Bahá'í Library Online
. . . .
>>   Books
TAGS: Abdul-Baha, Life of (documents); Abdul-Baha, Will and Testament of; Adib Taherzadeh; Bahaullah, Family of; Bahaullah, Life of (documents); Covenant (general); Covenant-breakers; Custodians; Guardianship; Hands of the Cause; Hands of the Cause; Huququllah; Interregnum; Mirza Muhammad Ali; Mirza Yahya (Subh-i-Azal); Shoghi Effendi, Family of; Shoghi Effendi, Life of (documents); Steadfastness; Supreme tribunal; Universal House of Justice (general)
> add tags

The Child of the Covenant:
A Study Guide to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha

by Adib Taherzadeh

previous chapter chapter 26 start page single page chapter 28 next chapter

Chapter 27

The Appointment of Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Cause

The announcement of the appointment of Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Cause of God, about 40 days after the passing of the Master, brought much joy and a sense of relief to the believers who were concerned about the claims of Mirza Muhammad-'Ali. In the opening paragraphs of His Will and Testament, 'Abdu'l-Bahá pays great tribute to Bahá'u'lláh and then with loving and tender words, but without mentioning him by name, He lauds and glorifies the person of Shoghi Effendi:[*]

[* It becomes evident in a later passage of the Will and Testament that this is a reference to Shoghi Effendi.]

2-WT Salutation and praise, blessing and glory rest upon that
primal branch of the Divine and Sacred Late-Tree, grown out,
blest, tender, verdant and flourishing from the Twin Holy Trees;
the most wondrous, unique and priceless pearl that doth gleam
from out the Twin surging seas...

In this passage Shoghi Effendi is referred to by the word 'ghusn', translated as 'branch'.[**] Bahá'u'lláh chose this Arabic word as a designation exclusively for His male descendants. 'The Divine and Sacred Lote-Tree' is a term which appears in many of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, usually symbolizing the Manifestation of God. Shoghi Effendi is described as 'that primal branch ... grown out ... from the Twin Holy Trees ... the priceless pearl that doth gleam from out the Twin surging seas'. The Twin Holy Trees and the Twin surging seas refer to the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh. The mother of Shoghi Effendi, Diya'iyyih Khanum, was the eldest daughter of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. His father, Mirza Hadi Shirazi, was a grandson of Haji Abu'l-Qasim, a cousin of the mother of the Bab and a brother of the wife of the Bab. Thus Shoghi Effendi, descended from Bahá'u'lláh and related to the Bab, was an offshoot of the twin Manifestations of God.

[** While there are no capital letters in Arabic or Persian, in English the word 'branch', the translation of 'ghusn', is usually written with capital B. In the Will and Testament, however, it is not capitalized. The present author believes that since the word 'branch' referred to Shoghi Effendi, he made a point of not capitalizing it out of his deep sense of humility and self-effacement.]

'Abdu'l-Bahá extols Shoghi Effendi in matchless terms, as 'blest, tender, verdant and flourishing ... the most wondrous, unique and priceless pearl'. Bearing in mind that when 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote these words Shoghi Effendi was not yet ten years old, we can observe the superhuman foresight of the Master, who saw in that child such divine attributes as to appoint him the Guardian of the Cause of God and pay tribute to him in such laudatory terms.

In this paragraph, after Shoghi Effendi, the descendants of Bahá'u'lláh and the Afnan — the relatives of the Bab and those of His wife — are addressed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá and He showers His blessings only upon those who have remained faithful to the Covenant, saying:

2-WT [Salutation and praise, blessing and glory rest] upon the
offshoots of the Tree of Holiness, the twigs of the Celestial Tree,
they that in the Day of the Great Dividing have stood fast and
firm in the Covenant...

The next people extolled by 'Abdu'l-Bahá for their outstanding services to the Faith are the Hands of the Cause of God:

2-WT [Salutation and praise, blessing and glory rest] upon the
Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God that have diffused widely
the Divine Fragrances, declared His Proofs, proclaimed His
Faith, published abroad His Law, detached themselves from all
things but Him, stood for righteousness in this world, and
kindled the Fire of the Love of God in the very hearts and souls
of His servants...

