Shoghi Effendi on the Book of Certitude
by Ugo Giacherypublished in Shoghi Effendi: Recollections, pages 149-150
Oxford: George Ronald, 1973
Before proceeding to the momentous decision of building the new International Archives,* I should like to mention an episode which further demonstrates the eager interest of Shoghi Effendi in collecting information and facts pertaining to the Sacred Writings and the history of the Cause. One evening, as I entered the dining-room, the Guardian was already seated at his place at the table, his face shining with an inner jubilation which he could neither control nor conceal. At his side, upon the table, stood a small bundle, an object wrapped in a coloured silk handkerchief, typical of the East and of Iran in particular. As soon as we were all seated and attentive, even before dinner was served, he said that a pilgrim had that day arrived from Tihrán, bringing with him one of the most precious documents to be placed in the archives. He untied the handkerchief and with great reverence lifted out a manuscript in book form, and, placing it in a position that every one could see, added that it contained two original Tablets in the handwriting of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. One was the Íqán and the other was a Tablet the name of which I do not now remember.
These manuscripts, Shoghi Effendi stated, were transcribed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His beautiful calligraphy, when He was about eighteen years old, and bore some additions in the Hand of Bahá'u'lláh, insertions which He had written on the margins of many pages in reviewing the manuscripts. Shoghi Effendi had never before seen the original of the Íqán and was deeply astonished to discover that the phrase he had chosen from this book and placed on the title page of his translation of Nabíl's Narrative, The Dawn-Breakers, was an after-reflection of Bahá'u'lláh's, written by Himself, on the margin of one page. The phrase in question is the one starting: 'I stand, life in hand, ready; that perchance...'**
The Guardian, that evening, was not only astonished but overjoyed as well, because he was conscious that through a mysterious process he had been inspired to adopt that phrase as an eternal testimonial to Bahá'u'lláh's yearning to sacrifice His life for the Báb, the Primal Point. All of us who were seated at the table were awed and profoundly stirred, and I, in particular, felt that the existence of a spiritual link between our Guardian and the invisible world of God was something that no one should ever doubt.