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Title: Bahá’í Administration
Author: Shoghi Effendi, 1897-1957
Language: English
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Copyright Status: Not copyrighted in the United States. If you live elsewhere check the laws of your country before downloading this ebook. See comments about copyright issues at end of book.

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Bahá’í Administration


by Shoghi Effendi



Edition 1, (September 2006)



                           BAHA’I TERMS OF USE


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                                 CONTENTS


Baha’i Terms of Use
PART ONE: Excerpts from the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
   “All-praise to Him Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath...”
   “O ye beloved of the Lord! The greatest of all things is the...”
   “According to the direct and sacred command of God we are...”
   “O God, my God! Thou seest this wronged servant of Thine,...”
   “O God, my God! Shield Thy trusted servants from the evils of...”
   “O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon you to be
   submissive...”
   “By the Ancient Beauty! This wronged one hath in no wise...”
   “O ye beloved of the Lord! Strive with all your heart to shield...”
   “Whosoever and whatsoever meeting becometh a hindrance to...”
PART TWO: Letters from Shoghi Effendi
Guardian of the Bahá’í Cause
January 21, 1922-July 17, 1932
   Letter of January 21st, 1922.
   Letter of March 5, 1922.
   The Mission of the Cause
   Local and National Spiritual Assemblies
   Committees of the National Assembly
   Letter of Circa May, 1922 (undated).
   Our Common Servitude
   Letter of December 16, 1922
   Letter of December 23rd, 1922
   Letter of January 12, 1923
   Star of the West
   Letter of January 16, 1923.
   Letter of January 17th, 1923
   Letter of February 13, 1923
   Letter of March 12, 1923
   Condition of the World
   Responsibility of Bahá’ís
   Election of Local Assemblies
   Duties of Spiritual Assemblies
   National Assemblies
   Annual Election of Assemblies
   The Bahá’í Fund
   The Most Essential Obligation
   Transliteration of Bahá’í Terms
   Letter of April 8th, 1923.
   Letter of April 9th, 1923.
   National Spiritual Assemblies
   Reports of Activities
   Mashriqu’l-Adhkár
   Letter of April 27th, 1923.
   Letter of May 6th, 1923
   Central Fund
   Letter of November 14, 1923.
   The Cause of Human Suffering
   Letter of November 26, 1923.
   The Annual Convention
   The Bahá’í Fund
   The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár
   Green Acre
   Committees of the National Assembly
   Letter of January 4th, 1924.
   Letter of February 23, 1924.
   Divine Destiny and Human Frailty
   The Plight of Mankind
   The New World Order
   The Foundation of the House of Justice
   Duties of Elected Representatives
   Election of Delegates
   Letter of September 24, 1924.
   Our Inner Life
   Dawn of a Brighter Day
   Letter of November 24th, 1924.
   Menace of Social Chaos
   Paramount Duty of Every Bahá’í
   Letter of November 27, 1924.
   Mashriqu’l-Adhkár
   Bahá’í Magazine
   Bahá’í Year Book
   Letter of January 16, 1925.
   History of the Cause
   Bahá’í Periodicals
   News Letter
   Temple Meetings
   Letter of January 29th, 1925.
   The National Convention
   National Spiritual Assembly
   Letter of April 10th, 1925.
   News Letter
   Title of Assemblies
   Representation at Convention
   The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár
   Letter of May 12, 1925.
   Election of National Assembly
   Membership Roll
   Letter of June 3rd, 1925.
   Purpose of Convention
   National Spiritual Assembly
   The Cornerstone of Service
   Letter of October 24th, 1925.
   Qualifications of a Believer
   National Convention
   Bahá’í Year Book
   Persecution of Persian Bahá’ís
   Letter of November 6, 1925.
   The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár
   International Bahá’í Shrine
   Green Acre
   Jurisdiction of a Local Assembly
   Voting Rights of National Assembly Members
   Letter of November 30, 1925.
   Letter of January 10, 1926.
   Shrine of Baghdád
   Judgment of Egyptian Religious Court
   National Fund
   Association with Orientals
   Purpose of Bahá’í Administration
   Letter of April 22nd, 1926.
   Bahá’í Martyrdoms in Persia
   Letter of May 11th, 1926.
   Persecutions in Jahrum
   Plan of Unified Action
   Guiding Principles of Bahá’í Administration
   Letter of October 7th, 1926.
   Response of Queen Marie
   The Regenerating Power
   Letter of October 29, 1926.
   Shrine at Baghdád
   Letter of October 31, 1926.
   International Secretariat
   Plan of Unified Action
   World Unity Conferences
   Appeal to the Sháh of Persia
   Letter of November 14, 1926.
   American Teachers in Ṭihrán
   Letter of February 12, 1927.
   Decision of Egyptian Tribunal
   Bahá’í Cause Recognized as Independent Religion
   Worldwide Attacks Foretold
   Letter of February 20, 1927.
   Twofold Teaching Method
   The Spirit of Enterprise
   Letter of April 12, 1927.
   Inter-racial Amity
   Green Acre—a Testing Ground
   Letter of April 27, 1927.
   Assassination of Persian Believer
   Letter of May 27, 1927.
   Declaration of Trust and By-Laws
   Spirit and Method of Bahá’í Elections
   Letter of October 17, 1927.
   Letter of October 18, 1927.
   Concentration of Resources
   Relations of Committees to Assembly
   By-Laws of National Assembly
   First National Convention of Persian Bahá’ís
   The Trend of World Events
   Letter of December 6, 1928.
   The Promises of Our Departed Master
   Regeneration of Persia
   Bahá’í Faith Vindicated in Turkey
   Our Most Vital Opportunity
   ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Cherished Desire
   Plan of Unified Action
   Letter of December 6, 1928.
   The Bahá’í World
   Letter of December 21, 1928.
   Mr. Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney
   Letter of January 1, 1929.
   Persecutions in Russia
   Guiding Principle of Conduct
   Bahá’u’lláh’s House at Baghdád
   Letter of February 12, 1929.
   Trial of Turkish Believers
   Decline of Islám
   Progress in Persia
   Letter of March 20, 1929.
   Decision of League of Nations
   Letter of October 25, 1929.
   Gift from Tomb of Bahá’u’lláh
   Purpose of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár
   Letter of July 17, 1932.



PART ONE: EXCERPTS FROM THE WILL AND TESTAMENT OF ‘ABDU’L-BAHÁ



“All-praise to Him Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath...”


All-praise to Him Who, by the Shield of His Covenant, hath guarded the
Temple of His Cause from the darts of doubtfulness, Who by the Hosts of
His Testament hath preserved the Sanctuary of His Most Beneficent Law and
protected His Straight and Luminous Path, staying thereby the onslaught of
the company of Covenant-breakers, that have threatened to subvert His
Divine Edifice; Who hath watched over His Mighty Stronghold and
All-glorious Faith, through the aid of men whom the slander of the
slanderer affects not, whom no earthly calling, glory and power can turn
aside from the Covenant of God and His Testament, established firmly by
His clear and manifest words, writ and revealed by His All-glorious Pen
and recorded in the Preserved Tablet.

Salutation and praise, blessing and glory rest upon that primal branch of
the Divine and Sacred Lote-Tree, grown out, blest, tender, verdant and
flourishing from the Twin Holy Trees; the most wondrous, unique and
priceless pearl that doth gleam from out the twin surging seas; upon the
offshoots of the Tree of Holiness, the twigs of the Celestial Tree, they
that in the Day of the Great Dividing have stood fast and firm in the
Covenant; upon the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God that have diffused
widely the Divine Fragrances, declared His Proofs, proclaimed His Faith,
published abroad His Law, detached themselves from all things but Him,
stood for righteousness in this world, and kindled the Fire of the Love of
God in the very hearts and souls of His servants; upon them that have
believed, rested assured, stood steadfast in His Covenant and followed the
Light that after my passing shineth from the Dayspring of Divine
Guidance—for behold! he is the blest and sacred bough that hath branched
out from the Twin Holy Trees. Well is it with him that seeketh the shelter
of his shade that shadoweth all mankind.



“O ye beloved of the Lord! The greatest of all things is the...”


O ye beloved of the Lord! The greatest of all things is the protection of
the True Faith of God, the preservation of His Law, the safeguarding of
His Cause and service unto His Word. Ten thousand souls have shed streams
of their sacred blood in this path, their precious lives they offered in
sacrifice unto Him, hastened wrapt in holy ecstasy unto the glorious field
of martyrdom, upraised the Standard of God’s Faith and writ with their
life-blood upon the Tablet of the world the verses of His Divine Unity.
The sacred breast of His Holiness, the Exalted One, (may my life be a
sacrifice unto Him) was made a target to many a dart of woe, and in
Mazandarán, the Blessed feet of the Abhá Beauty (may my life be offered up
for His loved ones) were so grievously scourged as to bleed and be sore
wounded. His neck also was put into captive chains and His feet made fast
in the stocks. In every hour, for a period of fifty years, a new trial and
calamity befell Him and fresh afflictions and cares beset Him. One of
them: after having suffered intense vicissitudes, He was made homeless and
a wanderer and fell a victim to still new vexations and troubles. In
‘Iráq, the Day-Star of the world was so exposed to the wiles of the people
of malice as to be eclipsed in splendor. Later on He was sent an exile to
the Great City (Constantinople) and thence to the Land of Mystery
(Adrianople), whence, grievously wronged, He was eventually transferred to
the Most Great Prison (Akká). He Whom the world hath wronged (may my life
be offered for His loved ones) was four times banished from city to city,
till at last condemned to perpetual confinement, He was incarcerated in
this Prison, the prison of highway robbers, of brigands and of manslayers.
All this is but one of the trials that have afflicted the Blessed Beauty,
the rest being even as grievous as this.



“According to the direct and sacred command of God we are...”


According to the direct and sacred command of God we are forbidden to
utter slander, are commanded to show forth peace and amity, are exhorted
to rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and harmony with all the
kindreds and peoples of the world. We must obey and be the well-wishers of
the governments of the land, regard disloyalty unto a just king as
disloyalty to God Himself and wishing evil to the government a
transgression of the Cause of God.



“O God, my God! Thou seest this wronged servant of Thine,...”


O God, my God! Thou seest this wronged servant of Thine, held fast in the
talons of ferocious lions, of ravening wolves, of bloodthirsty beasts.
Graciously assist me, through my love for Thee, that I may drink deep of
the chalice that brimmeth over with faithfulness to Thee and is filled
with Thy bountiful Grace; so that, fallen upon the dust, I may sink
prostrate and senseless whilst my vesture is dyed crimson with my blood.
This is my wish, my heart’s desire, my hope, my pride, my glory. Grant, O
Lord my God, and my Refuge, that in my last hour, my end, may even as musk
shed its fragrance of glory! Is there a bounty greater than this? Nay, by
Thy Glory! I call Thee to witness that no day passeth but that I quaff my
fill from this cup, so grievous are the misdeeds wrought by them that have
broken the Covenant, kindled discord, showed their malice, stirred
sedition in the land and dishonored Thee amidst Thy servants. Lord! Shield
Thou from these Covenant-breakers the mighty Stronghold of Thy Faith and
protect Thy secret Sanctuary from the onslaught of the ungodly. Thou art
in truth the Mighty, the Powerful, the Gracious, the Strong.



“O God, my God! Shield Thy trusted servants from the evils of...”


O God, my God! Shield Thy trusted servants from the evils of self and
passion, protect them with the watchful eye of Thy loving kindness from
all rancour, hate and envy, shelter them in the impregnable stronghold of
Thy Cause and, safe from the darts of doubtfulness, make them the
manifestations of Thy glorious Signs, illumine their faces with the
effulgent rays shed from the Dayspring of Thy Divine Unity, gladden their
hearts with the verses revealed from Thy Holy Kingdom, strengthen their
loins by Thy all-swaying power that cometh from Thy Realm of Glory. Thou
art the All-bountiful, the Protector, the Almighty, the Gracious!

O ye that stand fast in the Covenant! When the hour cometh that this
wronged and broken winged bird will have taken its flight unto the
celestial concourse, when it will have hastened to the Realm of the Unseen
and its mortal frame will have been either lost or hidden neath the dust,
it is incumbent upon the Afnán, that are steadfast in the Covenant of God,
and have branched from the Tree of Holiness; the Hands, (pillars) of the
Cause of God, (the glory of the Lord rest upon them), and all the friends
and loved ones, one and all to bestir themselves and arise with heart and
soul and in one accord, to diffuse the sweet savors of God, to teach His
Cause and to promote His Faith. It behooveth them not to rest for a
moment, neither to seek repose. They must disperse themselves in every
land, pass by every clime and travel throughout all regions. Bestirred,
without rest and steadfast to the end they must raise in every land the
triumphal cry “O Thou the Glory of Glories!” (Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá), must
achieve renown in the world wherever they go, must burn brightly even as a
candle in every meeting and must kindle the flame of Divine love in every
assembly; that the light of truth may rise resplendent in the midmost
heart of the world, that throughout the East and throughout the West a
vast concourse may gather under the shadow of the Word of God, that the
sweet savors of holiness may be diffused, that faces may shine radiantly,
hearts be filled with the Divine spirit and souls be made heavenly.

In these days, the most important of all things is the guidance of the
nations and peoples of the world. Teaching the Cause is of utmost
importance for it is the head corner-stone of the foundation itself. This
wronged servant has spent his days and night in promoting the Cause and
urging the peoples to service. He rested not a moment, till the fame of
the Cause of God was noised abroad in the world and the celestial strains
from the Abhá Kingdom roused the East and the West. The beloved of God
must also follow the same example. This is the secret of faithfulness,
this is the requirement of servitude to the Threshold of Bahá!

The disciples of Christ forgot themselves and all earthly things, forsook
all their cares and belongings, purged themselves of self and passion and
with absolute detachment scattered far and wide and engaged in calling the
peoples of the world to the Divine Guidance, till at last they made the
world another world, illumined the surface of the earth and even to their
last hour proved self-sacrificing in the pathway of that Beloved One of
God. Finally in various lands they suffered glorious martyrdom. Let them
that are men of action follow in their footsteps!

O my loving friends! After the passing away of this wronged one, it is
incumbent upon the A_gh_sán (Branches), the Afnán (Twigs) of the Sacred
Lote-Tree, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause of God and the loved ones of
the Abhá Beauty to turn unto Shoghi Effendi—the youthful branch branched
from the two hallowed and sacred Lote-Trees and the fruit grown from the
union of the two offshoots of the Tree of Holiness,—as he is the sign of
God, the chosen branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, he unto whom all
the A_gh_sán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Cause of God and His loved ones
must turn. He is the expounder of the words of God and after him will
succeed the first-born of his lineal descendants.

The sacred and youthful branch, the guardian of the Cause of God, as well
as the Universal House of Justice, to be universally elected and
established, are both under the care and protection of the Abhá Beauty,
under the shelter and unerring guidance of His Holiness, the Exalted One
(may my life be offered up for them both). Whatsoever they decide is of
God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God;
whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God;
whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath
contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso
denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in
God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath
in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God. May the
wrath, the fierce indignation, the vengeance of God rest upon him! The
mighty stronghold shall remain impregnable and safe through obedience to
him who is the guardian of the Cause of God. It is incumbent upon the
members of the House of Justice, upon all the A_gh_sán, the Afnán, the
Hands of the Cause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and
subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God, to turn unto him and
be lowly before him. He that opposeth him hath opposed the True One, will
make a breach in the Cause of God, will subvert His word and will become a
manifestation of the Center of Sedition. Beware, beware, lest the days
after the ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) be repeated when the Center of
Sedition waxed haughty and rebellious and with Divine Unity for his excuse
deprived himself and perturbed and poisoned others. No doubt every
vainglorious one that purposeth dissension and discord will not openly
declare his evil purposes, nay rather, even as impure gold, would he seize
upon divers measures and various pretexts that he may separate the
gathering of the people of Bahá. My object is to show that the Hands of
the Cause of God must be ever watchful and so soon as they find anyone
beginning to oppose and protest against the guardian of the Cause of God
cast him out from the congregation of the people of Bahá and in no wise
accept any excuse from him. How often hath grievous error been disguised
in the garb of truth, that it might sow the seeds of doubt in the hearts
of men!

O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon the guardian of the Cause
of God to appoint in his own life-time him that shall become his
successor, that differences may not arise after his passing. He that is
appointed must manifest in himself detachment from all worldly things,
must be the essence of purity, must show in himself the fear of God,
knowledge, wisdom and learning. Thus, should the first-born of the
guardian of the Cause of God not manifest in himself the truth of the
words:—“The child is the secret essence of its sire,” that is, should he
not inherit of the spiritual within him (the guardian of the Cause of God)
and his glorious lineage not be matched with a goodly character, then must
he (the guardian of the Cause of God), choose another branch to succeed
him.

The Hands of the Cause of God must elect from their own number nine
persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in
the work of the guardian of the Cause of God. The election of these nine
must be carried either unanimously or by majority from the company of the
Hands of the Cause of God and these, whether unanimously or by a majority
vote, must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the guardian of
the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor. This assent must be given
in such wise as the assenting and dissenting voices may not be
distinguished. (secret ballot)

O friends! The Hands of the Cause of God must be nominated and appointed
by the guardian of the Cause of God. All must be under his shadow and obey
his command. Should any, within or without the company of the Hands of the
Cause of God disobey and seek division, the wrath of God and His vengeance
will be upon him, for he will have caused a breach in the true Faith of
God.

The obligations of the Hands of the Cause of God are to diffuse the Divine
Fragrances, to edify the souls of men, to promote learning, to improve the
character of all men and to be, at all times and under all conditions,
sanctified and detached from earthly things. They must manifest the fear
of God by their conduct, their manners, their deeds and their words.

This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the
guardian of the Cause of God. He must continually urge them to strive and
endeavor to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savors of
God, and to guide all the peoples of the world, for it is the light of
Divine Guidance that causeth all the universe to be illumined. To
disregard, though it be for a moment, this absolute command which is
binding upon everyone, is in no wise permitted, that the existent world
may become even as the Abhá Paradise, that the surface of the earth may
become heavenly, that contention and conflict amidst peoples, kindreds,
nations and governments may disappear, that all the dwellers on earth may
become one people and one race, that the world may become even as one
home. Should differences arise they shall be amicably and conclusively
settled by the Supreme Tribunal, that shall include members from all the
governments and peoples of the world.

O ye beloved of the Lord! In this sacred Dispensation, conflict and
contention are in no wise permitted. Every aggressor deprives himself of
God’s grace. It is incumbent upon everyone to show the utmost love,
rectitude of conduct, straightforwardness and sincere kindliness unto all
the peoples and kindreds of the world, be they friends or strangers. So
intense must be the spirit of love and loving-kindness, that the stranger
may find himself a friend, the enemy a true brother, no difference
whatsoever existing between them. For universality is of God and all
limitations earthly. Thus man must strive that his reality may manifest
virtues and perfections, the light whereof may shine upon everyone. The
light of the sun shineth upon all the world and the merciful showers of
Divine Providence fall upon all peoples. The vivifying breeze reviveth
every living creature and all beings endued with life obtain their share
and portion at His heavenly board. In like manner, the affections and
loving-kindness of the servants of the One True God must be bountifully
and universally extended to all mankind. Regarding this, restrictions and
limitations are in no wise permitted.

Wherefore, O my loving friends! Consort with all the peoples, kindreds and
religions of the world with the utmost truthfulness, uprightness,
faithfulness, kindliness, good-will and friendliness; that all the world
of being may be filled with the holy ecstasy of the grace of Bahá, that
ignorance, enmity, hate and rancor may vanish from the world and the
darkness of estrangement amidst the peoples and kindreds of the world may
give way to the Light of Unity. Should other peoples and nations be
unfaithful to you show your fidelity unto them, should they be unjust
toward you show justice towards them, should they keep aloof from you
attract them to yourself, should they show their enmity be friendly
towards them, should they poison your lives sweeten their souls, should
they inflict a wound upon you be a salve to their sores. Such are the
attributes of the sincere! Such are the attributes of the truthful.

And now, concerning the House of Justice which God hath ordained as the
source of all good and freed from all error, it must be elected by
universal suffrage, that is, by the believers. Its members must be
manifestations of the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and
understanding, must be steadfast in God’s faith and the well-wishers of
all mankind. By this House is meant the Universal House of Justice, that
is, in all countries, a secondary House of Justice must be instituted, and
these secondary Houses of Justice must elect the members of the Universal
one. Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all
ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy
Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved and the
guardian of the Cause of God is its sacred head and the distinguished
member for life of that body. Should he not attend in person its
deliberations, he must appoint one to represent him. Should any of the
members commit a sin, injurious to the common weal, the guardian of the
Cause of God hath at his own discretion the right to expel him, whereupon
the people must elect another one in his stead.



“O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon you to be submissive...”


O ye beloved of the Lord! It is incumbent upon you to be submissive to all
monarchs that are just and show your fidelity to every righteous king.
Serve ye the sovereigns of the world with utmost truthfulness and loyalty.
Show obedience unto them and be their well-wishers. Without their leave
and permission do not meddle with political affairs, for disloyalty to the
just sovereign is disloyalty to God himself.

This is my counsel and the commandment of God unto you. Well is it with
them that act accordingly.



“By the Ancient Beauty! This wronged one hath in no wise...”


By the Ancient Beauty! This wronged one hath in no wise borne nor doth he
bear a grudge against any one; towards none doth he entertain any
ill-feeling and uttereth no word save for the good of the world. My
supreme obligation, however, of necessity, prompteth me to guard and
preserve the Cause of God. Thus, with the greatest regret, I counsel you
saying:—“Guard ye the Cause of God, protect His law and have the utmost
fear of discord. This is the foundation of the belief of the people of
Bahá (may my life be offered up for them). “His Holiness, the Exalted One,
(the Báb) is the Manifestation of the Unity and Oneness of God and the
Forerunner of the Ancient Beauty. His Holiness the Abhá Beauty, (may my
life be a sacrifice for His steadfast friends) is the Supreme
Manifestation of God and the Dayspring of His Most Divine Essence. All
others are servants unto Him and do His bidding.” Unto the Most Holy Book
every one must turn and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be
referred to the Universal House of Justice. That which this body, whether
unanimously or by a majority doth carry, that is verily the Truth and the
Purpose of God himself. Whoso doth deviate therefrom is verily of them
that love discord, hath shown forth malice and turned away from the Lord
of the Covenant. By this House is meant that Universal House of Justice
which is to be elected from all countries, that is, from those parts in
the East and West where the loved ones are to be found, after the manner
of the customary elections in Western countries such as those of England.



“O ye beloved of the Lord! Strive with all your heart to shield...”


O ye beloved of the Lord! Strive with all your heart to shield the Cause
of God from the onslaught of the insincere, for souls such as these cause
the straight to become crooked and all benevolent efforts to produce
contrary results.

O God, my God! I call Thee, Thy Prophets and Thy Messengers, Thy Saints
and Thy Holy Ones, to witness that I have declared conclusively Thy Proofs
unto Thy loved ones and set forth clearly all things unto them, that they
may watch over Thy Faith, guard Thy Straight Path and protect Thy
Resplendent Law. Thou art, verily, the All-knowing, the All-wise!



“Whosoever and whatsoever meeting becometh a hindrance to...”


Whosoever and whatsoever meeting becometh a hindrance to the diffusion of
the Light of Faith, let the loved ones give them counsel and say: “Of all
the gifts of God the greatest is the gift of Teaching. It draweth unto us
the Grace of God and is our first obligation. Of such a gift how can we
deprive ourselves? Nay, our lives, our goods, our comforts, our rest, we
offer them all as a sacrifice for the Abhá Beauty and teach the Cause of
God.” Caution and prudence, however, must be observed even as recorded in
the Book. The veil must in no wise be suddenly rent asunder. The Glory of
Glories rest upon you.

O ye the faithful loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá! It is incumbent upon you to
take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi, the twig that hath branched from
the fruit given forth by the two hallowed and Divine Lote-Trees, that no
dust of despondency and sorrow may stain his radiant nature, that day by
day he may wax greater in happiness, in joy and spirituality, and may grow
to become even as a fruitful tree.

For he is, after ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the guardian of the Cause of God, the
Afnán, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must
obey him and turn unto him. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God;
he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God and he that
denieth him, hath denied the True One. Beware lest anyone falsely
interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant
after the Day of Ascension (of Bahá’u’lláh) advance a pretext, raise the
standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false
interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or
express his particular convictions. All must seek guidance and turn unto
the Center of the Cause and the House of Justice. And he that turneth unto
whatsoever else is indeed in grievous error.

The Glory of Glories rest upon you!



PART TWO: LETTERS FROM SHOGHI EFFENDI
GUARDIAN OF THE BAHÁ’Í CAUSE
JANUARY 21, 1922-JULY 17, 1932



Letter of January 21st, 1922.


Dearly beloved brethren and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

At this early hour when the morning light is just breaking upon the Holy
Land, whilst the gloom of the dear Master’s bereavement is still hanging
thick upon the hearts, I feel as if my soul turns in yearning love and
full of hope to that great company of His loved ones across the seas, who
now share with us all the agonies of His separation.

It is idle for me to emphasize how much the sorrowful ladies of the Holy
Household look forward to the work that lies before the friends in the
American continent, who in the past have rendered so glorious a service to
His Cause and will now, faithful to His special love for them, carry on
their mission still more gloriously than ever before. True, the shock has
been too terrible and sudden for us all to recover from in so short a
time, but whenever we recall His Sayings and read His Writings, hope
springs in our hearts and gives us the peace that no other material
comfort can give.

How well I remember when, more than two years ago, the Beloved Master
turning to a distinguished visitor of His, who was seated by Him in His
garden, suddenly broke the silence and said:—“My work is now done upon
this plane; it is time for me to pass on to the other world.” Did He not
in more than one occasion state clearly and emphatically:—“Were ye to know
what will come to pass after me, surely would ye pray that my end be
hastened?” In a Tablet sent to Persia when the storm raised years ago by
that Committee of Investigation was fiercely raging around Him, when the
days of His incarceration were at their blackest, He reveals the
following:—“Now in this world of being, the Hand of Divine Power hath
firmly laid the foundations of this all-highest Bounty and this wondrous
Gift. Gradually whatsoever is latent in the innermost of this Holy Cycle
shall appear and be made manifest, for now is but the beginning of its
growth and the dayspring of the revelation of its Signs. Ere the close of
this Century and of this Age, it shall be made clear and manifest how
wondrous was that Springtide and how heavenly was that Gift!”

With such assuring Utterances and the unmistakable evidences of His sure
and clear knowledge that His end was nigh, is there any reason why the
followers of His Faith, the world over, should be perturbed? Are not the
prayers He revealed for us sufficient source of inspiration to every
worker in His Cause? Have not His instructions paved before us the broad
and straight Path of Teaching? Will not His now doubly effective power of
Grace sustain us, strengthen us and confirm us in our work for Him? Ours
is the duty to strive by day and night to fulfill our own obligations and
then trust in His Guidance and never failing Grace. Unity amongst the
friends, selflessness in our labors in His Path, detachment from all
worldly things, the greatest prudence and caution in every step we take,
earnest endeavor to carry out only what is His Holy Will and Pleasure, the
constant awareness of His Presence and of the example of His Life, the
absolute shunning of whomsoever we feel to be an enemy of the Cause ...
these, and foremost among them is the need for unity, appear to me as our
most vital duties, should we dedicate our lives for His service. Should we
in this spirit arise to serve Him, what surer and greater promise have we
than the one His Glorious Father, Bahá’u’lláh, gives us in His Most Holy
Book:—“Verily, We behold you from Our Realm of Effulgent Glory, and shall
graciously aid whosoever ariseth for the triumph of Our Cause with the
hosts of the Celestial Concourse and a company of Our chosen angels.”

How dearly all the Holy Leaves(1) cherish that memory of the departed
Master, as He commented upon the fresh tidings that poured in from that
continent, admiring the untiring activity of the friends, the complete
subordination of their material interests to those of the Cause, the
remarkable spread of the Movement in their midst and their staunch
firmness in the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. It is these encouraging
reflections of the Master about His loved ones in America and the tests
intellectual rather than physical which He said He would send to them to
purify them and make ever brighter than before—it is these comments and
promises of His that make of the Movement in that land such a potential
force in the world today. The Beloved Master’s cable to the friends in
that region is a clear indication of the presence of those counteracting
forces that may usher in those storms of tests that the Master Himself has
said will ultimately be for the good of the Cause in that land.

And finally, the ladies of the Sacred Household and we, the rest of His
kindred and family, will pray at His Hallowed Shrine for every one of you
and He will surely watch over and enhance in the course of time that noble
part of His heritage that He has bequeathed to His friends in the Far
West; friends from whom in return He expects so much and whom He has loved
and still doth love so dearly.

Your sincere co-worker in His Cause,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
January 21st, 1922.



Letter of March 5, 1922.


Dear fellow-workers in the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh:—

It is with words of regret and disappointment that I desire to open this
letter because of my inability, in view of my manifold and pressing
duties, to respond individually and in writing to the many messages of
love and sympathy and of hope that you have so affectionately sent me
since our Beloved’s passing from this World. I am sure I am voicing the
sentiments of the bereaved ladies of the Household when I say that however
desirous we may be to correspond separately with every one of you, the
grave responsibilities and manifold duties now devolved upon us make it
regrettably impossible to express in written messages to every friend what
we constantly feel in our hearts, and pray for when visiting His sacred
Shrine.

At this grave and momentous period through which the Cause of God in
conformity with the Divine Wisdom is passing, it is the sacred duty of
every one of us to endeavor to realize the full significance of this Hour
of Transition, and then to make a supreme resolve to arise steadfastly for
the fulfilment of our sacred obligations.



The Mission of the Cause


Great as is the love and paternal care which our beloved Master is
extending to us from on High, and unique as is the Spirit that animates
today His servants in the world, yet a great deal will depend upon the
character and efforts of His loved ones on whom now rests the
responsibility of carrying on His work gloriously after Him. 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. How keenly I feel at this challenging hour in the
history of the Cause the need for a firm and definite determination to
subordinate all our personal likings, our local interests, to the
interests and requirements of the Cause of God! Now is the time to set
aside, nay, to forget altogether, minor considerations regarding our
internal relationships, and to present a solid united front to the world
animated by no other desire but to serve and propagate His Cause.

It is my firm conviction which I now express with all sincerity and
candor, that the dignity and unity of the Cause urgently
demands—particularly throughout the American continent—that the friends
should in their words and conduct emphasize and give absolute prominence
to the constructive dynamic principles of Bahá’u’lláh, rather than attach
undue importance to His negative Teachings. With hearts cleansed from the
least trace of suspicion and filled with hope and faith in what the spirit
of love can achieve, we must one and all endeavor at this moment to forget
past impressions, and with absolute good-will and genuine cooperation
unite in deepening and diffusing the spirit of love and service that the
Cause has thus far so remarkably shown to the world. To this attitude of
good-will, of forbearance and genuine kindness to all, must be added,
however, constant but unprovocative vigilance, lest unrestricted
association with the peoples of the world should enable the very few who
have been definitely pronounced by the Master as injurious to the body of
the Cause, to make a breach in the Movement. Not until, however, an
unmistakable evidence should appear, manifestly revealing the evil motives
of a certain individual or group of individuals, is it advisable to make
the matter public; for an untimely declaration that shall give rise to
open differences among the friends is far more detrimental than forbearing
still further with those who are suspected of evil intentions. As the
Master so fully and consistently did throughout His lifetime, we must all
make a supreme effort to pour out a genuine spirit of kindness and hopeful
love to peoples of various creeds and classes, and must abstain from all
provocative language that may impede the effect of what true and continued
kindness can produce.

Does not ‘Abdu’l-Bahá wish us, as He looks down upon us with loving
expectation from His glorious Station, to obliterate as much as possible
all traces of censure, of conflicting discussions, of cooling remarks, of
petty unnecessary observations that impede the onward march of the Cause,
that damp the zeal of the firm believer and detract from the sublimity of
the Bahá’í Cause in the eyes of the inquirer? In order, however, to insure
fair and quick and vigorous action whenever such an evil activity is
revealed and has been carefully ascertained, the best and only means would
appear to be, for the careful observer, once he is assured of such an evil
action, and has grown hopeless of the attitude of kindness and
forbearance, to report it quietly to the Spiritual Assembly representative
of the friends in that locality and submit the case to their earnest and
full consideration. Should the majority of the members of that Assembly be
conscientiously convinced of the case—and this being a national issue
affecting the body of the friends in America—it should, only through the
intermediary of that Assembly, be cautiously communicated to that greater
body representing all the Assemblies in America, which will in its turn
obtain all the available data from the local Assembly in question, study
carefully the situation and reserve for itself the ultimate decision. It
may, if it decides so, refer to the Holy Land for further consideration
and consultation.



Local and National Spiritual Assemblies


This clearly places heavy responsibilities on the local as well as
national Assemblies, which in the course of time will evolve, with the
Master’s power and guidance, into the local and national Houses of
Justice. Hence the vital necessity of having a local Spiritual Assembly in
every locality where the number of adult declared believers exceeds nine,
and of making provision for the indirect election of a Body that shall
adequately represent the interests of all the friends and Assemblies
throughout the American Continent.

A perusal of some of the words of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá on the
duties and functions of the Spiritual Assemblies in every land (later to
be designated as the local Houses of Justice), emphatically reveals the
sacredness of their nature, the wide scope of their activity, and the
grave responsibility which rests upon them.

Addressing the members of the Spiritual Assembly in Chicago, the Master
reveals the following:—“Whenever ye enter the council-chamber, recite this
prayer with a heart throbbing with the love of God and a tongue purified
from all but His remembrance, that the All-powerful may graciously aid you
to achieve supreme victory:—‘O God, my God! We are servants of Thine that
have turned with devotion to Thy Holy Face, that have detached ourselves
from all beside Thee in this glorious Day. We have gathered in this
spiritual assembly, united in our views and thoughts, with our purposes
harmonized to exalt Thy Word amidst mankind. O Lord, our God! Make us the
signs of Thy Divine Guidance, the Standards of Thy exalted Faith amongst
men, servants to Thy mighty Covenant. O Thou our Lord Most High!
Manifestations of Thy Divine Unity in Thine Abhá Kingdom, and resplendent
stars shining upon all regions. Lord! Aid us to become seas surging with
the billows of Thy wondrous Grace, streams flowing from Thy all-glorious
Heights, goodly fruits upon the Tree of Thy heavenly Cause, trees waving
through the breezes of Thy Bounty in Thy celestial Vineyard. O God! Make
our souls dependent upon the Verses of Thy Divine Unity, our hearts
cheered with the outpourings of Thy Grace, that we may unite even as the
waves of one sea and become merged together as the rays of Thine Effulgent
Light; that our thoughts, our views, our feelings may become as one
reality, manifesting the spirit of union throughout the world. Thou art
the Gracious, the Bountiful, the Bestower, the Almighty, the Merciful, the
Compassionate.’”

In the Most Holy Book is revealed:—“The Lord hath ordained that in every
city a House of Justice be established wherein shall gather counsellors to
the number of Bahá, and should it exceed this number it does not matter.
It behooveth them to be the trusted ones of the Merciful among men and to
regard themselves as the guardians appointed of God for all that dwell on
earth. It is incumbent upon them to take counsel together and to have
regard for the interests of the servants of God, for His sake, even as
they regard their own interests, and to choose that which is meet and
seemly. Thus hath the Lord your God commanded you. Beware lest ye put away
that which is clearly revealed in His Tablet. Fear God, O ye that
perceive.”

Furthermore, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá reveals the following:—“It is incumbent upon
every one not to take any step without consulting the Spiritual Assembly,
and they must assuredly obey with heart and soul its bidding and be
submissive unto it, that things may be properly ordered and well arranged.
Otherwise every person will act independently and after his own judgment,
will follow his own desire, and do harm to the Cause.”

“The prime requisites for them that take counsel together are purity of
motive, radiance of spirit, detachment from all else save God, attraction
to His Divine Fragrances, humility and lowliness amongst His loved ones,
patience and long-suffering in difficulties and servitude to His exalted
Threshold. Should they be graciously aided to acquire these attributes,
victory from the unseen Kingdom of Bahá shall be vouchsafed to them. In
this day, assemblies of consultation are of the greatest importance and a
vital necessity. Obedience unto them is essential and obligatory. The
members thereof must take counsel together in such wise that no occasion
for ill-feeling or discord may arise. This can be attained when every
member expresseth with absolute freedom his own opinion and setteth forth
his argument. Should any one oppose, he must on no account feel hurt for
not until matters are fully discussed can the right way be revealed. The
shining spark of truth cometh forth only after the clash of differing
opinions. If after discussion, a decision be carried unanimously, well and
good; but if, the Lord forbid, differences of opinion should arise, a
majority of voices must prevail.”

Enumerating the obligations incumbent upon the members of consulting
councils, the Beloved reveals the following:—“The first condition is
absolute love and harmony amongst the members of the assembly. They must
be wholly free from estrangement and must manifest in themselves the Unity
of God, for they are the waves of one sea, the drops of one river, the
stars of one heaven, the rays of one sun, the trees of one orchard, the
flowers of one garden. Should harmony of thought and absolute unity be
non-existent, that gathering shall be dispersed and that assembly be
brought to naught. The second condition:—They must when coming together
turn their faces to the Kingdom on High and ask aid from the Realm of
Glory. They must then proceed with the utmost devotion, courtesy, dignity,
care and moderation to express their views. They must in every matter
search out the truth and not insist upon their own opinion, for
stubbornness and persistence in one’s views will lead ultimately to
discord and wrangling and the truth will remain hidden. The honored
members must with all freedom express their own thoughts, and it is in no
wise permissible for one to belittle the thought of another, nay, he must
with moderation set forth the truth, and should differences of opinion
arise a majority of voices must prevail, and all must obey and submit to
the majority. It is again not permitted that any one of the honored
members object to or censure, whether in or out of the meeting, any
decision arrived at previously, though that decision be not right, for
such criticism would prevent any decision from being enforced. In short,
whatsoever thing is arranged in harmony and with love and purity of
motive, its result is light, and should the least trace of estrangement
prevail the result shall be darkness upon darkness.... If this be so
regarded, that assembly shall be of God, but otherwise it shall lead to
coolness and alienation that proceed from the Evil One. Discussions must
all be confined to spiritual matters that pertain to the training of
souls, the instruction of children, the relief of the poor, the help of
the feeble throughout all classes in the world, kindness to all peoples,
the diffusion of the fragrances of God and the exaltation of His Holy
Word. Should they endeavor to fulfill these conditions the Grace of the
Holy Spirit shall be vouchsafed unto them, and that assembly shall become
the center of the Divine blessings, the hosts of Divine confirmation shall
come to their aid, and they shall day by day receive a new effusion of
Spirit.”

So great is the importance and so supreme is the authority of these
assemblies that once ‘Abdu’l-Bahá after having himself and in his own
handwriting corrected the translation made into Arabic of the I_sh_ráqát
(the Effulgences) by Sheikh Faraj, a Kurdish friend from Cairo, directed
him in a Tablet to submit the above-named translation to the Spiritual
Assembly of Cairo, that he may seek from them before publication their
approval and consent. These are His very words in that Tablet:—“His honor,
Sheikh Faraju’llah, has here rendered into Arabic with greatest care the
I_sh_ráqát and yet I have told him that he must submit his version to the
Spiritual Assembly of Egypt, and I have conditioned its publication upon
the approval of the above-named Assembly. This is so that things may be
arranged in an orderly manner, for should it not be so any one may
translate a certain Tablet and print and circulate it on his own account.
Even a non-believer might undertake such work, and thus cause confusion
and disorder. If it be conditioned, however, upon the approval of the
Spiritual Assembly, a translation prepared, printed and circulated by a
non-believer will have no recognition whatever.”

This is indeed a clear indication of the Master’s express desire that
nothing whatever should be given to the public by any individual among the
friends, unless fully considered and approved by the Spiritual Assembly in
his locality; and if this (as is undoubtedly the case) is a matter that
pertains to the general interest of the Cause in that land, then it is
incumbent upon the Spiritual Assembly to submit it to the consideration
and approval of the national body representing all the various local
assemblies. Not only with regard to publication, but all matters without
any exception whatsoever, regarding the interests of the Cause in that
locality, individually or collectively, should be referred exclusively to
the Spiritual Assembly in that locality, which shall decide upon it,
unless it be a matter of national interest, in which case it shall be
referred to the national body. With this national body also will rest the
decision whether a given question is of local or national interest. (By
national affairs is not meant matters that are political in their
character, for the friends of God the world over are strictly forbidden to
meddle with political affairs in any way whatever, but rather things that
affect the spiritual activities of the body of the friends in that land.)

Full harmony, however, as well as cooperation among the various local
assemblies and the members themselves, and particularly between each
assembly and the national body, is of the utmost importance, for upon it
depends the unity of the Cause of God, the solidarity of the friends, the
full, speedy and efficient working of the spiritual activities of His
loved ones.



Committees of the National Assembly


Large issues in such spiritual activities that affect the Cause in general
in that land, such as the management of the “Star of the West” and any
periodical which the National Body may decide to be a Bahá’í organ, the
matter of publication, or reprinting Bahá’í literature and its
distribution among the various assemblies, the means whereby the teaching
campaign may be stimulated and maintained, the work of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, the racial question in relation to the Cause, the
matter of receiving Orientals and association with them, the care and
maintenance of the precious film exhibiting a phase of the Master’s
sojourn in the United States of America as well as the original matrix and
the records of His voice, and various other national spiritual activities,
far from being under the exclusive jurisdiction of any local assembly or
group of friends, must each be minutely and fully directed by a special
board, elected by the National Body, constituted as a committee thereof,
responsible to it and upon which the National Body shall exercise constant
and general supervision.

The time is indeed ripe for the manifold activities, wherein the servants
and handmaids of Bahá’u’lláh are so devoutly and earnestly engaged, to be
harmonized and conducted with unity, cooperation and efficiency, that the
effect of such a combined and systematized effort, through which an
All-powerful Spirit is steadily pouring, may transcend every other
achievement of the past, however glorious it has been, and may stand, now
that, to the eyes of the outside world the glorious Person of the Master
is no more, a convincing testimony of the potency of His everliving
Spirit.

Your brother and co-worker in His Cause,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
March 5, 1922.



Letter of Circa May, 1922 (undated).


IN THE NAME OF GOD

This servant, after that grievous event and great calamity, the ascension
of His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Abhá Kingdom, has been so stricken
with grief and pain and so entangled in the troubles (created) by the
enemies of the Cause of God, that I consider that my presence here, at
such a time and in such an atmosphere, is not in accordance with the
fulfilment of my important and sacred duties.

