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Account of the stewardship of the Hands of the Cause of God from 1957-63, from the passing of Shoghi Effendi to the election of the House, riding the waves of crisis to the moment of victory — the fulfillment of prophecy.
Also available as an updated, corrected Microsoft Word document, prepared by Mike Thomas.

While Ruhiyyih Khanum is not listed as an official author, we have included her as author here because, in the Introduction below, she says the book is "based on the files of the Hands in the Holy Land and on my personal experience as one of the Custodians of the Bahá'í Faith for five and a half years." As well, the Ruhi Book 8 (unit 2 section 1) says of this book "she [Khanum] presents a collection of messages from the Hands of the Cause of God."

Ministry of the Custodians:
An Account of the Stewardship of the Hands of the Cause 1957-1963

by / on behalf of Universal House of Justice and Ruhiyyih (Mary Maxwell) Khanum

Haifa: Bahá'í World Centre, 1992
single page chapter 1 next chapter
(Communication)(Date of Communication)PAGE
Preface xix
The Hands of the Cause of God xxii
Introduction 1
Message from Haifa Nov. 6, 1957 25
Official Statement from the Hands of die Cause in the Holy Land, Haifa Nov. 15, 1957 26
"Bahá'í Hands meet for Obsequies", press report, Haifa Nov. 18, 1957 26
Official Statement from the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land, Haifa Nov. 19, 1957 27
Hands of the Cause, Unanimous Proclamation of the 27
Bahji Nov. 25,1957 28
Affidavit of Corinne True Nov. 30, 1957 30
Hands unanimously constitute a body of nine Hands at the World Centre Nov. 25, 1957 31
Resolution of the Hands defining duties of the nine Custodians, BahjiNov. 25, 1957 32
Resolution of the Hands defining functions of the nine Custodians and the International Bahá'í Council Nov. 25, 1957 34
Proclamation from the First Conclave Nov. 25, 1957 35
Press Release from the World Centre Nov. 1957 39
Statement to all National Spiritual Assemblies from the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land Dec. 2, 1957 40
Unanimous Pledge of Loyalty from 26 National Spiritual Assemblies to the Hands and Custodians 41
Cable announcing all properties in Bahji legally registered Israel Branch American National Spiritual Assembly Dec. 5, 1957 50
Cable appealing to believers to ensure success forthcoming five Intercontinental Conferences Dec. 11, 1957 50
The Passing of Shoghi Effendi by (Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum,Dec. 22,1957 51
Cable, fulfilment of Shoghi Effendi's plans for Bahji,Dec. 25, 1957 51
All Bahá'í religious festivities suspended for nine months Jan. 1, 1958 55
To All Who have left their homeland to pioneer Jan. 5, 1958 55
To the Intercontinental Conference, Kampala Jan. 23-28, 1958 56
Cable to American Hands and National Spiritual Assembly regarding the statement "A New Bahá'í Era" Feb. 3, 1958 60
To the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land from the United States National Spiritual Assembly regarding "A New Bahá'í Era" Feb. 4,1958 61
To the Members of the National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies East and West Feb. 13, 1958 61
Cable to the American Hands regarding statement "A New Bahá'í Era" Feb. 16, 1958 64
To the Hands and National Spiritual Assembly of the United States regarding the statement "A New Bahá'í Era" Feb. 17, 1958 64
To all National Spiritual Assemblies requesting statistical information March 4, 1958 66
To the Hand of the Cause Horace Holley regarding the statement "A New Bahá'í Era" March 10, 1958 66
To all Hands of the Cause regarding the work of the Custodians and the other Hands March 21, 1958 67
To the Intercontinental Conference, Sydney March 21-24, 1958 72
Cable inviting "believers contribute special memorial fund beloved Guardian" April 19, 1958 76
To Annual Bahá'í Conventions,Ridvan Message 1958 76
Election of the first National Spiritual Assembly of France Ridvan 1958 86
Pledge of loyalty from the National Spiritual Assembly of France to the Hands and Custodians 90
Cable, death of Ahmad Sohrab April 27, 1958 90
To the Intercontinental Conference, Chicago May 2-4, 1958 90
To all Hands of the Cause June 12, 1958 98
Statement of the Hands of the Cause regarding the Guardianship June 12, 1958 100
To the Intercontinental Conference, Frankfurt July 25-29, 1958 102
Nine months after the passing of the Guardian, message of the Custodians to the Bahá'í world Aug. 8, 1958 106
Custodians notify Hands date of the next Conclave, November 21st Aug. 11, 1958 108
To all National Spiritual Assemblies, the passing of Shoghi Effendi should not be officially commemorated Aug. 11, 1958 109
Cable announcing the reopening of pilgrimage Aug. 24, 1958 110
To European National Spiritual Assemblies regarding distribution of funds contributed at the Frankfurt Conference Aug. 31, 1958 110
To the Intercontinental Conference, Singapore Sept. 21-29, 1958 111
To various National Spiritual Assemblies regarding erection of the monument on the Guardian's resting-place Oct. 17, 1958 116
Cable to the Bahá'í world announcing completion of the monument on the Guardian's resting-place Nov. 1, 1958 117
Conclave Message to the Bahá'ís of East and West Dec. 6, 1958 117
Message of the Custodians to all Hands Dec. 26, 1958 123
To all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding goals still to be achieved Jan. 6, 1959 129
To all Hands of the Cause conveying general news of the Bahá'í world March 17, 1959 131
To Annual Bahá'í Conventions,Ridvan Message 1959 134
Election of the first National Spiritual Assembly of Turkey Ridvan 1959 148
Election of the South Pacific Regional National Spiritual Assembly Ridvan 1959 151
Election of the first National Spiritual Assembly of Burma Ridvan 1959 155
Election of the first National Spiritual Assembly of Austria Ridvan 1959 158
Cable, progress of the global Crusade June 7, 1959 160
Cable announcing identification and transfer of the remains of the Bab's cousin June 14, 1959 161
Custodians notify Hands date of next Conclave, October 23rd June 30, 1959 161
Request to new National Spiritual Assemblies for Resolution regarding the Custodians of the Faith Sept. 2, 1959 162
Cable, appeal to German Bahá'í Community for pioneers Sept. 2, 1959 163
To all Hands of the Cause forwarding suggested agenda for the next Conclave Sept. 11, 1959 163
To all recently formed National Spiritual Assemblies regarding purchase Temple sites Oct. 8, 1959 164
Cable, removal of remains of the father of Bahá'u'lláh and reinterment in Bahá'í burial ground Oct. 9, 1959 165
Cable announcing Horace Holley and John Ferraby as Custodians Nov. 5, 1959 165
Conclave Message to the Bahá'ís of East and West Nov. 7, 1959 165
To all National Spiritual Assemblies, Hands' appeal for letters from the Guardian to be sent to the World Centre Dec. 4, 1959 171
Appeal to all Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies to win the Guardian's Crusade Dec. 22, 1959 171
Letter of the Custodians to all Hands of the Cause Jan. 8, 1960 177
To all Hands forwarding first Newsletter issued by the Custodians Feb. 11, 1960 178
To all National Spiritual Assemblies forwarding from the Hands their first World Centre Newsletter Feb. 11, 1960 178
News from the World Centre Feb. 11, 1960 178
To All National Spiritual Assemblies regarding semi-annual statistical reports Feb. 21, 1960 183
To Annual Bahá'í Conventions,Ridvan Message 1960 183
Cable to all Hands and National Spiritual Assemblies repudiating Remey claim April 28, 1960 196
Letter to Remey enclosing Hands Holy Land cable April 30, 1960 197
To the National Spiritual Assembly and believers of France regarding the visit of Hand of the Cause A. Q. Faizi May 5, 1960 197
Letter of Hands in the Holy Land to all Hands and National Spiritual Assemblies, with enclosures May 10, 1960 198
To all Hands of the Cause reporting Mr. Faizi's visit to France May 14,1960 202
To all Hands of the Cause and National Spiritual Assemblies from the Custodians, messages expressing loyalty to the Hands May 28, 1960 204
To all Hands of the Cause reporting election of new French National Spiritual Assembly and requesting all Hands send written personal rejection Remey claim June 15, 1960 208
To all National Spiritual Assemblies, unanimous rejection by all National Spiritual Assemblies of Remey claim July 5, 1960 209
To all Hands notifying them of the date of the next Conclave and reporting Remey situation July 7, 1960 210
Cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies announcing the passing of Hand of the Cause Horace Holley July 13, 1960 217
To all Hands forwarding Newsletter issued by the Custodians July 21, 1960. 218
To all National Spiritual Assemblies forwarding Newsletter issued by the Custodians July 21, 1960 218
News from the World Centre July 21, 1960 219
Cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies announcing expulsion Remey July 26, 1960 223
Cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies repudiating Remey's unfounded claims Aug. 3, 1960 223
To all Hands of the Cause appreciating their prompt approval expulsion Remey Aug. 9, 1960 224
To all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding the situation of the Faith in the Middle East Aug. 27, 1960 228
To all Hands of the Cause forwarding suggested agenda for the next Conclave Aug. 31, 1960 229
Appeal to the Bahá'ís of East and West for upsurge of activity Sept. 7, 1960 229
To all National Spiritual Assemblies refuting statements of Remey Oct. 15, 1960 231
Cable announcing corner-stone first European Bahá'í Temple to be laid in Frankfurt, Germany on Nov. 20th Oct. 29, 1960 236
Conclave Message to the Bahá'ís of East and West Nov. 4, 1960 237
Ballot papers for election of the International Bahá'í Council mailed to all National Spiritual Assemblies Nov. 13, 1960 245
Cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies announcing the passing of Hand of the Cause Clara Dunn Nov. 21, 1960 245
Cable, occasion laying corner-stone Mother Temple of Europe, congratulations to German National Spiritual Assembly Nov. 24, 1960 245
To all National Spiritual Assemblies requesting confirmation of receipt of ballot papers Jan. 1, 1961 249
To all National Spiritual Assemblies suggesting send congratulations on early completion Mother Temple of Africa Jan. 4, 1961 249
Cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies announcing laying of the corner-stone of the first European Bahá'í Temple Jan. 12, 1961 249
Dedication of the Mother Temple of Africa Jan. 14, 1961 250
Cable informing die Bahá'í world of the dedication of the Mother Temple of Africa Jan. 24, 1961 253
To all National Spiritual Assemblies appealing for funds to build the Mother Temple of Europe Feb. 12, 1961 253
