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World Order of Baha'u'llah:
Study Questions

by Shahriar Razavi

published in Studying the Writings of Shoghi Effendi, ed. Dwight Allen and Martin Bergsmo
Oxford: George Ronald, 1991
I. The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh
II. The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, Further Considerations
III. The Goal of a New World Order
IV. The Golden Age of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh
V. America and the Most Great Peace
VI. The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh
The Báb
The Administrative Order
VII. The Unfoldment of World Civilization

     The seven letters which form The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh stand out as a pre-eminent exposition of the Order whose establishment was prophesied of old, promised by the Báb and whose advent was finally assured through the consummating Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. Over a period of seven years, from 1929 to 1936, through the medium of these letters, Shoghi Effendi expounded and delineated the fundamental principles and the necessary institutions of that 'visible Order' which bears the name of Bahá'u'lláh and will 'exercise an abiding influence upon mankind'.
     In the first of these letters, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, the Guardian refuted the arguments of Ruth White, an American who was causing a disturbance over the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Shoghi Effendi elucidated some of the provisions of the Will, invited the believers to remain steadfast and went on to open before them the glory of the institutions of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. The occasion was thus used to 'fortify our faith, to clarify our vision and to deepen our understanding of the essentials of His Divine Revelation'.
     The first two letters, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh and The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, Further Considerations, were designed to clarify in the minds and hearts of the Western believers the purpose of their Faith and its institutions. It is in the first letter that one of the most celebrated passages of the writings of Shoghi Effendi on the 'animating purpose of Bahá'í institutions' is to be found.
     The third letter in this collection, The Goal of a New World Order, was linked by the Guardian to the anniversary of the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá, written ten years to the day of His ascension. In it he dwelt in detail on the state of the world: its institutions, moribund and ineffectual; its peoples, forlorn and oblivious. Of that letter, his secretary wrote:
Shoghi Effendi wrote his last general letter to the Western friends because he felt that the public should be made to understand the attitude the Bahá'í Faith maintains towards prevailing economic and political problems. We would let the world know what the real aim of Bahá'u'lláh was.
     This letter may therefore be regarded as a model for the correlation of the teachings of the Faith to prevalent world issues, a task with which the Universal House of Justice has in recent years charged the Bahá'í youth.
     In 1932 followed the letter entitled The Golden Age of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh, a major exposition of the meaning and implications of 'Divine Polity'. It described the station of the Founders of the Faith and in so doing drew a clarifying contrast between this Dispensation and those of the past.
     In America and the Most Great Peace, the Guardian dealt at length on the preponderating role which the believers in that part of the globe have been called by the Almighty to play in the unfoldment of the New World Order.
     Of The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh, that mighty treatise often referred to as the Guardian's confession of faith, we should pause to recall the words of Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khánum in The Priceless Pearl:
I know from his [the Guardian's] remarks that he considered he had said all he had to say, in many ways, in the 'Dispensation'.
     Here indeed is a work without the assiduous, systematic and repeated study of which one can never hope to obtain an adequate conception of the true stations of the Twin Manifestations of God, the Centre of the Covenant, the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. It is about spiritual verities. It is fundamental. It is cardinal.
     The last letter in this collection, The Unfoldment of World Civilization, is a unique and masterly analysis of a 'twofold process' which on the one hand, is hastening the religious, social, political and moral decline across the globe, and on the other, is unfolding a System which will serve as a pattern for that world polity towards which humanity is evolving. The Guardian envisioned and imparted a sublime and vivid picture of the world institutions necessary for the establishment of God's Kingdom on earth, 'the Kingdom of Bahá'u'lláh'.
     These letters, while they convey the intensity of Shoghi Effendi's gentle affection for his 'dearly beloved brethren in 'Abdu'l-Bahá - they are often signed 'your true brother, Shoghi' - nonetheless are a testament to his inherent and God-born genius for 'spiritual statesmanship'. All represent a continuity and unity of development; each reveals that divine guidance which he had been empowered to shed with such lustre.
