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Abstract:
Did Baha'u'llah anticipate the Institution of the Guardianship in the Kitab-i-Aqdas?

Guardianship, Anticipation of, in the Kitab-i-Aqdas

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice

1992-12-08

1. Question to the Universal House of Justice

Dear Universal House of Justice:

[The individual writes to ask about] the passage in the Kitab-i-Aqdas in which Bahá'u'lláh "anticipates by implication the institution of Guardianship'' and I am writing to request that you identify the passage for me.

I am under the impression that the Guardian is referring to the passage concerning "the endowments dedicated to charity" which you quoted in your December 7, 1969 letter to the Hands of the Cause of God. Can you confirm this for me? I have also heard that since Bahá'u'lláh provides in the Aqdas for payment of the Huququ'llah without specifying its recipient, this is the passage in the Kitab-i-Aqdas that implicitly anticipates the Guardianship. Which of these passages anticipates the Guardianship-- or do both of them? The Guardian states that "in a number of passages" the Aqdas anticipates the institutions of the Administrative Order.2

Thank you for your clarification of this matter for me.

    With deepest Bahá'í love,
    ...
Notes
  1. Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By p. 214
  2. Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, p. 3.

2. Response from the Universal House of Justice

M E M O R A N D U M

To: The Universal House of Justice  
From: The Research Department

The Research Department has studied the questions raised by Mr. ... in his letter of 24 October 1992 to the Universal House of Justice. Mr. ... is writing a paper on the

Mr. ... draws attention to Shoghi Effendi's statement that the Kitab-i-Aqdas anticipates the institutions of the Administrative Order "in a number of passages". He expresses the view that the Guardianship is anticipated in the passage concerning the "endowments dedicated to charity". In addition, he has been informed that since Bahá'u'lláh provides, in the Aqdas, for payment of the Huququ'llah without specifying its recipient, this particular passage implicitly anticipates the Guardianship. He asks whether one or both of these passages anticipate the Guardianship. We provide the following response.

The issues raised by Mr. ... are addressed in a letter dated 27 May 1980 written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice in response to a number of questions about the Kitab-i-Aqdas. The relevant section of this letter is cited below:

Although there is no explicit reference to the Guardianship in the "Kitab-i-Aqdas", the "Synopsis and Codification" lists "Anticipation of the Institution of the Guardianship". On page 214 of "God Passes By", when summarizing the contents of the "Aqdas", Shoghi Effendi states that in it Bahá'u'lláh "anticipates by implication the institution of Guardianship", and again, on page 147 of "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh" the Guardian refers to "the verses of the 'Kitab-i-Aqdas' the implications of which clearly anticipate the institution of the Guardianship". One such implication is in the matter of Huququ'llah (The Right of God), which is ordained in the "Kitab-i-Aqdas" without provision being made for who is to receive it; in His Will and Testament 'Abdu'l-Bahá fills this gap by stating "It is to be offered through the Guardian of the Cause of God...". Other implications of this institution can be seen in the terms in which 'Abdu'l-Bahá is appointed as the Successor of Bahá'u'lláh and the Interpreter of His Teachings. The faithful are enjoined to turn their faces towards the one whom "God hath purposed" and who "hath branched from this Ancient Root" and are bidden to refer whatsoever they do not understand in the Bahá'í writings to him who "hath branched from this mighty Stock. Yet another can be seen in the provision of the "Aqdas" concerning the disposition of international endowments -- a passage which not only refers this matter to the Aghsan (male descendants of Bahá'u'lláh) but also provide for what should happen should the line of Aghsan end before the coming into being of the Universal House of Justice. Thus the "Anticipation of the Institution of the Guardianship" is correctly included in the "Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas".

Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, writing in "Twenty-five Years of the Guardianship", provides the following useful insights concerning the issue of the disposition of the Huququ'llah:

In many ways the Will of the Master completes and supplements the Aqdas; in it 'Abdu'l-Bahá lays down in considerable detail the manner of election and function of the International House of Justice, its powers and jurisdiction; He also fills in a remarkable gap in that mighty book of laws and one which any intelligent commentator on that document must be immediately struck by. Bahá'u'lláh established in His Most Holy Book a very unique voluntary form of tax, a source of revenue, the great importance of which He adequately defines by giving it the exalted title of "The Right of God" (Huququ'llah) but He never states to whom this revenue is payable, and in view of the fact that the revenues of the International House of Justice are clearly stipulated and this Huququ'llah is not included among them, the question naturally occurs -what person or institution is to receive it? 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will elucidates this riddle and fills in the conspicuous blank left by Bahá'u'lláh.3

It should be noted that, in the absence of a Guardian, Huququ'llah is now offered through the Universal House of Justice as the Head of the Faith.

Notes:

  1. "God Passes By" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1987), p. 214.
  2. "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh: Selected Letters" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Trust, 1982), p. 4.
  3. "World Order of Bahá'u'lláh" (Wilmette: Bahá'í Publishing Committee, 1948), p. 4.
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