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Messages from the Universal House of Justice 1963-86

by Universal House of Justice

compiled on behalf of Geoffry W. Marks.
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Chapter 2



A Year of Preparation




Statement of the Universal House of Justice to the First Bahá'í World Congress' 30 APRIL 1963

1.1 "All praise, O my God, be to Thee Who art the Source 0f all glory and majesty, 0f greatness and honor, of sovereignty and dominion. 0f loftiness and grace, of awe and power. Whomsoever Thou wiliest Thou causest to draw nigh unto the Most Great Ocean. and on whomsoever Thou desirest Thou conferrest the honor of recognizing Thy Most Ancient Name, Of all who are in heaven and on earth. none can withstand the operation of Thy sovereign Will. From all eternity Thou didst rule the entire creation. and Thou wilt continue for evermore to exercise Thy dominion over all created things. There is none other God but Thee, the Almighty, the Most Exalted, the All-Powerful, the All Wise."2

1.2 Beloved friends: On this glorious occasion, the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee, we raise our grateful thanks to Bahá'u'lláh for all His bounties showered upon the friends throughout the world. This historic moment marks at one and the same time the fulfillment of Daniel's prophecy. the Hundredth Anniversary of the Declaration of the Promised One of all ages, the termination of the first epoch of the Divine Plan 0f `Abdu'l-Bahá designed to establish the Faith of God in all the world. and the successful conclusion of our bel0ved Guardian's world encircling Crusade, enabling his lovers and loved ones everywhere to lay this glorious harvest of victory in his name at the feet of the Blessed Beauty.3 This Most Great Jubilee is the crowning victory of the lifework of Shoghi Effendi, Guardian of the Cause of God. He it was. and he alone, who unfolded the potentialities of the widely scattered, numerically small. and largely unorganized Bahá'í community which had been called into

___ 1-1. The statement was presented by Mr. David Hofman, a member of the Universal House of Justice, to the Bahá'ís assembled in Royal Albert Hall, London, 28 April-2 May 1963, at the Bahá'í World Congress, which commemorated the Most Great Jubilee, the one hundredth anniversary of Bahá'u'lláh's declaration of His mission, and also marked the victorious completion of the Ten Year Crusade launched by Shoghi Effendi in April 1953 1-2. Bahá'u'lláh, in BP, p. 120. 1-3. 'Abdu'l-Bahá explained that Daniel's prophecy ("Blessed is he who cometh unto the thousand three hundred and thirty five days," Dan. 12:12) points to one century after Bahá'u'lláh's appearance and declaration of His mission in 1863 and refers to the spread of the teachings of the Bahá'í Faith across the world.

The first epoch of the Divine Plan, 'Abdu'l-Bahá's program of action for the worldwide propagation of the Faith, began in 1937 and ended in 1963, with the conclusion of the Ten Year Crusade (1953-63). For further information, see glossary entries on Divine Plan; Crusade, Ten Year World; Epochs; Plans; Tablets of the Divine Plan.

"Blessed Beauty' refers to Bahá'u'lláh.


being during the Heroic Age of the Faith.4 He it was who unfolded the grand design of God's Holy Cause, set in motion the great plans of teaching already outlined by 'Abdu'l-Bahá, established the institutions and greatly extended the endowments at the World Center, and raised the Temples of America, Africa, Australasia and Europe, developed the Administrative Order of the Cause throughout the world, and set the Ark of the Cause true on its course. He appointed the Hands of the Cause of God.

1.3 The paeans of joy and gratitude, of love and adoration which we now raise to the throne of Bahá'u'lláh would be inadequate, and the celebrations of this Most Great Jubilee in which, as promised by our beloved Guardian, we are now engaged, would be marred were no tribute paid at this time to the Hands of the Cause of God. For they share the victory with their beloved commander, he who raised them up and appointed them. They kept the ship on its course and brought it safe to port. The Universal House of Justice, with pride and love, recalls on this supreme occasion its profound admiration for the heroic work which they have accomplished.

We do not wish to dwell on the appalling dangers which faced the infant Cause when it was suddenly deprived of our beloved Shoghi Effendi, but rather to acknowledge with all the love and gratitude of our hearts the reality of the sacrifice, the labor, the self-discipline, the superb stewardship of the Hands of the Cause of God. We can think of no more fitting words to express our tribute to these dearly loved and valiant souls than to recall the Words of Bahá'u'lláh Himself: "Light and glory, greeting and praise be upon the Hands of His Cause, through whom the light of fortitude hath shone forth and the truth hath been established that the authority to choose rests with God, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Unconstrained, through whom the ocean of bounty hath surged and the fragrance of the gracious favors of God, the Lord of mankind, hath been diffused."5

1.4 The members of the Universal House of Justice, all being in Haifa at the time of the election, were able to visit the Holy Shrines of Bahá'u'lláh, the Bab and of Abdu'l-Bahá where they prostrated themselves at the Sacred Thresholds and humbly sought strength and assistance in the mighty task before them. Later in London they have paid homage at the resting-place of Shoghi Effendi, the blessed and sacred bough of the Tree of Holiness.

1.5 As soon as the House of Justice is able to organize its work and deploy its forces it will examine carefully all the conditions of the Cause of God, and

1-4. The Heroic Age, the first of three Ages of the Bahá'í Dispensation, began in 1844 with the Declaration of the Bab, ended in 1921 with the passing of Abdu'l-Bahá, and spanned the ministries of the Bab, Bahá'u'lláh, and 'Abdu'l-Bahá. It was followed by the Formative Age, which in turn will be followed by the Golden Age. For a fuller discussion of the Ages of the Bahá'í Dispensation, see the glossary. 1-5. TB, P. 83.


communications will be made to the friends. At this time we call upon the believers everywhere to follow up vigorously the opportunities opened up by the World Crusade. Consolidation and deepening must go hand in hand with an eager extension of the teaching work so that the onward march of the Cause may continue unabated in preparation for future plans.