Page numbers in this chapter refer to the 1982 reprint of the 1974 second revised edition published by the Bahá'í Publishing Trust of the United States.

I. The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh
  1. What are the chief depositories which enshrine the elements of the Divine Civilization? (p. 3)
  2. In what way are the Kitáb-i-Aqdas and the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá related? (p. 4)
  3. Where have the following institutions been enjoined:
          a.   Local House of Justice (Local Spiritual Assembly);
          b.   Secondary House of Justice (National Spiritual Assembly;
          c.   International House of Justice (Universal House of Justice)? (p. 5)
  4. What are the principles of Bahá'í administration enunciated by `Abdu'l-Bahá which the Guardian calls 'challenging and distinguishing precepts'? Why are these principles described in this way? (p. 6)
  5. What is the 'supreme organ of the Bahá'í Commonwealth' and when will it attain 'the plenitude of its power'? (p. 7)
  6. What are some of the prerequisites to be attained by National Spiritual Assemblies before they can form the basis for the establishment of the Universal House of Justice? (p. 7)
  7. How does the Guardianship contribute to the Universal House of Justice? (p. 9)
  8. a) How can the sacred character of divinely-established institutions be demonstrated? (p. 9)
    b) What should be the nature of financial appeals? Why? (p. 9)
    c) Against what should members of assemblies 'prayerfully watch' and guard? Why? (p. 10)
  9. a) Why were the Bahá'ís of Egypt in a 'delicate and anomalous' legal position? (pp. 10-11)
    b) What did their petition to the Egyptian cabinet contain? (p. 11)
  10. What would assistance from other Bahá'í communities of the East and the West demonstrate? (p. 12)

II. The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, Further Considerations
  1. Why were the 'challenging criticisms' referred to by Shoghi Effendi a 'blessing in disguise' for the Faith? (pp. 15-16)
  2. What will be the immediate consequence of the recognition by 'the powerful strongholds of orthodoxy' of the stupendous claim of the Faith? (p. 17)
  3. What is the ominous prophesy given by `Abdu'l-Bahá to the cousin of the Báb? (p. 17)
  4. What are some of the challenging questions which will be faced by the Bahá'ís when comparisons are made between Bahá'í institutions and those of other religions? (pp. 18-19)
  5. Why must 'the Spirit breathed by Bahá'u'lláh' incarnate itself in a 'visible Order'? (p. 19)
  6. What are the things laid down by Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá which are 'destined to be a pattern for future society'? (p. 19)
  7. What is the fundamental reason why the unity of the Church of Christ was shattered? (p. 20)
  8. How is the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh distinguished in character from those of Christ and Muhammad with regard to:
          a) the Law of Succession;
          b) religious practices and doctrines? (pp. 20-22)
  9. a) Where in Bahá'u'lláh's Writings does the assurance appear that the House ofJustice will be inspired by God? (p. 23)
    b) According to `Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament what are the laws that the House of Justice can enact and alter? (p. 23)
  10. What is the significance of the Islamic tradition that knowledge is 27 letters, as explained by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-Iqan? (pp. 24-25)
  11. What is meant by the inward and outward transformation brought about by every Revelation? (p. 25)
  12. How do the words of Christ referring to the coming of 'the Spirit of Truth' demonstrate the magnitude of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh? (p. 25)
  13. What are some of the implications of the principle of the oneness of mankind for the structure of present-day society? (p. 43)

III. The Goal of a New World Order
  1. a) What were the specific prophecies of `Abdu'l-Bahá in January 1920 regarding the state of the world? (p. 30)
    b) How did this differ from the expectations held out by people after the First World War and the establishment of the League of Nations? (p. 29)
