From Studying the
Writings of Shoghi Effendi, edited by M. Bergsmo (Oxford: George Ronald,
reprinted here by permission of editor.
All the complex problems of the great statesmen of the world are as child's
play in comparison with the great problems of this youth, before whom are the
problems of the entire world. He is a youth of twenty-six, left by the will of
the Master as the Guardian of the Cause. No one can form any conception of his
difficulties, which are overwhelming. ... He is indeed young in face, form and
manner, yet his heart is the center of the world today. The character and
spirit divine scintillate from him today. He alone can today save the world
and make true civilization.
- Mr. Mountfort Mills,
In 1844, a twenty-five year old merchant opened the Heroic Age of the
Bahá'í Faith. The brief ministry of The Báb marked the
beginning of "the most glorious" yet "the most turbulent" period of
founded a Faith fueled on "the creative interaction between crisis and
Seventy-seven years later,
another youth, a twenty-four year old student, was called upon to lead the
Bahá'í world into its next stage - the Formative Age. Shoghi
Effendi's ministry as the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith began in
1921, after a thirty year period of Bahá'í history which he said
would be remembered as a time of "tragedies and triumphs ... so intertwined".
The story of his own life as the Guardian -
like the story of the growth of the Faith which he guided for thirty-six years
- continued as "a series of pulsations, of alternating crises and triumphs"
leading the Faith "ever nearer to its divinely appointed destiny".
Born in `Akká in March 1897, Shoghi Effendi was related to The
Báb through his father, Mírzá Hádí
írází, and to Bahá'u'lláh through
his mother, Díyá'íyyih Kh
ánum, the eldest
daughter of `Abdu'l-Bahá - thereby "flourishing from the Twin Holy
From the early years of his life,
Shoghi Effendi was greatly influenced by his grandfather. `Abdu'l-Bahá
provided much of Shoghi Effendi's initial spiritual training: Shoghi Effendi
would pray at every dawn for one hour in his grandfather's room and learned
numerous prayers which `Abdu'l-Bahá encouraged him to chant. It was
also `Abdu'l-Bahá who insisted that the appellation given to the child
should be "Shoghi Effendi", ("Effendi" signifies "Sir"), rather than simply
"Shoghi", as a mark of respect towards him.
From his early years, Shoghi Effendi was introduced to the world of suffering
and danger which his grandfather had inherited as the Centre of
Bahá'u'lláh's Covenant. As a young boy, he was aware of
Sultán `Abdu'l-Hamíd's desire to banish `Abdu'l-Bahá to
the torrid deserts of North Africa where He was expected to perish. At the
same time, the treachery of the Covenant-breakers in the Holy Land reached a
point where the Master felt compelled to warn his young grandson against
drinking coffee in the homes of any of the Bahá'ís in the fear
that he would be poisoned. At the age of fifteen, however, Shoghi Effendi was
forced to drink from the bitter cup of sorrow which the machinations of
Covenant-breakers would continue to fill for the rest of his life. At this
young age, he was denied the opportunity to travel to North America with his
grandfather on what was to become a historic journey. One member of the party
accompanying `Abdu'l-Bahá to the West, later to become a
Covenant-breaker, conspired with Italian health officials in Naples, and
falsely claimed that the boy's eyes were diseased. Shoghi Effendi was
Shoghi Effendi found separation from his family very difficult during the
years of his schooling. First attending a Jesuit school in Haifa, then
boarding at another Catholic school in Beirut, Shoghi Effendi later attended
the Syrian Protestant College (later known as the American University in
Beirut) for his final years of high school and first years of university. He
found little happiness in school or university life other than in leading the
activities of the Bahá'í students studying in Beirut, and in his
vacations in Haifa spent with `Abdu'l-Bahá. During his studies, he
dedicated himself to mastering English - adding this language to the Arabic,
French, Persian, and Turkish languages in which he was already fluent - so that
he could translate the letters of `Abdu'l-Bahá and serve as His
In 1918, Shoghi Effendi obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the American
University in Beirut. From 1918 to 1920, during perhaps the happiest years of
his life, Shoghi Effendi was the constant companion and secretary of
`Abdu'l-Bahá, and accompanied his grandfather on official functions
where he met, among others, the British Military Governor of Haifa and Sir
Edmund Allenby, the Commander-in-Chief of the Allied forces in Palestine.