To all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding the election of 21 new National Spiritual Assemblies in Latin America March 6, 1961 255
Cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies enumerating unprecedented victories past year March 13, 1961 256
Cables to all National Spiritual Assemblies announcing the passing of Hand of the Cause Corinne True April 4 and April 6, 1961 257
To Sponsoring Regional Assemblies of Latin American Conventions enclosing Ridvan Message April 10, 1961 257
To Annual Bahá'í Conventions,Ridvan Message 1961 258
Message of the Custodians to the 21 new National Spiritual Assemblies of Latin America Ridvan 1961 274
Acknowledgements of receipt of ballots for the election of the International Bahá'í Council various dates 282
Cable announcing membership of the elected International Bahá'í Council April 25, 1961 282
Cable instructing previous message (April 25th) be shared with all Hands and National Spiritual Assemblies April 26, 1961 282
Cable to American National Convention expressing admiration their spirit and services May 1, 1961 282
Request to new National Spiritual Assemblies for Resolution supporting the Custodians of the Faith May 23, 1961 283
Cable announcing formation 21 Latin American National Spiritual Assemblies and other victories May 28, 1961 284
Hands in the Holy Land welcome the International Bahá'í Council members June 25, 1961 285
Program of joint meeting of the Hands in the Holy Land and the International Bahá'í Council 285
Assignments of the International Bahá'í Council June 25, 1961 286
Cable to the Bahá'í world announcing first meeting of Custodians and newly-elected International Bahá'í Council June 25, 1961 286
Excerpts from Minutes of first full International Bahá'í Council meeting June 25-July 5, 1961 287
Cable announcing election of officers of the International Bahá'í Council June 29, 1961 291
To the 21 National Spiritual Assemblies in Latin America stressing imperative need for both teaching and economy July 7, 1961 291
To all Hands of the Cause conveying news of activities of the Hands and recent victories July 8, 1961 293
To all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding voting rights July 16, 1961 295
To all Hands of the Cause forwarding suggested agenda for the next Conclave July 17, 1961 297
Hands in the Holy Land introduction to the World Centre NewsletterJuly 31, 1961 298
To all 21 Latin American National Spiritual Assemblies regarding teaching and expansion Aug. 3, 1961 299
To all National Spiritual Assemblies suggesting greetings be sent on historic occasion dedication Bahá'í Temple, Sydney Aug. 8, 1961 301
To all Hands of the Cause from the Custodians, general news Aug. 12, 1961 301
To all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding pioneers' remaining at their posts (with enclosure) Aug. 30, 1961 303
To all Hands of the Cause from the Custodians, general news Sept. 5, 1961 304
To various National Spiritual Assemblies regarding the Bahá'í situation in Turkey Sept. 14, 1961 306
Dedication of the Mother Temple of the Antipodes Sept. 15, 1961 309
Cable informing the Bahá'í world of the dedication of the Mother Temple of the Antipodes Sept. 18, 1961 312
Conclave message to the Bahá'ís of East and West Nov. 5, 1961 313
Cable, on occasion 40th anniversary passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, urging believers hold special prayers for mass conversion Nov. 6, 1961 323
To all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding pilgrimage to the World Centre Dec. 10, 1961 324
To all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding World Congress Arrangements Committee Dec. 10, 1961 324
To the 21 Latin American National Spiritual Assemblies regarding Bahá'í literature Dec. 24, 1961 325
To all National Spiritual Assemblies requesting that "revered" not be associated with Hands' names Dec. 25, 1961 326
To all Hands of the Cause conveying general news of the Bahá'í world Dec. 27, 1961 327
Cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies announcing the passing of Hand of the Cause Amelia Collins Jan. 1, 1962 333
To all Hands and National Spiritual Assemblies regarding who is eligible to attend the International Convention Feb. 22, 1962 333
To all National Spiritual Assemblies, semi-annual reports needed not later than March 15 for Ridvan Message Feb. 22, 1962 334
A Newsletter has been issued from the World Centre, at different periods and under different headings, for well over 50 years.
To Sponsoring Regional Spiritual Assemblies of 11 European Goal Countries enclosing Ridvan Message April 12, 1962 334
To the Indian National Spiritual Assembly's representative attending the first Bahá'í Convention of Ceylon April 13, 1962 335
Election of the first National Spiritual Assembly of Ceylon, message to the inaugural Convention April 1962 336
Cable congratulating European Teaching Committee, sixteen years service April 20, 1962 338
Bahá'í world informed Local Spiritual Assemblies may be constituted any time between Ridvan 1962-1963 April 20, 1962 339
Cable to Annual American Bahá'í Convention Ridvan 1962 339
To Annual Bahá'í Conventions,Ridvan Message 1962 340
To Conventions for the election of the 11 independent European National Spiritual Assemblies,Ridvan Message 1962 352
Cable praising world-wide labours American Bahá'í Community April 28, 1962 360
Cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies enumerating remarkable victories past year May 11, 1962 360
To all Hands of the Cause notifying them Hasan Balyuzi will serve as provisional Custodian July 13, 1962 361
Cable, Hands postpone date of next Conclave July 24. 1962 362
To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the Goal Countries of Europe regarding winning their goals July 27, 1962 362
To all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding maintaining goals won during the World Crusade July 27, 1962 363
To all Hands regarding the forthcoming Conclave, the International Convention and the World Congress July 27, 1962 364
To all National Spiritual Assemblies urging the Bahá'ís to arise and complete the Crusade goals Aug. 16, 1962 365
To all Hands of the Cause conveying general news of the Bahá'í world Aug. 22, 1962 366
To the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States concerning the Morocco Case Aug. 22, 1962 368
Cable to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and the National Spiritual Assembly of France concerning the Morocco Case Aug. 26 and 28, 1962 369
Cable appealing to the Australian Bahá'ís to arise and win their home-front goals Sept. 3, 1962 369
To all National Spiritual Assemblies requesting semi-annual reports by Sept. 30th Sept. 5, 1962 370
To all Hands of the Cause regarding Remey sympathizers in Chile Sept. 7, 1962 371
To all Hands of the Cause regarding use of the Long Obligatory Prayer Sept. 13, 1962 372
To the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States concerning the Morocco Case Sept. 23, 1962 373
To all Hands of the Cause conveying general news of the Bahá'í world Sept. 26, 1962 374
To all Hands of the Cause reporting Chilean Bahá'ís denounce Remey Oct. 10, 1962 375
To all National Spiritual Assemblies announcing Hands will publish statistical pamphlet for World Crusade Oct. 11, 1962 377
Cable to all National Spiritual Assemblies announcing Central and East African National Spiritual Assembly area has over 50,000 Bahá'ísOct. 12, 1962 378
Conclave Message to the Bahá'ís of East and West Nov. 4, 1962 378
To all National Spiritual Assemblies sending ballot papers and instructions for election Universal House of Justice Nov. 4, 1962 390
Cable to the Bahá'í world sharing news of latest victories and statistics Nov. 7, 1962 393
To all National Spiritual Assemblies, allocation of delegates Nov. 8,1962 394
To all National Spiritual Assemblies regarding publicity policy for 1963 Ridvan events in Haifa and London Nov. 25, 1962 395
Cable to Bahá'í Wilmette conveying sentences in the Morocco Case and advising action to be taken Dec. 17, 1962 397
Cables to all National Spiritual Assemblies in Europe and to North West Africa concerning the Morocco Case Dec. 23, 1962 397
Cables to all National Spiritual Assemblies in the Western Hemisphere and 12 National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa, Asia and Australasia concerning the Morocco Case Dec. 23 and 26, 1962 397
Cable to Bahá'í Wilmette informing appeal filed in Morocco Case Dec. 25, 1962 398
To specific National Spiritual Assemblies requesting them and their Local Spiritual Assemblies to write directly to the Moroccan Ambassador Dec. 27, 1962 398
To 37 National Spiritual Assemblies informing them of the increase in number of delegates for their National Conventions Jan. 27, 1963 403
To all Hands of the Cause forwarding suggested agenda for the next Conclave Feb. 18, 1963 403
To the International Bahá'í Council, three Hands appointed to consult with Congress Arrangements Committee March 8, 1963 405
To all Hands of the Cause forwarding preliminary draft of the World Congress program March 11, 1963 405
List of National Spiritual Assembly members, 25 March 1963, the Electoral College of the Universal House of Justice 406
Cable expressing admiration, gratitude to Chief Executors of the Divine Plan on achievement of Guardian's goals April 1, 1963 413
To the National Spiritual Assemblies of the United States and Europe, information on the Morocco Case April 4, 1963 414
Conclave Message cabled to the Bahá'ís of East and West April 9, 1963 420
Hands of the Cause to the International Bahá'í Council expressing appreciation their services and valuable collaboration April 12,1963 421
Cabled message to the Bahá'í prisoners in Morocco April 15, 1963 423
Cable to Persian Bahá'ís expressing eve Most Great Jubilee Hands' admiration and gratitude April 15, 1963 424
Cable to Persia requesting assure believers 'Iraq loving remembrance Holy Shrines April 19, 1963 424
Program of the First International Bahá'í Convention for the election of the Universal House of Justice April 21-23, 1963 424
Cable announcing election of the Universal House of Justice and names of its members April 21, 1963 425
Resolution of the Hands of the Cause regarding conduct of their affairs at the World Centre and abroad May 9, 1963 426
Cable to Annual Bahá'í Conventions, Ridvan Message May 19, 1963 427
To the Hands in the Holy Land from the Universal House of Justice conveying its official address May 26, 1963 428
To all Hands of the Cause conveying Ridvan Message May 27, 1963 428
Hands Holy Land statement to Universal House of Justice recording events first historic International Bahá'í Convention June 7, 1963 429
Universal House of Justice to Hands Holy Land informing them their functions as "Custodians" are terminated June 7, 1963 430
To all Hands of the Cause enclosing legal termination Custodian's functions June 14, 1963 430