  2. What are the specific upheavals being faced by:
          a)   Europe;
          b)   Asia;
          c)   Africa;
          d)   America;
          e)   Australia? (p. 31)
  3. What was the social, economic and political situation in Europe that led a 'preeminent thinker', quoted by the Guardian, to remark, 'It is in such times that religions have perished and are born'? (p. 32)
  4. What will be the ultimate consequence of the 'cataclysmical change' occurring in the history of human evolution? (p. 33)
  5. Would the act of devising the machinery for the political and economic unification of the world be sufficient as antidote? Why? (pp. 33-34)
  6. What are some of the direct consequences of the First World War and the subsequent 'unwisdom' of the Peace Treaties? (p. 35)
  7. What is the 'chief and distinguishing feature' of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh? (p. 36)
  8. a) What is the work of `Abdu'l-Bahá which the Guardian refers to as an 'outstanding contribution to the future reorganization of the world'? (p. 37)
    b) What are the steps enunciated by `Abdu'l-Bahá in that work, which the leaders of the world must take to establish Universal Peace? (p. 37)
    c) What should be the response to a country which violates such a Peace Pact? (p. 38)
  9. What are the 'seven candles of unity' mentioned by `Abdu'l-Bahá in one of His Tablets? What is the meaning of each of these 'candles'? (p. 39)
  10. How does Bahá'u'lláh warn the leaders of the world regarding excessive armament and taxation? (p. 40)
  11. What are the principles in 'broadest outline' of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh regarding:
          a)   a world super-state;
          b)   an international executive;
          c)   a world parliament;
          d)   a supreme tribunal;
          e)   economic barriers;
          f)   Capital and Labour;
          g)   religious and racial strife;
          h)   nationalism? (pp. 40-41)
  12. According to `Abdu'l-Bahá, how can the glory of human perfection be revealed? (p. 42)
  13. What are some of the implications of the principle of the oneness of mankind for the structure of present-day society? (p. 43)
  14. Of what are the proposals for a United States of Europe and the economic union of Europe evidence? (p. 44)
  15. What example can we see in history of where seemingly insuperable barriers to the establishment of a federated nation were overcome? (p. 45)
  16. What will be the ultimate effect of the 'fiery ordeal' which humanity must undergo? (p. 46)
  17. What are some of the physical signs of a 'contracted and transformed' world? (p. 47)

IV. The Golden Age of the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh
  1. What are the victories of the Faith cited by the Guardian which were achieved in the first ten years after the passing of the Master? (p. 51)
  2. a) What did `Abdu'l-Bahá write in February 1917 regarding the Faith and America? (p. 53)
    b) How do the special services rendered by the American believers demonstrate the truth of `Abdu'l-Bahá's words? (p. 53)
  3. How does the progress of the Faith differ from that of 'man-created movements'? (p. 54)
  4. How does the early history of the Faith differ from those of other religions? (p. 55)
  5. a) What were the influences which infiltrated into Christianity? (pp. 56-57)
    b) How did the actions of the early Jewish converts to Christianity differ from those of the Muslim converts to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh? (p. 57)
  6. a) What is the Bahá'í teaching regarding the nature of Divine Revelation? (p. 58)
    b) Why can we not claim that any particular religion is 'final'? (p. 58)
  7. How do the Messengers of God differ one from another? (P. 58)
  8. What are the reasons that necessitate the re-statement of the 'Divine Purpose'? (p. 60)
  9. What is the station of the Báb as affirmed by Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá? (p. 61)
  10. What is the affirmation of the Bab regarding the Revelation which was to follow, that is, the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh? (p. 62)
  11. What is the special responsibility that the recognition of such a mighty Revelation places on the individual believer? (p. 63)
