baha'is, but the punishments prescribed for them in the Kitab-i-Aqdas are designed for a future state of society. Such matters are usually covered by the civil laws of each country.

147.24 IV.D.(1)(y) (xxv), (xxx), (xxxi) and (xxxii) The laws prohibiting the use of the type of pools which used to be found in Persian baths, the plunging of one's hand in food, the shaving of one's head and the growth of men's hair below the lobe of the car.

147.25 All the exhortations, listed in section IVD.(3), are applicable universally at the present time insofar as it is possible for the friends to implement them; for example, the exhortation to teach one's children to chant the Holy Verses in the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar can be literally carried out only on a limited scale at the present time, but the friends should, nevertheless, teach their children the Holy Writings as far as possible.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Revision of the Functions of Continental Pioneer Committees

22 July 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

148.1 In view of the ever-increasing number of pioneers and travelling teachers now arising from various countries to serve the Cause of God in widely scattered lands throughout all continents the Universal House of Justice has considered ways of deriving maximum benefit from the services of these devoted believers, co-ordinating their efforts and anticipating the needs of the future.

148.2 The Continental Boards of Counsellors will soon be approaching you about the need for pioneers and travelling teachers for the period ending Ridvan 1976.

148.3 The functions of the Continental Pioneer Committees have been reviewed and developed in a way that will enable them to operate in closer collaboration with the Continental Boards of Counsellors and the National Spiritual Assemblies of their areas. A copy of the statement outlining the functions of the Continental Pioneer Committees as now revised is attached for your information. As you will note, the members of these Committees will henceforth be appointed by the Universal House of Justice. Nothing in the functions now assigned to the Continental Pioneer Committees in any way detracts from the primary responsibility of National Spiritual Assemblies to foster and promote pioneering and travelling teaching.

148.4 It is our hope and prayer that as the Five Year Plan unfolds evidences of closer ties of co-operation among the various institutions of the Faith will be increasingly witnessed in every land.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



The Lesser Peace and "The Calamity"

29 July 1974

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

Dear Baha'i friends,

149.1 We have received your letter of 19 June 1974 describing the preoccupation of some American believers with the date of the Lesser Peace, and with their feeling that "the calamity," as a prelude to that peace, is imminent.

149.2 It is true that 'Abdu'l-Baha made statements linking the establishment of the unity of nations to the twentieth century. For example: "The fifth candle is the unity of nations -- a unity which, in this century, will be securely established, causing all the peoples of the world to regard themselves as citizens of one common fatherland."+F308 And, in The Promised Day is Come, following a similar statement quoted from Some Answered Questions, Shoghi Effendi makes this comment: "This is the stage which the world is now approaching, the stage of world unity, which, as 'Abdu'l-Baha assures us, will, in this century, be securely established."+F309

[F309. PDIC P298; see also SAQ, p. 65.]

[F308. SWAB, p. 32.]

149.3 There is also this statement from a letter written in 1946 to an individual believer on behalf of the beloved Guardian by his secretary: All we know is that the Lesser and the Most Great Peace will come -- their exact dates we do not know. The same is true as regards the possibility of a future war; we cannot state dogmatically it will or will not take place -- all we know is that mankind must suffer and be punished sufficiently to make it turn to God.

149.4 It is apparent that the disintegration of the old order is accelerating, but the friends should not permit this inevitable process to deter them from giving their undivided attention to the tasks lying immediately before them. Let them take heart from the reassuring words of Shoghi Effendi contained in the closing paragraphs of his momentous message of 5 June 1947, and concentrate on the challenging tasks of this hour.+F310

[F310. CF, pp. 37-38.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Passing of Laura Dreyfus-Barney, Compiler of Some Answered


22 August 1974

To the National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of France


[F311. Laura Clifford Dreyfus-Barney was born in the United States in 1879 into a family of scholars and artists. She learned about the Baha'i Faith from May Bolles Maxwell in Paris, circa 1900, during the Heroic Age of the Faith (1844-1921). Some Answered Questions, first published in London in 1908 and issued five times since by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United States, consists of 'Abdu'l-Baha's responses to questions put to Him at table by Miss Barney between 1904 and 1906. In 1911 she married the distinguished Hippolyte Dreyfus, the first French Baha'i. She died in Paris on 18 August 1974. For an account of her life and services, see BW 16:535-38.]




Comments on the Baha'i Attitude Toward Material Suffering

19 November 1974

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha'is of Italy

Dear Baha'i friends,

151.1 In your letter of 11 September you say that the questions of how to help the Third World or the poor who are suffering under calamities are much discussed in your community and you wish to know whether to create a special fund for such needs, to ask for special contributions from time to time, or whether there are other ways in which you could help.

151.2 It is understandable that Baha'is who witness the miserable conditions under which so many human beings have to live, or who hear of a sudden disaster that has struck a certain area of the world, are moved to do something practical to ameliorate those conditions and to help their suffering fellow-mortals.


151.3 There are many ways in which help can be rendered. Every Baha'i has the duty to acquire a trade or profession through which he will earn that wherewith he can support himself and his family; in the choice of such work he can seek those activities which are of benefit to his fellowmen and not merely those which promote his personal interests, still less those whose effects are actually harmful.

151.4 There are also the situations in which an individual Baha'i or a Spiritual Assembly is confronted with an urgent need which neither justice nor compassion could allow to go unheeded and unhelped. How many are the stories told of 'Abdu'l-Baha in such situations, when He would even take off a garment He was wearing and give it to a shivering man in rags.

151.5 But in our concern for such immediate obvious calls upon our succour we must not allow ourselves to forget the continuing, appalling burden of suffering under which millions of human beings are always groaning -- a burden which they have borne for century upon century and which it is the mission of Baha'u'llah to lift at last. The principal cause of this suffering, which one can witness wherever one turns, is the corruption of human morals and the prevalence of prejudice, suspicion, hatred, untrustworthiness, selfishness and tyranny among men. It is not merely material well- being that people need. What they desperately need is to know how to live their lives -- they need to know who they are, to what purpose they exist, and how they should act towards one another; and, once they know the answers to these questions they need to be helped to gradually apply these answers to everyday behaviour. It is to the solution of this basic problem of mankind that the greater part of all our energy and resources should be directed. There are mighty agencies in this world, governments, foundations, institutions of many kinds with tremendous financial resources which are working to improve the material lot of human beings. Anything we Baha'is could add to such resources in the way of special funds or contributions would be a negligible drop in the ocean. However, alone among men we have the divinely given remedy for the real ills of mankind; no one else is doing or can do this most important work, and if we divert our energy and our funds into fields in which others are already doing more than we can hope to do, we shall be delaying the diffusion of the Divine Message which is the most important task of all.

151.6 Because of such an attitude, and also because of our refusal to become involved in politics, Baha'is are often accused of holding aloof from the "real problems" of their fellowmen. But when we hear this accusation let us not forget that those who make it are usually idealistic materialists to whom material good is the only "real" good, whereas we know that the working of the material world is merely a reflection of spiritual conditions and until the spiritual conditions can be changed there can be no lasting change for the better in material affairs.


151.7 We should also remember that most people have no clear concept of the sort of world they wish to build, nor how to go about building it. Even those who are concerned to improve conditions are therefore reduced to combating every apparent evil that takes their attention. Willingness to fight against evils, whether in the form of conditions or embodied in evil men, has thus become for most people the touchstone by which they judge a person's moral worth. Baha'is, on the other hand, know the goal they are working towards and know what they must do, step by step, to attain it. Their whole energy is directed towards the building of the good, a good which has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils -- which are in essence negative -- will fade away and be no more. To enter into the quixotic tournament of demolishing one by one the evils in the world is, to a Baha'i, a vain waste of time and effort. His whole life is directed towards proclaiming the Message of Baha'u'llah, reviving the spiritual life of his fellowmen, uniting them in a divinely created World Order, and then, as the Order grows in strength and influence, he will see the power of that Message transforming the whole human society and progressively solving the problems and removing the injustices which have so long bedevilled the world.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Release of a Compilation on Opposition

26 November 1974

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

152.1 Five months before he passed away, the beloved Guardian in his cable to the Baha'i world, dated 4 June 1957, drew our attention to the fact that from both without and within the Faith evidences of "INCREASING HOSTILITY" and "PERSISTENT MACHINATIONS" were apparent, and that they foreshadowed the "DIRE CONTEST" predicted by 'Abdu'l-Baha, which was destined to "RANGE [the] ARMY [of] LIGHT [against the] FORCES [of] DARKNESS, BOTH SECULAR [and] RELIGIOUS."+F312

[F312. MBW, p. 123.]

152.2 The marvellous victories won in the name of Baha'u'llah, since those words were written; and the triumphs increasingly being achieved by His dedicated and ardent lovers in every land, will no doubt serve to rouse the internal and external enemies of the Faith to fresh attempts to attack the Faith and dampen <p285> the enthusiasm of its supporters, as evidenced by the book attacking Shoghi Effendi recently published in Germany by Hermann Zimmer, a Covenant-breaker, and the new book misrepresenting the Faith written by William Miller, a long-time enemy of the Faith who used to be a missionary in Persia.

152.3 We felt, therefore, that we could contribute to your devoted and incessant efforts to protect our precious Cause by placing in your hands a compilation from the Writings of Baha'u'llah, of 'Abdu'l-Baha and of Shoghi Effendi, clearly outlining the principle that the progressive unfoldment and onward march of the Faith of God are bound to raise up adversaries, indubitably foreshadowing the world-wide opposition which is to come, and unequivocally giving the assurance of ultimate victory. This compilation is far from complete and exhaustive, but provides a basis for the study of this all-important subject.+F313

[F313. See The CC II:137-50. For further information on the subject of opposition to the Faith, see the compilation prepared by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice in 1987 on crisis and victory in CC I:131-85.]

