Shoghi Effendi's "Function of Sports in Life"@17yo

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Baha'i Warrior
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Shoghi Effendi's "Function of Sports in Life"@17yo

Postby Baha'i Warrior » Tue Nov 22, 2005 8:45 pm

[<b>Edit:</b> this paper is now online at <a href=""></a>. -Jonah]

Got an interesting thing in e-mail, discovered at the college He went to.

While Shoghi Effendi (called "Shawki Rabbani" in the table of contents) was at the American University of Beirut, He wrote an article for "The Students Union Gazette," 1914–15, so He was around 17 at the time. His article "Function of Sports in Life" is very interesting to see how He wrote like at that age.

I can't copy and paste because it's a PDF of a scan (so i have to type these out myself), but here are some excerpts of what He says that I found interesting:

"The word sport is a contracted form of 'disport' which means to amuse, to divert one's self." (opening sentence)

"Whenever a nation, regardless of its resources and extension, realised the importance of sports and put that realization into practice she attained a notable stage in the history of the world."

"Athletics are necessary if not indispensible for the future success of the nation as well as of the individual."

"Athletics refresh the body, tranquilize and enlighten the mind, and develop moral character."

"Generally a healthy person is endowed with a will stronger than that of a weak person."


"Sports, in general, have had an important and estimable function in life and will inevitably in future be regarded as the indispensible factor for intellectual and moral growth."

Now go pump some iron 8)

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Re: Shoghi Effendi's "Function of Sports in Life"@

Postby Hasan » Wed Nov 23, 2005 2:26 pm

Baha'i Warrior

It is very interesting, please: where do you get this information? could you post it all? for benefit of the library and all.

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Postby Baha'i Warrior » Wed Nov 23, 2005 9:18 pm


Actually my dad forwarded it to me via e-mail. It's a PDF scan, so it doesnt let me copy the text.

So there's no way I can post it but if you give me your e-mail I can send it to you, if you want it


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Postby Hasan » Wed Nov 23, 2005 10:54 pm

Thanks Bahá’í Warrior for initiating this topic.

I took a look to the web site of American University of Beirut ( , but I could not locate the article “Function of Sports in Life” that I would really like to have, but anyway, I found other interesting article of Shoghi Effendi: “Rules of Parliamentary Discipline” (

I someone finds the article on sports, please let us know, these articles are very important for bahá’í history.



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Postby shm » Tue Feb 28, 2006 3:39 pm

Is this article written by Shoghi Effendi about the importance of sports words to take into consideration and to live by, or are they just what Shoghi wrote to practise His writing.


Postby Guest » Wed Mar 01, 2006 3:18 am


<A HREF=""></A>

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Postby Hasan » Wed Mar 01, 2006 11:23 pm

Thanks for quoting the work!!! For the history of the Faith is important to have these documents of the Guardian at that young age. Of course It doesnt have any authority, but it is very important.

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Postby brettz9 » Thu Mar 02, 2006 5:55 am

I've just typed up both articles. One is at <a href=""></a> and the other at <a href=""></a>.

As far as authority, although I would be tempted to agree with Hasan, I wonder whether the two following facts might jumble the question a little:

1) 'Abdu'l-Baha wrote Secret of Divine Civilization and other works before Baha'u'llah's Ministry ended and which, to my knowledge, have not been given any lesser position than those written afterwards (though perhaps the difference might have something to do with 'Abdu'l-Bahá's higher station (than Shoghi Effendi's) and/or that works of 'Abdu'l-Bahá may have been written explicitly at Baha'u'llah's direction--I know this is the case for at least for one work of 'Abdu'l-Bahá).

2) Shoghi Effendi was already appointed the Guardian in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá at an earlier age (though it was not published)--though granted the appointment was not to take effect until after His passing.

best wishes,

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Postby Hasan » Thu Mar 02, 2006 11:17 am

I agree with Brett, Shoghi Effendi was 4 years old when we think the Master wrote the first part of His W&T!!! (1897-1901)

About the date of the first part of the Testament, Ali Nakhjavani wrote: "No dates are fixed on the document itself. From the context, however, we could assume that the first part must have been written during the period when the first Commission of Investigation arrived in the Holy Land, i.e. around 1901".

The writings of the Guardian written before 1921 have no directional authority; however his works before that date came from (at least) a beautiful mind.

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Postby brettz9 » Thu Mar 02, 2006 10:44 pm

Below is a compilation of other Writings (official unless otherwise noted as pilgrim's notes (e.g., "attributed to...") on the topic of exercise.

As far as the Parliamentary procedures document, Shoghi Effendi suggested against rigid rules within Bahá'í administration:

The Duties and Responsibilities of the National Assembly. The objects for which the National Spiritual Assembly is established are fully set forth in the Memorandum of Association of the N.S.A. of the Bahá'ís of the United Kingdom. (N.S.A.)

Whatever is not laid down in "Bahá'í Administration" is left to the judgment of the National Spiritual Assembly to decide. These are purely secondary details, and as the Guardian wishes to avoid introducing into the administration a labyrinth of rules and regulations he leaves the Friends in authority to decide such matters as they arise. (Shoghi Effendi)

[Ed. - 2nd par. in Unfolding Destiny, p. 148]

(Principles of Bahá'í Administration, p. 77)

I might also note that the U.S. NSA explains that Roberts' Rules of Order have no authority in the Bahá'í system. The British NSA offers some general procedures for the calling of a meeting and offers a sample agenda in Principles of Bahá'í Administration, but it is not fixed.