In the spring of 1920, Shoghi Effendi went up to Balliol College, Oxford, to
pursue his post-graduate studies. Among the subjects which he studied were
political science, social and industrial questions, logic, and English economic
history since 1688. He often presented papers, both to Bahá'í
communities in England and to the various societies of Oxford University,
relating economic and historical themes to the Bahá'í teachings.
As well as debating, Shoghi Effendi had a fondness for sports, especially
tennis and Alpine climbing, and his single personal hobby was photography. It
was also during his two years at Oxford that Shoghi Effendi developed an
affinity for some aspects of British culture. From daily reading of the The
of London to careful study of the historical works of Carlyle and
Gibbon, the future Guardian kept meticulously abreast of world events and
developed a masterly command of the English language. His aims in continuing
his studies at Oxford were quite clear, as he wrote in a letter to an English
believer in November 1921: "... I have been of late immersed in my work,
revising many translations ... of Queen Victoria's Tablet which is replete with
most vital and significant world counsels, so urgently needed by this sad and
Shoghi Effendi's own world was shattered on 29 November 1921
when he received news of `Abdu'l-Bahá's ascension. Shocked and
grief-stricken, Shoghi Effendi made his way to the Holy Land. But even before
his journey to Haifa and the realisation of his own weighty responsibilities,
and despite his overwhelming sorrow, Shoghi Effendi wrote to a
Bahá'í student in London expressing his vision of how even such a
devastating blow as the passing of the Master would be converted into victory
by the Bahá'ís:
The stir which is now aroused in the Bahá'í world is an impetus
to this Cause and will awaken every faithful soul to shoulder the
responsibilities which the Master has now placed upon every one of us.
On 3 January 1922, the three Wills of `Abdu'l-Bahá, written at
different times but forming one document addressed to Shoghi Effendi, were
officially read. Shoghi Effendi, who had no foreknowledge of the institution
of the Guardianship, and who, by his own account, was still suffering from "the
pain, nay the anguish of His bereavement",
found that he was designated "the blest and sacred bough that hath branched out
from the Twin Holy Trees", "the youthful branch branched from the two hallowed
and sacred Lote-Trees", "the expounder of the words of God", and "the sign of
God, the chosen branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all the
sán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God and His
loved ones must turn".
On 7 January 1922 Bahíyyih Kh
ánum, the Greatest Holy
Leaf, cabled the Bahá'ís of Iran telling them that Shoghi Effendi
was the centre of the Cause; the Bahá'í community of the United
States was cabled nine days later on 16 January 1922.
Through his first actions, Shoghi Effendi demonstrated the qualities of
leadership which were to characterise his Guardianship. Emphasising "the
`Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament
in his early communications to
the Bahá'ís of the world, Shoghi Effendi, neverthless, tried to
draw attention away from his own personality by citing the least astounding of
the passages of the Will referring to him as the appointed Guardian. From the
outset, in a letter of December 1923, he set before the Bahá'í
world their raison d'être
Ours then is the duty and privilege to labour, by day, by night, amidst the
storm and stress of these troublous days, that we may quicken the zeal of our
fellow-man, rekindle their hopes, stimulate their interests, open their eyes to
the true Faith of God and enlist their active support in the carrying out of
our common task for the peace and regeneration of the world.
In March 1922, in one of his earliest letters to the West, the Guardian also
revealed pressing goals on his agenda by exhorting the Bahá'ís to
teach, to expand their vision of their religion and to seize the opportunities
of the hour by emulating the example of `Abdu'l-Bahá:
How great is the need at this moment when the promised outpourings of His
grace are ready to be extended to every soul, for us all to form a broad vision
of the mission of the Cause to mankind, and to do all in our power to spread it
throughout the world. The eyes of the world, now that the sublime Personality
of the Master has been removed from this visible plane, are turned with eager
anticipation to us who are named after His name, and on whom rests primarily
the responsibility to keep burning the torch that He has lit in this world.
And having observed the life of the Master, Shoghi Effendi felt that his own
personal suffering was inevitable if the Cause was to advance: "I know it is a
road of suffering; I have to tread this road till the end; everything has to be
done with suffering".