  12. a) What is that teaching of the Master which Shoghi Effendi in this letter introduces to the friends in the West? (pp. 63-64)
    b) How does this teaching relate to the question of subordination to the authority of governments? (p. 64)
  13. Why will the principle of non-participation in politics become increasingly important? (p. 65)
  14. Which episodes of heroic self-sacrifice does Shoghi Effendi cite, when urging the American believers to avoid further delay in the completion of the 'beloved Temple'? (p. 67)
  15. What is the enterprise which greatly brightened the closing days of the earthly life of the Greatest Holy Leaf! (p. 68)

V. America and the Most Great Peace
  1. What were the circumstances surrounding the first mention of the name of Bahá'u'lláh in America? (p. 71)
  2. What has been the nature of the attacks of the enemies of the Faith and the misrepresentation of its principles? (pp. 72-73)
  3. a) What parallel do we find in Christianity and Islam for the gravitation of the administrative institutions away from the cradle of the Revelation? (p. 74)
    b) To what natural phenomenon does `Abdu'l-Bahá liken the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh, which appearing in the East has now reached the West? (p. 75)
  4. What is the wish and hope of `Abdu'l-Bahá for America's role in the establishment of peace? (p. 75)
  5. What is the future spiritual leadership envisaged for America by `Abdu'l-Bahá? (p. 76)
  6. What are the essentials of the spiritual heritage bequeathed by `Abdu'l-Bahá to the American believers? (pp. 76-77)
  7. In encouraging the believers to extend the scope of their exertions to other continents, what is `Abdu'l-Bahá's vision of America's spiritual destiny? (p. 78)
  8. a) What are the upheavals cited by Shoghi Effendi as evidence of the American nation's spiritual renaissance? (p. 79)
    b) How do these contrast with the condition of the American believers? (p. 79)
  9. a) What are the four distinct periods between the first time that the Faith was mentioned in America (1893) and the date of this letter (1933)? (p. 80)
    b) In what event did each of these periods culminate? (p. 80)
  10. Who are some of the 'immortal galaxy' of souls whose names stand associated with the rise of the Faith in America? (p. 81)
  11. What were the implications for the Covenant and the other effects of the first pilgrimage of the American believers to the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh? (pp. 81-82)
  12. a) What was the Covenant-breaking crisis which hit the nascent Faith of God in America? (pp. 82-83)
    b) How did `Abdu'l-Bahá pacify and reinvigorate the community following this crisis? (p. 83)
  13. a) What were the specific charges levelled against the Faith by its enemies? (p. 83)
    b) What action did the American community take to retort against these charges? (pp. 83-84)
  14. What were some of the effects of `Abdu'l-Bahá's visit to the United States and Canada which only future generations will befittingly register? (p. 85)
  15. What effect did His visit have on the community's level of activity especially in the pioneering field? (pp. 87-88)
  16. In what order did the Faith spread through the five continents? (p. 88)
  17. a) How did the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá affect the Administration of the Faith? (p. 89)
    b) What does Shoghi Effendi say 'may well constitute the chief pillar' of the Universal House of Justice? (p. 89)
    c) Which institution will be 'the last refuge of a tottering civilization'? (p. 89)
  18. What were some of the specific actions taken by the various Covenant-breakers in pursuit of their aims? (p. 90)
  19. What enterprises did the American community then embark upon:
          a) internally;
          b) externally? (p. 91)
  20. What is the significance of the achievements of the American Bahá'í community in relation to:
          a)   development of the Administrative Institutions;
          b)   acquisition and administration of endowments;
          c)   assistance to the Egyptian Bahá'ís;
          d)   assistance to the Bahá'ís in the Soviet Republics;