2.1 Now that the attention of the public is becoming more and more drawn to the Cause of God the friends must brace themselves and prepare their institutions to sustain the gaze of the world, whether it be friendly or hostile, eager or idle.

The Universal House of Justice greets you all lovingly and joyfully at this 1.6 time, and asks you to pray fervently for its speedy development and the spiritual strengthening of its members.

2 Message to National Conventions 1963 7 MAY 1963

To the annual National Conventions of the Bahá'í World

Beloved Friends,

The marvelous happenings which have transpired during and immediately after the twelve days of Ridvan attest the greatness of the Cause of God, and fill every Bahá'í heart to overflowing with joy and gratitude., It was in obedience to the summons of the Lord of Hosts Himself that the elected representatives of the fifty-six national and regional communities of the Bahá'í world were called to elect, in the shadow of God's Holy Mountain and in the house of the Center of His Covenant, the members of the Universal House of justice. - It was the Sign of God on Earth, the Dayspring of Divine Guidance

___ 2-1. The happenings referred to were the First International Bahá'í Convention held 21-23 April 1963 at the Bahá'í World Center, during which the Universal House of Justice was first elected, and the first Bahá'í World Congress, held in London 28 April through 2 May 1963. Immediately following the World Congress the Universal House of Justice met for several days in the council room of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the British Isles at 27 Rutland Gate, dealing with essential matters concerning its establishment and initial functioning. At the same time, the Hands of the Cause of God were meeting in conclave in another room of the same Haziratu'l-Quds, preparing a first draft of the next teaching plan for submission to the Universal House of Justice and arranging the future disposition of their own work. For the message issued by the Hands of the Cause of God announcing the results of the election of the Universal House of Justice, see the epigraph. 2-2. Bahá'u'lláh wrote, in Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh (pp. 27, 68): "Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time.... It is incumbent upon all to be obedient unto them." "It is incumbent upon the Trustees of the House of Justice to take counsel together regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book, and to enforce that which is agreeable to them.


the Guardian of the Cause of God, who gathered more than six thousand Bahá'ís from all parts of the earth to the celebration of the Most Great jubilee in London. Events of Spiritual and Administrative Significance

2.2 The first of these historic occasions was marked by events of extreme spiritual and administrative significance at the World Center of the Faith. The daily visits of large groups of believers, of many varying backgrounds, to the sacred Shrines in the twin holy CitieS;3 the holding of the First International Bahá'í Convention and the successful accomplishment of its main task; the celebration of the Ridvan Feast by some three hundred believers in the company of the Hands of the Cause of God in the precincts of the Haram-i-Aqdas,4 are events of unique character and untold significance in the history of our beloved Faith.

2.3 The celebration of the Most Great Jubilee in London must be described elsewhere. Suffice it to say now that this greatest gathering of Bahá'ís ever held in one place was permeated by a spirit of such bliss as could only have come from the outpourings of the Abha Kingdom. The review of the progress of the Cause, the presentation of believers from the new races and countries of the world brought within the pale of the Faith during the Beloved Guardian's Ten Year Crusade, of the Knights of Bahá'u'lláh, those valiant souls who carried the banner of Bahá'u'lláh to the unopened and often inhospitable regions of the earth, the spontaneous outbursts of singing of "Allah-u-Abha," the informal gatherings, the constant greetings of Bahá'u'lláh's warriors known to each other only by name and service, the youth gatherings, the unprecedented publicity in the press, on radio and television, the daily stream of visitors to the beloved Guardian's resting-place, the radiant faces and heightened awareness of the true and real brotherhood of the human race within the Kingdom of the Everlasting Father, are among the outstanding events of this supreme occasion, the crowning victory of the lifework of Shoghi Effendi. Reaffirmation of Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God

2.4 The Universal House of Justice wishes to reaffirm at this time the tribute which it felt moved to pay to the Hands of the Cause of God at the World

God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth, and He, verily, is the Provider, the Omniscient." Abdu'l-Bahá, in His Will and Testament (p. 19), wrote: "Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice." The election of the Universal House of Justice was held in the House of Abdu'l-Bahá in Haifa, 7 Haparsim Street, at the foot of Mount Carmel, on 21 April 1963. The results of the election were announced to the delegates the following day, and the Hands of the Cause of God announced the results in a cable to the Bahá'í world (see epigraph). 2-3. Haifa and Akka. 2-4. Haram-i-Aqdas (the Most Holy Court) is a designation Shoghi Effendi gave to the northwestern quadrant of the garden surrounding the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahji.


Congress, those precious souls who have brought the Cause safely to victory in the name of Shoghi Effendi. We wish also to remember the devoted work of their Auxiliary Board members, as well as the services of the Knights of Bahá'u'lláh, of the army of pioneers, the members of the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies, the services and prayers and sacrifices of the believers everywhere, all of which in the sum total have attracted such bounties and favors from Bahá'u'lláh.

2.5 The Universal House of Justice, in several sessions held in the Holy Land and in London, has been able to initiate its work and to make arrangements for the establishment of the Institution in Haifa. It has no officers, and henceforth its communications to the Bahá'í World will be signed Universal House of Justice over an embossed seal.