The sufferings and problems of the Guardian began at once. On 30 January
1922, less than four weeks after the reading of `Abdu'l-Bahá's Will, a
group of Covenant-breakers forcibly took possession of the keys of the Tomb of
Bahá'u'lláh. Two weeks before, Shoghi Effendi received a cable
from a staunch American Bahá'í who wrote that the "poison" of the
Covenant-breakers "has penetrated deeply among the friends", and described the
"great troubles and sorrows"
them in that community. The acts of the unfaithful were so abhorrent to Shoghi
Effendi that he felt physically ill, as if "a thousand scorpions had bitten
Also during those first few weeks
of his Guardianship, the Shí'ih Muslims of `Iráq had unlawfully
seized a place ordained by Bahá'u'lláh as a centre of pilgrimage,
the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Bagh
fulfilling Bahá'u'lláh's trenchant prediction that "it [the
House] shall be so abased in the days to come as to cause tears to flow from
every discerning eye".
referred to as "the Boy" by the local authorities in Haifa, Shoghi Effendi also
found that some of the older Bahá'ís felt that the Universal
House of Justice should be elected as soon as possible owing to his youth and
Distressed but undaunted, Shoghi Effendi, like a seasoned commander-in-chief,
summoned his field marshals from the world over to gather in Haifa for
consultation in March 1922. The group was represented by outstanding
Bahá'ís from America, Burma, England, France, Germany, and Iran.
The essence of the consultation, according to the diary of a visitor in Haifa
at the time, was "that before the Universal House of Justice can be established
the Local and National Houses must be functioning in those countries where
there are Bahá'ís".
Effendi had begun to lay the foundation for the rise of the Administrative
Following an eight month withdrawal to the mountains of Switzerland where
Shoghi Effendi had gone to gain "health, strength, self-confidence and
and during which time
he led a spartan life, on some days walking for more than forty kilometres over
Alpine passes and climbing mountains for sixteen hours without rest, the
Guardian returned to Haifa on 15 December 1922 to relieve his great-aunt,
ánum, of the leadership responsibilities which
she had so faithfully executed during his absence. An immediate and ongoing
problem which was to drain energy from him from the rest of his life was coping
with the flood of world-wide correspondence. Shoghi Effendi decided that the
maintenance of his correspondence with individual Bahá'ís around
the world as well as with the assemblies was essential for the protection and
growth of the Cause. The legacy of the Guardian's ceaseless guidance and
inspiration is some 26,000 letters and thousands of cables to individual
believers, groups and Bahá'í institutions - writings which will
always remain indispensable for the deliberations of the Universal House of
The opening years of Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship established
the pattern of crisis and victory which would come to characterize both the
course of the rest of his life and the development of the Bahá'í
Faith, two dramas which had become inextricably interwoven. In a span of six
months from November 1925 to April 1926, the Guardian was confronted with three
major crises. The first was the news from `Iráq that the Court of
Appeals had given its verdict in favour of the Shí'ih Muslims to take
possession of the House of Bahá'u'lláh in Bagh
In response, Shoghi Effendi mobilized the Bahá'í world, and
called on the believers of nineteen countries and regions, to cable and write,
individually and collectively, their protest to the British High Commissioner
in `Iráq and King Feisal. During this battle, Shoghi Effendi grieved
the personal loss of "the warmest of friends, a trusted counsellor, an
indefatigable collaborator, a lovable companion"
when Hand of the Cause of God, Dr. John Esslemont, died
while serving as the Guardian's secretary in Haifa. The third blow to the
Guardian came in April 1926, when Shoghi Effendi received the news of the
vicious murders of the Bahá'ís of Jahrum, Iran, which the British
Counsel of Sh
íráz described as "thirteen adult Bahá'ís
[sic] and one babe of fifteen months being bludgeoned and stabbed and hacked to
death in their houses and the streets".
The extent to which Shoghi Effendi was personally affected by this news is
suggested by his cable messages, "horrified sudden calamity", and "deeply
Nevertheless, he orchestrated
a carefully calculated international publicity campaign, directing assemblies
around the world to give "full publicity to these reports in their respective
During every crisis, the
Guardian always looked to find a path toward victory: "I feel that with
patience, tact, courage and resource we can utilize this development to further
the interests and extend the influence of the Cause".
Many of the victories won during the first years of the Guardianship
were in the arena of teaching. As early as 1923-24, in language now associated
with the thrilling days of the World Crusade, Shoghi Effendi summoned the
Bahá'ís to arise and proclaim Bahá'u'lláh's
... let us arise to teach His Cause with righteousness, conviction,
understanding and vigor. Let this be the paramount and most urgent duty of
every Bahá'í. Let us make it the dominating passion of our life.
Let us scatter to the uttermost corners of the earth.
Those who responded became immortalised, and achieved astonishing results.