For this reason, unable to do otherwise, I have left for a time the
affairs of the Cause both at home and abroad, under the supervision of the
Holy Family and the headship of the Greatest Holy Leaf(2) until, by the
Grace of God, having gained health, strength, self-confidence and
spiritual energy, and having taken into my hands, in accordance with my
aim and desire, entirely and regularly the work of service I shall attain
to my utmost spiritual hope and aspiration.

The servant of His Threshold,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
Circa May, 1922 (undated).



Our Common Servitude


May I also express my heartfelt desire that the friends of God in every
land regard me in no other light but that of a true brother, united with
them in our common servitude to the Master’s Sacred Threshold, and refer
to me in their letters and verbal addresses always as Shoghi Effendi, for
I desire to be known by no other name save the one our Beloved Master was
wont to utter, a name which of all other designations is the most
conducive to my spiritual growth and advancement.

Haifa, Palestine.
Circa May, 1922 (undated).



Letter of December 16, 1922


To the loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá throughout the continent of America.

Dear fellow-workers in the Holy Vineyard of Bahá!

Now that my long hours of rest and meditation are happily at an end, I
turn my face with renewed hope and vigor to that vast continent the soil
of which is pregnant with those seeds that our beloved Master has so
tenderly and so profusely scattered in the past. Prolonged though this
period has been, yet I have strongly felt ever since the New Day has
dawned upon me that such a needed retirement, despite the temporary
dislocations it might entail, would far outweigh in its results any
immediate service I could have humbly tendered at the Threshold of
Bahá’u’lláh.

I am now confident that the energies of my beloved brethren and sisters
across the seas, far from being damped by my sudden disappearance from the
field of service, will henceforth be fully maintained, nay redoubled in
their intensity, that we may all together carry triumphantly to the
uttermost corners of the world the glorious Standard of Bahá.

Bereft of all news whatsoever during my hours of restful seclusion, I now
feel the more the thrill of the various tidings, few but indeed promising,
that have been awaiting my return to the Holy Land. The work of the noble
Edifice that the mighty hands of the All-wise Master has reared in this
world can suffer no delay, nor can its foundations be made to totter,
whatever the apparent obstacles its enemies in their impotent wrath and
despair may throw in its way. We need not wait too long, for already from
various quarters there comes the news that the awful promises of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá regarding the Covenant-breakers have been strikingly
fulfilled!

But it behooves us not to dwell for a moment on these doomed and darkened
efforts, for the shining light of the Master’s unfailing guidance is
beckoning us to more constructive service, to nobler and worthier
achievements.

We have, not a long time ago, with tearful eyes commemorated the world
over the passing hour of our beloved Master. Would to God it has marked in
our lives, which we all have consecrated to His service, a fresh, solemn
and unswerving resolution of devotion and fidelity to His Cause

Your brother and co-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
December 16, 1922.



Letter of December 23rd, 1922


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly, the elected
representatives of all believers throughout the continent of America.

Esteemed co-workers in the Vineyard of God:

To have been unable, owing to unforeseen and unavoidable circumstances, to
correspond with you ever since you entered upon your manifold and arduous
duties is to me a cause of deep regret and sad surprise! I am however
assured and sustained by the conviction, never dimmed in my mind, that
whatsoever comes to pass in the Cause of God, however disquieting in its
immediate effects, is fraught with infinite Wisdom and tends ultimately to
promote its interests in the world. Indeed, our experiences of the distant
past, as well as of recent events, are too numerous and varied to permit
of any misgiving or doubt as to the truth of this basic principle—a
principle which throughout the vicissitudes of our sacred mission in this
world we must never disregard or forget.

I cannot refrain from expressing in this, my first letter to you my deep
gratitude and great pleasure in learning how promptly, thoroughly and
admirably you have conducted the affairs of the Cause in that land. Of the
sincerity of your efforts, of the determination with which you have faced
your delicate and difficult task, I have never doubted for a moment, as I
knew too well of the ardent spirit of service and fellowship which the
sudden passing of our Beloved had infused in all his followers everywhere.
But great was my surprise to know how the ever-present Hand of the Master
has removed so speedily all the difficulties in our way and how the light
of His Divine Guidance caused the darkness of doubts, of fears and
mistrust to vanish.

The efficient manner in which you have carried out my humble suggestions
has been a source of great encouragement to me and has revived confidence
in my heart. I have read and re-read the reports of your activities, have
studied minutely all the steps you have taken to consolidate the
foundations of the Movement in America, and have learned with a keen sense
of satisfaction the plans you contemplate for the further rise and spread
of the Cause in your great country. I very highly approve of the
arrangements you have made for centralizing the work in your hands and of
distributing it to the various committees, who each in its own sphere,
have so efficiently and thoroughly undertaken the management of their own
affairs.

What has given me still greater pleasure is to learn that the members of
this Central Body which has assumed so grave a responsibility and is
facing such delicate and difficult tasks, command individually and
collectively not only the sympathy of their spiritual brethren and sisters
but who also can confidently rely on their active and whole-hearted
support in the campaign of service to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. It is
indeed as it should be, for if genuine and sustained cooperation and
mutual confidence cease to exist between individual friends and their
local and national assemblies, the all-beneficent work of the Cause must
cease and nothing else can enable it to function harmoniously and
effectively in future.

True, the Cause as every other movement has its own obstacles,
complications and unforeseen difficulties, but unlike any other human
organization it inspires a spirit of Faith and Devotion which can never
fail to induce us to make sincere and renewed efforts to face these
difficulties and smooth any differences that may and must arise.

I look forward with fervent hope to hear of these renewed efforts on your
part and of the strong determination which you will never suffer to
slacken, to maintain at any cost the unity, the effectiveness and the
dignity of the Cause.

May I through you express my heartfelt gratitude to the members of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár Building Committee, Mr. Alfred E. Lunt, Mrs. Corinne
True, Dr. Zia Bagdadi, Mr. Charles Mason Remey, Mr. Louis Bourgeois, Mr.
Leo Perron for their incessant labors in speeding the work of this noble
Edifice which when raised and completed will prove to be the most powerful
factor in the promulgation of the Cause in America.

Will you also extend to the members of the Publishing and Reviewing
Committees, Mr. William H. Randall, Mr. Mountfort Mills, Mr. Roy C.
Wilhelm, Mr. Albert R. Vail, Miss Edna True, Mrs. Marjory Morten and Mr.
Alfred E. Lunt, my high appreciation for the very efficient management of
their departments and their devotion to a work which if consistently
maintained cannot fail to impress and attract a vast number of the
enlightened public. Regarding the Star of the West, I wish to congratulate
in particular the members of the Publishing Committee on the quality of
their work. I have perused with particular interest the last numbers of
the Magazine and am glad to note an encouraging improvement in its
management, its style, its general presentation and the nature and number
of its articles.

To the members of the Teaching Committee, Mr. William Randall, Mrs. Agnes
S. Parsons, Mr. Albert Vail, Mr. Louis G. Gregory and Mrs. Mariam Haney I
offer my very best wishes and assure them of my constant prayers on their
behalf, that their services to such a vital department in the affairs of
the Cause, so primary and immediate in its importance, may be crowned with
brilliant success.

For the members of the Children’s Educational Work Committee, Mrs. Grace
Ober, Mrs. Louise Boyle, Mrs. Victoria Bedikian, Mrs. Hebe Struven, Mrs.
Grace Foster, Mr. Stanwood Cobb and Mr. Allen McDaniel, I supplicate
Divine Assistance, that He may graciously aid them in a work which was so
near and dear to the Master’s heart and enable them to assist in the rise
of future devoted and efficient servants to the Cause of God.

On behalf of all the members of these Committees, I shall pray at the
Three Hallowed Shrines, that they may become purified channels of His
Grace and instruments of His Divine Plan for this world. For my part, I
shall not fail to offer my humble share of help and assistance to every
one of them in their respective work and would welcome from each a special
report on their present activities and of their plans for the future.

Awaiting from you all the joyous news of the deepening as well as the
spreading of the Cause for which our beloved Master has given His time,
His life, His all, and remembering your labors of love and service every
time I lay my head upon the Sacred Thresholds,

I am, as ever, your brother in His Service,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
December 23rd, 1922.

P.S. I would be pleased and gratified if you could inform all the various
local spiritual assemblies of my wish and desire to receive as soon as
possible from every local assembly a detailed and official report on their
spiritual activities, the character and organization of their respective
assemblies, accounts of their public and private gatherings, of the actual
position of the Cause in their province, and of their plans and
arrangements for the future. Pray convey to all of them my best wishes and
the assurance of my hearty assistance in their noble work of service to
mankind.

SHOGHI.



Letter of January 12, 1923


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.

Beloved co-workers in the Cause of God!

In the midst of your unceasing labors for the progress of the Movement in
that country, I am sure you would welcome every now and then such news as
shall breathe a fresh spirit into your activities and stimulate you to
further effort for the promotion of His Cause.

Only the other day, in the course of my study of various Bahá’í documents,
I came, as if by mere chance, across a very important message from our
beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, bearing no date, and revealing no sign as to exactly
where, how and to whom it was given, written in the Master’s own
handwriting upon a leaflet that seemed ordinary and ill-preserved in
appearance but which on close study proved of the profoundest interest to
all believers in the East as well as in the West. As to the authenticity
of these remarkable words, so clearly and forcibly written, there is no
doubt whatsoever, and the measure of assurance it shall inspire in the
loved ones of Persia and the spirit of hopeful encouragement it shall
breathe in the friends of the West, have urged me to communicate it to
you, that subject to your consideration and consent, it may be
published(3) amongst the friends and redouble their confidence in the very
remarkable share the West is destined to contribute to the immediate
spread of the Movement throughout the world.

Recently, I have rendered it myself into English and enclosed is a copy of
the full translation.



Star of the West


May I also mention in passing the fact that since my return to the Holy
Land I have directed and emphatically urged in my letters, the friends in
Persia, Turkestan, Caucasus, Great Britain, India, Egypt and Syria to
subscribe, through their respective Assemblies, to the Star of the West,
report regularly to that paper and through their Assemblies the news of
their activity and contribute every now and then carefully written
articles approved and sanctioned by the same Assemblies.

I trust that this measure will react favorably on the Star of the West and
will serve to stimulate the members of the Publishing Committee to further
activity in their sphere of service to the Cause.

Awaiting eagerly your letters and wishing you the fullest success in your
very arduous duties,

I am your devoted brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
January 12, 1923.



Letter of January 16, 1923.


The beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the
United States and Canada.

Beloved brothers and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

Our dear friend, Jináb-i-Fádil-i-Mázindarání, accompanied by his family,
has gladly and gratefully responded to the kind invitation of the American
friends to visit them once more and extend his helping hand to the many
friends who are so faithfully laboring throughout that continent for the
Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.

Deeply appreciative of the sentiments of warm and abiding affection which
his co-workers of that land have abundantly shown him in the past, fired
with the zeal of service which the passing of our Beloved has kindled in
every heart and hopeful of the immediate future of the Cause in those
regions, he is proceeding to America with the sole purpose of promoting
far and wide and with greater efficiency and vigor the all-important work
of teaching.

As to the extent of his sojourn, the details of his travel, his plan for
visiting the various spiritual centers and all other matters related to
his visit, I have left them all to his own discretion, that he may, after
consultation with the various Spiritual Assemblies, do as he deems best
and most serviceable to the interests of the Cause in that land.

That all the friends may realize more fully the urgent and supreme
necessity of teaching the Cause in these days; that they may arise to
inaugurate a more strenuous, systematized and extensive campaign of
service—these are the high aims he has set before himself and which he
intends, with the unfailing help and wholehearted support of every
believer in America, to achieve in the immediate future.

May his second visit to your shores mark, in its character and results, a
new and memorable era in the history of the Cause in that great country!

Your brother and co-worker,

SHOGHI.
Haifa, Palestine.
January 16, 1923.



Letter of January 17th, 1923


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.

Dear friends:

It is a great pleasure for me to share with you the translation(4) of some
of the prayers and Tablets of our beloved Master, the reading of which I
trust will inspire you and strengthen you in your work of service to His
Cause.

I trust that in the course of time I will be enabled to send you regularly
correct and reliable translations of the various prayers and Tablets of
Bahá’u’lláh, and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, which will unfold to your eyes a new vision
of His Glorious Mission on earth and give you an insight into the
character and meanings of His Divine Teachings.

I shall await very eagerly any suggestions you would like to give me on
this point and on all other matters that pertain to the interests of the
Cause in America, and I assure you again of my readiness and wish to be of
help and service to those faithful and devoted servants of Bahá’u’lláh in
that land.

Your brother and co-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
January 17th, 1923.



Letter of February 13, 1923


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.

Dearest friends:

I have just completed the translation of a number of selections(5) from
the Master’s soul-stirring Words to His loved ones in Persia, revealed
some twenty-five years ago, and during the darkest days of His
incarceration in the prison city of Akká.

You will realize, as you read them, the unshakable confidence of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá in the inevitable growth of the Cause, even in the most
perilous days of His life. Their perusal will enable you all to grasp more
fully the significance of this Movement and its dynamic power, the urgent
need for sustained unity and harmony amongst the friends, and the glory of
the station that awaits in the world to come every faithful servant of
Bahá’u’lláh.

May they contribute their share to the unfolding of the Spirit of the
Cause in that land, and may they infuse in all the friends that ardent
spirit of service and fellowship that will enable them to fulfill their
glorious destiny in this world!

Your brother and co-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
February 13, 1923.



Letter of March 12, 1923


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
America, Great Britain, Germany, France, Switzerland, Italy, Japan and
Australasia.

Fellow-workers in the Vineyard of God!

Over a year has elapsed since that calamitous Hour, when the glorious
Person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá was veiled from mortal eyes and His Spirit ascended
to the Kingdom of Glory; and I feel that the time is now ripe to take
those fresh and momentous decisions which will enable us to fulfill,
speedily and faithfully, the last wishes of our departed Master.

The year has been to the outside world a year of fear and suffering, of
disillusion and turmoil. To us, however, the bereaved followers of a
gracious and loving Master, it has been, despite the passing cares which
His sudden departure must necessarily entail, a period of hope, of
wholesome activity, marked throughout with a spirit of undiminished
confidence in His power and of fidelity to His Cause.

From the East and from the West, from the North and from the South, the
unnumbered servants of Bahá’u’lláh, disdainful of the evil machinations of
the enemies of His Cause, the breakers of His behests, have rallied to His
Standard, and risen with one accord to carry on the great Work He has
entrusted to their charge. All-hail to that undying spirit of fidelity
which burns and shall burn unceasingly, in the breasts of His loved ones!
Great shall be their reward, and blissful the hour, when after a toilsome
life of service, they are gathered to the glory of Bahá, and partake in
their Beloved’s Presence, of the joy of eternal Reunion.



Condition of the World


But great achievements still await us in this world, and we feel confident
that, by His grace and never-failing guidance, we shall now and ever prove
ourselves worthy to fulfill His great Purpose for mankind. And who can
fail to realize the sore need of bleeding humanity, in its present state
of uncertainty and peril, for the regenerating Spirit of God, manifested
this Day so powerfully in this Divine Dispensation? Four years of
unprecedented warfare and world cataclysms, followed by another four years
of bitter disappointment and suffering, have stirred deeply the conscience
of mankind, and opened the eyes of an unbelieving world to the Power of
the Spirit that alone can cure its sicknesses, heal its wounds, and
establish the long-promised reign of undisturbed prosperity and peace.



Responsibility of Bahá’ís


Now surely, if ever, is the time for us, the chosen ones of Bahá’u’lláh
and the bearers of His Message to the world, to endeavor by day and by
night, to deepen, first and foremost, the Spirit of His Cause in our own
individual lives, and then labor, and labor incessantly to exemplify in
all our dealings with our fellow-men that noble Spirit of which His
beloved Son ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has been all the days of His life a true and
unique exponent. The sayings of our beloved Master have been noised
abroad, His name has filled all regions, and the eyes of mankind are now
turned expectant towards His disciples who bear His name and profess His
teachings. Shall we not by our daily life vindicate the high claims of His
teachings, and prove by our services the influence of His undying Spirit?
This surely is our highest privilege, and our most sacred duty.

Let us, with a pure heart, with humility and earnestness, turn afresh to
His counsels and exhortations, and seek from that Source of Celestial
Potency all the guidance, the spirit, the power which we shall need for
the fulfillment of our mission in this life.

Behold, the station to which ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is now calling His loved ones
from the Realm of Glory:—

“It behooveth the loved ones of God to be enamored of one another and to
sacrifice themselves for their fellow-workers in the Cause. They should
yearn towards one another even as the sore athirst yearneth for the Water
of Life, and the lover burneth to meet his heart’s desire.”

Such is the sublime, the glorious position He wishes us, and all the
peoples and kindreds on earth, to attain in this world; how much more to
achieve unity and common understanding among ourselves, and then arise to
herald with one voice the coming of the Kingdom and the salvation of
mankind.

With unity of purpose firmly established in our minds, with every trace of
personal animosity banished from our hearts, and with the spirit of
whole-hearted and sustained fellowship kindled in our souls, can we hope
to deliver effectively the Message of Bahá’u’lláh, and execute faithfully
the various provisions of our Beloved’s Will and Testament.

Steadfast in our faith, firm in our union, abounding in our hope, fervent
in our spirit, and selfless in our labors, let us arise and with prayerful
hearts make another and supreme effort to fulfill these last words of our
Beloved, His most cherished desire:

“O ye that stand fast in the Covenant! When the hour cometh that this
wronged and broken winged bird will have taken its flight unto the
Celestial Concourse, when it will have hastened to the Realm of the
Unseen, and its mortal frame will have either been lost or hidden neath
the dust, it is incumbent upon the Afnán that are steadfast in the
Covenant of God and have branched from the Tree of Holiness, the Hands of
the Cause of God (the glory of the Lord rest upon them), and all the
friends and loved ones, one and all, to bestir themselves and arise with
heart and soul and in one accord to diffuse the sweet savors of God, to
teach His Cause and to promote His Faith. It behooveth them not to rest
for a moment, neither to seek repose. They must disperse themselves in
every land, pass by every clime, and travel throughout all regions.
Bestirred, without rest, and steadfast to the end, they must raise in
every land the triumphal cry of Yá-Bahá’u’l-Abhá, must achieve renown in
the world wherever they go, must burn brightly even as a candle in every
meeting, and must kindle the flame of Divine Love in every assembly; that
the Light of Truth may rise resplendent in the midmost heart of the world,
that throughout the East and throughout the West a vast concourse may
gather under the shadow of the Word of God, that the sweet savors of
Holiness may be diffused, that faces may shine radiantly, hearts be filled
with the Divine Spirit and souls be made heavenly. In these days the most
important of all things is the guidance of the nations and the peoples of
the world. Teaching the Cause is of utmost importance, for it is the head
corner-stone of the foundation itself. This wronged servant has spent his
days and nights in promoting the Cause, and urging the peoples to service.
He rested not a moment, till the fame of the Cause of God was noised
abroad in the world, and the Celestial Strains from the Abhá Kingdom
roused the East and the West. The beloved of God must also follow the same
example. This is the secret of faithfulness, this is the requirement of
servitude to the Threshold of Bahá.”

We need but glance at the Words of Bahá’u’lláh and the Epistles of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá to realize the great privilege of teaching the Cause, its
vital necessity, its supreme urgency, and its wide-reaching effects. These
are the very words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:—

“In these days, the Holy Ones of the Realm of Glory, dwelling in the
all-highest Paradise, yearn to return unto this world, and be of some
service to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh and prove their servitude to the
Threshold of Abhá beauty.”

What a wondrous vision these words unfold to our eyes! How great our
privilege to labor in this Day in the Divine Vineyard! Is it not incumbent
upon us to arise and teach His Cause with such an ardor which no worldly
adversity can quell, nor any measure of success can satiate?



Election of Local Assemblies


And, now that this all-important Work may suffer no neglect, but rather
function vigorously and continuously in every part of the Bahá’í world;
that the unity of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh may remain secure and
inviolate, it is of the utmost importance that in accordance with the
explicit text of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book, in every locality,
be it city or hamlet, where the number of adult (21 years and above)
declared believers exceeds nine, a local “Spiritual Assembly” be forthwith
established. To it all local matters pertaining to the Cause must be
directly and immediately referred for full consultation and decision. The
importance, nay the absolute necessity of these local Assemblies is
manifest when we realize that in the days to come they will evolve into
the local Houses of Justice, and at present provide the firm foundation on
which the structure of the Master’s Will is to be reared in future.



Duties of Spiritual Assemblies


The matter of Teaching, its direction, its ways and means, its extension,
its consolidation, essential as they are to the interests of the Cause,
constitute by no means the only issue which should receive the full
attention of these Assemblies. A careful study of Bahá’u’lláh’s and
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Tablets will reveal that other duties, no less vital to the
interests of the Cause, devolve upon the elected representatives of the
friends in every locality.

It is incumbent upon them to be vigilant and cautious, discreet and
watchful, and protect at all times the Temple of the Cause from the dart
of the mischief-maker and the onslaught of the enemy.

They must endeavor to promote amity and concord amongst the friends,
efface every lingering trace of distrust, coolness and estrangement from
every heart, and secure in its stead an active and whole-hearted
cooperation for the service of the Cause.

They must do their utmost to extend at all times the helping hand to the
poor, the sick, the disabled, the orphan, the widow, irrespective of
color, caste and creed.

They must promote by every means in their power the material as well as
the spiritual enlightenment of youth, the means for the education of
children, institute, whenever possible, Bahá’í educational institutions,
organize and supervise their work and provide the best means for their
progress and development.

They must make an effort to maintain official, regular, and frequent
correspondence with the various Bahá’í centers throughout the world,
report to them their activities, and share the glad-tidings they receive
with all their fellow-workers in the Cause.

They must encourage and stimulate by every means at their command, through
subscription, reports and articles, the development of the various Bahá’í
magazines, such as the “Star of the West” and the “Magazine of the
Children of the Kingdom” in the United States of America, the “Bahá’í
News” of India, the “Sun of the East” (Khurshid-i Khavar) in Turkestan,
the “Star of the East” in Japan, the “Sun of Truth” in Germany.

They must undertake the arrangement of the regular meetings of the
friends, the feasts and the anniversaries, as well as the special
gatherings designed to serve and promote the social, intellectual and
spiritual interests of their fellow-men.

They must supervise in these days when the Cause is still in its infancy
all Bahá’í publications and translations, and provide in general for a
dignified and accurate presentation of all Bahá’í literature and its
distribution to the general public.

These rank among the most outstanding obligations of the members of every
Spiritual Assembly. In whatsoever locality the Cause has sufficiently
expanded, and in order to insure efficiency and avoid confusion, each of
these manifold functions will have to be referred to a special Committee,
responsible to that Assembly, elected by it from among the friends in that
locality, and upon whose work the Assembly will have to exercise constant
and general supervision.

These local Spiritual Assemblies will have to be elected directly by the
friends, and every declared believer of 21 years and above, far from
standing aloof and assuming an indifferent or independent attitude, should
regard it his sacred duty to take part conscientiously and diligently, in
the election, the consolidation and the efficient working of his own local
Assembly.



National Assemblies


Regarding the establishment of “National Assemblies,” it is of vital
importance that in every country, where the conditions are favorable and
the number of the friends has grown and reached a considerable size, such
as America, Great Britain and Germany, that a “National Spiritual
Assembly” be immediately established, representative of the friends
throughout that country.

Its immediate purpose is to stimulate, unify and coordinate by frequent
personal consultations, the manifold activities of the friends as well as
the local Assemblies; and by keeping in close and constant touch with the
Holy Land, initiate measures, and direct in general the affairs of the
Cause in that country.

It serves also another purpose, no less essential than the first, as in
the course of time it shall evolve into the National House of Justice
(referred to in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will as the “secondary House of Justice”),
which according to the explicit text of the Testament will have, in
conjunction with the other National Assemblies throughout the Bahá’í
world, to elect directly the members of the International House of
Justice, that Supreme Council that will guide, organize and unify the
affairs of the Movement throughout the world.

It is expressly recorded in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Writings that these National
Assemblies must be indirectly elected by the friends; that is, the friends
in every country must elect a certain number of delegates, who in their
turn will elect from among all the friends in that country the members of
the National Spiritual Assembly. In such countries, therefore, as America,
Great Britain and Germany, a fixed number of secondary electors must first
be decided upon (95 for America, including the Pacific Islands; 95 for
Germany; and 19 for Great Britain). The friends then in every locality
where the number of adult declared believers exceeds nine must directly
elect its quota of secondary electors assigned to it in direct proportion
to its numerical strength. These secondary electors will then, either
through correspondence, or preferably by gathering together, and first
deliberating upon the affairs of the Cause throughout their country (as
the delegates to the Convention), elect from among all the friends in that
country nine who will be the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.

This National Spiritual Assembly, which, pending the establishment of the
Universal House of Justice, will have to be re-elected once a year,
obviously assumes grave responsibilities, for it has to exercise full
authority over all the local Assemblies in its province, and will have to
direct the activities of the friends, guard vigilantly the Cause of God,
and control and supervise the affairs of the Movement in general.

Vital issues, affecting the interests of the Cause in that country such as
the matter of translation and publication, the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, the
Teaching Work, and other similar matters that stand distinct from strictly
local affairs, must be under the full jurisdiction of the National
Assembly.

It will have to refer each of these questions, even as the local
Assemblies, to a special Committee, to be elected by the members of the
National Spiritual Assembly, from among all the friends in that country,
which will bear to it the same relation as the local committees bear to
their respective local Assemblies.

With it, too, rests the decision whether a certain point at issue is
strictly local in its nature, and should be reserved for the consideration
and decision of the local Assembly, or whether it should fall under its
own province and be regarded as a matter which ought to receive its
special attention. The National Spiritual Assembly will also decide upon
such matters which in its opinion should be referred to the Holy Land for
consultation and decision.

With these Assemblies, local as well as national, harmoniously,
vigorously, and efficiently functioning throughout the Bahá’í world, the
only means for the establishment of the Supreme House of Justice will have
been secured. And when this Supreme Body will have been properly
established, it will have to consider afresh the whole situation, and lay
down the principle which shall direct, so long as it deems advisable, the
affairs of the Cause.



Annual Election of Assemblies


Pending its establishment, and to insure uniformity throughout the East
and throughout the West, all local Assemblies will have to be re-elected
once a year, during the first day of Ridván, and the result of polling, if
possible, be declared on that day.

In order to avoid division and disruption, that the Cause may not fall a
prey to conflicting interpretations, and lose thereby its purity and
pristine vigor, that its affairs may be conducted with efficiency and
promptness, it is necessary that every one should conscientiously take an
active part in the election of these Assemblies, abide by their decisions,
enforce their decree, and cooperate with them wholeheartedly in their task
of stimulating the growth of the Movement throughout all regions. The
members of these Assemblies, on their part, must disregard utterly their
own likes and dislikes, their personal interests and inclinations, and
concentrate their minds upon those measures that will conduce to the
welfare and happiness of the Bahá’í Community and promote the common weal.



The Bahá’í Fund


And as the progress and execution of spiritual activities is dependent and
conditioned upon material means, it is of absolute necessity that
immediately after the establishment of local as well as national Spiritual
Assemblies, a Bahá’í Fund be established, to be placed under the exclusive
control of the Spiritual Assembly. All donations and contributions should
be offered to the Treasurer of the Assembly, for the express purpose of
promoting the interests of the Cause, throughout that locality or country.
It is the sacred obligation of every conscientious and faithful servant of
Bahá’u’lláh who desires to see His Cause advance, to contribute freely and
generously for the increase of that Fund. The members of the Spiritual
Assembly will at their own discretion expend it to promote the Teaching
Campaign, to help the needy, to establish educational Bahá’í institutions,
to extend in every way possible their sphere of service. I cherish the
hope that all the friends, realizing the necessity of this measure, will
bestir themselves and contribute, however modestly at first, towards the
speedy establishment and the increase of that Fund.

The need for the centralization of authority in the National Spiritual
Assembly, and the concentration of power in the various local Assemblies,
is made manifest when we reflect that the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh is still in
its age of tender growth and in a stage of transition; when we remember
that the full implications and the exact significance of the Master’s
world-wide instructions, as laid down in His Will, are as yet not fully
grasped, and the whole Movement has not sufficiently crystallized in the
eyes of the world.

It is our primary task to keep the most vigilant eye on the manner and
character of its growth, to combat effectively the forces of separation
and of sectarian tendencies, lest the Spirit of the Cause be obscured, its
unity be threatened, its Teachings suffer corruption; lest extreme
orthodoxy on one hand, and irresponsible freedom on the other, cause it to
deviate from that Straight Path which alone can lead it to success.



The Most Essential Obligation


But let us be on our guard—so the Master continually reminds us from His
Station on high—lest too much concern in that which is secondary in
importance, and too long a preoccupation with the details of our affairs
and activities, make us neglectful of the most essential, the most urgent
of all our obligations, namely, to bury our cares and teach the Cause,
delivering far and wide this Message of Salvation to a sorely-stricken
world.

To His valiant combatants on earth, who at times may feel disheartened,
our ever-victorious Commander, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, gives us the following
assurance:

“O ye servants of the Sacred Threshold! The triumphant Hosts of the
Celestial Concourse, arrayed and marshalled in the Realms above, stand
ready and expectant to assist and assure victory to that valiant horseman
who with confidence spurs on his charger into the arena of service. Well
is it with that fearless warrior, who armed with the power of true
Knowledge, hastens unto the field, disperses the armies of ignorance, and
scatters the hosts of error, who holds aloft the Standard of Divine
Guidance, and sounds the Clarion of Victory. By the righteousness of the
Lord! He hath achieved a glorious triumph and obtained the true
victory....”

With such inspiring words as these, are we to remain any longer unmoved
and inactive? His trumpet-call resounds on every side, and summons us to
service; are we to tarry and hesitate? His voice is calling aloud from
every land; let us march on, unfettered and unafraid, and fulfill our
glorious Destiny.

SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
March 12, 1923.



Transliteration of Bahá’í Terms


P.S. On another page(6) is given the list of the best known and most
current Bahá’í terms, and other Oriental names and expressions, all
properly and accurately transliterated, the faithful spelling of which by
all the Western friends will avoid confusion in future, and insure in this
matter a uniformity which is greatly needed at present in all Bahá’í
literature. The full code will be duly communicated to the various
National Assemblies, and the transliteration of the Oriental terms
mentioned in the English letters sent out by the Haifa Spiritual Assembly
will provide a correct and reliable supplement to the above-mentioned
list. I feel confident that all the friends will from now on follow this
system and adhere scrupulously and at all times to this code in all their
writings.



Letter of April 8th, 1923.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful, the
accredited delegates to the Annual Convention of America, Chicago,
Illinois.

Dearly beloved brothers and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

On this auspicious occasion, when the elected representatives of the
Bahá’í Community throughout the continent of America, gathered for the
first time within the Foundation Hall of the stately edifice of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, are assembled to take counsel together regarding
those vital issues that confront the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh in that land,
may I, as one of your humble fellow-workers in the field of service, offer
you from the very depths of my heart my brotherly love and sincere
greetings, and assure you of my fervent prayers for the success of your
deliberations and the attainments of your hearts’ desire.

You stand at this challenging hour in the history of the Cause at the
threshold of a new era; the functions you are called upon to discharge are
fraught with immense possibilities; the responsibilities you shoulder are
grave and momentous; and the eyes of many peoples are turned, at this
hour, towards you, expectant to behold the dawning of a Day that shall
witness the fulfilment of His divine Promise.

Forgetful of the past and its vicissitudes, conscious of the need for
renewed and combined effort, freed from all earthly limitations and
motives, with every lingering trace of ill-feeling forever banished from
our hearts, freshly united and determined, let us join in deep and silent
communion with the ever-watchful Spirit of our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and
with humility and earnestness supplicate for the guidance that will enable
us to fulfil the task which is now committed to our charge. May this
year’s Convention, by the range of its activities, by the character of its
proceedings, by its faithful adherence to the divine Instructions of our
loving Master, and above all by its radiant spirit of enthusiasm and true
fellowship, prove itself one of the greatest landmarks in the history of
the Cause in America.

May the all-pervading Spirit of Bahá’u’lláh so permeate the souls of its
members as to cause it to mirror forth the glories and the splendors of
the Celestial Concourse.

Your devoted brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
April 8, 1923.



Letter of April 9th, 1923.


To the members of the American National Spiritual Assembly.

Dearest friends:

I have lately received your long-awaited reports on the present situation
of the Movement in that land, and have read them all, together with their
enclosures, with the utmost care and deepest interest.

I am much impressed and feel deeply gratified to learn of your devoted and
unremitting labors, individually and collectively in the field of service
to the Cause; of your constant vigilance and watchful care in upholding
its fundamental principles and guarding its essential interests; of the
efficiency, faithfulness and vigor with which you are conducting the
administration of its affairs throughout that land.

Many and grave may be the obstacles, whether from within or from without,
which we shall have to encounter in the days to come, but we feel sure
that if we but maintain consistently before our eyes a broad and noble
vision of its significance and vital necessity in these days, and above
all of its universality and all-conquering power, we shall be enabled to
surmount them, one and all, and by the Power of Faith, carry the Ark of
the Covenant to its Haven of Safety and Triumph.

It is, I firmly believe, of the utmost urgent importance that, with unity
of purpose and action firmly established in our midst, and with every
trace of the animosity and mistrust of the past banished from our hearts,
we should form one united front and combat, wisely and tactfully, every
force that might darken the spirit of the Movement, cause division in its
ranks, and narrow it by dogmatic and sectarian belief.



National Spiritual Assemblies


It is primarily upon the elected members of the National Spiritual
Assemblies throughout the Bahá’í world that this highly important duty
devolves, as in their hands the direction and management of all spiritual
Bahá’í activities have been placed and centralized, and as they constitute
in the eyes of the people of their country the supreme body in that land
that officially represents, promotes and safeguards the various interests
of the Cause, it is my fervent prayer and my most cherished desire, that
the unfailing guidance of Bahá’u’lláh and the blessings of our beloved
Master will enable them to set a high and true example to all other Bahá’í
institutions and local Assemblies, and will show them what absolute
harmony, mature deliberation and whole-hearted cooperation can achieve.

Should such a representative and responsible body fail to realize this
fundamental requisite for all successful achievement, the whole structure
is sure to crumble, and the Great Plan of the Future, as unfolded by the
Master’s Will and Testament, will be rudely disturbed and grievously
delayed.

Regarding the management of the Star of the West, as I have already
intimated, this Bahá’í organ as well as other similar publications, far
from being regarded as the special organ of a certain group or particular
locality, should fall under the exclusive control of the National
Spiritual Assembly, which, aided by a special committee, shall minutely
guide and judiciously scrutinize all the information it gives, the
character of the articles and translations it publishes, and the tone and
language it assumes in all its issues....



Reports of Activities


I shall always await from the members of the National Spiritual Assembly,
collective, official and comprehensive reports on their manifold
activities, sent to me at frequent intervals, and bearing upon the inner
and outward currents of the Movement, the relations of Assemblies to one
another, and the general standing and the various aspects of the progress
of the Cause throughout the land. I would welcome more specific reports
sent to me by the various committees of the National Spiritual Assembly,
enclosed in the National Assembly’s letter, and approved by all its
members.



Mashriqu’l-Adhkár


I have read with keen interest all the enclosures regarding the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, have shared the up-to-date news they contained with
the friends throughout the East, and note with particular pleasure the
completion of the Basement Section, with its spacious Foundation Hall
ready for the holding of meetings and the gatherings of friends. Though
the prospect of the immediate resumption of building activity does not
seem bright at present, yet I hope and pray that these difficulties will
soon disappear, and the work of this unique Edifice, stimulated and
advanced in time by the zeal and self-sacrifice of the friends the world
over, will soon attain its glorious consummation. I beg to enclose my
humble contribution of 19 pounds, as my share of the numerous donations
that have reached the Temple Treasury in the past year.

Pray convey to the members of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár Committee the
highest sense of my appreciation for their devoted and strenuous labors,
and my constant prayers for the success of the task which they have set
themselves to accomplish.

With regard to the situation in Persia, and the condition of the friends
in that land, I have requested the Ṭihrán Spiritual Assembly to send me
immediately an authoritative and full report of the exact situation,
whereupon I shall duly inform you of the exact steps to be taken to insure
the well-being and safety of the tried believers in Persia....

The holding of State Congresses, Amity Conventions, and other universal
associations of the friends in America, will naturally fall within the
province of the National Spiritual Assembly, which will direct and
supervise the work of them all by the aid of special committees, each
constituted for a specific purpose. The matter of receiving Orientals is
left entirely in the hands of the National Spiritual Assembly, whose
special committee for this purpose will have to investigate all the
questions arising in this connection in future. Please convey to the
members of the newly constituted Library Committee my deep appreciation of
their labors in this important field of service, and assure them of my
prayers for their success.

Touching the point raised in the Secretary’s letter regarding the nature
and scope of the Universal Court of Arbitration, this and other similar
matters will have to be explained and elucidated by the Universal House of
Justice, to which, according to the Master’s explicit instructions, all
important and fundamental questions must be referred. At present the exact
implication and full significance of the provisions of the Master’s Will
are as yet imperfectly understood, and time will serve to reveal the
wisdom and the far-reaching effects of His words.

I am enclosing on a separate sheet the full authoritative code, widely
adopted by contemporary Orientalists throughout the world, which will
serve as a basis for the transliteration of Bahá’í terms and Oriental
names.(7)

Remembering you all in my hours of visit and prayer at the Three Holy
Shrines, and wishing you success from all my heart,

I am your brother and fellow-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
April 9th, 1923.



Letter of April 27th, 1923.


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.

Beloved fellow-workers in the Cause:

I am not sure whether I have sent you before a copy of this glorious
Tablet revealed by Bahá’u’lláh for His beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, written in
His own blessed handwriting, and which we found among his papers and
documents soon after the Master’s Ascension. It reveals in terms of
touching tenderness the unique station of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and constitutes an
unchallengeable evidence of His supreme authority.

I am also enclosing my rendering of various passages of the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas(8) which you may feel at liberty to circulate amongst the
friends.

Wishing you all success in your work,

I am your devoted brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
April 27th, 1923.



Letter of May 6th, 1923


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly.

My friends and fellow-workers in the Cause of God!

Your most welcome message, imparting the glad news of a successful
Convention, has rejoiced my heart and fortified my hope in this year of
active service, that has just unfolded itself before you.

I am certain that, as the newly elected representatives of the Bahá’í
Community throughout America, you are, one and all, well aware of your
mighty responsibilities, and fully realize the tremendous need for a full
understanding amongst the friends, and their active and sustained
cooperation in spreading far and wide the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh throughout
that vast continent.

I fervently hope that in collaboration with our wise, able and devoted
brother, Jináb-i-Fádil, you will inaugurate a brilliant and vigorous
campaign of Teaching, that shall by its very splendor banish the darkness
of differences and contention that so impede the majestic and onward march
of the Cause in every land.



Central Fund


That you may reinforce this Teaching Campaign—so vitally needed in these
days—and conduct, properly and efficiently, the rest of your manifold
activities, spiritual as well as humanitarian, it is urgently necessary to
establish that Central Fund, which if generously supported and upheld by
individual friends and local Assemblies, will soon enable you to execute
your plans with promptness and vigor.

It is my earnest prayer, in the day-time and in the night season, that the
ever-guiding Hand of our loved and departed Master may graciously aid you
to surmount every obstacle, and will lead, through you,—His chosen ones in
that land,—the Ark of His Cause, to its promised haven of glory and
triumph.

With heartfelt congratulations and best wishes,

I am your brother and fellow-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
May 6th, 1923.

P.S. I enclose a copy of my translation(9) of Bahá’u’lláh’s Words of
Wisdom, which you will feel at liberty to circulate amongst the friends.



Letter of November 14, 1923.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
America, care of the members of the American National Spiritual Assembly.

Fellow-laborers in the Divine Vineyard:

Upon my return, after a forced and prolonged absence, to the Holy Land, it
is my first and most ardent wish to renew and strengthen those ties of
brotherly love and fellowship that bind our hearts together in our common
servitude to His sacred Threshold.

The two years that have elapsed since the passing of our beloved Master
have been for the Cause, as well as for mankind, years of deep anxiety and
pain. The momentous changes that are taking place in the history of both
have proved so swift and far-reaching as to arouse in certain hearts a
strange misgiving as to their stability and future.

On one hand the remarkable revelations of the Beloved’s Will and
Testament, so amazing in all its aspects, so emphatic in its injunctions,
have challenged and perplexed the keenest minds, whilst the
ever-increasing confusion of the world, threatened as never before with
disruptive forces, fierce rivalries, fresh commotions and grave disorder,
has well-nigh overwhelmed the heart and damped the zeal of even the most
enthusiastic believer in the destiny of mankind.

And yet, how often we seem to forget the clear and repeated warnings of
our beloved Master, who, in particular during the concluding years of His
mission on earth, laid stress on the “severe mental tests” that would
inevitably sweep over His loved ones of the West—tests that would purge,
purify and prepare them for their noble mission in life.



The Cause of Human Suffering


And as to the world’s evil plight, we need but recall the writings and
sayings of Bahá’u’lláh, who, more than fifty years ago, declared in terms
prophetic the prime cause of the ills and sufferings of mankind, and set
forth their true and divine remedy. “Should the Lamp of Religion be
hidden,” He declares, “Chaos and confusion will ensue.” How admirably
fitting and applicable are these words to the present state of mankind!

Ours is then the duty and privilege to labor, by day and by night, amidst
the storm and stress of these troublous days, that we may quicken the zeal
of our fellow-men, rekindle their hopes, stimulate their interest, 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.

Let us take heart and be thankful to our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, as we
remember His manifold blessings and unfailing care and protection, ever
since the hour of His departure from our midst. The flames of sedition, so
maliciously kindled in the past by those who have dared to flout His will,
are gone out for ever, and the fondest hopes of these evil plotters are
now abandoned, doomed never to revive. He has indeed redeemed His promise!

It seemed not a long time ago that their agitation, so violently renewed
immediately after the passing of our Beloved, would for a time confuse the
Divine Message of Bahá’u’lláh, obscure His Covenant, retard the progress
of His Cause, and shatter its unity; and yet how well we see them all
today, not through our efforts, but by their own folly, and above all, by
the intervention of the hidden hand of God, reduced to the vilest and most
humiliating position.