This passage outlines the achievements of the Hands of the Cause as they carried out their exalted functions in the service of the Faith. At the time that 'Abdu'l-Bahá wrote His Will and Testament there were four Hands of the Cause who had been appointed by Bahá'u'lláh.[*] Finally, 'Abdu'l-Bahá bestows His blessings upon those believers who are firm in the Covenant and who will follow Shoghi Effendi after His passing:

[* For detailed information about the life and activities of the Hands appointed by Bahá'u'lláh, see Taherzadeh, Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. vol. 4.]

2-WT [Salutation and praise, blessing and glory rest] upon
them that have believed, rested assured, stood steadfast in His
Covenant and followed the Light that after my passing shineth

[page 267]

from the Dayspring of Divine Guidance — for behold! he is the
blest and sacred bough that hath branched out from the Twin
Holy Trees. Well is it with him that seeketh the shelter of his
shade that shadoweth all mankind.

'Abdu'l-Bahá excludes from these words of praise those who claim to believe in Bahá'u'lláh but are not firm in the Covenant. He also excludes those who may confess their belief in Bahá'u'lláh as the Author of the Faith and in 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of the Covenant but do not follow Shoghi Effendi, described here as the 'Light that ... shineth from the Dayspring of Divine Guidance'.

Divine guidance was inherent within the person of Bahá'u'lláh. Through the institution of the Covenant it was conferred upon 'Abdu'l-Bahá, whose every word and deed during His ministry was divinely inspired. This process was continued in the ministry of Shoghi Effendi, as he inherited the same powers born of divine guidance.

In the above passage of the Will and Testament, 'Abdu'l-Bahá again identifies Shoghi Effendi as a branch of the Twin Holy Trees and makes a reference to 'the shelter of his shade that shadoweth all mankind'. One of the greatest achievements of Shoghi Effendi was the building of the Administrative Order, which is the nucleus of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh. During the 36 years of his ministry he erected the institutions of this divine Order, designed by Bahá'u'lláh to act as channels to carry the world-vitalizing spirit of His Faith to humanity. These institutions are now established all over the world and are multiplying rapidly with the passage of time. In light of Shoghi Effendi's creation of a world-encircling network of divine institutions, we may not be wrong in concluding that indeed the shelter of his shade has overshadowed all mankind. But the influence that Shoghi Effendi has exerted on the ultimate establishment of a united world is not limited to his laying the foundations of the institutions of the Administrative Order. He has also left behind a vast number of divinely-guided instructions and counsels that will guide and sustain the Universal House of Justice in the discharge of its sacred duties until the end of this Dispensation.

In the following passage of the Will and Testament, 'Abdu'l-Bahá appoints Shoghi Effendi to succeed Him as the Guardian of the Cause of God:

16-WT O my loving friends! After the passing away of this
wronged one, it is incumbent upon the Aghsan (Branches), the
Afnan (Twigs) of the Sacred Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of
the Cause of God and the loved ones of the Abha Beauty to turn
unto Shoghi Effendi — the youthful branch branched from the
two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from

[page 268]

the union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness, — as he is
the sign of God, the chosen branch, the guardian of the Cause
of God, he unto whom all the Aghsan, the Afnan, the Hands of
the Cause of God and His loved ones must turn. He is the
expounder of the words of God and after him will succeed the
first-born of his lineal descendents [sic].

If one were to summarize the Will and Testament of Bahá'u'lláh or of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in two words, those words would be 'turn unto'. 'Abdu'l-Bahá enjoins on believers of all ranks to 'turn unto' Shoghi Effendi. Again 'Abdu'l-Bahá states that Shoghi Effendi has branched from the Twin Holy Trees of Bahá'u'lláh and the Bab: He designates him as 'the guardian of the Cause of God' and empowers him to be 'the expounder of the words of God'.[*]

[* We will discuss the question of Shoghi Effendi's successor, 'the first-born of his lineal descendants', later in this book.]

A statement of 'Abdu'l-Bahá exhorting the believers to turn to Shoghi Effendi in a spirit of utter obedience, as well as to the Universal House of Justice, is contained in a most challenging and thought-provoking passage found in paragraph 17 of the Will and Testament. Before reviewing this particular passage in the next chapter, it is helpful to study a brief account of the life of Shoghi Effendi during 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry and the many difficulties he encountered immediately after the passing of the Master.