152.4 We leave it to your discretion, in consultation with a Hand or Hands of the Cause who may be available, as well as with the Counsellors, to decide in what manner, and how much of this material should be shared with the friends. In some areas it may be best for National Spiritual Assemblies to publish these extracts in Baha'i newsletters gradually, in others the circulation or even publication of the entire compilation, with other pertinent texts, if called for, may be desirable; in yet other areas it may be enough to draw the attention of the friends to this important subject, through courses and lectures based on these texts and given in conferences and summer schools.

152.5 We feel strongly that, whatever method is chosen to inform the friends, the time has come for them to clearly grasp the inevitability of the critical contests which lie ahead, give you their full, support in repelling with confidence and determination "the darts" which will be levelled against them by "their present enemies, as well as those whom Providence will, through His mysterious dispensations, raise up, from within or from without," and aid and enable the Faith of God to scale loftier heights, win more signal triumphs, and traverse more vital stages in its predestined course to complete victory and world-wide ascendancy.+F314

[F314. MBW, p. 39.]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Formation of Five New National Spiritual Assemblies during Ridvan 1975 and Readjustment of the Zones of African Continental Boards of Counsellors

6 January 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

153.1 We are glad to announce that preparations are being made for next Ridvan by the friends in several countries in West Africa and one in the Near East to form, in accordance with the provisions of the Five Year Plan, their new National Spiritual Assemblies. In Western Africa, the National Spiritual Assembly of Dahomey, Togo and Niger will divide into three separate national communities for each of the three countries which presently compose the region, with their seats in Cotonou Lome and Niamey respectively, while the National Spiritual Assemblies of West Africa and of Upper West Africa will each split into two units, the former into Liberia and Guinea, with its seat in Monrovia, and Sierra Leone, with its seat in Freetown, and the latter into the Gambia, with its seat in Banjul, and a new National Spiritual Assembly with the name of Upper West Africa comprising Senegal, Mauritania, Guinea-Bissau and the Cape Verde Islands, with its seat in Dakar. In the Near East the National Spiritual Assembly of Jordan will be formed, with its seat in 'Amman. These developments on the national level will result in a net increase next Ridvan of five National Spiritual Assemblies, but in view of the inability of the friends in Indonesia to maintain national administrative activities, the total number of National Spiritual Assemblies will thus be raised throughout the world to 119.

153.2 Of the five new National Spiritual Assemblies, four will have their seats in Western Africa. Three more National Spiritual Assemblies are scheduled to be formed in this area in the course of the Plan. The mighty potentialities for growth and expansion in the western regions of Africa are such as to justify a corresponding development of the institution of the Continental Boards of Counsellors in that vast and promising area. The decision has been taken, therefore, after consultation with the International Teaching Centre, to break the present zone of North-western Africa into two separate zones of Northern and Western Africa, to each of which will be transferred parts of the Central and East African zone. The zone of Northern Africa will comprise Egypt, Libya, Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco and Spanish Sahara. The zone of Western Africa will consist of Mauritania, Senegal, the Gambia, Guinea-Bissau, the Cape Verde Islands, Guinea, Mali, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Ivory Coast, Upper Volta Niger, Ghana, Togo, Dahomey, Nigeria, Chad, Cameroon, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, and Sao Tome and Principe.


153.3 Because of the creation of a new Board for Northern Africa, the Counsellors in this and the one for Western Africa must be regrouped, new appointments made to the Northern Board, and the number of Auxiliary Board members increased. We decided, therefore, that the Board for Northern Africa will consist of Mr Muhammad Kebdani, already serving as a Counsellor, Mr Muhammad Mustafa, and Mr 'Imad Sabiran. The Board for Western Africa will consist of Mr Husayn Ardikani (Trustee), Mr Friday Ekpe, Mr Zekrullah Kazemi, and Dr Mihdi Samandari (transferred from the Central and East African Board).



153.5 We are also increasing the number of Auxiliary Board members in Africa, adding 9 members to the Board for Protection, and 9 to that for Propagation, bringing the totals for that continent to 27 and 45 respectively, allocated according to the following schedule:

Auxiliary Board members for

Protection Propagation

Central and East Africa 13 19

Southern Africa 4 10

Northern Africa 5 5

Western Africa 5 11

27 45

153.6 We pray at the Holy Shrines that these decisions, which reflect the growth of our beloved Faith in Africa, will pave the way for speedier progress, wider expansion and greater consolidation, as the friends of that mighty continent forge ahead in their efforts to promote and protect the precious Cause of Baha'u'llah.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



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

9 January 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies


[F315. For information on the first group of Western pilgrims, see the entry on Pilgrimage in the Glossary. For an account of the significance of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, see message no. 157.]




Call for Pioneers

13 January 1975

To the Baha'is of the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

155.1 The striking progress made during the first eight months of the Five Year Plan and the urgent needs of the work as disclosed in a survey made by the International Teaching Centre impel us to raise anew the call for pioneers made at Ridvan, increasing the number from 557 to 933. The details of the allocations are now being sent to your National Spiritual Assemblies for immediate action.

155.2 The eager response of the friends to the initial call has already resulted in 279 pioneers settled or in process of becoming so. The remainder are urged to arise as quickly as possible before the confusion and chaos which are engulfing the old order disrupt transportation and communications and cause doors which are now open to be closed in our faces. It is our ardent hope that most, if not all, of the 933 posts will be filled by the midway point of the Five Year Plan, which coincides with the Anniversary of the Birth of the Bab, on 20 October 1976.+F316

[F316. See cable of 21 October 1976 (message no. 179) reporting that the majority of the pioneer goals had indeed been achieved by the midpoint of the Five Year Plan.]

155.3 We renew our plea to individual believers, as well as to National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, to give generous support to the International Deputization Fund, which will not only be an essential factor in the speedy settlement of this urgently needed army of pioneers, but will also stimulate and assist the flow of travelling teachers, whose labours will provide strong reinforcement to the work of the followers of Baha'u'llah in all parts of the world.

155.4 Our prayers for your guidance and confirmation are offered at the Sacred Threshold. May Baha'u'llah inspire those who arise and guide their feet in the path of His service.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Acquisition of Land Adjacent to the Guardian's Resting-Place in London

4 February 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies




The Significance of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha

4 March 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

157.1 Immediately after sending the cable announcing the joyful news of the acquisition of this property [the house of 'Abdu'llah Pasha], the Universal House of Justice had the enclosed article prepared at the World Centre, and it is sent for you to disseminate as you see fit.+F317

[F317. For the announcement of the acquisition of the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, see message dated 9 January 1975 (no. 154).]

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat


The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha

157.2 Some of the most poignant, dramatic and historically significant events of the Heroic Age of our Faith are associated with this house, which derives its name from the Governor of 'Akka who built it and used it as his official residence during his term of Office, from 1820 to 1832. It stands just inside the north-western corner of the sea wall of 'Akka in the close neighbourhood of the citadel where Baha'u'llah was confined. The main building is L-shaped, facing south and cast on its outer prospects. The structure, though chiefly on two stories, is irregular and on the inside angle has balconies, uncovered stairways, a bathhouse and a well. The entire property comprises large courtyards and is bounded on the west, or seaward, side by a wall, which turns due east at its southern angle and continues towards the heart of 'Akka, forming after <p291> a few yards, the wall of a narrow street; at the eastern terminus of this wall, and within the property, is an imposing house which was occupied by that Governor of 'Akka whose incumbency coincided with 'Abdu'l-Baha's residence in the main building, and whose northern windows permitted him to maintain a constant surveillance of 'Abdu'l-Baha's activities. Beyond this house is a small mosque. The eastern boundary of the property is a row of houses giving directly, on its western aspect, to the courtyard and offering many additional vantage points for observing the Master. A similar row of houses extends from the north-eastern corner along the northern boundary until they terminate at the longitudinal wing of the main building which, at this point, projects northwards into several conjoined buildings, making a large irregular outcrop on the northern boundary. The western end of the northern boundary is a short stretch of wall completing the enclosure at the north-western corner of the west wall. Large stables, coach houses and storerooms line the southern boundary.

157.3 In this house, fifty lunar years after the Bab's martyrdom, in January, 1899, the casket containing His sacred and precious remains was received by 'Abdu'l-Baha, Who successfully concealed it until it was possible to inter it, with all honours, in its permanent resting-place in the bosom of Carmel.+F318 In this house 'Abdu'l-Baha was confined during the period of His renewed incarceration.+F319 Shoghi Effendi, in God Passes By, testifies to the conditions of His life at that time:

[F319. In August 1901 the restrictions on 'Abdu'l-Baha that had gradually been relaxed were reimposed so that He was incarcerated in 'Akka until September 1908.]

[F318. 'Abdu'l-Baha interred the remains of the Bab on Mount Carmel on 21 March 1909. For an account of this event, see GPB, p. 276.]

157.3a Even His numerous friends and admirers refrained, during the most turbulent days of this period, from calling upon Him, for fear of being implicated and of incurring the suspicion of the authorities. On certain days and nights, when the outlook was at its darkest, the house in which He was living, and which had for many years been a focus of activity, was completely deserted. Spies, secretly and openly, kept watch around it, observing His every movement and restricting the freedom of His family.+F320

[F320. GPB, p. 267.]

157.3b Yet during these troublous times, and from this house, He directed the construction of the Bab's sepulchre on Mount Carmel, erected under its shadow His own house in Haifa and later the Pilgrim House,+F321 issued instructions for the restoration of the Bab's holy House in Shiraz and for the erection of the <p292> first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the world in the city of 'Ishqabad.+F322 Again the Guardian is our reference for the Master's ceaseless activity at that time:

[F322. For the announcement of the demolition of the House of Worship in 'Ishqabad, see letter dated 25 August 1963 (message no. 4).]

[F321. 'Abdu'l-Baha's house is located at 7 Haparsim Street in Haifa. The Western Pilgrim House, later the seat of the Universal House of Justice and later still the seat of the International Teaching Centre, is located across the street at 10 Haparsim Street.]