And now, with the Cause purified and inwardly victorious, its principles
vindicated, its enemies silenced and sunk in unspeakable misery, may we
not, henceforth, direct all our efforts to collective action and
constructive achievement, and, in utter disregard of the flickerings of
their fast-fading light, arise to carry out those urgent measures that
will secure the outward and complete triumph of the Cause.

I, for my part, as I look back to the unfortunate circumstances of
ill-health and physical exhaustion that have attended the opening years of
my career of service to the Cause, feel hardly gratified, and would be
truly despondent but for the sustaining memory and inspiring example of
the diligent and ceaseless efforts which my fellow-workers the world over
have displayed during these two trying years in the service of the Cause.

I cherish the hope that, from now on, the Beloved may bestow upon me all
the strength and vigor that will enable me to pursue over a long and
unbroken period of strenuous labor the supreme task of achieving, in
collaboration with the friends in every land, the speedy triumph of the
Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. This is the prayer I earnestly request all my
fellow-brethren and sisters in the Faith to offer on my behalf.

Let us pray to God that in these days of world-encircling gloom, when the
dark forces of nature, of hate, rebellion, anarchy and reaction are
threatening the very stability of human society, when the most precious
fruits of civilization are undergoing severe and unparalleled tests, we
may all realize, more profoundly than ever, that though but a mere handful
amidst the seething masses of the world, we are in this day the chosen
instruments of God’s grace, that our mission is most urgent and vital to
the fate of humanity, and, fortified by these sentiments, arise to achieve
God’s holy purpose for mankind.

Your brother in His Service,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
November 14, 1923.



Letter of November 26, 1923.


To the members of the American National Spiritual Assembly.

Friends and fellow-workers in the Vineyard of God!

After a long and unbroken silence, it gives me the greatest joy to be
enabled to correspond again with my dearly-beloved co-workers of the
National Spiritual Assembly.

Your three letters, dated June 8th, July 10th and October 12th, have been
safely received, and to each I have given my earnest and fullest
attention. Their perusal which reflects only a certain amount of your
activities together with the study of the enclosed communications and
circulars and of the detailed and admirable report of the proceedings of
the Annual Convention have all served to heighten my admiration for the
thoroughness, the ability, and the devotion with which you are conducting
the affairs of the Cause of God in that land.

How often I have wished and yearned to be nearer to the field of your
activities and thus be able to keep in a more constant and closer touch
with every detail of the manifold and all-important services you render. I
cherish the hope that erelong the facilities in the means of communication
and transport will serve to draw us still nearer to one another, and
fulfill, though partially, this long-desired wish.



The Annual Convention


I have been made happy and grateful to learn from your first letter that
“throughout the sessions (of the last Convention) the atmosphere was one
of great detachment and spirituality combined with practical vision and
purpose.” I am deeply convinced that if the Annual Convention of the
friends in America, as well as the National Spiritual Assembly, desire to
become potent instruments for the speedy realization of the Beloved’s
fondest hopes for the future of that country, they should endeavor, first
and foremost, to exemplify, in an increasing degree, to all Bahá’ís and to
the world at large the high ideals of fellowship and service which
Bahá’u’lláh and the beloved Master repeatedly set before them. They can
claim the admiration, the support and eventually the allegiance of their
fellow-countrymen only by their strict regard for the dignity, the
welfare, and the unity of the Cause of God, by their zeal, their
disinterestedness, and constancy in the service of mankind, and by
demonstrating, through their words and deeds, the need and practicability
of the lofty principles which the Movement has proclaimed to the world.

The efforts you have displayed, and the considerable success you have
achieved in consolidating the forces of the Movement in the United States
and Canada have been a source of inspiration to every one of us, and, I am
certain, will spur the friends throughout the East to combined and
sympathetic activity for the promotion of the Cause.

My fervent prayer at the three Holy Shrines is that the bountiful Lord may
bless His American friends who constitute the vanguard of His host in the
Western world, and prosper them in their material affairs and pursuits,
that the Cause which stands today in sore need of material help and
assistance may advance, rapidly and unhindered, towards the fulfillment of
its destiny.



The Bahá’í Fund


With regard to the Bahá’í Fund, recently established amongst the friends,
I trust that the matter now stands clear to every one throughout the
country. As I have previously intimated, although individual friends and
local Assemblies are absolutely free to specify the object and purpose of
their donations to the National Spiritual Assembly, yet, in my opinion, I
regard it of the utmost vital importance that individuals, as well as
local Assemblies, throughout the land should, in view of the paramount
importance of National Teaching and as an evidence of their absolute
confidence in their national representatives, endeavor, however small at
first, to contribute freely towards the upkeep and the increase of the
National Bahá’í Fund, so that the members of the National Assembly may at
their full discretion expend it for whatever they deem urgent and
necessary.



The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár


Concerning the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, I shall always recall with pride and
gratitude the self-sacrifice of the American friends and, in particular
the devoted services of our dear Bahá’í sister, Mrs. True, and our beloved
brethren, Dr. Bagdadi, Mr. Remey and Mr. Bourgeois, whose persistent
efforts and devoted services are in the eyes of all friends highly
praiseworthy. I would feel indeed disheartened were the friends to think
for a moment, that its work should fall into abeyance, nay, rather they
should do all in their power (and I trust their fellow-brethren and
sisters throughout the East may share in their stupendous efforts) to
provide for the steady and uninterrupted progress of the work, until the
day may come when this sublime Edifice, raised in its majestic splendor in
the very heart of the continent, may be yet another evidence of the
triumph and vitality of the Cause.

Your reference to the friends in Akron, Ohio, and their harmonious
participation in the proceedings of the Convention have rejoiced my heart,
for it has removed another obstacle in the way of the rapid and vigorous
development of the Cause in those regions.

The beneficent services and unremitting labors of that selfless and able
teacher of the Cause of God, Jináb-i-Fádil-i-Mazandarání, the details of
whose travels and activities I have followed with deep interest, have been
to me a constant source of hope and real encouragement, and my hope is
that the seeds he has so wisely sown may with your support yield in the
not distant future an abundant harvest.



Green Acre


I was delighted to hear of the progressive activities of that
dearly-beloved spot, Green Acre, upon which the Master has bestowed His
tender care and loving-kindness, and of which we are all hopeful that it
may become, while the work of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár is in progress,
the focal center of the devotional, humanitarian, social and spiritual
activities of the Cause. The sacrifice of the time, energy and money made
by our dearly beloved friends, Mr. and Mrs. Randall, Mr. and Mrs.
Schopflocher, and those who have helped them in their task, I shall never
forget, and will fervently pray on their behalf that our Beloved may
fulfill their heart’s desire. I feel that no interference with its present
organization should be attempted, as it enjoys in its present condition
unique opportunities for the diffusion of the Bahá’í spirit and the
promotion of the Word of God.

I am glad to report that the situation of the houses in Ba_gh_dád is free
from immediate danger, though the issue has not yet been definitely
determined. I wish in this respect to express my high admiration and deep
gratitude for the promptness, caution, and care with which you, and
particularly Mrs. Parsons and Mr. Mills, have approached and handled this
delicate question. I shall inform you of any future developments in this
matter.

With regard to the Star of the West, I have been impressed by the beauty
and force of the various articles contributed to the Journal by Mr. Horace
Holley and Mr. Stanwood Cobb, and would indeed welcome with genuine
satisfaction an even more active participation on their part in the
editorial section of the Bahá’í Magazine.

I have addressed a few days ago a cable to the secretary of the National
Spiritual Assembly, requesting the friends to exercise restraint and
caution in the use and distribution of the record of the Master’s voice.
In my view, it should be used only on special occasions and be listened to
with the utmost reverence. The dignity of the Cause, I am sure, would
suffer from too wide and indiscriminate use of one of the most precious
relics of our departed Master.

Regarding the short film of the Master, for which, as well as for the
record of His voice, I am deeply indebted to the selfless efforts and
services of my dear brother, Mr. Roy C. Wilhelm, it would be undoubtedly
better to combine it with other films representing various scenes in the
history of the Cause, taken in countries visited by the Báb and
Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. As this would take considerable time and
preparation and would entail much expense I wonder whether it would be an
expense and burden to you to forward only to the Holy Land one copy of the
actual film, as it would impart untold happiness and consolation to the
bereaved ladies of the Holy Household.

I am gratified to peruse the able and masterly work of my dear
fellow-worker, Mr. Horace Holley, a work(10) which I have no doubt will by
virtue of its subject matter, its comprehensiveness and uniqueness arouse
widespread and genuine interest in the Movement. I am looking forward
eagerly to similar productions by the pen of such able and gifted servants
of Bahá’u’lláh.

I am enclosing for all the friends recent translations of those highly
significant utterances of Bahá’u’lláh, revealed some fifty years ago, and
pregnant with His divine wisdom. His ringing call to humanity in its hour
of peril sounds prophetic in these days of utter gloom.

I am forwarding also a copy of the transliterated Oriental terms with few
corrections of minor type errors. I am confident that the friends will not
feel their energy and patience taxed by a scrupulous adherence to what is
an authoritative and universal, though arbitrary code for the spelling of
Oriental terms.



Committees of the National Assembly


The diligent efforts exerted by the various committees of the National
Spiritual Assembly, those for National Teaching, for the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, the Star of the West, the National Library, for the
reviewing and publication of Bahá’í literature, for education, for the
National Archives and the Race Amity Conventions, have cheered and
heartened me in the discharge of my manifold duties, and constitute in
themselves a convincing evidence and inspiring example to the Bahá’í world
of the efficient spiritual administration of the affairs of the Bahá’í
world.

As to the spiritual activities of the “Children of the Kingdom” in
America, my hope and prayer is that they may grow to become efficient
servants of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. Their devotion and self-sacrifice,
their readiness to help the cause of the Bahá’í Temple, their activity in
connection with the Bahá’í Magazine are all unmistakable signs of the
glorious future of the Cause in that land. May the care and
loving-kindness of the Heavenly Father guide them, protect them and aid
them in their future mission in life.

The Greatest Holy Leaf, the Holy Mother, and the other ladies of the Holy
Household wish to join me, one and all, in expressing to every one of you
their deep thankfulness and their highest appreciation for the efficient
and admirable manner with which you are coordinating the dynamic forces of
the Cause, and conducting its affairs throughout America.

The sum of 100 English pounds which you have offered to the Cause through
me, I must acknowledge with deep appreciation and gratitude, and wish to
inform you that a part of it has been directly expended for the furthering
of the interests of the Cause throughout the world, and the rest for the
embellishment of the Well-Beloved’s Shrine on Mount Carmel.

With deep gratitude, and hoping to hear from you, singly and collectively,
I am your true brother,

SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
November 26, 1923.



Letter of January 4th, 1924.


To the members of the American National Spiritual Assembly.

My dearest friends:

On November 28th I received the following communication from the President
of the National Spiritual Assembly of Great Britain:

“I have now to bring to your notice, though possibly you are already aware
of it, a matter which is of the first importance in the opinion of the
National Spiritual Assembly as you will see from one of the paragraphs of
the enclosed minutes of its first meeting, which was held on October 13th.
So far the programme of the conference on the ‘Living Religions within the
British Empire’ is in a somewhat nebulous condition, but I have
ascertained from Miss Sharples, the honorary secretary of the committee of
organization, that the conference has been approved by the authorities of
the British Empire Exhibition 1924 and will last for ten days, covering
the last week of the month of September and the first three days of
October. It is proposed that all religions taught and practiced throughout
the British Empire shall be represented at the conference, including the
Christians, Muhammadans, Buddhists, Brahma Somaj, Theosophists and others,
and that each one in turn shall have at its disposal a day or part of a
day for a meeting to expound its principles and deal with its organization
and objects.”

In their last letter, the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of
Great Britain further informed me that the idea of the above-mentioned
conference has originated with the Theosophical Society, but these having
later dropped its management, the organization of the conference passed
into the hands of the School of Oriental Studies and the Sociological
Society. You will also note from the enclosed copy of a letter addressed
by the same Miss Sharples to the President of the British National
Spiritual Assembly that the time offered to the Bahá’í representatives
will be very limited, and that most probably the allotted time will be
just sufficient to read their papers or deliver their address and engage
in the discussion that might arise after their formal presentation of the
Cause.

As the British Empire Exhibition, of which this conference forms a part,
is itself a semi-official undertaking, and receives actually the generous
support and active participation of the government authorities throughout
the British Empire, I feel that the opportunities now offered to the
Bahá’í world should not be missed, as this chance, if properly utilized,
might arouse and stimulate interest among the enlightened public.

As so much will depend upon the nature and general presentation of the
theme, rather than upon the personality of the reader or speaker, I feel
that, first and foremost, our attention should be concentrated on the
choice and thorough preparation of the subject matter as well as on the
proper drafting and the form of the paper itself, which might possibly
have to be submitted afterwards to the authorities of the conference.

I feel the necessity of entrusting this highly important and delicate task
to a special committee, to be appointed most carefully by the National
Spiritual Assembly of America, and consisting of those who by their
knowledge of the Cause, their experience in matters of publicity, and
particularly by their power of expression and beauty of style will be
qualified to produce a befitting statement on the unique history of the
Movement as well as its lofty principles.

I am enclosing an article on the Bahá’í Movement which I trust might serve
as a basis and example of the paper in question. An account of the most
salient features of the history of the Cause, a brief but impressive
reference to its many heroes and martyrs, a convincing and comprehensive
presentation of its basic principles, and a characteristic survey of the
Master’s life, as well as a short but graphic description of the present
position and influence of the Movement both in the East and the West,
should, in my opinion, be included and combined into one conclusive
argument. Its length should not surpass that of the enclosed article, and
its general tone, expression and language should be at once dignified,
sober and forceful.

The greatest care and caution must be exercised in choosing those who can
best provide and fulfill the above mentioned requisites and conditions.

I shall be most pleased to offer my views and suggestions once the paper
has assumed its final shape, and wish you to obtain the assistance and
advice of those whom you think able to judge amongst the friends in
England and elsewhere.

Mr. Simpson, the President of the British National Spiritual Assembly,
writes that Miss Grand from Canada has suggested the names of Dr. Watson
and Mr. J. O. McCarthy of Toronto to represent the Canadian Bahá’ís. I
would be pleased to receive your views as to who should represent Canada
at the Conference. India is the only other country within the British
Empire that can send a native Bahá’í representative to the conference, and
it is rather unfortunate that the United States of America should have to
be excluded, as the speakers at the conference must necessarily be
subjects of the British Empire.

I am enclosing recent translations(11) of the prophetic and most
remarkable words of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which I trust you will
all find of great value and interest in the great work you are doing for
the Cause.

May this great project yield an abundant harvest for the Cause, and your
efforts be richly blessed by the guiding Spirit of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

Your fellow-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
January 4th, 1924.



Letter of February 23, 1924.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
America.

My dear fellow-workers:

I gather from various sources that the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, in the course
of its sure yet toilsome march towards the salvation of the world, has
encountered of late further obstacles, which in the eyes of some appear to
retard its progress and hinder its growth. I have learned with feelings of
sadness and surprise that some vague sense of apprehension, a strange
misconception of its immediate purpose and methods, is slowly gaining
ground, steadily affecting its wholesome growth and vigorous development
throughout the continent.

Though such signs should appear from time to time, and however
unrepresentative they be of the vast and growing mass of its convinced and
zealous supporters, the world over, what, I wonder, could have caused this
uneasiness of mind? Are such misgivings possible, though on the part of
but a few, in the face of the remarkable manifestations of so remarkable a
movement? To what extent do they form a part of those mental tests and
trials destined at various times by the Almighty to stir and reinvigorate
the body of His Cause, and how far are they traceable to our imperfect
state of understanding, to our weaknesses and failings?



Divine Destiny and Human Frailty


That the Cause of God should, in the days to come, witness many a
challenging hour and pass through critical stages in preparation for the
glories of its promised ascendancy in the new world has been, time and
again, undeniably affirmed by our departed Master, and is abundantly
proved to us all by its heroic past and turbulent history. And yet, if it
is the lot of the chosen ones of God, the people of Bahá, to face
adversity and suffer tribulation before achieving ultimate victory, are we
to believe that whatever befalls us is divinely ordained, and in no wise
the result of our faint-heartedness and negligence?

Surely now, if ever, is the time to turn our eyes inwardly, to bestir
ourselves, to invoke the Most Great Name, and standing together, summon to
our aid and support all the faith, the strength, and the courage that we
shall need to meet our pressing obligations and discharge our trust.



The Plight of Mankind


The plight of mankind, the condition and circumstances under which we live
and labor are truly disheartening, and the darkness of prejudice and
ill-will enough to chill the stoutest heart. Disillusion and dismay are
invading the hearts of peoples and nations, and the hope and vision of a
united and regenerated humanity is growing dimmer and dimmer every day.
Time-honored institutions, cherished ideals, and sacred traditions are
suffering in these days of bewildering change, from the effects of the
gravest onslaught, and the precious fruit of centuries of patient and
earnest labor is faced with peril. Passions, supposed to have been curbed
and subdued, are now burning fiercer than ever before, and the voice of
peace and good-will seems drowned amid unceasing convulsions and turmoil.
What, let us ask ourselves, should be our attitude as we stand under the
all-seeing eye of our vigilant Master, gazing at a sad spectacle so
utterly remote from the spirit which He breathed into the world? Are we to
follow in the wake of the wayward and the despairing? Are we to allow our
vision of so unique, so enduring, so precious a Cause to be clouded by the
stain and dust of worldly happenings, which, no matter how glittering and
far-reaching in their immediate effects, are but the fleeting shadows of
an imperfect world? Are we to be carried away by the flood of hollow and
conflicting ideas, or are we to stand, unsubdued and unblemished, upon the
everlasting rock of God’s Divine Instructions? Shall we not equip
ourselves with a clear and full understanding of their purpose and
implications for the age we live in, and with an unconquerable resolve
arise to utilize them, intelligently and with scrupulous fidelity, for the
enlightenment and the promotion of the good of all mankind?

Humanity, torn with dissension and burning with hate, is crying at this
hour for a fuller measure of that love which is born of God, that love
which in the last resort will prove the one solvent of its incalculable
difficulties and problems. Is it not incumbent upon us, whose hearts are
aglow with love for Him, to make still greater effort, to manifest that
love in all its purity and power in our dealings with our fellow-men? May
our love of our beloved Master, so ardent, so disinterested in all its
aspects, find its true expression in love for our fellow-brethren and
sisters in the faith as well as for all mankind. I assure you, dear
friends, that progress in such matters as these is limitless and infinite,
and that upon the extent of our achievements along this line will
ultimately depend the success of our mission in life.



The New World Order


And as we make an effort to demonstrate that love to the world may we also
clear our minds of any lingering trace of unhappy misunderstandings that
might obscure our clear conception of the exact purpose and methods of
this new world order, so challenging and complex, yet so consummate and
wise. We are called upon by our beloved Master in His Will and Testament
not only to adopt it unreservedly, but to unveil its merit to all the
world. To attempt to estimate its full value, and grasp its exact
significance after so short a time since its inception would be premature
and presumptuous on our part. We must trust to time, and the guidance of
God’s Universal House of Justice, to obtain a clearer and fuller
understanding of its provisions and implications. But one word of warning
must be uttered in this connection. Let us be on our guard lest we measure
too strictly the Divine Plan with the standard of men. I am not prepared
to state that it agrees in principle or in method with the prevailing
notions now uppermost in men’s minds, nor that it should conform with
those imperfect, precarious, and expedient measures feverishly resorted to
by agitated humanity. Are we to doubt that the ways of God are not
necessarily the ways of man? Is not faith but another word for implicit
obedience, whole-hearted allegiance, uncompromising adherence to that
which we believe is the revealed and express will of God, however
perplexing it might first appear, however at variance with the shadowy
views, the impotent doctrines, the crude theories, the idle imaginings,
the fashionable conceptions of a transient and troublous age? If we are to
falter or hesitate, if our love for Him should fail to direct us and keep
us within His path, if we desert Divine and emphatic principles, what hope
can we any more cherish for healing the ills and sicknesses of this world?

Pending the establishment of the Universal House of Justice, whose
function it is to lay more definitely the broad lines that must guide the
future activities and administration of the Movement, it is clearly our
duty to strive to obtain as clear a view as possible of the manner in
which to conduct the affairs of the Cause, and then arise with
single-mindedness and determination to adopt and maintain it in all our
activities and labors.



The Foundation of the House of Justice


The various Assemblies, local and national, constitute today the bedrock
upon the strength of which the Universal House is in future to be firmly
established and raised. Not until these function vigorously and
harmoniously can the hope for the termination of this period of transition
be realized. It devolves upon us whose dearest wish is to see the Cause
enter upon that promised era of universal recognition and world
achievements, to do all in our power to consolidate the foundations of
these Assemblies, promoting at the same time a fuller understanding of
their purpose and more harmonious cooperation for their maintenance and
success.

Let us also remember that at the very root of the Cause lies the principle
of the undoubted right of the individual to self-expression, his freedom
to declare his conscience and set forth his views. If certain instructions
of the Master are today particularly emphasized and scrupulously adhered
to, let us be sure that they are but provisional measures designed to
guard and protect the Cause in its present state of infancy and growth
until the day when this tender and precious plant shall have sufficiently
grown to be able to withstand the unwisdom of its friends and the attacks
of its enemies.

Let us also bear in mind that the keynote of the Cause of God is not
dictatorial authority but humble fellowship, not arbitrary power, but the
spirit of frank and loving consultation. Nothing short of the spirit of a
true Bahá’í can hope to reconcile the principles of mercy and justice, of
freedom and submission, of the sanctity of the right of the individual and
of self-surrender, of vigilance, discretion and prudence on the one hand,
and fellowship, candor, and courage on the other.



Duties of Elected Representatives


The duties of those whom the friends have freely and conscientiously
elected as their representatives are no less vital and binding than the
obligations of those who have chosen them. Their function is not to
dictate, but to consult, and consult not only among themselves, but as
much as possible with the friends whom they represent. They must regard
themselves in no other light but that of chosen instruments for a more
efficient and dignified presentation of the Cause of God. They should
never be led to suppose that they are the central ornaments of the body of
the Cause, intrinsically superior to others in capacity or merit, and sole
promoters of its teachings and principles. They should approach their task
with extreme humility, and endeavor, by their open-mindedness, their high
sense of justice and duty, their candor, their modesty, their entire
devotion to the welfare and interests of the friends, the Cause, and
humanity, to win, not only the confidence and the genuine support and
respect of those whom they serve, but also their esteem and real
affection. They must, at all times, avoid the spirit of exclusiveness, the
atmosphere of secrecy, free themselves from a domineering attitude, and
banish all forms of prejudice and passion from their deliberations. They
should, within the limits of wise discretion, take the friends into their
confidence, acquaint them with their plans, share with them their problems
and anxieties, and seek their advice and counsel. And, when they are
called upon to arrive at a certain decision, they should, after
dispassionate, anxious and cordial consultation, turn to God in prayer,
and with earnestness and conviction and courage record their vote and
abide by the voice of the majority, which we are told by our Master to be
the voice of truth, never to be challenged, and always to be
whole-heartedly enforced. To this voice the friends must heartily respond,
and regard it as the only means that can insure the protection and
advancement of the Cause.



Election of Delegates


Again I earnestly appeal to every one of you, and renew my only request
with all the ardor of my conviction, to make, before and during the coming
Convention, yet another effort, this time more spontaneous and selfless
than before, and endeavor to approach your task—the election of your
delegates, as well as your national and local representatives—with that
purity of spirit that can alone obtain our Beloved’s most cherished
desire. Let us recall His explicit and often-repeated assurances that
every Assembly elected in that rarefied atmosphere of selflessness and
detachment is, in truth, appointed of God, that its verdict is truly
inspired, that one and all should submit to its decision unreservedly and
with cheerfulness.

Let us first strive to fulfill these conditions, difficult yet essential,
in our lives, so that, contented and assured, we may make of this new year
of activity a year of abundant blessings, of unprecedented achievements.

May this dearest wish be fulfilled!

SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
February 23, 1924.



Letter of September 24, 1924.


The beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the
Continent of America:

Dear friends:

I return to the Holy Land with an overpowering sense of the gravity of the
spiritual state of the Cause in the world. Much as I deplore the
disturbing effect of my forced and repeated withdrawals from the field of
service, I can unhesitatingly assure you that my last and momentous step
was taken with extreme reluctance and only after mature and anxious
reflection as to the best way to safeguard the interests of a precious
Cause.

My prolonged absence, my utter inaction should not, however, be solely
attributed to certain external manifestations of unharmony, of discontent
and disloyalty—however paralysing their effect has been upon the
continuance of my work—but also to my own unworthiness and to my
imperfections and frailties.

I venture to request you to join me in yet another prayer, this time more
ardent and universal than before, supplicating with one voice the gracious
Master to overlook our weaknesses and failings, to make us worthier and
braver children of His own.



Our Inner Life


Humanity, through suffering and turmoil, is swiftly moving on towards its
destiny; if we be loiterers, if we fail to play our part surely others
will be called upon to take up our task as ministers to the crying needs
of this afflicted world.

Not by the force of numbers, not by the mere exposition of a set of new
and noble principles, not by an organized campaign of teaching—no matter
how worldwide and elaborate in its character—not even by the staunchness
of our faith or the exaltation of our enthusiasm, can we ultimately hope
to vindicate in the eyes of a critical and sceptical age the supreme claim
of the Abhá Revelation. One thing and only one thing will unfailingly and
alone secure the undoubted triumph of this sacred Cause, namely, the
extent to which our own inner life and private character mirror forth in
their manifold aspects the splendor of those eternal principles proclaimed
by Bahá’u’lláh.

Looking back upon those sullen days of my retirement, bitter with feelings
of anxiety and gloom, I can recall with appreciation and gratitude those
unmistakable evidences of your affection and steadfast zeal which I have
received from time to time, and which have served to relieve in no small
measure the burden that weighed so heavily upon my heart.

I can well imagine the degree of uneasiness, nay of affliction, that must
have agitated the mind and soul of every loving and loyal servant of the
Beloved during these long months of suspense and distressing silence. But
I assure you such remarkable solicitude as you have shown for the
protection of His Cause, such tenacity of faith and unceasing activity as
you have displayed for its promotion, cannot but in the end be abundantly
rewarded by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, who from His station above is the sure witness
of all that you have endured and suffered for Him.



Dawn of a Brighter Day


And now as I look into the future, I hope to see the friends at all times,
in every land, and of every shade of thought and character, voluntarily
and joyously rallying round their local and in particular their national
centers of activity, upholding and promoting their interests with complete
unanimity and contentment, with perfect understanding, genuine enthusiasm,
and sustained vigor. This indeed is the one joy and yearning of my life,
for it is the fountainhead from which all future blessings will flow, the
broad foundation upon which the security of the Divine Edifice must
ultimately rest. May we not hope that now at last the dawn of a brighter
day is breaking upon our beloved Cause?

SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
September 24, 1924.



Letter of November 24th, 1924.


To my dearly-beloved brothers and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá: care of the
American National Spiritual Assembly.

Dearest friends:

The day is drawing near when, for the third time, we shall commemorate the
world over the passing of our well-beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. May we not pause
for a moment, and gather our thoughts? How has it fared with us, His
little band of followers, since that day? Whither are we now marching?
What has been our achievement?



Menace of Social Chaos


We have but to turn our eyes to the world without to realize the
fierceness and the magnitude of the forces of darkness that are struggling
with the dawning light of the Abhá Revelation. Nations, though exhausted
and disillusioned, have seemingly begun to cherish anew the spirit of
revenge, of domination, and strife. Peoples, convulsed by economic
upheavals, are slowly drifting into two great opposing camps with all
their menace of social chaos, class hatreds, and worldwide ruin. Races,
alienated more than ever before, are filled with mistrust, humiliation and
fear, and seem to prepare themselves for a fresh and fateful encounter.
Creeds and religions, caught in this whirlpool of conflict and passion,
appear to gaze with impotence and despair at this spectacle of unceasing
turmoil.

Such is the plight of mankind three years after the passing of Him from
whose lips fell unceasingly the sure message of a fast-approaching Divine
salvation. Are we by our thoughts, our words, our deeds, whether
individually or collectively, preparing the way? Are we hastening the
advent of the Day He so often foretold?

None can deny that the flame of faith and love which His mighty hand
kindled in many hearts has, despite our bereavement, continued to burn as
brightly and steadily as ever before. Who can question that His loved
ones, both in the East and the West, notwithstanding the insidious
strivings of the enemies of the Cause, have displayed a spirit of
unshakable loyalty worthy of the highest praise? What greater perseverance
and fortitude than that which His tried and trusted friends have shown in
the face of untold calamities, intolerable oppression, and incredible
restrictions? But such staunchness of faith, such an unsullied love, such
magnificent loyalty, such heroic constancy, such noble courage, however
unprecedented and laudable in themselves, cannot alone lead us to the
final and complete triumph of such a great Cause. Not until the dynamic
love we cherish for Him is sufficiently reflected in its power and purity
in all our dealings with our fellow-men, however remotely connected and
humble in origin, can we hope to exalt in the eyes of a self-seeking world
the genuineness of the all-conquering love of God. Not until we live
ourselves the life of a true Bahá’í can we hope to demonstrate the
creative and transforming potency of the Faith we profess. Nothing but the
abundance of our actions, nothing but the purity of our lives and the
integrity of our characters, can in the last resort establish our claim
that the Bahá’í spirit is in this day the sole agency that can translate a
long-cherished ideal into an enduring achievement.



Paramount Duty of Every Bahá’í


With this vision clearly set before us, and fortified by the knowledge of
the gracious aid of Bahá’u’lláh and the repeated assurances of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, let us first strive to live the life and then arise with one
heart, one mind, one voice, to reinforce our numbers and achieve our end.
Let us recall, and seek on this sad occasion the comfort of, the last
wishes of our departed yet ever-watchful Master:—

“It behooveth them not to rest for a moment, neither to seek repose. They
must disperse themselves in every land, pass by every clime, and travel
throughout all regions. Bestirred, without rest, and steadfast to the end,
they must raise in every land the triumphal cry ‘Ya Bahá’u’l-Abhá!’ (O
Thou the Glory of Glories).... The disciples of Christ forgot themselves
and all earthly things, forsook all their cares and belongings, purged
themselves of self and passion, and with absolute detachment scattered far
and wide and engaged in calling the peoples of the world to the divine
guidance; till at last they made the world another world, illumined the
surface of the earth, and even to their last hour proved self-sacrificing
in the pathway of that beloved One of God. Finally in various lands they
suffered glorious martyrdom. Let them that are men of action follow in
their footsteps!”

Having grasped the significance of these words, having obtained a clear
understanding of the true character of our mission, the methods to adopt,
the course to pursue, and having attained sufficiently the individual
regeneration—the essential requisite of teaching—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; sacrifice our personal interests, comforts, tastes and
pleasures; mingle with the divers kindreds and peoples of the world;
familiarize ourselves with their manners, traditions, thoughts and
customs; arouse, stimulate and maintain universal interest in the
Movement, and at the same time endeavor by all the means in our power, by
concentrated and persistent attention, to enlist the unreserved allegiance
and the active support of the more hopeful and receptive among our
hearers. Let us too bear in mind the example which our beloved Master has
clearly set before us. Wise and tactful in His approach, wakeful and
attentive in His early intercourse, broad and liberal in all His public
utterances, cautious and gradual in the unfolding of the essential
verities of the Cause, passionate in His appeal yet sober in argument,
confident in tone, unswerving in conviction, dignified in His manners—such
were the distinguishing features of our Beloved’s noble presentation of
the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh.

If we all choose to tread faithfully His path, surely the day is not far
distant when our beloved Cause will have emerged from the inevitable
obscurity of a young and struggling Faith into the broad daylight of
universal recognition. This is our duty, our first obligation. Therein
lies the secret of the success of the Cause we love so well. Therein lies
the hope, the salvation of mankind. Are we fully conscious of our
responsibilities? Do we realize the urgency, the sacredness, the
immensity, the glory of our task?

I entreat you, dear friends, to continue, nay, to redouble your efforts,
to keep your vision clear, your hopes undimmed, your determination
unshaken, so that the power of God within us may fill the world with all
its glory.

In this fervent plea joins me the Greatest Holy Leaf. Though chagrined in
the evening of her life at the sorrowful tales of repression in Persia,
she still turns with the deepest longings of her heart to your land where
freedom reigns, eager and expectant to behold, ere she is called away, the
signs of the universal triumph of the Cause she loves so dearly.

SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
November 24th, 1924.



Letter of November 27, 1924.


To my dear friends and fellow-workers, the members of the American
National Spiritual Assembly.

My friends and fellow-workers:—

The letters which our able and devoted friend, Mr. Horace Holley, has
addressed in your behalf to the Greatest Holy Leaf and myself have all
been received, and, together with their enclosures, read with the closest
attention. It is indeed highly gratifying to observe that notwithstanding
the strain and stress of the critical period through which our beloved
Cause is passing, the elected representatives of the friends in America
have, with unflinching faith, undaunted courage, and conspicuous ability,
persevered in their task and fulfilled their arduous duties.

The splendid contribution you have made to the efforts of your
fellow-workers in England in connection with the Conference on the Living
Religions within the British Empire, we all heartily appreciate and regard
as a fresh evidence of the growing power and solidarity of the Cause of
God. Both in the admirable paper which you arranged to be drafted and
prepared, and in the person of your devout, trusted and talented
President, who performed his duty with absolute fidelity and high
distinction, you have rendered the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh a fresh and
distinguished service. May the results achieved lend a fresh impetus to
the onward march of the Cause in the West.

The recent measures you have adopted in view of the necessity of promoting
fuller confidence and a greater measure of understanding and cooperation
between the body of the believers and the local and National Assemblies,
will, I am confident, be of the greatest value, and indicate clearly that
you are fully aware of the true position, the privileges and
responsibilities of every Bahá’í Assembly.



Mashriqu’l-Adhkár


We all long to hasten by wise and effective measures the completion of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, and we fervently supplicate the All-Bountiful to
bless richly our teaching work that our numbers may be reinforced in time
by men who with sufficient means at their disposal may voluntarily and
abundantly support this vast and noble endeavor. I trust that you will
encounter no further obstacles in receiving the necessary support to meet
the immediate needs of this Universal House of Worship as decided at your
recent general gathering in Chicago.



Bahá’í Magazine


The Star of the West, the latest issues of which I have read with genuine
satisfaction, has admittedly made a notable advance towards the ideal
which the Master has set before it. Articles on broad humanitarian lines,
well-conceived, adequately treated, and powerfully presented, should have
their proper place in every issue together with such accounts of the
history and the teachings of the Cause as will portray to the Bahá’í and
non-Bahá’í alike the unique beauty as well as the compelling power of the
Bahá’í spirit. Matters political and partisan in character should be
carefully avoided as they would eventually lead to entanglements that
would be not only futile but positively harmful. As regards the Persian
Section: I feel that in view of the severe restrictions imposed on the
friends in Persia its temporary suspension would be well-advised,
particularly as it makes such a disproportionate demand on the meagre
resources of the friends in America.

The increasing efforts displayed by my beloved brothers and sisters in
America, both individually and collectively, and the action taken by you
in constituting regional Teaching Committees are of vital importance to
the spread of the Cause in the present stage of our work. I feel that we
should all collaborate in widening its scope, intensifying its influence,
assuring its continuity, and endeavoring to subordinate every other
activity to this most urgent and vital task. It is our bounden duty to do
all in our power to give the Cause from day to day a fuller publicity, to
maintain and stimulate the interest aroused, and to concentrate at the
same time our attention on a chosen few, endeavoring tactfully and
persistently to make of them earnest and unreserved supporters of the
Bahá’í Faith.

I am deeply conscious of the manifold and unavoidable difficulties that
confront you in your labors for the administration of the affairs of the
Cause. Vast distances; personal professional preoccupations; insufficient
number of capable and experienced teachers, unhampered by the necessity of
earning their means of livelihood; the inadequacy of the means at your
disposal, financial and otherwise; the prevailing tendencies in the
general thought, sentiment, and manners of the people in whose midst you
work—all these, though insuperable obstacles at present, will, if we stand
steadfast and faithful, be one by one removed, and pave the way for the
ultimate ascendency of the Cause and the fruition and triumph of our
labors.

As to the projected prayer-book, I feel the need for a specially prepared
compilation of the prayers of Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá designed for
the general public which would both prove of value for devotional purposes
and act as a fresh incentive to eager and inspiring minds. I am enclosing
copies of prayers which you may have not yet received and trust to send
you more in future. I should be glad to receive any particulars you might
wish me to consider in this connection.

Our untiring and devoted sister, Dr. Moody (the handmaid of the Most
High), has had to her profound regret to discontinue for a time the
invaluable and unique services she has been rendering to the Cause in
Persia. She is proceeding to America, and will familiarize you with the
deplorable state of affairs in that unhappy country. You will get
first-hand information from her regarding the present condition and
activities of our long-suffering friends in Persia, and she will take
counsel with you as to the best way to meet the needs and serve the Cause
of Education in Ṭihrán. I hope and pray that as soon as circumstances
permit, the friends in America may enable Dr. Moody to take back with her
to Persia suitable, capable and ardent collaborators who will contribute
their distinct share towards the uplift and the advancement of their
brethren and sisters in that land.

Concerning the magazine ... I feel we must make it unmistakably plain to
those in charge of it that the Bahá’ís would gladly and gratefully respond
to the invitation to cooperate with those that are responsible for it
immediately they are fully satisfied that nothing is or will be published
by them, whether in the magazine or elsewhere, that would, however
indirectly, prejudice or reflect upon their conception of what the Bahá’í
Movement is or stands for. Should this be refused, and unfriendly and
harmful matters be published against them, the attitude of all of us
should be a definite refusal to help and absolute non-interference, as
well as the absence of any form of retaliation which will instead of
achieving our end defeat our purpose. We should leave him in the hands of
God.

As to the suggestion of the Annual Convention being held next summer at
Green Acre, I believe it to be both wise and helpful, and trust that it
will forge another link between the Bahá’ís as a body and its founders and
trustees, and will serve to draw them closer and closer to the outward
form as well as to the spirit of the activities of the friends in America.

The financial help extended recently by the friends in America to their
fellow-workers of the Faith in Qadiyán, Punjab, has given us all intense
satisfaction and made us deeply grateful. Their contribution has
immediately been forwarded to them through the National Spiritual Assembly
of India and Burma, and will, I am certain, enhance the prestige and the
influence of the Cause.

I feel that the conditions are now favorable for the circulation of the
Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá only in manuscript form and among
recognized believers in America. Every such believer should be trusted
with a single copy with the express understanding that no duplicate copies
or extracts of it be made or published anywhere.



Bahá’í Year Book


The suggestion made by my dear and able friend, Mr. Horace Holley, as to
the compilation of an annual “Bahá’í Year Book” is extremely valuable and
timely. I am much impressed by it, and feel that an immediate start should
be made. I believe it can best be now undertaken under the direction and
supervision of your Assembly until the time should come for the friends in
the East and particularly Persia to participate effectually in its
development. I trust you will send me a copy of the skeleton of the
material you propose to include, and I shall here attempt to fill up any
gap and render any assistance I can to make it as comprehensive, as
attractive, and as authoritative as possible.

I am sending through my dear brother, Mr. M. Mills, various relics and
Tablets of our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the only and priceless treasures of
the devoted gardener of Bahá’u’lláh’s Shrine, Ustad Abu’l-Qasim Khurasani,
who has offered them to be preserved in his behalf in the Archives of the
friends in America. I am hoping to be able to send you in future precious
additions to what the Archives Committee has already collected, and may I
in this connection express to those who have conceived so admirable a plan
my profound admiration and heartfelt gratitude.

I wish to assure you in conclusion of my readiness and genuine desire to
help you and serve you to the utmost of my ability. I fully realize the
enormous burden that weighs on your shoulders, and am constantly mindful
of the distinct and eminent share you are contributing to the advancement
of the Cause. I wish you from the depths of my heart entire satisfaction
in your glorious work. Our beloved Master is surely watching from the
Realm Beyond over His children whom He nurtured and loved so well, and
will certainly guide you in every step you take, and crown your patient
efforts with signal success.

Your brother and fellow-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
November 27, 1924.



Letter of January 16, 1925.


To my dearly-beloved friends, the members of the American National
Spiritual Assembly.

My dear and precious fellow-workers:

The three communications dated November 19, November 22 and December 22,
which I have recently received from that indefatigable servant of
Bahá’u’lláh, my esteemed spiritual brother, Mr. Holley, have given me
great satisfaction and have cheered and sustained me in my work. I have
read most carefully the minutes of your December meeting and am
particularly pleased to note in many respects the notable advance you have
made in establishing the Cause upon a wider and surer foundation.



History of the Cause


With reference to the need, so often expressed, for an authentic and
comprehensive history of the Cause, I am glad to inform you of the action
contemplated by the National Spiritual Assembly of Persia in instructing
and urging the local Assemblies throughout the country to take immediate
steps for the formation in every locality of a special committee which
will seek the assistance and the testimony of the remnants of the earliest
believers and pioneers of the Cause in Persia in collecting most carefully
all available evidence and data for the compilation of a comprehensive,
reliable and representative history of the Movement from its earliest dawn
to the present day. I have communicated with the National Assembly of
Persia, regarding this urgent and vital necessity, and I feel the time is
not far distant when a free rendering into English of this stirring
narrative as well as an abridged form of it will be made available for
both the Bahá’ís and the general public in the West.

The efforts recently displayed by the Publishing Committee so clearly
reflected in the minutes of their meeting of November 2, 1924, a copy of
which I have read with the closest attention, indicate the efficiency, the
zeal and the determination with which they are conducting this vital
branch of Bahá’í activity. The scope of their effective work is expanding
rapidly, and I wish to assure them one and all of my prayers for the
fruition of their labors and the further development and consolidation of
their work.

There have been of late no fresh developments in the situation of the
House of Ba_gh_dád. The case, which is now before the court of First
Instance, has been postponed for some time and we still await anxiously
the decision of the court. Any hope of an immediate and final solution of
this intricate problem seems for the present remote. In the event of our
success the case may still be referred by our powerful opponents to the
Court of Appeal—the highest in the land—and should its decision be in our
favor the government may at any time—as it does not seem unlikely—decide,
by retaining the keys in its custody, to postpone indefinitely the
execution of such a verdict in order to allay the fierce hostility of the
clerical element as well as the Shi’ite population of ‘Iráq.

Should a crisis occur, I will immediately inform you and endeavor to
define more clearly any measure that I feel should be taken by the
American Assemblies to insure the security of the House of Bahá’u’lláh.