(End Sections)

Declaration by the Custodians releasing their powers to the Universal House of Justice 433
Reference Sources 437
Index 439-

Click on any of the numbers below to jump to a specific page of Ministry of the Custodians:

Introductory Pages: i ii iii iv v vi vii viii

Contents (this page above): ix x xi xii xiii xiv xv xvi xvii xviii

Preface and "Hands of the Cause": xix xx xxi xxii xxiii xxiv

Introduction: 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 11 12 13 14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24

1957: 25 26 27 28 29 30 31 32 33 34 35 36 37 38 39 40 41 42 43 44 45 46 47 48 49 50 51 52 53 54

1958: 55 56 57 58 59 60 61 62 63 64 65 66 67 68 69 70 71 72 73 74 75 76 77 78 79 80 81 82 83 84 85 86 87 88 89 90 91 92 93 94 95 96 97 98 99 100 101 102 103 104 105 106 107 108 109 110 111 112 113 114 115 116 117 118 119 120 121 122 123 124 125 126 127 128

1959: 129 130 131 132 133 134 135 136 137 138 139 140 141 142 143 144 145 146 147 148 149 150 151 152 153 154 155 156 157 158 159 160 161 162 163 164 165 166 167 168 169 170 171 172 173 174 175 176

1960: 177 178 179 180 181 182 183 184 185 186 187 188 189 190 191 192 193 194 195 196 197 198 199 200 201 202 203 204 205 206 207 208 209 210 211 212 213 214 215 216 217 218 219 220 221 222 223 224 225 226 227 228 229 230 231 232 233 234 235 236 237 238 239 240 241 242 243 244 245 246 247 248

1961: 249 250 251 252 253 254 255 256 257 258 259 260 261 262 263 264 265 266 267 268 269 270 271 272 273 274 275 276 277 278 279 280 281 282 283 284 285 286 287 288 289 290 291 292 293 294 295 296 297 298 299 300 301 302 303 304 305 306 307 308 309 310 311 312 313 314 315 316 317 318 319 320 321 322 323 324 325 326 327 328 329 330 331 332

1962: 333 334 335 336 337 338 339 340 341 342 343 344 345 346 347 348 349 350 351 352 353 354 355 356 357 358 359 360 361 362 363 364 365 366 367 368 369 370 371 372 373 374 375 376 377 378 379 380 381 382 383 384 385 386 387 388 389 390 391 392 393 394 395 396 397 398 399 400 401 402

1963: 403 404 405 406 407 408 409 410 411 412 413 414 415 416 417 418 419 420 421 422 423 424 425 426 427 428 429 430 431 432 433 434 435 436

Reference Sources: 437 438

Index: 439-485









Light and glory, greeting and praise be upon the Hands of His Cause, through whom the light of long-suffering hath shone forth, and the declaration of authority is proven of God, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Independent, and through whom the sea of bestowal hath moved, and the breeze of the favour of God, the Lord of mankind, hath wafted.


Devotedly, In service to the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh,

Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh,
Bahji, Akka, Israel,
November 25, 1957.


Signatures of the 26 Hands of the Faith present in Bahji who signed the Proclamation on November 25, 1957.



The body of the Hands of the Cause taken in Bahji at their first Conclave in 1957. (Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum and Clara Dunn present but not shown.)




On the steps of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's home: (seated) Musa Banani; first row, left to right: Leroy Ioas, Tarazu'llah Samandari, Agnes Alexander, Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, Enoch Olinga, Jalal Khazeh; second row, left to right: Dhikru'llah Khadem, behind him Collis Featherstone, Adelbert Muhlschlegel, Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i, Hermann Grossmann, Rahmatu'llah Muhajir, Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, John Robarts, 'Ali-Muhammad Varqa and 'Ali-Akbar Furutan; back row: Ugo Giachery, William Sears, Paul Haney, Hasan Balyuzi and John Ferraby.



An Account of the Stewardship of the Hands of the Cause

With an Introduction




ISBN 0-85398-350-X

A Cataloguing-in-Publication number is available
from the British Library

Printed in Great Britain



This book of messages of the Hands of the Cause, from the passing of the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, in November 1957, to the formation of the first Universal House of Justice in 1963, is based on the files of the Hands in the Holy Land and on my personal experience as one of the Custodians of the Bahá'í Faith for five and a half years. It does not pretend to be a history but rather a record of the remarkable and unique accomplishments of an unpretentious group of world religious officials who, with no forewarning or preparation, suddenly, under the most tragic circumstances, found themselves called upon to seize the helm of their Faith, protect it from dissolution and schism, win the goals of an ambitious, far-flung, world ten-year-teaching campaign, which had only reached its half-way point, and steer it to the victory of unitedly electing its Supreme Body in 1963! In other words, it is a view from the inside looking out, as one of the Hands in the Holy Land saw it, throughout that dangerous, challenging, but obviously divinely protected period which will, I am confident, increasingly be seen as one of the most extraordinary victories-won by a handful of high-ranking officers of the Bahá'í Faith, as Shoghi Effendi designated us-ever witnessed in the religious annals of mankind.
The texts of these messages, however vital, could never reflect our concern for the maintenance of the hard-won victories our beloved Guardian had achieved during his thirty-six years of unremitting labour, ending his life at 60, far too early an age for these days.
We Hands, particularly those who were acting as Custodians in the Holy Land, passed through perilous shoals indeed as we guided the precious barque of our Faith on its way through the violent flood of events that followed upon the loss of our hereditary Guardian. The Hands were widely scattered across the world and communication in those days was almost exclusively confined to air mail and cables. With exception of the women Hands, who through age or circumstances were not employed, almost all the men were earning their living and in no position to cease doing so. We all felt that neither our teachings-which preclude a special class of paid religious clergy-nor our limited resources and our tremendous financial obligations could justify the body of the Hands' beginning to live on the Bahá'í Fund; those who were chosen to act at the World


Centre as Custodians, devoting their full time to its interests, obviously had to be supported as part of the expense of running our International Headquarters. We had a strong sense of the need for economy on the one hand, and of the stupendous sums of money we should require in order to win the goals of our Guardian's World Crusade on the other.
It was not the power of our intellect nor our personal capacities which carried us through that period, but the love and loyalty of our hearts for Shoghi Effendi the depth of our devotion to the Faith we believed in, and the divine guidance, inspiration, and protection which were undoubtedly vouchsafed to us-else how could we, all over the world, have held the scattered and diversified community of Bahá'u'lláh together, and victoriously won our Guardian's Crusade, crowning it with the election of the Universal House of Justice? The leaders of neither Christianity nor Islam had succeeded in protecting those world religions from schism, but we protected ours from it. How? By the power vested in us, in the texts of our Scriptures; by our selfless devotion not only to a man who had died suddenly and left no direct guidance or instructions behind him, but also to the great international host of believers now left shepherdless, widely-scattered, remote and isolated, throughout the continents, seas, wildernesses and islands of the planet. So tightly knit was the unity among these followers of Bahá'u'lláh that they proved indivisible in heart, invincible in faith. Above all, we owed the power we were able to exert during this unique crisis to the web of tight, written texts of our teachings that, in spite of this supreme test, could not be violated and to which we held fast, sustaining both ourselves and the Bahá'ís down to the tiniest cell of this great living organism, the Cause of God. The vast fabric of our Faith was not without its own inner system of security: its local and national Bahá'í bodies constituted a world-wide administrative network, and was in the largest sense a legal entity. We had incorporated bodies all over the world, we had national and international funds of the Faith, we had fabulous real estate holdings at our World Centre. On the other hand, we had obligations that brooked no delay. We were like a man who is mortally ill but whose life depends on action. However grief-stricken and lost we were, we could not delay any action of any kind, for a moment. There was no time to pause, to contemplate, to savour our grief. For almost six years we ran, we met the challenges, problems, enemies-we ran.
After the election of the Universal House of Justice on April 21, 1963, when the Hands in the Holy Land returned from the World Congress to Haifa, we held constant meetings in the home of 'Abdu'l-Bahá with the newly-elected members of that Supreme Body to hand over to them the administrative affairs of the Faith. Files and information were turned over to them in a steady process of transfer from our interim, provisional


authority to their permanent established authority according to the Holy Texts.
It is foolish to ask questions of history; it is even more foolish to ask questions of the Almighty. The Guardianship had ceased to exist as an ongoing institution. The Hands had gloriously crowned their function of protection of the Cause of God by calling for and supervising the election of the Universal House of Justice, the Supreme Body of the Bahá'í world; through the aegis of the Institution of the Counsellors, initiated and supported by that Supreme Body, the vital functions of propagation and protection will continue to be carried on. In 1973 the Hands of the Cause became a part of the International Teaching Centre and in this capacity, aside from specific meetings of their own with the Universal House of Justice, both as individual Hands and as a body, hold regular joint meetings with our Supreme Body.



