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

by Adib Taherzadeh

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Chapter 28

The Guardian and the Universal House of Justice
under the Protection of the Bab and Bahá'u'lláh

17-WT The sacred and youthful branch, the guardian of the
Cause of God as well as the Universal House of Justice, to be
universally elected and established, are both under the care and
protection of the Abha Beauty, under the shelter and unerring
guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One (may my life be
offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of God.
Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed
God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled
against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso
contendeth with them hath contended with God, whoso disputeth
with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath
denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God;
whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him
hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from
God. May the wrath, the fierce indignation the vengeance of God
rest upon him! The mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable
and safe through obedience to him who is the guardian of the
Cause of God.

These words of the Master constitute the most momentous passage of the Will and Testament. As already stated, this document provides the means by which the believers are tested and of all that is in the Will and Testament, this passage creates the greatest test. Indeed, many souls who claimed to have recognized Bahá'u'lláh as' the Supreme Manifestation of God, who had laboured in the promotion of His Cause and who were renowned for their deep knowledge of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá found themselves severely tested by this passage and consequently lost their faith altogether. This occurred because the faith of a believer and his steadfastness in the Covenant are determined by the extent to which he acknowledges the truth of the Master's words regarding the station of the Guardian and of the Universal House of Justice.


[page 277]

It is evident from this passage that the guidance and protection of Bahá'u'lláh and the Bab are conferred upon the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice, independently of each other. As 'Abdu'l-Bahá says, 'The guardian of the Cause of God as well as the Universal House of Justice ... are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty'. Further, in condemning those who oppose the two institutions, He refers to each separately, stating, 'whoso opposeth Him [the Guardian] hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them [the Universal House of Justice] hath contended with God'. Neither in the above passage of the Will and Testament nor in any of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Tablets can we find a single reference or allusion indicating that the guidance of Bahá'u'lláh would reach the Guardian and the House of Justice only if the two combined their functions and worked together.[*]

[* For further discussion of this subject see chapter 36.]

Having experienced bitter opposition by the Covenant-breakers, 'Abdu'l-Bahá aimed to protect the Guardian from the onslaught of the unfaithful. Thus, in language at once forceful and forbidding, in this passage He warns the believers of the consequences of opposition to him and to the House of Justice. He equates disobedience to Shoghi Effendi with disobedience to God. A careful study of the Master's words here makes it clear that there can be no justification for a believer to deny the infallibility conferred upon Shoghi Effendi or to arise against him. Although today some individuals question the validity of the pronouncements the Guardian left behind as divine guidance for generations yet unborn, it is obvious that such people ignore 'Abdu'l-Bahá's emphatic exhortations and act against His commandments.

While a few unfaithful persons rose up in opposition against Shoghi Effendi, the Bahá'í community as a whole, in both the East and the West, took to heart the Master's words and rallied around the Guardian with a devotion and love reminiscent of the days following the passing of Bahá'u'lláh, when the faithful turned in a spirit of utter dedication to 'Abdu'l-Bahá. During the ministry of the Guardian, the believers, through their passionate loyalty to him, their wholehearted belief in him as 'the sign of God on earth' and their faithful and enthusiastic obedience to his guidance, won memorable victories for the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh.

Because of his modesty and profound innate humility, Shoghi Effendi attributed the stupendous achievements of his 36-year ministry to the work of the believers but it is unquestionably clear that the enormous progress of the Faith was entirely due to his divinely guided leadership. Indeed, it was he who nursed and reared the infant Faith of God until it reached the stage of adolescence. It was he who protected it from the attacks, the intrigues, the betrayals and the machinations of its adversaries and of the Covenant-breakers. It was he who fashioned the Bahá'í administration, who laid a broad and solid base for the establishment of its world order and erected the pillars that sustain and buttress the mighty edifice of the Universal House of Justice. It was he who brought the Faith into the limelight of recognition and world attention. It was he who, through his eloquent translations and original writings, immensely enriched Bahá'í literature and promoted its steady growth and dissemination. It was he who directed the construction of the House of Worship in Wilmette, built, embellished and enlarged the Bahá'í holy shrines and organized the Faith's international endowments. But the Guardian's most momentous feat was to organize and weld together the loosely knit, struggling, heterogeneous groups and elements that composed the Bahá'í world into a vast, vigorous, harmoniously functioning, international community. Its existence is something unique in the religious annals of humankind and constitutes the glory and the promise of the Bahá'í commonwealth of the future.