General Approach to Exercise - Sports and Games

(Games, especially athletic activities (participation) are encouraged for children--See "physical education" from Lights of Guidance below ('Abdu'l-Bahá even encouraged Shoghi Effendi to go out and play when he was young--see Priceless Pearl))

"But recreation which may improve the bodily powers, as exercise, is desirable."
(Attributed to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, A Heavenly Vista, p. 9 in Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era , p. 103)

"...strive...that the companions of God...may be physically and morally superior to others...that may be the chief of wise men..."
(Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá Abbás , p. 585)

"Playing games is not in the least forbidden. It should in fact be encouraged if they are of an athletic nature."
(On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, quoted in Lights of Guidance, p. 295)

"...there is nothing in the teachings about whether people should...exercise or not exercise"
(On behalf of Shoghi Effendi, quoted in Lights of Guidance , p. 299)

Bahá'u'lláh was to have had daily exercises (at least while imprisoned) (see God Passes By, p. 72 or Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era , p. 51 (under "Birth and Childhood").

'Abdu'l-Bahá was to have praised a wrestling game He witnessed (see 'Abdu'l-Bahá in London, 99 and the following page (the document takes a while to load as it has the whole book).


As to whether prohibition of gambling applies to games of every description:
"-No, some games are innocent, and if pursued for pastime there is no harm. But there is danger that pastime may degenerate into waste of time. Waste of time is not acceptable in the Cause of God..."
(Attributed to 'Abdu'l-Bahá, A Heavenly Vista, p. 9 in Bahá'u'lláh and the New Era , p. 103)

Not to have a fanatical obsession with sport

"On page 25 of "The Advent of Divine Justice" the beloved Guardian is describing the requirements not only of chastity, but of "a chaste and holy life"–both the adjectives are important. One of the signs of a decadent society, a sign which is very evident in the world today, is an almost frenetic devotion to pleasure and diversion, an insatiable thirst for amusement, a fanatical devotion to games and sport , a reluctance to treat any matter seriously, and a scornful, derisory attitude towards virtue and solid worth. Abandonment of "a frivolous conduct" does not imply that a Bahá'í must be sour-faced or perpetually solemn. Humour, happiness, joy are characteristics of a true Bahá'í life. Frivolity palls and eventually leads to boredom and emptiness, but true happiness and joy and humour that are parts of a balanced life that includes serious thought, compassion and humble servitude to God, are characteristics that enrich life and add to its radiance.
"Shoghi Effendi's choice of words was always significant, and each one is important in understanding his guidance. In this particular passage, he does not forbid "trivial" pleasures, but he does warn against "excessive attachment" to them and indicates that they can often be "misdirected". One is reminded of `Abdu'l-Bahá's caution that we should not let a pastime become a waste of time."
(From a letter dated 8 May 1979 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, A Chaste and Holy Life, selection 23)

Pertaining to Eating

"Exercise is good when the stomach is empty; it strengthens the muscles. When the stomach is full it is very harmful."
(Bahá'u'lláh, Star of the West , vol. 13, no. 9, December 1922, p. 252 online at [1] )

From the Bible

"But refuse profane and old wives' fables, and exercise thyself [rather] unto godliness.
"For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come.
"This [is] a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation."
(1 Timothy 4:7-9)

From Lights of Guidance on Physical Education

997. Material Education

" is of three kinds: material, human and spiritual. Material education is concerned with the progress and development of the body, through gaining its sustenance, its material comfort and ease."

(Abdu'l-Baha: Some Answered Questions, 1981 ed., p. 8; cited in A Compilation of Extracts on Physical Education, p. 1, World Centre)

998. The Essentiality of Taking Proper Care of Child from the Early Days of His Life

"Unless the child, in his earliest years, be carefully tended, whether in a material or a spiritual sense, whether as to his physical health or his education, it will prove extremely difficult to effect any changes later on. For example, if a child is not properly cared for at the beginning of life, so that he doth not develop a sound body and his constitution doth not flourish as it ought, his body will remain feeble, and whatever is done afterward will take little effect. This matter of protecting the health of the child is essential, for sound health leadeth to insights and sense perceptions, and then the child, as he learneth sciences, arts, skills, and the civilities of life, will duly develop his powers...."

(From a previously untranslated Tablet by Abdu'l-Baha, Ibid., p. 1)

999. Give Them Advantage of Every Useful Kind of Knowledge

"While the children are yet in their infancy feed them from the breast of heavenly grace, foster them in the cradle of all excellence, rear them in the embrace of bounty. Give them the advantage of every useful kind of knowledge. Let them share in every new and rare and wondrous craft and art. Bring them up to work and strive, and accustom them to hardship."

(Abdu'l-Baha: Selections from the Writings of Abdu'l-Baha, 1982 ed., p. 129: Ibid., p. 1)

1000. Training and Development of Physical Body Ensures Strength and Growth

" is of various kinds. There is a training and development of the physical body which ensures strength and growth."

(Abdu'l-Baha: The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 330: Ibid., p. 2)

1001. There Should Be a Program for the Development of Youth All Over the World

"...Baha'u'llah considered education as one of the most fundamental factors of a true civilization. This education, however, in order to be adequate and fruitful, should be comprehensive in nature and should take into consideration not only the physical and the intellectual side of man but also his spiritual and ethical aspects. This should be the program of the Baha'i youth all over the world."

(From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, July 9, 1931: Ibid., p. 2)

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