157.3c Eyewitnesses have testified that, during that agitated and perilous period of His life, they had known Him to pen, with His own hand, no less than ninety Tablets in a single day, and to pass many a night, from dusk to dawn, alone in His bedchamber engaged in a correspondence which the pressure of His manifold responsibilities had prevented Him from attending to in the daytime.+F323

[F323. GPB, p. 267.]

157.4 It was in this house that His celebrated table talks were given and compiled, to be published later under the title Some Answered Questions.+F324 In this house and in the darkest hours of a period which the beloved Guardian describes as "the most dramatic period of His ministry," "in the heyday of His life and in the full tide of His power" He penned the first part of His Will and Testament, which delineates the features and lays the foundations of the Administrative Order to arise after His passing.+F325 In this house He revealed the highly significant Tablet addressed to the Bab's cousin and chief builder of the 'Ishqabad Temple, a Tablet whose import can be appreciated and grasped only as future events unfold before our eyes, and in which, as testified by Shoghi Effendi, 'Abdu'l-Baha "in stirring terms proclaimed the immeasurable greatness of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, sounded the warnings foreshadowing the turmoil which its enemies, both far and near, would let loose upon the world, and prophesied, in moving language, the ascendancy which the torch-bearers of the Covenant would ultimately achieve over them."+F326

[F326. GPB, p. 268.]

[F325. GPB, pp. 267-68.]

[F324. 'Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, collected and trans. Laura Clifford Barney (Wilmette, Ill.: Baha'i Publishing Trust, 1984). The book was first published in London in 1908 by Keegan, Paul, Trench, Truebner & Co.]

157.5 During the twelve years of His residence in this house, 'Abdu'l-Baha demonstrated the true nobility of His divine nature; overcame hatred with love; pursued without rest, against ever-mounting opposition, the direction of His Father's Cause; maintained in the face of fanaticism, jealousy and bitterness His unceasing care of the poor and sick; and overcame, with unruffled equanimity, the severest crisis of His life. The Guardian's words testify to these things:

157.5a At His table, in those days, whenever there was a lull in the storm raging about Him, there would gather pilgrims, friends and inquirers from most of the aforementioned countries [Persia, the United States, Canada, <p293> France, England, Germany, Egypt, 'Iraq, Russia, India, Burma, Japan, and the Pacific Islands], representative of the Christian, the Muslim, the Jewish, the Zoroastrian, the Hindu and Buddhist Faiths. To the needy thronging His doors and filling the courtyard of His house every Friday morning, in spite of the perils that environed Him, He would distribute alms with His own hands, with a regularity and generosity that won Him the title of "Father of the Poor." Nothing in those tempestuous days could shake His confidence, nothing would be allowed to interfere with His ministrations to the destitute, the orphan, the sick, and the downtrodden, nothing could prevent Him from calling in person upon those who were either incapacitated, or ashamed to solicit His aid. ...

157.5b So imperturbable was 'Abdu'l-Baha's equanimity that, while rumours were being bruited about that He might be cast into the sea, or exiled to Fizan in Tripolitania, or hanged on the gallows, He, to the amazement of His friends and the amusement of His enemies, was to be seen planting trees and vines in the garden of His house, whose fruits when the storm had blown over, He would bid His faithful gardener, Isma'il Aqa, pluck and present to those same friends and enemies on the occasion of their visits to Him.+F327

[F327. GPB, p. 269.]

157.6 In this house was born the child ordained to hold the destiny of the Faith in his hands for thirty-six years and to become its "beloved Guardian," the child named "Shoghi" by his Grandfather, who grew up under His loving and solicitous care and became the recipient of His Tablets.

157.7 When Baha'u'llah ascended, in 1892, the Mansion at Bahji remained in the occupancy of the arch-breaker of the Covenant, the Master's half-brother Muhammad-'Ali, and members of that branch of Baha'u'llah's family. 'Abdu'l-Baha and the members of His family, including His illustrious sister the Greatest Holy Leaf, remained in the House of 'Abbud, which continued to be 'Abdu'l-Baha's official residence.+F328 In the course of the fifth year after Baha'u'llah's passing, the marriage of 'Abdu'l-Baha's two eldest daughters took place, and it quickly became apparent that the portion of the House of 'Abbud available for occupation was woefully inadequate to the enlarged family. With characteristic vigour 'Abdu'l-Baha took action and in the months preceding the birth of Shoghi Effendi arranged to rent the main building, and subsequently the <p294> subsidiary wings, of 'Abdu'llah Pasha's house, and He established it as His official residence. Thus it came about that, in 1897, Shoghi Effendi was born in the same house (in an upper room of the wing facing south) that witnessed events of such vital importance to the Faith and the future of mankind.

[F328. The building now known as the House of 'Abbud comprises two houses: the House of 'Udi-Khammar, in which the Holy Family was confined initially, and the House of 'Abbud itself, which they were later able to rent and to join to the former. The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha is some distance away on the same street, which follows the wall of the city of 'Akka next to the sea.]

157.8 The Guardian's childhood and upbringing in that house are referred to by Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum in The Priceless Pearl:

157.8a It may sound disrespectful to say the Guardian was a mischievous child, but he himself told me he was the acknowledged ringleader of all the other children. Bubbling with high spirits, enthusiasm and daring, full of laughter and wit, the small boy led the way in many pranks; whenever something was afoot, behind it would be found Shoghi Effendi! This boundless energy was often a source of anxiety as he would rush madly up and down the long flight of high steps to the upper story of the house, to the consternation of the pilgrims below, waiting to meet the Master. His exuberance was irrepressible and was in the child the same force that was to make the man such an untiring and unflinching commander-in-chief of the forces of Baha'u'llah, leading them to victory after victory, indeed, to the spiritual conquest of the entire globe. We have a very reliable witness to this characteristic of the Guardian, 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself, Who wrote on a used envelope a short sentence to please His little grandson: "Shoghi Effendi is a wise man -- but he runs about very much!"

157.8b In those days of Shoghi Effendi's childhood it was the custom to rise about dawn and spend the first hour of the day in the Master's room, where prayers were said and the family all had breakfast with Him. The children sat on the floor, their legs folded under them, their arms folded across their breasts, in great respect; when asked they would chant for 'Abdu'l-Baha; there was no shouting or unseemly conduct. Breakfast consisted of tea, brewed on the bubbling Russian brass samovar and served in little crystal glasses, very hot and very sweet, pure wheat bread and goats' milk cheese. ...+F329

[F329. PP, pp. 7-8.]

157.9 It was to this house that that historic first group of pilgrims from the West came to see the Master in the winter of 1898-99, and in which many more from both East and West sought His presence.+F330 Some of them have left memorable descriptions of their experiences with 'Abdu'l-Baha and His household in that home. Ella Goodall Cooper, one of the very earliest American believers, records the following:

[F330. For information on the first group of Western pilgrims, see the entry on Pilgrimage in the Glossary.]


157.9a One day I had joined the ladies of the Family in the room of the Greatest Holy Leaf for early morning tea, the beloved Master was sitting in His favourite corner of the divan where, through the window on His right, He could took over the ramparts and see the blue Mediterranean beyond. He was busy writing Tablets, and the quiet peace of the room was broken only by the bubble of the samovar, where one of the young maidservants, sitting on the floor before it, was brewing the tea.+F331

[F331. Quoted in PP, p. 5.]

157.10 Thornton Chase, the first American believer, records in his memoir, In Galilee:

157.10a We did not know we had reached our destination until we saw a Persian gentleman, and then another and another, step out at the entrance and smile at us. We alighted and they conducted us through the arched, red brick entrance to an open court, across it to a long flight of stone steps, broken and ancient, leading to the highest story and into a small walled court open to the sky, where was the upper chamber assigned to us, which adjoined the room of 'Abdu'l-Baha. The buildings are all of stone, whitewashed and plastered, and it bears the aspect of a prison.

157.10b Our windows looked out over the garden and tent of 'Abdu'l-Baha on the sea side of the house. That garden is bounded on one side by the house of the Governor, which overlooks it, and on another by the inner wall of fortification. A few feet beyond that is the outer wall upon the sea, and between these two are the guns and soldiers constantly on guard. A sentry house stands at one corner of the wall and garden, from which the sentry can see the grounds and the tent where 'Abdu'l-Baha meets transient visitors and the officials who often call on him. Thus all his acts outside of the house itself are visible to the Governor from his windows and to the men on guard. Perhaps that is one reason why the officials so often become his friends. No one, with humanity, justice, or mercy in his heart, could watch 'Abdu'l-Baha long without admiring and loving him for the beautiful qualities constantly displayed.+F332

[F332. See Thornton Chase, "In Galilee," in Thornton Chase and Arthur S. Agnew, In Galilee and in Wonderland, (Los Angeles: Kalimat Press, 1985), pp. 22-24.]

157.11 Mary Hanford Ford published an account of her pilgrimage to this house in Star of the West, vol. XXIV:

157.11a The little room in which I stayed and in which the significant conversations with 'Abdu'l-Baha took place, was of the simplest description. The floor was covered with matting, the narrow iron bed and the iron <p296> wash stand with larger and smaller holes for bowl and pitcher were of that vermin proof description with which I had become familiar. Everything was scrupulously clean, and there was an abundant supply of sparkling water for bathing and drinking. A wide window looked over the huge town wall upon the blue Mediterranean and before this stretched a divan upon which 'Abdu'l-Baha sat when He came to see me.+F333

[F333. Mary Hanford Ford, "An Interview With 'Abdu'l-Baha", Star of the West, XXIV:4 (July 1933), p. 105.]

157.12 The palpable victory which 'Abdu'l-Baha had wrested from the persecution, intrigue, hatred, vilification even, directed against Him during His twelve years in the House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha, was signally apparent when, upon His release from incarceration in 1908, He moved to His new residence in Haifa. At that time the future Guardian was a boy of eleven, but his appointment, although a carefully guarded secret, had already been made by 'Abdu'l-Baha in the part of His Will and Testament revealed in that house.+F334

[F334. See WT, Part I, pp. 3-15.]