Had there been no appointed Guardian after 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing, it is difficult to see how the Formative Period of the Faith would have unfolded and the glorious future of its Golden Age been assured. During this Formative Period the creative energies released through the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh found incarnation in the rise of a world administrative order. Today its framework is being fashioned by the eager hands of Bahá'ís throughout the world in accordance with the Divine Plan, the instructions of the Guardian and the guidance flowing in great profusion from the Universal House of Justice.

The passing of the Master in November 1921 marks the termination of the Apostolic Age of our Faith and the opening of the Formative one. It, in turn, will culminate in the Golden Age, when the Most Great Peace and a new divine civilization based on the recognition of Bahá'u'lláh and the unity of mankind will be firmly established on this earth. The shape and pattern of this administrative order are outlined in the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in which He, among other things, nominates the Guardian, assigns his functions, makes provisions for the election of the Universal House of Justice and the creation of the institution of the Hands of the Cause and defines the scope and character of these institutions.

At the close of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry there were well-established Bahá'í communities in Persia, the United States, India, Burma, Egypt, Iraq, France and England in which boards of consultation — rudimentary spiritual assemblies — were functioning. Groups of varying size also existed in Turkey, Canada, Russia, Austria, Italy, Holland, Hungary, Arabia, Switzerland, Tunisia, China, Japan, South Africa, Brazil and Australia. The construction of the first Bahá'í House of Worship in 'Ishqabad, Russia, had been completed, and the excavations for the House of Worship in Wilmette had begun. In the Holy Land the original mausoleum of the Bab had been built and an extensive property east of the Shrine acquired. The Eastern and the Western pilgrim houses had also been constructed.

The accession of Shoghi Effendi to the exalted office of Guardianship late in 1921 opened a new chapter in the history of the rise and establishment of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order. Bahá'í groups and communities at that time were still unorganized and most believers had their own crude ideas about the Faith and its outlook. They were still in a state of childhood and needed care and spiritual nourishment.

For no fewer than 15 years (1922-36) the Guardian set himself the herculean task of training and educating these diverse groups and elements in the art of administration and the Bahá'í way of life. He helped them both individually and collectively to attain maturity and spiritual consciousness by demonstrating the aim, the shape and the scope of Bahá'í administration. He harnessed the creative energies of these scattered groups into cohesive institutional forms and channels. And he created a broad and universal foundation for the world-embracing system of Bahá'í administration, delineating the features and functions of both local and national institutions.

The creation of local spiritual assemblies, together with the intensive preparation and instruction of diverse communities in matters of Bahá'í administration, went on so vigorously that four years after 'Abdu'l-Bahá's passing no fewer than five national spiritual assemblies came into being: the British Isles, India and Burma, Germany and Austria, Egypt, and the United States and Canada. A few years later three more national bodies were created: Iraq (193l), Iran (1934) and Australia and New Zealand (1934).

In 1927 the constitution and bylaws drawn up by the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States were universally adopted by the other national bodies. This was a vital step towards the unification of the Bahá'í world community and a necessary instrument for the legal incorporation of Bahá'í institutions, which began with the registration of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada in 1929. By this action the Assembly was given state protection and recognition and was empowered to hold property. Ever since, the process of incorporation of assemblies has continued steadily.[*]

[* For further information about the development of the Administrative Order see Taherzadeh, Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, chapter 26.]

At the time of the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá there was no adequate sense of community life among the believers. It was Shoghi Effendi who, through his eloquent translations of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá, through his own masterly writings,[**] through his guidance and direction of the affairs of local and national assemblies throughout the world and through his constant encouragement and perseverance, patiently and effectively unveiled the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh to their eyes.

[** For further information about the writings of Shoghi Effendi see Taherzadeh, Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, chapter 27.]

In the Heroic Age of the Faith the believers were so attracted to Bahá'u'lláh that they did not pay much attention to anything else. They were in love with Him and were completely intoxicated by the wine of His presence. But now was the time to build the new World Order and it was through Shoghi Effendi's endeavours and guidance that the vision of the Bahá'ís widened. They began to appreciate the Faith in a new light and many arose to build local and national institutions throughout the world.