The incomparable Martha Root, designated by the Guardian as the foremost Hand
of the Cause of God of the first Bahá'í century and the "first
of the Formative Age,
travelled the world at least four times over, and presented the
Bahá'í teachings to, among many others, Queen Marie of Romania,
who became the first crowned head to embrace the Faith. On 4 May 1923, less
than a month after the tragic massacre of Jahrum, the Toronto Daily Star
published a highly appreciative statement made by the Queen on the
These victories were followed by disappointments and tragedies. In April
1930, the intended pilgrimage of Queen Marie and her daughter, so eagerly
anticipated by the Guardian, was prevented by what she called "mean and
advisers. In July 1932, the
Guardian bewailed "the sudden removal of my chief sustainer, my most
affectionate comforter, the joy and inspiration of my life, ... the
well-beloved and treasured Remnant of Bahá'u'lláh",
when the Greatest Holy Leaf passed away.
It was Bahíyyih Kh
ánum who had been his protector,
adviser, and comforter since the passing of the Master. With her no longer
beside him, he emptied his heart:
Bear thou this my message to `Abdu'l-Bahá, thine exalted and
divinely-appointed Brother: If the Cause for which Bahá'u'lláh
toiled and labored, for which Thou didst suffer years of agonizing sorrow, for
the sake of which streams of sacred blood have flowed, should in days to come,
encounter storms more severe than those it has already weathered, do Thou
continue to overshadow, with Thine all-encompassing care and wisdom, Thy frail,
Thy unworthy appointed child.
Five years later, in a simple ceremony held in Bahíyyih Khánum's
room, the Guardian married Mary Maxwell, whom he gave the title
Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Kh
ánum, and presented
her with the ring which his departed great-aunt had given him. Even in
marriage, Shoghi Effendi's life was linked to the development of the Faith, as
he cabled the rejoicing Bahá'ís of North America in late March
Institution Guardianship, head cornerstone Administrative Order Cause
Bahá'u'lláh, already ennobled through its organic connection with
Persons of Twin Founders of Bahá'í Faith, is now further
reinforced through direct association with West and particularly with American
believers, whose spiritual destiny is to usher in World Order
Bahá'u'lláh. For my part desire congratulate community American
believers on acquisition tie vitally binding them to so weighty an organ of
In 1952, Rúhíyyih Rabbani was elevated to the rank of Hand of
Cause of God, and in a message to the National Spiritual Assembly of Canada,
her homeland, the Guardian provided a glimpse of the remarkable bond between
her and the sign of God on earth, when he designated her as "my helpmate, my
shield in warding off the darts of Covenant-breakers and my tireless
collaborator in the arduous tasks I shoulder".
The development of the World Centre of the Bahá'í Faith will
always be identified with the work of the Guardian. From the beginning of his
ministry, Shoghi Effendi personally welcomed a steady flow of pilgrims; he
inspired them, shared with them news of the progress of the Cause, and
sometimes offered them his advice, as when he remarked to a young pilgrim who
had asked him about marriage: "Don't wait too long and don't wait for someone
to fall from the sky!"
As early as 9
April 1922, Shoghi Effendi ordered work to be commenced on the new Western
Pilgrim House; less than two weeks later, on the first day of Ridván,
the Shrines of both The Báb and Bahá'u'lláh were
electrically illuminated for the first time. Within a few years, Shoghi
Effendi had, to the astonishment of many of the locals, planted lawns on the
properties of these Shrines; these were the first lawns to be grown in
Palestine on a large scale. With no help and no advice, he laid out his superb
gardens in Bahjí and Haifa, every measurement being his own. A great
aficionado of art and architecture, especially of the Greek and Gothic
varieties, the Guardian fixed the style of the Shrine of The Báb through
his instructions to the architect, his father-in-law and confidant, and Hand of
the Cause of God, William Sutherland Maxwell. Shoghi Effendi also set the
design for the International Archives building, and personally created the
appearances of the interiors of the Mansion of Bahá'u'lláh, the
House of `Abbúd, and the Mansion at Mazra`ih.
In the midst of obstacles, anxiety, material and financial problems, and the
terrorism and civil war which accompanied the creation of the state of Israel,
Shoghi Effendi was developing "the heart and nerve-center of a world-embracing
and bringing closer to fulfillment
the promises of Bahá'u'lláh in the Tablet of Carmel. During his
ministry, the Guardian increased by fiftyfold - to almost 500,000 square
meters of land - the area of property under Bahá'í ownership in
the Holy Land. In December 1939, Shoghi Effendi reunited the sister, brother,
mother, and wife of `Abdu'l-Bahá by transferring their remains to "one
spot" which, in a cable to America, he said was to: "constitute focal centre
Bahá'í Administrative Institutions at Faith's World Centre".