Bahá’í Periodicals


Regarding the publication of Bahá’í periodicals in America, there is no
doubt whatsoever that every individual Bahá’í is free to inaugurate and
conduct any magazine of his own provided that nothing is published therein
which in the estimation of the National Assembly tends in the least to
become detrimental or injurious to the highest interests of the Cause.
Within these limits, and these limits only, private initiative should in
no wise be discouraged and is indeed highly praiseworthy. It is for the
National Assembly, however, to exercise its judgment as to what extent the
resources at their disposal enable them to aid financially the individual
undertakings of the friends. Should the response of the friends and
Assemblies to the appeals made on behalf of the National Fund be prompt,
sustained and generous, the National Assembly will, I am certain, justify
its sympathy, good-will and genuine cooperation with every individual
Bahá’í enterprise. I would, however, at this early state of our work,
strongly urge, nay entreat, the friends not to dissipate their efforts,
but to seek, after frank, mature and continuous deliberation, to arrive at
a common conclusion as to the most urgent requirements and needs of the
hour, and having unified their views to strive to uphold and enforce them
with promptitude, wholeheartedness and understanding.



News Letter


The first printed issue of the National Assembly’s News Letter prepared
and signed on behalf of the Assembly by its able secretary, stands as a
bright and eloquent testimony of his thoroughness, his industry, his
conspicuous ability, his undoubted self-sacrifice. The Cause is entering
upon a new era of renewed and concerted activity. Its method of
presentation has unmistakably improved, and this general advancement in
standard is in no small measure attributable to the distinctive capacity
of your Assembly. My constant prayer is that He who watches over and
inspires your manifold activities may bless more richly than ever before
your noble endeavors.



Temple Meetings


With reference to the matter of meeting in the Foundation Hall of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, I feel that the Foundation Hall should serve the
purpose both of devotional gatherings where the revealed Word of God is
read and chanted, and meetings at which subjects strictly Bahá’í in
character are presented, propounded and discussed. I have no doubt that
every conscientious and thoughtful Bahá’í will scrupulously and at all
times observe the commandment of Bahá’u’lláh and the instructions of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá relative to the maintenance of the sacredness, the dignity,
and the universality of an edifice that will in time become God’s
universal House of Worship.

May the blessings of our Almighty Master rest upon your deliberations.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
January 16, 1925.



Letter of January 29th, 1925.


To the esteemed members of the American National Spiritual Assembly.

My well-beloved and precious fellow-workers:

I have perused your recent communication, dated December 29th, and signed
on your behalf by your vigilant and capable secretary, with an interest
and attention worthy of the paramount importance of the issues it raises.

The matter of the revision of the English version of the Hidden Words, in
view of the rapidity of the sale of the copies recently printed, is of
urgent importance. I shall as soon as my multitudinous preoccupations
permit avail myself of the opportunity of Dr. Esslemont’s happy sojourn in
the Holy Land to collaborate with him in any necessary alterations of the
text. I strongly hope, except in the event of unforeseen circumstances, to
undertake this task in the course of this coming month.

In connection with the fundamental questions of general policy referred to
in your letter, I feel that the basic principles, laid down but briefly
stated in my past letters, which must guide the administration of the
affairs of the Bahá’í Movement, pending the definite formation of the
first authoritative Universal House of Justice, must be further affirmed,
elucidated, and explained in greater detail, for the complete knowledge of
all the individual members of the vast and growing community of the
believers in America.



The National Convention


Hitherto the National Convention has been primarily called together for
the consideration of the various circumstances attending the election of
the National Spiritual Assembly. I feel, however, that in view of the
expansion and the growing importance of the administrative sphere of the
Cause, the general sentiments and tendencies prevailing among the friends,
and the signs of increasing interdependence among the National Spiritual
Assemblies throughout the world, the assembled accredited representatives
of the American believers should exercise not only the vital and
responsible right of electing the National Assembly, but should also
fulfill the functions of an enlightened, consultative and cooperative body
that will enrich the experience, enhance the prestige, support the
authority, and assist the deliberations of the National Spiritual
Assembly. It is my firm conviction that it is the bounden duty, in the
interest of the Cause we all love and serve, of the members of the
incoming National Assembly, once elected by the delegates at Convention
time, to seek and have the utmost regard, individually as well as
collectively, for the advice, the considered opinion and the true
sentiments of the assembled delegates. Banishing every vestige of secrecy,
of undue reticence, of dictatorial aloofness, from their midst, they
should radiantly and abundantly unfold to the eyes of the delegates, by
whom they are elected, their plans, their hopes, and their cares. They
should familiarize the delegates with the various matters that will have
to be considered in the current year, and calmly and conscientiously study
and weigh the opinions and judgments of the delegates. The newly elected
National Assembly, during the few days when the Convention is in session
and after the dispersal of the delegates, should seek ways and means to
cultivate understanding, facilitate and maintain the exchange of views,
deepen confidence, and vindicate by every tangible evidence their one
desire to serve and advance the common weal. Not infrequently, nay
oftentimes, the most lowly, untutored and inexperienced among the friends
will, by the sheer inspiring force of selfless and ardent devotion,
contribute a distinct and memorable share to a highly involved discussion
in any given Assembly. Great must be the regard paid by those whom the
delegates call upon to serve in high position to this all-important though
inconspicuous manifestation of the revealing power of sincere and earnest
devotion.



National Spiritual Assembly


The National Spiritual Assembly, however, in view of the unavoidable
limitations imposed upon the convening of frequent and long-standing
sessions of the Convention, will have to retain in its hands the final
decision on all matters that affect the interests of the Cause in America,
such as the right to decide whether any local Assembly is functioning in
accordance with the principles laid down for the conduct and the
advancement of the Cause. It is my earnest prayer that they will utilize
their highly responsible position, not only for the wise and efficient
conduct of the affairs of the Cause, but also for the extension and
deepening of the spirit of cordiality and wholehearted and mutual support
in their cooperation with the body of their co-workers throughout the
land. The seating of delegates to the Convention, i.e., the right to
decide upon the validity of the credentials of the delegates at a given
Convention, is vested in the outgoing National Assembly, and the right to
decide who has the voting privilege is also ultimately placed in the hands
of the National Spiritual Assembly, either when a local Spiritual Assembly
is for the first time being formed in a given locality, or when
differences arise between a new applicant and an already established local
Assembly. While the Convention is in session and the accredited delegates
have already elected from among the believers throughout the country the
members of the National Spiritual Assembly for the current year, it is of
infinite value and a supreme necessity that as far as possible all matters
requiring immediate decision should be fully and publicly considered, and
an endeavor be made to obtain after mature deliberation, unanimity in
vital decisions. Indeed, it has ever been the cherished desire of our
Master, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, that the friends in their councils, local as well as
national, should by their candor, their honesty of purpose, their
singleness of mind, and the thoroughness of their discussions, achieve
unanimity in all things. Should this in certain cases prove impracticable
the verdict of the majority should prevail, to which decision the minority
must under all circumstances, gladly, spontaneously and continually,
submit.

Nothing short of the all-encompassing, all-pervading power of His Guidance
and Love can enable this newly-enfolded order to gather strength and
flourish amid the storm and stress of a turbulent age, and in the fulness
of time vindicate its high claim to be universally recognized as the one
Haven of abiding felicity and peace.

Regarding the pamphlet entitled “The Passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,” I believe
some additional material, consisting mainly of a few selections from
leading American newspapers, would increase its value and extend its
scope. I shall be glad to receive a copy of the reprinted edition, and I
wish you success in this endeavor.

My dearly-beloved friend and fellow-worker, Mr. Mountfort Mills, is now
with me in Haifa, and will ere long join you in the discharge of your
manifold and arduous duties. I greatly value his assistance in the
difficult task and the complex and often urgent problems that are before
me, and I trust that his return to America will lend a fresh impetus to
the glorious work of service you are rendering to the Cause of
Bahá’u’lláh.

I wish you success from all my heart.

Your brother and fellow-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
January 29th, 1925.



Letter of April 10th, 1925.


To the members of the American National Spiritual Assembly.

My dearly-beloved fellow-workers:

The communications lately received from your distinguished secretary,
dated January 8th, February 6th and 13th, and March 17th, together with
the enclosed minutes, reports and letters, have been read with profound
interest and genuine satisfaction. The methods you pursue, the new
measures for publicity which you have adopted, the increasing confidence
you have achieved, and the degree of support, both moral and financial,
which you have deservedly earned from the body of the believers are all
encouraging signs that testify to the growing solidarity of a Cause
destined to confer inestimable benefits upon mankind.

Great as is the promise of the Movement for the future, it has already
revealed in a remarkable manner to every unprejudiced observer its
indomitable spirit of loving sacrifice and true fellowship burning with
undiminished ardor in the breasts of its followers both in the land of its
birth and in the great Republic of the West. The heroism and fortitude
lately displayed by its sorely-tried adherents in Persia, and the prompt
and generous contributions of the American believers who have
spontaneously responded to the call of their needy brethren of the East
have served to kindle the flame of enthusiasm in many a heart, and forged
fresh bonds of fellowship which will prove of the highest value for the
advancement of the Bahá’í Faith. I would specially request you to convey
to all the friends in the name of the oppressed Bahá’ís of Persia, and
particularly the homeless sufferers of Nayríz, the expression of their
deepest gratitude and highest appreciation. May America’s noble donations
draw even as a magnet the blessings of the Almighty Giver upon the task it
has set itself to achieve!

I am delighted to learn of the evidences of growing interest, of the
sympathetic understanding, and brotherly cooperation on the part of two
capable and steadfast servants of the One True God, Dr. H. Randall and Dr.
Guthrie, whose participation in our work I hope and pray will widen the
scope of our activities, enrich our opportunities, and lend a fresh
impetus to our endeavors. I wish them happiness and success from all my
heart.



News Letter


The News Letter which you have lately initiated fulfills a very vital
function and has been started admirably well. I would urge you to enlarge
its scope, as much as your resources permit, that in time it may devote a
special section to every phase of your activities, administrative,
devotional, humanitarian, financial, educational and otherwise. That it
may attain its object it must combine the essential qualities of accuracy,
reliability, thoroughness, dignity and wisdom. It should become a great
factor in promoting understanding, providing information on Bahá’í
activity, both local and foreign, in stimulating interest, in combating
evil influences, and in upholding and safeguarding the institutions of the
Cause. It should be made as representative as possible, should be replete
with news, up-to-date in its information, and should arouse the keenest
interest among believers and admirers alike in every corner of the globe.
I cherish great hopes for its immediate future, and I trust you will
devote your special attention to its development, and by devising
well-conceived and worldwide measures transform this News Letter into what
I hope will become the foremost Bahá’í Journal of the world.



Title of Assemblies


As to the title to be adopted for letterheads, I would suggest, pending
the formation of the Universal House of Justice, the phrase “The National
Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada,”
retaining the word “spiritual” and restricting the meaning of the term
“assembly” to be applied only to the body of nine elected by the friends
whether for local or national purposes.



Representation at Convention


I have already replied to your cable in connection with the representation
of groups of less than nine adult believers at the annual Convention and
the matter of proxy, the latter being left to the discretion of the
National Spiritual Assembly. Should the conditions be altered, and the
number of Bahá’í localities multiply, the situation will have to be
considered afresh and a new basis for representation adopted.



The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár


Regarding the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, I would again most emphatically urge
the believers in America, and ask you to do the utmost you can to devise
every possible means for the removal of every outstanding financial
liability incurred in this connection. I would remind you of the supreme
and urgent necessity of raising the full sum decided upon by the National
Spiritual Assembly at its meeting in Chicago in order to meet the
immediate needs of this great future House of Worship. I would welcome a
full, authorized and up-to-date statement on its present situation, its
assets and liabilities and an estimate of the cost for its completion.

In conclusion I wish to renew the assurance of my ardent prayers for you
and for those whom you represent in safeguarding and promoting the sacred
interests of so precious a Cause. I am fully alive to the vastness and
delicacy of your task, I heartily appreciate your indefatigable efforts
and unflinching determination, I am continually reminded of our Master’s
assurances of a dazzling future before you. May His love enfold you, His
Spirit guide you, and His power enable you to achieve signal victory.

Your brother in the Master’s service,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
April 10th, 1925.



Letter of May 12, 1925.


To the members of the American National Assembly.

Dearly-beloved fellow-workers:

I have read with deep interest your two recent communications dated April
4th and 18th, and am gratified to learn of the steady expansion of your
manifold activities.



Election of National Assembly


Regarding the method to be adopted for the election of the National
Spiritual Assemblies, it is clear that the text of the Beloved’s Testament
gives us no indication as to the manner in which these Assemblies are to
be elected. In one of His earliest Tablets, however, addressed to a friend
in Persia, the following is expressly recorded:—

“At whatever time all the beloved of God in each country appoint their
delegates, and these in turn elect their representatives, and these
representatives elect a body, that body shall be regarded as the Supreme
Baytu’l-’Adl (Universal House of Justice).”

These words clearly indicate that a three-stage election has been provided
by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá for the formation of the International House of Justice,
and as it is explicitly provided in His Will and Testament that the
“Secondary House of Justice (i.e., National Assemblies) must elect the
members of the Universal One,” it is obvious that the members of the
National Spiritual Assemblies will have to be indirectly elected by the
body of the believers in their respective provinces. In view of these
complementary instructions the principle, set forth in my letter of March
12th, 1923, has been established requiring the believers (the beloved of
God) in every country to elect a certain number of delegates who, in turn,
will elect their national representatives (Secondary House of Justice or
National Spiritual Assembly) whose sacred obligation and privilege will be
to elect in time God’s Universal House of Justice.

Should the appointing of the delegates be made a part of the functions of
local Spiritual Assemblies, who are already elected bodies, the principle
of a four-stage election would be introduced which would be at variance
with the provisions explicitly laid down in the Master’s Tablet. On the
other hand, were the local Spiritual Assemblies, the number of whose
members is strictly confined to nine, to elect directly the members of the
National Spiritual Assembly—thus maintaining the principle of a
three-stage election—all Bahá’í localities, which must necessarily differ
in numerical strength, would then have to share equally in the election of
the National Spiritual Assembly—a practice which would be contrary to
fairness and justice. Moreover, the central principle guiding for the
present the administration of the Cause has been to make the Bahá’í
National Spiritual Assemblies as independent as possible in the conduct of
such affairs as fall within their province, and to lessen the hampering
influence of any institution within their jurisdiction that might, whether
directly or indirectly, impair their authority and prestige.



Membership Roll


I would also strongly urge the members of every incoming National
Spiritual Assembly to take all necessary steps to insure that every local
Assembly throughout America, without any exception whatsoever, should
immediately after its election send the complete list of its members
together with the full address of its secretary to the National Secretary,
who in turn will forward them to me directly, enclosing his own address as
well as the list of the members of the National Spiritual Assembly. It
would also be extremely helpful, should actual circumstances permit, to
devise with the wholehearted assistance of every local Assembly ways and
means for the compilation of an authoritative, up-to-date, and exhaustive
list of recognized believers in America, supplemented by the full address
of each believer’s permanent residence—this list to be continually revised
according to every change affecting the residence and number of such
believers. This would be particularly advisable in view of the permanent
residence of isolated believers in various parts of the country, as well
as of those who form parts of groups as yet numerically too small for the
formation of a local Spiritual Assembly.

However desirable these steps may be, it is evident that they are
secondary in their importance and urgency to the pressing and
ever-increasing issues that vitally affect the spread and the
consolidation of the work which you are called upon to perform, and which
it is my privilege to assist in and serve. I am enclosing a preliminary
list of Bahá’í centers throughout the world, exclusive of Persia, which,
though inadequate, may still, I trust, be of some help to you. I would
welcome any additions or corrections you might be able to make and hope it
will evolve into a valuable section of the contemplated Bahá’í Year Book.

I wish to assure you, in conclusion, of my heartfelt appreciation of your
devoted labors in the Divine Vineyard.

Your brother and fellow-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
May 12, 1925.



Letter of June 3rd, 1925.


To the beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful, the delegates and
visitors to the Bahá’í Convention, Green Acre, Maine, U.S.A.

Fellow-laborers in the Vineyard of God:

Once again the hand of divine power has gathered together the chosen
representatives of the American believers, assembled this time amid the
pleasant surroundings of a blest and beloved spot, to deliberate upon the
most effective measures that will insure the advancement of the Cause of
Bahá’u’lláh. I feel it a pleasure and privilege to offer you these few
thoughts as my humble contribution to the proceedings of your annual
Convention.

May I at the outset reaffirm my feelings of gratitude and keen
appreciation for the eminent share which the friends in America,
individually as well as by their collective efforts, have contributed to
ease the burden of responsibility and care that has so often oppressed my
heart. Your steadfastness, your unsparing devotion; your self-sacrifice in
upholding and fostering the institutions of the Cause; the notable advance
you have achieved in the coordination of your activities; the remarkable
solicitude you have shown, and the magnificent response you have made on
behalf of the oppressed and needy among your brethren; the measures you
have initiated, the hindrances you have removed and the means and methods
you have perfected—these and others beside have established you in the
confidence, the esteem and the admiration of all the Bahá’í world. I
personally appreciate and am thankful for your unfailing supplications and
special prayers on my behalf. I am deeply touched by your expressions of
unwavering faith, of loyalty and affection, and fully reciprocate your
brotherly sentiments and your keen desire and readiness to collaborate
with me more closely and effectively than ever before.



Purpose of Convention


And now regarding this forthcoming Convention, I feel that the dominating
purpose inspiring the assembled friends, delegates and visitors alike,
should be a two-fold one. The first is a challenge to the individual, the
second a collective responsibility. The one seeks to reinforce the motive
power of our spiritual activities, the second aims at raising the standard
of administrative efficiency so vitally needed at this advanced stage of
our work. We should first and foremost endeavor by every conceivable means
to revitalize our precious Cause, rudely shaken by the constant
vicissitudes attending the outward departure of a vigilant and gracious
Master. Our next object should be to seek to approach, through more
intimate association, fuller and more frequent consultations, and a closer
familiarity with the character, the mission and the teachings of the
Cause, that standard of excellence which should characterize the
cooperative efforts of Bahá’í Communities in every land.

High aims and pure motives, however laudable in themselves, will surely
not suffice if unsupported by measures that are practicable and methods
that are sound. Wealth of sentiment, abundance of good-will and effort,
will prove of little avail if we should fail to exercise discrimination
and restraint and neglect to direct their flow along the most profitable
channels. The unfettered freedom of the individual should be tempered with
mutual consultation and sacrifice, and the spirit of initiative and
enterprise should be reinforced by a deeper realization of the supreme
necessity for concerted action and a fuller devotion to the common weal.



National Spiritual Assembly


It would be impossible at this stage to ignore the indispensability or to
overestimate the unique significance of the institution of the National
Spiritual Assembly—the pivot round which revolve the activities of the
believers throughout the American continent. Supreme is their position,
grave their responsibilities, manifold and arduous their duties. How great
the privilege, how delicate the task of the assembled delegates whose
function it is to elect such national representatives as would by their
record of service ennoble and enrich the annals of the Cause! If we but
turn our gaze to the high qualifications of the members of Bahá’í
Assemblies, as enumerated in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Tablets, we are filled with
feelings of unworthiness and dismay, and would feel truly disheartened but
for the comforting thought that if we rise to play nobly our part every
deficiency in our lives will be more than compensated by the
all-conquering spirit of His grace and power. Hence it is incumbent upon
the chosen delegates to consider without the least trace of passion and
prejudice, and irrespective of any material consideration, the names of
only those who can best combine the necessary qualities of unquestioned
loyalty, of selfless devotion, of a well-trained mind, of recognized
ability and mature experience. May the incoming National Spiritual
Assembly—the privileged and chosen servants of the Cause—immortalize their
term of stewardship by deeds of loving service, deeds that will redound to
the honor, the glory and the power of the Most Great Name.



The Cornerstone of Service


I would also earnestly entreat all the delegates at this coming
Convention, and through them I appeal to the larger body of believers whom
they represent, to ever bear in mind the supreme injunction of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, to teach unceasingly until the “head cornerstone of the
foundation” of the Cause of God is firmly established in every heart. Let
those whose time, resources and means allow, travel throughout the length
and breadth of that vast continent, let them scatter to the most distant
regions of the earth and, fired with enthusiasm and detachment, hand on
the torch of God’s undying flame to the waiting multitudes of a
sadly-stricken world.

One word more in conclusion. Let the West, and particularly the Great
Republic of the New World, where a quarter of a century ago Bahá’u’lláh’s
Banner was firmly implanted, realize that upon it now rests the
responsibility of achieving the universal recognition of the Bahá’í Faith,
of fulfilling ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s fondest hopes.

Persia, the cradle of an unfolding world civilization, is still bereft of
her freedom, sunk in ignorance, a prey to contending policies and
factions, beset on one hand by the powers of orthodoxy and sectarian
fanaticism and assailed on the other by the forces of materialism and
unbelief. In her evil plight she is radiantly confident that the Flame she
had kindled in the world will, in the fullness of time, blaze forth in the
heart of the mighty West and shed redeeming illumination upon the silent
sufferers of a distracted country. Will it be America, will it be one of
the nations of Europe, that will seize the torch of Divine Guidance from
Persia’s fettered hands and with it set the western world aflame? May your
Convention, by its spirit, its resolutions and its accomplishments, give
to that country’s urgent call a noble and decisive answer.

Your brother and fellow-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
June 3rd, 1925.



Letter of October 24th, 1925.


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the
United States and Canada.

My well-beloved friends:

The numerous communications which your distinguished Secretary has lately
addressed on your behalf to the Greatest Holy Leaf and myself, have been
eagerly perused and their contents carefully noted. The news they imparted
and the spirit they revealed have caused us both genuine satisfaction, and
have served to intensify the feelings of joyous confidence, of pride and
gratitude with which we have greeted the inauguration of your term of
service.

The notable advance achieved by this year’s memorable Convention is, I am
certain, attributable in no small measure to the energy, the thoroughness,
the insight and the loving-kindness that have characterized in an
unprecedented degree the activities of the outgoing National Spiritual
Assembly. I am confident that the work of America’s newly elected
representatives, so splendidly and auspiciously begun, will further
consolidate the labors of the past, will resolve to a great extent the
problems and perplexities of the present, and open up fresh fields of
future achievements and service.

I rejoice to learn that ways and means have been found to enable the
National Secretary, who discharges in such an exemplary manner the
manifold and exacting duties of a highly responsible position, to devote
all his time to the pursuit of so meritorious a task. I am fully conscious
of the privations and sacrifice which the choice of this arduous work must
involve for him, as well as for his devoted and selfless companion; I
cannot but admire and extol their heroic efforts; and wish to assure them
both of my continued prayers for the speedy fruition of their earnest
endeavors.



Qualifications of a Believer


Regarding the very delicate and complex question of ascertaining the
qualifications of a true believer, I cannot in this connection emphasize
too strongly the supreme necessity for the exercise of the utmost
discretion, caution and tact, whether it be in deciding for ourselves as
to who may be regarded a true believer or in disclosing to the outside
world such considerations as may serve as a basis for such a decision. I
would only venture to state very briefly and as adequately as present
circumstances permit the principal factors that must be taken into
consideration before deciding whether a person may be regarded a true
believer or not. Full recognition of the station of the Forerunner, the
Author, and the True Exemplar of the Bahá’í Cause, as set forth in
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Testament; unreserved acceptance of, and submission to,
whatsoever has been revealed by their Pen; loyal and steadfast adherence
to every clause of our Beloved’s sacred Will; and close association with
the spirit as well as the form of the present day Bahá’í administration
throughout the world—these I conceive to be the fundamental and primary
considerations that must be fairly, discreetly and thoughtfully
ascertained before reaching such a vital decision. Any attempt at further
analysis and elucidation will, I fear, land us in barren discussions and
even grave controversies that would prove not only futile but even
detrimental to the best interests of a growing Cause. I would therefore
strongly urge those who are called upon to make such a decision to
approach this highly involved and ever-recurring problem with the spirit
of humble prayer, and earnest consultation, and to refrain from drawing
rigidly the line of demarcation except on such occasions when the
interests of the Cause absolutely demand it.



National Convention


In connection with the annual holding of the Bahá’í Convention and
Congress, I feel that although such a representative body need not be
convened necessarily every year, yet it is highly desirable, in view of
the unique functions it fulfills in promoting harmony and good-will, in
removing misunderstandings and in enhancing the prestige of the Cause,
that the National Spiritual Assembly should exert itself to gather
together annually the elected representatives of the American believers.
It would in some ways be obviously convenient and eminently desirable
though not absolutely essential, if the National Spiritual Assembly could
arrange that the holding of such a Congress should synchronize with the
time at which the national elections are renewed, and that both events
should take place, if not on the first of Ridván, at least during the
twelve joyous days of what may be justly regarded as the foremost Bahá’í
Festival. Apart from the local elections, which universally are to be
renewed on the 21st day of April, it is entirely left to the discretion of
the National Spiritual Assembly to decide, after having given due
consideration to the above mentioned observations, on whatever time and
place the Bahá’í Convention as well as the annual elections are to be
held. Were the National Spiritual Assembly to decide, after mature
deliberations, to omit the holding of the Bahá’í Convention and Congress
in a given year, then they could, only in such a case, devise ways and
means to insure that the annual election of the National Spiritual
Assembly should be held by mail, provided it can be conducted with
sufficient thoroughness, efficiency and dispatch. It would also appear to
me unobjectionable to enable and even to require in the last resort such
delegates as cannot possibly undertake the journey to the seat of the
Bahá’í Convention to send their votes, for the election of the National
Spiritual Assembly only, by mail to the National Secretary, as in my view
the advantages of such a procedure outweigh the considerations referred to
in your letter. It should, however, be made clear to every elected
delegate—who should be continually reminded—that it is a sacred
responsibility and admittedly preferable to attend if possible in person
the sessions of the Convention, to take an active part in all its
proceedings, and to acquaint his fellow-workers on his return with the
accomplishments, the decisions and the aspirations of the assembled
representatives of the American believers.



Bahá’í Year Book


I am eagerly looking forward to your sending me in manuscript form the
projected Bahá’í Year Book, that I may be enabled to contribute my share
in rendering it as comprehensive, as attractive, and as authoritative as
possible. I strongly advise you to combine in a judicious manner the two
methods outlined in this connection in your letter of September 2, 1925. A
short, concise and forceful account of the primary objects, as well as of
the principles underlying the worldwide administration of the Cause,
together with a brief description of various features of the present day
administration of its activities, supplemented with a not-too-detailed
survey of the actual accomplishments and plans evolved in the current
year, would serve to acquaint the outsider with the purpose and the
achievements of the Cause, and provide sufficient material that would be
edifying and helpful to the active believers whether in the East or in the
West....

The Greatest Holy Leaf desires me to convey in her name to the esteemed
members of the Green Acre Fellowship the expression of her cordial thanks
and sincere appreciation in having been made a life member of the said
Fellowship. She assures them of her prayers for the success of this noble
institution as well as for the spiritual advancement of its individual
members.

Recent developments in the Holy Land have led various organizations in the
Jewish world to contemplate seriously the early possibility of
transferring to Palestine’s sacred soil the mortal remains of certain
prominent founders and leaders of Jewish thought, and Mount Carmel, which
next to Akká’s Most Holy Shrine is the most cherished object of Bahá’í
veneration, has been cited on various occasions as a permanent and most
befitting burial ground for their illustrious dead. Surely the Bahá’ís of
the world, ever on the alert and with an eye to the future, will, no
matter how pressed by financial obligations, arise while there is yet time
to contribute each his share in securing for posterity such land as lies
in close proximity to the Holy Shrine—an area the acquisition of which in
time will prove indispensable if the sublime vision of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá is to
be realized. I appeal to you, and through you to every earnest and
conscientious believer, to safeguard in particular the land extending
southward from these Shrines which now, alas! is gravely exposed to the
assaults of covetous and speculating interests. I am loth to press further
claims on friends who have displayed so magnificent a spirit of
self-sacrifice on several occasions in the past, but I feel the urge of a
sacred and impelling responsibility to call your attention to what I
conceive to be one of the worldwide issues of the greatest moment
requiring a prompt, generous and collective response. I may add that
whatever land is purchased will be registered in the name of the
contributor, and I would therefore request every contributing believer to
forward together with his donation such power of attorney as will legally
empower me to transact in his name and on his behalf the purchase of the
plot he desires to acquire. It would be desirable to forward small
contributions to the National Spiritual Assembly, who will then decide
upon the manner in which the transaction should be conducted.



Persecution of Persian Bahá’ís


The compilation of newspaper clippings with regard to recent persecutions
in Persia which has been sent by our dear brother, Mr. H. Holley, to the
Greatest Holy Leaf has been forwarded to the National Spiritual Assembly
of Persia, that they may witness for themselves and share with the rank
and file of the Persian believers the results of the extensive and
vigorous campaign so promptly undertaken on their behalf by their
sympathetic brethren in the West. It grieves me to inform you that this
sad tale of barbarism and unrestrained aggression on the property, the
lives and the honor of the heroic sufferers in that land is still
continuing to reach our ears, and the campaign of obstruction, of
intimidation and plunder is, but for short periods of comparative lull,
being systematically pursued with unabated vigor. I am certain that the
members of the National Spiritual Assembly, fully alive to the
uncertainty, the confusion and the seriousness of the present situation,
will seize the first opportunity to redress as much as it lies in their
power the interminable grievances that are being inflicted upon harassed
yet law-abiding citizens.

Wishing you success from all my heart, and assuring you of my continued
prayers for the steady expansion and consolidation of your work,

I am, your brother and fellow-worker,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
October 24th, 1925.



Letter of November 6, 1925.


To the members of the American National Spiritual Assembly.

My dear fellow-workers:

Two recent communications of your able secretary, dated Oct. 14th and
15th, have been received and read with deep gratitude and pleasure.



The Mashriqu’l-Adhkár


I rejoice to learn of the prompt and well-considered measures you have
undertaken to evolve, in conjunction with all local Assemblies and groups,
a wise and effective plan for the contribution of America’s befitting
share in response to the appeal lately addressed to the American believers
regarding the work of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár. Surely the great company
of eager and sympathizing believers throughout the East will, as they
increasingly witness the evidences of a revival of activity along this
line, arise to lend a helping hand to this vast endeavor. They will not
fail to extend their support in alleviating the burden that is now borne
so joyously and gratefully by their younger brethren in North America. I
shall myself do all in my power to hasten the fruition of your
self-sacrificing labors.



International Bahá’í Shrine


The sad and sudden crisis that has arisen in connection with the ownership
of Bahá’u’lláh’s sacred house in Ba_gh_dád has sent a thrill of
indignation and dismay throughout the whole of the Bahá’í world. Houses
that have been occupied by Bahá’u’lláh for well nigh the whole period of
His exile in ‘Iráq; ordained by Him as the chosen and sanctified object of
Bahá’í pilgrimage in future; magnified and extolled in countless Tablets
and Epistles as the sacred center “round which shall circle all peoples
and kindreds of the earth”—lie now, due to fierce intrigue and ceaseless
fanatical opposition, at the mercy of the declared enemies of the Cause.

I have instantly communicated with every Bahá’í center in both East and
West, and urgently requested the faithful followers of the Faith in every
land to protest vehemently against this glaring perversion of justice, to
assert firmly and courteously the spiritual rights of the Bahá’í Community
to the ownership of this venerated house, to plead for British fairness
and justice, and to pledge their unswerving determination to insure the
security of this hallowed spot.

Conscious of the fact that this property has been occupied by Bahá’í
authorized representatives for an uninterrupted period of not less than
thirty years, and having successfully won their case at the Justice of
Peace and the Court of First Instance, the Bahá’ís the world over cannot
believe that the high sense of honor and fairness which inspires the
British Administration of ‘Iráq will ever tolerate such grave miscarriage
of justice. They confidently appeal to the public opinion of the world for
the defense and protection of their legitimate rights now sorely trampled
under the feet of relentless enemies.

Widespread and effective publicity along these lines, in well-conceived
and carefully worded terms, is strongly recommended for it will
undoubtedly serve to facilitate the solution of this delicate and
perplexing problem.

Having exerted ourselves to the utmost of our ability let us rest assured
in the power of the Lord, who keepeth watch over His house, and who will,
no matter how dark present prospects appear, assure for generations yet
unborn His cherished and holy edifice. I shall acquaint you with every
development of the case, and will advise you as to the measures that
should be taken whether we decide to institute fresh proceedings or to
appeal to higher legal authorities in London.



Green Acre


In connection with the important step that has been taken for the eventual
inclusion of Green Acre Fellowship within the orbit of the activities of
the American National Spiritual Assembly, I hope and pray that this new
privilege and added responsibility will prove highly beneficial in its
results, both to Green Acre itself and the general interests of the Cause
in America. In a separate communication addressed to the Chairman of the
said Fellowship, our dearly-beloved and self-sacrificing brother, Mr. W.
Randall, I will express my warm approval of this constructive step, and my
ardent hopes for the quicker unfolding and fuller expansion under the
fostering care of the National Spiritual Assembly, of Green Acre’s unique
and sublime mission in life. I shall follow in this connection with the
keenest interest the course of your activities in accordance with the
policy outlined in your letter of October 14th, and feel that the greatest
stress must be laid upon the necessity of exemplifying in a most liberal
and practical manner the driving power hidden in this Divine Revelation,
rather than upon the idle reiteration of a set of principles, however
exalted and unique in their character. May the National Fund so flourish
as to enable its Trustees to undertake such measures as will eloquently
testify to a sorely stricken humanity the healing power of God’s Faith.



Jurisdiction of a Local Assembly


May I remind you regarding the situation in San Francisco that no two
independent Bahá’í centers can possibly be recognized in the same city,
and that the center which bears my name should act in all matters only
with the full consent and approval of the San Francisco Spiritual
Assembly.



Voting Rights of National Assembly Members


Concerning the election of alternate members to the National Spiritual
Assembly, I feel that only the nine original members of the National
Spiritual Assembly are entitled to vote, whereas such alternate members as
may be elected should be asked to fill vacancies only in a consultative
capacity and not be entitled to vote. They should not be regarded as part
of the quorum (i.e., five out of the nine original members) which is
necessary for the transaction of the business of the National Assembly.
All secondary matters that do not affect the principle outlined are left
to the discretion of the National Spiritual Assemblies who will decide
according to the exigencies of their respective circumstances.

Assuring you of my deep appreciation of your continued efforts, and of my
unceasing prayers on your behalf,

I am your grateful brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
November 6, 1925.



Letter of November 30, 1925.


To the beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful in the East and in
the West.

Dear fellow-workers:

It is with feelings of overwhelming sorrow that I communicate to you the
news of yet another loss which the Almighty, in His inscrutable wisdom,
has chosen to inflict upon our beloved Cause. On the 22nd of November,
1925, that memorable and sacred day in which the Bahá’ís of the Orient
celebrated the twin Festivals of the Declaration of the Báb and the
birthday of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Dr. John E. Esslemont passed on to the Abhá
Kingdom. His end was as swift as it was unexpected. Suffering from the
effects of a chronic and insidious disease, he fell at last a victim to
the inevitable complications that ensued, the fatal course of which
neither the efforts of vigilant physicians nor the devoted cares of his
many friends could possibly deflect.

He bore his sufferings with admirable fortitude, with calm resignation and
courage. Though convinced that his ailment would never henceforth forsake
him, yet many a time he revealed a burning desire that the friends
residing in the Holy Land should, while visiting the Shrines, implore the
All-merciful to prolong his days that he may bring to a fuller completion
his humble share of service to the Threshold of Bahá’u’lláh. To this noble
request all hearts warmly responded. But this was not to be. His close
association with my work in Haifa, in which I had placed the fondest
hopes, was suddenly cut short. His book,(12) however—an abiding monument
to his pure intention—will, alone, inspire generations yet unborn to tread
the path of truth and service as steadfastly and as unostentatiously as
was trodden by its beloved author. The Cause he loved so well, he served
even unto his last day with exemplary faith and unstinted devotion. His
tenacity of faith, his high integrity, his self-effacement, his industry
and painstaking labors were traits of a character the noble qualities of
which will live and live forever after him. To me personally he was the
warmest of friends, a trusted counsellor, an indefatigable collaborator, a
lovable companion.

With tearful eyes I supplicate at the Threshold of Bahá’u’lláh—and request
you all to join—in my ardent prayers, for the fuller unfolding in the
realms beyond of a soul that has already achieved so high a spiritual
standing in this world. For by the beauty of his character, by his
knowledge of the Cause, by the conspicuous achievements of his book, he
has immortalized his name, and by sheer merit deserved to rank as one of
the Hands of the Cause of God.

He has been laid to rest in the heart of that beautifully situated Bahá’í
burial ground at the foot of Carmel, close to the mortal remains of that
venerable soul, Ḥájí Mírzá Vakilu’d-Dawlih, the illustrious cousin of the
Báb and chief builder of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár of I_sh_qábád. Pilgrims
visiting his grave from far and near will, with pride and gratitude, do
honor to a name that adorned the annals of an Immortal Cause.

May he eternally rest in peace.

SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
November 30, 1925.



Letter of January 10, 1926.


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the
United States and Canada.

Dearly-beloved fellow-workers in the Vineyard of God!

Your letter dated Nov. 9, 1925, has been received and read with feelings
of deep satisfaction and gratitude. It is most unfortunate that, owing to
unavoidable circumstances, I have been prevented from communicating more
fully and frequently with the distinguished representatives of those dear
fellow-workers of mine, the progress of whose accomplishments I am
continually following with the liveliest expectations, loving sympathy and
cheerful hope.

The multiplicity of vital and pressing issues, arising out of the steady
expansion of the Movement in various parts of the world; the pain and
sorrow so keenly felt at the sudden passing of distinguished and
dearly-beloved servants of the Cause; grave and unexpected developments in
the Holy Land and elsewhere—have all in rapid succession greatly added to
the already oppressive burden of responsibility and care which it is my
lot and privilege to shoulder in the interests of the Cause. And yet in
the midst of my unceasing toil, my afflictions and perplexities, I have
found fresh sustenance and comfort in the striking manner in which the
pioneers of the Cause in that promising continent are proving themselves
worthy of the spiritual heritage bequeathed to them by their departed
Master. Refreshed and fortified by their inspiring example, I feel I can
pursue the thorny path of my arduous duties with serene confidence,
cheerful contentment and undiminished gratitude.

I rejoice to learn of the marvelous effect which your resourcefulness,
efficiency and unrelenting efforts are producing upon your admiring
brethren of the East. I am fully alive to the eminent share you are
contributing to the emancipation of those heroic sufferers in distracted
Persia. I am deeply conscious of the part you play in consolidating the
position of the Cause in the eyes of both the exalted and lowly, and in
hastening the advent of that promised day of universal recognition and
triumph for our beloved Cause.



Shrine of Baghdád


We can but dimly discern the signs of that day of priceless victory—the
day when the mission of this sublime and holy Faith will have been
unfolded in all its power and glory to the eyes of an unbelieving world.
We have only to refer to the utterances of Bahá’u’lláh in order to realize
for ourselves God’s invincible power to turn every fleeting abasement,
every transient sorrow, into abiding joy and glory. For amid the gloom of
humiliation that has now beset Bahá’u’lláh’s holy habitation in Ba_gh_dád,
these prophetic words of His regarding His house shine forth resplendent
in their assurance of a future victory: “In truth, I declare, it shall be
so abased in the days to come as to cause tears to flow from every
discerning eye.... And in the fulness of time, shall the Lord by the power
of truth exalt it in the eyes of all the world, cause it to become the
mighty standard of His domination, the shrine round which shall circle the
concourse of the faithful.” How startling in His prediction, how
reassuring His promise!

The thoroughness of your methods in handling this grave and highly
delicate situation, the promptness of your response, the spirit of
unabated confidence, of unrelaxing determination and admirable courage
which you have abundantly displayed have, I am certain, endeared you to us
all, justified our hopes in you, and ennobled the already lofty position
you deservedly occupy among the staunch supporters of God’s immortal
Cause. Whatever the outcome of your memorable endeavors, the immediate
consequences of your strenuous efforts cannot but be a growing realization
on the part of those placed in authority that the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh,
despite the calumny and slander showered upon it in the past, has linked
the East with the West as no other human agency can possibly link and is
capable of demonstrating the reality of that celestial potency which no
man can today safely belittle or ignore.

Furthermore, the spontaneous and generous response of the American
believers in connection with the land situation on Mount Carmel has, in
conjunction with the donations of the friends in other parts of the world,
safeguarded such lands as lie in close proximity to the holy Shrines. This
highly meritorious effort, blest and sanctified by the bountiful grace of
Bahá’u’lláh, has in like manner served to reveal to every discerning eye
the friends’ unquenchable enthusiasm and unrivalled devotion—the dominant
characteristic of a Faith that is still in its stage of tender growth, and
now standing on the threshold of undreamt-of achievements.



Judgment of Egyptian Religious Court


Among the disturbing factors that have intensified the difficulties of the
present situation is the extraordinary judgment recently passed by the
Supreme Religious Court of Egypt, declaring the Bahá’ís of that land
adherents of a Faith heretical in character, and at variance with the
accepted doctrines of Islám, and hence utterly outside the sphere of its
jurisdiction. What exactly the implication of this verdict will be, the
effect its practical application will have on the relations of the Bahá’ís
with the followers of the Muslim Faith, what measure of publicity it will
receive, what impression it will create in Muslim lands and particularly
in hostile Persia, the future only can disclose. So far it has failed to
perturb public sentiment or give rise to any official or public
demonstration of a nature that would justify or necessitate any action on
the part of the American Bahá’ís, who are powerfully demonstrating today
their readiness to champion the cause of truth and justice. I will not
delay in informing you of the exact measures that I feel will be necessary
to take should the occasion arise in future. It is clear and evident that
Western influence, the loosening of the bonds of religion, and the
consequent waning vitality of the once powerful Muhammadan stronghold of
Egypt are in a great measure to account for the indifference and apathy
that now seem to characterize the attitude of the masses towards this
important and vital issue. This decision, however locally embarrassing, in
the present stage of our development, may be regarded as an initial step
taken by our very opponents in the path of the eventual universal
acceptance of the Bahá’í Faith, as one of the independent recognized
religious systems of the world.



National Fund


In connection with the institution of the National Fund and the budgetary
system set forth in the minutes of the National Spiritual Assembly, I feel
urged to remind you of the necessity of ever bearing in mind the cardinal
principle that all contributions to the Fund are to be purely and strictly
voluntary in character. It should be made clear and evident to every one
that any form of compulsion, however slight and indirect, strikes at the
very root of the principle underlying the formation of the Fund ever since
its inception. While appeals of a general character, carefully worded and
moving and dignified in tone are welcome under all circumstances, it
should be left entirely to the discretion of every conscientious believer
to decide upon the nature, the amount, and purpose of his or her
contribution for the propagation of the Cause.