From the early days of Shoghi Effendi's ministry the followers of the Most Great Name in the cradle of the Faith had been oppressed by the authorities and subjected to sporadic outbursts of persecution, resulting in the martyrdom of many. Shoghi Effendi turned his attention to the institutions of the Faith which, by then, were functioning throughout the length and breadth of that land. He gave them a special task that assumes a great importance in the Cause, namely, the implementation of some of the laws of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the 'warp and woof' of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order. He directed the spiritual assemblies in Persia to begin the enforcement of these laws within the Bahá'í community — laws which, although known to the believers in that land, had not previously been fully observed. In the course of his ministry, Shoghi Effendi elaborated a great deal on the application of these laws, elucidated many intricacies and details connected with them, urged the spiritual assemblies never to compromise when enforcing the laws and counselled them to uphold the standard of justice and impartiality in all cases. Thus he built up a great reservoir of knowledge and experience in this particular field, which will be of great value in the future.

Another significant enterprise undertaken during the first 15 years of the Guardianship was the erection of the superstructure of the House of Worship in Wilmette and the completion of the exterior ornamentation of its dome. This unique achievement by the American Bahá'ís reflects the tenacity and spirit of dedication that enabled them to carry out this mighty task in spite of the unparalleled economic crisis prevailing at that time.

A vast expansion in the range of Bahá'í literature was a further outstanding step taken at this time. During the life of 'Abdu'l-Bahá only a few editions published in English, French, German, Turkish, Russian and Burmese had been available but by 1936 Bahá'í books and pamphlets were printed and circulated in no less than 29 additional languages. The Guardian's monumental renderings of the Word of Bahá'u'lláh into English and his own original works contributed immensely to the extension and enrichment of Bahá'í literature. Another brilliant achievement initiated a few years after the Master's passing was the biennial production of the volumes of The Bahá'í World and the publication of many books and pamphlets about the Faith in different languages.[*]

[* For further information see Taherzadeh, Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, chapter 27.]

In the years following 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension teaching work received a greater impetus than ever before. Undismayed by the Master's sudden removal and spurred on by His brilliant example, Bahá'ís in both the East and the West arose to promote the expansion of the Faith. These teaching campaigns were at first intermittent and haphazard but gradually they became organized and systematic and the exploits and resourcefulness of the American friends in executing them are worthy of the highest admiration. Special reference should be made to the prodigious feats accomplished by Martha Root, 'the Pride of Bahá'í Teachers',[241] whose travels to teach the Faith continued for almost 20 years and carried her four times around the globe. Other international Bahá'í teachers who served during this period include Hyde and Clara Dunn, Keith Ransom-Kehler, May Maxwell and a host of others. Through their outstanding efforts no fewer than 30 sovereign countries were opened to the Faith during the first 15 years of the Guardianship; Some of the other noteworthy events that occurred between 1922 and 1936 include the following:

[241 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 386.]

The passing of the Greatest Holy Leaf, sister of 'Abdu'l-Bahá
in July 1932

The recognition of the independent status of the Faith in Egypt

The seizure of Bahá'u'lláh's House in Baghdad, which led to
the submission of a petition to the League of Nations

The seizure of the Bahá'í House of Worship in Russia and
dissolution of all Bahá'í institutions there

The systematic institution of the 19 day feast

The creation of the International Bahá'í Bureau in Geneva in
1925

The growth of organized youth activities

The acquisition of national centres in Iraq, Egypt, India and
Persia

The enlargement of Bahá'í endowments and properties in the
Holy Land, United States and Persia.

The acquisition of historic sites in Persia

The establishment of permanent summer schools in the United
States (Green Acre, Louhelen, Geyserville)

Sporadic outbursts of persecution in Persia and the closing
down of Bahá'í schools

The transcription and documentation of all original Tablets of
the Bab, Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá

The formation of the International Bahá'í Archives

The inauguration of the first Seven Year Plan was a turning point in the history of the Formative Period of the Faith, marking the fulfillment of the initial stage of the divine mandate 'Abdu'l-Bahá had issued to the American Bahá'ís in the Tablets of the Divine Plan. The outstanding feature of this remarkable period is the initiation of systematic and organized teaching activities, efficiently prosecuted under the direction of the Guardian. Before this, teaching work had been undertaken in a haphazard manner by individuals.