2.6 Second Epoch of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan The Cause of God, launched on the sea of the Divine Plan of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, has achieved, under the superb leadership of its beloved Guardian, a spread throughout the world and a momentum which must now carry it forward on the next stage of its world-redeeming mission, the second epoch of the Divine Plan.5 The Universal House of Justice, in close consultation with the Hands of the Cause, is examining the vast range of Bahá'í activity and growth in order to prepare a detailed plan of expansion for the whole Bahá'í community, to be launched at Ridvan 1964.

2.7 But there are some objectives to be achieved at once.

Immediate Objectives The consolidation of the goals and new communities of the Bahá'í world is an urgent and immediate task facing the fifty-six National Spiritual Assemblies, and an essential preparation for the launching of the new plans. Pioneers must be maintained at their posts and all the Local Spiritual Assemblies strengthened through a firm establishment of Bahá'í community life and an active teaching program. Those National Spiritual Assemblies which rest on the basis of a small number of Local Spiritual Assemblies must make great efforts to insure that this number will be increased at Ridvan 1964. Pioneers ready to go to consolidation areas, as well as those eager to open new territories, should make their offers through their National Spiritual Assembly. The great work of teaching must be extended, not only in those areas where 2.8 mass conversion is beginning, but everywhere. The high intensity of teaching activity reached at the end of the World Crusade, far from slackening, must now be increased as the friends everywhere draw on the vast spiritual powers released as a result of the celebration of the Most Great jubilee and the emergence of the Universal House of Justice.

2-5. For information on the epochs of the Divine Plan, see message no. 451.


2.9 The Ten Year Crusade witnessed the completion of the structure of the Mother Temple of Europe.6 It is now imperative to complete, without delay, the interior decoration, to install utilities and lay access roads, to landscape grounds and to construct the caretaker's house. This work will cost not less than $210,000_00, but if delayed it will cost considerably more. The House of Justice calls upon the National Spiritual Assemblies to allocate substantial budgets for the immediate completion of this work. Preview of the New Plan

2.10 The plan to be embarked upon next Ridvan, the details of which will be announced during the coming year, will include such projects as the extension and embellishment of the endowments at the World Center; collation of the Writings of Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi; continual reinforcement of the ties binding the Bahá'í World to the United Nations;' formation of many more National Spiritual Assemblies, both by division of existing Regional Spiritual Assemblies and the development of new Bahá'í communities, together with the purchase of national Haziratu'l-Quds, Temple sites and national endowments; the opening of new territories to the Faith; detailed plans for National Spiritual Assemblies involving, in some areas, consolidation goals, in others the multiplication of Bahá'í institutes and schools, in others a great enrichment of Bahá'í literature, and in all a vast increase in the number of Bahá'ís, and the holding of oceanic and intercontinental conferences.

2.11 All such expansion and development of the Faith will be dependent upon the Bahá'í Fund. The Universal House of Justice calls the attention of every believer to this vital and pressing matter, and asks the National Spiritual Assemblies to pay special attention to the principle of universal participation, so that every single follower of Bahá'u'lláh may make his offering, however small or great, and thereby identify himself with the work of the Cause everywhere. It is our hope that a constant flow of contributions to the International Fund will make it possible to build up sufficient reserves for the launching of the new plan in 1964.

2.12 Beloved friends, we enter the second epoch of the Divine Plan blessed beyond compare, riding the crest of a great wave of victory produced for us by our beloved Guardian. The Cause of God is now firmly rooted in the

2-6. The Mother Temple of Europe is the Bahá'í House of Worship in Langenhain, near Frankfurt am Main, Germany. Its cornerstone was laid on 20 November 1960; construction was completed in the spring of 1963. It was dedicated in July 1964 (see message no. 17). 2-7. The Nine Year Plan, 1964-73. 2-8. For more details on the development of the relationship between the Bahá'í community and the United Nations, see messages no. 49, 78, 263, 283.



3.1 Forward then, confident in the power and protection of the Lord of Hosts, who will, through storm and trial, toil and jubilee, use His devoted followers to bring to a despairing humanity, the life-giving waters of His supreme Revelation.


3 Seat of the Universal House of Justice; New Arrangements for Pilgrims 16 JUNE 1963


To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Friends,

The Universal House of Justice has been deeply moved and its hopes have been raised high by the many messages of love, devotion and eager anticipation which have been received from National Conventions and National Spiritual Assemblies. Two decisions have been taken by the Universal House of Justice involving a further development of the institutions at the World Center. The former offices of the International Bahá'í Council at 10, Haparsim Street being inadequate for the far greater volume of work facing the Universal House of Justice, it has been decided to take over the whole of this building (until now called the Western Pilgrim House) as the seat, for the present time, of the Universal House of Justice.,

3.3 This decision made it necessary to find other accommodation for the western pilgrims and led directly to the second decision. After careful consideration of the alternatives the House of Justice has decided that the time has come to take the significant step, anticipated by our beloved Guardian, of housing all pilgrims in one place.2 It was found possible, by slight alterations, to accommodate all pilgrims, without lessening the number, in the former Eastern Pilgrim House and its adjacent buildings. We have therefore established one Pilgrim House, at the Bahá'í Gardens on Mount Carmel. The friends should note that this is where they should go on arrival

3-L The International Bahá'í Council, a body first appointed by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 and elected in 1961 after his passing by members of National Spiritual Assemblies, ceased to exist upon the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. The Universal House of Justice made 10 Haparsim Street its seat until i February 1983; the building now houses the International Teaching Center. For more information on the International Bahá'í Council, see the glossary. 3-2. In April 1969, during the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice took a new action, opening the door of pilgrimage to a greater number of believers and instructing the National Spiritual Assemblies in procedures to be followed. See the Ridvan 126 (1969) message, no. 68.