As we have already stated, 'Abdu'l-Bahá describes Shoghi Effendi as 'the most wondrous, unique and priceless pearl that doth gleam from out the Twin surging seas ... the blest and sacred bough that hath branched out from the Twin Holy Trees'. Knowing full well the glorious mission which the Almighty had destined for His first grandson, 'Abdu'l-Bahá extended to him from the time he was born a special measure of care and love and kept him under the wings of His protection. A few of those who had been admitted to the presence of Bahá'u'lláh and who were endowed with spiritual insight observed that the same relationship which existed between Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá was also apparent between 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. That deep sense of humility and utter nothingness which 'Abdu'l-Bahá manifested towards His Father, and which was reciprocated by Him through an outpouring of bounty and love, was likewise established between the young grandchild and his beloved Master. However to avoid creating jealousy in the family, 'Abdu'l-Bahá was cautious of openly showing the intensity of His love for Shoghi Effendi. In spite of this, those believers who were endowed with discernment noticed

[page 269]

this special relationship and had no doubt that the reins of the Cause of God would one day be placed in the hands of Shoghi Effendi.

Haji Mirza Haydar-'Ali and Dr Yunis Khan were among these enlightened believers. The famous poet and devoted promoter of the Cause 'Andalib saw signs of the child's future glory as Shoghi Effendi lay in his cradle and he composed a most delightful lullaby, a song of praise and victory, for him. 'Abdu'l-Bahá conferred upon his first grandchild the name 'Shoghi' (one who longs) but commanded everyone to add the title 'Effendi'[*] after his name. He even told Shoghi Effendi's father not to call him merely 'Shoghi'. The Master Himself called him Shoghi Effendi when he was only a child and wrote this prayer which reveals His cherished hopes for the future of His first grandchild:

[* 'Effendi' is a tide given to men as a term of respect.]

...O God! This is a branch sprung from the tree of Thy mercy.
Through Thy grace and bounty enable him to grow and through
the showers of Thy generosity cause him to become a verdant,
flourishing, blossoming and fruitful branch. Gladden the eyes of
his parents, Thou Who giveth to whomsoever Thou willest, and
bestow upon him the name Shoghi so that he may yearn for Thy
Kingdom and soar into the realms of the unseen![232]

[232 'Abdu'l-Bahá, quoted in Rabbani, Priceless Pearl, p. 5.]

From his early childhood, Shoghi Effendi developed a passionate love for 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Their relationship was unlike that between any other grandchild and grandfather; it was a spiritual force, a heavenly power that linked Shoghi Effendi with his beloved Master. It was this degree of attachment and humble devotion that was reminiscent of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's own attitude towards Bahá'u'lláh. Mrs Ella Goodall Cooper, one of the distinguished believers of the West who attained the presence of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in 'Akka in 1899, recounted her impressions of Shoghi Effendi as a child when he came into a room in the house of 'Abdu'llah Pasha to pay his respects to the Master. She writes:

One day ... I had joined the ladies of the Family in the room of
the Greatest Holy Leaf for early morning tea, the beloved Master
was sitting in His favourite corner of the divan where, through
the window on His right, He could look over the ramparts and
see the blue Mediterranean beyond. He was busy writing Tablets,
and the quiet peace of the room was broken only by the bubble of
the samovar, where one of the young maidservants, sitting on the
floor before it, was brewing the tea.

Presently the Master looked up from His writing with a smile,
and requested Ziyyih Khanum to chant a prayer. As she finished,
a small figure appeared in the open doorway, directly opposite

[page 270]

'Abdu'l-Bahá. Having dropped off his shoes he stepped into the
room, with his eyes focused on the Master's face. 'Abdu'l-Bahá
returned his gaze with such a look of loving welcome it seemed to
beckon the small one to approach Him. Shoghi, that beautiful little
boy, with his exquisite cameo face and his soulful appealing, dark
eyes, walked slowly toward the divan, the Master drawing him as
by an invisible thread, until he stood quite close in front of Him.
As he paused there a moment 'Abdu'l-Bahá did not offer to embrace
him but sat perfectly still, only nodding His head two or
three times, slowly and impressively, as if to say — 'You see? This
tie connecting us is not just that of a physical grandfather but
something far deeper and more significant.' While we breathlessly
watched to see what he would do, the little boy reached down and
picking up the hem of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's robe he touched it reverently
to his forehead, and kissed it, then gently replaced it, while never
taking his eyes from the adored Master's face. The next moment
he turned away, and scampered off to play, like an normal child...
At that time he was 'Abdu'l-Bahá's only grandchild ... and,
naturally, he was of immense interest to the pilgrims.[233]

[233 Cooper, quoted in ibid. pp. 5-6. (Rabbani, Priceless Pearl.)]