From the first day of his ministry, the
Guardian's greatest concern in the Holy Land was to secure and safeguard the
Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh and the buildings and lands adjoining it.
In 1957, his goal was finally fully achieved, when the Supreme Court of Israel
ordered the eviction of the Covenant-breakers who had occupied the buildings
adjacent to the Shrine. Shoghi Effendi's second great concern was the Shrine
of The Báb. By 1953, in a space of less than six years, the Guardian
had transformed, what he called in 1947, "a homely building with a
into the "Queen
In 1957, "the first stately
of the Ark, the International
Archives Building, was completed. Three years before, Shoghi Effendi predicted
that the erection of this building was a step "destined to usher in the
establishment of the World Administrative Centre of the Faith on Mt. Carmel -
the Ark referred to by Bahá'u'lláh in the closing passages of His
Tablet of Carmel".
Bahá'ís of this generation witnessed the realisation of part of
this remarkable vision when the Universal House of Justice occupied its
permanent seat on Mount Carmel in 1983.
The translations and writings of Shoghi Effendi, although they
will receive more detailed attention in other parts of this book, cannot be
separated from the rest of the work or life of the Guardian. Indeed, one of
the first acts of his ministry was to begin circulating translations of the
prayers and Tablets of the Master. From 1922 to 1944, Shoghi Effendi
translated numerous passages from the "epistles, exhortations, commentaries,
apologies, dissertations, prophecies, prayers, odes" and "specific Tablets"
of Bahá'u'lláh, as well as
many passages from the Writings of The Báb and `Abdu'l-Bahá. In
March 1923, he sent the Bahá'ís of America his revised
translation of The Hidden Words of Bahá'u'lláh
; in April,
he shared with them various passages of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas
Most Holy Book
). By the end of the first decade of the Guardianship, he
had also completed the translations of two major books:
(The Book of
) and Nabíl's Narrative
. In 1935, Shoghi Effendi
translated what he called "a selection of the most characteristic and hitherto
unpublished passages from the outstanding works of the Author of the
published under the title Gleanings from the Writings of
. The translation and publication of its
complementary volume, Prayers and Meditations by
, followed in 1936-7. The fifth and final book
which Shoghi Effendi rendered into English was also the last major work of
Bahá'u'lláh, the Epistle to the Son of the Wolf
translated during the winter of 1939-40.
From 1929 to 1941, Shoghi Effendi wrote a number of long letters addressed to
the Bahá'ís of the West. Seven of these letters, conceived
during the years of 1929-1936, have been compiled under the title The World
Order of Bahá'u'lláh
. Written on the eve of the Second World
War, The Advent of Divine Justice
was a letter specifically addressed to
the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada. The Promised Day
appeared in 1941. It was a letter of over one hundred pages which
explained that "the retributory calamity" that had overtaken mankind was
primarily due to its having ignored for a hundred years the Message of
Bahá'u'lláh. Then, in 1944, after two years of preparation and
writing, during which time the Guardian read at least two hundred volumes of
works written on the Faith in both English and Persian, by both
Bahá'ís and non-Bahá'ís, Shoghi Effendi's
monumental Centennial Review of Bábí and Bahá'í
history, God Passes By
, was presented as a gift to the
Bahá'ís of the western world. Written during the turbulent days
of World War II when, for instance, a fighter plane crashed less than 100
metres away from the Guardian's room, this book was perhaps Shoghi Effendi's
greatest labour of love. Like most of his writings, it was written in the
Persian style of composition, with the Guardian speaking aloud and committing
his words to paper at the same time. Like many of his other English writings,
the manuscript of God Passes By
was sent to Hand of the Cause of God
George Townshend, who was not only greatly admired by the Guardian for his
knowledge and command of the English language, but who also provided the title
for this work. In addition, the Guardian acted as Editor-in-Chief of the first
twelve volumes of The Bahá'í World
, and wrote extensively
in Persian, including a short one hundred year history of the
Bahá'í Faith. While the praise of no one can do justice to the
majesty, power, and precision of Shoghi Effendi's expression, the comments of
Sir E. Denison Ross, the well-known Orientalist from the University of London,
who called the Guardian's command of English "perfect" and even asserted that
his "English style ... could not be bettered",
suggest the magnitude of Shoghi Effendi's literary
Another dimension of Shoghi Effendi's life as the Guardian was
his careful cultivation of the external relations of the Bahá'í
Community, both in the Holy Land and elsewhere. These efforts eventually
resulted in the recognition of the World Centre as the historic heart of the
Bahá'í Faith, and entitled the Bahá'í Community to
the same rights as other Faiths in the Holy Land, and in some cases, special
rights. In December 1922, only four days after returning to Haifa from
Switzerland, Shoghi Effendi, in an act indicative of the wisdom and courtesy
with which he discharged all his duties, wired the High Commissioner for
Palestine in Jerusalem, extending him "best wishes and kind regards"
and reaffirming his own position as the
world leader of the Bahá'í Faith. Two months later the Governors
of `Akká and Haifa ruled in favour of returning the keys of the Tomb of
Bahá'u'lláh to the legitimate Bahá'í keeper of the
Shrine. Shoghi Effendi fostered these types of contacts throughout his
Guardianship, holding interviews, for example, with the Prime Minister of
Israel David Ben Gurion in January 1949 and the President of Israel Ben Zvi in
April 1954. The Guardian was also a frequent and generous contributor to
charities in Haifa for the poor and distressed, donating over $10,000 to the
municipality of Haifa for the poor of all denominations from 1940 to 1952.