3.4 All friends whose pilgrimages have been confirmed for 1963-64 are therefore expected. There are still vacancies after December 1963, but only a very few before that date.

3.5 We have asked the Hands of the Cause residing in the Holy Land to continue to be responsible for the program of the pilgrims while they are here, but letters requesting permission to come should be addressed to the Universal House of Justice. With loving greetings, In His Service, THE UNIVERSAL house OF JUSTICE

4 Destruction of the Ishqabad Temple 25 AUGUST 1963

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Bahá'í World

Dear Bahá'í Friends,

4:1 The whole Bahá'í World will be grief-stricken at the news of the sad fate which has overtaken the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in 'Ishqabad, the first Temple raised to the glory of Bahá'u'lláh., Due to its unsafe condition, resulting from earthquakes, the building has been entirely demolished and the site cleared.

4.2 The building of this edifice, the only structure of its kind to be raised and completed in the lifetime of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, was described by the beloved Guardian as "a lasting witness to the fervor and the self-sacrifice of the Oriental believers." This "enterprise," the Guardian further wrote, "must rank not only as the first major undertaking launched through the concerted efforts of His followers in the Heroic Age of His Faith, but as one of the most brilliant and enduring achievements in the history of the first Bahá'í century."2

4.3 The Bahá'í center in 'Ishqabad was founded in the days of Bahá'u'lláh. Already during His lifetime preliminary steps had been adopted by the friends of that community to build, in accordance with the provisions of the Most Holy Book, a Mashriqu'l-Adhkar

4.4 However, the project had to be postponed until 1902, at the end of the first decade of the Ministry of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, when He initiated its construction, called on the friends in the East to offer their contributions towards the

V. The temple was located in Turkmenistan, near the Iranian border, north of the Iranian province of Khurasan. 4-2. GPB, P. 300. The first Bahá'í century ended in 1944. 4-3. The Most Holy Book is the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh's book of laws.


fulfillment of this goal, and personally encouraged and directed its development at every stage. The Bab's cousin, the venerable Haji Mirza Muhammad Taqi, the Vakilu'd-Dawlih, offered his total wealth towards this meritorious enterprise, established his residence in that city, and personally supervised its construction.

4.5 The laying of the cornerstone of this edifice at a ceremony attended by the delegate of the Czar -- the Governor-General of Turkistan -- and the initial steps taken to raise this first House of Worship of the Bahá'í World, inspired the friends in America, who, in 1903, eager to demonstrate the quality of their faith, petitioned 'Abdu'l-Bahá for permission to erect the first Mashriqu'l-Adhkar of the West.

4.6 In addition to the Temple itself, two schools, one for boys and one for girls, and a pilgrim house were built. The local community, and the activities of the friends throughout the provinces of Turkistan expanded and developed in stature until 1928, when the law expropriating religious edifices was applied to this Temple. However, under the terms of two five-year leases, the Bahá'í community was permitted to continue to use the building as a house of worship. In 1938 the Temple was completely expropriated and converted into an art gallery.

4.7 In 1948 violent earthquakes shook the whole town causing devastation and ruin. The building was seriously damaged. The only section which remained relatively secure was the central rotunda. Heavy yearly rains further weakened the structure to such a degree as to endanger the safety of houses in the vicinity. It was at this point that the authorities decided to demolish the remaining edifice and clear the site.

4.8 A reliable report, recently received, indicates that had the Temple been restored to us at this point, we should have had no option but to raze the building ourselves. Please share this news with the friends but we do not wish National Assemblies, Local Assemblies or individual believers to take any action.

With loving greetings,



5 The Guardianship 6 OCTOBER 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved Friends,

5.1 We wish to share with you the text of the following resolution:

After prayerful and careful study of the Holy Texts bearing upon the question of the appointment of the successor to Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Cause of God, and after prolonged consideration of the views of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land, the Universal House of Justice finds that there is no way to appoint or to legislate to make it possible to appoint a second Guardian to succeed Sh

05.2 Please share this message with the friends in your jurisdiction.

With loving greetings,


6 Announcement of the Nine Year Plan OCTOBER 1963

To the Followers of Bahá'u'lláh throughout the World Fellow believers in the Cause of God,

6.1 Six years ago when nearing the midway point of the Ten Year Crusade, the Bahá'í World found itself abruptly deprived of the guiding hand of its beloved Guardian. The anguish which then seized our hearts, far from paralyzing the progress of the Cause, stiffened our resolve and fired our zeal to complete the tasks which God, through His Chosen Branch, had laid upon us.' The august institution of the Hands of the Cause of God which he had, but recently, in compliance with the instructions of the Master's Will, raised up, kept the people of this Cause faithfully to the path which had been shown to us by the pen of divine guidance, and brought us not only to the triumphal conclusion of that Crusade but to the culminating point of the construction of the framework of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order.,

6-1. The Chosen Branch is Shoghi Effendi, Bahá'u'lláh's great-grandson. 6-2. 'Abdu'l-Bahá included in His Will and Testament a provision for the appointment of Hands of the Cause of God (see WT, pp. 12-13).