The Guardian launched the first Seven Year Plan (1937- 44) in his message to the National Convention in the United States and Canada, saying:

Would to God every State within American Republic and every
Republic in American continent might ere termination of this
glorious century embrace the light of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh and
establish structural basis of His World Order.[242]

[242 Message of Shoghi Effendi to the 1936 American Convention, in Shoghi Effendi, Messages to America, p. 6.]

The Plan was a supreme challenge to the American friends and its full significance made itself increasingly felt with every passing day. In it Shoghi Effendi introduced two basic strategies for expansion and consolidation, which have been pursued throughout the Bahá'í world ever since. One was the dispatch of a believer — a Bahá'í pioneer — to a territory where there were no Bahá'ís; there he or she engaged in teaching the Cause until enough people embraced the Faith to be able to establish a local spiritual assembly. The. other was the systematic formation of spiritual assemblies in various localities of a country or region, resulting in the establishment of a specific number of assemblies by the end of the Plan.

By the time the Seven Year Plan was triumphantly completed in 1944, coinciding with the worldwide celebrations of the Centenary of the birth of the Faith, the number of local spiritual assemblies in the United States had almost doubled, the number of localities in which Bahá'ís lived had increased enormously and the nucleus of the institutions of the Faith had been established in every republic of Latin America. These tremendous achievements, together with the completion of the exterior ornamentation of the holiest House of Worship in the Bahá'í world, awakened the Bahá'ís of other lands to the pattern of systematic expansion and consolidation of the Faith — a pattern developed as a direct consequence of this first historic Plan, initiated by the Guardian of the Cause of God and executed by the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in the cradle of the Administrative Order of the Faith. Such a glorious triumph for the Cause created an upsurge of eagerness and dedication, of confidence and enthusiasm in the hearts of the believers in other lands. They, too, longed to scale loftier heights in service to the Cause of God.

As each national assembly reached the point of readiness the Guardian gave his approval and encouragement to the formulation of its national plan.[*] These plans were mainly designed to increase the number of local spiritual assemblies, to consolidate them as institutions and to multiply the number of Bahá'í centres within each assembly's boundaries — and beyond. The first to turn to the Guardian for a plan was the British community, which was given a Six Year Plan in 1944. Other plans followed within two to three years. Each had a certain duration and ended either in 1950, the hundredth anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Bab, or in 1953, the Holy Year,[**] the centenary of the birth of Bahá'u'lláh's revelation in the Siyah-Chal of Tihran.

[* For further information about various national plans and the Ten Year Crusade, see Taherzadeh, Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, chapter 28, and Bahá'í' World volumes.]

[** The Holy Year was from October 1952 to October 1953.]

Foremost among these was the second Seven Year Plan of the Bahá'ís of North America, the duration of which marks the second phase of the initial epoch of the Tablets of the Divine Plan. Major international goals incorporated into this Plan included the establishment of local spiritual assemblies in ten countries of Western Europe, the formation of three national assemblies in the Western hemisphere and the interior ornamentation of the Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in the United States. The goals of this Plan were accomplished by its end in 1953. Other national plans were the Indian Four and a Half Year Plan, which was followed by a Nineteen Month Plan; the Persian Forty-five Month Plan; the Australian Six Year Plan; the Iraqi Three Year Plan; the Egyptian Five Year Plan; the German Five Year Plan; the Canadian Five Year Plan, which could be regarded as the continuation of the Seven Year Plan of North America; and finally, the second British Two Year Plan, 'the Africa campaign', in which six national spiritual assemblies worked together for the establishment of the Faith on the continent of Africa. This latter Plan played a significant role in creating the pattern for future international cooperation and inter-assembly projects and was a prelude to the launching of later world-encircling Plans.