          e)   mobilizing the League of Nations to intervene in the situation in 'Iraq;
          f)   teaching the Faith to Queen Marie of Romania;
          g)   assistance to the Persian Bahá'ís;
          h)   the field of pioneering;
          i)   the construction of the American Mashriqu'l-Adhkár? (pp. 91-94)

VI. The Dispensation of Bahá'u'lláh
  1. What does Shoghi Effendi call the supreme Theophany? (p. 97)
  2. What is the mental picture drawn by Shoghi Effendi which depicts the stations of Bahá'u'lláh, the Bab and `Abdu'l-Bahá? (p. 97)
  3. a) Which events marked the end of the Primitive, Apostolic Age of the Faith? (p. 98)
    b) What Age followed immediately? (p. 98)
    c) What will be the age that will represent final consummation? (P. 98)
  4. What must be the 'object of constant endeavour' of every Bahá'í in relation to the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh? (p. 100)
  5. a) How did the Báb compare His Book, the Bayán, with the Gospel in its relationship with the future Manifestation of God? (p. 100)
    b) According to the Báb, where does the Bayán derive its glory from? (pp. 100-101)
    c) What is the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá and how is this work described by Bahá'u'lláh in the Kitáb-i-lqan? (p. 101)
  6. a) How does `Abdu'l-Bahá explain the Zoroastrian prophesy regarding the sun becoming motionless? (pp. 101-102)
    b) What does `Abdu'l-Bahá's statement imply about (i) Islam and the institution of the Imamate; and (ii) the Bábi Dispensation? (p. 102)
  7. How is Bahá'u'lláh referred to in:
          a)   the Old Testament;
          b)   the Gospel;
          c)   the Qur'an? (p. 104)
  8. a) What is the call of Bahá'u'lláh to Christendom cited here by Shoghi Effendi? (p. 104)
    b) What is the relationship of Bahá'u'lláh to Christ? (p. 104)
  9. What does Bahá'u'lláh say would have been Muhammad's testimony if He had attained 'this Day'? (p. 105)
  10. What is Bahá'u'lláh's promise, cited here, to those who arise to serve him? (p. 106)
  11. a) Who is intended by the title (i) 'He Who conversed with God'; (ii) 'God's Well-beloved'; (iii) 'The Spirit of God'; (iv) 'The Primal Point'? (pp. 106-107)
    b) What does Bahá'u'lláh reveal about the glory and uniqueness of 'this Day' when compared to 'bygone ages'? (p. 107)
  12. What is Bahá'u'lláh's testimony about:
          a)   the regenerative power of the creative word;
          b)   His transforming power? (p. 107)
  13. a) How does Bahá'u'lláh exalt the station of the true believer? (p. 108)
    b) What is His warning to His countrymen? (p. 108)
  14. What does Bahá'u'lláh state to have been the effect of the new 'World Order' upon the world and its peoples? (p. 109)
  15. What testimony do we find in the Súratu'l-Haykal regarding the power of this Revelation? (p. 109)
  16. What does `Abdu'l-Bahá say about the saints and holy ones of past ages and their yearning to attain this 'Day of God'? (p. 110)
  17. What does `Abdu'l-Bahá say about the Manifestations destined to follow Bahá'u'lláh? (p. 111)
  18. a) How and why does Shoghi Effendi caution the reader about the concept of the incarnation of God in the human temple? (p. 112)
    b) What are the pantheistic and anthropomorphic conceptions of God? (p. 112)
  19. a) What does Bahá'u'lláh reveal regarding the 'Divine Being' and the ability of prophets and Messengers to apprehend that Being? (p. 113)
    b) According to the Kitáb-i-Íqán, what has caused the Gems of Holiness to appear? (p. 113)
    c) What is the implication of the statement of Shoghi Effendi regarding Bahá'u'lláh as 'essentially one of these manifestations of God'? (p. 114)
  20. How does the Bahá'í Revelation relate to the previous religions, their origins, teachings and spiritual foundations? (p. 114)
  21. a) What principle does Bahá'u'lláh's imagery of the Manifestations as 'mirrors' demonstrate? (pp. 114-115)
    b) In what way do the revelations of succeeding Manifestations differ? (p. 115)
  22. What does Shoghi Effendi state to be the allegorical allusion in Bahá'u'lláh's Hidden Words (Persian No. 77)? (p. 116)
  23. a) When and where was the Súríy-i-Sabr revealed? (p. 116)