In March 1930 Shoghi Effendi wrote that Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá had 6.2 "in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the Faith to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the incorruptible inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have bequeathed to the world." After long and prayerful consultation, the House of Justice, as the friends have already been informed, found that there is no way in which it can legislate for a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi.3 The Universal House of Justice has therefore begun, in humble obedience to the Will of God, and strengthened by daily prayer in the Holy Shrines, to undertake the heavy tasks laid upon it. In the words of our beloved Guardian it "Will guide, organize and unify the affairs of the Movement throughout the world" and "will have to consider afresh the whole situation, and lay down the principle which shall direct, so long as it deems advisable, the affairs of the Cause."4

6.3 The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh The Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh is unbroken, its all-encompassing power inviolate. The two unique features which distinguish it from all religious covenants of the past are unchanged and operative. The revealed Word, in its original purity, amplified by the divinely guided interpretations of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, remains immutable, unadulterated by any man-made creeds or dogmas, unwarrantable inferences or unauthorized interpretations. The channel of divine guidance, providing flexibility in all the affairs of mankind, remains open through that Institution which was founded by Bahá'u'lláh and endowed by Him with supreme authority and unfailing guidance, and of which the Master wrote: "Unto this body all things must be referred."5How clearly we can see the truth of Bahá'u'lláh's assertion: "The Hand of Omnipotence hath established His Revelation upon an unassailable, an enduring foundation.

6.4 Storms of human strife are powerless to undermine its basis, nor will men's fanciful theories succeed in damaging its structure. 116

Responsibility of the Institutions As the significance of the Cause of God continues in the years ahead to become more clearly apparent to the eyes of men, a great responsibility to watch over its security rests upon all of its institutions. The Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God, charged in the sacred Texts with the specific

6-3. See message no. 6. 6-4. BA, pp. 39, 4L 6-5. WT, P. 14. 6-6. Quoted in WOB, p. 109.


duties of protecting and propagating the Faith, has a particularly vital responsibility to discharge. In their capacity as protectors of the Faith, the Hands will continue to take action to expel Covenant-breakers and to reinstate those who sincerely repent, subject in each instance to the approval of the Universal House of JUStiCe.7 Exercising their function of propagating the Faith, the Hands of the Cause will inspire, advise and assist the National Spiritual Assemblies in the work as they did in the time of our beloved Shoghi Effendi, assisted by the members of their Auxiliary Boards who will continue to fulfill those functions outlined for them by him.

6.5 We stand now upon the threshold of the second epoch of Abdu'l-Bahá's Divine Plan, with the outposts of the Cause established in the remotest corners of the earth, and having already witnessed the beginnings of that entry into the Faith by troops promised by the Master Himself. The foundation of the Kingdom has been securely laid, the framework has been raised. The friends must now consolidate these achievements, safeguard their institutions and gather the peoples and kindreds of the world into the Ark which the Hand of God has built. Second Global Plan

6.6 Next Ridvan will be launched the second of those world-encircling enterprises destined in the course of time to carry the Word of God to every human soul. The standard-bearers of this Nine Year Plan are the Hands of the Cause of God. The responsibility for directing the work will rest upon the shoulders of the National Spiritual Assemblies, the generals of the Army of Light, under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice.

6.7 As the first step inaugurating this great undertaking we rejoice to announce the formation next Ridvan of nineteen National Spiritual Assemblies, resulting in the dissolution of six of the existing Regional National Spiritual Assemblies, and bringing the total number of these pillars of the Universal House of Justice to sixty-nine. The National and Regional National Assemblies now to be formed are: I. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of North West Africa, with its seat in Tunis, comprising Tunisia, Algeria, Morocco, Spanish Sahara, Rio de Oro, Mauritania, the Canary Is., and Madeira. 2. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of West Africa, with its seat in Monrovia, comprising Liberia, Senegal, Gambia, Portuguese

6-7. To maintain the unity and incorruptibility of the Faith, the Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh established a Center of authority to which all are to turn. This Center has been, successively, Abdu'l-Bahá, Who is uniquely the Center of the Covenant; Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Faith; and the Universal House of Justice, which is the apex of its Administrative Order. A Bahá'í who turns against and defies this Center breaks the Covenant and, if he is adamant in his disobedience, is expelled from the Faith as a Covenant-breaker.


Guinea, Guinee, Sierra Leone, Mali, Upper Volta, Ivory Coast and Cape Verde Is.

3.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of West Central Africa, with its seat in Victoria, comprising Cameroon, Spanish Guinea, St. Thomas I., Fernando Po I., Corisco L, Nigeria, Niger, Dahomey, Togo, and Ghana.

4.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Uganda and Central Africa, with its seat in Kampala, comprising Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Republic of the Congo (Ex-Belgian), the Congo Republic (Ex-French), Central African Republic, Gabon and Chad.

5.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Kenya, with its seat in Nairobi '

6.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Tanganyika and Zanzibar, with its seat in Dar-es-Salaam, comprising Tanganyika, Zanzibar, Mafia I., and Pemba I.

7.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of South Central Africa, with its seat in Salisbury, comprising Nyasaland, Northern Rhodesia, Southern Rhodesia and Bechuanaland.

8.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of South and West Africa, with its seat in Johannesburg, comprising Angola, Southwest Africa, South Africa, Zululand, Swaziland, Basutoland, Mozambique and St. Helena.

9.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Indian Ocean, with its seat in Port Louis, comprising Mauritius, the Malagasy Republic, Reunion I., Seychelles Is., Comoro Is., and the Chagos Archipelago.

10 The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Hawaiian Islands, with its seat in Honolulu.

11.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the South Pacific Ocean, with its seat in Suva, comprising the Gilbert and Ellice Is., Nauru I., Fiji, Samoa Is., Tonga Is., and Cook Is.

12. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the South West Pacific Ocean, with its seat in Honiara, comprising the Solomon Is., New Hebrides Is., New Caledonia and Loyalty Is.

13.The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of North East Asia, with its seat in Tokyo, comprising Japan, Formosa, Hong Kong and Macau.

14. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Korea, with its seat in Seoul.

15. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Malaysia, with its seat in Kuala Lumpur, comprising Malaya, Singapore, Brunei, Sabah and Sarawak.

16. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Indonesia, with its seat in Djakarta, comprising Indonesia, the Mentawai Is., Portuguese Timor and West Iran.


17. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Vietnam, with its seat in Saigon, and having jurisdiction over the Bahá'í's of Cambodia.

18. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Thailand, with its seat in Bangkok, and having jurisdiction over the Bahá'ís of Laos.

19. The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the Philippines, with its seat in Manila.


6.8 The detailed goals of the Plan, which will include sixty-nine national plans, have yet to be announced, but they must be such as to develop still further the World Center of the Faith and the work of its institutions; to consolidate those territories which have already been opened to the Faith; to bring God's heating Message to many more of the peoples and territories of the world including all the unopened territories of the Ten Year Crusade and all the remaining independent states of the planet; and to achieve worldwide proclamation of the Faith to mark the Centenary of Bahá'u'lláh's Proclamation to the kings and rulers in 1867-1868. 1

6.9 In the spring of 1968 the next election for the Universal House of Justice will take place. Third Epoch of the Formative Age

6.10 Beloved friends, the Cause of God, guarded and nurtured since its inception by God's Messengers, by the Center of His Covenant and by His Sign on earth, now enters a new epoch, the third of the Formative Age.9 It must now grow rapidly in size, increase its spiritual cohesion and executive ability, develop its institutions and extend its influence into all strata of society. We, its members, must, by constant study of the life-giving Word, and by dedicated service, deepen in spiritual understanding and show to the world a mature, responsible, fundamentally assured and happy way of life, far removed from the passions, prejudices and distractions of present day society. Relying upon God alone, we can promote His Cause and establish His Kingdom on earth. Only thus can we prove our love for Those Who brought this new day into being. Only thus can we prove the truth of Their Divine Mission and demonstrate how valid was Their Sacrifice.


6-8. For details on Bahá'u'lláh's proclamation to the kings and rulers of the world and a description of the events held throughout the Bahá'í world to commemorate its anniversary, see letters dated Ridvan 1965, 17 March 1967, and October 1967 (messages no. 24, 41, and 46). For the Tablets Bahá'u'lláh sent to the kings and rulers of the world, see Proclamation of Bahá'u'lláh. 6-9.

7.1 For information on the Formative Age, see entries on Ages and Epochs in the glossary.


7 Request for Prayers for Moroccan Bahá'í Prisoners 17 OCTOBER 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Friends,

Our Bahá'í friends who were tried at Nador, Morocco, last year and who received sentences of death or life imprisonment are still being held in prison.1 Their appeal which has been pending for nearly a year still has not been heard. However, we are pleased to report that another Bahá'í prisoner, Mohammad Manaan, of Tangier was recently provisionally released. We are calling for believers throughout the world to pray at the Feast Of Qawl (November 23rd) that early favorable action may be taken in the cases of these devoted and steadfast friends whose long suffering on behalf of our Faith has been an inspiration to Bahá'ís everywhere.

7.3 The friends at the World Center will join you on that day by saying prayers at the Holy Shrines for our Moroccan friends.

With loving greetings,


___ 7-1. In April 1962 fourteen Moroccan Bahá'í men were arrested in Nador. On 31 October 1962, after more than six months of imprisonment, they were tried before the Criminal Court of Nador on charges of rebellion and disorder, attacks on public security, constitution of an association of criminals, and attacks on religious faith. On 10 December 1962 they were found guilty and sentenced. Their cases were then appealed to the Supreme Court of Morocco, which overruled the lower court's verdict and released the men. A worldwide campaign to publicize the plight of the Bahá'í prisoners focused public opinion, favorable to the Bahá'ís, on the Moroccan authorities. For further information, see BW 13:288-89, and messages no. 8 and 12.


8 Report on Moroccan Bahá'í Prisoners 15 NOVEMBER 1963

To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the British Isles, France, and the United States

8.1 Dear Friends, The case of the Bahá'í prisoners in Morocco has passed through three stages:

(a) The arrest, detention and trial which began in April, 1962 and ended on December 15, 1962 when they appeared in court and received their respective sentences. (b) The second stage began when the verdict was known and widely publicized, attracting the attention of many influential people both within and without Morocco resulting in widespread sympathy on behalf of the prisoners and many petitions to the Moroccan government. (c) The third stage has been characterized by relative quiet and lack of publicity while all are waiting for the appeal to be heard. We are now in this stage, the most difficult of all.

8.2 The Universal House of Justice wishes to share with you a summary of the present situation as it appears from reports received from many sources, and to outline the policies which it believes should govern our immediate actions.

8.3 The prisoners, except for one who will be referred to later, are still in prison awaiting their unknown fate with great firmness and patience. For more than a year and a half they have withstood all manner of harassment and difficulty. We are informed that the three sentenced to death have been kept in solitary confinement for twenty-three hours of every day. Because of recent political developments it has become more and more difficult for Bahá'í friends to meet these dear souls in prison, but when it has been possible the Bahá'ís and non-believers alike are astonished that the prisoners are able to demonstrate such exemplary steadfastness and patience.

8.4 It is still not known when the appeal will be heard. At first it was promised that it would be among the first cases taken up after the courts reconvened in October. Again, some felt that it would be delayed until the opening of parliament in November. Now it is thought that the appeal will be heard very soon because it has been presented to the Court in such a way that they cannot delay it longer than one month. A favorable result is also anticipated.