Internationally, Shoghi Effendi maintained contact with a number of people and
organizations of prominence, despite his overwhelming workload. In addition to
Queen Marie, the Guardian corresponded with, among others, Grand Duke Alexander
of Russia, Princess Kadria of Egypt, Princess Marina of Greece, Lord Lamington,
and Professor Norman Bentwich. He sent personal messages to the Universal
Congress of Esperantists from 1927 to 1931, and accorded the highest priority
to the attainment by the Bahá'í Community of non-governmental
status at the United Nations in 1947. In fact, one of the twenty-seven
objectives of the World Crusade which the Guardian listed in 1953 was the
reinforcement of the ties binding the Bahá'í World Community to
the United Nations. These ties may well have been responsible in part for the
pressure which the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Dag
Hammarskjöld, exerted on the government of Iran to halt the wave of
violent persecutions of Bahá'ís in 1955.
As well as the beautiful World Centre, the matchless
translations, the vast writings, and the great prestige and recognition which
the Guardian left the Bahá'í world, Shoghi Effendi bequeathed to
all of humankind a model of community and world organisation which will shape
human affairs for at least the next 1,000 years: the Bahá'í
Administrative Order. According to Shoghi Effendi, "the Charter which called
into being, outlined the features and set in motion the processes" of the
Administrative Order was "none other than the Will and Testament of
`Abdu'l-Bahá was designated by Shoghi Effendi as "the great Architect"
of this Order - an Order "unique in the annals of the world's religious
- it was the Guardian who not
only supervised and planned its construction, but who also used the
Administrative Order as a channel to carry out the Divine Plan of
`Abdu'l-Bahá. It was Shoghi Effendi who, for instance, detailed the
responsibilities, powers and processes for annual election of local and
national Assemblies, called for the setting-up of local and national
Bahá'í Funds, and established the institution of the Auxiliary
Board. He established the International Bahá'í Council in 1951,
the forerunner of the Universal House of Justice, and appointed three
contingents of Hands of the Cause of God, "the Chief Stewards of
Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth".
Indeed, throughout his writings, Shoghi Effendi
repeatedly stated that the ultimate destiny of the Administrative Order was "to
evolve into the Bahá'í World Commonwealth", the last of
successive stages through which the Faith must pass in the course of its
evolution towards the Golden Age
; in the
meantime, teaching, according to the Guardian, was "the fundamental purpose" of
Once the bedrock of the Administrative Order was established - a necessary
precondition for the "efficient and systematic prosecution" of the Divine Plan
- Shoghi Effendi was able to launch the great teaching campaigns envisioned in
`Abdu'l-Bahá's charter for the world-wide expansion of the Faith, The
Tablets of the Divine Plan. The Bahá'í community of America,
which Shoghi Effendi called, "the cradle of the Administrative Order",
was the chief trustee of this Plan. By
1925, forty-three local Assemblies had been formed in North America, and
several national Assemblies had been formed or were in the process of
formation, including, Britain, formed in 1923, Germany and Austria (1923),
India and Burma (1923), Egypt (1924), the United States and Canada (1925),
`Iráq (1931), Australia and New Zealand (1934), and Iran (1934).
Through the American Bahá'í community, Shoghi Effendi established
for all national Assemblies
by means of the 1927 Bahá'í National Constitution, and the
for all local Assemblies by
means of the By-Laws of the Spiritual Assembly of New York, drafted in 1931.