Association with Orientals


Regarding association with Oriental travelers and residents in the United
States and Canada, I desire to emphasize afresh the vital necessity for
the exercise in these days of the greatest vigilance and reserve, prudence
and caution, on the part of the American believers in their dealings with
them, either in an official or private capacity, whether in business
transactions or for purely religious purposes. As the Movement grows in
prestige, fame and influence, as the ambitions, malice and ill-will of
strangers and enemies correspondingly wax greater, it becomes increasingly
important for every individual and Spiritual Assembly to be on their guard
lest they fall innocent victims of the evil designs of the malevolent, the
self-seeking and greedy.

Touching the publication of articles and pamphlets bearing on the
controversial and political issues of the day, I desire to remind my
dearly-beloved fellow-workers that at the present stage when the Cause is
still in its infancy, any minute and detailed analysis by the friends of
subjects that are in the forefront of general discussion would often be
misconstrued in certain quarters and give rise to suspicions and
misunderstandings that would react unfavorably on the Cause. They would
tend to create a misconception of the real object, the true mission, and
the fundamental character of the Bahá’í Faith. We should, while
endeavoring to uphold loyally and expound conscientiously our social and
moral principles in all their essence and purity, in all their bearings
upon the divers phases of human society, insure that no direct reference
or particular criticism in our exposition of the fundamentals of the Faith
would tend to antagonize any existing institution, or help to identify a
purely spiritual movement with the base clamorings and contentions of
warring sects, factions and nations. We should strive in all our
utterances to combine the discretion and noble reticence of the wise with
the frankness and passionate loyalty of the ardent advocate of an
inspiring Faith. While refusing to utter the word that would needlessly
alienate or estrange any individual, government or people, we should
fearlessly and unhesitatingly uphold and assert in their entirety such
truths the knowledge of which we believe is vitally and urgently needed
for the good and betterment of mankind.

The copy of the minutes of the 1925 Bahá’í Convention has been received
and, despite the pressure of work, read with deep pleasure and keen
interest.



Purpose of Bahá’í Administration


As the administrative work of the Cause steadily expands, as its various
branches grow in importance and number, it is absolutely necessary that we
bear in mind this fundamental fact that all these administrative
activities, however harmoniously and efficiently conducted, are but means
to an end, and should be regarded as direct instruments for the
propagation of the Bahá’í Faith. Let us take heed lest in our great
concern for the perfection of the administrative machinery of the Cause,
we lose sight of the Divine Purpose for which it has been created. Let us
be on our guard lest the growing demand for specialization in the
administrative functions of the Cause detain us from joining the ranks of
those who in the forefront of battle are gloriously engaged in summoning
the multitude to this New Day of God. This indeed should be our primary
concern; this is our sacred obligation, our vital and urgent need. Let
this cardinal principle be ever borne in mind, for it is the mainspring of
all future activities, the remover of every embarrassing obstacle, the
fulfillment of our Master’s dearest wish.

May the year that has just dawned upon us witness in such a glorious field
many a signal victory.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
January 10, 1926.



Letter of April 22nd, 1926.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful through the
West.

Fellow-laborers in the Divine Vineyard:

In the midst of the many vicissitudes which the creative Word of God is
destined to encounter in the course of its onward march towards the
redemption of the world, there breaks upon us the news of still another
loss, more bewildering in its character, yet more inspiring in its
challenge, than any of the gravest happenings of recent times. Once again
the woeful tale of unabated persecution, involving this time the martyrdom
of twelve of our long-suffering brethren in Jahrum, southern Persia, has
reached our ears, and filled us with a gloom which all the joys and
ennobling memories of Ridván have failed to dispel.



Bahá’í Martyrdoms in Persia


From the meagre reports which have thus far been received from that
distracted country it appears that this shameful and atrocious act, though
the outcome of a number of obscure and complex causes, has been chiefly
instigated by that ever-present factor of fierce and relentless impulse of
religious hostility. Persia—long neglected and sorely tried—continues,
despite the revival of recent hopes, to be the down-trodden victim of
unscrupulous personal rivalries and factious intrigue, of tribal revolt,
political dissensions and religious animosities—all of which have in times
past brought in their wake the shedding of the blood of so many of its
innocent and choicest sons.

Fully alive to the gravity of the occasion, and realizing the urgency of
my sacred duty, I have, upon the receipt of the news, transmitted
telegraphically through the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
Persia a special message addressed in the name of the Bahá’ís of every
land to the supreme authority in the State, expressing our profound horror
at this outrageous act as well as our earnest entreaty to inflict
immediate punishment on the perpetrators of so abominable a crime. And as
this sad event involved chiefly the welfare and security of the Bahá’í
residents in Persia, I have specially requested all local Assemblies in
that land to address a similar message to the highest authorities
concerned appealing for full protection and justice. Should future
developments necessitate direct and foreign intervention, I shall acquaint
the national Bahá’í representatives in every land to take in cooperation
with all local Assemblies such measures as will effectually conduce to a
fuller recognition of the dynamic force latent in the Bahá’í Faith and
insure the betterment of the lot of the heroic supporters of our Cause.

Pending the opening of official communication with recognized authorities
whether in Persia or elsewhere, I strongly feel that the time has
assuredly come when it is incumbent upon every conscientious promoter of
the Cause to bestir himself and undertake in consultation with the friends
in his locality such measures of publicity as will lead to the gradual
awakening of the conscience of the civilized world to what is admittedly
an ignominious manifestation of a decadent age.

I would specially request all National Assemblies to give their anxious
and immediate consideration to this grave matter, and to devise ways and
means that will secure the fullest publicity for our grievances. I would
remind them that whatever is published should be couched in terms that are
at once correct, forceful and inoffensive.

I would particularly stress the importance of making every effort to
secure the sympathy and hospitality of the leading journals and
periodicals of the Western world, and of sending to the Holy Land any such
references in papers that will arise to champion the cause of
righteousness and justice. I greatly deplore the fact that owing to the
remoteness and the unstable conditions in Persia, details and particulars
regarding this ugly incident are not as yet available, but will be duly
communicated to the various centers immediately upon their receipt. I
would, however, ask the believers throughout the West to arise without any
further delay and supplement the publication of the news conveyed in this
message with an account of previous happenings of a similar character,
combined with an adequate survey of the aim, the principles and history of
the Bahá’í Cause.

It is to you, dearly beloved friends of the West, who are the
standard-bearers of the emancipation and triumph of the Bahá’í Faith, that
our afflicted brethren of the East have turned their expectant eyes,
confident that the day cannot be far-distant when, in accordance with
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s explicit utterance, the West will “seize the Cause” from
Persia’s fettered hands and lead it to glorious victory.

Though grief-stricken and horrified at this cruel blow, let us be on our
guard lest we give way to despair, lest we forget that in the Almighty’s
inscrutable wisdom this sudden calamity may prove to be but a blessing in
disguise. For what else can it do but to stir the inmost depths of our
souls, set our faith ablaze, galvanize our efforts, dissolve our
differences, and provide one of the chief instruments which the unhampered
promoters of the Faith can utilize to attract the attention, enlist the
sympathy, and eventually win the allegiance of all mankind?

Ours is this supreme opportunity; may we fulfill our trust.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
April 22nd, 1926.



Letter of May 11th, 1926.


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the
United States and Canada.

Fellow-laborers in the Vineyard of God:

Various happenings of recent months, highly disquieting in their
suddenness, their complexity and consequences, have time and again, to my
regret, compelled me to defer correspondence with you, my highly valued
co-workers, who are destined to share no small a part of the burden that
now weighs so heavily upon me. The prolonged and delicate negotiations
arising out of the critical situation of Bahá’u’lláh’s house in Ba_gh_dád;
the shameful recrudescence of unrestrained barbarism in stricken Persia;
the unexpected reverse recently sustained in our legal transactions for
the deliverance of Bahá’u’lláh’s mansion at Bahjí from the hands of the
enemy; the unprecedented increase in the volume of work resulting from the
rise and expansion of the Movement in various parts of the world—these and
other issues, no less pressing in their demand upon my time and energy,
have gradually affected my health and impaired the efficiency required in
the discharge of my arduous duties. But, though body and mind be sorely
strained by cares and perplexities which a Movement such as ours just
emerging from obscurity must needs encounter, yet the spirit continues to
draw fresh inspiration from the manner in which the chosen deliverers of
the Faith in the Western world, and particularly in the American
continent, are proving themselves increasingly worthy of such a stupendous
yet so noble a task.



Persecutions in Jahrum


Grave and manifold as are the problems confronting the struggling Faith of
Bahá’u’lláh, none appear more significant, nor seem more compelling in
their urgency, than the incredible sufferings borne so heroically by our
down-trodden brethren of the East. Recent reports confirming the news
which I have lately communicated to you have all emphasized the barbarous
severity practiced on the innocent followers of our Cause. They reveal the
possibility of the extension of this agitation, partly instigated for
political purposes and selfish motives, to neighboring towns and
provinces, and dwell upon the traditional slackness of the local
authorities to inflict prompt and severe punishment upon all the
perpetrators of such abominable crimes. It has been ascertained that in
the town of Jahrum women have suffered martyrdom in a most atrocious
manner, that the knife of the criminal has mercilessly cut to pieces the
body of a child, that a number have been severely beaten and injured,
their bodies mutilated, their homes pillaged, their property confiscated,
and the homeless remnants of their family abandoned to the mercy of a
shameless and tyrannical people. In other parts of Persia, and
particularly in the province of Á_dh_irbayján in the town of Mará_gh_ih,
the friends have been pitilessly denied the civic rights and privileges
extended to every citizen of the land. They have been refused the use of
the public bath, and been denied access to such shops as provide the
necessities of life. They have been declared deprived of the benefit and
protection of the law, and all association and dealing with them denounced
as a direct violation of the precepts and principles of Islám. It has even
been authoritatively stated that the decencies of public interment have
been refused to their dead, and that in a particular case every effort to
induce the Muslim undertaker to provide the wood for the construction of
the coffin, failed to secure the official support of the authorities
concerned. Every appeal made by these Bahá’ís on behalf of their brethren,
whether living or dead, has been met with cold indifference, with vague
promises, and, not infrequently, with severe rebuke and undeserved
chastisement.

The tale of such outrageous conduct, such widespread suffering and loss,
if properly expressed and broadcast, cannot fail in the end to arouse the
conscience of civilized mankind, and thereby secure the much-needed relief
for a long-suffering people. I would, therefore, renew my plea, and
request you most earnestly to redouble your efforts in the wide field of
publicity, to devise every possible means that will alleviate the fears
and sorrows of the silent sufferers in that distracted country. Surely
these vile wrong-doers cannot long remain unpunished for their ferocious
atrocities, and the day may not be far distant when we shall witness, as
we have observed elsewhere, the promised signs of Divine Retribution
avenging the blood of the slaughtered servants of Bahá’u’lláh.



Plan of Unified Action


In connection with the Plan of Unified Action, enclosed in your letter of
January 19th, I feel that the friends must be constantly reminded of the
vital necessity for a continuous and whole-hearted support of the scheme,
the success or failure of which will to a marked extent affect the course
of the progress of the Cause not only in Northern America but throughout
the Bahá’í world. Let the friends recall and ever bear in mind the
repeated exhortations and glowing promises of our beloved Master with
reference to the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, the crowning institution in every
Bahá’í community. Let them arise with determination and confidence to lend
a helping hand to the Plan which you have so admirably devised for its
speedy and practical realization. Theirs is a splendid opportunity; let
their response to your call be prompt, whole-hearted and decisive.

I have specially requested that indefatigable pioneer of the Cause of God,
our well-beloved Bahá’í sister, Mrs. Victoria Bedekian, to concentrate for
the present all the resources of her mind and heart upon this vast and
vital undertaking. I have urged her to direct her energies to this lofty
purpose, and by the aid of her most valuable letters arouse both the East
and the West to a fresh consciousness of the significance and urgency of
the object you have set yourselves to achieve.

Regarding the series of World Unity meetings which some of the thoughtful,
capable and devoted servants of the Cause have carefully organized and
successfully conducted, and to which you have referred in your letter of
March 8th, I wish to express my keen appreciation of such a splendid
conception, my deep gratitude for the efforts they have exerted, and my
gratification in view of the success they have achieved.



Guiding Principles of Bahá’í Administration


The administrative machinery of the Cause having now sufficiently evolved,
its aim and object fairly well grasped and understood, and its method and
working made more familiar to every believer, I feel the time is ripe when
it should be fully and consciously utilized to further the purpose for
which it has been created. It should, I strongly feel, be made to serve a
twofold purpose. On one hand, it should aim at a steady and gradual
expansion of the Movement along lines that are at once broad, sound and
universal; and on the other it should insure the internal consolidation of
the work already achieved. It should both provide the impulse whereby the
dynamic forces latent in the Faith can unfold, crystallize, and shape the
lives and conduct of men, and serve as a medium for the interchange of
thought and the coordination of activities among the divers elements that
constitute the Bahá’í community.

Whether it be by an open and bold assertion of the fundamental verities of
the Cause, or the adoption of a less direct and more cautious method of
teaching; whether by the dissemination of our literature or the example of
our conduct, our one aim and sole object should be to help in the eventual
recognition by all mankind of the indispensability, the uniqueness and the
supreme station of the Bahá’í Revelation. Whatever method he adopts, and
however indirect the course he chooses to pursue, every true believer
should regard such a recognition as the supreme goal of his endeavor.
Whilst consciously laboring towards the attainment of this end, he should,
by supporting every branch of the administrative activities of his
national and local assembly, seek and obtain the fullest information on
the character and extent of the worldwide progress of the Cause, and
strive to contribute his share towards the strengthening of the spirit of
solidarity among the component parts of the Bahá’í world.

Such in their broad outline are the guiding principles which those who
have been placed in charge of the administration of the affairs of the
Cause should at present endeavor to promote, explain and securely
establish. Nothing short of the spirit of unwavering faith, of continuous
vigilance and patient endeavor can hope to secure eventually the
realization of this our cherished desire.

May America’s national representatives arise with clear vision, with
unswerving determination and renewed vigor to carry out in its entirety
the sacred task they have purposed to perform.

Assuring you of my continued and earnest prayers for the success of your
efforts,

I am your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
May 11th, 1926.



Letter of October 7th, 1926.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
the West.

Dearly-beloved brothers and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

In the course of the few months that have elapsed since my last
communication to you regarding the appalling circumstances that have
culminated in the martyrdom of our Persian brethren in Jahrum, events of
the highest importance to the future welfare of our beloved Cause have
transpired, and with startling suddenness conferred abiding solace upon
those who still have to face the pains and terrors of unmitigated and
shameless tyranny.



Response of Queen Marie


You have, most of you, I presume, read with thrilling joy in one of the
recent issues of the Star of the West that illuminating account given by
our beloved sister, Miss Martha Root, wherein she tells with her
characteristic directness and modesty the story of her moving interview
with Her Majesty Queen Marie of Roumania and of the cordial and ready
response which her gentle yet persuasive presentation of the principles of
the Bahá’í Faith has evoked in the heart of that honored queen. One of the
visible and potent effects which this historic interview proved capable of
achieving was the remarkable appeal in the form of an open letter which
Her Majesty freely and spontaneously caused to be published to the world
at large testifying in a language of exquisite beauty to the power and
sublimity of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh.

It was indeed a never-to-be-forgotten occasion when, on the eve of the day
commemorating the passing of Bahá’u’lláh, a handful of us, His sorrowing
servants, had gathered round His beloved Shrine supplicating relief and
deliverance for the down-trodden in Persia, to receive in the midst of the
silence of that distressing hour the glad-tidings of this notable triumph
which the unbending energy and indomitable spirit of our beloved Martha
has achieved for our sacred Cause.

With bowed heads and grateful hearts we recognize in this glowing tribute
which royalty has thus paid to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh an epoch-making
pronouncement destined to herald those stirring events which, as
‘Abdu’l-Bahá has prophesied, shall in the fulness of time signalize the
triumph of God’s holy Faith. For who can doubt but that the deeds of those
valiant pioneers of the Faith, unexampled though they have been in the
abundance of their number and unexcelled in their sublime heroism, are but
a faint glimmer of what, according to the divine promise, its steadfast
followers are destined to perform? Those heroic exploits that have
immortalized the names of its primitive adherents will continue to adorn
and illuminate the pages of its blood-stained history; yet we cannot
forget that the period of its full fruition with all its promise of world
felicity and undreamt-of achievements is yet to be realized, its golden
age yet to unfold. Indeed, how chastening to our pride, how challenging to
our enthusiasm, if we but pause for a moment amidst the world’s many
distractions and ponder in our hearts the vastness, the compelling
urgency, the ineffable glory of what still remains unachieved.



The Regenerating Power


But let us all remember, in this connection, that prior to every
conceivable measure destined to raise the efficiency of our administrative
activities, more vital than any scheme which the most resourceful amongst
us can devise, far above the most elaborate structure which the concerted
efforts of organized Assemblies can hope to raise, is the realization down
in the innermost heart of every true believer of the regenerating power,
the supreme necessity, the unfailing efficacy of the Message he bears. I
assure you, dear friends, that nothing short of such an immovable
conviction could have in days past enabled our beloved Cause to weather
the blackest storms in its history. Naught else can today vitalize the
manifold activities in which unnumbered disciples of the Faith are
engaged; naught else can provide that driving force and sustaining power
that are both so essential to the success of vast and enduring
achievements. It is this spirit that above all else we should sedulously
guard, and strive with all our might to fortify and exemplify in all our
undertakings.

Moved by an irresistible impulse, I have addressed to Her Majesty in the
name of the Bahá’ís of both the East and the West a written expression of
our joyous admiration and gratitude for the queenly tribute which Her
Majesty has paid to the beauty and nobility of the Bahá’í Teachings. I
have, moreover, assured Her Majesty of the far-reaching effect which her
superb testimony will inevitably produce, and of the welcome consolation
it has already brought to the silent sufferers in that distracted country.
To my message of appreciation and gratitude there has come lately a
written response, penned by Her Majesty, profoundly touching, singularly
outspoken, and highly significant in the testimony it bears. From this
queenly tribute to a divine ideal I quote these penetrating words:

“Indeed a great light came to me with the Message of Bahá’u’lláh and
‘Abdu’l-Bahá. It came as all great messages come at an hour of dire grief
and inner conflict and distress, so the seed sank deeply.... We pass on
the Message from mouth to mouth and all those we give it to see a light
suddenly lighting before them and much that was obscure and perplexing
becomes simple, luminous and full of hope as never before. That my open
letter was balm to those suffering for the Cause is indeed a great
happiness to me, and I take it as a sign that God accepted my humble
tribute.... With bowed head I recognize that I too am but an instrument in
greater Hands and rejoice in the knowledge....”

Dear friends, with feelings of profound emotion we recall the glowing
promises that have so often fallen from the lips of our departed Master,
and with throbbing hearts rejoice in the gradual realization of His most
cherished desire.

And as we call to mind the circumstances that have led to such a notable
advance, we are filled with admiration for that unique and great-hearted
apostle of Bahá’u’lláh, our dearly-beloved Martha Root, who under trying
circumstances and almost single-handed in her efforts, has so wonderfully
paved the way for the universal recognition of the Cause of God. In her
case we have verily witnessed in an unmistakable manner what the power of
dauntless faith, when coupled with sublimity of character, can achieve,
what forces it can release, to what heights it can rise.

Let such remarkable revelations of the reality and continuity of the
divine purpose, made manifest from time to time to us His feeble children,
serve to fortify our faith in Him, to warm the chill which fleeting
misfortunes may leave behind, and fill us with that celestial potency
which alone can enable us to withstand the storm and stress that lives
dedicated to His service must needs encounter.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
October 7th, 1926.



Letter of October 29, 1926.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
the West.

Dear fellow-workers in the Divine Vineyard:

It will gladden and rejoice every one of you to learn that from various
quarters there has of late reached the Holy Land tidings of fresh
developments that are a clear indication of those hidden and transforming
influences which, from the source of Bahá’u’lláh’s mystic strength,
continue to flow with ever-increasing vitality into the heart of this
troubled world.

Both in the wider field of its spiritual conquests, where its indomitable
spirit is forging ahead, capturing the heights, pervading the multitude;
as well as in the gradual consolidation of the administrative structure
which its avowed followers the world over are laboring to raise and
fortify, the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, we can increasingly discern, bids fair
to become that force which, though not as yet universally recognized, none
can afford to belittle or ignore.

In the bold and repeated testimonies which Her Majesty, Queen Marie of
Roumania, has chosen to give to the world,—a copy of whose latest
pronouncement I enclose,(13)—we truly recognize evidences of the
irresistible power, the increasing vitality, the strange working of a
Faith destined to regenerate the world. Her Majesty’s striking tribute
paid to the illuminative power of the Teachings of Bahá’u’lláh and
‘Abdu’l-Bahá is bound to effect an entire transformation in the attitude
of many to a Faith the tenets of which have often been misunderstood and
sorely neglected. It will serve as a fresh stimulus to the enlightened and
cultured to investigate with an open mind the verities of its message, the
source of its life-giving principles.



Shrine at Baghdád


From Ba_gh_dád, moreover, where the sacred habitation of Bahá’u’lláh has
been violated by a relentless enemy and converted into a rallying center
for the corrupt, the perverse, and the fanatical, there comes the news,
highly reassuring to us all, of the satisfactory progress of the
negotiations which, we are informed on high authority, will soon lead to
the expropriation of the property by the State, culminating in the
fullness of time in its occupation by the triumphant followers of God’s
holy Faith. The case of the houses, so ably presented, so persistently
pursued, above all reinforced by the vigilant and protecting power of our
departed Master, will eventually triumph, and by its repercussions in
Persia as in the world at large, will lend a powerful impetus to the
liberation of those forces which will carry the Cause to its ultimate
destiny. I will, when the occasion presents itself, inform the believers
through their respective National Spiritual Assemblies to address messages
of appreciation and gratitude to the authorities concerned in view of
their unrelaxing efforts for the triumph of right and justice.

For the present, we cannot but rejoice and feel profoundly thankful as we
witness in so many directions the welcome signs of the gradual
emancipation of the struggling Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, of the increasing
recognition on the part of both the high and lowly of its universal
principles—all so rich in their promise of ultimate victory.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
October 29, 1926.



Letter of October 31, 1926.


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the
United States and Canada.

Dearly-beloved fellow-workers:

I have on two recent occasions given expression to the profound sense of
inspiring confidence and joyous gratitude which recent happenings in the
Cause—evident manifestations of the steady evolution of a living
Faith—must needs evoke in the heart of every thoughtful and observing
believer. And as I contemplate the far-reaching possibilities involved in
a careful handling of those forces which Bahá’u’lláh’s almighty arm has
now released, I cannot help reflecting upon the dominant share which the
American friends, at home as well as in distant lands, have contributed to
this rejuvenation of the Cause of God, and the decisive part it is theirs
to play in its eventual victory.

Your letters, dated June 17, July 11, July 20, August 3 and 16, and
October 2, 1926, all of which have been forwarded during my days of
retirement and rest, have proved an added source of thankfulness, of joy
and strength to me. They have clearly revealed by their spirit, as well as
by the nature and variety of their contents, the sustained devotion, the
unabated confidence, and the increasing vigor and efficiency with which
you are initiating, coordinating, and consolidating the manifold
activities of the Cause in North America.



International Secretariat


The range and character of the problems confronting you, as revealed by
the careful perusal of the minutes of your meetings, the steady increase
in the number and effectiveness of vigorously functioning Centers in
Central and Northern Europe, and the growing significance and complexity
of the work that has to be necessarily conducted from the Holy Land, have
all served to strengthen the feeling of absolute necessity for the
formation in Haifa of some sort of an International Bahá’í Secretariat,
which both in an advisory and executive capacity will have to aid and
assist me in my vast and exacting labors. I have anxiously considered this
important matter in all its bearings during the past few months, and have
accordingly requested three well-informed, capable representatives from
America, Europe and the East to visit the Holy Land this fall, that we may
lay down the foundation of this vitally needed institution. We shall take
counsel together and decide, not only upon the measures that have to be
promptly undertaken to meet the pressing demands of the present hour, but
upon the wider issues that on one hand will strengthen the ties that
should bind the International Center of the Cause with the world at large,
and on the other provide for the preliminary steps that will eventually
lead to the proper establishment of the First International House of
Justice.

It is my earnest hope and prayer that this exchange of thought and close
cooperation in the work that has henceforth to be internationally and
vigorously conducted, will enable me to participate more minutely and
effectively in the labors of the various administrative departments of
your Assembly, and thus reinforce the splendid efforts you are exerting
for the extension of its influence and the widening of its scope.



Plan of Unified Action


From the report of the National Treasurer, setting forth the account of
the progress of the contributions of the American believers for the
support of the Plan of Unified Action, up to June 30, 1926, I gather that
the result has by no means exceeded our expectations, nay has considerably
fallen below what I confidently expected it to achieve. I earnestly renew
my plea and appeal to you, and through you to every true and faithful
lover of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, to realize, while there is yet time, the
far-reaching possibilities with which the present situation is fraught. I
am firmly convinced that this Plan combines, embodies, and serves the
twofold purpose of the present-day Bahá’í administration in the United
States and Canada, namely the promotion of the vitally needed teaching
work, and the provision for the gradual completion of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, both wishes so near and dear to our beloved
Master’s heart. It is the only effective, feasible, and practical
instrument placed in our hands for the speedy accomplishment of our ends.
So much that is vital to the future welfare, the effectiveness, and the
fair name of our beloved Cause depends, I assure you, upon the success or
failure of this nobly-conceived, this sound and befitting enterprise. The
eyes of all Bahá’ís and of many sympathizers throughout the world are
turned towards you, eager to reinforce your accomplishments in this field,
expectant to witness what measure of success you are capable of achieving.



World Unity Conferences


In connection with the series of World Unity Conferences which you have
initiated and so laboriously organized, I feel that in order to reap the
fullest advantage and benefit from this laudable effort, it is absolutely
essential to follow up with the aid of enlightened, experienced and
capable teachers the interest which has been aroused. Such a group of
teachers should judiciously select those few among the many interested,
and endeavor with patience and sympathy and by constant intimate personal
intercourse, to prepare them gradually for the entire and unreserved
acceptance of the fundamentals of the Bahá’í Revelation. If the results be
meagre, if the attendance be small, let us not despair, nor relax in our
efforts. Let us remember that this sound method will eventually triumph,
if we only consistently support it, and persevere in undertaking those
subsequent steps that can alone produce full and permanent benefit.



Appeal to the Sháh of Persia


I have already expressed my grateful appreciation of the prompt and wise
measures you have taken in behalf of our oppressed and down-trodden
brethren in Persia. The noble appeal which you were moved to address to
His Majesty the _Sh_áh, so illuminating, so courteous, so powerful, and
the wide range of publicity you have undertaken, were truly providential
in character, and will undoubtedly prove an inspiration and solace to
those who still continue to be trampled under the heel of an odious and
inveterate enemy. I have had your appeal translated into Persian and sent
to all Centers throughout the Orient that the suffering in Persia may
learn of your bold and courageous intervention, and witness the signs of
their promised redemption which, as foretold by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, must first
be made manifest through the efforts of their brethren in that great
freedom-loving Republic of the West.

It is sad and distressing to reflect that, notwithstanding the repeated
appeals addressed to the authorities concerned, and so powerfully
reinforced by the spontaneous action of some of the leading Governments of
the West, Persia, still heedless and unaware of the spiritual forces that
are at work, continues to treat with indifference and contempt the most
loyal, innocent and law-abiding subjects of its realm. The chronic
instability of its affairs, the changing fortunes of factions and shadowy
personalities that sap its vitality and tarnish its name, the acute and
widespread economic depression that is now prevailing, and the grave
discontent of the masses of the people, all tend to aggravate a situation
already highly threatening to the security of its sorely tried children.
What else can we do but pray most fervently that the almighty power of
Bahá’u’lláh may soon triumph over this petty strife, this age-long
tyranny, and make, as He prophesied, of the land of His birth, “the most
honored of all governments, the pride, the admiration and the envy of the
peoples of the world.”

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
October 31, 1926.



Letter of November 14, 1926.


The beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the
United States and Canada.

Dearly-beloved friends:

The progress of various events, both within and outside the Bahá’í world,
as well as the perusal of the able and illuminating report recently
submitted by the Committee of the Persian National Spiritual Assembly in
charge of the Tarbíyat School in Ṭihrán, have served to reinforce a
gradually growing idea as to the desirability of arranging for the
settlement in the capital of that country of one or two American believers
who, having the means, the freedom and the capacity, can adequately meet
the pressing requirements of a responsible position. Judging from their
report, the situation in Ṭihrán though much confused and perplexing, is
fraught with rich possibilities for the future of the Cause, both as
affecting the national fortunes of Persia, as well as its influence upon
the international development of the Cause.



American Teachers in Ṭihrán


The situation as I see it calls for the devoted efforts of one or two
capable workers who, untrammelled and with independent means, can quietly,
tenaciously and tactfully, pursue over a considerable length of time the
meritorious work of fostering the cause of Bahá’í education, for both boys
and girls, in the swiftly changing capital of a promising country. It
should be their primary duty to extend the scope and enhance the prestige
of these twin Bahá’í educational institutions, and to initiate by sound
and well-considered methods such measures as will consolidate the work
already achieved. It would be highly gratifying if they could also
endeavor, by keeping in close and constant touch with the Persian and
American National Spiritual Assemblies, to fortify those vital bonds that
spiritually unite the cradle of the Bahá’í Faith with the great American
Republic—the foremost standard-bearer of the Cause in the Western field.
Such efforts will extremely facilitate cooperation between these two
countries, whose common destiny is to provide, each in its own typical
manner, the essential elements in the foundation of the world order
ushered in by Bahá’u’lláh.

The gradual expansion of foreign as well as officially subsidized
educational schools in Ṭihrán, the prolonged absence of competent teachers
and organizers that can revive the declining influence of a hitherto
renowned Bahá’í educational institution, and the critical and vigilant
attitude which the growing influence of the Cause has induced in its
malignant and envious enemies, are today subjects of gravest concern to
the elected representatives of our suffering brethren and sisters in
Persia. I would therefore request those who feel the urge and have the
means to undertake this task to communicate with the National Spiritual
Assembly who, after mature deliberation, will select one or two who, in
their judgment, can best render this service, and decide upon the exact
time and manner which would be most suitable for its execution. I would
strongly urge the friends to consult most earnestly with that devoted,
experienced and indefatigable handmaid of Bahá’u’lláh, Dr. Moody, whose
past services have ennobled the record of collaboration of East and West
for the furtherance of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. It would be highly
satisfactory and immensely helpful if our beloved sister could find it
possible and convenient to accompany such a carefully-chosen person on the
way to Ṭihrán, and, by her unrivaled experience and loving-kindness,
assist personally in the fulfillment of this pressing need.

Whoever steps into this field will find, as he settles down to his work,
that the environment is extremely disheartening, that restrictions are
oppressive, that the amenities of social life are lacking, that the forces
of opposition are determined and organized. But let him realize also that,
however tedious and exacting his labors, however precarious and thankless
his task, the pioneer services it is his unique privilege to render in
this time of stress will forever live in the annals of God’s living Faith,
and will prove a source of inspiration to the countless workers who, in
happier times and with better means at their disposal, will consummate the
spiritual regeneration and material rehabilitation of Bahá’u’lláh’s native
land.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
November 14, 1926.



Letter of February 12, 1927.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
the West.

Dearly-beloved brothers and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

The trend of various events, affecting directly and indirectly the
interests of the Bahá’í Cause, have of late served to bring into further
prominence the character as well as the significance of a Faith destined
to regenerate the world.



Decision of Egyptian Tribunal


Of all the diverse issues which today are gradually tending to consolidate
and extend the bounds of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, the decision of
Egypt’s religious Tribunal regarding the Bahá’ís under its jurisdiction
appears at the present moment to be the most powerful in its challenge,
the most startling in its character, and the most perplexing in the
consequences it may entail. I have already alluded in my letter of January
10, 1926, addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
the United States and Canada, to a particular feature of this momentous
verdict, which after mature deliberation has obtained the sanction of
Egypt’s highest ecclesiastical authorities, has been communicated and
printed, and is regarded as final and binding. I have stressed in my last
reference to this far-reaching pronouncement the negative aspect of this
document which condemns in most unequivocal and emphatic language the
followers of Bahá’u’lláh as the believers in heresy, offensive and
injurious to Islám, and wholly incompatible with the accepted doctrines
and practice of its orthodox adherents.



Bahá’í Cause Recognized as Independent Religion


A closer study of the text of the decision will, however, reveal the fact
that coupled with this strong denunciation is the positive assertion of a
truth which the recognized opponents of the Bahá’í Faith in other
Muhammadan countries have up to the present time either sedulously ignored
or maliciously endeavored to disprove. Not content with this harsh and
unjustifiable repudiation of the so-called menacing and heretical
doctrines of the adherents of the Bahá’í Faith, they proceed in a formal
manner to declare in the text of that very decision their belief, that the
Bahá’í Faith is a “new religion,” “entirely independent” and, by reason of
the magnitude of its claim and the character of its “laws, principles and
beliefs,” worthy to be reckoned as one of the established religious
systems of the world. Quoting various passages judiciously gleaned from a
number of Bahá’í sacred Books as an evidence to their splendid testimony,
they proceed in a notable statement to deduce the fact that henceforth it
shall be regarded as impossible for the followers of such a Faith to be
designated as Muslim, just as it would be incorrect and erroneous to call
a Muhammadan either Christian or Jew.

It cannot be denied that in the course of the inevitable developments of
this present situation the resident Bahá’ís of Egypt, originally belonging
to the Muslim Faith, will be placed in a most humiliating and embarrassing
position. They, however, cannot but rejoice in the knowledge that whereas
in various Muhammadan countries and particularly in Persia the
overwhelming majority of the leaders of Islám are utterly opposed to any
form of declaration that would facilitate the universal recognition of the
Cause, the authorized heads of their co-religionists in one of the most
advanced communities in the Muhammadan world have, of their own
initiative, published to the world a document that may justly be termed as
the first chapter of liberty emancipating the Bahá’í Faith from the
fetters of orthodox Islám. And in order to insure the complete rupture of
Bahá’í official relations with Muslim Courts they lay down in unmistakable
terms the condition that under no circumstances can the marriage of those
Bahá’ís who have been required to divorce their Muslim wives be renewed by
the Muslim Court unless and until the husbands formally recant their faith
by solemnly declaring that the Qur’án is the “last” Book of God revealed
to man, that no law can abrogate the Prophet’s Law, no faith can succeed
His Faith, no revelation can claim to fulfill His Revelation.

While unwavering in their belief in the Divine station of the Author of
the Qur’án and profoundly convinced of the necessity and worldwide
influence of His Divine mission, Bahá’ís in every land stand undeterred
and unabashed in the face of the strong condemnation pronounced against
their brethren in Egypt. Indeed, they together with their fellow-workers
in all Muslim countries welcome with gladness and pride every opportunity
for further emancipation that they may set forth in a truer light the
sublime mission of Bahá’u’lláh.

In the face of such an outspoken and challenging declaration, the Bahá’í
of the West cannot but feel the deepest sympathy with their Egyptian
brethren who, for the sake of our beloved Cause and its deliverance, have
to face all the embarrassments and vexations which the severance of
old-established ties must necessarily entail. They will, however, most
certainly expect every staunch and loyal believer in the Faith who resides
in that land to refrain in view of the grave warning uttered expressly by
our opponents, from any practice that would in any manner constitute in
the eyes of a critical and vigilant enemy a repudiation of the fundamental
beliefs of the people of Bahá. They will most assuredly, whenever the
moment is opportune, step forth with eager hearts to offer every support
in their power to their fellow-workers who, with stout hearts and
irreproachable loyalty, will continue to hold aloft the standard of God’s
struggling Faith. They will not fail to come to the rescue of those who
with joyous confidence will endure to the very end such vicissitudes as
this New Day of God, now in its birth-throes, must needs suffer and
surmount.



Worldwide Attacks Foretold


We cannot believe that as the Movement grows in strength, in authority and
in influence, the perplexities and the sufferings it has had to contend
with in the past will correspondingly decrease and vanish. Nay, as it
grows from strength to strength, the fanatical defendants of the
strongholds of orthodoxy, whatever be their denomination, realizing the
penetrating influence of this growing Faith, will arise and strain every
nerve to extinguish its light and discredit its name. For has not our
beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá sent forth His glowing prophecy from behind the
prison walls of the citadel of Akká—words so significant in their forecast
of the coming world turmoil, yet so rich in their promise of eventual
victory:—

“How great, how very great is the Cause; how very fierce the onslaught of
all the peoples and kindreds of the earth! Erelong shall the clamor of the
multitude throughout Africa, throughout America, the cry of the European
and of the Turk, the groaning of India and China be heard from far and
near. One and all they shall arise with all their power to resist His
Cause. Then shall the Knights of the Lord, assisted by grace from on high,
strengthened by faith, aided by the power of understanding and reinforced
by the legions of the Covenant, arise and make manifest the truth of the
verse: ‘Behold the confusion that hath befallen the tribes of the
defeated!’”

Dearly beloved friends, upon us devolves the supreme obligation to stand
by His side, to fight His battles and to win His victory. May we prove
ourselves worthy of this trust.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
February 12, 1927.



Letter of February 20, 1927.


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the
United States and Canada.

Dear and precious fellow-workers in the Vineyard of God:—

The communications addressed to me by your indefatigable and distinguished
secretary, dated October 28, November 8, 11, 18, December 4, 16 and
January 27th, have been received, and together with their enclosures read
and carefully noted. I cannot but admire the spirit of unrelaxing resolve
and harmonious cooperation with which you are conducting the
ever-expanding activities of the Cause in a land upon which our Beloved
has lavished His richest blessings, and for the spiritual potentialities
of which He cherished the brightest hopes. The vigorous efforts you are
exerting to consolidate the forces which the Almighty has placed in your
hands; the resourcefulness you display by the measures you have initiated
for the furtherance of the Cause; the magnificent response with which you
have met the piteous call of your suffering brethren of the East—all
proclaim your worthiness of the unexampled efforts which, in your country
more than in any other land, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has exerted for the spread of
the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh.



Twofold Teaching Method


In connection with the World Unity Conferences, which you have organized,
I desire to assure you of my heartfelt appreciation of such a splendid
conception. I am profoundly impressed by the generous assistance
spontaneously offered by those who, faithful to their other obligations,
have risen to insure the financial success of such a noble Plan. I am
grateful to those local Assemblies and individuals who have given it their
whole-hearted support in their respective fields.

As to the policy that should be adopted with regard to these Conferences
and other Bahá’í activities in general, it appears increasingly evident
that as the Movement grows in strength and power the National Spiritual
Assemblies should be encouraged, if circumstances permit and the means at
their disposal justify, to resort to the twofold method of directly and
indirectly winning the enlightened public to the unqualified acceptance of
the Bahá’í Faith. The one method would assume an open, decisive and
challenging tone. The other, without implying in any manner the slightest
departure from strict loyalty to the Cause of God, would be progressive
and cautious. Experience will reveal the fact that each of the methods in
its own special way might suit a particular temperament and class of
people, and that each in the present state of a constantly fluctuating
society, should be judiciously attempted and utilized.

It is, I feel, for the National representatives of the believers in every
land to utilize and combine both methods, the outspoken as well as the
gradual, in such a manner as to secure the greatest benefits and the
fullest advantage for this steadily-growing Cause. Every staunch and
high-minded believer is thoroughly convinced of the unfailing efficacy of
every humanitarian undertaking which boldly and unreservedly proclaims the
source of its motive power to be the consciousness of the Revelation of
Bahá’u’lláh. Yet, if we but call to mind the practice generally adopted by
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, we cannot fail to perceive the wisdom, nay the necessity, of
gradually and cautiously disclosing to the eyes of an unbelieving world
the implications of a Truth which, by its own challenging nature, it is so
difficult for it to comprehend and embrace.

It was He, our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, our true and shining Exemplar, who
with infinite tact and patience, whether in His public utterances or in
private converse, adapted the presentation of the fundamentals of the
Cause to the varying capacities and the spiritual receptiveness of His
hearers. He never hesitated, however, to tear the veil asunder and reveal
to the spiritually ripened those challenging verities that set forth in
its true light the relationship of this Supreme Revelation with the
Dispensations of the past. Unashamed and unafraid when challenged to
assert in its entirety the stupendous claim of Bahá’u’lláh, Bahá’ís,
whether laboring as individuals or functioning as an organized community,
feel certain that in the face of the apathy, the gross materialism, and
the superficiality of society today, a progressive disclosure of the
magnitude of the claim of Bahá’u’lláh would constitute the most effective
means for the attainment of the end so greatly desired by even the
staunchest and most zealous advocate of the Faith.

Fully aware of the repeated statements of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá that universality
is of God, Bahá’ís in every land are ready, nay anxious, to associate
themselves by word and deed with any association of men which, after
careful scrutiny, they feel satisfied is free from every tinge of
partisanship and politics and is wholly devoted to the interests of all
mankind. In their collaboration with such associations they would extend
any moral and material assistance they can afford, after having fulfilled
their share of support to those institutions that affect directly the
interests of the Cause. They should always bear in mind, however, the
dominating purpose of such a collaboration which is to secure in time the
recognition by those with whom they are associated of the paramount
necessity and the true significance of the Bahá’í Revelation in this day.

As the Movement extends the bounds of its influence and its opportunities
for fuller recognition multiply, the twofold character of the obligations
imposed on its National elected representatives should, I feel, be
increasingly emphasized. Whilst chiefly engaged in the pursuit of their
major task, consisting chiefly in the formation and the consolidation of
Bahá’í administrative institutions, they should endeavor to participate,
within recognized limits, in the work of institutions which though unaware
of the claim of the Bahá’í Cause are prompted by a sincere desire to
promote the spirit that animates the Faith. In the pursuit of their major
task their function is to preserve the identity of the Cause and the
purity of the mission of Bahá’u’lláh. In their minor undertaking their
purpose should be to imbue with the spirit of power and strength such
movements as in their restricted scope are endeavoring to achieve what is
near and dear to the heart of every true Bahá’í. It would even appear at
times to be advisable and helpful as a supplement to their work for the
Bahá’ís to initiate any undertaking, not specifically designated as
Bahá’í, provided they have ascertained that such an undertaking would
constitute the best way of approach to those whose minds and hearts are as
yet unprepared for a full acceptance of the claim of Bahá’u’lláh. These
twofold obligations devolving upon organized Bahá’í communities, far from
neutralizing the effects of one another or of appearing antagonistic in
their aims, should be regarded as complementary and fulfilling, each in
its way, a vital and necessary function.