This attitude of humility and profound reverence towards the Master was one of the most outstanding features of Shoghi Effendi's personality throughout his entire life.

Shoghi Effendi grew up in the household of 'Abdu'l-Bahá under His care and protection but his childhood years were spent in 'Akka during the time when the Master and His family were incarcerated within the walls of the city and subjected to violent opposition by the Covenant-breakers. Great dangers surrounded the Holy Family. Thus Shoghi Effendi experienced, from the early years of his life, the venomous assaults launched against the Cause by the violation of the Covenant. When at one point the situation in 'Akka became too dangerous and unbearable, 'Abdu'l-Bahá sent Shoghi Effendi to Haifa with his nurse, where he lived until the Master was released from imprisonment and the Holy Family moved there permanently.

Concerning Shoghi Effendi's schooling Ruhiyyih Khanum writes:

Shoghi Effendi entered the best school in Haifa, the College des
Freres, conducted by the Jesuits. He told me he had been very
unhappy there. Indeed , I gathered from him that he never was
really happy in either school or university. In spite of his innately
joyous nature, his sensitivity and his background — so different
from that of others in every way — could not but set him apart and
give rise to many a heart-ache; indeed, he was one of those people
whose open and innocent hearts, keen minds and affectionate
natures seem to combine to bring upon them more shocks and
suffering in life than is the lot of most men. Because of his unhappiness
in this school 'Abdu'l-Bahá decided to send him to Beirut

[page 271]

where he attended another Catholic school as a boarder, and where
he was equally unhappy. Learning of this in Haifa the family sent
a trusted Bahá'í woman to rent a home for Shoghi Effendi in Beirut
and take care of and wait on him. It was not long before she wrote
to his father that he was very unhappy at school, would refuse to
go to it sometimes for days, and was getting thin and run down.
His father showed this letter to 'Abdu'l-Bahá Who then had arrangements
made for Shoghi Effendi to enter the Syrian Protestant
College, which had a school as well as a university, later known as
the American College in Beirut, and which the Guardian entered
when he finished what was then equivalent to the high school.
Shoghi Effendi spent his vacations at home in Haifa, in the presence
as often as possible of the grandfather he idolized and Whom
it was the object of his life to serve. The entire course of Shoghi
Effendi's studies was aimed by him at fitting himself to serve the
Master, interpret for Him and translate His letters into English.[234]

[234 ibid. p. 17. (Rabbani, Priceless Pearl.)]

Shoghi Effendi received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Beirut in 1918. He was then able to return to Haifa and serve the Master, which he did uninterruptedly, day and night, with a devotion that knew no bounds. Not only did he serve as His secretary and the English translator of His Tablets, he also attended to many other duties, which he took upon himself in order to assist the Master in His manifold activities. He did this with characteristic sincerity, promptness and thoroughness, and brought great joy to the heart of the Master.

For a period of two years, until 1920, Shoghi Effendi was the constant companion of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He accompanied his grandfather when He visited high-ranking government officials or religious dignitaries and he saw how the Master treated His friends and dealt with His enemies. In all these encounters, Shoghi Effendi observed the manner in which 'Abdu'l-Bahá conducted Himself, with that majesty and authority that were characteristic of His person. This period, which brought Shoghi Effendi so close to the Master and linked his heart to 'Abdu'l-Bahá's, was among the most fertile of his life. But this intimate association, in the course of which 'Abdu'l-Bahá bountifully endowed the future Guardian with special powers and capacities, irrevocably came to an end when it was decided that Shoghi Effendi should enter Oxford University in England to perfect his English, thus equipping himself to achieve his heart's desire to better translate the Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and other holy writings.

Shoghi Effendi left the Holy Land in the spring of 1920 and began his studies at Balliol College in the autumn of that year. During his short stay in Oxford — a little over one year — he concentrated all his energies on mastering the English language. But he could not complete

[page 272]

his education, for the plan of God cut across his own plans in a most painful manner when 'Abdu'l-Bahá passed away.