8.5 The prisoner in Tangier, Mr. Maanan, has been provisionally released. His release followed a finding by the magistrate of that city that he could not find any convincing evidence in the file proving the charges regarding political sub 2


version and incitement against Islam were justified. In the view of the magistrate the prisoner is guilty of no other crime than that of being a Bahá'í. Nevertheless, the prosecution appealed from this finding, and it was only after later efforts on the part of the legal committee in Morocco that Mr. Maanan was released.

8.6 Recently there has been a proposal for a change in the law which would provide a penalty of up to three years in prison for persons who are convicted of enticing Muslims to change their faith.

8.7 While this law cannot be applied retroactively to the Bahá'í prisoners, it is felt that this change in the law together with the result in the Tangier case will have a favorable effect on the other cases since it indicated the injustice of the convictions and the harshness of the penalties meted out. We have had many excellent suggestions from all of you as to courses of action which might be taken to secure the release of our fellow Bahá'ís. All have been carefully considered and weighed together in arriving at our present course of action....

8.8 If the appeal should be further delayed, we must reconsider our present policy and do whatever is reasonably required to bring about an early hearing of the appeal. In the meantime the entire Bahá'í world is offering prayers on behalf of the prisoners at the Feast of Qawl.

9.2 This letter is for your own information and is not to be circulated. 8.9

With grateful appreciation and with warm Bahá'í love and greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

9 Development of National Bahá'í Funds 15 NOVEMBER 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Friends,

While it is understood that many communities do not have the resources 9.1 to fully sustain their administrative and teaching work, it is important that each National Assembly make every effort to work out a program and budget which will enable it to become self-sustaining as rapidly as possible. To accomplish this, the friends should be made to appreciate the bounties which come from regular and systematic contribution to the National Fund. The amount of the contribution is not as important as universal participation. In a letter to the National Spiritual Assembly of Central and East Africa dated August 8, 1957 the beloved Guardian said:


9.2a The institution of the National Fund, so vital and essential for the uninterrupted progress of these activities must, in particular, be assured of the wholehearted the ever-increasing and universal support of the mass whose welfare, and in whose name, these beneficent of believers, for these beneficent activities have been initiated and have been conducted. All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. . . .

9.3 National Assemblies needing supplemental assistance for budgets after Ridvan, 1964 should direct their appeal to the Universal House of Justice. They should not appeal to another National Assembly except in specific cases authorized by the Universal House of Justice.

9.4 We shall pray that the bounties of the Almighty will descend upon the growing Administrative Order of His promised Kingdom on Earth so that we may be enabled to take His healing message to all peoples everywhere.

With loving greetings,


10 Relationship of Hands of the Cause of God and National Spiritual Assemblies 19 NOVEMBER 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Friends,

10.1 The relationship of the Continental Hands, and their respective National Assemblies was clearly delineated in the Message of the beloved Guardian dated June 4, 1957:


10-1. Hands of the Cause of God to whom continental responsibilities are assigned as distinct from those whose responsibility it is to serve in the Holy Land.



10.2 These highly significant words of the beloved Guardian clearly foreshadow the tremendous importance of the joint responsibility which he placed upon the Hands and the National Assemblies in protecting the believers and fostering the worldwide development of the Faith.

10.3 We stress the necessity of doing everything possible to expedite and facilitate this free play of consultation between the Hands and the National Assemblies within the spirit and framework of these instructions of Shoghi Effendi. The two institutions have joint and complementary functions which can be discharged successfully only if the greatest degree of understanding and cooperation exists between them.

10.4 We are confident that this relationship will be further strengthened and developed in the manner envisioned by the Guardian, and that it will contribute in large measure to the successful achievement of the goals of the Nine Year Plan which is to be inaugurated this coming Ridvan.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,



11 Auxiliary Board Members on National Spiritual Assemblies 25 NOVEMBER 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Beloved Friends,

11.1 The Hands of the Cause at their London Conclave last May decided that Auxiliary Board members should be free of administrative responsibilities in order to devote their full energies to their work as Board members.1 Those Board members serving on National Assemblies were therefore requested to decide, before Ridvan 1964, in which capacity they could best serve the Cause.

11.2 In view of this request made by the Hands of the Cause to their Auxiliary Board members, the Universal House of Justice has reached the following decisions:

11.2a I. National Assemblies in whose areas of jurisdiction Board members reside, should point out to the delegates at Convention that whilst teaching and administrative duties are not mutually exclusive, it is desirable that Auxiliary Board members, whether for teaching or protection, be left free to concentrate on the work allotted to them by the Hands of the Cause in each Continent. The following extract from the Guardian's letter, written through his secretary, could be shared with the delegates for their guidance when casting their votes: 11.2b "The teachers of the Cause can surely become members of any Assembly or committee. There should be no incapacity attached to them. But Shoghi Effendi would just prefer to see them devote all their time to teaching and leave the administrative functions for those who cannot serve as teachers." (Bahá'í News, October 1932) 11.2c 2. Should Board members still be elected on National Assemblies after the above explanation, it should rest with each Board member to decide

11-i. After Shoghi Effendi's passing in 1957, the functions of preserving the unity of the Bahá'í community, guiding it to the victorious conclusion of the Ten Year Crusade, and calling the election of the Universal House of Justice fell to the Hands of the Cause of God in their capacity as "the Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth" (MBW, p. 127). In order to carry out these vital functions, the Hands of the Cause of God met periodically in conclaves at the World Center to confer on the affairs of the Cause. After the Most Great jubilee, the one hundredth anniversary of Bahá'u'lláh's declaration of His mission, the Hands of the Cause of God met in London to discuss a number of matters, among those being the evolving role of the members of the Auxiliary Board in light of the increasing maturity of the Bahá'í Administrative Order, as evidenced by the formation of the Universal House of Justice at Ridvan 1963 and the existence of fifty-six National Spiritual Assemblies. The Hands of the Cause of God submitted their views to the Universal House of Justice, which made the decisions enumerated in this letter.