It is for the National representatives of the Bahá’í Cause to observe the
conditions under which they labor, to estimate the forces that are at work
in their own surroundings, to weigh carefully and prayerfully the merits
of either procedure, and to form a correct judgment as to the degree of
emphasis that should be placed upon these twofold methods. Then and only
then will they be enabled to protect and stimulate on one hand the
independent growth of the Bahá’í Faith, and on the other vindicate the
claim of its universal principles to the doubtful and unbelieving.

I have already considered these delicate and complex issues with the
Bahá’í representatives whom I have requested to gather in the Holy Land in
the hope of arriving at the best possible solution of the pressing and
intricate problems that confront the development of the Bahá’í Cause. I
have asked our dearly-beloved brother, Mr. Mountfort Mills, whose services
to the Cause only future generations can estimate, to acquaint you with
these and other considerations, the delicacy and scope of which only a
verbal explanation can adequately reveal. He will fully and
authoritatively inform you regarding the policy that should govern the
conduct of the Star of the West, the character and the range of the Bahá’í
Bibliography to be inserted in the next edition of the Bahá’í Year Book,
the present position of Bahá’u’lláh’s House in Ba_gh_dád, the hopes and
desires I cherish for the successful conclusion of the Plan of Unified
Action, and the consequences and possibilities involved in the decision of
Egypt’s religious Tribunal regarding the Muslim Bahá’ís in that land.

The splendid record of the action taken by the national and local
representatives of the Bahá’ís of the United States and Canada, embodied
in the compilation of newspaper cuttings which you have recently sent me,
will be forwarded to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
Persia. I will request them to pass it on from hand to hand, that the rank
and file of the sufferers in that distracted country may obtain the
strength and solace which the perusal of such a noble record of service is
bound to produce.

Regarding the publicity campaign, recently launched, with your consent and
under your general supervision, by a group of devoted friends, I desire to
express my earnest hope that it may be richly blessed by our Beloved and
yield abundant fruit. I am gratified to learn that those who have
conceived such a comprehensive plan and have generously supported it by
every means in their power have refrained from any action that would
involve the imposing of a fresh burden upon those who have incurred the
financial obligations connected with the Budget Plan. I earnestly hope
that those who have undertaken to finance this project with such
spontaneous generosity have already fulfilled their sacred obligations in
connection with the Plan, and will not allow any pledges they have made
for publicity to interfere with their regular contributions to the
National Fund, the paramount importance of which has already been
emphasized.



The Spirit of Enterprise


It is the duty and privilege of the National and Local Assemblies if they
find that the pressing requirements of their local and national budgets
have been adequately met, to encourage individuals and groups to initiate
and conduct, with their knowledge and consent, any undertaking that would
serve to enhance the work which they have set themselves to achieve. Not
content with appeals addressed to each and every believer to offer any
constructive suggestions or plan that would remedy an existing grievance,
they should, by every means in their power, stimulate the spirit of
enterprise among the believers in order to further the teaching as well as
the administrative work of the Cause. They should endeavor by personal
contact and written appeals, to imbue the body of the faithful with a deep
sense of personal responsibility, and urge every believer, whether high or
low, poor or wealthy, to conceive, formulate and execute such measures and
projects as would redound, in the eyes of their representatives, to the
power and the fair name of this sacred Cause.

In my hours of prayer at the holy Shrines, I will supplicate that the
light of Divine Guidance may illumine your path, and enable you to utilize
in the most effective manner that spirit of individual enterprise which,
once kindled in the breasts of each and every believer and directed by the
discipline of the majestic Law of Bahá’u’lláh, imposed upon us, will carry
our beloved Cause forward to achieve its glorious destiny.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
February 20, 1927.



Letter of April 12, 1927.


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the
United States and Canada:

Dearly-beloved friends:

Your recent communications, dated February 17 and March 2, 17 and 21, have
been received, and their perusal has served to heighten my admiration for
the unflinching determination which characterizes the concerted efforts
which you are exerting for the spread and consolidation of the Bahá’í
Faith.



Inter-racial Amity


I have also received and read with the keenest interest and appreciation a
copy of that splendid document formulated by the National Committee on
inter-racial amity and addressed to all the Spiritual Assemblies
throughout the United States and Canada. This moving appeal, so admirable
in its conception, so sound and sober in its language, has struck a
responsive chord in my heart. Sent forth at a highly opportune moment in
the evolution of our sacred Faith, it has served as a potent reminder of
these challenging issues which still confront in a peculiar manner the
American believers.

As this problem, in the inevitable course of events, grows in acuteness
and complexity, and as the number of the faithful from both races
multiplies, it will become increasingly evident that the future growth and
prestige of the Cause are bound to be influenced to a very considerable
degree by the manner in which the adherents of the Bahá’í Faith carry out,
first among themselves and in their relations with their fellow-men, those
high standards of inter-racial amity so widely proclaimed and so
fearlessly exemplified to the American people by our Master ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

I direct my appeal with all the earnestness and urgency that this pressing
problem calls for to every conscientious upholder of the universal
principles of Bahá’u’lláh to face this extremely delicate situation with
the boldness, the decisiveness and wisdom it demands. I cannot believe
that those whose hearts have been touched by the regenerating influence of
God’s creative Faith in His day will find it difficult to cleanse their
souls from every lingering trace of racial animosity so subversive of the
Faith they profess. How can hearts that throb with the love of God fail to
respond to all the implications of this supreme injunction of Bahá’u’lláh,
the unreserved acceptance of which, under the circumstances now prevailing
in America, constitutes the hall-mark of a true Bahá’í character?

Let every believer, desirous to witness the swift and healthy progress of
the Cause of God, realize the twofold nature of his task. Let him first
turn his eyes inwardly and search his own heart and satisfy himself that
in his relations with his fellow-believers, irrespective of color and
class, he is proving himself increasingly loyal to the spirit of his
beloved Faith. Assured and content that he is exerting his utmost in a
conscious effort to approach nearer every day the lofty station to which
his gracious Master summons him, let him turn to his second task, and,
with befitting confidence and vigor, assail the devastating power of those
forces which in his own heart he has already succeeded in subduing. Fully
alive to the unfailing efficacy of the power of Bahá’u’lláh, and armed
with the essential weapons of wise restraint and inflexible resolve, let
him wage a constant fight against the inherited tendencies, the corruptive
instincts, the fluctuating fashions, the false pretences of the society in
which he lives and moves.

In their relations amongst themselves as fellow-believers, let them not be
content with the mere exchange of cold and empty formalities often
connected with the organizing of banquets, receptions, consultative
assemblies, and lecture-halls. Let them rather, as equal co-sharers in the
spiritual benefits conferred upon them by Bahá’u’lláh, arise and, with the
aid and counsel of their local and national representatives, supplement
these official functions with those opportunities which only a close and
intimate social intercourse can adequately provide. In their homes, in
their hours of relaxation and leisure, in the daily contact of business
transactions, in the association of their children, whether in their
study-classes, their playgrounds, and club-rooms, in short under all
possible circumstances, however insignificant they appear, the community
of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh should satisfy themselves that in the eyes
of the world at large and in the sight of their vigilant Master they are
the living witnesses of those truths which He fondly cherished and
tirelessly championed to the very end of His days. If we relax in our
purpose, if we falter in our faith, if we neglect the varied opportunities
given us from time to time by an all-wise and gracious Master, we are not
merely failing in what is our most vital and conspicuous obligation, but
are thereby insensibly retarding the flow of those quickening energies
which can alone insure the vigorous and speedy development of God’s
struggling Faith.

I would particularly address my appeal to you, as the Trustees of God’s
sacred Faith, to reaffirm by word and deed the spirit and character of the
insistent admonitions of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, so solemnly and so explicitly
uttered in the course of His journeys through your land—a trust which it
is your privilege and function to preserve and fortify.

May the varied opportunities presented by the forthcoming assembly of the
friends at Green Acre this summer—a place so admirably suited to the
realization of such a noble ideal—be fully utilized to further this noble
end. May it, on one hand, serve to banish once and for all every misgiving
and mistrust as to the attitude that should characterize the conduct of
the members of the Bahá’í family, and, on the other, serve to familiarize
the invited public with that aspect of our Faith which, owing to the
pressure of circumstances, a few have inclined to belittle or ignore.



Green Acre—a Testing Ground


It is my earnest hope and prayer that the forthcoming gathering at Green
Acre, the program for which has been so carefully and judiciously
prepared, may serve as a testing ground for the application of those
ideals and standards that are the distinguishing features of the
Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. May the assembled believers—now but a tiny
nucleus of the Bahá’í Commonwealth of the future—so exemplify that spirit
of universal love and fellowship as to evoke in the minds of their
associates the vision of that future City of God which the almighty arm of
Bahá’u’lláh can alone establish.

Not by merely imitating the excesses and laxity of the extravagant age
they live in; not by the idle neglect of the sacred responsibilities it is
their privilege to shoulder; not by the silent compromise of the
principles dearly cherished by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá; not by their fear or
unpopularity or their dread of censure can they hope to rouse society from
its spiritual lethargy, and serve as a model to a civilization the
foundations of which the corrosion of prejudice has well-nigh undermined.
By the sublimity of their principles, the warmth of their love, the
spotless purity of their character, and the depth of their devoutness and
piety, let them demonstrate to their fellow-countrymen the ennobling
reality of a power that shall weld a disrupted world.

We can prove ourselves worthy of our Cause only if in our individual
conduct and corporate life we sedulously imitate the example of our
beloved Master, Whom the terrors of tyranny, the storms of incessant
abuse, the oppressiveness of humiliation, never caused to deviate a hair’s
breadth from the revealed Law of Bahá’u’lláh.

Such is the path of servitude, such is the way of holiness He chose to
tread to the very end of His life. Nothing short of the strictest
adherence to His glorious example can safely steer our course amid the
pitfalls of this perilous age, and lead us on to fulfill our high destiny.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
April 12, 1927.



Letter of April 27, 1927.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
the United States and Canada.

Dearly-beloved friends:

With feelings of horror and indignation I communicate to you the tale of
yet another tragedy involving the shedding of the blood of a martyr of the
Faith on Persia’s sacred soil. I have before me, as I pen these lines, the
report of the local Spiritual Assembly of Ardibil, a town on the
north-east confines of the province of Á_dh_irbayján, not far distant from
those hallowed spots where the Báb suffered His last confinement and
martyrdom. Addressed to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of
Persia, this report recounts in simple but moving language the
circumstances that have led to the cowardly crime committed in the
darkness of the night at the instigation of the fanatical clergy—the
deadliest opponents of the Faith in that town.



Assassination of Persian Believer


Our martyred brother, Aminu’l-’Ulama’ by name, had for some time past
become notorious in the eyes of the Muslim inhabitants of Ardibil for his
tenacity of faith by openly refusing at every instance to vilify and
renounce his most cherished convictions. In the latter part of Ramadán—the
month associated with prayer, pious deeds and fasting—his use of the
public bath (that long-established institution the amenities and
privileges of which are as a rule accorded only to the adherents of the
Muslim Faith) had served to inflame the mob, and to provide a scheming
instigator with a pretext to terminate his life. In the market place he
was ridiculed and condemned as an apostate of the Faith of Islám, who, by
boldly rejecting the repeated entreaties showered upon him to execrate the
Bahá’í name, had lawfully incurred the penalty of immediate death at the
hands of every pious upholder of the Muslim tradition.

In spite of the close surveillance exercised by a body of guards stationed
around his house, in response to the intercession of his friends with the
local authorities, the treacherous criminal found his way into his home,
and on the night of the 22nd of Ramadán, corresponding with the 26th of
March, 1927, assailed him in a most atrocious and dastardly manner.
Concealing within the folds of his garment his unsheathed dagger, he
approached his victim and claiming the need of whispering a confidential
message in his ears, plunged the weapon hilt-deep into his vitals, cutting
across his ribs and mutilating his body. Every attempt to secure immediate
medical assistance seems to have been foiled by malicious devices on the
part of the associates of this merciless criminal, and the helpless victim
after a few hours of agonizing pain surrendered his soul to his Beloved.
His friends and fellow-believers, alarmed at the prospect of a fresh
outbreak that would inevitably result were his mortal remains to be
accorded the ordinary privileges of a decent burial, decided to inter his
body in one of the two rooms that served as his own dwelling, seeking
thereby to appease the fury of an unrelenting foe.

He leaves behind in desperate poverty a family of minors with no support
but their mother, expectant to bring forth her child, and with no hope of
relief from their non-Bahá’í relatives in whose eyes they deserve to be
treated only with the meanest contempt.

It appears from the above-mentioned report that the merciless assailant
has been arrested, waiting, however, as has been the case with similar
incidents in southern Persia, to be sooner or later released under the
pressure of bribery and intimidation sedulously exercised by an impenitent
enemy.

Dearest friends! Any measure of publicity the concerted efforts of the
Bahá’í Spiritual Assemblies of the West, on whom almighty Providence has
conferred the inestimable benefits of religious toleration and freedom,
can accord to this latest manifestation of unbridled barbarism in Persia
will be most opportune and valuable. It will, I am certain, confer abiding
solace to those disconsolate sufferers who with sublime heroism continue
to uphold the traditions of their beloved Faith. Our one weapon lies in
our prayerful efforts, intelligently and persistently pursued, to arouse
by every means at our disposal the conscience of unheeding humanity, and
to direct the attention of men of vision and authority to these incredibly
odious acts which in their ferocity and frequency cannot but constitute in
the eyes of every fair-minded observer the gravest challenge to all that
is sacred and precious in our present-day civilization.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
April 27, 1927.



Letter of May 27, 1927.


To the members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the
United States and Canada:

Dearly-beloved co-workers:

Your communications dated April 15th and May 6th and 9th have been
received, with their enclosures, and carefully perused.



Declaration of Trust and By-Laws


The Declaration of Trust, the provisions of which you have so splendidly
conceived, and formulated with such assiduous care, marks yet another
milestone on the road of progress along which you are patiently and
determinedly advancing. Clear and concise in its wording, sound in
principle, and complete in its affirmations of the fundamentals of Bahá’í
administration, it stands in its final form as a worthy and faithful
exposition of the constitutional basis of Bahá’í communities in every
land, foreshadowing the final emergence of the world Bahá’í Commonwealth
of the future. This document, when correlated and combined with the set of
by-laws which I trust are soon forthcoming, will serve as a pattern to
every National Bahá’í Assembly, be it in the East or in the West, which
aspires to conform, pending the formation of the First Universal House of
Justice, with the spirit and letter of the world-order ushered in by
Bahá’u’lláh.

I eagerly await the receipt of the complete set of the contemplated
by-laws, the purpose of which should be to supplement the provisions,
clarify the purpose, and explain more fully the working of the principle
underlying the above-mentioned Declaration. I shall, after having given it
my close and personal consideration, transmit it to you, in order that you
may submit it to the local Spiritual Assemblies, who in turn will endeavor
to secure its final ratification by the body of the recognized believers
throughout the United States and Canada. I would urge you to insert the
Text of the Declaration, the complete set of the by-laws, and the
accompanying Indenture of Trust, all combined, in the next issue of the
Bahá’í Year Book, that sympathizers and believers alike in every land may
obtain a clear and correct vision of the preliminary framework of that
complete system of world administration implicit in the Teachings of
Bahá’u’lláh.



Spirit and Method of Bahá’í Elections


In connection with the best and most practical methods of procedure to be
adopted for the election of Bahá’í Spiritual Assemblies, I feel that in
view of the fact that definite and detailed regulations defining the
manner and character of Bahá’í elections have neither been expressly
revealed by Bahá’u’lláh nor laid down in the Will and Testament of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá, it devolves upon the members of the Universal House of
Justice to formulate and apply such system of laws as would be in
conformity with the essentials and requisites expressly provided by the
Author and Interpreter of the Faith for the conduct of Bahá’í
administration. I have consequently refrained from establishing a settled
and uniform procedure for the election of the Assemblies of the East and
the West, leaving them free to pursue their own methods of procedure which
in most cases had been instituted and practiced during the last two
decades of the life of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

The general practice prevailing throughout the East is the one based upon
the principle of plurality rather than absolute majority, whereby those
candidates that have obtained the highest number of votes, irrespective of
the fact whether they command an absolute majority of the votes cast or
not, are automatically and definitely elected. It has been felt, with no
little justification, that this method, admittedly disadvantageous in its
disregard of the principle that requires that each elected member must
secure a majority of the votes cast, does away on the other hand with the
more serious disadvantage of restricting the freedom of the elector who,
unhampered and unconstrained by electoral necessities, is called upon to
vote for none but those whom prayer and reflection have inspired him to
uphold. Moreover, the practice of nomination, so detrimental to the
atmosphere of a silent and prayerful election, is viewed with mistrust
inasmuch as it gives the right to the majority of a body that, in itself
under the present circumstances, often constitutes a minority of all the
elected delegates, to deny that God-given right of every elector to vote
only in favor of those who he is conscientiously convinced are the most
worthy candidates. Should this simple system be provisionally adopted, it
would safeguard the spiritual principle of the unfettered freedom of the
voter, who will thus preserve intact the sanctity of the choice he first
made. It would avoid the inconvenience of securing advance nominations
from absent delegates, and the impracticality of associating them with the
assembled electors in the subsequent ballots that are often required to
meet the exigencies of majority vote.

I would recommend these observations to your earnest consideration, and
whatever decision you arrive at, all local Assemblies and individual
believers, I am certain, will uphold, for their spiritual obligation and
privilege is not only to consult freely and frequently with the National
Spiritual Assembly, but to uphold as well with confidence and cheerfulness
whatever is the considered verdict of their national representatives.

Wishing you success from all my heart,

I am, your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
May 27, 1927.



Letter of October 17, 1927.


To the Honored Members of the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assemblies
throughout the West.

My dear fellow-workers:

With feelings of burning indignation I find myself impelled to acquaint
you with various events that have recently transpired in Persia. Though in
their immediate effect these happenings may prove gravely disquieting to
the followers of the Faith in Persia and elsewhere, yet they cannot but
eventually contribute to the strengthening and purification of the Cause
we steadfastly love and serve.

I refer to the treacherous conduct of a professed adherent of the teaching
of Bahá’u’lláh, by the name of ‘Abdu’l-Ḥusayn Avarih, hitherto regarded as
a respected teacher of the Cause, and not unknown by a few of its
followers in Europe. Of a nature and character whom those who have learned
to know him well have never ceased to despise, even in the brightest days
of his public career in the Cause, he has of late been driven by the force
of circumstances which his shortsightedness has gravely miscalculated to
throw off the mask which for so many years hid his hideous self.

The sudden removal of the commanding personality of our beloved
‘Abdu’l-Bahá; the confused consternation that seized His followers in the
years immediately succeeding His passing; the reputation which to
superficial eyes he had acquired by his travels in Europe; the success
attending his voluminous compilation of the history of the Cause—these and
other circumstances emboldened him to launch a campaign of insinuation and
fraud aiming at the eventual overthrow of the institutions expressly
provided by Bahá’u’lláh. He saw clearly his chance in the complete
disruption of the Cause to capture the allegiance if not of the whole
world-wide Bahá’í community of at least a considerable section of its
followers in the East.

No sooner had his evil whisperings reached the ears of the loyal and
vigilant followers of Bahá’u’lláh, than they arose with overwhelming force
and unhesitating determination to denounce him as a dangerous enemy
seeking to undermine the faith and sap the loyalty of the adherents of the
Cause of God. Shunned by the entire body of the believers, abandoned by
his life-long and most intimate friends, deserted by his wife, separated
from his only child, refused admittance into even his own home, denied of
the profit he hoped to derive from the sale and circulation of his book,
he found to his utter amazement and remorse his best hopes irretrievably
shattered.

Forsaken and bankrupt, and in desperate rage, he now with startling
audacity sought to expose to friend and foe, the futility and hollowness
which he attributed to the Cause, thereby revealing the depths of his own
degradation and folly. He has with bitter hatred conspired with the
fanatical clergy and the orthodox members of foreign Missions in Ṭihrán,
allied himself with every hostile element in the Capital, directed with
fiendish subtlety his appeal to the highest dignitaries of the State and
sought by every method to secure financial assistance for the furtherance
of his aim.

Not content with an infamous denunciation of the originality and efficacy
of the teachings and principles of the Cause, not satisfied with a
rejection of the authenticity of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,
he has dared to attack the exalted person of the Author and Founder of the
Faith, and to impute to its Forerunner and true Exemplar the vilest
motives and most incredible intentions.

He has most malignantly striven to revive the not unfamiliar accusation of
representing the true lovers of Persia as the sworn enemies of every form
of established authority in that land, the unrelenting disturbers of its
peace, the chief obstacles to its unity and the determined wreckers of the
venerated faith of Islám. By every artifice which a sordid and treacherous
mind can devise he has sought in the pages of his book to strike terror in
the heart of the confident believer, to sow the seeds of doubt in the mind
of the well-disposed and friendly, to poison the thoughts of the
indifferent and to reinforce the power of the assaulting weapon of the
adversary.

But, alas! he has labored in vain, oblivious of the fact that all the pomp
and powers of royalty, all the concerted efforts of the mightiest
potentates of Islám, all the ingenious devices to which the cruelest
torture-mongers of a cruel race have for well-nigh a century resorted,
have proved one and all impotent to stem the tide of the beloved Faith or
to extinguish its flame. Surely, if we read the history of this Cause
aright, we cannot fail to observe that the East has already witnessed not
a few of its sons, of wider experience, of a higher standing, of a greater
influence, apostatize their faith, find themselves to their utter
consternation lose whatsoever talent they possessed, recede swiftly into
the shadows of oblivion and be heard of no more.

Should ever his book secure widespread circulation in the West, should it
ever confuse the mind of the misinformed and stranger, I have no doubt
that the various Bahá’í National Spiritual Assemblies, throughout the
Western world, will with the wholehearted and sustained support of local
Assemblies and individual believers arise with heart and soul for the
defence of the impregnable stronghold of the Cause of God, for the
vindication of the sacredness and sublimity of the Bahá’í Teachings, and
for the condemnation, in the eyes of those who are in authority, of one
who has so basely dared to assail, not only the tenets, but the holy
person of the recognized Founder of an established and world-wide Faith.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine; October 17, 1927.



Letter of October 18, 1927.


To the Members of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the
United States and Canada.

Dearly-beloved co-workers:

I have already expressed indirectly my views with regard to various
secondary issues raised in your latest communications to me dated May 23,
June 10, 21, July 11, 14, 15 and 25, August 7 and September 28; and I wish
in this letter to deal more particularly with such matters of primary
importance as affect the conduct and the growth of Bahá’í administration.
The perusal of these communications replete with the news of steadily
multiplying activities and newly conceived plans, all of which I as
heretofore appreciate and welcome, has made me feel however that the time
seems now opportune to utter a word of caution and warning to those who
with unceasing zest labor to give befitting embodiment to those latent
energies released by the Message of Bahá’u’lláh.



Concentration of Resources


Much as I rejoice in witnessing the abundant signs of unfaltering energy
that characterize in various fields and distant lands the mission of the
valiant warriors of the Cause, I cannot help observing that, driven by
their impetuous eagerness to establish the undisputed reign of Bahá’u’lláh
on this earth, they may by an undue multiplication of their activities,
and the consequent dissipation of their forces, defeat the very purpose
which animates them in the pursuit of their glorious task. Particularly do
I feel that this necessity for a careful estimation of the present
resources at our disposal and of cautious restraint in handling them
applies in a peculiar manner to the swiftly expanding activities of the
American believers, whose mission increasingly appears to be to give the
lead and set the example to their brethren across the seas in laying a
secure foundation for the permanent institutions of the Bahá’í Faith. That
I feel is chiefly the reason why such stress has been laid in the past
upon the necessity for consultation on the part of individual believers
with their elected national representatives in the matter of initiating
plans of action above and beyond the plans which the deliberations of the
National Spiritual Assembly have already evolved. In the matter of
affiliation with bodies and organizations that advocate ideals and
principles that are in sympathy with the Bahá’í Revelation; in
establishing magazines beyond those that already are designed to advance
openly and indirectly the interests of the Bahá’í Teachings; in the
financial support we may sooner or later be called upon to extend to
philanthropic institutions and the like; in advancing the cause of any
particular activity to which we may feel sentimentally inclined;—these, as
well as all similar undertakings, we should only approach after having
definitely ascertained, through careful deliberation with those who are in
a responsible position, that the institutions representing the paramount
interests of the Cause are already assured of adequate and continuous
assistance. Nothing short of the spirit of earnest and sustained
consultation with those whom we have prayerfully and of our own accord
placed in the forefront of those who are the custodians of the priceless
heritage bequeathed by Bahá’u’lláh; nothing less than persistent and
strenuous warfare against our own instincts and natural inclinations, and
heroic self-sacrifice in subordinating our own likings to the imperative
requirements of the Cause of God, can insure our undivided loyalty to so
sacred a principle—a principle that will for all time safeguard our
beloved Cause from the allurements and the trivialities of the world
without, and of the pitfalls of the self within. I entreat you,
well-beloved brethren, to resolve as you never have resolved before to
pledge undying loyalty and sleepless vigilance in upholding so essential a
principle in the course of your manifold activities, that yours may be the
abiding satisfaction of having done nothing that may tend in the least to
impede the flow or obscure the radiance of the rejuvenating spirit of the
Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.



Relations of Committees to Assembly


Touching the recent decision of the National Spiritual Assembly to place
as much as possible of the current details of the work in the hands of its
national committees, I feel I should point out that this raises a
fundamental issue of paramount importance, as it involves a unique
principle in the administration of the Cause, governing the relations that
should be maintained between the central administrative body and its
assisting organs of executive and legislative action. As it has been
observed already, the role of these committees set up by the National
Spiritual Assembly, the renewal, the membership and functions of which
should be reconsidered separately each year by the incoming National
Assembly, is chiefly to make thorough and expert study of the issue
entrusted to their charge, advise by their reports, and assist in the
execution of the decisions which in vital matters are to be exclusively
and directly rendered by the National Assembly. The utmost vigilance, the
most strenuous exertion is required by them if they wish to fulfill as
befits their high and responsible calling, the functions which it is
theirs to discharge. They should, within the limits imposed upon them by
present-day circumstances, endeavor to maintain the balance in such a
manner that the evils of over-centralization which clog, confuse and in
the long run depreciate the value of the Bahá’í services rendered shall on
one hand be entirely avoided, and on the other the perils of utter
decentralization with the consequent lapse of governing authority from the
hands of the national representatives of the believers definitely averted.
The absorption of the petty details of Bahá’í administration by the
personnel of the National Spiritual Assembly is manifestly injurious to
efficiency and an expert discharge of Bahá’í duties, whilst the granting
of undue discretion to bodies that should be regarded in no other light
than that of expert advisers and executive assistants would jeopardize the
very vital and pervading powers that are the sacred prerogatives of bodies
that in time will evolve into Bahá’í National Houses of Justice. I am
fully aware of the strain and sacrifice which a loyal adherence to such an
essential principle of Bahá’í administration—a principle that will at once
ennoble and distinguish the Bahá’í method of administration from the
prevailing systems of the world—demands from the national representatives
of the believers at this early stage of our evolution. Yet I feel I cannot
refrain from stressing the broad lines along which the affairs of the
Cause should be increasingly conducted, the knowledge of which is so
essential at this formative period of Bahá’í administrative institutions.



By-Laws of National Assembly


As already intimated, I have read and re-read most carefully the final
draft of the By-Laws drawn up by that highly-talented, much-loved servant
of Bahá’u’lláh, Mountfort Mills, and feel I have nothing substantial to
add to this first and very creditable attempt at codifying the principles
of general Bahá’í administration. I heartily and unhesitatingly commend it
to the earnest perusal of, and its loyal adoption by, every National
Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly, whether constituted in the East or in the West.
I would ask you particularly to send copies of the text of this document
of fundamental importance accompanied by copies of the Declaration of
Trust and the text of the Indenture of Trust, to every existing National
Spiritual Assembly, with my insistent request to study the provisions,
comprehend its implications, and endeavor to incorporate it, to the extent
that their own circumstances permit, within the framework of their own
national activities. You can but faintly imagine how comforting a
stimulant and how helpful a guide its publication and circulation will be
to those patient and toiling workers in Eastern lands, and particularly
Persia, who in the midst of uncertainties and almost insuperable obstacles
are straining every nerve in order to establish the world order ushered in
by Bahá’u’lláh. You can hardly realize how substantially it will
contribute to pave the way for the elaboration of the beginnings of the
constitution of the worldwide Bahá’í Community that will form the
permanent basis upon which the blest and sanctified edifice of the first
International House of Justice will securely rest and flourish.

I would specifically remind you that in the text of the said By-Laws which
to the outside world represents the expression of the aspirations, the
motives and objects that animate the collective responsibilities of Bahá’í
Fellowship, due emphasis should not be placed only on the concentrated
authority, the rights, the privileges and prerogatives enjoyed by the
elected national representatives of the believers, but that special stress
be laid also on their responsibilities as willing ministers, faithful
stewards and loyal trustees to those who have chosen them. Let it be made
clear to every inquiring reader that among the most outstanding and sacred
duties incumbent upon those who have been called upon to initiate, direct
and coordinate the affairs of the Cause, are those that require them to
win by every means in their power the confidence and affection of those
whom it is their privilege to serve. Theirs is the duty to investigate and
acquaint themselves with the considered views, the prevailing sentiments,
the personal convictions of those whose welfare it is their solemn
obligation to promote. Theirs is the duty to purge once for all their
deliberations and the general conduct of their affairs from that air of
self-contained aloofness, from the suspicion of secrecy, the stifling
atmosphere of dictatorial assertiveness, in short, from every word and
deed that might savor of partiality, self-centeredness and prejudice.
Theirs is the duty, while retaining the sacred and exclusive right of
final decision in their hands, to invite discussion, provide information,
ventilate grievances, welcome advice from even the most humble and
insignificant members of the Bahá’í family, expose their motives, set
forth their plans, justify their actions, revise if necessary their
verdict, foster the spirit of individual initiative and enterprise, and
fortify the sense of interdependence and co-partnership, of understanding
and mutual confidence between them on one hand and all local Assemblies
and individual believers on the other.



First National Convention of Persian Bahá’ís


As to the state of affairs in Persia, where the circumstances related in a
previous circular letter have had their share in intensifying the chronic
state of instability and insecurity that prevail, grave concern has been
felt lest the support, both moral and financial, anticipated from the
bigoted elements of foreign Missions in the Capital should lead to an
extension of its circulation in the West, and thus inflict, however
slight, a damage on the prestige and fair name of our beloved Cause. These
internal agitations, however, coinciding as they have done with outbursts
of sectarian fanaticism from without, accompanied by isolated cases of
fresh persecution in Kirmán and elsewhere, have failed to exasperate and
exhaust the heroic patience of the steadfast lovers of the Cause. They
have even failed to becloud the serenity of their faith in the inevitable
approach of the breaking of a brighter dawn for their afflicted country.
Undeterred and undismayed, they have replied to the defiance of the
traitor within, and the assaults of the enemy without by a striking
re-affirmation of their unbroken solidarity and inflexible resolve to
build with infinite patience and toil on the sure foundations laid for
them by Bahá’u’lláh. With their traditional fidelity and characteristic
vigor, notwithstanding the unimaginable hindrances they have to face, they
have convened their first historic representative conference of various
delegates from the nine leading provinces of Persia, have evolved plans
for holding every year as fully representative a convention of Bahá’í
delegates in Persia as circumstances permit, and modelled after the method
pursued by their brethren in the United States and Canada. They have
reconstituted and defined the limits of the hitherto confused Bahá’í
administrative divisions throughout the length and breadth of their land.
They have adopted various resolutions of vital importance, the chief ones
among them aiming at the reorganization of the institution of the National
Fund, the consolidation and extension of their national campaign of
Teaching, the strengthening of the bonds that unite them with the local
and national Assemblies at home and abroad, the establishment of Bahá’í
primary educational institutions in towns and villages, the raising of the
social and educational standards of women, irrespective of sect and caste,
and the reinforcement of those forces that tend to raise the moral,
cultural and material standard of their fellow-countrymen. Surely, to an
unbiased observer of the present state of affairs in Persia, these
resolutions, backed by the creative energy inherent in the power of the
Word of God, mark not only a milestone on the road of the progress of the
Persian believers, but constitute as well a notable landmark in the
checkered history of their own country.

The warm hospitality accorded by the National Spiritual Assembly and the
American believers to my dear cousin and collaborator, Ruhi Effendi, has
deeply touched me, particularly as I realize from the appreciative reports
I have recently received that by his radiant and earnest spirit of service
he has deserved well of his dear fellow-workers in that continent, and
contributed substantially to their better appreciation of the Teachings of
the Cause. Much as I desire him to work by my side here in the Holy Land,
I very gladly concur with your wish to further extend his sojourn with
you, trusting that he will prove of great assistance to you all in the
discharge of your noble task.



The Trend of World Events


And now in conclusion, may I be permitted to direct your attention to the
lesson which the trend of world events brings home to us, the little band
of His chosen workers who, according to the intelligent efforts we exert,
can prove ourselves the determining factor in the immediate fortunes of
the society we live in? As we witness on all sides the growing
restlessness of a restless age, we are filled with mixed feelings of fear
and hope—fear, at the prospect of yet another deadly encounter, the
inevitability of which is alas! becoming increasingly manifest; hope, in
the serene assurance that whatever cataclysm may yet visit humanity, it
cannot but hasten the approaching era of universal and lasting peace so
emphatically proclaimed by the Pen of Bahá’u’lláh. In the political
domain, where we have lately witnessed, in the council of the leading
nations of the world, the surrender of humanity’s noblest conception to
what may be regarded only as a transient phase in the life of peoples and
nations; in the industrial world, where the representatives of the
wage-earning classes, either through violence or persuasion, are capturing
the seats of authority and wielding the scepter of power: in the field of
religion, where we have lately witnessed widespread and organized attempts
to broaden and simplify the basis of man’s faith, to achieve unity in
Christendom and restore the regenerating vigor of Islám; in the heart of
society itself, where the ominous signs of increasing extravagance and
profligacy are but lending fresh impetus to the forces of revolt and
reaction that are growing more distinct every day—in these as in many
others we have much cause for alarm, but much to be hopeful and thankful
for also. To take but one instance more fully: Observe the fierce and as
yet unsilenced dispute which the proposal for the introduction of a
binding and universal pact of non-aggression among the nations of Europe
has aroused among the avowed supporters of the League of Nations—a League
so auspiciously welcomed for the ideal that prompted its birth, yet now so
utterly inadequate in the actual principles that underlie its present-day
structure and working. And yet, in the great outcry raised by post-war
nationalism in blindly defending and upholding the unfettered supremacy of
its own sovereignty, and in repudiating unreservedly the conception of a
world super-state, can we not discern the re-enactment only on a larger
scale of the dramatic struggles that heralded the birth of the
reconstructed and unified nations of the West? Has not authentic history
clearly revealed in the case of these nations the painful yet inevitable
merging of rival, particularistic and independent cities and
principalities into one unified national entity, the evolving of a crude
and narrow creed into a nobler and wider conception? Is not a parallel
struggle being now manifested on the world stage of ever-advancing
humanity? Can it lead to any other result than that which shall reaffirm
the truth of humanity’s onward march towards an ever-widening conception,
and the ever-brightening glory of its destiny? Reverses and setbacks, such
as we have already witnessed, no doubt will retard the ripening of the
choicest fruit on the tree of human development. Yet the fierceness of
controversy, the weight of argument advanced in its disfavor, cannot but
contribute to the broadening of the basis and the consolidation of the
foundations upon which the stately edifice of unified mankind must
ultimately rest. Let us take heart therefore, and labor with renewed vigor
and deepened understanding to contribute our share to those forces which,
whether or not cognizant of the regenerating Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in this
age, are operating, each in its respective sphere and under His
all-encompassing guidance, for the uplift and the salvation of humanity.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
October 18, 1927.



Letter of December 6, 1928.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
the West.

Dearly-beloved brothers and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

Events, of a startling character and of the utmost significance to the
Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, have recently transpired throughout the Near and
Middle East in such rapid succession, that I feel moved to write about
them to those who, in distant lands and with eager hearts, are waiting to
witness the fulfillment of the prophecies of Bahá’u’lláh. You will, I am
certain, rejoice with me to learn that the quickening forces of internal
reform are swiftly awakening from their age-long slumber of negligence
those lands which, trodden by the feet of Bahá’u’lláh and wherein are
enshrined the memorable scenes of His birth, His ministry, His exiles, His
banishments, His suffering and His ascension, are destined in the fulness
of time to play a pre-eminent role in the regeneration of the East—nay of
all mankind.



The Promises of Our Departed Master


From Persia, the cradle of our Faith and the object of our tenderest
affections, there breaks upon us the news of the first stirrings of that
social and political Reformation which, as we firmly believe, is but the
direct and unavoidable consequence of that great spiritual Revival ushered
in by the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. These social and political forces now
released by the Source of such a tremendous Revival are bound in their
turn to demolish one by one the barriers that have so long impeded its
flow, sapped its vitality and obscured its radiance.

From a communication addressed to me recently by the National Spiritual
Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Persia, as well as from reliable reports
submitted by the local representatives of the Persian believers, and
confirmed by the vivid narrative of visiting pilgrims, it is becoming
increasingly manifest that the glowing promises so many times uttered by
our departed Master are, with extraordinary exactitude and remarkable
swiftness, being successively fulfilled. Reforms of a revolutionary
character are, without bloodshed and with negligible resistance, gradually
transforming the very basis and structure of Persia’s primitive society.
The essentials of public security and order are being energetically
provided throughout the length and breadth of the _Sh_áh’s domain, and are
hailed with particular gratification by that much harassed section of the
population—our long-suffering brethren of that land. The rapidity, the
incredible ease, with which the enlightened proposals of its government,
in matters of education, trade and finance, means of transportation and
travel, and the development of the country’s internal resources, are
receiving the unqualified sanction of a hitherto reactionary Legislature,
and are overcoming the resistance and apathy of the masses, have
undoubtedly tended to hasten the emancipation of our Persian brethren from
the remaining fetters of a once despotic and blood-stained regime. The
severely repressive and humiliating measures undertaken on the initiative
of progressive provincial Governors, and with the connivance of State
officials in the Capital, aiming at the scattering and ultimate extinction
of a rapidly waning clergy, such as degradation, detainment, deportation
and in some cases pitiless execution, are paving the way for the entire
removal of the shackles imposed by an ignorant and fanatical priesthood
upon the administration of State affairs. In matters of dress; in the
obligatory enforcement of a uniform style of national head-gear; in the
strict limitation of the number, the rights and the prerogatives of high
ecclesiastical officials; in the growing unpopularity of the veil among
almost every section of society; in the marked distinction which
unofficially and in various phases of public life is being made by an
enlightened and pressing minority between the tottering forms of a
discredited Ecclesiasticism and the civil rights and duties of civilized
society; in the general laxity in religious observances and ceremonies; in
the slow and hidden process of secularization invading many a government
department under the courageous guidance of the Governors of outlying
provinces—in all of these a discerning eye can easily discover the
symptoms that augur well for a future that is sure to witness the formal
and complete separation of Church and State.



Regeneration of Persia


To this uplifting movement, various external factors are being added that
are tending to hasten and stimulate this process of internal regeneration
so significant in the life of renascent Persia. The multiplicity and
increasing facilities in the means of transportation and travel; the State
visit of energetic and enlightened reformers to Persia’s capital; the
forthcoming and widely-advertised journey of the _Sh_áh himself to the
progressive capitals of Western Europe; the repercussion of Turkey’s
astounding reforms among an essentially sensitive and receptive people;
the loud and persistent clamor of a revolting order in Russia against the
evil domination and dark plottings of all forms of religious sectarianism;
the relentless vigor with which Afghanistan’s ambitious Ruler, reinforced
by the example of his gracious Consort, is pursuing his campaign of
repression against a similar order of a corrupted clergy at home—all tend
to lend their force in fostering and fashioning that public opinion which
can alone provide an enduring basis for the reform Movement destined to
usher in that golden Era craved for by the followers of the Faith in
Bahá’u’lláh’s native land.

As a direct consequence of the birth of this new consciousness in the life
of the nation, as evidenced by these early stirrings in the minds of the
people, both high and low, meetings of an elaborate character,
unprecedented in the number of their attendants, in the tone of the public
addresses, in the undisturbed atmosphere of their proceedings, and the
general impressiveness of their organization, have been publicly held in
Ṭihrán, under the auspices of the National Spiritual Assembly of the
Bahá’ís of Persia. Particularly significant and impressive were those that
were held in the Hazíratu’l-Quds, the administrative and spiritual center
of the Faith in the Capital, on the occasion of the twin Festivals
commemorating the declaration of the Báb and the birth of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, at
the chief of which no less than two thousand representative Bahá’ís and
non-Bahá’ís, leaders of public opinion, State officials and foreign
representatives were officially invited. The addresses stressing the
universality of the Teachings of the Cause, the formal and ordered
character of the proceedings so unusual a feature to a gathering of such
proportions, the mingling of the Bahá’ís with the recognized
representatives of progressive thought in the Capital who, by virtue of
their high office and stately appearance, lent color and weight to the
concourse of attending believers, have all contributed to enhance the
brilliance and spiritual significance of that gathering on that memorable
occasion.

Moreover, reports of a highly encouraging nature, are being continually
received from local Assemblies and individual believers, giving the names
and stating the number of influential Persians who, hitherto reluctant to
declare openly their faith in Bahá’u’lláh, are as a result of this
reassuring and promising state of affairs emerging from the obscurity of
their concealment and enlisting under the erected banner of Bahá’u’lláh.
This has served to embolden the followers of the Faith to take the
necessary steps, under the direction of their local Assemblies, for the
institution of Bahá’í schools, for the holding of public gatherings, for
the establishment of Bahá’í hostels, libraries and public baths, for the
construction of official headquarters for their administrative work, and
for the gradual execution among themselves, within the limits imposed upon
them by the State, of the laws and ordinances revealed in the
Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Words fail me to describe the feelings of those patiently
suffering brethren of ours in that land who, with eyes dim with tears and
hearts overflowing with thanksgiving and praise, are witnessing on every
side and with increasing force the unfoldment of a Faith which they have
served so well and love so dearly. Accounts pathetic and inspiring in
their tone are being received from that steadfast and cheerful band of
exultant believers, and are being shared with the resident friends in the
Holy Land who, having had the privilege of close and continued association
with the person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, cannot but marvel at the range, the
potency and accuracy of the prophecies of their departed Master.



