While it is understood that the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá does not require the incumbent Guardian to appoint a Persian as his successor and that the race and nationality of the Guardian is not a consideration in this appointment, future Guardians of the Faith in the centuries that lie ahead will undoubtedly represent many races and nationalities, the Persian believers will be pleased to learn that the present Guardian has appointed a Persian believer as his successor Nosrat'u'llah Bahremand, This dedicated, devoted and exemplary Bahá'í, Nosrat'u'llah, Bahremand, well versed in the Teachings and in the provisions of the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Bahá, and the writings of Shoghi Effendi and those of his successors, has been deservedly appointed Vice-President of the third International Bahá'í Council that Joel B. Marengella appointed on 22 September 2006 and, upon the termination of his Guardianship, his chosen successor.
A LETTER TO THE PERSIAN BAHA'IS
FAITHFUL TO THE COVENANT OF BAHÁ'U'LLÁH
(BY THE THIRD GUARDIAN JOEL.B.MARENGELLA)
Read below passages from the overlooked significant messages of Shoghi Effendi that provide irrefutable evidence that Shoghi Effendi, ever faithful to the sacred provisions of the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Bahá, clearly provided for the continuance of the Guardianship.
Be advised that upon the termination of my ministry, the Guardianship will again be in the hands of the Persian believer whom I have appointed as my successor and who is identified below.
Prior to naming my successor, it would be well to briefly trace for the benefit of the uninformed believer, the developments that took place following the tremendous shock sustained by the Baha’i world upon the sudden and unexpected passing of Shoghi Effendi in November 1957. Further great consternation ensued when it appeared that Shoghi Effendi had not appointed a successor, as called for in the divinely-conceived, sacred and immutable provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and that therefore inexplicably he had permanently deprived the Faith of the guidance, the indispensable interpretive authority and headship of the future Universal House of Justice with which the Guardian is invested under the terms of the Master’s Will.
Obviously perplexed as the Hands of t he Cause were, at the time, that Shoghi Effendi had apparently not appointed a successor, they looked for a will and testament that he had left, although the Master’s Will does not call for the Guardian to use a will for this purpose but requires him instead to appoint his successor “in his own life-time.” Upon not finding such a document they immediately sadly concluded that the Guardianship of the Cause of God had come to a premature end only thirty-six years after the inception of the Administrative Order and then informed the Bahá’í world of this unwarranted conclusion.
Certainly, all believers conversant with the matchless writings of Shoghi Effendi on the Bahá’í Administrative Order, would find it incredulous that he had failed to appoint a successor, in the light of the emphasis that he had placed in these writings on the importance and essentiality of the Guardianship to the World Order of Baha’u’llah. Moreover, he had also stressed the fact that the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Bahá should be considered a part of the explicit holy Text whose provisions are therefore equated in their sacredness and immutability with the laws of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, and destined to remain unchanged and in effect as long as the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh, itself endures.
One would also need only to read the following passage from the writings of Shoghi Effendi in GOD PASSES BY, of the many others that could be quoted, to be convinced that Shoghi Effendi would never have failed to appoint his successor:
“ The Administrative Order which this historic Document has established, it should be noted, is, by virtue of its origin and character, unique in the annals of the world’s religious systems. No Prophet before Bahá’u’lláh, it can be confidently asserted, not even Muhammad Whose Book clearly lays down the laws and ordinances of the Islamic Dispensation, has established authoritatively and in writing, anything comparable to the Administrative Order which the authorized Interpreter of Bahá’u’lláh’s teachings has instituted, an Order which, by virtue of the administrative principles which its Author has formulated, the institutions He has established, and the right of interpretation with which He has invested its Guardian, must and will, in a manner unparalleled in any previous religion, safeguard from schism the Faith from which it has sprung.”
Sadly enough, deeply distraught and still in the throes of anguish and grief over the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the Hands of the Cause, who had assembled in Haifa following his passing, did not take the time to review actions that he had taken or communications that he had written “in his own life-time” in which he would have provided for the continuation of the Guardianship. Having therefore failed to do this, before reaching their hasty conclusion that the Guardianship had ended, they overlooked a momentous message that Shoghi Effendi had specifically addressed to the “National Assemblies of East and West,” some six years before his passing, on 9 January 1951, and therefore had not considered the tremendous implication and significance of the “epoch-making decision” that he had proclaimed in this message. It had opened with the word: “Proclaim,” the first time that Shoghi Effendi had opened a message with this word, and it would turn out to be the only Proclamation he would issue during his ministry. In this Proclamation he informed these National Spiritual Assemblies, of the formation “at long last” of “the first International Baha’i Council”––“this first embryonic International Institution”–– whose establishment he now hailed as the “most significant milestone in the evolution of the Administrative Order of the Faith of Bahá’ulláh” and further emphasized its importance in stating it was the “forerunner of the supreme administrative institution” of the Faith––the embryonic Universal House of Justice. And they would have noted in a follow up message of 2 March 1951 that he had identified the President of this embryonic institution, whom he had appointed and then recalled the Words of Abdu’l-Bahá in which He states that, “the embryo possesses from the first all perfections . . . . .” They would have then realized why Shoghi Effendi had never called upon Mason Remey, to convene the Council into a functioning administrative body during the remaining years of his ministry. And it would moreover have become clear why the officers of the Council, who had also been specifically appointed by Shoghi Effendi, in addition to its President, namely, its Secretary-General, Hand of the Cause, Leroy Ioas, its Secretary for the East (Dr. Lotfullah Hakim), its Secretary for the West (Ethel Revell) and its Treasurer (Jesse Revell) had also never been called upon during Shoghi Effendi’s ministry to perform these assigned functions as officers in an actively functioning Council, under the direction of its President, Mason Remey.