Apart from these Plans, which created an upsurge of activity among all the national Bahá'í communities and which inspired many believers to arise as pioneers and settle in goal towns or in virgin territories, other important developments at this time paved the way for the future unfoldment and rise of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh. Foremost among these were the appointment by Shoghi Effendi in 1951 of the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause of God, whose number was soon to be increased; the formation in the same year of the International Bahá'í Council, destined to evolve through successive stages into the Universal House of Justice; the participation of Bahá'í delegates with other non-governmental organizations at the United Nations; and the phenomenal growth of the Faith in Africa, the first continent to witness entry into the Faith in great numbers.

These far-reaching achievements, together with the triumphant conclusion of all national Plans, endowed the community of the Most Great Name with tremendous potentialities for the worldwide expansion and consolidation of the Faith. Through their pursuit of the goals of these Plans, the national communities acquired the vision and capacity to take part in the first international Plan.

Shoghi Effendi launched the Ten Year World Crusade in 1953 and referred to it as the greatest spiritual crusade the world has ever witnessed. It marked both the opening of the third and final phase of the initial epoch of the Tablets of the Divine Plan and the inception of the Bahá'í International Community. It brought together the twelve existing national assemblies of the Bahá'í world to plant the banner of the Faith in all remaining virgin territories of the globe, to multiply the number of the local and national spiritual assemblies throughout the world and to accomplish many other goals.

When the Crusade's goals were announced, the followers of Bahá'u'lláh in every land were staggered with the immensity of the tasks that confronted them. Nevertheless, by the end of the first year of the Plan alone they witnessed with gratitude, awe and wonder, that a hundred virgin territories had been opened to the Faith!

This prodigious expansion of the Cause in the initial phase of the Plan, which inspired an army of Bahá'í pioneers and teachers to rise to loftier heights of heroism and sacrifice and enabled them to accomplish all the major goals of the Plan in the following years, can only be attributed to one thing: the spirit of loyalty and devotion with which the Hands of the Cause of God and their Board Members, the national and local assemblies, the pioneers and the teachers turned to Shoghi Effendi, the Guardian of the Cause and the Sign of God on earth.

In the Holy Land, the process of building the World Centre of the Faith had originated with Bahá'u'lláh through the revelation of the Tablet of Carmel and was initiated by the hand of the Centre of His Covenant through the building of the original Mausoleum of the Bab. During the ministry of Shoghi Effendi this process gathered such momentum that by the end of his life the glory of Carmel, foretold by the Prophets of the past, had become manifest. The superstructure of the Shrine of the Bab, 'the Queen of Carmel', 'crowned in glowing gold, robed in shimmering white, girdled in emerald green', which enchanted 'every eye from air, sea, plain, and hill',[243] had been majestically raised. In its vicinity the monuments marking the resting places of the Greatest Holy Leaf, the Purest Branch and the mother and wife of 'Abdu'l-Bahá had been befittingly erected, forming the focal point of a series of buildings, situated around an arc, which are to constitute the international administrative centre of the Faith. The first in this series, the International Archives Building, within whose walls the most precious relics of the Central Figures of the Faith are preserved, had been constructed. The nine original terraces connecting the city of Haifa to the Shrine of the Bab had been completed and the gardens surrounding the Shrine and the adjoining buildings had been developed and embellished. The international endowments of the Faith stretching from the base to the summit of Mount Carmel, an area of over 350,000 square metres, had been acquired. A plot of land comprising approximately 36,000 square metres had, after tedious and prolonged negotiations, been purchased for the purpose of erecting a Mashriqu'l-Adhkar on Mount Carmel, to be located in 'close proximity to the Spot hallowed by the footsteps of Bahá'u'lláh, near the time-honoured Cave of Elijah, and associated with the revelation of the Tablet of Carmel, the Charter of the World Spiritual and Administrative Centres of the Faith on that mountain'[244]

[243 Letter of Shoghi Effendi, October 1953, in Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Bahá'í World, p. 169.]

[244 Letter of Shoghi Effendi, April 1954, in ibid. p. 63. (Messages to the Bahá'í World.)]

At Bahji, the holiest spot in the Bahá'í world, around the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh, within an area of approximately 160,000 square metres, beautiful gardens had been laid out. Within these gardens, where in the future a magnificent mausoleum over the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh will be constructed, an outer sanctuary (termed the Haram-i-Aqdas) designed to embrace this holy edifice had been created. The realization of such magnificent achievements in the Holy Land during the opening years of the Formative Age of the Faith, together with the detailed delineation of the blueprint for the future development of the World Centre of the Faith, will always be regarded as one of the noblest fruits associated with the ministry of Shoghi Effendi.[*]

[* For further information see Taherzadeh, Covenant of Bahá'u'lláh, chapter 29.]