Bahá’í Faith Vindicated in Turkey


From Turkey, on whose soil, for well nigh three score years and ten, were
enacted some of the sublimest and most tragic scenes in the annals of the
Cause; Turkey, under whose rule Bahá’u’lláh twice proclaimed Himself, was
thrice exiled and banished, and finally ascended to the Abhá Kingdom, and
where ‘Abdu’l-Bahá spent more than fifty years of His Life, in
incarceration and suffering; has of late been rudely awakened to a Call
which it has so long obstinately despised and ignored. Following on the
overthrow of that effete theocracy, resting on the twin institutions of
the Caliphate and Sultanate—those two sinister forces that have combined
to inflict the deadliest blows to our beloved Faith in the earliest stages
of its infancy and growth—an uncompromising policy aiming at the
secularization of the State and the disestablishment of Islám was
initiated and carried out with exemplary vigor. Religious institutions and
monastic orders which under the guise of religious propaganda were
converted into hot-beds of political intrigue and sedition were
peremptorily closed, their adherents scattered and banished, their funds
confiscated, their privileges and prerogatives abolished. None, save the
little band of Bahá’u’lláh’s devoted followers, escaped the trenchant ax
of the pitiless reformer; all, without fear or favor, had to submit to his
searching investigations, his dictatorial edicts, his severe and
irrevocable judgment. Lately, however, the Turkish Government, faithful to
its policy of ceaseless vigilance, and fearful of the growing activities
of the Bahá’ís under its rule, decided to order the Police in the town of
Smyrna to conduct a close investigation into the purpose, the character
and the effects of Bahá’í activity in that town. No sooner were the
representative Bahá’ís in that locality arrested and conducted to the Law
Courts for purposes of investigation, than the President of the Bahá’í
Spiritual Assembly of Constantinople who, having read in the morning
papers the report of the Smyrna incident, had resolved unsummoned to offer
the necessary explanations to the authorities concerned, was in his turn
arrested and taken to the Police Headquarters where he soon afterwards was
joined by the other members of the Assembly. The official searching of
their homes, the seizure of whatever Bahá’í literature they had in their
possession, their twenty-four hours detention at the Police station, the
searching severity of the cross-examination to which they were
subjected—all proved powerless to alarm and shake the faith of those
intrepid champions of the Cause, or to evince anything detrimental to the
best interests of the State. On the contrary, they served to deeply
impress upon the minds and hearts of the officials concerned the
sublimity, the innocence, and the dynamic force of the Faith of
Bahá’u’lláh. So much so that their books were returned, a genuine desire
to deepen their knowledge of the Cause was expressed by their examiners,
and widespread publicity, as reflected in the articles of about a dozen
leading newspapers of Turkey, was accorded by the Government, proclaiming
the innocence of the Cause and lifting up the ban that now so oppressively
weighs upon religious institutions in Turkey.

From Constantinople in European Turkey to the eastern confines of
Anatolia, on the banks of the river Euphrates, where a small and
flourishing Bahá’í Community has been recently established, a wave of
public interest, criticism and inquiry has been sweeping over the surface
of the land, as witnessed by the character and number of the leading
articles, the illustrations and caricatures that have appeared in the most
prominent newspapers of the capital and the provincial towns of Asiatic
Turkey. Not only Turkey, but its neighboring countries of the East and the
West, have lifted up their voice in the vindication of the Bahá’í truth.
From information thus far gathered we learn that in Hungary, in ‘Iráq,
Egypt and Syria, and as far west as France and England, newspapers have,
of their own accord, with varying degree of accuracy, and in more or less
detail, reported this incident in their columns, and have given, unasked
and unaware, such publicity to our beloved Faith which no campaign of
teaching, however elaborately organized by the believers themselves, could
ever hope to achieve at the present time. Surely the invincible arm of
Bahá’u’lláh, working through strange and mysterious ways, will continue to
guard and uphold, to steer the course, to consolidate, and eventually to
achieve the world-wide recognition and triumph of His holy Faith.



Our Most Vital Opportunity


And while the East, through suffering and turmoil, is moving on in its
slow and toilsome march towards the acceptance of God’s holy Faith, let us
turn for a moment our gaze to the Western Hemisphere, and particularly to
the American continent, and attempt to visualize the possibilities of the
future spread of the Cause, and to estimate afresh those golden yet
swiftly passing opportunities which Bahá’u’lláh in those far-away lands
has accorded to His chosen people. I feel thoroughly convinced, and am
moved to share this firm conviction within me with that great company of
western believers, that in the speedy resumption of the sorely-neglected
construction of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár at Wilmette lies our undoubted
privilege, our primary obligation, our most vital opportunity to lend an
unprecedented impetus to the advancement of the Cause, not only throughout
the West but in every country of the world. I would not stress at this
moment the prestige and good name of the Cause, much as they are involved
in this most pressing issue, I would not dwell upon the eager expectancy
with which the unnumbered followers of the Faith as well as the vast
number of the non-believers in almost every section of society throughout
the East are awaiting to behold that noble structure rear its head in the
heart of that far-western continent; nor would I expatiate on the
ineffable beauty of this holy Edifice, its towering glory, its artistic
design, its unique character, or its functions in the organic life of the
Bahá’í community of the future. But I would with all the strength of my
conviction emphasize the immeasurable spiritual significance of an
Edifice, so beauteous, so holy, erected solely by the concerted efforts,
strained to the utmost degree of self-sacrifice, of the entire body of the
believers who are fully conscious of the significance of the Revelation of
Bahá’u’lláh. In this vast endeavor, unparalleled in modern times, its
world-wide range, its spontaneity, its heroic and holy character, the
American believers, on the soil of whose country Bahá’u’lláh’s first
universal House of Worship is to be built, must, if they be faithful to
their trust, claim and fulfill a pre-eminent share in the collective
contributions offered by the Bahá’ís of the world.



‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Cherished Desire


For this reason do I feel impelled to direct by incessant plea in
particular to the followers of the Faith in the United States and Canada
to arise and play their part, while there is yet time, and not to allow
their earnest strivings to be swamped and superseded by the
self-sacrificing heroism of the multitude of their brethren in Persia.
Again I feel the urge to remind you one and all of the necessity of
keeping ever in mind this fundamental verity that the efficacy of the
spiritual forces centering in, and radiating from, the first
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár in the West will in a great measure depend upon the
extent to which we, the pioneer workers in that land will, with clear
vision, unquenchable faith, and inflexible determination, resolve to
voluntarily abnegate temporal advantages in our support of so meritorious
an endeavor. The higher the degree of our renunciation and self-sacrifice,
the wider the range of the contributing believers, the more apparent will
become the vitalizing forces that are to emanate from this unique and
sacred Edifice; and the greater, in consequence, the stimulating effect it
will exert upon the propagation of the Faith in the days to come. Not by
the abundance of our donations, not even by the spontaneity of our
efforts, but rather by the degree of self-abnegation which our
contributions will entail, can we effectively promote the speedy
realization of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s cherished desire. How great our
responsibility, how immense our task, how priceless the advantages that we
can reap!



Plan of Unified Action


I cannot refrain, however, from giving expression to my gratification and
appreciation of the substantial and continued support already accorded,
and in particular during the past year by the believers in the United
States and Canada, under the wise and judicious direction of their elected
national representatives, to the Plan of Unified Action, whose declared
purpose is to insure, ere the present Bahá’í year comes to a close, the
raising of the funds required for the building of the first Unit of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár. The vigilance and fidelity with which the National
Assembly of the United States and Canada has observed its pledge in
connection with the limitation of the current administrative expenses of
the Cause, and the zeal and ready response manifested by local Assemblies
and individual believers to curtail their local and personal expenditures
in order to concentrate on the Temple Fund, are worthy of the highest
praise, and will deservedly attract the manifold blessings of a loving and
bountiful Master. Much indeed has been accomplished during this past year
of concentrated and consecrated self-sacrifice for so glorious a purpose.
Much more still remains unachieved if we are to vindicate, in the eyes of
an expectant world, the honorable name, the inexhaustible and miraculous
vitality of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh.

In the mid-watches of the night, commemorating the passing of Him Who with
His own hands laid the head-cornerstone of His Father’s House of Worship
in that land, seated within the hallowed precincts of His shrine, and
keeping vigil in the company of His closest companions, I have more than
once in the midst of my devotions prayerfully remembered those chosen ones
of God on whose shoulders has fallen so weighty a responsibility, whose
destiny is to bring to full fruition so excellent a heritage. I have
recalled on that peaceful and moonlit night, with much emotion and
gratitude, the inestimable bounties He lavished while on earth upon you. I
have revived in my memory the glowing promises that His unfailing guidance
and gracious assistance would continue from His station on high to be
showered upon you. I have pictured in my mind that beauteous vision of a
Cause unfolded in all its glory which in His immortal writings He has
revealed unto you. And with my head upon His threshold, I have prayed and
prayed again that we may all prove ourselves worthy disciples of so
gracious a Master, that we may, when called unto Him, transmit,
undiminished and unimpaired, our share of the immeasurably precious
heritage bequeathed by Him to us all.

And in closing, dearly-beloved friends, what more appropriate thought with
which to conclude my fervent plea than these pregnant words fallen from
the lips of Bahá’u’lláh: “O My friends! I bear witness that the Divine
Bounty has been vouchsafed unto you, His Argument has been made manifest,
His Proof has been revealed, and His Guidance has shone forth upon you.
Let it now be seen what your endeavors in the path of renunciation can
reveal.”

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
December 6, 1928.



Letter of December 6, 1928.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
the East and West.

Dear fellow-workers:

I desire to convey to you in a few words my impressions of the recently
published “Bahá’í World,” copies of which, I understand, have already,
thanks to the assiduous care and indefatigable efforts displayed by the
Publishing Committee of the American National Spiritual Assembly, been
widely distributed among the Bahá’í countries of East and West.



The Bahá’í World


This unique record of world-wide Bahá’í activity attempts to present to
the general public, as well as to the student and scholar, those
historical facts and fundamental principles that constitute the
distinguishing features of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh to this age. I have
ever since its inception taken a keen and sustained interest in its
development, have personally participated in the collection of its
material, the arrangement of its contents, and the close scrutiny of
whatever data it contains.

I confidently and emphatically recommend it to every thoughtful and eager
follower of the Faith, whether in the East or in the West, whose desire is
to place in the hands of the critical and intelligent inquirer, of
whatever class, creed or color, a work that can truly witness to the high
purpose, the moving history, the enduring achievements, the resistless
march and infinite prospects of the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. Eminently
readable and attractive in its features, reliable and authoritative in the
material it contains, up-to-date, comprehensive and accurate in the mass
of information it gives, concise and persuasive in its treatment of the
fundamental aspects of the Cause, thoroughly representative in the
illustrations and photographs it reveals:—it stands unexcelled and
unapproached by any publication of its kind in the varied literature of
our beloved Cause. It will, without the slightest doubt, if generously and
vigorously supported, arouse unprecedented interest among all classes of
civilized society.

I earnestly request you, dearly-beloved friends, to exert the utmost
effort for the prompt and widespread circulation of a book that so
faithfully and vividly portrays, in all its essential features, its
far-reaching ramifications and most arresting aspects, the
all-encompassing Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. Whatever assistance, financial or
moral, extended by Bahá’í Spiritual Assemblies and individual believers,
to those who have been responsible for such a highly valuable and
representative production will, it should be remembered, be directly
utilized to advance the interests and reinforce the funds that are being
raised in behalf of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, and will indirectly serve
to exert a most powerful stimulus in removing the malicious
misrepresentations and unfortunate misunderstandings that have so long and
so grievously clouded the luminous Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
December 6, 1928.



Letter of December 21, 1928.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
the West.

Dearly-beloved brothers and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá!

With feelings of profound sorrow I am moved to address you these few lines
mourning the loss which the Cause has undoubtedly sustained by the passing
of one who, for many years and in circumstances of exceptional
significance, rendered the sacred Threshold distinctive and inestimable
services. The hand of Divine Decree has removed, by the death of our
talented and dearly-beloved friend, Mr. Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney, yet
another outstanding figure in the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, who, by his
brilliant gifts of mind and heart as well as by the divers achievements of
his life, has truly enriched the annals of God’s immortal Faith.



Mr. Hippolyte Dreyfus-Barney


A pioneer of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh ever since its celestial light first
warmed and illuminated the West, he has, by his close association with the
person of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, by his contact with all sections of society, by
his scholarly presentation of the history and fundamentals of the Faith,
and lastly by his unforgettable share in the settlement of the complex and
pressing issues that called for expert assistance in the days following
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing, achieved a standing which few have as yet
attained.

The days of his spiritual communion with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and His household
within the walls of the prison-city of Akká, wherein he imbibed the
principles which he later so ably expounded to the peoples of the West;
his pre-eminent role on his return to Paris in kindling the torch which is
destined to shed eternal illumination upon his native land and its people;
the links of abiding fellowship which he forged with our Persian brethren
in the course of the historic mission entrusted to his charge by our
Beloved; the seeds which he scattered far and wide during his subsequent
travels to the heart of Asia, throughout India, beyond the remotest
villages of Burma and as far as the eastern confines of Indo-China; the
able support he lent in its initial and intermediary stages to the case of
Bahá’u’lláh’s house in Ba_gh_dád; his unhesitating intervention with State
officials in paving the way for the ultimate emancipation of our Egyptian
brethren from the yoke of orthodox Islám; the stimulating encouragement
his visit caused to the Bahá’í community of Tunis on the northern shores
of Africa; and last but not least the ability and diligence with which he
applied himself to the solution of the delicate and vexing problems of the
Holy Land in the critical years following ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s ascension—all
stand out as memorable landmarks in a life that was as varied in its
international aspects as it was rich in its spiritual experience.

His gifts of unfailing sympathy and penetrating insight, his wide
knowledge and mature experience, all of which he utilized for the glory
and propagation of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh, will be gratefully
remembered by future generations who, as the days go by, will better
estimate the abiding value of the responsibilities he shouldered for the
introduction and consolidation of the Bahá’í Faith in the Western world.

Suffering as he did in his last days from the effects of a slow and
painful illness, he bore heroically his share of the afflictions of the
world, and is now in the realms of blissful deliverance partaking his full
share of the goodly reward which he certainly deserved. To me, and
particularly amid the storm and stress that have agitated my life after
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s passing, he was a sustaining and comforting companion, a
most valued counsellor, an intimate and trusted friend.

With much emotion and the deepest sense of gratitude I supplicate at the
holy Threshold—and request you to join with me in my prayers—for the
spiritual advancement in the realms above of a soul who by the sheer merit
of the signal services he rendered already deserves to rank highly among
the departed faithful.

May he forever rest in peace.

SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
December 21, 1928.



Letter of January 1, 1929.


The beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the
West.

Dearly-beloved co-workers:

Whilst the Bahá’ís of Persia, constituting the overwhelming majority of
the adherents of the Bahá’í Faith in eastern lands, are tasting the
first-fruits of their long-dreamed emancipation, a not inconsiderable
section of Bahá’u’lláh’s following in the East, inhabiting the provinces
of Caucasus and Turkistan, are being subjected to trials and tribulations
not very dissimilar, though inferior in intensity, to the afflictions
borne so long and so heroically by their Persian brethren.

In my last communication to you I have attempted to depict the nature and
swiftness of those liberating forces which today are being released in
Persia by an enlightened regime determined to shake off with unconcealed
contempt the odious fetters of a long standing tyranny. And I feel that a
description of the very perplexing situation with which our brethren in
Russia find themselves confronted at present will serve to complete the
picture which responsible believers in the West must bear in mind of the
critical and swiftly moving changes that are transforming the face of the
East.



Persecutions in Russia


Ever since the counter-revolution that proclaimed throughout the length
and breadth of Czarist Russia the dictatorship of the Proletariat, and the
subsequent incorporation of the semi-independent territories of Caucasus
and Turkistan within the orbit of Soviet rule, the varied and numerous
Bahá’í institutions established in the past by heroic pioneers of the
Faith have been brought into direct and sudden contact with the internal
convulsions necessitated by the establishment and maintenance of an order
so fundamentally at variance with Russia’s previous regime. The avowed
purpose and action of the responsible heads of the Union of Soviet
Socialist Republics who, within their recognized and legitimate rights,
have emphatically proclaimed and vigorously pursued their policy of
uncompromising opposition to all forms of organized religious propaganda,
have by their very nature created for those whose primary obligation is to
labor unremittingly for the spread of the Bahá’í Faith a state of affairs
that is highly unfortunate and perplexing. For ten years, however, ever
since the promulgation of that policy, by some miraculous interposition of
Providence, the Bahá’ís of Soviet Russia have been spared the strict
application to their institutions of the central principle that directs
and animates the policy of the Soviet state. Although subjected, as all
Russian citizens have been, even since the outbreak of the Revolution, to
the unfortunate consequences of civil strife and external war, and
particularly to the internal commotions that must necessarily accompany
far-reaching changes in the structure of society, such as partial
expropriation of private property, excessive taxation and the curtailment
of the right of personal initiative and enterprise; yet in matters of
worship and in the conduct of their administrative and purely
non-political activities they have, thanks to the benevolent attitude of
their rulers, enjoyed an almost unrestricted freedom in the exercise of
their public duties.

Lately, however, due to circumstances wholly beyond their control and
without being in the least implicated in political or subversive activity,
our Bahá’í brethren in those provinces have had to endure the rigid
application of the principles already enunciated by the state authorities
and universally enforced with regard to all other religious communities
under their sway. Faithful to their policy of expropriating in the
interests of the State all edifices and monuments of a religious
character, they have a few months ago approached the Bahá’í
representatives in Turkistan, and after protracted negotiations with them,
decided to claim and enforce their right of ownership and control of that
most cherished and universally prized Bahá’í possession, the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár of I_sh_qábád. The insistent and repeated
representations made by the Bahá’ís, dutifully submitted and stressed by
their local and national representatives, and duly reinforced by the
action of the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Persia,
emphasizing the international character and spiritual significance of the
Edifice and its close material as well as spiritual connection with the
divers Bahá’í communities throughout the East and West, have alas! proved
of no avail. The beloved Temple which had been seized and expropriated and
for three months closed under the seal of the Municipal authorities was
reopened and meetings were allowed to be conducted within its walls only
after the acceptance and signature by the Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly of
I_sh_qábád of an elaborate contract drawn by the Soviet authorities and
recognizing the right of undisputed ownership by the State of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár and its dependencies. According to this contract,
the Temple is rented by the State for a period of five years to the local
Bahá’í community of that town, and in it are stipulated a number of
obligations, financial and otherwise, expressly providing for fines and
penalties in the event of the evasion or infringement of its provisions.

To these measures which the State, in the free exercise of its legitimate
rights, has chosen to enforce, and with which the Bahá’ís, as befits their
position as loyal and law-abiding citizens, have complied, others have
followed which though of a different character are none the less
grievously affecting our beloved Cause. In Baku, the seat of the Soviet
Republic of Caucasus, as well as in Ganjih and other neighboring towns,
state orders, orally and in writing, have been officially communicated to
the Bahá’í Assemblies and individual believers, suspending all meetings,
commemoration gatherings and festivals, suppressing the committees of all
Bahá’í local and national Spiritual Assemblies, prohibiting the raising of
funds and the transmission of financial contributions to any center within
or without Soviet jurisdiction, requiring the right of full and frequent
inspection of the deliberations, decisions, plans and action of the Bahá’í
Assemblies, dissolving young men’s clubs and children’s organizations,
imposing a strict censorship on all correspondence to and from Bahá’í
Assemblies, directing a minute investigation of Assemblies’ papers and
documents, suspending all Bahá’í periodicals, bulletins and magazines, and
requiring the deportation of leading personalities in the Cause whether as
public teachers and speakers or officers of Bahá’í Assemblies.



Guiding Principle of Conduct


To all these the followers of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh have with feelings
of burning agony and heroic fortitude unanimously and unreservedly
submitted, ever mindful of the guiding principles of Bahá’í conduct that
in connection with their administrative activities, no matter how
grievously interference with them might affect the course of the extension
of the Movement, and the suspension of which does not constitute in itself
a departure from the principle of loyalty to their Faith, the considered
judgment and authoritative decrees issued by their responsible rulers
must, if they be faithful to Bahá’u’lláh’s and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s express
injunctions, be thoroughly respected and loyally obeyed. In matters,
however, that vitally affect the integrity and honor of the Faith of
Bahá’u’lláh, and are tantamount to a recantation of their faith and
repudiation of their innermost belief, they are convinced, and are
unhesitatingly prepared to vindicate by their life-blood the sincerity of
their conviction, that no power on earth, neither the arts of the most
insidious adversary nor the bloody weapons of the most tyrannical
oppressor, can ever succeed in extorting from them a word or deed that
might tend to stifle the voice of their conscience or tarnish the purity
of their faith. Clinging with immovable resolution to the inviolable
verities of their cherished Faith, our sorely-tried brethren in Caucasus
and Turkistan have none the less, as befits law-abiding Bahá’í citizens
resolved, after having exhausted every legitimate means for the
alleviation of the restrictions imposed upon them, to definitely uphold
and conscientiously carry out the considered judgment of their recognized
government. They have with a hope that no earthly power can dim, and a
resignation that is truly sublime, committed the interests of their Cause
to the keeping of that vigilant, that all-powerful Divine Deliverer, who,
they feel confident, will in time lift the veil that now obscures the
vision of their rulers, and reveal the nobility of aim, the innocence of
purpose, the rectitude of conduct, and the humanitarian ideals that
characterize the as yet small yet potentially powerful Bahá’í communities
in every land and under any government.

Should the present restrictions increase in number and stringency, should
a situation arise that would so endanger the position of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár in I_sh_qábád as to necessitate the intervention of
the Bahá’í world, I will call upon the National and Local Bahá’í Spiritual
Assemblies in the East and the West to arise with one accord and lend
their moral support to those of their brethren whose particular mission
and privilege is to keep watch over that consecrated ground on which
already has been erected the central Structure of Bahá’u’lláh’s First
Universal House of Worship. I will urge them to take whatever action is
deemed advisable in order to demonstrate the solidarity of the followers
of Bahá’u’lláh, to dispel whatever doubts and apprehensions may yet linger
in the minds of the State officials in that land, and to restore their
suspected brethren to the esteem and confidence of their governors. I will
specially request them to proclaim in their written representations to the
authorities concerned their absolute repudiation of whatever ulterior
motive or political design may be imputed to them by their malignant
adversaries, and to reaffirm in unmistakable terms the purely humanitarian
and spiritual nature of the work in which Bahá’ís in every land and of
every race are unitedly engaged. I will moreover ask them to assert the
international character of the Bahá’í Edifice in I_sh_qábád and to stress
the close bonds of material interest and spiritual fellowship that bind
Bahá’í communities the world over to an Edifice that can rightly claim the
distinction of being Bahá’u’lláh’s First Universal House of Worship, of
being conceived in its design by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá Himself, constructed and
completed in His days and under His direction, and supported by the
collective contributions of the believers throughout the world. The hour
for such a world-wide and concentrated appeal is not yet come, but it
behooves us, while expectantly watching from a distance the moving
spectacle of the struggling Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, to seek abiding solace
and strength from the reflection that whatever befalls this Cause, however
grievous and humiliating the visitations that from time to time may seem
to afflict the organic life or interfere with the functions of the
administrative machinery of the Bahá’í Faith, such calamities cannot but
each eventually prove to be a blessing in disguise designed, by a Wisdom
inscrutable to us all, to establish and consolidate the sovereignty of
Bahá’u’lláh on this earth.



Bahá’u’lláh’s House at Baghdád


What we have already witnessed in connection with the latest developments
regarding the case of Bahá’u’lláh’s House in Ba_gh_dád affords abundant
evidence of the truth of the observation that has just been made. In its
initial stages appearing to the superficial observer as a petty dispute
submitted to an obscure and antiquated Shiite court, the case has
gradually evolved into a paramount issue engaging the attention of the
highest tribunal of ‘Iráq. In its latest stages, it has gathered such
strength, secured such publicity, and received such support from the
chancelleries of Europe, as to become a subject fit for the consideration
not only of the specific international Commission ultimately responsible
for the administration of Mandated Territories but of the leading
Signatories of the Covenant of the League of Nations that are represented
in the Council of the League itself.

Few if any among those closely associated with the case did at first
imagine or expect that dwellings which to outward seeming appeared only as
a cluster of humble and decrepit buildings lost amid the obscure and
tortuous lanes of old Ba_gh_dád could ever obtain such prominence as to
become the object of the deliberations of the highest international
Tribunal that the hand of man has thus far reared for the amicable
settlement of his affairs. Whatever the decision of the world’s highest
Tribunal regarding the petition submitted to it by the Bahá’ís of
‘Iráq—and none can deny that should its verdict be in our favor, a triumph
unparalleled in its magnitude will have been achieved for our beloved
Faith—the work already accomplished is in itself an abundant proof of the
sustaining confirmations that are being showered upon the upholders of the
case from the realm on high.

I cannot refrain from giving expression in this connection to my feelings
of profound appreciation of the ceaseless vigilance and marked distinction
with which our precious brother and fellow-worker, Mr. Mountfort Mills,
has undertaken and is still shouldering this sacred and historic mission
committed to his charge. His unremitting labors, despite ill-health and
domestic anxieties and cares, are worthy of the highest praise and will be
gratefully recorded in the annals of an immortal Cause.

Surely, if we read the history of this case aright, we cannot but discern
the direction which the forces, released by these prophetic utterances of
Bahá’u’lláh sixty years ago, are destined to take in the eventual solution
of this mighty issue:—

“In truth I declare, it shall be so abased in the days to come as to cause
tears to flow from every discerning eye.... And in the fullness of time
shall the Lord, by the power of truth, exalt it in the eyes of all the
world, cause it to become the mighty standard of His Dominion, the Shrine
round which shall circle the concourse of the faithful.”

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
January 1, 1929.



Letter of February 12, 1929.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
the West.

Fellow-laborers in the Divine Vineyard:

I feel impelled by the force of various circumstances to share with you
the news of recent happenings in those countries of the Near and Middle
East which, by the ruling of Providence, are in these days undergoing a
transformation which is as startling in its features as it is significant
in its bearings upon the interests of our beloved Faith.

I have already in my previous communication briefly referred to the nature
and effects of that momentous Revolution which has, with surprising
swiftness, substituted a westernized and rejuvenated Turkey for the
primitive and decrepit Ottoman Empire. I have also attempted to describe
the first stages of that recent and moving episode which has served in a
manner that is truly providential to thrust the Bahá’í community in Turkey
out of the obscurity of oppressive neglect into the broad daylight of
official and public attention.

Recently, however, from the reports that have been received from the
elected representatives of the believers in different parts of Turkey, it
appears that the investigations conducted by the Police authorities in the
capital and provinces of that land have proved but a preliminary to a more
official and detailed inquiry into the Bahá’í position with respect to the
laws recently promulgated by the Republican government. For no sooner were
the followers of Bahá’u’lláh released from detention at the Police
headquarters and given the assurance that their Faith was in no way
associated with any political design or motive, than an official
communication was delivered to their representatives summoning them to
appear before the State’s criminal Tribunal on the charge of infraction of
the law of the Republic requiring the registration and authorization of
all public gatherings and associations within the jurisdiction of the
State. To this summons our brethren yielded immediate and implicit
obedience. They indeed welcomed this further opportunity to assert not
only the innocence of their Faith but to vindicate as well the sublimity
of the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh. Realizing that with this fresh
development their case has assumed a solemn and juridical character, the
undaunted champions of the Cause resolved to seek the assistance of an
expert and sympathetic advocate, who would reinforce from a purely legal
standpoint the spiritual argument which they reserved for themselves to
propound. For a period ranging from a week to eighteen days the attention
of the officers of the Court, of the elected representatives of the
believers, of their officially appointed advocates, and of the visiting
public was focused upon the deliberations of a Court that closely
scrutinized not only the conduct and motives of the Bahá’í followers but
the laws and principles, the past history and the present position of the
Faith itself.



Trial of Turkish Believers


Fortified by the reflection that never before in Bahá’í history have the
followers of Bahá’u’lláh been called upon by the officials of a State,
responsible for the administration of Justice, to unfold the history and
principles of their Faith, our brethren in Turkey decided to assert in
their entirety those distinguishing laws and ordinances of the Bahá’í
Revelation which the terrors of a suspicious autocracy had so long
compelled them to dissimulate and ignore.

I cannot do better than quote in this connection a few passages from the
text of the official defense which in a moving language was pronounced by
the President of the Constantinople Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly at a plenary
session of the Court on that historic occasion: “La Behá’isme est une
religion universelle, moderne et absolument independante. Si l’on désiré
une désignation plus moderne encore: c’est une institution de Clémence, de
bonne entente et d’amour, en d’autres termes, de progrès moral et
spirituel. Il n’est ni une secte, ni une branche des autres religions et
doctrines diverses. Il est cependant leur aboutissement naturel, logique
et pour ainsi dire scientifique. C’est la raison pour laquelle l’on trouve
parmi ses adhèrents des personnes, venant de toutes les religions et
doctrines existantes dans le monde, et qui se comptent aujourd’hui par
millions. ...Ces explications ne sauraient toutefois à dévoiler le suffire
(?) mystère qui est au fond des sacrifices, consentis dans ce siècle en
Orient, par plus de vingt mille martyrs du Behá’isme, parmi lesquels se
trouve Qurratu’l-‘Ayn Táhirih (la joie des yeux, la pure), cette jeune
femme turque, dépeinté ainsi par notre illustre écrivain Suleyman Nasif,
et dont le martyre sans precèdent est cité aujourd’hui par le monde entier
comme l’epopée sans pareille de la cause humaine. Je ne sais si ces
explications peuvent elucider les raisons pour lesquelles il se trouve à
cette doctrine petrié également par le sang turc des amis parmi des hommes
de race turque, cette race qui dans tout procès du genre humain et de ses
nobles aspirations, n’a pas hesité jusqu’ici à verser son sang....
Toutefois, les Behá’ís n’ont point dissimulé leur présence en Turquie,
surtout depuis le régime de la République. C’est ainsi qu’ils se sont fait
inscrire comme Behá’ís sur les feuilles du dernier recensement à
Constantinople. D’autre part est-il admissible que le Gouvernement ignore
leur présence dans cette ville? Cela étant, il ne saurait etre imaginé que
les Behá’ís soient sous le régime de la République, poursuivis comme tels,
surtout après avoir acquis leur liberté sous le régime de la Constitution
qui a suivi celui de la tyrannie durant lequel ils étaient persecutés....
Mais avant de terminer, je ne puis m’empecher de dire avec une entière
assurance, que les adeptes en Turquie de cette doctrine, sont surs de la
Justice d’un pays régi par la première véritable République pleine de
lumière dont s’honore adjourd’hui tout l’Orient.... Ces déclarations d’une
part, et la conduite suivie par les Behá’ís, a l’occasion de cet incident
qui a commencé par l’interrogatoire auquel ils ont été soumis par la
Police, de l’autre, sont la preuve convainquante de la sincerité et de la
bonne foie avec lesquelles nous nous comportons tant vis à vis de la
Justice que de celui du Gouvernement. Ainsi, nous aurions pu soustraire
certaines pièces qui constituent les seuls documents pouvant servi à nous
assimiler à des societés. Ne nous voyant pas en contravention avec la loi,
nous n’avons rien voulu dissimuler, comme personellement je ne cherche
qu’a tout dire ici. Ce n’est lá d’ailleurs qu’une necessité dicté par le
Behá’isme et la conformation à une recommendation de Bahá’u’lláh. Lui nous
dit: “Devant la Justice, dites la Verité et ne craignez rien.”

To these hotly contested debates two circumstances of unexpected character
lent color and force, and must have contributed in no small measure to the
successful conclusion of the issue. The participation of a noted Turkish
publicist and author whose expressed sympathy for the Cause had identified
him with the group of the suspected believers, and the association of the
name of the Dowager Queen of Rumania with the Bahá’í Faith as a result of
the discovery among the seized documents of the Constantinople Bahá’í
Assembly of her public pronouncements on the Cause and her personal
message to the friends in that city, both served to reinforce the position
of the Bahá’ís and greatly encouraged them in their task. I am assured by
a letter addressed to me by the President of the Constantinople Assembly
that the sessions of the Court were dignified in their proceedings,
sublime in the presentation of the ideals of the Cause, and representative
in the character of their attendants. He writes: “Ce fut une déclaration
de la Cause dans toute sa grandeur, et jamais l’Orient n’a vu retentir le
nom de Bahá dans une pareille formule.... J’ai prefère laisser l’avocat
qui n’est pas Behá’í en parler. En effet cela a eu plus d’effet d’entendre
l’avocat, emporté par je ne sais quelle mystèrieuse poussée, crier, après
avoir cité les principes ainsi: ‘Monsieur le Juge! n’est-ce pas lá en
somme l’idéal vers lequel marche actuellement notre pays avec en tète
notre Grand Gazi?’”

The extravagant language of the newspapers in reporting the details of
this official inquiry served in turn to accentuate the publicity already
achieved, and induced the officials of the Court to exercise scrupulous
impartiality in the consideration and judgment of the case. As to the
verdict that has been pronounced on December 13, it is stated clearly that
although the followers of Bahá’u’lláh, in their innocent conception of the
spiritual character of their Faith, found it unnecessary to apply for
leave for the conduct of their administrative activities and have thus
been made liable to the payment of a fine, yet they have, to the
satisfaction of the legal representatives of the State, not only
established the inculpability of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, but have also
worthily acquitted themselves in the task of vindicating its independence,
its Divine origin, and its suitability to the circumstances and
requirements of the present age. It will be admitted that this recognition
on the part of the authorities would have never been so speedily secured
had the representatives of the believers proceeded through the ordinary
and official channels to obtain such a recognition from their government.



Decline of Islám


Surely every unprejudiced observer, reviewing on one hand the turbulent
history of the Cause in Turkey and recalling on the other the series of
internal convulsions that have seized that country, cannot but marvel at
the contrast between the swift decline of an all-powerful theocracy and
the gradual consolidation of a persecuted Faith. He will appreciate the
significance of the circumstances that have caused on one hand the
dismemberment of what was the most powerful institution of Islám, and
contributed on the other to the emergence upon its ruins of the very Faith
it has vainly labored to suppress. Should he look further into the past
and consult the annals of Christendom during the first century of the
Christian era, he cannot fail to observe the striking parallel between the
cataclysmic visitation of Providence that has afflicted the most sacred
institutions of the Jews in the Holy Land and the utter collapse in this,
the first century of the Bahá’í era, of the Sultanate and the Caliphate,
the highest institutions of orthodox Islám. He will recall the severities
which the hand of Titus inflicted upon the Jews, the harassing siege of
Jerusalem, the destruction of the Holy City, the profanation of the
Temple, the desecration of the Holy of Holies, the transfer of its
priceless treasures to the imperial city of Rome, the erection on the site
of Zion of the pagan colony of Oelia Capitolina, the massacre of the Jews,
and the exile and dispersion of most of the survivors. In like manner, he
will observe that almost in the corresponding decade of the first century
of the era of Bahá’u’lláh, not at the hand of the infidel, but by a
recognized ruler professing the faith of Islám, a blow, unprecedented in
its magnitude, has been dealt to the highest seats of authority in the
Islámic world. He will call to mind the recent disestablishment of the
state religion of Turkey, the overthrow of the dynasty of the House of
U_th_mán, the loss of the unity of the vast majority of the adherents of
the Muhammadan Faith, the humiliation inflicted upon the whole hierarchy
of its ecclesiastical exponents in that land, the abolition of religious
courts, the annulment of the provisions of the Qur’án, the promulgation of
a universal western code of civil law, the suppression of its Orders and
the closing of most of its seminaries and establishments.

Such a close correspondence between these historic retributions which the
Almighty’s avenging arm has chosen to inflict upon the persecutors of
Christ and Bahá’u’lláh cannot but fortify the confidence of every Bahá’í
believer in the future glories of this Divine Dispensation. Particularly
will he feel strengthened when he recalls the triumphs that have
signalized the advance of Christianity after the humiliation of its
enemies. And as he ponders upon the circumstances that have given such
startling publicity to the Cause, not only throughout Turkey but in the
adjoining countries as well, he cannot fail to recognize, in this strange
episode, following so closely upon the fall of the mighty stronghold of
Bahá’í opposition, a prelude to a higher recognition and fuller unfoldment
of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.



Progress in Persia


In Persia, where, unlike its ill-fated sister nation Af_gh_ánistán, the
pace of reform has been wisely regulated, the salutary effects of the
progressive regime established by its enlightened ruler are not only
reacting upon the social and economic structure of its society, but are
being increasingly felt by the mass of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh in
that land. The welter of controversy into which the drastic reforms of a
determined government, aiming at the gradual secularization of the State,
has plunged a revolting clergy, has afforded our Persian brethren their
long-desired opportunity to pursue untrammelled the course of their
spiritual and humanitarian activities. The deportation of a considerable
number of Muslim ecclesiastical officials, amongst them the heir of that
notorious and bloodthirsty Mujtahid of Iṣfáhán, “the Son of the Wolf,” has
served to clear the ground for the extension and consolidation of Bahá’í
institutions. Already, as reported from an outlying center in the province
of Yazd, a leading but fair-minded Mulláh has, upon the discovery of the
specific prophecy of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá regarding the forced abandonment of the
traditional headdress of Muslim clericals, acknowledged the Divine origin
of the Bahá’í Faith, embraced its truth, and openly enlisted as an active
supporter of its institutions.

Moreover, it is stated that in various quarters, and among responsible
sections of the community the matter of the codification and introduction
of a western civil code, and its universal application to all the
different communities is being freely discussed, and its desirability
increasingly emphasized. As a preliminary measure, however, to the
introduction of such a far-reaching reform, certain changes of policy have
been lately initiated, not in the form of hastily conceived dictatorial
edicts, but as a result of the mature deliberations and with the sanction
of the national representatives of the people. The systematization of the
laws of marriage and contract; the establishment of a Land Registry wholly
independent of ecclesiastical control; the distribution of birth
certificates of a purely undenominational character; the increasing
prominence accorded to the social rights of womanhood; the close attention
paid by State authorities to the education of Persian youth in the
Universities of Europe; the banning of all Muslim Passion Plays throughout
the territory of the _Sh_áh: the bold and various schemes that have been
launched for the embellishment of the Persian Capital—all are welcome
signs of the approaching era which is to witness the spiritual and
material ascendency of Persia among the people and nations of the world.

In this ever-improving environment and witnessing on every side the
downfall of those institutions that have crippled their struggling Faith,
the believers in Persia are joyously seizing every opportunity to
demonstrate the redeeming power of the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh. An
illuminating report, submitted by one of the most capable and trusted
itinerant teachers of the Cause in Persia, has lately reached the Holy
Land. In it the writer sets forth in graphic and accurate language the
many evidences of the increasing vitality displayed by the Faith in
different parts of Persia. Summoned by the Persian National Spiritual
Assembly to interrupt his travels in the vicinity of the town of Ma_sh_had
in order to devote immediate attention to a situation that had
unexpectedly arisen in Iṣfáhán, our indefatigable teacher and brother was
surprised upon his arrival in that province to note in the various towns
and villages he visited a ten-fold increase in the number of the adherents
of the Faith since his last visit to those regions. He was moreover
startled at the hospitality which he received at the hands of those
persons who six years ago had been instrumental in expelling him from
their localities, and who now had freely enlisted under the banner of
Bahá’u’lláh. He was furthermore highly elated to learn that the prestige,
the integrity and ability of the local Bahá’í Assemblies in that province
had of late stood so high that non-Bahá’ís, exasperated by the corruption
and incompetence of their own judges, had more than once freely submitted
cases of dispute to the judgment of the elected representatives of the
Bahá’í community in their locality.

Only a close and unbiased observer of the manner and habits of the Persian
people, already familiar with the prevailing tendencies of different
sections of the population, such as their apathy and indolence, the
absence of a sense of public duty and of loyalty to principle, the lack of
concerted effort and constancy in action, the habit of secrecy and blind
surrender to the capricious will of an ignorant and fanatical clergy, can
truly estimate the immensity of the task that faces every conscientious
believer in that land. He will moreover readily testify to the high
standard already attained by the Bahá’ís of Persia in their efforts to
inculcate in the minds of their fellow-countrymen the principles of the
Divine Civilization ushered in by Bahá’u’lláh.

We have only to glance at the soul-stirring written assurances of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá in order to realize the magnitude and exalted character of
the mission entrusted by Him to the adherents of the Faith in
Bahá’u’lláh’s native land. By the faithful application of the spiritual
principles which their present administration is endeavoring to propagate;
by the character of those indissoluble bonds of Bahá’í fellowship that
cement the union of the mass of the believers with their elected
councillors; by the distinctiveness of their future contributions in the
domain of art, of science and of trade, of education and of industry—by
these and by still other convincing manifestations of the quickening
vitality of their Faith, our Persian brethren are destined to demonstrate
to the ruling powers on earth the majesty, the enduring stability and the
unfailing efficacy of the Government of Bahá’u’lláh.

The following passage from the Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, revealed more than
thirty years ago, while incarcerated within the walls of the prison-city
of Akká, and addressed to the Bahá’ís of _Kh_urásán, will undoubtedly
stimulate those energetic friends of the West who long to contribute by
every means in their power to the rehabilitation of their Master’s native
land:—

“Erelong will your brethren from Europe and America journey to Persia.
There they will promote to an unprecedented degree the interests of art
and industry. There they will rear the institutions of true civilization,
promote the development of husbandry and trade, and assist in the spread
of education.... Assuredly they will come; assuredly they will contribute
in making of the land of Írán the envy and the admiration of the peoples
and nations of the world.”

And as we ponder these words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in our hearts, let us also
remember the prophetic utterances of Bahá’u’lláh, which reveal not only
the merciless cruelty of the ecclesiastical leaders of Islám but also the
measure of Divine retribution which now afflicts the oppressors of God’s
holy Faith:—

“O people of the Qur’án! Verily the prophet of God, Muḥammad, sheddeth
tears at the sight of your cruelty. Ye have assuredly followed your evil
and corrupt desires and turned away your face from the light of guidance.
Erelong will ye witness the result of your deeds; for the Lord My God
lieth in wait and is watchful of your behavior.... Erelong He will raise
in every city the standard of His sovereignty, and will wipe away the
traces of them that have denied Him on the day of His return.... O
concourse of Muslim divines! By your deeds the exalted station of the
nation hath been abased, the standard of Islám hath been reversed and its
mighty throne hath fallen. Whenever the Divine Reformer has sought to
ennoble the rank of the people, ye have tumultuously risen against Him and
prevented Him from executing His purpose, wherefore the realm hath
remained in grievous loss.”