157.13 As we contemplate the extraordinary focusing of powerful forces and events upon this house, we eagerly anticipate the day when it will be restored and made ready for pilgrims, who may inhale from its atmosphere, its grounds and sacred walls, the fragrances of a glorious past.+F335

[F335. The House of 'Abdu'llah Pasha was restored under the direction of the Hand of the Cause of God Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and opened to pilgrims in 1983. For the announcement of the appointment of the architect to help restore the House, see message dated 14 October 1977 (no. 198).]


158 A Plan for International Collaboration in Travelling Teaching

25 March 1975 To all National Spiritual Assemblies Dear Baha'i friends,

158.1 As we approach the threshold of the second year of the Five Year Plan, it is evident that the need for travelling teachers as indicated in the message launching that Plan is acquiring greater urgency and importance.

158.2 During the past year steps have been taken to revise the functions, broaden the base and strengthen the work of the Continental Pioneer Committees and to bring them into much closer collaboration with the Continental Boards of <p297> Counsellors. Already, with their assistance an army of pioneers has moved and is moving towards its objectives, and a general readiness has been evinced by the friends, particularly the youth, to serve as itinerant teachers.

158.3 The strenuous efforts being made to fill the pioneer goals by the midway point of the Plan must now be paralleled by well-considered and determined efforts to swell to a mighty river the stream of those friends who will travel to foreign lands to reinforce the efforts of those who are labouring so valiantly to expand and consolidate the widely scattered Baha'i communities and to proclaim the Message of Baha'u'llah to every stratum of society.

158.4 At our request the International Teaching Centre has evolved a plan, which we have warmly approved, comprising specific goals of international collaboration in the field of travelling teaching. This plan is now being sent to the Continental Boards of Counsellors who will, in turn, present it to the National Spiritual Assemblies, whose task it will be to implement it. In consultation with the Counsellors each National Spiritual Assembly is to work out specific proposals which it should then present to the other National Assemblies with whom it is to collaborate, so that, as soon as possible, actual projects can be worked out and set in motion, thus inaugurating a process which should rapidly gather momentum and be prosecuted with undiminished vigour in the years ahead.

158.5 The Continental Pioneer Committees should be kept closely informed of all projects so that they may know how best to reinforce the flow with those many volunteers who will undoubtedly arise outside the framework of the specific projects now to be conceived. It is our hope that, as far as possible, travel teaching projects will be self-supporting or can be assisted by the National Funds involved, but where necessary, the International Deputization Fund is available to assist. Whenever assistance from the Deputization Fund is required, the request should be made to the Continental Pioneer Committee, giving details of the project. If the sum required is small the Committee may be able to help immediately; otherwise it will pass the request, together with its recommendation, to the Universal House of Justice for consideration.

158.6 We sincerely hope that in the forefront of the volunteers, the Baha'i youth will arise for the sake of God and, through their driving force, their ability to endure inhospitable and arduous conditions, and their contentment with the bare necessities of life, they will offer an inspiring example to the peoples and communities they set out to serve, will exert an abiding influence on their personal lives, and will promote with distinction the vital interests of God's Cause at this crucial stage in the fortunes of the Plan.

158.7 We shall offer our ardent prayers at the Holy Shrines for the confirmation of the efforts of all those who will heroically respond to this call.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Ridvan Message 1975

4 April 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies


[F337. For further information on the significance of the seat of the Universal House of Justice, see message dated 5 June 1975 (no. 164); on the announcement of the decision to build, see message dated 7 June 1972 (no. 115); on the appointment of the architect, see message dated 17 September 1973 (no. 136); on the acceptance of the design, see message dated 7 February 1974 (no. 140); on the excavation of the site, see message dated 17 June 1975 (no. 165); and on the occupation of the seat, see message dated 2 February 1983 (no. 354).]

[F336. See message dated 9 January 1975 about the acquisition of the house of 'Abdu'llah Pasha (no. 154). For the announcement of the completion of the restoration of the upper floor of the house and its opening to visitors, see message dated Ridvan BE 140 (no. 358). For the announcement of the completion of restoration and opening to visitors of the southern wing of the house, see message dated Ridvan 1986 (no. 456).]




Fiftieth Anniversary of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States

24 April 1975

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




Safeguarding the Letters of Shoghi Effendi

14 May 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i' friends,

161.1 In December 1967 the Universal House of Justice wrote to all National Spiritual Assemblies expressing the need of the World Centre for letters written by the Guardian to them, or to their subsidiary institutions, as well as to the friends under their jurisdiction.+F338

[F338. For the December 1967 letter, see message no. 54. See also the 26 August 1984 letter (no. 409), in which the need is reiterated.]

161.2 The response to this request was encouraging, but it is obvious that there are many letters which have not yet been received.

161.3 The Universal House of Justice requests you, therefore, to check again in your archives or files of correspondence with the Guardian for any further letters which have not yet been forwarded to the World Centre and to appeal to the believers under your jurisdiction, calling upon those who were privileged to have received letters from the Guardian to send the text of such letters to the World Centre.


161.4 To assist your National Spiritual Assembly and the friends to carry out this urgent project the following points from the letter of December 1967 from the Universal House of Justice are here repeated for your consideration.

1. Recipients of letters from the Guardian have the inherent right of deciding to keep the letters themselves, or to have them preserved for the future in their families. To assist the Universal House of Justice, however, in its efforts to study and compile the letters of the Guardian, the friends are urged to provide, for dispatch to the Holy Land, photostatic copies of their communications from the Guardian if they wish to keep the originals themselves.

2. If they are not in a position to provide such copies, they should kindly allow National Spiritual Assemblies to undertake this project on our behalf.

3. Should any believer possess letters so personal and confidential that he does not wish to disclose their contents to any institution other than the Universal House of Justice, he is invited to send either the originals or copies of such letters, marked confidential, directly to the Universal House of Justice, by registered mail, with any instructions he wishes to be followed.

161.5 Will you please give this matter your early attention. The Universal House of Justice thanks you warmly for your assistance.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat



Comments on the Progress of the Five Year Plan

25 May 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

162.1 A fifth of the span allotted to the Five Year Plan has run its course and we have passed a major milestone in the destinies of that Plan. It is appropriate for every National Spiritual Assembly to pause in order to appraise its position, and that of the community which it represents and serves, and to determine its progress in relation to the goals with which it stands identified.

162.2 To help each National Spiritual Assembly in this appraisal we send you the following statement which, under various headings, outlines the impressions we have gathered and comments we are prompted to make on the prosecution of certain goals of the Plan. Although some of the items may not be <p301> directly applicable to you, you may find them of interest. Each National Spiritual Assembly should determine, in the light of the goals assigned to it, to what extent each of our observations is applicable to its work.

Teaching -- Expansion and Consolidation

162.3 Teaching the Faith embraces many diverse activities, all of which are vital to success, and each of which reinforces the other. Time and again the beloved Guardian emphasized that expansion and consolidation are twin and inseparable aspects of teaching that must proceed simultaneously, yet one still hears believers discussing the virtues of one as against the other. The purpose of teaching is not complete when a person declares that he has accepted Baha'u'llah as the Manifestation of God for this age; the purpose of teaching is to attract human beings to the divine Message and so imbue them with its spirit that they will dedicate themselves to its service, and this world will become another world and its people another people. Viewed in this light a declaration of faith is merely a milestone along the way -- albeit a very important one. Teaching may also be likened to kindling a fire, the fire of faith, in the hearts of men. If a fire burns only so long as the match is held to it, it cannot truly be said to have been kindled; to be kindled it must continue to burn of its own accord. Thereafter more fuel can be added and the flame can be fanned, but even if left alone for a period, a truly kindled fire will not be extinguished by the first breath of wind.

162.4 The aim, therefore, of all Baha'i institutions and Baha'i teachers is to advance continually to new areas and strata of society, with such thoroughness that, as the spark of faith kindles the hearts of the hearers, the teaching of the believers continues until, and even after, they shoulder their responsibilities as Baha'is and participate in both the teaching and administrative work of the Faith.

162.5 There are now many areas in the world where thousands of people have accepted the Faith so quickly that it has been beyond the capacity of the existing Baha'i communities to consolidate adequately these advances. The people in these areas must be progressively deepened in their understanding of the Faith, in accordance with well-laid plans, so that their communities may, as soon as possible, become sources of great strength to the work of the Faith and begin to manifest the pattern of Baha'i life.

Reaching Remote Areas -- an Immediate Challenge

162.6 At the same time there is a challenge of great urgency facing the world-wide Baha'i community. When launching the Ten Year Crusade, Shoghi Effendi urged the believers to "carry the torch of the Faith to regions so remote, so backward, so inhospitable that neither the light of Christianity or Islam has, after the revolution of centuries, as yet penetrated."+F339 A number of <p302> such regions still exist in places like New Guinea, the heart of Africa and the Amazon Basin in South America. As the influence of civilization spreads, the age-old ways of life of the inhabitants of these regions will inevitably perish, and they will rapidly be infected with the materialistic ideas of a decadent civilization. It is our pressing duty to carry the Message of Baha'u'llah to such people while they are still pure-hearted and receptive, and through it to prepare them for the changed world which will come upon them.

[F339. CF, p. 114.]

Teaching Tribal Peoples and Minorities

162.7 In addition to the tribes in these remote regions of the world, there are tribes and minorities who still live in their traditional ways in the midst of other cultures. All too often such peoples are despised and ignored by the nations among whom they dwell, but we should seek them out, teach them the Cause of God, and enrich through their membership the Baha'i communities of the lands in which they live. So important is this goal that each National Spiritual Assembly should study the requirements for teaching each of the different tribes and groups within its area, appoint a committee for this purpose -- even a special committee for each tribe or minority where this is feasible and desirable -- and launch a series of well-conceived, far-reaching campaigns to bring about the enrolment of these peoples within the Cause of Baha'u'llah, and the establishment among them of the Baha'i Administrative Order.