    b) What does Bahá'u'lláh say in that Tablet regarding the continuity of Divine revelation? (p. 116)
  24. What does Bahá'u'lláh state about 'Him who will be sent down unto you after Me'? (p. 117)
  25. What does the Báb state in the Persian Bayán to be the objective of each revelation in relation to the one that will follow it? (p. 117)
  26. In the prayer cited here by Shoghi Effendi, who are the Manifestations and holy ones whose suffering Bahá'u'lláh states to have been His own suffering and tribulations? (pp. 118-119)
The Báb
  1. a) What is the fundamental verity of the station of the Báb? (p. 123)
    b) What was the beloved Guardian's 'chief motive' for translating Nabil's Narrative? (p. 123)
    c) What is the Báb's 'twofold station'? (p. 123)
  2. a) Who revealed the Kitáb-Badí' and what is it about? (p. 124)
    b) What was the event that took place upon the completion of the ninth year of the Báb's dispensation? (p. 124)
  3. Which tribute of Bahá'u'lláh paid to the memory of the Báb is described by Shoghi Effendi as 'the most memorable and touching'? (p. 125)
  4. How does the Báb proclaim His own station:
          a)   in the Qayyúmu'l-Asmá;
          b)   addressing Muhammad Sháh from the fortress of Máh-Kú? (p. 126)
  5. What simile does the Báb use to describe the transforming influence of this revelation? (pp. 126-127)
  6. a) How does `Abdu'l-Bahá liken the Revelations of the Báb and Bahá'u'lláh to the sun and the signs of the Zodiac? (p. 127)
    b) Who does `Abdu'l-Bahá say are the object of all scriptural prophecies? (pp. 127-128)
  7. What statement is found in the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá about the stations of:
          a)   the Báb;
          b)   Bahá'u'lláh;
          c)   'All others'? (p. 128)
  1. How does `Abdu'l-Bahá fulfil a 'unique function' in religious history? (p. 131)
  2. What does Bahá'u'lláh reveal in the Kita'b-i-Aqdas about those claiming prophethood before a thousand years? (p. 132)
  3. How does `Abdu'l-Bahá differentiate between His own station and that of the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh? (p. 133)
  4. What are some of the appellations with which Shoghi Effendi refers to `Abdu'l-Bahá? (p. 134)
  5. Name three works of Bahá'u'lláh in which mention is made of `Abdu'l-Bahá's station and position after the Ascension of Bahá'u'lláh. (p. 134)
  6. What does Bahá'u'lláh say in the Tablet of the Branch about those who turn to `Abdu'l-Bahá and those who do not? (p. 135)
  7. What is the role of the Centre of the Covenant regarding the Word of God? (p. 136)
  8. What had led to the erroneous concept of the 'mystic unity' of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá? (p. 137)
  9. What is the relationship of the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh as enunciated in the Súratu'l-Haykal? (p. 138)
  10. What is the relationship between:
          a)   `Abdu'l-Bahá's station and that of a Manifestation of God?
          b)   `Abdu'l-Bahá's words and those of Bahá'u'lláh? (p. 139)
The Administrative Order
  1. What are the three Ages of the Bahá'í Dispensation? (p. 143)
  2. What is the 'Instrument' which must be regarded as the 'Charter of the New World Order'? (p. 144)
  3. In what fundamental way does the Administrative Order differ from anything established by past religions especially Christianity and Islam? (p. 145)
  4. What do we find about the new World Order in the Writings Of:
          a)   Bahá'u'lláh;
          b)   `Abdu'l-Bahá? (pp. 146-147)
  5. What are the 'twin pillars' of the Administrative structure? (p. 147)
  6. What would be the effect on the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh if it were divorced from:
          a)   the institution of the Guardianship;
          b)   the institution of the Universal House ofJustice? (p. 148)
  7. What do we find regarding the promise of divine inspiration in:
          a)   the Kitáb-i-Aqdas;
          b)   the Eighth Leaf of the Exalted Paradise? (p. 149)
  8. What is the function of:
          a)   the Guardian of the Faith;
          b)   the Universal House of Justice? (p. 150)
  9. a) What is the difference between the rank of the Guardian and that of `Abdu'l-Bahá?