which of the two functions he feels best suited to perform. The Universal House of Justice, therefore, approves the request made by the Hands of the Cause to their Board members that they choose between the two functions. 3.In the event of the resignation of Auxiliary Board members from

11.2d National Assemblies, this should be considered as good reason for resignation. If, however, the National Assembly, in view of special conditions, should consider such resignations to be detrimental to the interests of the Faith of that National Community, and the Board member should insist upon resigning on the grounds of his membership on the Board, the matter should be at once referred to the Universal House of Justice by the National Spiritual Assembly for examination and final decision. Pending such a decision, the Board member should continue his membership on the National Assembly, and explain his position to the Hands of the Cause in his continent. 4. Measures will have to be taken by National Assemblies according to 11.2e normal procedure to fill any vacancies created in this way. If the vacancy is recognized while Convention is still in session, a by-election could be arranged before Convention disbands.

With loving Bahá'í greetings,


12 Release of Moroccan Bahá'í Prisoners 18 DECEMBER 1963

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

Dear Friends, Following twenty months of close confinement, and one year after hearing sentences of death and imprisonment imposed on them, our brave and steadfast brother believers in Morocco were set free on Friday, December 131 1963. The long-sought objective has been obtained. As we prayed for their release during the Feast of Qawl, now let the entire

12.2 Bahá'í world join in prayers of thanksgiving for this joyful outcome and that the Blessed Beauty enabled these devoted friends to remain firm in their faith through this trying ordeal., 12-1. See message dated 17 October 1963 (no. 7) requesting prayers worldwide at the Feast of Qawl (Speech), 23 November,


12.3 In view of the situation which continues to be delicate in Morocco, you are urged not to seek publicity in this matter. If you are contacted by the press, make no statement beyond expressing thankfulness for the just decision.

12.4 Each National Assembly is requested, wherever possible, to express gratification to King Hassan II of Morocco for this just decision of the Supreme Court. This should be done in writing through the Moroccan Embassy, or Consulate, serving your area.

12.5 We also request that wherever you consider it advisable you write letters of appreciation to individuals and organizations within your jurisdiction who offered assistance in connection with this case.

With warm and loving Bahá'í greetings, THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

13 The Bahá'í Funds 18 DECEMBER 1963

To the Bahá'ís of East and West Dear Friends,

13.1 With the rapid approach of the launching of the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice feels that it is timely to lay clearly before the Bahá'ís of all countries, the needs of the Fund at all its levels: local, national, continental and international.

13.2 The continual expansion of the Faith and the diversification of the activities of Bahá'í communities make it more and more necessary for every believer to ponder carefully his responsibilities and contribute as much and as regularly as he or she can. Contributing to the Fund is a service that every believer can render, be he poor or wealthy; for this is a spiritual responsibility in which the amount given is not important. It is the degree of the sacrifice of the giver, the love with which he makes his gift, and the unity of all the friends in this service which bring spiritual confirmations. As the beloved Guardian wrote in August 1957: "All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. Upon the degree of self-sacrifice involved in these individual contributions will directly depend the efficacy and the spiritual influence which these nascent administrative institutions, called into being through the power of Bahá'u'lláh, and by virtue of the Design conceived by the Center of His Covenant, will exert."'

13-1. The nascent administrative institutions referred to are the Local and National Spiritual Assemblies. Bahá'u'lláh ordained the institution of the Local Spiritual Assembly in the Kitab-i Aqdas


13.3 Not only the individual's responsibility to contribute is important at this time, but also the uses to which the fund is put and the areas in which it is expended.

13.4 Much of the present rapid expansion of the Faith is taking place in areas of great poverty where the believers, however much they sacrifice, cannot produce sufficient funds to sustain the work. It is these very areas which are the most fruitful in teaching, and a sum of money spent here will produce ten times-even a hundred times-the results obtainable in other parts of the world. Yet in the past months the Universal House of justice has had to refuse a number of appeals for assistance from such areas because there just was not enough money in the International Fund. It should therefore be the aim of every local and national community to 13.5 become not only self-supporting, but to expend its funds with such wisdom and economy as to be able to contribute substantially to the Bahá'í International Fund, thus enabling the House of Justice to aid the work in fruitful but impoverished areas, to assist new National Assemblies to start their work, to contribute to major international undertakings of the Nine Year Plan such as Oceanic Conferences, and to carry forward the work of beautifying the land surrounding the Holy Shrines at the World Center of the Faith. Nor should the believers, individually or in their Assemblies, forget the 13.6 vitally important Continental Funds which provide for the work of the Hands of the Cause of God and their Auxiliary Boards. This divine institution, so assiduously fostered by the Guardian, and which has already played a unique role in the history of the Faith, is destined to render increasingly important services in the years to come. In the midst of a civilization torn by strifes and enfeebled by materialism, 13.7 the people of Baha are building a new world. We face at this time opportunities and responsibilities of vast magnitude and great urgency. Let each believer in his inmost heart resolve not to be seduced by the ephemeral allurements of the society around him, nor to be drawn into its feuds and short-lived enthusiasms, but instead to transfer all he can from the old world to that new one which is the vision of his longing and will be the fruit of his labors.

With loving greetings,


Aqdas (KA 130, n4g.); Abdu'l-Bahá established the institution of the National Spiritual Assembly (see WT, pp. 14-15).

14.1 The design conceived by 'Abdu'l-Bahá is embodied in His Will and Testament, the Charter of the New World Order.


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