As one surveys the progress of the Faith during the ministry of the Guardian, it becomes apparent that one of his great achievements was to bring about unity between the various elements that constituted the Bahá'í community in the early years of the Formative Age. When 'Abdu'l-Bahá passed away there was very little Bahá'í literature available in the West and the teachings of the Faith had not fully penetrated the hearts of the believers there. Consequently, one could find some very strange ideas about the Faith circulating among them. In Persia, the cradle of the Faith, the Bahá'ís were still identified as Bahá'ís from Muslim, Jewish or Zoroastrian backgrounds. Although there was unity of belief and thought concerning the station of Bahá'u'lláh among the various sections of the community, the differences in their background, culture and social habits were discernible to all. For instance, Jewish Bahá'ís had their own meetings, distinct from the meetings held by Muslim Bahá'ís. The same was true of Zoroastrian Bahá'ís. Of course, on occasion the whole community worked together and held large gatherings. On Bahá'í holy days, for example, Bahá'ís of different religious backgrounds met together in a spirit of joy and unity. Nevertheless there were social barriers between these three groups in Persia. One of the great achievements of Shoghi Effendi was to transform these differences into unity. Then, towards the end of his ministry, Shoghi Effendi brought together the Bahá'ís of the East and the West in a world-embracing fellowship — the international Bahá'í community.

By the time the Ten Year Crusade was launched in 1953, all the Bahá'ís were working together in a spirit of absolute unity and love under the guidance and leadership of Shoghi Effendi. Indeed, one of the Guardian's feats was the formation of a community spread throughout the world, consisting of peoples of every colour and former creed, of diversified backgrounds, young and old, educated and unlettered, tribal people and citizens of various cultures, speaking different languages and dialects, yet all united in one Faith, practicing the same religious teachings, building the same Administrative Order and having one common purpose — the establishment of the oneness of mankind on this planet. Each local community with its local spiritual assembly was linked to a national assembly and through that institution to the World Centre of the Faith, described by Shoghi Effendi as the heart of the Bahá'í world. From this mighty heart the vivifying forces of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh flowed through the national and local institutions of the Faith to every believer, uniting and harmonizing their activities in the building of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic institutions.

Shoghi Effendi placed everything that the Faith possessed in the proper perspective: its founders, laws, ordinances, teachings, principles and institutions. He enabled the believers to acquire a new conception of community life, of unity and solidarity. To appreciate this great achievement, let us use the following analogy. It is abundantly clear that the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá enshrine the truths of God's Revelation for this age. Each one of Bahá'u'lláh's teachings and ordinances resembles a piece of a colossal jigsaw puzzle. Each piece has a unique place in the overall scheme which, when assembled, produces a certain image intended by the makers. A person may be familiar with each piece but not until the whole set is assembled can he see the full picture emerge before his eyes. The same is true of the Revelation of Bahá'u'lláh. The scholars of the Faith and those who were well versed in the holy writings and the history of the Cause had full knowledge of the teachings and were able to appreciate the significance of His utterances as well as some of the events which were associated with them. But they did not have the vision to grasp fully the overall features of the Faith. At the close of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's ministry, the Bahá'ís were enamoured of Bahá'u'lláh but at the same time many had their own crude ideas about the Faith and its true status.

It was the Guardian who, through his writings, constructed a full image of the Faith for the Bahá'ís to see. He put together all the elements of truth enshrined in the utterances of Bahá'u'lláh, related


[page 288]

them to each other, defined the verities of the Faith, explained their significance, clarified the stations of its Herald, its Author and the Centre of its Covenant, described the glorious destiny of its Administrative Order and portrayed the splendours of the Golden Age, during which the sovereignty of Bahá'u'lláh will be established throughout the world and His grandeur acclaimed by the generality of mankind. Thus the Guardian presented the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh to the Bahá'í community in its true perspective. This is one of his greatest gifts both to this generation and to those yet unborn.


[page 289]

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