It would then have been further obvious to them that upon Shoghi Effendi’s appointment of the first contingent of the Hands of the Cause on 25 December 1951 (also in its embryonic form) together with the previous appointment of the embryonic Universal House of Justice he had been able to finally announce in his message of 20 June 1952 that: “At the World Center of the Faith . . . “at long last the machinery of its highest institutions [the International Council and the Hands] has been erected and around whose most holy shrines the supreme organs of its unfolding Order, are in their embryonic form unfolding.”
Had the Hands at this point reviewed one more significant communication from Shoghi Effendi the quandary with which they seemed to be faced, as to whom should now assume responsibility for the direction of the affairs of the Faith, would have been readily resolved. For Shoghi Effendi had stated in a message, under date of 23 November 1951, in which he discussed the “Ten Year Global Crusade” scheduled to commence at Ridvan 1963 that it would “embrace all the continents of the earth” and would “bring the Central Body [the International Bahá’í Council] directing these widely ramified operations into direct contact with all the National Assemblies of the Baha’i world . . . .”
Unfortunately and tragically for the future of the Faith, they failed to review these highly significant messages of Shoghi Effendi, and, as a result, the Hands of the Cause did not permit the affairs of the Faith to be rightfully assumed by the embryonic Universal House of Justice–– provisionally named the International Baha’i Council––and this “Central Body” that Shoghi Effendi had stated would be directing the future activities of the National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the world and accordingly decided to establish in the place of this institution of the Faith a body of nine Hands, that they would name “Custodians of the Baha’i World Faith,” an obviously illegitimate body that was clearly of their own making and completely outside the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. And they then issued a Proclamation to the Baha’i world, under date of 25 November 1957, stating that these Custodians, acting on their behalf as “Chief Stewards” of the Faith, would assume “all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardianship of the Bahá’í Faith.” It was this body that in less than six years surrendered this authority to a body that they identified as the Universal House of Justice although obviously an incomplete body without the Guardian presiding as its “sacred head” as prescribed under the terms of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and in complete disregard of the legitimate embryonic Universal House of Justice that Shoghi Effendi had already created in 1951 under the provisional name of International Baha’i Council and whose future active role as the “Central Body” of the Faith he had specifically projected in his message of 23 November 1951.
Any clear thinking and unbiased believer will discover from the facts outlined above that tragically the great majority of the believers have tragically suffered these many years since the passing of Shoghi Effendi under the patently false impression that the Guardianship of the Faith ended with his passing.
While it is understood that the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá does not require the incumbent Guardian to appoint a Persian as his successor and that the race and nationality of the Guardian is not a consideration in this appointment, future Guardians of the Faith in the centuries that lie ahead will undoubtedly represent many races and nationalities, the Persian believers will be pleased to learn that the present Guardian has appointed a Persian believer as his successor. His father, a resident of Tihran, had never believed that the Guardianship of the Faith had ended with the passing of Shoghi Effendi in November 1957, as he had never wavered in his faith in the indestructibility of the Covenant of Bahå’u’lláh or accepted the view that the major and immutable provisions of its immortal and sacred “Child”––the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá––had become null and void. The steadfastness of his faith was rewarded when he recognized and accepted Mason Remey as Shoghi Effendi’s successor upon the receipt of his Proclamation at Ridvan, 1960. His son, Nosrat’u’llah Bahremand, also accepted his Guardianship but had never received information as to the identity of Mason Remey’s appointed successor. Notwithstanding, he remained steadfast in his belief that the continuance of the Guardianship of the Faith had been assured down through the ages to come of the Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh. There is therefore no doubt that, because of his steadfastness in the Covenant, God decreed that he would be guided to leave Iran some years ago and make the decision to settle in the distant city of Perth, Australia, where unbeknownst to him the living Guardian of the Faith then resided, and where he would finally discover that his unwavering faith in the Covenant would, at last, be fulfilled and where he would find, accept and embrace the third Guardian of the Faith in person, while sacrificing, in so doing, his livelihood, the painful severance from members of his family and previous relationships with his fellow-Bahá’ís who did not follow him in the acceptance of my Guardianship. This dedicated, devoted and exemplary Bahá’í, Nosrat’u’llah, Bahremand, well versed in the Teachings and in the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and the writings of Shoghi Effendi and those of his successors, has been deservedly appointed Vice-President of the third International Bahá’í Council that I appointed on 22 September 2006 and, upon the termination of my Guardianship, my chosen successor.
Joel Bray Marangella
Third Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith
6 May 2007