The Hands of the Cause of God


Haji Mulla 'Ali-Akbar-i-Shahmirzadi, known as Haji Akhund
Haji Mirza Muhammad Taqiy-i-Abhari, known as Ibn-i-Abhar
Mirza Muhammad-Hasan, entitled Adibu'l-'Ulama, known as Adib
Mirza 'Alí-Muhammad, known as Ibn-i-Asdaq


Aqa Muhammad-i-Qa'ini, known as Nabil-i-Akbar
Mirza 'Ali-Muhammad-i-Varqa, the martyr
Shaykh Muhammad-Riday-i-Yazdi
Mulla Sadiq-i-Muqaddas, entitled Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq

John E. Esslemont [b. 19 May 1874, d. 22 Nov. 1925]30 Nov. 1925
Haji Abdu'l-Hasan Amin, Trustee of Huququ'llah [b. ?, d. 27 May 1928]July 1928
Keith Ransom-Kehler [b. 14 Feb. 1876, d. 23 Oct. 1933]28 Oct. 1933
Martha Root [b. 10 Aug. 1872, d. 28 Sept. 1939]2 Oct. 1939
'Abdu'l-Jalil Bey Sa'd [b. ?, d. 25 June 1942]25 June 1942
Siyyid Mustafa Rumi [b. ?, d. 13 March 1942]14 July 1945
Muhammad Taqi-i-Isfahani [b. ?, d. 13 Dec. 1946]15 Dec. 1946
Louis Gregory [b. 6 June 1874, d. 30 July 1951]5 Aug. 1951
Roy C. Wilhelm [b. 17 Sept. 1875, d. 20 Dec. 1951]23 Dec. 1951
John Henry Hyde-Dunn [b. 5 March 1855, d. 17 Feb. 1941]26 Apr. 1952

1 See The Bahá'í World, Vol. XIV, 1963-1968, pp. 445-446.



Date of BirthDate of Death
Dorothy Baker21 Dec. 189810 Jan. 1954
Amelia E. Collins7 June 18731 Jan. 1962
'Ali-Akbar Furutan29 Apr. 1905
Ugo Giachery13 May 18965 July 1989
Hermann Grossmann16 Feb. 18997 July 1968
Horace Holley7 Apr. 188712 July 1960
Leroy Ioas15 Feb. 189622 July 1965
William Sutherland Maxwell14 Nov. 187425 Mar. 1952
Charles Mason Remey15 May 18744 Feb. 1974
Tarazu'llah Samandari17 Oct. 18752 Sept. 1968
George Townshend14 June 187625 Mar. 1957
Valiyyu'llah Varqa188412 Nov. 1955

Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i16 Nov. 188916 Nov. 1984
Musa Banani18864 Sept. 1971
Clara Dunn12 May 186918 Nov. 1960
Dhikru'llah Khadem190413 Nov. 1986
Adelbert Muhlschlegel16 June 189729 July 1980
Siegfried Schopflocher187727 July 1953
Corinne TrueI Nov. 18613 Apr. 1961

Hasan Balyuzi7 Sept. 190812 Feb. 1980
Abu'l-Qasim Faizi190619 Nov. 1980
H. Collis Featherstone13 May 191329 Sept. 1990
John Ferraby9 Jan. 19145 Sept. 1973
Rahmatu'llah Muhajir192329 Dec. 1979
Enoch Olinga24 June 192616 Sept. 1979
John Robarts2 Nov. 190118 June 1991
William Sears28 Mar. 191125 Mar. 1992

1 Cables of appointment were sent the previous day.
2 Cables of appointment were sent on 2 October 1957.



Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, [b. 8 Aug. 1910]26 Mar. 1952
Jalal Khazeh [b 1897, d. 20 Feb. 1990]6 Dec. 1953
Paul E. Haney [b. 20 Aug. 1909, d. 3 Dec. 1982]19 Mar. 1954
'Ali-Muhammad Varqa [b. 1911 ]15 Nov. 1955
Agnes B. Alexander [b. 21 July 1875, d. 1 Jan. 1971]27 Mar. 1957



One of two things happens to great historic events, either they are lost sight of temporarily, to sometimes be re-discovered at a later date, or they form part of the great river of man's destiny, never for an instant to be forgotten or submerged. Of such is the unique period of almost six years during which the Hands of the Cause of God, appointed during his lifetime by Shoghi Effendi the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith, who styled them the "Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth" and its "high-ranking officers", arose and firmly seized and guided the destiny of the endangered and grievously shaken body of Bahá'u'lláh's followers the world over. When the appointed and much-loved Head of our Faith suddenly passed away on November 4, 1957 in London, we were twenty-seven in number, five women and twenty-two men, drawn from all continents of the globe, some of whom had never even met the Guardian personally, indeed, eight of us had only been appointed to the rank of Hand by Shoghi Effendi a few weeks prior to his death. Those of us of longer standing felt great compassion for this last contingent of our peers, who, in addition to the shock each one of us had experienced when we were elevated to this high position, were now faced with the additional shock of the realization that Shoghi Effendi was no longer there to guide them personally, that this door was closed forever. The eldest among us, Corinne True, one of the early group of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's disciples in America, was already 96; the youngest, Enoch Olinga, a native of Uganda, only 3 1; listing us according to our diminishing ages, covering sixty-five years of difference, we were, after Corinne True, Clara Dunn in Australia-herself 88, Amelia Collins at the World Centre, Tarazu'llah Samandari, in Persia, Mason Remey at the World Centre, Agnes Alexander in Japan, Musa Banani; in Africa, Horace Holley in America, Shu'a'u'llah 'Ala'i in Persia, Leroy Ioas at the World Centre, Ugo Giachery, in Italy, Jalal Khazeh in Persia, Adelbert Muhlschlegel, and Hermann Grossmann in Germany, John Robarts, in Africa, Dhikru'llah Khadem in Persia, 'Ali-Akbar Furutan; in Persia, Abu'l-Qasim Faizi, in Arabia, Hasan Balyuzi in England, Paul Haney in America, (Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum at the World Centre, 'Ali-Muhammad Varqa in Persia, William Sears in Africa, Collis Featherstone in Australia, John Ferraby in


England, Rahmatu'llah Muhajir in Indonesia and Enoch Olinga, in Africa. Among the men five held the title of "Doctor", two of these being medical men; some of the others had university degrees but we five women, as far as I know, held no university degrees. I go into these details because this is the backdrop, these the leading actors, as the perilous drama of this most recent world religion played itself out successfully from November 4, 1957 to April 21, 1963.
The words of the Universal House of Justice, the Supreme Body of the Bahá'í Faith, in its first message to the Bahá'ís of the world, dated April 30, 1963, at the time of the World Congress in London, are the best tribute to our role in history: "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 labour, 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 long-suffering hath shone forth, and the declaration of authority is proven of God, the Powerful, the Mighty, the Independent; and through whom the sea of bestowal hath moved, and the breeze of the favour of God, the Lord of mankind, hath wafted."'
To this unique testimony should be added the. fact that although the Hands were firmly established as the ruling and guiding body of the entire Bahá'í world, I can bear witness that never for a single instant were the Hands influenced by either ambition or self-esteem. Our sole objective, the purpose of our every effort, was to succeed in electing in 1963 the Universal House of Justice. The Universal House of Justice itself testified that: "The entire history of religion shows no comparable record of such strict self-discipline, such absolute loyalty, and such complete self-abnegation by the leaders of a religion finding themselves suddenly deprived of their divinely inspired guide. The debt of gratitude which mankind for generations, nay, ages to come, owes to this handful of grief-stricken, steadfast, heroic souls is beyond estimation."
Although Bahá'u'lláh created the Institution of the Hands, appointing during His own lifetime four distinguished Persian believers to fulfil this function, and His son and successor, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, later referred to four more outstanding Persian followers of His Father as Hands, it remained for Shoghi Effendi-according to the explicit text of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament the Hands may only be appointed by the Guardian himself-to add forty-two more names to this unique list of people heading the appointive half of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order, thus raising the total to


fifty individuals who have borne this exalted title. Ten Hands were raised by him posthumously to this high rank; of these ten I was present when he nominated six of them after their death. I gathered from Shoghi Effendi that the reason he had not designated as Hands these distinguished men and women during their lifetime was because he considered that, for the most part, the Bahá'ís were still too immature to accept, without jealousy and criticism, that a fellow-believer should stand forth from the rank and file in such a high station, bathed in such a bright light of distinction. I remember how surprised I was when he said this. It was not until six years before his death that Shoghi Effendi-after thirty years of his ministry as Guardian had passed-announced in a cable to the Bahá'í world, dated December 24, 1951, that the hour was "now ripe take long inevitably deferred step conformity provisions 'Abdu'l-Bahá's Testament . . . through appointment first contingent Hands Cause God, twelve in number . . .", linking it to his November 30th; message in which he had outlined detailed plans for the holding of four Intercontinental Conferences in Africa, America, Europe, and Asia, and stating that this step marked the "inauguration beyond limits World Centre Faith intercontinental stage Bahá'í activity". Two months later he followed this by the announcement of the elevation of seven more individuals to the rank of Hand, thus raising the number to nineteen. This initiation of the active functioning of the Institution of the Hands of the Cause under the aegis of the Guardian was not only an immense step forward in the evolution of our Faith but an indication that the still small and few in number Bahá'í communities throughout the world were now mature enough to accept the guidance and leadership implicit in such a body. Between March 1952 and March 1957 Shoghi Effendi appointed five more Hands to replace five who had died, and a month before he passed away he added a final, last contingent to the Hands of the Cause through raising their number by eight more, thus bringing us to twenty-seven-three times nine.
From 1951 to 1957 Shoghi Effendi constantly supervised and guided the Institution of the Hands, that half of the institutions of the World Order of Bahá'u'lláh which has the specialized function to both propagate and protect it. Like a wise gardener, tending and pruning a rare, promising and cherished fruit tree, he watched over us as we Hands served him at the World Centre and in the five continents of the globe. It was he who developed the second phase of our activities through adding, in April 1954, to the powers of our Institution by authorizing us to appoint Auxiliary Boards. Looking back, I believe this constant care and encouragement he gave us succeeded in creating among us not only a sense of passionate loyalty and devotion to him, but a sense of belonging, as a group, to the Institution of the Guardianship.