    b) What does Shoghi Effendi say about the celebration of events associated with the life of the Guardian? (p. 151)
  10. Why can the Administrative Order not be regarded as:
          a)   purely democratic;
          b)   absolutistic ecclesiastical government;
          c)   purely aristocratic? (pp. 153-154)
  11. How can the Administrative Order be said to have reconciled elements from certain forms of government? (p. 154)
  12. How does the steady deterioration of the state of the world contrast with the growth of the power of the Faith? (p. 155)
  13. What are some of the events resulting from the tumult caused by the birth of the new revelation? (p. 156)
  14. What is the hallmark of the Formative Age of the Bahá'í era? (p. 156)
  15. Referring to the Administrative Order, what does Shoghi Effendi describe as:
          a)   its source;
          b)   its shield;
          c)   its seed;
          d)   its axis;
          e)   its guiding principles;
          f)   its laws;
          g)   its twin pillars;
          h)   the seat round which its activities revolve;
          i)   its central aim;
          j)   its watchword;
          k)   its standard;
          l)   its consummation? (pp. 156-157)
    What is the meaning behind each description?

VII. The Unfoldment of World Civilization
  1. What are the twin processes at work in the world and what are the evidences of each? (p. 161)
  2. a) What is the ultimate that the world can achieve, while falling short of the standard inculcated by the Bahá'í Revelation?
    b) How does this achievement differ from the Most Great Peace? (p. 162)
  3. a) What is the supreme mission of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh?
    b) What events will synchronize with the initial stages of the Golden Age? (p. 163)
  4. a) What does Bahá'u'lláh say about the revelation of the Word of God and the nature of humanity?
    b) What does Shoghi Effendi say regarding the stage of maturity in the life of the individual and that of society? (p. 164)
  5. What is the 'momentous crisis' in the life of mankind likened to? Why? (p. 165)
  6. Why does the measure of 'Divine Revelation' entrusted to each of the prophets preceding Bahá'u'lláh differ? (p. 166)
  7. What does `Abdu'l-Bahá affirm regarding the relation of future Manifestations:
          a)   to the Source of their inspiration;
          b)   to the age in which they appear? (p. 167)
  8. What is the period into which 'we are now steadily and irresistibly moving'? (p. 168)
  9. What does Bahi'u'llah say in the Súratu'l-Haykal about the great potentialities with which the world has been endowed? (p. 169)
  10. a) What is the 'two-fold process' bringing the transforming forces to a climax? How are the constructive and destructive forces characterized?
    b) In what has 'the Spirit' incarnated itself? (p. 170)
  11. What events associated with the German Empire signalize the opening ofthe Age of Frustration? What will this Age precede? (p. 171)
  12. How does Bahá'u'lláh warn the German Kaiser? (p. 172)
  13. To what factors can the collapse of the Shí'íh Islam hierarchy be attributed? (p. 172)
  14. a) What were the 'blackest acts' of the Qájár dynasty perpetrated against the Faith?
    b) What were the acts of persecution committed by the Ottoman Empire against the Faith and what were the consequences for Sunni Islám? (pp. 173-174)
  15. What are the 'devastating blows' directed from the invisible Realm against the Ottoman Empire? (p. 175)
  16. a) What were the Divine visitations which befell the persecutors of Christ?
    b) How do the words of Christ addressing Jerusalem compare with those of Bahá'u'lláh addressing Constantinople? (p. 176)
  17. What warning and advice does Bahá'u'lláh offer to:
          a)   Sultan `Abdu'l-`Aziz;
          b)   ministers of the Turkish State;
          c)   the inhabitants of Constantinople? (pp. 177-178)
  18. What is Bahá'u'lláh's prophesy regarding Adrianople? (p. 178)
  19. What are the prophesies in Muslim traditions regarding the future of Islám, cited here by Shoghi Effendi? (p. 179)
  20. What are the processes affecting the institutions of Christianity which will eventually lead to them opposing the Faith? (pp. 180-181)
  21. What are the various grave issues facing the Christian religion? (p. 181)
  22. a) What has been the effect of Communism on Christianity?