By 1936, ten national Assemblies and 139 local Assemblies existed throughout
the world. The Guardian considered the bedrock finally laid. The time for
launching the Divine Plan, "the weightiest spiritual enterprise launched in
The last twenty years of Shoghi Effendi's life were
characterised by systematic teaching plans which he first assigned to America,
and later assigned to other communities as well. The first (1937-1944) and
second (1946-1953) American Seven Year Plans established the Faith in all of
the states and provinces of the United States and Canada, created new national
Assemblies in Canada and in Central and South America, and established the
Faith in each of twenty Latin American republics. At the same time, the
Bahá'ís of other countries, most notably Britain, Canada, Egypt,
India, Pakistan and Burma, and Iran, inspired by the Guardian's call to vie
with one another in spreading the teachings, began their own teaching plans.
By the centenary of the mystic birth of Bahá'u'lláh's mission in
ál of Tehran - the Holy Year of 1953 -
and after the four great Intercontinental Teaching Conferences held in Kampala,
Chicago, Stockholm, and New Delhi, the stage was set for what Shoghi Effendi
called a "fate-laden, soul-stirring, decade-long, world-embracing Spiritual
The Ten Year Crusade crowned Shoghi Effendi's ministry and his life's work.
Whereas in 1921, when Shoghi Effendi became the Guardian, thirty-five countries
were opened to the Faith, on his passing in November 1957,
Bahá'ís resided in 254 countries; indeed, during the first two
years of the Global Crusade alone, the number of countries enrolled under the
banner of Bahá'u'lláh almost doubled. By 1957,
Bahá'í literature was translated into 237 languages - a sixfold
increase in thirteen years. By the end of this Crusade, there were fifty-six
national Assemblies, 4,566 local Assemblies, and Bahá'ís resided
in 15,186 localties.
In the midst of these achievements, Shoghi Effendi continued to transform
crisis into victory. After the Iranian authorities had seized the
Bahá'í National Headquarters in Tehran in 1955 and twice
desecrated the Holy House of The Báb, and therefore made it impossible
to build the planned House of Worship in Iran, the Guardian called for the
construction in Kampala, Uganda, of the "Mother Temple" of Africa as a "supreme
consolation" to the "oppressed masses" of our "valiant brethren" in Iran, the
Cradle of the Faith.
Like a general,
seizing the opportunity of the moment in battle, Shoghi Effendi then announced
in Ridván 1957 an "ambitious three-fold enterprise" to erect in
"localities as far apart as Frankfurt, Sydney and Kampala" the "Mother Temples"
of the European, Australian and African continents.
By the time Shoghi Effendi was drafting the momentous
message of October 1957 in which he outlined plans for the midway point of the
World Crusade, the crises created by those who opposed the Faith throughout his
thirty-six year ministry seemed to have been finally converted into resounding
Only hours after completing a map of the world displaying the victories to
date of the World Crusade, the Guardian passed away in London on 4 November
1957. Rúhíyyih Rabbani sent the following cable to Haifa which
was relayed to all National Assemblies:
Shoghi Effendi beloved of all hearts sacred trust given believers by Master
passed away sudden heart attack in sleep following Asiatic flu. Urge believers
remain steadfast cling institution Hands lovingly reared recently reinforced
emphasized by beloved Guardian. Only oneness heart oneness purpose can
befittingly testify loyalty all National Assemblies believers departed Guardian
who sacrificed self utterly for service Faith.
By leading the Bahá'í world to the middle of the Ten Year Global
Crusade, Shoghi Effendi had guided this Army of Light further into the divinely
propelled process which is destined to culminate in "the stage at which the
light of God's triumphant Faith shining in all its power and glory will have
suffused and enveloped the entire planet".
Such is the debt of the Bahá'ís of all time to their one,
beloved Guardian - Shoghi Effendi.
 Mr. Mountford Mills spoke these words of
Shoghi Effendi at the Fourteenth Annual Bahá'í Convention, 22
April, in Chicago, as reported by Louis G. Gregory in Star of the West,
Vol. 13, No. 4, p. 68.
 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, 1970,
 Message of the Universal House of Justice
to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 27 October 1987.
 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p.
 Shoghi Effendi, cited by the Universal
House of Justice in a letter to all National Spiritual Assemblies, 27 October
 `Abdu'l-Bahá, The Will and
Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, 1971, p. 3.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi dated 22 November
1921 to one of the Bahá'ís of England, cited by R. Rabbani,
The Priceless Pearl, p. 37.