And in conclusion, I wish, in a few words, to pay a tribute, however
inadequate, to the magnificent services rendered by that exemplary and
indefatigable teacher of the Cause, our dearly-beloved sister, Miss Martha
Root. Her international travels on behalf of the Bahá’í Faith, so wide in
their range, so extensive in their duration, so inspiring in their
results, will adorn and enrich the annals of God’s immortal Faith. Her
earliest journeys to the southernmost limits of the American continent, to
India and to South Africa, to the eastern confines of Asia, to the islands
of the Southern Seas and the Scandinavian countries of the North; her more
recent contact with the rulers and crowned heads of Europe and the
impression which her undaunted spirit created in royal circles in the
Balkan countries; her close affiliation with international organizations,
peace societies, humanitarian movements and Esperantist circles; and her
latest victories in the university circles of Germany—all constitute a
compelling evidence of what the power of Bahá’u’lláh can achieve. These
historic labors, pursued single-handed and in circumstances of financial
stringency and ill-health, have been characterized throughout by a spirit
of fidelity, of self-effacement, of thoroughness and vigor that none has
excelled.

I appeal to individual believers and Bahá’í Assemblies alike to reinforce
by every possible means the earnest strivings of such a precious soul, to
respond speedily and entirely to every request that from time to time she
feels moved to address to her fellow-workers in every land, to strive to
attain the high standard of stewardship that she has set, and to pray from
the very depths of their hearts for the uninterrupted continuance of her
noble endeavors.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
February 12, 1929.



Letter of March 20, 1929.


To the beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout
the West.

Dearly-beloved brothers and sisters in ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:

With a heart overflowing with thankfulness and joy I take my pen to share
with you tidings that eloquently testify to the triumphant majesty and
unconquerable spirit of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. From Geneva, the seat of
the League of Nations, there comes the news that the fervent plea
addressed by the Bahá’ís of ‘Iráq to the world’s supreme Tribunal
regarding an issue that for a time has stirred the Bahá’í world to its
foundation has at last met with a noble and most gratifying response.

You will recall the references made in my previous communications, dated
November 6, 1925, October 29, 1926, and January 1, 1929, to the forcible
seizure of Bahá’u’lláh’s sacred house by the _Sh_í’ah of Ba_gh_dád, to the
appeals which from almost every quarter of the globe have showered upon
the authorities of ‘Iráq for its restitution, to the long and unsuccessful
legal proceedings to which the representatives of the Faith in that land
have resorted, and lastly to the petition which they have addressed to the
League’s Permanent Mandates Commission setting forth the history of the
case and appealing for the intervention of the Council in their behalf. I
am now informed that after mature deliberation the conclusion arrived at
by the Mandates Commission, urging that prompt action be taken to redress
the wrong suffered by the Bahá’ís, has been duly communicated to, and
adopted by, the Council of the League, which in turn will formally
communicate the recommendations of its Commission to the Mandatory Power.



Decision of League of Nations


From the official text of the minutes of the meeting of the Mandates
Commission, as well as from its authorized report to the Council, both of
which have been made public, it is clear and evident that the terms of the
conclusion arrived at are neither vague nor evasive, but set forth in
unmistakable language the legitimate aspirations of an oppressed and
struggling Faith. The decision neither implies compensation to the Bahá’í
Community for the loss of the sacred buildings, nor does it expressly
provide for the expropriation of the property by the State. To quote from
the text of the official document, the Commission has resolved “to
recommend the Council to ask the British Government to call upon the
Government of ‘Iráq to redress without delay the denial of justice from
which the petitioners have suffered.”

A glance at the minutes of the Commission’s meeting will suffice to reveal
that in the course of the lengthy discussions conducted by the members of
the Commission the following important facts have been stressed and
recognized. The British accredited representative, present at the sessions
of the Commission, has declared that “it was a fact that the Mandatory
Power had recognized that the Bahá’ís had suffered an injustice and, ever
since the award made by the High Court, the High Commissioner had been
considering what means could be found to remove, either by an executive
act or otherwise, the unjust effects of that decision.” Moreover, it has
been acknowledged by the accredited representative that the Bahá’ís had
been in bonafide occupancy of the property, that they had expended on it
sums that exceeded the value of the site itself, and were thus, in
accordance with the provision in the still operative Turkish Law, entitled
to purchase the site. Allusion has also been made in the course of the
deliberations of the members of the Commission to the fact that the action
of the _Sh_í’ah community with respect to Bahá’u’lláh’s sacred house
constituted a breach of the Constitution and the Organic Law of ‘Iráq
which, according to the testimony of the British accredited
representative, expressly provided for the unfettered freedom of
conscience. A question from one of the members had even elicited from the
representative of the British Government the reply assuring the Commission
that the Mandatory Power actually possessed means of exercising pressure
on the authorities in order, if necessary, to insure that so fundamental
an article in the Constitution would be respected. Furthermore, the
opinion has been strongly expressed that the matter had assumed an
“importance which exceeded that of the individual case of the Bahá’ís,”
inasmuch as “the judgment of the High Court was suspected of having been
inspired by political prejudice,” with the consequent impression on the
Commission that “from a moral point of view, conditions in ‘Iráq were not
improving; that religious passions still ran high and that peace had not
yet been brought about between the various religious communities.” It has
even been proposed to supplement the report submitted to the Council with
the observation that, in the opinion of the Commission, “a country in
which the Sovereign and the highest law courts are capable of so flagrant
a denial of justice would probably not be considered to be eligible to
become a Member of the League of Nations.” The minutes of the Commission’s
meeting further indicate that the contents of the letter addressed by the
Prime Minister of ‘Iráq to the British representative in Ba_gh_dád and
which accompanied the text of the petition of the Bahá’ís do not in the
opinion of the Commission “meet any of the allegations of the petitioners”
and are confined to a mere assertion that the judgment of the Court of
Appeal was pronounced in accordance with the laws of the land. As to the
memorandum submitted by the Mandatory Power in connection with the Bahá’í
petition, and to which the minutes briefly refer, it is expressly stated
that His Britannic Majesty’s Government considers the ejectment of the
Bahá’ís while the case was still undecided to have been an illegal action,
that the reasons adduced to justify such action were hardly admissible,
and that the final verdict of the Court of Appeal is unsustainable,
contrary to the law, and tainted by political considerations. The minutes
further declare that although any petition presented to the Commission
appealing from a decision given by a Court of Law is to be considered as
not being in order, yet as the petition submitted by the Bahá’ís reveals
such a state of partiality, servility and sectarianism it has been found
desirable to depart from the general rule and to regard the petition in
question as receivable by the Commission. And among the concluding
observations in the minutes of the Commission’s meeting regarding the
Bahá’í petition is this significant passage: “The revelations made in
connection with this petition show the present position in ‘Iráq in an
unfavorable light. In a country where the conduct of the highest
authorities has led the Mandatory Power to pass such severe criticisms,
where the Supreme Court of Justice is under legitimate suspicion, and
where religious fanaticism pursues minorities and controls power, a state
of affairs prevails which is not calculated to insure the development and
well-being of the inhabitants. The petitioners have suffered a serious
denial of justice the direct responsibility for which rests on the
authorities of ‘Iráq. The fact that this denial of justice could not be
prevented or immediately made good was due to the weakening of the
Mandatory Power’s control in ‘Iráq. The Mandatory attempted, but in vain,
to redress the injury done to the petitioners by using the means of
influence at its disposal under the régime set up by the 1922 Treaty
vis-á-vis King Feisal and the ‘Iráq Government. These efforts would not
appear to correspond fully to the engagements resulting from the British
Government’s declaration, which was approved by the Council on September
27, 1924, and renewed by the British Government in 1926, whereby the
Treaty of Alliance between the British Government and ‘Iráq ‘was to insure
the complete observance and execution in ‘Iráq of the principles which the
acceptance of the mandate was intended to secure.’”

This grave censure pronounced by the Mandates Commission of the League of
Nations on the administration of justice and the general conduct of
affairs in ‘Iráq, as well as the association of the humiliation afflicting
Bahá’u’lláh’s sacred dwelling-place with the obligations implied in the
Treaty of Alliance binding the Governments of Great Britain and ‘Iráq, not
only proclaim to the world the enhanced prestige of that hallowed and
consecrated spot, but testify as well to the high sense of integrity that
animates the members of the League’s honored Commission in the discharge
of their public duties. In their formal reply to the Bahá’í petitioners,
the members of the Permanent Mandates Commission have, with the sanction
of the Council of the League of Nations, issued this most satisfactory
declamation: “The Permanent Mandates Commission, recognizing the justice
of the complaint made by the Bahá’í Spiritual Assembly of Ba_gh_dád, has
recommended to the Council of the League such action as it thinks proper
to redress the wrong suffered by the petitioners.” A similar passage
inserted in the report of the Finnish Representative to the Council of the
League runs as follows: “The Commission has also considered a petition
from the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of ‘Iráq, a community
which has been dispossessed of its property by another community and has
been unable to recover it by legal means. The Commission is convinced that
this situation, which is described as an injustice, must be attributed
solely to religious passion, and it asks that the petitioner’s wrongs
should be redressed. I venture to suggest that the Council should accept
the Mandate Commission’s conclusions on this case, which is an example of
the difficulties to be met with in the development of a young country.”
This report, together with the joint observations and conclusions of the
Commission, have been duly considered and approved by the Council of the
League, which has in turn instructed the Secretary-General to bring to the
notice of the Mandatory Power, as well as the petitioners concerned, the
conclusions arrived at by the Mandates Commission.

Dearly-beloved co-workers! Much has been achieved thus far in the course
of the progress of this complicated, delicate and highly significant
issue. The Bahá’í world is eagerly expectant, and fervently prays, that
the Almighty may graciously assist the Government chiefly responsible for
the well-being of ‘Iráq to take “without delay” such steps as will insure
the execution of the considered judgment of the representatives of the
Sovereign States, members of the Council, and signatories of the Covenant,
of the League of Nations.

I will, if deemed proper and advisable, inform you of the manner in which
the admiration and the gratitude of the National Spiritual Assemblies,
representative of the divers communities in the Bahá’í world, should be
expressed and tendered to the authorities of the League of Nations who
have been chiefly responsible for this noble, this epoch-making decision.
For none can doubt that the published verdict pronounced by the Mandate
Commission sets the seal of international sanction on the triumph of God’s
persecuted Faith over the ecclesiastical and civil powers of hostile
Islám. Within the ranks of the orthodox Sunnís and of the bitter and
fanatical _Sh_í’ah, the chief sects of the Muslim Faith and constituting
respectively the bulk of the ruling class and the population of ‘Iráq, a
feeling of consternation must necessarily prevail. For however obscured
their vision they still can recognize in this historic judgment the herald
of that complete victory which is destined to establish the ascendancy of
what, in the words of the members of the Commission, is but “a small
minority, drawn from a lower social grade, and possessing neither
political nor social influence,” over the combined forces of the Islámic
population of ‘Iráq.

I must not fail in conclusion to refer once again to the decisive role
played by that distinguished and international champion of the Faith of
Bahá’u’lláh, our dearly-beloved Mountfort Mills, in the negotiations that
have paved the way for the signal success already achieved. The text of
the Bahá’í petition, which he conceived and drafted, has been recognized
by the members of the Mandates Commission as “a document well-drafted,
clear in its argument and moderate in tone.” He has truly acquitted
himself in this most sacred task with exemplary distinction and proved
himself worthy of so noble a mission. I request you to join with me in my
prayers for him, that the Spirit of Bahá’u’lláh may continue to guide and
sustain him in the final settlement of this most mighty issue.

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
March 20, 1929.



Letter of October 25, 1929.


The beloved of the Lord and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the
United States and Canada.

My well-beloved friends:

Ever since that remarkable manifestation of Bahá’í solidarity and
self-sacrifice which has signalized the proceedings of last year’s
memorable Convention, I have been expectantly awaiting the news of a
steady and continuous support of the Plan which can alone insure, ere the
present year draws to its close, the resumption of building operations on
our beloved Temple.



Gift from Tomb of Bahá’u’lláh


Moved by an impulse that I could not resist, I have felt impelled to
forego what may be regarded as the most valuable and sacred possession in
the Holy Land for the furthering of that noble enterprise which you have
set your hearts to achieve. With the hearty concurrence of our dear Bahá’í
brother, Zíáoulláh Asgarzadeh, who years ago donated it to the Most Holy
Shrine, this precious ornament of the Tomb of Bahá’u’lláh has been already
shipped to your shores, with our fondest hope that the proceeds from its
sale may at once ennoble and reinforce the unnumbered offerings of the
American believers already accumulated on the altar of Bahá’í sacrifice. I
have longed ever since to witness such evidences of spontaneous and
generous response on your part as would tend to fortify within me a
confidence that has never wavered in the inexhaustible vitality of the
Faith of Bahá’u’lláh in that land.

I need not stress at this moment the high hopes which so startling a
display of unsparing devotion to our sacred Temple has already aroused in
the breasts of the multitude of our brethren throughout the East. Nor is
it I feel necessary to impress upon those who are primarily concerned with
its erection the gradual change of outlook which the early prospect of the
construction of the far-famed Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár in America has
unmistakably occasioned in high places among the hitherto sceptical and
indifferent towards the merits and the practicability of the Faith
proclaimed by Bahá’u’lláh. Neither do I need to expatiate upon the hopes
and fears of the Greatest Holy Leaf, now in the evening of her life, with
deepening shadows caused by failing eye-sight and declining strength
swiftly gathering about her, yearning to hear as the one remaining solace
in her swiftly ebbing life the news of the resumption of work on an
Edifice, the glories of which she has, from the lips of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,
Himself, learned to admire. I cannot surely overrate at the present
juncture in the progress of our task the challenging character of these
remaining months of the year as a swiftly passing opportunity which it is
in our power to seize and utilize, ere it is too late, for the edification
of our expectant brethren throughout the East, for the vindication in the
eyes of the world at large of the realities of our Faith, and last but not
least for the realization of what is the Greatest Holy Leaf’s fondest
desire.

As I have already intimated in the course of my conversations with
visiting pilgrims, so vast and significant an enterprise as the
construction of the first Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár of the West should be
supported, not by the munificence of a few but by the joint contributions
of the entire mass of the convinced followers of the Faith. It cannot be
denied that the emanations of spiritual power and inspiration destined to
radiate from the central Edifice of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár will to a
very large extent depend upon the range and variety of the contributing
believers, as well as upon the nature and degree of self-abnegation which
their unsolicited offerings will entail. Moreover, we should, I feel,
regard it as an axiom and guiding principle of Bahá’í administration that
in the conduct of every specific Bahá’í activity, as different from
undertakings of a humanitarian, philanthropic or charitable character,
which may in future be conducted under Bahá’í auspices, only those who
have already identified themselves with the Faith and are regarded as its
avowed and unreserved supporters should be invited to join and
collaborate. For apart from the consideration of embarrassing
complications which the association of non-believers in the financing of
institutions of a strictly Bahá’í character may conceivably engender in
the administration of the Bahá’í community of the future, it should be
remembered that these specific Bahá’í institutions, which should be viewed
in the light of Bahá’u’lláh’s gifts bestowed upon the world, can best
function and most powerfully exert their influence in the world only if
reared and maintained solely by the support of those who are fully
conscious of, and are unreservedly submissive to, the claims inherent in
the Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh. In cases, however, when a friend or
sympathizer of the Faith eagerly insists on a monetary contribution for
the promotion of the Faith, such gifts should be accepted and duly
acknowledged by the elected representatives of the believers with the
express understanding that they would be utilized by them only to
reinforce that section of the Bahá’í Fund exclusively devoted to
philanthropic or charitable purposes. For, as the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh
extends in scope and in influence, and the resources of Bahá’í communities
correspondingly multiply, it will become increasingly desirable to
differentiate between such departments of the Bahá’í treasury as minister
to the needs of the world at large, and those that are specifically
designed to promote the direct interests of the Faith itself. From this
apparent divorce between Bahá’í and humanitarian activities it must not,
however, be inferred that the animating purpose of the Faith of
Bahá’u’lláh stands at variance with the aims and objects of the
humanitarian and philanthropic institutions of the day. Nay, it should be
realized by every judicious promoter of the Faith that at such an early
stage in the evolution and crystallization of the Cause such
discriminating and precautionary measures are inevitable and even
necessary if the nascent institutions of the Faith are to emerge
triumphant and unimpaired from the present welter of confused and often
conflicting interests with which they are surrounded. This note of warning
may not be thought inappropriate at a time when, inflamed by a consuming
passion to witness the early completion of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, we
may not only be apt to acquiesce in the desire of those who, as yet
uninitiated into the Cause, are willing to lend financial assistance to
its institutions, but may even feel inclined to solicit from them such aid
as it is in their power to render. Ours surely is the paramount duty so to
acquit ourselves in the discharge of our most sacred task that in the days
to come neither the tongue of the slanderer nor the pen of the malevolent
may dare to insinuate that so beauteous, so significant an Edifice has
been reared by anything short of the unanimous, the exclusive, and the
self-sacrificing strivings of the small yet determined body of the
convinced supporters of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh. How delicate our task,
how pressing the responsibility that weighs upon us, who are called upon
on one hand to preserve inviolate the integrity and the identity of the
regenerating Faith of Bahá’u’lláh, and to vindicate on the other its
broad, its humanitarian, its all-embracing principles!

True, we cannot fail to realize at the present stage of our work the
extremely limited number of contributors qualified to lend financial
support to such a vast, such an elaborate and costly enterprise. We are
fully aware of the many issues and varied Bahá’í activities that are
unavoidably held in abeyance pending the successful conclusion of the Plan
of Unified Action. We are only too conscious of the pressing need of some
sort of befitting and concrete embodiment of the spirit animating the
Cause that would stand in the heart of the American Continent both as a
witness and as a rallying center to the manifold activities of a fast
growing Faith. But spurred by those reflections may we not bestir
ourselves and resolve as we have never resolved before to hasten by every
means in our power the consummation of this all-absorbing yet so
meritorious a task? I beseech you, dear friends, not to allow
considerations of numbers, or the consciousness of the limitations of our
resources, or even the experience of inevitable setbacks which every
mighty undertaking is bound to encounter, to blur your vision, to dim your
hopes, or to paralyze your efforts in the prosecution of your divinely
appointed task. Neither, do I entreat you, to suffer the least deviation
into the paths of expediency and compromise to obstruct those channels of
vivifying grace that can alone provide the inspiration and strength vital
not only to the successful conduct of its material construction, but to
the fulfilment of its high destiny.

And while we bend our efforts and strain our nerves in a feverish pursuit
to provide the necessary means for the speedy construction of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, may we not pause for a moment to examine those
statements which set forth the purpose as well as the functions of this
symbolical yet so spiritually potent Edifice? It will be readily admitted
that at a time when the tenets of a Faith, not yet fully emerged from the
fires of repression, are as yet improperly defined and imperfectly
understood, the utmost caution should be exercised in revealing the true
nature of those institutions which are indissolubly associated with its
name.



Purpose of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár


Without attempting an exhaustive survey of the distinguishing features and
purpose of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, I should feel content at the present
time to draw your attention to what I regard certain misleading statements
that have found currency in various quarters, and which may lead gradually
to a grave misapprehension of the true purpose and essential character of
the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár.

It should be borne in mind that the central Edifice of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, round which in the fulness of time shall cluster
such institutions of social service as shall afford relief to the
suffering, sustenance to the poor, shelter to the wayfarer, solace to the
bereaved, and education to the ignorant, should be regarded apart from
these Dependencies, as a House solely designed and entirely dedicated to
the worship of God in accordance with the few yet definitely prescribed
principles established by Bahá’u’lláh in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. It should not
be inferred, however, from this general statement that the interior of the
central Edifice itself will be converted into a conglomeration of
religious services conducted along lines associated with the traditional
procedure obtaining in churches, mosques, synagogues, and other temples of
worship. Its various avenues of approach, all converging towards the
central Hall beneath its dome, will not serve as admittance to those
sectarian adherents of rigid formulae and man-made creeds, each bent,
according to his way, to observe his rites, recite his prayers, perform
his ablutions, and display the particular symbols of his faith, within
separately defined sections of Bahá’u’lláh’s Universal House of Worship.
Far from the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár offering such a spectacle of incoherent
and confused sectarian observances and rites, a condition wholly
incompatible with the provisions of the Aqdas and irreconcilable with the
spirit it inculcates, the central House of Bahá’í worship, enshrined
within the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, will gather within its chastened walls,
in a serenely spiritual atmosphere, only those who, discarding forever the
trappings of elaborate and ostentatious ceremony, are willing worshipers
of the one true God, as manifested in this age in the Person of
Bahá’u’lláh. To them will the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár symbolize the
fundamental verity underlying the Bahá’í Faith, that religious truth is
not absolute but relative, that Divine Revelation is not final but
progressive. Theirs will be the conviction that an all-loving and
ever-watchful Father Who, in the past, and at various stages in the
evolution of mankind, has sent forth His Prophets as the Bearers of His
Message and the Manifestations of His Light to mankind, cannot at this
critical period of their civilization withhold from His children the
Guidance which they sorely need amid the darkness which has beset them,
and which neither the light of science nor that of human intellect and
wisdom can succeed in dissipating. And thus having recognized in
Bahá’u’lláh the source whence this celestial light proceeds, they will
irresistibly feel attracted to seek the shelter of His House, and
congregate therein, unhampered by ceremonials and unfettered by creed, to
render homage to the one true God, the Essence and Orb of eternal Truth,
and to exalt and magnify the name of His Messengers and Prophets Who, from
time immemorial even unto our day, have, under divers circumstances and in
varying measure, mirrored forth to a dark and wayward world the light of
heavenly Guidance.

But however inspiring the conception of Bahá’í worship, as witnessed in
the central Edifice of this exalted Temple, it cannot be regarded as the
sole, nor even the essential, factor in the part which the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, as designed by Bahá’u’lláh, is destined to play in
the organic life of the Bahá’í community. Divorced from the social,
humanitarian, educational and scientific pursuits centering around the
Dependencies of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, Bahá’í worship, however exalted
in its conception, however passionate in fervor, can never hope to achieve
beyond the meagre and often transitory results produced by the
contemplations of the ascetic or the communion of the passive worshiper.
It cannot afford lasting satisfaction and benefit to the worshiper
himself, much less to humanity in general, unless and until translated and
transfused into that dynamic and disinterested service to the cause of
humanity which it is the supreme privilege of the Dependencies of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár to facilitate and promote. Nor will the exertions,
no matter how disinterested and strenuous, of those who within the
precincts of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár will be engaged in administering
the affairs of the future Bahá’í Commonwealth, fructify and prosper unless
they are brought into close and daily communion with those spiritual
agencies centering in and radiating from the central Shrine of the
Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár. Nothing short of direct and constant interaction
between the spiritual forces emanating from this House of Worship
centering in the heart of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár, and the energies
consciously displayed by those who administer its affairs in their service
to humanity can possibly provide the necessary agency capable of removing
the ills that have so long and so grievously afflicted humanity. For it is
assuredly upon the consciousness of the efficacy of the Revelation of
Bahá’u’lláh, reinforced on one hand by spiritual communion with His
Spirit, and on the other by the intelligent application and the faithful
execution of the principles and laws He revealed, that the salvation of a
world in travail must ultimately depend. And of all the institutions that
stand associated with His Holy Name, surely none save the institution of
the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár can most adequately provide the essentials of
Bahá’í worship and service, both so vital to the regeneration of the
world. Therein lies the secret of the loftiness, of the potency, of the
unique position of the Ma_sh_riqu’l-A_dh_kár as one of the outstanding
institutions conceived by Bahá’u’lláh.

Dearly-beloved friends! May we not as the trustees of so priceless a
heritage, arise to fulfill our high destiny?

Your true brother,
SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine,
October 25, 1929.



Letter of July 17, 1932.


The beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the United
States and Canada.

Brethren and fellow-mourners in the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh:

A sorrow, reminiscent in its poignancy, of the devastating grief caused by
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s sudden removal from our midst, has stirred the Bahá’í world
to its foundations. The Greatest Holy Leaf, the well-beloved and treasured
Remnant of Bahá’u’lláh entrusted to our frail and unworthy hands by our
departed Master, has passed to the Great Beyond, leaving a legacy that
time can never dim.

The community of the Most Great Name, in its entirety and to its very
core, feels the sting of this cruel loss. Inevitable though this
calamitous event appeared to us all, however acute our apprehensions of
its steady approach, the consciousness of its final consummation at this
terrible hour leaves us, we whose souls have been impregnated by the
energizing influence of her love, prostrated and disconsolate.

How can my lonely pen, so utterly inadequate to glorify so exalted a
station, so impotent to portray the experiences of so sublime a life, so
disqualified to recount the blessings she showered upon me since my
earliest childhood—how can such a pen repay the great debt of gratitude
and love that I owe her whom I regarded as my chief sustainer, my most
affectionate comforter, the joy and inspiration of my life? My grief is
too immense, my remorse too profound, to be able to give full vent at this
moment to the feelings that surge within me.

Only future generations and pens abler than mine can, and will, pay a
worthy tribute to the towering grandeur of her spiritual life, to the
unique part she played throughout the tumultuous stages of Bahá’í history,
to the expressions of unqualified praise that have streamed from the pen
of both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the Center of His covenant, though
unrecorded, and in the main unsuspected by the mass of her passionate
admirers in East and West, the share she has had in influencing the course
of some of the chief events in the annals of the Faith, the sufferings she
bore, the sacrifices she made, the rare gifts of unfailing sympathy she so
strikingly displayed—these, and many others stand so inextricably
interwoven with the fabric of the Cause itself that no future historian of
the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh can afford to ignore or minimize.

As far back as the concluding stages of the heroic age of the Cause, which
witnessed the imprisonment of Bahá’u’lláh in the Síyáh-_Ch_ál of Ṭihrán,
the Greatest Holy Leaf, then still in her infancy, was privileged to taste
of the cup of woe which the first believers of that apostolic age had
quaffed.

How well I remember her recall, at a time when her faculties were still
unimpaired, the gnawing suspense that ate into the hearts of those who
watched by her side, at the threshold of her pillaged house, expectant to
hear at any moment the news of Bahá’u’lláh’s imminent execution! In those
sinister hours, she often recounted, her parents had so suddenly lost
their earthly possessions that within the space of a single day from being
the privileged member of one of the wealthiest families of Ṭihrán she had
sunk to the state of a sufferer from unconcealed poverty. Deprived of the
means of subsistence, her illustrious mother, the famed Navváb, was
constrained to place in the palm of her daughter’s hand a handful of flour
and to induce her to accept it as a substitute for her daily bread.

And when at a later time this revered and precious member of the Holy
Family, then in her teens, came to be entrusted by the guiding hand of her
Father with missions that no girl of her age could, or would be willing
to, perform, with what spontaneous joy she seized her opportunity and
acquitted herself of the task with which she had been entrusted! The
delicacy and extreme gravity of such functions as she, from time to time,
was called upon to fulfill, when the city of Ba_gh_dád was swept by the
hurricane which the heedlessness and perversity of Mírzá Yaḥyá had
unchained, as well as the tender solicitude which, at so early an age, she
evinced during the period of Bahá’u’lláh’s enforced retirement to the
mountains of Sulaymáníyyih, marked her as one who was both capable of
sharing the burden, and willing to make the sacrifice, which her high
birth demanded.

How staunch was her faith, how calm her demeanor, how forgiving her
attitude, how severe her trials, at a time when the forces of schism had
rent asunder the ties that united the little band of exiles which had
settled in Adrianople and whose fortunes seemed then to have sunk to their
lowest ebb! It was in this period of extreme anxiety, when the rigors of a
winter of exceptional severity, coupled with the privations entailed by
unhealthy housing accommodations and dire financial distress, undermined
once for all her health and sapped the vitality which she had hitherto so
thoroughly enjoyed. The stress and storm of that period made an abiding
impression upon her mind, and she retained till the time of her death on
her beauteous and angelic face evidences of its intense hardships.

Not until, however, she had been confined in the company of Bahá’u’lláh
within the walls of the prison-city of Akká did she display, in the
plenitude of her power and in the full abundance of her love for Him, more
gifts that single her out, next to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, among the members of the
Holy Family, as the brightest embodiment of that love which is born of God
and of that human sympathy which few mortals are capable of evincing.

Banishing from her mind and heart every earthly attachment, renouncing the
very idea of matrimony, she, standing resolutely by the side of a Brother
whom she was to aid and serve so well, arose to dedicate her life to the
service of her Father’s glorious Cause. Whether in the management of the
affairs of His Household in which she excelled, or in the social
relationships which she so assiduously cultivated in order to shield both
Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, whether in the unfailing attention she paid
to the every day needs of her Father, or in the traits of generosity, of
affability and kindness, which she manifested, the Greatest Holy Leaf had
by that time abundantly demonstrated her worthiness to rank as one of the
noblest figures intimately associated with the life-long work of
Bahá’u’lláh.

How grievous was the ingratitude, how blind the fanaticism, how persistent
the malignity of the officials, their wives, and their subordinates, in
return for the manifold bounties which she, in close association with her
Brother, so profusely conferred upon them! Her patience, her magnanimity,
her indiscriminating benevolence, far from disarming the hostility of that
perverse generation, served only to inflame their rancour, to excite their
jealousy, to intensify their fears. The gloom that had settled upon that
little band of imprisoned believers, who languished in the Fortress of
Akká, contrasted with the spirit of confident hope, of deep-rooted
optimism that beamed upon her serene countenance. No calamity, however
intense, could obscure the brightness of her saintly face, and no
agitation, no matter how severe, could disturb the composure of her
gracious and dignified behaviour.

That her sensitive heart instantaneously reacted to the slightest injury
that befell the least significant of creatures, whether friend or foe, no
one who knew her well could doubt. And yet such was the restraining power
of her will—a will which her spirit of self-renunciation so often prompted
her to suppress—that a superficial observer might well be led to question
the intensity of her emotions or to belittle the range of her sympathies.
In the school of adversity she, already endowed by Providence with the
virtues of meekness and fortitude, learned through the example and
exhortations of the Great Sufferer, who was her Father, the lesson she was
destined to teach the great mass of His followers for so long after Him.

Armed with the powers with which an intimate and long-standing
companionship with Bahá’u’lláh had already equipped her, and benefiting by
the magnificent example which the steadily widening range of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s activities afforded her, she was prepared to face the storm
which the treacherous conduct of the Covenant-breakers had aroused and to
withstand its most damaging onslaughts.

Great as had been her sufferings ever since her infancy, the anguish of
mind and heart which the Ascension of Bahá’u’lláh occasioned, nerved her,
as never before, to a resolve which no upheaval could bend and which her
frail constitution belied. Amidst the dust and heat of the commotion which
that faithless and rebellious company engendered she found herself
constrained to dissolve ties of family relationship, to sever
long-standing and intimate friendships, to discard lesser loyalties for
the sake of her supreme allegiance to a Cause she had loved so dearly and
had served so well.

The disruption that ensued found her ranged by the side of Him Whom her
departed Father had appointed as the Center of His Covenant and the
authorized Expounder of His Word. Her venerated mother, as well as her
distinguished paternal uncle, Áqáy-i-Kalím—the twin pillars who, all
throughout the various stages of Bahá’u’lláh’s exile from the Land of His
Birth to the final place of His confinement, had demonstrated, unlike most
of the members of His Family, the tenacity of their loyalty—had already
passed behind the Veil. Death, in the most tragic circumstances, had also
robbed her of the Purest Branch, her only brother besides ‘Abdu’l-Bahá,
while still in the prime of youth. She alone of the family of Bahá’u’lláh
remained to cheer the heart and reinforce the efforts of the Most Great
Branch, against whom were solidly arrayed the almost entire company of His
faithless relatives. In her arduous task she was seconded by the diligent
efforts of Munírih _Kh_ánum, the Holy Mother, and those of her daughters
whose age allowed them to assist in the accomplishment of that stupendous
achievement with which the name of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will forever remain
associated.

With the passing of Bahá’u’lláh and the fierce onslaught of the forces of
disruption that followed in its wake, the Greatest Holy Leaf, now in the
hey-day of her life, rose to the height of her great opportunity and
acquitted herself worthily of her task. It would take me beyond the
compass of the tribute I am moved to pay to her memory were I to dwell
upon the incessant machinations to which Muḥammad-‘Alí, the arch-breaker
of the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh, and his despicable supporters basely
resorted, upon the agitation which their cleverly-directed campaign of
misrepresentation and calumny produced in quarters directly connected with
Sulṭán ‘Abdu’l-Ḥamíd and his advisers, upon the trials and investigations
to which it gave rise, upon the rigidity of the incarceration it
reimposed, and upon the perils it revived. Suffice it to say that but for
her sleepless vigilance, her tact, her courtesy, her extreme patience and
heroic fortitude, grave complications might have ensued and the load of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s anxious care would have been considerably increased.

And when the storm-cloud that had darkened the horizon of the Holy Land
had been finally dissipated and the call raised by our beloved
‘Abdu’l-Bahá had stirred to a new life certain cities of the American and
European continents, the Most Exalted Leaf became the recipient of the
unbounded affection and blessings of One Who could best estimate her
virtues and appreciate her merits.

The decline of her precious life had by that time set in, and the burden
of advancing age was beginning to becloud the radiance of her countenance.
Forgetful of her own self, disdaining rest and comfort, and undeterred by
the obstacles that still stood in her path, she, acting as the honoured
hostess to a steadily increasing number of pilgrims who thronged
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s residence from both the East and the West, continued to
display those same attributes that had won her, in the preceding phases of
her career, so great a measure of admiration and love.

And when, in pursuance of God’s inscrutable Wisdom, the ban on
‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s confinement was lifted and the Plan which He, in the
darkest hours of His confinement, had conceived materialized, He with
unhesitating confidence, invested His trusted and honoured sister with the
responsibility of attending to the multitudinous details arising out of
His protracted absence from the Holy Land.

No sooner had ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stepped upon the shores of the European and
American continents than our beloved _Kh_ánum found herself well-nigh
overwhelmed with thrilling messages, each betokening the irresistible
advance of the Cause in a manner which, not withstanding the vast range of
her experience, seemed to her almost incredible. The years in which she
basked in the sunshine of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s spiritual victories were,
perhaps, among the brightest and happiest of her life. Little did she
dream when, as a little girl, she was running about, in the courtyard of
her Father’s house in Ṭihrán, in the company of Him Whose destiny was to
be one day the chosen Center of God’s indestructible Covenant, that such a
Brother would be capable of achieving, in realms so distant, and among
races so utterly remote, so great and memorable a victory.

The enthusiasm and joy which swelled in her breast as she greeted
‘Abdu’l-Bahá on His triumphant return from the West, I will not venture to
describe. She was astounded at the vitality of which He had, despite His
unimaginable sufferings, proved Himself capable. She was lost in
admiration at the magnitude of the forces which His utterances had
released. She was filled with thankfulness to Bahá’u’lláh for having
enabled her to witness the evidences of such brilliant victory for His
Cause no less than for His Son.

The outbreak of the Great War gave her yet another opportunity to reveal
the true worth of her character and to release the latent energies of her
heart. The residence of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in Haifa was besieged, all throughout
that dreary conflict, by a concourse of famished men, women and children
whom the maladministration, the cruelty and neglect of the officials of
the Ottoman Government had driven to seek an alleviation to their woes.
From the hand of the Greatest Holy Leaf, and out of the abundance of her
heart, these hapless victims of a contemptible tyranny, received day after
day unforgettable evidences of a love they had learned to envy and admire.
Her words of cheer and comfort, the food, the money, the clothing she
freely dispensed, the remedies which, by a process of her own, she herself
prepared and diligently applied—all these had their share in comforting
the disconsolate, in restoring sight to the blind, in sheltering the
orphan, in healing the sick, and in succoring the homeless and the
wanderer.

She had reached, amidst the darkness of the war days, the high water-mark
of her spiritual attainments. Few, if any, among the unnumbered
benefactors of society whose privilege has been to allay, in various
measures, the hardships and sufferings entailed by that Fierce Conflict,
gave as freely and as disinterestedly as she did; few exercised that
undefinable influence upon the beneficiaries of their gifts.

Age seemed to have accentuated the tenderness of her loving heart, and to
have widened still further the range of her sympathies. The sight of
appalling suffering around her steeled her energies and revealed such
potentialities that her most intimate associates had failed to suspect.

The ascension of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, so tragic in its suddenness, was to her a
terrific blow, from the effects of which she never completely recovered.
To her He, whom she called “Áqá,” had been a refuge in times of adversity.
On Him she had been led to place her sole reliance. In Him she had found
ample compensation for the bereavements she had suffered, the desertions
she had witnessed, the ingratitude she had been shown by friends and
kindreds. No one could ever dream that a woman of her age, so frail in
body, so sensitive of heart, so loaded with the cares of almost eighty
years of incessant tribulation, could so long survive so shattering a
blow. And yet history, no less than the annals of our immortal Faith,
shall record for her a share in the advancement and consolidation of the
world-wide community which the hand of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had helped to fashion,
which no one among the remnants of His Family can rival.

Which of the blessings am I to recount, which in her unfailing solicitude
she showered upon me, in the most critical and agitated hours of my life?
To me, standing in so dire a need of the vitalizing grace of God, she was
the living symbol of many an attribute I had learned to admire in
‘Abdu’l-Bahá. She was to me a continual reminder of His inspiring
personality, of His calm resignation, of His munificence and magnanimity.
To me she was an incarnation of His winsome graciousness, of His
all-encompassing tenderness and love.

It would take me too long to make even a brief allusion to those incidents
of her life, each of which eloquently proclaims her as a daughter, worthy
to inherit that priceless heritage bequeathed to her by Bahá’u’lláh. A
purity of life that reflected itself in even the minutest details of her
daily occupations and activities; a tenderness of heart that obliterated
every distinction of creed, class and color; a resignation and serenity
that evoked to the mind the calm and heroic fortitude of the Báb; a
natural fondness of flowers and children that was so characteristic of
Bahá’u’lláh; an unaffected simplicity of manners; an extreme sociability
which made her accessible to all; a generosity, a love, at once
disinterested and indiscriminating, that reflected so clearly the
attributes of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s character; a sweetness of temper; a
cheerfulness that no amount of sorrow could becloud; a quiet and
unassuming disposition that served to enhance a thousandfold the prestige
of her exalted rank; a forgiving nature that instantly disarmed the most
unyielding enemy—these rank among the outstanding attributes of a saintly
life which history will acknowledge as having been endowed with a
celestial potency that few of the heroes of the past possessed.

No wonder that in Tablets, which stand as eternal testimonies to the
beauty of her character, Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have paid touching
tributes to those things that testify to her exalted position among the
members of their Family, that proclaim her as an example to their
followers, and as an object worthy of the admiration of all mankind.

I need only, at this juncture, quote the following passage from a Tablet
addressed by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá to the Holy Mother, the tone of which reveals
unmistakably the character of those ties that bound Him to so precious, so
devoted a sister:

“To my honored and distinguished sister do thou convey the expression of
my heartfelt, my intense longing. Day and night she liveth in my
remembrance. I dare make no mention of the feelings which separation from
her has aroused in my heart, for whatever I should attempt to express in
writing will assuredly be effaced by the tears which such sentiments must
bring to my eyes.”

Dearly-beloved Greatest Holy Leaf! Through the mist of tears that fill my
eyes I can clearly see, as I pen these lines, thy noble figure before me,
and can recognize the serenity of thy kindly face. I can still gaze,
though the shadow of the grave separate us, into thy blue, love-deep eyes,
and can feel, in its calm intensity, the immense love thou didst bear for
the Cause of thine Almighty Father, the attachment that bound thee to the
most lowly and insignificant among its followers, the warm affection thou
didst cherish for me in thine heart. The memory of the ineffable beauty of
thy smile shall ever continue to cheer and hearten me in the thorny path I
am destined to pursue. The remembrance of the touch of thine hand shall
spur me on to follow steadfastly in thy way. The sweet magic of thy voice
shall remind me, when the hour of adversity is at its darkest, to hold
fast to the rope thou didst seize so firmly all the days of thy life.

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 the 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.

Intercede, O noble and well-favoured scion of a heavenly Father, for me no
less than for the toiling masses of Thy ardent lovers, who have sworn
undying allegiance to Thy memory, whose souls have been nourished by the
energies of Thy love, whose conduct has been moulded by the inspiring
example of Thy life, and whose imaginations are fired by the imperishable
evidences of Thy lively faith, Thy unshakable constancy, Thy invincible
heroism, Thy great renunciation.

Whatever betide us, however distressing the vicissitudes which the nascent
Faith of God may yet experience, we pledge ourselves, before the
mercy-seat of thy glorious Father, to hand on, unimpaired and undivided,
to generations yet unborn, the glory of that tradition of which thou hast
been its most brilliant exemplar.

In the innermost recesses of our hearts, O thou exalted Leaf of the Abhá
Paradise, we have reared for thee a shining mansion that the hand of time
can never undermine, a shrine which shall frame eternally the matchless
beauty of thy countenance, an altar whereon the fire of thy consuming love
shall burn forever.

SHOGHI.

Haifa, Palestine.
July 17, 1932.

[Editorial Note: Messages on the following pages, added to the 1968
edition of Bahá’í Administration, are also contained in Messages to
America, 1932–1946.]



FOOTNOTES


    1 Descendants (feminine) of Bahá’u’lláh.

    2 Bahíyyih, sister of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.

    3 Published in the booklet “Prayer of Bahá’u’lláh: Prayers and Tablets
      of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.”

    4 These translations, with others received later, were published as a
      pamphlet by the N.S.A.

    5 Published in the booklet “Prayer of Bahá’u’lláh: Prayers and Tablets
      of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.”

    6 The complete list of terms is to be found in Bahá’í World, volume
      VII.

    7 See previous footnote on transliterations.

    8 Published in “The Star of the West” during the year 1923.

    9 Published in the Bahá’í Magazine, Star of the West.

   10 Bahá’í Scriptures, New York, 1923; replaced by Bahá’í World Faith,
      1943.

   11 Published in “The Star of the West.”

   12 Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, by J. E. Esslemont, London, 1922;
      Bahá’í Publishing Committee, New York, 1927.

   13 This enclosure consisted of a copy of an article by Queen Marie in
      her newspaper syndicated series entitled “Queen’s Counsel.” Since
      the queen’s first public reference to the Cause in this series, two
      additional references have appeared, one on September 26 and one on
      September 27, 1926.





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