I would never claim that my impressions are a reflection of Shoghi Effendi's motives; anyone who ever pretends to really understand the Centre of the Covenant-be it Bahá'u'lláh, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, or Shoghi Effendi-immediately presumes equality, which is of course out of the question and utterly ridiculous. However, as a close observer, one has a right to one's opinions. I believe, in choosing those he elevated to the rank of Hand during their lifetime, Shoghi Effendi was primarily influenced by their already demonstrated devotion and capacity to serve the Faith, or the indications he saw in them of a great potential capacity to do so. In rare cases, such as Corinne True, or "Mother" Dunn, it was, I think, a well-deserved crown of reward placed upon their heads for a singularly long and distinguished period of service. The Guardian was certainly not influenced for a moment by what the opinion of the Bahá'ís might be of his choice. He was equally uninfluenced by how we might personally feel; three of us were appointed to our face, so to speak: I was present when he told Fred Schopflocher at the Pilgrim House table that he was making him a Hand; Freddie turned so white I thought he was going to faint! He told Musa Banani; likewise on his pilgrimage, that he was appointing him a Hand; Mr. Banani; begged not to be! I was not present but I heard this. And he told me, after my father died, that he was appointing me a Hand in his place; all my tears and remonstrances and begging him not to had no effect. Shoghi Effendi was singularly uninfluenceable.
Of the thirty-two Hands he appointed during their lifetime the geographic distribution was as follows: Holy Land 4, Asia 10, America 6, Europe 6, Africa 4, Australasia 2; sometimes he associated these appointments with a continental distribution. The final eight Hands-whose names were announced a month before he died and who, with the other nineteen still living Hands, were suddenly obliged to assume the leadership of the Cause of God pending the time when the Universal House of Justice could be elected on a firm basis-were characterized in surprising and significant terms: he said they had been chosen from four continents of the globe and represented not only the black and white races but were of Afnan,1 Christian, Muslim, Jewish and pagan backgrounds. Surely this was a most phenomenal statement, to bring up Enoch Olinga's "pagan" background, considering that his immediate ancestors had been Christians. It certainly emphasized the total lack of any form of prejudice within the Bahá'í Faith; I am sure, however, that the Guardian made Enoch's appointment, like all the other appointments of Hands, on the sole basis of individual merit. I think, moreover, the fact that Enoch was a black African, from a continent which in many cases still had a pagan

1 Relative of the Bab.


element, was an added asset in Shoghi Effendi's eyes. It gave the Institution of the Hands a very broad, world-wide base of not only racial but religious background. As Shoghi Effendi never did anything thoughtlessly, we should ponder the implications of the terms he used. In 1957 there were-and still are-many millions of pagans in the world.
Whatever the reason for Shoghi Effendi's choice of Hands, he once said to me that these were the best he had to choose from; I got the impression he wished he had better. Knowing myself, and my fellow Hands, I am sure all of us lamented in our hearts that we were not worthier, had not more capacity in every way to serve him. Before he died Shoghi Effendi had succeeded in making us feel we were a body to assist him, a world-wide, developing Institution, with an integral and essential part to play in promoting the growth and expansion of our Faith. We were wholly his creation.
The Guardian, in a cable to the Bahá'í world dated January 9, 1951, had proclaimed his "weighty epoch-making decision" to form the first International Bahá'í Council, the "forerunner" of the "supreme administrative institution"' of the Faith, which was destined to emerge in the fullness of time, and he characterized this "historic decision" as "Marking most significant milestone evolution Administrative Order Faith Bahá'u'lláh course last thirty years." Those thirty years were his own ministry since the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in 1921. This first International Bahá'í Council was not elected but selected by Shoghi Effendi himself from individual believers of long standing and proven dedication to the service of the Cause. Less than one year later, on December 24, 1951, he announced the names of the first contingent of Hands. In view of the clear distinction in the Teachings between the elected Universal House of Justice and the appointed Hands of the Cause, it seems to me portentous that the first membership of the International Bahá'í Council included three people soon to be nominated Hands, and that, at the time of the beloved Guardian's passing, five of its officers, so designated by him, namely, myself as liaison between it and him, Mason Remey, its President, Amelia Collins, its Vice-President, Leroy Ioas its Secretary General, and Ugo Giachery, its Member at Large-who lived in Italy and functioned as a European Hand, but frequently visited Haifa at Shoghi Effendi's request-were all Hands of the Cause. In addition to being members of the International Bahá'í Council, these Hands, resident and serving at the World Centre, constituted a separate body, specified by Shoghi Effendi to act as liaison between him and the other Hands throughout the world, conveying their messages to him and his to them,

1 The Universal House of Justice.


thus giving us, during his own lifetime, a dual function as Hands directly serving under him and officers of the International Bahá'í Council. I believe that at that particularly dangerous juncture in Bahá'í history this duality was providential and greatly reinforced the authority and power of the Custodians when faced by the crisis of his sudden passing. When that terrible blow fell upon the Bahá'í world, these five Hands had been constantly serving under his personal instructions for almost six years.
Historic and stirring events moved rapidly during those last years of the Guardianship: on June 30, 1952, Shoghi Effendi wrote of the Faith that "at long last the machinery of its highest institutions has been erected," and that around its most holy Shrines "the supreme organs of its unfolding Order, are, in their embryonic form, unfolding . . ." Block by block he had been laying the foundations of the future World Commonwealth of Bahá'u'lláh in what he termed the "heart and nerve-centre" of the Faith situated in the Holy Land. By April 1954, two years and four months after his first announcement of the appointment of Hands of the Cause, he was able, in a cable addressed to them and to the Bahá'í world, to state how greatly he valued the support of their members at the World Centre, citing five particular fields of service that he considered outstanding: the erection of the superstructure of the Bab's Shrine on Mount Carmel; the reinforcement of the World Centre's ties with the new State; the extension of international endowments in the Holy Land; and, in his own words, the "initiation preliminary measures establishment Bahá'í World Administrative Centre"; to this grandiose picture of our support of his work he added our participation in the four successive Intercontinental Teaching Conferences held at the inception of his World Crusade.
In this same message an immense step forward took place in the world-wide function of the Hands-now nineteen in number-four in the Holy Land and fifteen in the various continents, namely, six in Asia, one in Africa, four in Europe, one in Australasia and three in the Americas through the Guardian's instructions that these continental Hands should appoint Auxiliary Boards, of nine members each, to assist them in their continental areas. He also specified that in addition to acting as deputies of the Hands in their respective continents, they would "aid and advise them in the effective prosecution of the Ten Year Plan" and that, at a later period, they would assist "in the discharge of their dual and sacred task of safeguarding the Faith and of promoting its teaching activities." In October 1957 Shoghi Effendi implemented this duty to safeguard the Faith, shortly before his passing, by creating an additional Auxiliary Board, whose function was to be, under the direct guidance of the Hands of the Cause, "watching over the security of the Faith". He had already stated, only five months before he passed away, in a general communication


addressed to both the Hands and the National Spiritual Assemblies, that the divinely appointed Institution of the Hands of the Faith was entering a new phase in the unfoldment of "its sacred mission", and that to their other functions was now added the "primary obligation" to watch over and ensure the protection of the Bahá'í World Community "in close collaboration" with the National Assemblies.
The temporary headship of the Bahá'í Faith by the Hands of the Cause appointed by Shoghi Effendi commenced with his wholly unexpected and sudden passing through a heart attack in London, England, on November 4, 1957, after he had fully recovered from Asiatic flu, an event which shook the Bahá'í world to its roots. I sent a cable as follows, via Haifa (our usual practice), on that same day, which announced, from the World Centre, his passing:

Once this official and tragic announcement had gone forth from the World Centre, subsequent messages perforce were sent direct from London. On November 5th another cable went out to all National Spiritual Assemblies:

This terrible news evoked throughout the Bahá'í world a passionate wave of response; cables and letters expressing the shock and sorrow of the believers and their firm loyalty to the Hands poured in after his passing.


Eighteen Hands of the Cause assembled in London to attend the funeral of their Guardian. Those who were unable to be present were either too old and frail to do so, or, in some cases, were requested to remain at their posts for the protection of the Faith at this moment of great crisis.
The following cables were sent on two successive days after the funeral, held on November 9th in the Great Northern London Cemetery:

The labours of the Hands of the Cause at the time of this unique crisis followed an unbroken pattern till the day the Universal House of Justice was elected on April 21, 1963. The Hands who had gathered in London met and, in spite of their shock and grief, decided not an instant's time must be lost in holding a plenary meeting of our entire body at our World Centre in the Holy Land. This was called for November 18th. Our first act was to choose a delegation to open the apartment of Shoghi Effendi which had been sealed by the International Bahá'í Council right after his passing (in addition to being locked by him when we left Haifa, as was his usual custom) and to make an exhaustive search for any document he might have left-a Will or otherwise. There was no such thing to be found.
The general body of the Hands then met in the upper hall of the


Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh at Bahji near His resting-place, for the first of their six Conclaves until the election of the Universal House of Justice took place. Of all our Conclaves-the only befitting term for such august gatherings-that first one was the most epoch-making. Not only were we dazed and grieving, we were orphans, deprived of our father. The responsibility for the entire Cause of God, to which each one of us was wholly consecrated, had been placed in our hands, with neither premonition, warning nor advice. Aside from the thought that we were now the only ones to direct the Bahá'ís of the world, to protect and guide them and to win the Crusade of our beloved Guardian, we were faced with problems of inconceivable magnitude. How to assume the reins of authority, with no document to support us, other than the general theological statements about the Hands? What should we do regarding money, urgently needed for the monthly upkeep of the Shrines, Holy Places, pilgrim houses, and gardens, and to pay not only these substantial recurring bills but continue to finance innumerable vital Bahá'í undertakings throughout the world which Shoghi Effendi himself had inaugurated and supported from his funds as Head of the Faith? What was our legal status, on which hinged the delicate question that all the international financial assets of the Faith were in the name of Shoghi Effendi What would we say about the Guardianship?
When one adds to the staggering total of the above enumerated problems the fact that all this rested on the shoulders of twenty-seven Hands, the first of whom had only been called to their high office six years previously and the last of whom were appointed a bare four weeks before Shoghi Effendi passed away, one gets some idea of the state and the burden of the Hands of the Cause of God.
As we sat in the great upstairs hall of the Mansion-so sacred, so private-our historic Proclamation was worked out; it was signed by all the Hands of the Cause except Corinne True, then aged 96, who was unable to travel from the United States to the Holy Land but quite capable of being one of the signatories by consent of that historic document. Clara Dunn, 88, was, however, present in Haifa and signed the document herself, but because of age and infirmity was not able to attend our meetings. When one remembers that of the twenty-five of us gathered in the Mansion, most of our Persian Hands spoke little or no English at this time and none of the Western Hands spoke any Persian except myself-and my vocabulary in no way covered the issues facing us-and that only two of the Persian Hands were completely bilingual and therefore we had to translate every word, back and forth-as each Hand, conscious of the frightening responsibilities resting upon us, insisted on exact translation of the opinions voiced in the other language not his own-and that this


went on hour after hour, in day-long sessions, morning and afternoon, one gets a glimpse of what kind of burdens were added to our sorrow.
At this first Conclave we were faced with the inescapable obligation of voting from amongst the membership of the Hands of the Cause for who would, if chosen by all of us, accept to live and serve at the World Centre as one of the nine legal Custodians. For those who were not already part of the body of the Hands in Haifa this meant literally burning all their bridges behind them. I can remember the words of Paul Haney, an economist just promoted in the prominent investment firm to which he had belonged for some years, with the assurance of financial increases and a substantial pension on retirement, as he bowed his head and said, "You are only called once."
We had, from our very first Conclave, a fixed procedure: every morning we went to pray in the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh before our meetings started and our last act every evening was to visit the room in which He passed away for closing prayers. If my memory serves me, the longest Conclave lasted twenty-two days-all the days being the same. We were not interested in days off!
A policy was established that no notes of individual Hands would be taken out of that hall, but would be gathered and burned at the end of the day by one of the Hands. As our consultations were full, free and frank, the notes-in discussions involving more than twenty people, where each one had to wait his turn-were obviously far too pertinent to risk individual opinions leaving that room. Any carelessness, any gossip or speculation at such a juncture could have divided the Hands from each other and split the Bahá'í Faith.
After long and often agonizing consultation and soul-searching which took place in discussion at more than one Conclave-we finally agreed as a body to announce to the Bahá'í world that the Institution of the Hands, different in both nature and function from the structure constituting the elected administrative bodies of the Faith, placed us in a separate category and we requested the believers not to vote for the Hands of the Cause in Bahá'í elections. We Hands burned in the fire of this weighty decision until it became clear to us that greater strength, diversity, and breadth lay in keeping these two aspects of the system of Bahá'u'lláh separate and therefore more mobile, each free to function in its own field.
When the Guardian passed away the paramount, supremely urgent task confronting us at our first Conclave was to ensure that everything connected with the affairs, direction and administration of the Faith was solidly and speedily vested in the Institution of the Hands. We were blessed in the unity and strength we found among ourselves-some of the


Hands meeting each other for the first time-and also in having the loyal advice and assistance of Dr. Abraham Weinshall, a distinguished lawyer who had attended to all the legal affairs of the Guardian for many years, each one holding the other in high esteem, and whom we now called upon to advise and assist us.
All the legal powers at the World Centre of the Faith-which had been vested in Shoghi Effendi as the appointed successor of 'Abdu'l-Bahá -- were left in limbo when he passed away as he himself had made neither a Will nor a statement of his intentions. The holdings at the World Centre, including its sacred Shrines, its historic buildings, hundreds of square metres of prime real estate, and substantial local bank accounts, were therefore in great danger. The Hands were able, however, to successfully and legally establish the principle that the Guardian held all properties as the Head of the Faith and not as an individual, and to have this priceless heritage safely placed in the hands of the Custodians. A further large deposit, invested for safekeeping in Switzerland in both his and my name, I later turned over to the Universal House of Justice after its election. I remember remonstrating with Shoghi Effendi when he made this arrangement, that it was unnecessary to include my name on this account; but when he passed away so suddenly in London I was in a position, with grace and dignity, to draw on this money to pay for all his funeral expenses and our hotel bills and later to design and supervise the construction and erection of the monument, in white Carrara marble, marking his grave, without turning to any Bahá'í source for assistance. This was a great consolation to me in my sorrow and surely reflected the mercy of God in an hour of terrible trial and suffering.
Following the historic inaugural Conclave in Bahji from November 18th to the 25th, 1957, one of the first acts of the Custodians was to fulfil what had been a cherished plan of Shoghi Effendi himself, namely, to tear down the long, two-storey house occupied by a remnant of the Covenant-breakers, a building which abutted on the garden wall of the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahji towards the north, the legal possession of which he had acquired, after years of effort, shortly before his passing. We accomplished this in December 1957 not only in a spirit of fidelity to his wishes, but, in our deep sorrow, longing to please him by fulfilling one of his last cherished plans for the beautification of the precincts of our Most Holy Shrine, the Qiblih of our Faith. As the clouds of dust arose from the demolition of this ugly building, in some strange way it assuaged our aching hearts. It was a revelation to me, when we extended the pattern of Shoghi Effendi's garden into the space the demolished building had occupied, to see how, within half a metre, the large symmetrical design of the existing gardens he had made was completed.


Indeed, in the years following his passing, in one field after another, one plan Shoghi Effendi had made after another, whether in connection with the Bahá'í properties in the Holy Land or throughout the world in detailed national plans and objectives, was fulfilled. This included the five large Intercontinental Conferences he announced would be held during 1958-the midway point of his decade-long global Spiritual Crusade. In spite of our heartbreak, the fidelity of the Hands was so great we each went to the Intercontinental Conference the Guardian had specified. He had sown and we reaped, and still do, his harvest.
In the meetings of the Custodians we almost never worked to an agenda and had no rigid format. We had decided, from the time of our first Conclave that, in order to protect the Cause of God, we would have no officers, such as President, Chairman, Secretary, etc. lest one of the male Hands, holding such a position, should begin to assume in the eyes of the Bahá'ís the function of the leader, and, God forbid, begin to be seen as a sort of second Guardian in importance. I think this was one of our wisest decisions and a great shield for the purity of our services. Likewise, in the Custodian's meetings we had no "head", but took the chairmanship in rotation. We did, however, divide our work in the sense that Persian Hands handled the correspondence in Persian and Arabic and those of us from the West, all correspondence in western languages.
In spite of all our devotion and sacrifices, one of our greatest problems was to ensure, all the year, every year, that a quorum of Hands was present in the Holy Land for our decisions. Within the first two years of our ministry two of the Custodians found they could not continue to serve in a permanent capacity at the World Centre, and in order to maintain our number at nine, it was necessary to select two other Hands to replace them. In November of 1959 the Hands announced that John Ferraby and Horace Holley-an immemorial figure in the development of the Administrative Order in America, which was the world prototype-had been chosen to serve as Custodians.
During the period of our ministry we were grieved by the death of four of our fellow-Hands, two of whom were Custodians. Only eight months after having been chosen as a Custodian, Horace Holley passed away, in July 1960; William Sears was called upon to serve as his replacement. On January 1, 1962, our dear Amelia Collins died and Hasan Balyuzi was appointed to act as a Custodian temporarily to fill the vacancy created by her passing.
If one is to understand how the Institution of the Hands achieved the preservation of the Faith between the passing of its hereditary Head and the election of its Supreme Body, one cannot do so without a clear picture of the stage of development at which the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh found itself


in 1957. As early as 1924 Shoghi Effendi stated that the Local and National Assemblies constituted "the bedrock upon the strength of which the Universal House of Justice is in future to be firmly established", and in 1951 he cabled: ". . . Future edifice Universal House of Justice depending for its stability on sustaining strength pillars erected diversified communities East West." In 1953, at the outset of Shoghi Effendi's World Crusade-itself a direct projection of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's "Tablets of the Divine Plan" designed to spread His Father's message throughout the world there were only twelve National Spiritual Assemblies; when 'Abdu'l-Bahá passed away in 1921 there were none. One of the major acts of Shoghi Effendi two years before his passing, was to call for the election, in Ridvan 1957, of thirteen National Spiritual Assemblies, two of which already existed but would change names and areas of jurisdiction, thus adding eleven in number; these eleven, plus three more which had been elected in Africa in 1956, brought the total number formed by the Guardian during his thirty-six-year ministry to twenty-six. The Hands of the Cause, during our brief custodianship of less than six years, increased this number to fifty-six.' When Shoghi Effendi succeeded his Grandfather, 'Abdu'l-Bahá, only thirty-five countries throughout the entire world had received Bahá'u'lláh's Message: two in the Bab's days, thirteen in Bahá'u'lláh's days, and twenty in 'Abdu'l-Bahá's days. Shoghi Effendi enlarged this by 219 during the thirty-six years of his ministry; the Hands of the Faith, during the ministry of the Custodians, added five more. In his Ridvan 1957 Message the Guardian informed us there were 4,200 localities throughout the world where Bahá'ís resided; at the end of his World Crusade the Hands were able to report this total had reached 11,210 -- an increase of over 7,000.
It is beyond the scope of this introduction to present all the goals of Shoghi Effendi's vast Ten Year Teaching and Consolidation Plan; 2 only the most arduous and costly tasks which faced the Hands will be mentioned. The Guardian, by the time of his passing, had either inaugurated, changed, or accomplished some of his own goals; a few, dependent on political situations, proved unfeasible. The monetary tasks alone which faced the Hands were formidable. Shoghi Effendi had called for the "doubling" of Bahá'í Houses of Worship. The "Mother Temple of the West", situated in the United States, near Chicago, whose cornerstone 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself had laid in 1912, the Guardian had, with the greatest difficulty, over a period of three decades-decades which included the "Great Depression" in the United States, which began in 1929 and