 Undated letter of Shoghi Effendi to a
Bahá'í student in London, cited in ibid., p. 41.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi dated February
1922 to a Bahá'í, cited in ibid., p. 43.
 `Abdu'l-Bahá, The Will and
Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, pp. 3 and 11.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi dated 2
December 1923 to "the beloved brethren and sisters in Australia and New
Zealand", in Letters from the Guardian to Australia and New Zealand
1923-1957, 1970, p. 1.
 Ibid., pp. 1-2.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi dated 5 March
1922 to the "dear Fellow-workers in the Cause of Bahá'u'lláh", in
Unfolding Destiny, 1981, p. 3.
 Shoghi Effendi, cited in The
Priceless Pearl, p. 45.
 Letter dated 18 January 1922 to Shoghi
Effendi from an unnamed American Bahá'í, cited in ibid., p.
 Ugo Giachery, Shoghi Effendi,
1973, p. 17.
 Bahá'u'llah, cited in God
Passes By, p. 357.
 Diary of an American
Bahá'í visiting Haifa in March 1922, cited in The Priceless
Pearl, p. 56.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi to the
Bahá'ís of Persia, cited in ibid., p. 57.
 Shoghi Effendi, cited in ibid., p.
 British Counsel Herbert Chick, cited in
M. Momen (ed.), The Bábí and Bahá'í Religions,
1844-1944: Some Contemporary Western Accounts, 1981, p. 465.
 Cables of Shoghi Effendi dated 11 April
and 7 May 1926 to Bahá'ís of Iran, cited in The Priceless
Pearl, pp. 98-99.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi dated 24 April
1926, cited in ibid., p. 98.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi dated 21 May
1926, cited in ibid., p. 99.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi dated 24
November to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, in
Bahá'í Administration, 1974, p. 69.
 Cable of Shoghi Effendi dated September
1939 to Bahá'í world, in The Priceless Pearl, p. 106.
 Letter of Queen Marie to Martha Root
dated 28 June 1931, cited in ibid., pp. 115-116.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi dated 17 July
1932 to the United States and Canada, in Bahá'í
Administration, p. 187.
 Ibid., pp. 195-196.
 Cable of Shoghi Effendi dated March 1937
to the Bahá'ís of the United States and Canada, cited in The
Priceless Pearl, p. 152.
 Shoghi Effendi to the National Spiritual
Assembly of the Bahá'ís of Canada, in Messages to Canada,
1965, p. 22.
 Shoghi Effendi, cited in The
Priceless Pearl, p. 129.
 Shoghi Effendi, The Advent of Divine
Justice, New Delhi, pp. 3-4.
 Cable of Shoghi Effendi dated 5 December
1939 to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States, cited in The
Priceless Pearl, p. 261.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi to the Haifa
Local Building Town Planning Commission, 7 December 1947, cited in ibid., p.
 Cable of Shoghi Effendi dated October
1953, in Messages to the Bahá'í World 1950-1957, 1971, p.
 Cable of Shoghi Effendi dated April
1954, in ibid., p. 64.
 Ibid., p. 66.
 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p.
 Letter of Shoghi Effendi to Sir Herbert
Samuel, cited in The Priceless Pearl, p. 218.
 Letter of Sir E. Denison Ross to Shoghi
Effendi dated 27 April 1932, cited in ibid., p. 216.
 Cable of Shoghi Effendi to High
Commissioner for Palestine in Jerusalem dated 19 December 1922, cited in ibid.,
 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p.
 Ibid., p. 326.
 Cable of Shoghi Effendi dated October
1957 to the Bahá'í World, in Messages to the
Bahá'í World, p. 127.
 Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By,
pp. 325 and 364.
 Ibid., p. 329.
 Shoghi Effendi, cited in The
Priceless Pearl, p. 302.
 Shoghi Effendi in a letter dated 27 May
1927 to the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and
Canada, in Bahá'í Administration, p. 135.
 Shoghi Effendi, cited in The
Priceless Pearl, p. 383.
 Cablegram of Shoghi Effendi dated 23
August 1955 to the Bahá'í world, in Messages to the
Bahá'í World, p. 90.
 Message of Shoghi Effendi dated April
1957 to the Bahá'í world, ibid., pp. 111-112.
 Cable of R. Rabbani dated 4 November
1957, in The Priceless Pearl, p. 447.
 Second Message of Shoghi Effendi to the
All-America Intercontinental Conference dated 4 May 1953, in Messages to the
Bahá'í World, p. 155.