162.8 Great challenges and opportunities for teaching often occur far from large well- established Baha'i communities; this is especially true in respect of many of the tribal peoples. Pioneering and travel teaching are therefore of the greatest importance for the accomplishment of teaching plans. It is not always difficult to see what the ideal solution for any particular teaching problem may be; however, ideal solutions are seldom available, and the Assemblies which achieve the most outstanding results are those which have developed the skill of using to their best advantage whatever means they have at their command and whatever assistance can be given to them. Pioneers, for example, all have different capacities, different skills, different problems and different responsibilities. A National Assembly may see that its most urgent need is for a financially independent married couple who can live in a remote village area to conduct regular classes for the believers there; but what it actually receives are two single middle-aged ladies who need to work to support themselves and can only get jobs in one of the large towns. Instead of despairing, a resourceful Assembly will immediately see whether the presence of either or both of these ladies in such a town would enable one or more native believers to pioneer to the village area. Even if this does not work out, it will nevertheless do all it can to assist the two pioneers to settle down and will make the utmost <p303> use of whatever services they can render, services which may well, in the long run, be of inestimable benefit to that national community.

162.9 There are several ways of pioneering, and all are entirely valid and are of great help to the teaching work. There is, first of all, the pioneer who goes to a particular country, devotes the remainder of his life to the service of the Faith in that land and finally lays his bones to rest in its soil. Secondly, there is the pioneer who goes to a post, serves valiantly there until the native Baha'i community is strongly established, and then moves on to new fields of service. Thirdly, there are those, for example youth between the completion of their schooling and the starting of their chosen profession, who go pioneering for a specific limited period.

162.10 Ideally, of course, a pioneer should be, or become as soon as possible, financially independent of the Fund in his chosen post, not only to husband the financial resources of the Faith but because it is a Baha'i principle that everyone should work and support himself and his family whenever possible, and there is no such profession as pioneer or teacher in the Baha'i Faith as there are professional missionaries and clergymen in other religions. Nevertheless it must be recognized that in some posts where pioneers are desperately needed there is no possibility for them to get work. Either there is no work available in the area or else the pioneer is refused a work permit because he is a foreigner. In such cases it is essential for the Assemblies to provide financial assistance to support the pioneer for as long as is necessary.

162.11 There are a number of methods of financing pioneers in areas where work is unobtainable. Believers can be found who have independent means and are willing to pioneer to the area and live on whatever income they have, however slender. There are those who, in accordance with Baha'u'llah's injunction, have been deputized by friends who are unable to go themselves. Believers may be found who are willing to go to such an area for a specific period supported by the meagre budget that the Fund can afford, with the clear understanding that at the end of that period they will return from the pioneer post and become self-supporting again; in such a way an area can be serviced with a succession of pioneers. Then there are those believers who are willing to serve in a remote and inhospitable area, but whose age or situation makes it clear from the outset that they will not be able to become self-supporting again; when the need is great and cannot be met in any other way, an Assembly would be fully justified in supporting them, but it should realize from the outset the extent of the responsibility it is incurring for an indefinite period into the future.

162.12 Naturally these ways of financing pioneering are not mutually exclusive. A person, for example, can be partially self-supporting and assisted to only a limited degree; or a pioneer may go to an area with the intention of finding work but is unable to do so and the Assembly repeatedly extends the period <p304> of financial support until the time comes when he is no longer able to become self- supporting anywhere. In such a case the Assembly needs to watch the process very carefully so that, on the one hand, it does not incur a permanent responsibility it had not intended, and on the other, does not commit the injustice of terminating the Financial support extended to a pioneer at a time when he has become unemployable, and is unable to obtain any other means of support.

Travelling Teaching

162.13 While pioneers provide a very valuable long-term reinforcement of a community and are often the only feasible means for opening new areas -- and here we are speaking not only of pioneers from foreign lands but of home-front pioneers as well, the use of whom must be greatly developed in most countries -- a second vital reinforcement of the work is provided by travelling teachers. As mentioned in the message sent to all believers at Ridvan, a new international travel teaching programme is now being launched. National Assemblies and their committees, therefore, need to develop a threefold integrated programme for travel teaching. Firstly, there should be within each national community regular circuits of local travelling teachers, that is to say of believers who are members of that national community, whether native or pioneers, who are able and willing to devote time to this activity. Secondly, and integrated within these circuits, provision should be made for planned visits of travelling teachers from abroad. Thirdly, each National Assembly should establish an agency and a procedure for taking advantage of the unheralded arrival of visitors from abroad, or of sudden offers from believers on the home-front, who would be able to give valuable help in the fields of travel teaching or proclamation if properly organized. Such an agency would, of course, be responsible for evaluating the capacity of those who offer services because while an unexpected offer can often provide a very valuable teaching opportunity, it is also true to say that some Baha'i communities have been exhausted and their work hindered by the arrival of a succession of travelling Baha'is who were not really suited, for lack of a language or for other reasons, to assist with teaching in the area concerned. Friends who travel spontaneously in this way can do valuable teaching themselves but should not expect the assistance of local administrative institutions if they have not arranged the trip in advance.

Correspondence Courses

162.14 Only a few National Spiritual Assemblies have been given the specific goal of developing and conducting correspondence courses; however, those National Assemblies who have the goal of training selected believers to assist in consolidating local communities would find it worthwhile to consider how the use of correspondence courses could help in the fulfilment of this goal. For example, once the selection of trainees has been made, the first stage in <p305> their training could well be a correspondence deepening course which would ascertain the degree of interest and capacity of each trainee and also prepare him to attend a series of lectures or classes which would follow as a second stage. The entire training process could consist of several stages interspersed in this way. This combination of two methods has the advantage of helping the Assembly to ascertain at the outset which trainees have the capacity and desire to continue with the course, thus leading to a better selection and helping to ensure that the costs of holding classes and bringing trainees to them are incurred only in respect of those whose interest and capacity have been established.

162.15 Economy can be exercised by holding the deepening classes in smaller gatherings by grouping several neighbouring local communities together and sending one or more teachers to the area. This might prove more economical than inviting the selected trainees to, say, the capital, and having to accommodate and feed them during the period of the course.

Teaching Conferences

162.16 Teaching conferences can have a great value for the advance of the Faith. Their aim is to strengthen the bonds of unity and fellowship among the friends, to increase their involvement in the teaching work and their interest in its progress, and to serve as magnets to attract divine confirmations. They are also rallying points for the believers, evidences of the vitality of their love for Baha'u'llah, and potent instruments for generating enthusiasm and spiritual drive for advancing the interests of the Faith.

162.17 Certain National Spiritual Assemblies, which are not among the majority who are already doing so, have been assigned the goal of holding at least one National Teaching Conference during each year. The purpose of this is to provide a national event of major importance in addition to the annual National Convention to stimulate the interest and reorientate the efforts of the friends, focusing their attention upon the current urgent needs of the Plan. These National Teaching Conferences should, therefore, be held some months away from Ridvan, or they will lose a great part of the intended effect.

162.18 As the eight International Conferences will soon be upon us, it is important for National Assemblies to decide as soon as possible, in consultation with the Counsellors, whether it would be feasible and helpful to hold a national conference soon after, or possibly immediately before, the International Conference nearest to their area. The sooner this study is made and decisions taken and announced, the greater will be the participation of the friends, locally and from abroad.


162.19 Although during the past year a marked improvement has been noticed in certain countries in the standard and regularity of the Baha'i newsletters, the development of this organ of Baha'i communication still needs great attention <p306> in most national communities. A special committee should be appointed, on which members of the National Spiritual Assembly could well serve, with the task of making the national newsletter a powerful instrument of direct and regular contact with the friends, which will disseminate news among them, stimulate and maintain their interest in the growth of the Faith in the world and throughout the area of national jurisdiction, share with them the National Spiritual Assembly's plans, hopes and aspirations, convey to them its comments on Baha'i developments of special significance, and cause the believers to anticipate the future with feelings of excitement and confidence. The doors of communication between the friends, the Local Spiritual Assemblies and the National Spiritual Assembly should always be open. The one means which will contribute most to the promotion of this open-door policy is the regular issue of an interesting and heart- warming newsletter. In certain countries, we are glad to see, there are in addition to the national newsletter, news bulletins issued on regional or district levels. The importance of these secondary organs of Baha'i communication acquires added weight in areas where differences of language make the issue of bulletins in a local language of each area highly desirable, if not essential.


162.20 When each National Spiritual Assembly carefully compares the demands of the waiting public and the needs of the believers for Baha'i literature with the current supply, it will realize how urgent is the need for it to multiply its efforts to ensure that a comprehensive range of our literature is made constantly available. The basic literature of the Faith must be translated into languages that are most suitable and in demand for the spread and development of the Faith in accordance with the goals of the Plan. In each national area the agencies for obtaining and disseminating Baha'i literature should be greatly strengthened so that they will efficiently ensure an uninterrupted supply of the literature which is available from the various Publishing Trusts and organize its distribution throughout the area, through Local Assemblies and groups, by sale at conferences and summer schools, and directly to individuals. At the same time these agencies should ensure that the monies received from the sale of literature are kept separate from other funds of the Faith and are used for the replenishment of stocks of books and the widening of the range of literature available. National Assemblies must also give consideration to the need to cover the cost of certain literature out of the National Fund, so that it can be supplied free or sold at a price within the reach of those who urgently require it.

Radio and Television

162.21 A compilation has recently been made from the letters written on behalf of the Guardian and a copy is attached for your information. This brief compilation <p307> shows the importance that Shoghi Effendi attached to the use of radio as a means of teaching and proclaiming the Faith in countries where such activity is possible.

162.22 The Universal House of Justice has initiated a pilot project in Ecuador for the purchase and operation of a Baha'i radio station, and at the present time this is the only one for which sufficient funds are available.+F340 However, the actual owning of a radio station is not the only way of making use of this medium. National Spiritual Assemblies responsible for countries where Baha'i radio programmes would raise no objection from the civil authorities, should regard it as their bounden duty to explore, if they have not already done so, whatever options are open to them to utilize radio to sow the seeds of the Faith as widely as they can and to broadcast its divine teachings, as well as to assist in the consolidation of the local Baha'i communities.