1 The 1992 number of National Spiritual Assemblies is 165.
2 See "The Bahá'í Faith 1844-1952 Information Statistical & Comparative".


lasted over ten years-shepherded to completion, and it had been opened to public worship at the beginning of his Crusade. However, in the original Ten Year Plan goals for this Crusade he stipulated that two more Temples should be built, one in Asia, one in Europe, the Asian one to be erected in the Cradle of the Faith, in Teheran, the European one in Frankfurt, Germany.
During the five years prior to Shoghi Effendi's passing it became evident there was no hope of building a Mashriqu'l-Adhkar in Persia as both the official and popular hatred of the Bahá'ís had not modified in over a century.1 The Guardian, saddened and indignant, decided to compensate the steadfast, continuously oppressed and persecuted believers in that country by erecting not two but three Temples. He launched, in his own words, an "ambitious three-fold enterprise, designed to compensate for the disabilities suffered by the sorely-tried Community of the followers of His Faith in the land of His birth, aiming at the erection, in localities as far apart as Frankfurt, Sydney and Kampala, of the Mother Temples of the European, the Australian and African continents, at a cost of approximately one million dollars, complementing the Temples already constructed in the Asiatic and American continents. One-third of this sum 1, gladly and with a grateful heart, pledge at this auspicious hour, a sum which, when added to the funds already donated for this laudable purpose ... will constitute well-nigh half of the entire amount required to ensure the consummation of this stupendous, epoch-making undertaking."
The Guardian, before announcing these decisions, had privately calculated that about one-half of the cost he already had in hand or was assured of receiving; the remainder, so to speak, he trusted in God to provide. He gave them first the Mother Temple of Africa in its heart, Kampala, Uganda, and later, to everyone's joy and surprise, he added the Mother Temple of the Antipodes in Sydney, Australia, and finally, the last of those to be built, the Mother Temple of Europe in Frankfurt. Fortunately for the Hands, he had already advanced his plans for these three Temples by approving their designs. It was a great blessing for the Bahá'ís of the world that the Commander-in-Chief of the forces of Bahá'u'lláh's world-conquering spiritual army had announced and set in motion himself such momentous projects. But think of the agony of twenty-seven heart-broken Hands faced with the duty of fulfilling these commitments! The cornerstone of the African Temple in Kampala was laid on January 26, 1958; that of Sydney on March 22, 1958; and that of Frankfurt on November 20, 1960. Triumphantly the Custodians were able to see the first of these

1 It seems unbelievable that as recently as March 18, 1992, yet another Iranian follower of Bahá'u'lláh, of an old and distinguished Bahá'í family, has been executed.


precious Houses of Worship, chosen by our beloved Guardian himself, opened to public worship, in Kampala on January 15, 1961, and the one in Sydney on September 16, 1961. The purchase of the land and commencement of work had been more complicated in Germany and the foundation-stone for the Mother Temple of Europe was not laid until November 1960; its superstructure was completed in November 1962 during the ministry of the Hands but the Temple was not opened to public worship until July 4, 1964.
It is, I think, impossible for others to understand how hard the Hands in the Holy Land daily worked, how much we struggled to raise the money for and to build these three large and imposing edifices for Shoghi Effendi Many times the diminishing number of Hands resident at the World Centre have said to each other: "We could not again pass through even five minutes of the suffering we went through in those years!"
One of our most pressing worries concerned the heavy financial obligations left us in the plans of Shoghi Effendi regarding not only the construction of Bahá'í Temples but other properties, and the monetary support we had to give to the new National Bahá'í Assemblies in developing countries. The national Bahá'í bodies in a position to provide any substantial aid at that period were those of Iran and America.
The main income of the Hands was from the contributions of the Persian Bahá'í community, which was the oldest and at that time the most affluent Bahá'í community in the world. This monetary aid we estimated at about $100,000 a year. In June 1960, as we considered our financial position, we felt obliged to vote this entire sum for Temple construction, the expenses of the Institution of the Hands and support to the National Assemblies, nearly all of which at that period were not self-supporting and received most of their annual budget from the Hands at the World Centre.
The munificent financial contributions of our fellow-Hand and Custodian Amelia Collins were of great assistance to the Hands; her outstanding generosity afforded infinite comfort to our heavily-burdened minds and hearts as we faced the ever-increasing financial needs of the Faith. The following minute from our Conclave meeting in 1959 conveys only one instance of her magnanimous spirit: "Milly offered to provide one-third entire sum to be given by Hands Holy Land to Hands in the continents."
The Hands living at the World Centre practised rigid economy; as the pilgrimage had been suspended for a nine-month period of mourning throughout the Bahá'í world after the passing of Shoghi Effendi our Eastern and Western Pilgrim Houses were available and the newly-chosen Custodians and their wives resided in them for some time, only moving to more suitable accommodation when the pilgrimage was reopened.


With very few exceptions, the Hands had all been, at some period, members of various National Spiritual Assemblies; they were highly informed and highly skilled Bahá'ís They not only had a right to hold individual opinions but did so very strongly. Like most consultative bodies, we got over the bumps, the exasperation at interminable waits for one's turn to speak, the long-windedness which our passionate sense of responsibility and the fact that most of us were public speakers, produced. But there was one agonizing issue we could not agree on. Year after year we could come to no conclusion about whether the Guardianship was closed for the period of this Faith. The death of Shoghi Effendi had really been like an arrow shot into our hearts. Each one struggled with his bereavement in his own way. One of us, Mason Remey, one of the oldest and most distinguished, solved his personal dilemma by concluding that the Bahá'í Faith could not go on without a Guardian and that undoubtedly Shoghi Effendi's successor was himself-for various invalid and unprovable reasons, such as that he was one of the earliest, famous believers of the West, had been made a Hand of the Cause by Shoghi Effendi and President of the International Bahá'í Council. All this was true, but it still did not make him the second Guardian. Mason Remey's activities, beginning in 1960, when he "proclaimed" himself the second Guardian, were a profound source of embarrassment to his fellow-Hands who, in addition to all their other heavy, heartbreaking responsibilities, now found themselves obliged to progressively remonstrate with, admonish, warn, expose and finally excommunicate him. This extraordinary and sudden display of unexpected pride and conceit passed over the Bahá'í world, producing a brief flutter in France, a passing ripple in Chile and sundry vibrations in the United States, Pakistan and one or two other countries, and was soon gone forever. For those who, like myself and Paul Haney, had known and loved him all our lives, and Milly Collins, who had been a particularly old friend and co-worker, it was a very bitter and tragic experience. Unfollowed and unmourned, alone and isolated in his old age, when he died he was buried by his young secretary who was not a Bahá'í Although this whole episode had no effect on the Faith, it added to the burdens of the Custodians, consumed hours of consideration better spent on constructive matters, and saddened our hearts. Like any branch cut off from the root, the Remey incident withered away.
Far more distressing to the Custodians, and indeed to the entire Bahá'í world, was the case of the fourteen Bahá'í prisoners in Morocco, three of whom were condemned to death and five to life imprisonment for no other reason than their religious beliefs. Comparable to the case of the Persian Bahá'ís during the lifetime of Shoghi Effendi in 1955, when a violent national attack on the part of the fanatical Muslim clergy took


place in Iran headed by a particularly vehement priest who accused the Bahá'ís over the national radio as well as from the pulpit, of being the enemies of Islam, 1 and produced a major crisis in the fortunes of the Bahá'í Faith, now, in another continent, a very similar storm of alarming proportions blew up. Though few in number, the Bahá'í community in Morocco was firmly established and valiant in spirit. The first signs of this alarming crisis appeared in 1961; on December 7th, an article appeared in the nationally prominent newspaper Al Alam, lamenting the decline of Islam and attacking the Bahá'í Faith.
Suddenly a spotlight was focused on a small group of Bahá'ís in the northern provincial town of Nador who were imprisoned and accused, fundamentally, of heresy, some of them being sentenced to death. From its onset this case became a constant preoccupation of the Custodians; ceaseless anxiety and effort, and in the end acute anguish, became our daily lot as the date for the execution of three of the prisoners in that city approached. The extraordinary amount of material and comment covering this case-which began in April 1962 and ended in December 1963 -- cannot be presented here. The facts, the highlights, and some of the major documents are, however, included.
The Moroccan case involved the imprisonment of 14 Bahá'ís in three cities, 7 in Nador, 2 in Fez, and 5 in Tetuan in the northern Province of Nador; the arrest of the first five took place on April 10, 1962. Already, however, throughout the Riff area religious opposition of the Muslim community had been steadily increasing; some of the homes of the Bahá'ís had been searched by the police and their Bahá'í literature seized, and in January 1962 a well-known Professor of Fine Arts at the University of Tetuan was dismissed from his post and warned to have no association with his co-religionists. Another Bahá'í a resident of Nador, lost his government job shortly thereafter.
All the accused were men of good repute; with one exception they were all young men, holding respected jobs, with some standing in the community; among them was a teacher, a Customs official and a police inspector. Six of them were single, eight were married, and seven had children. The youngest was only 20 years old, the eldest 38. One of the first five arrested, under police interrogation, was hung upside down by the feet but refused to divulge the names of any other Bahá'ís all of them

1 This was a wholly unfounded and unsupportable standard accusation brought against the Bahá'ís particularly in view of the fact that western Bahá'ís of Christian background in the Western Hemisphere and Europe acknowledge the spiritual station of Muhammad, the founder of Islam, as a Divinely inspired Prophet of God.