    b) What is Hegelian philosophy? (p. 182)
  23. What are some of the 'reversals' faced by the Christian churches in various countries in the world? (p. 183)
  24. a) What is the warning of an American Presbyterian minister to the Church, quoted by Shoghi Effendi?
    b) What has been the consequence of the decline in the cohesion of Christian society? (p. 184)
  25. a) What will happen to the institutions which have strayed far from the spirit of Christ? (p. 185)
    b) What does Bahá'u'lláh say was the effect of the coming of Christ? (p. 185)
  26. How has the decline of religion been mirrored in the morals of society? (p. 186)
  27. What does Bahá'u'lláh say about the lack of unity in the world? (p. 187)
  28. a) What does Shoghi Effendi count as the 'outstanding characteristics' of a decadent society?
    b) What is the stark choice before such a society? (p. 188)
  29. What are the signs of economic and political breakdown:
          a)   in Europe;
          b)   in North America;
          c)   in Asia;
          d)   in Africa? (pp. 188-189)
  30. What are the warnings quoted by Shoghi Effendi regarding the breakout of war in Europe? (p. 189)
  31. What are the signs that demonstrate the 'impotence of present-day institutions' to avert threatening calamities? (p. 190)
  32. What are the first signs that a system of collective security is being seriously considered? (p. 191)
  33. How do the prophetic words of Bahá'u'lláh foreshadow the efforts towards peace? (p. 192)
  34. What will be the effects of the process of disintegration which, despite the faint glimmers of hope, must inexorably continue? (p. 193)
  35. What is Bahá'u'lláh's warning regarding the effects of modern civilization overstepping the bounds of moderation? What are the Signs Of this OVerStepping? (p. 194)
  36. What is the most that the enemies of the Faith can hope to achieve? What is the actual result of their enmity? How do you think this is achieved? (p. 195)
  37. a) What is the designation which best describes the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh?
    b) What is 'the instrument and the guardian' of the Most Great Peace? (p. 196)
  38. How does Queen Marie of Romania describe the Writings of the Faith and what is her plea to those who come across the Writings? (p. 197)
  39. What is the Bahá'í view of:
          a)   citizenship;
          b)   participation in the life of the world;
          c)   loyalty to government;
          d)   particularistic interests? (p. 198)
  40. Why can no Bahá'í identify himself with any ecclesiastical or political system, despite the fact that the Faith may agree with some of their principles? (p. 199)
  41. What function does Shoghi Effendi envisage devolving upon Local Spiritual Assemblies in the East in the near future? (p. 200)
  42. What are some of the instances cited by Shoghi Effendi where the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh is counteracting the forces of disintegration in the world? (pp. 200-201)
  43. To what stage in the development of the human being can the present state of the world be likened? Why? (p. 202)
  44. How will each of the following play their role in the Bahá'í World Commonwealth:
          a)   a world legislature;
          b)   a world executive;
          c)   a world tribunal;
          d)   a world inter-communication system;
          e)   a world metropolis;
          f)   a world language;
          g)   a world script? (p. 203)
  45. In the world society envisioned by the Faith what will happen to:
          a)   the press;
          b)   the economic resources of the world? (p. 204)
  46. What is `Abdu'l-Bahá's prophesy regarding 'the Day of the manifestation of that incomparable Branch'? (pp. 204-205)
  47. What are the prophecies of Isaiah and John, and to what do they refer? (p. 205)
  48. What does Bahá'u'lláh say about the blessedness of the 'earth' and the establishment of His sovereignty upon it? (p. 206)
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