[F340. For announcements of the inauguration of Baha'i radio stations, see messages dated 15 December 1977, Naw-Ruz 1978, and 28 August 1978 (messages nos 201, 205, and 213); 13 December 1982 (no. 348); 2 April 1984 (no. 391); and 31 January 1986 (no. 450). For the message to the Hemispheric Baha'i Radio -- Television Conference, see telex dated 15 December 1977 (no. 202).]

162.23 Where the use of television broadcasts is open to Baha'i communities they should also take the utmost advantage of this opportunity.

Contact with the Authorities

162.24 The events of the past year have demonstrated clearly that the enemies of the Faith are intensifying their attacks on the precious Cause of God. The Five Year Plan calls for a planned and sustained effort, under the close supervision of each National Spiritual Assembly, to foster cordial relations with responsible government officials and prominent people. In every country where the doors of contact with those in authority are open to the friends, the National Spiritual Assembly should, as indicated in our letter of Naw-Ruz 131, appoint a special committee to be given the task of finding effective ways of informing the authorities about the Faith, of dispelling any misgivings and of removing any misapprehensions which may be deceitfully created by those who are striving to extinguish the fire of God's Faith.+F341 We cannot over-emphasize the necessity of this activity and the need to use utmost tact and wisdom in pursuing it, for, not only will it facilitate the further proclamation and recognition of the Faith, but, as opposition to and misconceptions about the aims and purposes of the Baha'is increase, when a moment of crisis arrives the institutions of the Faith may know where to turn, whose advice and assistance to seek and how to minimize the effects of opposition.

[F341. See "Elucidation of Five Year Plan goals," Naw-Ruz 1974 (message no. 142).]

162.25 Closely linked with the above undertaking, in countries where the Faith is not yet recognized, is the need to apply for such recognition if the laws of the country permit and if the Universal House of Justice has approved that <p308> an approach be made to the authorities on the subject. In other countries where some measure of recognition, such as the incorporation of Assemblies, has been obtained, National Spiritual Assemblies should be alert to the possibilities which are open to them to widen the scope and broaden the base of the recognition obtained for Baha'i institutions, the Baha'i marriage certificate and Baha'i Holy Days. These measures will not only secure for the Faith a higher degree of legal protection, but will enhance its stature in the eyes of the authorities and the general public.

Wisdom in the Use of Baha'i Funds

162.26 The Five Year Plan emphasizes the obligation of the friends, in view of the growing needs of the Faith to ensure that a generous outpouring of contributions is offered in support of Baha'i Funds, and encourages Baha'i communities at present dependent on outside help to aim at becoming self-supporting. While all National Spiritual Assemblies have the obligation to administer Baha'i funds wisely and judiciously, those National Spiritual Assemblies which depend to a large extent on budgetary assistance from the World Centre have an even greater responsibility, so to speak, to carefully supervise expenditures. The more rigorous the exercise of economy on the part of National Spiritual Assemblies, the sooner will the body of the friends be encouraged to feel financial responsibility toward the progress of the Faith in their areas, to place greater reliance upon the wise administration of the National Spiritual Assembly, and to offer their resources, however modest they may be, for the furthering of its plans and activities.

162.27 National Spiritual Assemblies must uphold economy not only because the funds at their disposal are limited but, as experience has repeatedly shown, because lack of proper control and supervision in the expenditure of these funds is both an unfair temptation to the untrustworthy and a test to the body of the believers, causing them to become disenchanted with Baha'i administration and weakening their resolve to fulfil their sacred obligation of contributing to the Fund.

162.28 In the attitudes seen at the National Office, in the appropriations made to committees and other agencies of the National Assembly, in any budgetary assistance given to pioneers and travelling teachers, in the holding of conferences and deepening courses, and in all aspects of the work of the Cause for which the National Assembly is responsible, supervision, careful planning and lack of extravagance should be observed and be seen to be upheld.

Local Spiritual Assemblies

162.29 It is becoming increasingly understood by the friends why the Five Year Plan places such great emphasis upon the firmness of the foundation and the efficiency of the operation of the Local Spiritual Assemblies. This is very heartening, for upon the degree to which the members of these Assemblies grasp <p309> the true significance of the divine institution on which they serve, arise selflessly to fulfil their prescribed and sacred duties, and persevere in their endeavours, depends to a large extent the healthy growth of the world-wide community of the Most Great Name, the force of its outward thrust, and the strength of its supporting roots.

162.30 We long to see every Local Spiritual Assembly either spontaneously adopt its own goals or warmly welcome those it has been or will be given by its National Spiritual Assembly, swell the number of the adherents who compose its local community and, guided by the general policy outlined by its National Spiritual Assembly, proclaim the Faith more effectively, energetically pursue its extension teaching and consolidation goals, arrange the observances of the Holy Days, regularly hold its Nineteen Day Feasts and its sessions for deepening, initiate and maintain community projects, and encourage the participation of every member of its community in giving to the Fund and undertaking teaching activities and administrative services, so as to make each locality a stronghold of the Faith and a torchbearer of the Covenant.

162.31 We are confident that the institution of the Boards of Counsellors will tend its vital support and, through the Counsellors' own contacts with the friends, through their Auxiliary Boards and their assistants, will nourish the roots of each local community, enrich and cultivate the soil of knowledge of the teachings and irrigate it with the living waters of love for Baha'u'llah. Thus will the saplings grow into mighty trees, and the trees bear their golden fruit.


162.32 'Abdu'l-Baha has pointed out that "Among the miracles which distinguish this sacred dispensation is this, that women have evinced a greater boldness than men when enlisted in the ranks of the Faith." Shoghi Effendi has further stated that this "boldness" must, in the course of time, "be more convincingly demonstrated, and win for the beloved Cause victories more stirring than any it has as yet achieved."+F342 Although obviously the entire Baha'i world is committed to encouraging and stimulating the vital role of women in the Baha'i community as well as in society at large, the Five Year Plan calls specifically on eighty National Spiritual Assemblies to organize Baha'i activities for women. In the course of the current year which has been designated "International Women's Year" as a world-wide activity of the United Nations, the Baha'is, particularly in these eighty national communities, should initiate and implement programmes which will stimulate and promote the full and equal participation of women in all aspects of Baha'i community life, so that through their accomplishments the friends will demonstrate the distinction of the Cause of God in this field of human endeavour.

[F342. ADJ, p. 69.]



162.33 It is our hope that in the international travel teaching programme now being launched the youth will assume a major role by devoting time during their vacations, and particularly during the long vacation at the end of the academic year, to the promotion of the teaching work in all its aspects, not only within their own national communities but farther afield. Some youth may have financial resources of their own, others may be able and willing to work and save the funds necessary for such projects, still others may have the financial backing of their parents, relatives or friends. In other cases the Baha'i funds may be able to supplement whatever resources the prospective travelling teacher may be able to supply.

162.34 The endurance of youth under arduous conditions, their vitality and vigour, and their ability to adapt themselves to local situations, to meet new challenges, and to impart their warmth and enthusiasm to those they visit, combined with the standard of conduct upheld by Baha'i youth, make them potent instruments for the execution of the contemplated projects. Indeed, through these distinctive qualities they can become the spearhead of any enterprise and the driving force of any undertaking in which they participate, whether local or national. Our expectant eyes are fixed on Baha'i youth! Children

162.35 How often have well-organized Baha'i children's classes given parents, even those who are not Baha'is, the incentive to learn more and study more deeply the Teachings of the Faith! How often have the children, through their songs and recitation of prayers during Feasts and at other gatherings of the friends, added lustre and inspiration to the programme and created a true sense of belonging to the community in the hearts of those present! How many are the children who have grown into active and enkindled youth, and later into wholly dedicated adults, energetically supporting the work of the Cause and advancing its vital interests!

162.36 Certain National Spiritual Assemblies have been given the specific goal of organizing children's activities, and many of these Assemblies have been assigned assistance in the form of at least one helper who will have received some training in the education of Baha'i children. The National Assemblies to receive such helpers, however, should not await their arrival before initiating activities. Through the services of a committee chosen from among those interested in this area of service, simple lessons could be improvised, suitable extracts from the Writings and Prayers chosen for the children to study and memorize, and local talent called upon to carry out this vital activity which will assuredly exert a far-reaching influence on the well-being and strength of each community.


Dawn prayers

162.37 We have been watching with profound interest the manner in which the goal of encouraging the friends to meet for dawn prayers is being carried out. In some rural areas this has become already an established practice of the friends and indeed a source of blessing and benefit to them as they pursue their activities during the day, as well as increasing the consciousness of community solidarity. In other areas, the friends have found that, because of the distances involved, better results are obtained by meeting for prayer in smaller groups. In yet other areas, as a first step, plans have been made to meet for dawn prayers once a week.

162.38 May the Blessed Beauty sustain you bountifully as you prepare yourselves to discharge the commitments and surmount the challenges of the year which has just begun.

With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice


Use of Radio and Television in Teaching (Extracts from letters written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi)

162.39 In regard to your wish of broadcasting the Message, Shoghi Effendi would advise you to consult with the Spiritual Assembly as to whether such an action meets their approval, and if so to ask their assistance and help for finding the best means through which to carry out your plan. The idea of a wireless station is rather ambitious and requires much financial expenditure. If, however, you find it feasible and within your financial capacity you should not hesitate to do so, inasmuch as this will enable you to spread the Cause in a much easier and more efficient manner.

(13 August 1933 to an individual believer)

162.40 Your suggestion regarding the installation of a radio station in the Temple is truly splendid. But it remains to be seen whether the National Spiritual Assembly finds it financially feasible to undertake such a project, which is, beyond doubt, a very costly enterprise. Whatever the expenditure involved in this project, there is no reason why the believers should not start now considering seriously the possibility of such a plan, which, when carried out and perfected, can lend an unprecedented impetus to the expansion of the teaching work throughout America.