were brutally treated; they were arrested without any charge and held in prison for four days before being brought to Court on April 15th.
On October 31st; the fourteen Bahá'í men were brought to the Regional Court of Nador to hear the charges against them and were formally accused of: Rebellion, Disorder, Attack on Public Security, Forming an Association of Criminals, and Attack on Religious Faith. The difference between Bahá'í religious laws-fasting, prayer, pilgrimage, etc.-and those of Islam, were compared in detail by the Court.
The first intimation we received at the World Centre of the arrest of the Bahá'ís was a newspaper article from Morocco; on April 14th, news of these happenings burst in the press through an article in the prestigious Le Courier du Maroc. While the case was being widely publicized in Moroccan newspapers and spreading to the foreign press, the Custodians were constantly in touch with the Bahá'í National Spiritual Assemblies in those days 44 in number-most notably that of the United States of America, in which country is situated the seat of the United Nations, by which we were recognized as a Non-Governmental Organization with observer status, under the title of the Bahá'í International Community", which officially represented at that time Bahá'í communities in 257 countries, territories and dependencies. All national Bahá'í bodies were likewise urged to bring as much pressure, by every means within their power, upon the Moroccan authorities in defence of the innocence of their fellow believers, whilst the Bahá'ís of the entire world, with full hearts, prayed for their protection and release.
Between the date the Moroccan Bahá'ís had been arrested, in April, and the stage of our open, world-wide publicity, every effort to protect the prisoners and prove their innocence had been undertaken by the Hands in the Holy Land. Two distinguished Moroccan lawyers had been engaged in their defence and a famous French lawyer had come from Paris to join them.
The Custodians felt very strongly that no attack should be made on the central authorities but that the blame should rest-where it in fact originated-on a small, fanatical, prejudiced and misinformed group of local leaders, who unfortunately at that period did not seem susceptible to any central State control from Rabat.
Throughout the hearings it was repeatedly asserted that one of the cardinal teachings of the Bahá'í Faith is obedience to government, that the Bahá'í International Community is accredited to agencies of the United Nations as a Non-Governmental Organization, and so on, to no avail.
On December 14, 1962 the Regional Court of Nador pronounced its verdict. Of the original 14 people involved in the case, four were acquitted, stating they were Muslims, one was acquitted through what appears to be


family connections, one was released from prison on 15 years' probation because he was a serious diabetic, five were committed to life imprisonment and three were condemned to death.
The announcement of these sentences stunned the Bahá'í world. It also stunned the media. The new Moroccan Constitution had just been overwhelmingly accepted by a national referendum and on December 7th, three days before the Bahá'í trial opened, Morocco had voted in the United Nations in favour of a resolution for a draft convention on the elimination of all forms of religious intolerance.
On January 1st all National and Local Bahá'í Spiritual Assemblies were requested by the Custodians to cable His Majesty the King of Morocco appealing for justice for the Bahá'ís. This universal demonstration of international Bahá'í solidarity would leave no doubt in the minds of the authorities of the world-wide existence of the Bahá'í community.
For those of us in Haifa who had lived, under the aegis of our beloved Guardian, through the agonizing days in 1955 when another group of Bahá'ís were being unjustly persecuted, that time in Persia where the friends suffered senseless acts of barbarism, murder, rape and pillage of property, it was history repeating itself-but with no Shoghi Effendi at the helm to guide and comfort us. We had to pray, act, endure the heavy-footed hours that never seemed to pass as the time for the execution of our fellow-Baha's drew nearer and nearer. The burden of anxiety for the fate of their co-religionists was shared by the entire Bahá'í world; the burden of responsibility and decision, however, fell upon the Hands of the Cause, particularly the body of the Custodians in Haifa, and was, indeed, an agonizing and almost insupportable burden to bear.
"The Moroccan Case" ran for some twenty months. Ultimately by decision of the Moroccan Supreme Court all Bahá'í prisoners were set free on December 13, 1963. The civil authorities not only released and fully exonerated them from any culpability but paid them financial compensation for their loss of freedom to earn their living and, in a few cases, where they were employed by the Government, indemnified them. All National Spiritual Assemblies, wherever possible, were asked by the Universal House of Justice to express gratification, through the Moroccan Embassy or Consulate in their areas, to the King for this decision of the Supreme Court.
In Shoghi Effendi's vision for the development of the World Administrative Centre on the great semi-circular "arc" he laid out on Mount Carmel, he foresaw a Seat for its supreme governorship and Centres for the study of the Holy Texts and for the protection and teaching of the Faith, under the supervision of the Hands of the Cause, as well as an International Archives. Before he passed away the Guardian himself


chose both the site and the Grecian style of architecture for our museum of historical material, the International Bahá'í Archives; this building was erected under his own supervision, but he passed away before the completion of the interior and was not able personally to arrange the unique and historic exhibits he had long been collecting. The accomplishment of this task was one of the labours of love of the Hands of the Cause. It was opened to Bahá'í pilgrims in the winter of 1961.
One of the final and major accomplishments of the Hands at the end of this historic five-and-a-hAli-year period was to work out, during our last Conclave, in Bahji -- to a great extent due to the vision of our fellow-Hand Rahmatu'llah Muhajir -- a projected nine-year plan, involving no less than sixty-nine national teaching plans, which was to begin in Ridvan 1964 and end in Ridvan 1973, thus continuing the unbroken sequence of the implementation of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's "Divine Plan" for the spiritual conquest of the globe. This was submitted to our Supreme Body, the Universal House of Justice, which adapted and adopted many of our suggestions when it finalized the details of its majestic Nine Year Plan.
The Hands of the Faith and the members of the International Bahá'í Council were tremendously excited by the prospect of the first election of the Universal House of Justice, which was to take place on the Centenary of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh's Mission in Baghdad in 1863. One evening, as one of the Council members was sitting with me in the home of 'Abdu'l-Bahá and we were discussing the forthcoming International Bahá'í Convention and election and where it should be held, the idea was suggested by him that it might be possible to hold it in that house. As the electoral college of the Universal House of Justice is composed of the nine members of all National or Regional Spiritual Assemblies and there were at that time fifty-six of these national bodies, we would need space to accommodate 504 delegates, plus the Hands of the Cause and members of the International Bahá'í Council. We measured the large main hall and adjoining rooms and concluded that by removing all the twelve doors on the four sides of the hall we might be able to do this. It was 'Abdu'l-Bahá Himself Who, in His Will and Testament, had elaborated the nature and duties of both the Universal House of Justice and the Hands of the Cause; what could be more sacred and befitting than for the Hands to hold the election of the first Universal House of Justice in His home?
In preparation for this election the Hands in the Holy Land, five years after the passing of the beloved Guardian, wrote to all National Spiritual Assemblies on November 4, 1962, enclosing nine ballot papers with full details of how to fill them out and who was eligible for election. In this letter, while not prohibiting the delegates from voting for any male Hands of the Cause, we requested them to leave the Hands free to discharge the


duties of their own institution. During the years of our ministry all such momentous decisions were made after exhaustive consultation and ardent prayers for guidance.
On April 21, 1963, the delegates, many of them in native costume, stepped forward as the roll call was read and cast their votes; the absentee votes of delegates unable to attend, carefully sealed in double envelopes to ensure secrecy, were likewise deposited in the ballot box, which was later sealed and locked and shut into a locked room of 'Abdu'l-Bahá's home while all the Hands and delegates present in the Holy Land proceeded to the Tomb of Bahá'u'lláh in Bahji to render praise and thanksgiving to Him for this great victory.
The goals of the Guardian had been won by the Bahá'ís of the world, under the leadership of the Hands of the Cause he had appointed. The election of the Universal House of Justice at the World Centre had been triumphantly held. Both bodies now proceeded to London to attend the World Centennial Congress he himself had planned.
Although the ministry of the Custodians terminated with the election of the Universal House of Justice, this date did not end the painstaking services of our august institution; the crowning event of our custodianship at the end of our beloved Guardian's World Crusade was the celebration of the Most Great Jubilee, during the period of Ridvan held from April 28 -- May 2, 1963, in London. In Shoghi Effendi's original announcement it was hoped that this centennial anniversary could take place in Baghdad, the scene of the Declaration of Bahá'u'lláh's Prophetic Mission. Circumstances, however, made this impracticable and the Hands decided to hold it in London, a city with many precious historic associations with both 'Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi who studied at Oxford University prior to becoming the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith when his Grandfather died in 1921.
As we cast about for a befitting venue for this great Congress planned by Shoghi Effendi we found that the unique and beautiful Royal Albert Hall, in the heart of London, famous as a centre for concerts and conferences, which accommodates about 7,000 people, could be rented for our great occasion. Bahá'ís from all over the world, including Hands and administrators, Knights of Bahá'u'lláh and pioneers, were present, and the audience was addressed by members of the Institutions of both the Hands and the Universal House of Justice. In this wonderful fulfilment of the Guardian's own plan for the culmination of his World Crusade my greatest joy was the words addressed to us by various indigenous tribesmen from the continents and islands of the globe, whether the much-loved "Uncle Fred", an illiterate Australian Aborigine, who said, after describing his journey from Australia as being carried across the ocean in


a great new flying kangaroo" and being set down in London: "Yes, dear friends, I am glad to see the people here, like flowers of all colours ... Bahá'u'lláh has given me a good life ... I have joy in my heart", or the cheerful Bahá'í from the Mentawai Islands of Indonesia, who assured us that if we could see him minus his European suit of clothes he was tattooed from head to toe! For all of us-largely sophisticates from Asia, Europe and North America-it was a revelation to witness the aplomb, wisdom and highly appropriate sentiments expressed by these fellow Bahá'ís from areas often referred to as "the developing countries".
There was an unprecedented feeling of happiness and oneness of spirit in this great Congress and the attendants lapped their first, newly-elected Universal House of Justice, presented to them by the Hands of the Cause, in a great wave of welcome and love. I am sure all the Hands of the Cause felt that Shoghi Effendi's desires had been fulfilled.

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