The news of the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá came to him as a shattering blow — so much so that when he was informed of it he collapsed. We read the following account by Ruhiyyih Khanum in The Priceless Pearl:

The address of Major Tudor Pole, in London, was often used as
the distributing point for cables and letters to the Bahá'ís. Shoghi
Effendi himself, whenever he went up to London, usually called
there. On 29 November 1921 at 9.30 in the morning the following
cable reached that office:

Cyclometry London
His Holiness 'Abdu'l-Bahá ascended Abha Kingdom. Inform friends.
Greatest Holy Leaf

In notes he made of this terrible event and its immediate
repercussions Tudor Pole records that he immediately notified the friends
by wire, telephone and letter. I believe he must have telephoned
Shoghi Effendi, asking him to come at once to his office, but not
conveying to him at that distance a piece of news which he well
knew might prove too much of a shock. However this may be, at
about noon Shoghi Effendi reached London, went to 61 St James'
[sic] Street (off Piccadilly and not far from Buckingham Palace) and
was shown into the private office. Tudor Pole was not in the room
at the moment but as Shoghi Effendi stood there his eye was caught
by the name of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on the open cablegram lying on the
desk and he read it. When Tudor Pole entered a moment
later he found Shoghi Effendi in a state of collapse, dazed and
bewildered by this catastrophic news. He was taken to the home
of Miss Grand, one of the London believers, and put to bed there
for a few days. Shoghi Effendi's sister Rouhangeze [sic] was studying
in London and she, Lady Blomfield and others did all they
could to comfort the heart-stricken youth.[235]

[235 ibid. p. 39. (Rabbani, Priceless Pearl.)]

In a letter to a Bahá'í friend written a few days after the passing of the Master, Shoghi Effendi shares with him his thoughts about 'Abdu'l-Bahá and informs him of his plans:

The terrible news has for some days so overwhelmed my body, my
mind and my soul that I was laid for a couple of days in bed almost
senseless, absent-minded and greatly agitated. Gradually His
power revived me and breathed in me a confidence that I hope will
henceforth guide me and inspire me in my humble work of service.
The day had to come, but how sudden and unexpected. The fact,

[page 273]

however, that His Cause has created so many and such beautiful
souls all over the world is a sure guarantee that it will live and
prosper and ere long will compass the world! I am immediately
starting for Haifa to receive the instructions He has left and have
now made a supreme determination to dedicate my life to His
service and by His aid to carry out His instructions all the days of
my life.

The friends have insisted on my spending a day or two of rest
in this place with Dr. Esslemont after the shock I have sustained
and tomorrow I shall start back to London and thence to the Holy

The stir which is now aroused in the Bahá'í world is an impetus
to this Cause and will awaken every faithful soul to shoulder the
responsibilities which the Master has now placed upon every one
of us.

The Holy Land will remain the focal centre of the Bahá'í world;
a new era will now come upon it. The Master in His great vision
has consolidated His work and His spirit assures me that its results
will soon be made manifest.

I am starting with Lady Blomfield for Haifa, and if we are
delayed in London for our passage I shall then come and see you
and tell you how marvellously the Master has designed His work
after Him and what remarkable utterances He has pronounced
with regard to the future of the Cause... With prayer and faith
in His Cause, I am your well-wisher in His service,

[236 Quoted in ibid. pp. 40-1. (Rabbani, Priceless Pearl.)]

From Shoghi Effendi's other statements it is clear that although he knew that an envelope addressed to him by the Master was awaiting his return to the Holy Land, he had no knowledge at this time that he was appointed by 'Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament as the Guardian of the Faith, the Interpreter of the Word of God, and the one to whom all were bidden to turn. Such a heavy burden, so suddenly and unexpectedly laid upon his shoulders, came to him as a further shock no less agonizing than the earlier one caused by the news of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing.

Accompanied by his sister Ruhangiz and by Lady Blomfield, Shoghi Effendi sailed from England on 16 December and arrived in Haifa on the 29th, one month after the passing of the Master. The agony of bereavement had taken its toll and Shoghi Effendi was physically a broken man. He was so frail that he had to be assisted up the steps of his home when he arrived. Grief-stricken by the absence of the Master, he was then confined to bed for a number of days. The Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was awaiting the arrival of Shoghi Effendi to be opened. Concerning this, Ruhiyyih Khanum writes:

When 'Abdu'l-Bahá so unexpectedly and quietly passed away, after
no serious illness, the distracted members of His family searched
His papers to see if by chance He had left any instructions as to
where He should be buried. Finding none, they entombed Him
in the centre of the three rooms adjacent to the inner Shrine of the
Bab. They discovered His Will — which consists of three Wills
written at different times and forming one document — addressed
to Shoghi Effendi. It now became the painful duty of
Effendi to hear what was in it; a few days after his arrival they read
it to him. In order to understand even a little of the effect this had
on him we must remember that he himself stated on more than
one occasion, not only to me, but to others who were present at the
table of the Western Pilgrim House, that he had had no foreknowledge
of the existence of the Institution of Guardianship, least of
all that he was appointed as Guardian; that the most he had
expected was that perhaps , because he was the eldest grandson,
'Abdu'l-Bahá might have left instructions as to how the Universal
House of Justice was to be elected and he might have been designated
the one to see these were carried out and act as Convenor
of the gathering which would elect it.[237]

[237 ibid. p. 42-3. (Rabbani, Priceless Pearl.)]

The belief that the Universal House of Justice would come into being immediately after the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was not uncommon among the Bahá'ís. Many of them thought this would happen and soon after Shoghi Effendi's appointment a few ambitious individuals such as Avarih and Ahmad Sohrab[238] tried to insist that the House of Justice should be formed without delay. It is interesting to note that the Master, when in America, spoke to a few friends about the protection of the Faith and the role of the Universal House of Justice in securing it. Here is a summary translation of His words as recorded by Mirza Mahmud-i-Zarqani, the faithful chronicler of His journeys to the West:

[238 See chapter 29.]

I am bearing the discomforts of this journey with stop-overs so that
the Cause of God may be protected from any breach. For I am still
not sure about what is going to happen after me. If I could be sure,
then I would sit comfortably in some corner, I would not leave the
Holy Land and travel far away from the Most Holy Tomb. Once,
after the martyrdom of the Bab, the Cause of God was dealt a hard
blow through Yahya. Again, after the ascension of the Blessed
Beauty, it received another blow. And I fear that self-seeking
persons may again disrupt the love and unity of the friends. If the
time were right and the House of Justice were established,
the House of Justice would protect the friends.[239]

[239 Mahmud-i-Zarqani, Mahmud's Diary, p. 268.]

The Master knew well that Covenant-breakers old and new would renew their onslaught against the Cause of God. From the way the institutions of the Faith have developed since the ascension of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, it can be seen that it was not timely then to establish the Universal House of Justice straight away. In His wisdom He knew that the Faith first needed a Guardian, whose purpose would be, on the one hand, to lay the foundation of the Administrative Order for future generations to build upon and, on the other, to wipe out the evils of Covenant-breaking in the Holy Land.

Although the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá was read out to Shoghi Effendi soon after his arrival in Haifa, it had to be formally presented to the members of the family and others in the Holy Land. On 3 January 1922, in the presence of nine persons, mainly senior members of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's family, and in Shoghi Effendi's absence, the Will and Testament was read aloud and its seal, signature and handwriting were shown to those present. Later, the Greatest Holy Leaf sent cables to Persia and America — the two major communities at that time — informing them that according to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi had been appointed 'Guardian of the Cause of God'.

A major source of consolation and support for Shoghi Effendi from the time he returned to the Holy Land until the end of her earthly life in 1932 was the Greatest Holy Leaf, the adored sister of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. She, the most outstanding woman of the Bahá'í Dispensation, was a tower of strength for everyone. And now that the Master had gone to His heavenly abode, the burden of many responsibilities and, especially in the early days, the protection of the Guardian from the assaults of the Covenant-breakers, were placed upon her shoulders. Ruhiyyih Khanum writes:

Immediately after these events Shoghi Effendi selected eight
passages from the Will and circulated them among the Bahá'ís;
only one of these referred to himself, was very brief and was quoted
as follows: 'O ye the faithful loved ones of 'Abdu'l-Bahá! It is
incumbent upon you to take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi...
For he is, after 'Abdu'l-Bahá, the guardian of the Cause of God,
the Afnan, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the
Lord must obey him and turn unto him.' Of all the thundering and
tremendous passages in the Will referring to himself, Shoghi
Effendi chose the least astounding and provocative to first circulate
among the Bahá'ís. Guided and guiding he was from the very

[240 Rabbani, Priceless Pearl, p. 48.]

[page 276]

previous chapter chapter 26 start page single page chapter 28 next chapter
Back to:   Books
Home Site Map Forum Links Copyright About Contact
. .