162.41 It is for the National Spiritual Assembly, however, to take the final decision in this matter, and to determine whether the national fund of the Cause is at present sufficiently strong to permit them to install a radio station in the Temple.


162.42 The Guardian feels, nevertheless, confident that this plan will receive the careful consideration of the National Spiritual Assembly members, and hopes that, if feasible, they will take some definite action in this matter.

(31 January 1937 to an individual believer)

162.43 He read with interest the various suggestions you made to the National Spiritual Assembly, and feels they are fundamentally sound, especially the wider use of the radio. Unfortunately at the present time anything that would make a fresh demand on the financial resources of the Cause in America -- such as a Baha'i-owned broadcasting station -- is out of the question, as the friends are finding it difficult to meet the great needs of the teaching and Temple Funds. However the idea should, he feels, be kept in mind for future realization.

(14 October 1942 to an individual believer)

162.44 In connection with the radio work ... he would suggest that the main consideration is to bring to the attention of the public the fact that the Faith exists, and its teachings. Every kind of broadcast, whether of passages from the Writings, or on topical subjects, or lectures, should be used. The people need to hear the word "Baha'i" so that they can, if receptive, respond and seek the Cause out. The primary duty of the friends everywhere in the world is to let the people know such a Revelation is in existence; their next duty is to teach it.

(24 July 1943 to an individual believer)

162.45 He feels it would be excellent if the Cause could be introduced more to the people through the medium of radio, as it reaches the masses, especially those who do not take an interest in lectures or attend any type of meeting.

(7 March 1945 to an individual believer)

162.46 The matter of obtaining free time on the radio is one which the Radio Committee and the National Spiritual Assembly must decide upon: but the principle is that every effort should be made to present the teachings over the air as often as possible as long as the manner in which it is done is compatible with the dignity of our beloved Faith.

(15 August 1945 to an individual believer)

162.47 He was sorry to learn through your cable that the project for a Baha'i radio station can not be carried out at present; he considers that such a station would be a very great asset to the Cause, not only as a teaching medium and a wonderful form of publicity, but also as an enhancement of its prestige. He feels your Assembly should not drop the matter, but go on investigating ways to make such a project materialize as soon as possible.

(20 March 1946 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)


162.48 He hopes that a Baha'i radio station will prove feasible during the coming years, as he considers it of great importance.

(4 May 1946 to the Radio Committee of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

162.49 The Baha'is should not always be the last to take up new and obviously excellent methods, but rather the first, as this agrees with the dynamic nature of the Faith which is not only progressive, but holds within itself the seeds of an entirely new culture and civilization.

(5 May 1946 to an individual believer)

162.50 The Guardian approves in principle of a radio station, and sees no objection to its being in the Temple; but he considers the cost you quote too much of a burden at the present time for the Fund to bear, in view of the multiple expenses of the new Seven Year Plan.+F343 If there is any way it can be done for a price you feel the Fund could pay, and which would be more reasonable, he approves of your doing it. In any case the National Spiritual Assembly should strongly press for recognition as a Religious Body, and claim full rights to be represented on the air on an equal footing with other established Churches.

[F343. The second Seven Year Plan, 1946-53.]

(20 July 1946 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada)

162.51 He approves of your desire to teach the principles of the Faith through radio. But he urges you to do all you can to always, however small the reference you are able to make to it may be, clearly identify or associate what you are giving out with Baha'u'llah. The time is too short now for us Baha'is to be able to first educate humanity and then tell it that the Source is this new World Faith. For their own spiritual protection people must hear of the name Baha'i -- then, if they turn blindly away, they cannot excuse themselves by saying they never even knew it existed! For dark days seem still ahead of the world, and outside of this Divine Refuge the people will not, we firmly believe, find inner conviction, peace and security. So they have a right to at least hear of the Cause as such!

(24 April 1949 to an individual believer)



Representation of the Universal House of Justice by Hands of the Cause of God at International Conferences

27 May 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

International Teaching Conferences


163.1 We joyfully announce that the following Hands of the Cause of God have been named as our representatives to the International Conferences:

Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum Paris, France 3-6 August 1976

Ugo Giachery Helsinki, Finland 6-8 July 1976

'Ali-Akbar Furutan Hong Kong 5-8 November 1976

Paul Haney Merida, Mexico 4-6 February 1977

Enoch Olinga Bahia, Brazil 28-30 January 1977

William Sears Nairobi, Kenya 15-17 October 1976

Collis Featherstone Anchorage, Alaska 23-25 July 1976

Abu'l-Qasim Faizi Auckland, New Zealand 19-22 January 1977

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Significance of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

5 June 1975

To the followers of Baha'u'llah throughout the world

Dear Baha'i friends,

164.1 As the Five Year Plan gathers momentum in all parts of the world, with the followers of the Blessed Perfection firmly embarked on the course that will lead to victory, the time has come for us to contemplate, in preparation for its imminent initiation, the project which will rank as the greatest single undertaking of that Plan, the construction of a befitting Seat for the Universal House of Justice in the heart of God's Holy Mountain.+F344

[F344. In a message dated 31 August 1987 to the Baha'is of the world, the Universal House of Justice outlined plans for completing the "world-shaking, world- embracing, world-directing administrative institutions" that Shoghi Effendi (MA, p. 32) envisioned on Mount Carmel, God's Holy Mountain. The buildings to be constructed include the International Baha'i Library and the seats of the International Teaching Centre and the Centre for the Study of the Texts. Additional projects include constructing an extension to the International Archives Building to accommodate the ever-growing World Centre archives and constructing eighteen monumental terraces from the foot of Mount Carmel to its crest, nine leading to the terrace on which the Shrine of the Bab stands and nine rising above it.]

164.2 Nearly thirty-six years ago, after overcoming a multitude of difficulties, the beloved Guardian succeeded in transferring to Mount Carmel the sacred remains of the Purest Branch and Navvab, interring them in the immediate neighbourhood of the resting- place of the Greatest Holy Leaf, and alluded, in these words, to the "capital institutional significance" that these events constituted in the unfoldment of the World Centre of the Faith:+F345

[F345. The Purest Branch is Mirza Mihdi, Baha'u'llah's youngest son; Navvab is Asiyih Khanum, titled the Most Exalted Leaf, wife of Baha'u'llah and mother of 'Abdu'l- Baha, Miza Mihdi, and Bahiyyih Khanum; the Greatest Holy Leaf is Bahiyyih Khanum, daughter of Baha'u'llah. See MA, p. 31.]

164.2a For it must be clearly understood, nor can it be sufficiently emphasized, that the conjunction of the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf with those of her brother and mother incalculably reinforces the spiritual potencies of that consecrated Spot which, under the wings of the Bab's overshadowing Sepulchre, and in the vicinity of the future Mashriqu'l-Adhkar+F346 which will be reared on its flank, is destined to <p316> evolve into the focal centre of those world-shaking, world-embracing, world-directing administrative institutions, ordained by Baha'u'llah and anticipated by 'Abdu'l-Baha, and which are to function in consonance with the principles that govern the twin institutions of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. Then, and then only, will this momentous prophecy which illuminates the concluding passages of the Tablet of Carmel be fulfilled: "Erelong will God sail His Ark upon thee (Carmel), and will manifest the people of Baha who have been mentioned in the Book of Names."+F347

[F347. For the Tablet of Carmel, which Shoghi Effendi called "the Charter of the World Spiritual and Administrative Centres of the Faith" (MBW, p. 63), see GPB, pp. 14-7, or TB, pp. 3-5. The Ark in this context is a reference to the World Administrative Centre of the Faith on Mount Carmel.]

[F346. A Mashriqu'l-Adhkar is to be raised on a site Shoghi Effendi described as "the head of the Mountain of God, in close proximity to the Spot hallowed by the footsteps of Baha'u'llah, near the time-honoured Cave of Elijah, and associated with the revelation of the Tablet of Carmel" (MBW, p. 63). The Universal House of Justice announced the erection of an obelisk marking the site of the future House of Worship in its cable of 13 December 1971 (message no. 105).]

164.2b To attempt to visualize, even in its barest outline, the glory that must envelop these institutions, to essay even a tentative and partial description of their character or the manner of their operation, or to trace however inadequately the course of events leading to their rise and eventual establishment is far beyond my own capacity and power. Suffice it to say that at this troubled stage in world history the association of these three incomparably precious souls who, next to the three Central Figures of our Faith, tower in rank above the vast multitude of the heroes, Letters, martyrs, hands, teachers and administrators of the Cause of Baha'u'llah, in such a potentially powerful spiritual and administrative Centre, is in itself an event which will release forces that are bound to hasten the emergence in a land which, geographically, spiritually and administratively, constitutes the heart of the entire planet, of some of the brightest gems of that World Order now shaping in the womb of this, travailing age.+F348

[F348. MA, pp. 32-33.]

164.3 The first of the majestic edifices constituting this mighty Centre, was the building for the International Archives of the Faith which was completed in the summer of 1957 as one of the last major achievements of Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship and which set the style for the remaining structures which, as described by him, were to be raised in the course of time in the form of a far-flung arc on the slope of Mount Carmel. In the eighteen years since that achievement, the community of the Most Great Name has grown rapidly in size and influence: from twenty-six National Spiritual Assemblies to one hundred and nineteen, from some one thousand to seventeen thousand Local Spiritual Assemblies, and from four thousand five hundred localities to over seventy thousand, accompanied by a corresponding increase in the volume of the work carried on at the World Centre of the Faith and in the complexity of <p317> its institutions. It is now both necessary and possible to initiate construction of a building that will not only serve the practical needs of a steadily consolidating administrative centre but will, for centuries to come, stand as a visible expression of the majesty of the divinely ordained institutions of the Administrative Order of Baha'u'llah.

164.4 Faced, like the Archives Building, with stone from Italy, and surrounded by a stately colonnade of sixty Corinthian columns,+F349 the Seat for the Universal House of Justice will contain, in addition to the council chamber of the House of Justice, a library, a concourse for the reception of pilgrims and dignitaries, storage vaults with air purification for the preservation of original Tablets and other precious documents, accommodation for the secretariat and the many ancillary services that will be required. Conceived in a style of enduring beauty and majesty, and faced with stone that will weather the centuries, the building in its interior arrangements will be very simple and capable of adaptation in the generations ahead to whatever technological advances will be made by the rapid growth of human knowledge.

[F349. The building, as finally completed, has fifty-eight columns.]

164.5 The erection of this building which, comprising five and a half stories, far surpasses in size and complexity any building at present in existence at the World Centre presents a major challenge to the Baha'i community, whose resources are already all too meagre in relation to the great tasks that lie before it. But the spirit of sacrifice has been the hallmark of the followers of Baha'u'llah of every race and clime and as they unite to raise this second of the great edifices of the Administrative Centre of their Faith they will rejoice at having the inestimable privilege of taking part in a "vast and irresistible process" which Shoghi Effendi stated is "unexampled in the spiritual history of mankind," a process "which will synchronize with two no less significant developments -- the establishment of the Lesser Peace and the evolution of Baha'i national and local institutions -- the one outside and the other within the Baha'i world -- will attain its final consummation, in the Golden Age of the Faith, through the raising of the standard of the Most Great Peace, and the emergence, in the plenitude of its power and glory, of the focal Centre of the agencies constituting the World Order of Baha'u'llah."

The Universal House of Justice



Excavation of the Site of the Seat of the Universal House of Justice

17 June 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies





Laws of the Kitab-I-Aqdas Concerning Men and Women; Membership on the Universal House of Justice

24 July 1975

To an individual Baha'i

Dear Baha'i friend,

166.1 Your letter of 16 March 1975 has been received and we have studied the various questions arising from your study of the Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas. ...

166.2 Concerning your questions about the equality of men and women, this, as 'Abdu'l-Baha has often explained, is a fundamental principle of Baha'u'llah; therefore the Laws of the Aqdas should be studied in the light of it. Equality between men and women does not, indeed physiologically it cannot, mean identity of functions. In some things women excel men, for others men are better fitted than women, while in very many things the difference of sex is of no effect at all. The differences of function are most apparent in family life. The capacity for motherhood has many far-reaching implications which are recognized in Baha'i Law. For example, when it is not possible to educate all one's children, daughters receive preference over sons, as mothers are the first educators of the next generation. Again, for physiological reasons, women are granted certain exemptions from fasting that are not applicable to men.

166.3 You mention the provision in the Kitab-i-Aqdas regarding inheritance, in which the eldest son receives preferential treatment. As you no doubt know, the duty of making a will is enjoined upon all Baha'is, and in such a will a believer is free to bequeath his or her property in whatever way he or she <p319> wishes (see note 25 on page 60 of the Synopsis and Codification). Every system of law, however, needs to make provision for the disposal of a person's property if he or she dies without having made a will, and it is in cases of intestacy that the specific provisions stated in the Kitab-i-Aqdas are applied. These provisions give expression to the law of primogeniture, which, as 'Abdu'l-Baha has stated, has invariably been upheld by the Law of God. In a Tablet to a follower of the Faith in Persia He wrote: "In all the Divine Dispensations the eldest son hath been given extraordinary distinctions. Even the station of prophethood hath been his birthright."+F350 With the distinctions given to the eldest son, however, go concomitant duties. For example, with respect to the law of inheritance 'Abdu'l-Baha has explained in one of His Tablets that the eldest son has the responsibility to take into consideration the needs of the other heirs. Similar considerations no doubt apply to the provisions that, in intestacy, limit the shares due to half-brothers and half-sisters of the deceased on his or her mother's side; they will, of course, be due to receive inheritance from their own father's estate.

[F350. Quoted in WOB, p. 148.]

166.4 Your statement that "Gifts to a wife are included in the man's property to be given away after his death" is incorrect. It is clear from the passage in the Kitab-i-Aqdas that certain things that a husband buys for his wife are intended to be for the general household and certain are intended to be the wife's personal property. These latter, that is to say the wife's used clothing and gifts which have been made to her, are not included in the husband's property.

166.5 The husband's duty to send his wife home if differences arise between them while travelling is a part of the law of divorce, and relates to the husband's obligation to support his wife during the year of waiting. The Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab- i-Aqdas reads as follows (at section (g) on pages 42 and 43):

166.5a Should differences arise between husband and wife while travelling, he is required to send her home, or entrust her to a dependable person, who will escort her there, paying her journey and her full year's expenses.

166.6 You have also asked for an explanation of why, in view of the Baha'i principle of equality of men and women, women are not allowed to serve on the Universal House of Justice. We share with you the following passages about this subject, taken from letters written on behalf of the beloved Guardian to a National Spiritual Assembly and to an individual believer.

166.6a As regards the membership of the International House of Justice, 'Abdu'l-Baha states in a Tablet that it is confined to men, and that the wisdom of it will be revealed as manifest as the sun in the future. In <p320> any case the believers should know that, as 'Abdu'l-Baha Himself has explicitly stated that sexes are equal except in some cases, the exclusion of women from the International House of Justice should not be surprising. From the fact that there is no equality of functions between the sexes one should not, however, infer that either sex is inherently superior or inferior to the other, or that they are unequal in their rights. -- 14 December 1940+F351

[F351. See DND, p. 86.]

166.6b Regarding your question, the Master said the wisdom of having no women on the International House of Justice would become manifest in the future. We have no other indication than this. -- 17 September 1952

166.7 We must always remember Baha'u'llah's exhortation, which is quoted on page

22 of the Synopsis and Codification: "Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring balance established amongst men. In this most perfect balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it."

166.8 It is hoped that the foregoing will be helpful to your own understanding of the matters about which you have asked.

With loving Baha'i greetings, The Universal House of Justice



Release of a Compilation of Prayers and Tablets for Children and Youth

25 September 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

167.1 We are very happy to send you the enclosed selection of prayers revealed by Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha for children, together with some Tablets of the Master intended for children and youth, translated into English.+F352

[F352. The compilation was published under the title Let Thy breeze refresh them ... by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United Kingdom (1976) and under the title Baha'i Prayers and Tablets for the Young by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United States (1978).]

167.2 You may use this translation as you wish, adding from it to the prayer books you have already published, using it as a basis of prayer books or other <p321> literature published specially for children, or sharing these precious words with the friends in any other manner you deem wise and useful. You are, of course, at liberty to translate these prayers and Tablets into other languages, and we hope that this will be done.

167.3 The raising of children in the Faith of God and the spiritualization of their lives from their earliest years is of prime importance in the life of the Baha'i community, and the firm establishment of activities to promote these aims is one of the vital goals of the Five Year Plan.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

The Universal House of Justice



Release of a Compilation on Baha'i meetings and the Nineteen Day Feast

30 November 1975

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

168.1 The Research Department has recently prepared two compilations from the Writings of Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha and the letters of Shoghi Effendi on the subject of "Baha'i Meetings" and "The Nineteen Day Feast," and copies are sent to you herewith.+F353

[F353. The compilation was published under the title Baha'i Meetings/The Nineteen Day Feast by the Baha'i Publishing Trust of the United States (1976). See also CC I:419-58 for another compilation from the Universal House of Justice on the Nineteen Day Feast.]

168.2 The Universal House of Justice leaves it to your discretion to decide in which manner these texts may be shared with the friends under your jurisdiction.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat



Naw-Ruz Message 1976

18 March 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies


[F354. For the announcement of the decision to build the seat of the Universal House of Justice, see message no. 115; for the explanation of its significance, see message no. 164; for the announcement of its occupation, see message no. 354.]




Appointments to Continental Boards of Counsellors and Auxiliary Boards

24 March 1976

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Baha'i friends,

170.1 As you will have seen in the Convention message, the Universal House of Justice has appointed six new Counsellors and has authorized the appointment of ninety more Auxiliary Board members.

170.2 On the instruction of the House of Justice we now enclose for your information a complete list of the members of the Continental Boards of Counsellors following the above appointments, and a list of the Auxiliary Boards showing the increases.

With loving Baha'i greetings,

Department of the Secretariat


170.3 Membership of the Continental Boards of Counsellors

March 1976


Northern Africa

Muhammad Kebdani, Muhammad Mustafa, 'Imad Sabiran

Western Africa

Husayn Ardikani, Friday Ekpe, Zekrullah Kazemi, Thelma Khelghati, Mihdi Samandari

Central & East Africa

Hushang Ahdieh, Oloro Epyeru, Kolonario Oule, Isobel Sabri, Peter Vuyiya.

Southern Africa

Seewoosumbur-Jeehoba Appa, Shidan Fat'he-Aazam, William Masehla, Bahiyyih Winckler

Western Hemisphere

North America

Lloyd Gardner, Sarah Pereira, Velma Sherrill, Edna True

Central America

Carmen de Burafato, Rowland Estall, Artemus Lamb, Paul Lucas, Alfred Osborne

South America

Leonora Armstrong, Athos Costas, Mas'ud Khamsi, Peter McLaren, Raul Pavon, Donald Witzel


Western Asia

Iraj Ayman, Masih Farhangi, Hadi Rahmani, Manuchihr Salmanpur

South Central Asia

Burhani'd-Din Afshin, Shirin Boman, Salisa Kermani, Dipchand Khianra, Zena Sorabjee

Northeastern Asia

Richard Benson, Elena Marsella, Ruhu'llah Mumtazi, Hideya Suzuki

Southeastern Asia

Yan Kee Leong, Firaydun Mithaqiyan, Khudarahm Payman, Vicente Samaniego, Chellie Sundram


Suhayl 'Ala'i, Owen Battrick, Howard Harwood, Violet Hoehnke, Thelma Perks


Erik Blumenthal, Anneliese Bopp, Dorothy Ferraby, Louis Henuzet, Betty Reed, Adib Taherzadeh