Critique of ITC Study on Guardianship and UHJ – Part Four

Posted on April 2, 2009. Filed under: book analysis | Tags: |

This is part Four of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6

WAS THERE REALLY NO WAY TO APPOINT A SUCCESSOR?

ITC Position:

Soon after it was established, the Universal House of Justice clarified the issue in a message dated 6 October 1963 to all National Spiritual Assemblies: After prayerful and careful study of the Holy Texts bearing upon the question of the appointment of the successor to Shoghi Effendi as Guardian of the Cause of God, and after prolonged consideration of the views of the Hands of the Cause of God residing in the Holy Land,the Universal House of Justice finds that there is no way to appoint or to legislate to make it possible to appoint a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi. (21)

Critique:

The bogus Universal House of Justice nailed this one. There is no way that they could appoint or legislate a guardian; only a guardian can do that.

ITC Position:

Was it anticipated that there would be no future Guardians?
Writing on the question of future Guardians, the Universal House of Justice has explained that there was no guarantee of the continuation of the line of Guardians: Future Guardians are clearly envisaged and referred to in the Writings, but there is nowhere any promise or guarantee that the line of Guardians would endure forever; onthe contrary there are clear indications that the line could be broken.

Critique:

Irrelevance, irrelevance, irrelevance. This paragraph is irrelevant to the issue at hand. True to form, the bogus UHJ uses bits and pieces of unrelated snips from various writings to justify their stance. They say there was a hinted-at possibility that the guardianship would not last forever. That may be true, the guardianship may not last forever. However, they say nothing about the issue at hand, the 1,000 year Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh’. The Institution of the Guardianship will endure with a succession of living guardians for the remainder of this Dispensation.

ITC Position:

Yet, in spite of this, there is a repeated insistence in the Writings on the indestructibility of the Covenant and the immutability of God’s Purpose for this Day. (22)

Indeed in the Most Holy Book, Bahá’u’lláh’ reveals the following passage which anticipated precisely what actually occurred regarding the successorship of the authority of the Cause of God:

Endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer of Signs. None hath the right to dispose of them without leave from Him Who is the Dawning-place of Revelation. After Him, this authority shall pass to the Aghsán, and after them to the House of Justice-should it be established in the world by then-that they may use these endowments for the benefit of the Places which have been exalted in this Cause,and for whatsoever hath been enjoined upon them by Him Who is the God of might and power. Otherwise, the endowments shall revert to the people of Bahá who speak not except by His leave and judge not save in accordance with what God hath decreed in this Tablet-lo, they are the champions of victory betwixt heaven and earth-that they may use them in the manner that hath been laid down in the Book by God, the Mighty, the Bountiful. (23)

In the explanatory notes to the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, prepared under the supervision of the Universal House of Justice, it is pointed out that this passage “has particular implications . . . For the succession of authority following the passing of Bahá’u’lláh. . . and of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.” (24) In connection with this section of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas the House of Justice has also written: The passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 precipitated the very situation provided for in this passage, in that the line of Aghsán ended before the House of Justice had been elected. (25)

Critique:

The ITC, and in fact most heterodox Baha’is, insist that the lineage of the Aghsán plays a significant part in guardian successorship. As shown in the above two paragraphs, it is inferred that at one time the Aghsán were available for appointment to the guardianship.

Laying aside what the ITC and the UHJ have to say about Aghsán, let us examine the thoughts of both ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi. (It goes without saying that In a Court of Law, both of their opinions would be viewed as expert testimony, well beyond that of the contemporary ITC and UHJ individual membership.)

Shoghi Effendi identified the Aghsán as the sons of Bahá’u’lláh (“God Passes By” page 239) and therefore the contemporaries of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. They would never have lived beyond the ministry of Shoghi Effendi and been eligible, even if loyal, for appointment as his successor. Aside from this fact, it may be noted that whereas in Part One of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, (p.11 of the edition, “Issued by National Spiritual Assembly of the Baha’is of the United States and Canada, 1944, from text received at 104 Wall Street, New York, February 25, 1922, addressed by the Guardian to ‘The beloved of God and the handmaids of the Merciful throughout the United States of America and Canada,'”) it states: “It is incumbent upon the members of the House of Justice, upon all the Aghsán, the Afnán, the Hands of the Çause of God to show their obedience, submissiveness and subordination unto the guardian of the Cause of God…”

In Part Three of the Will (p.25), written at a later date, it states: “For he [Shoghi Effendi] 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.” It may be noted that significantly the Aghsán have been conspicuously omitted in this subsequent part of the Will as they obviously had already by that time become disloyal.

Yet, upon the passing of Shoghi Effendi, the Hands in their proclamation of November 25, 1957, (as recorded in the book “The Ministry of the Custodians”) claimed as the single reason why “no successor to Shoghi Effendi could have been appointed by him” was because “The Aghsán (branches) one and all are either dead or have been declared violators of the Covenant.” As this disloyalty had occurred prior to the ministry of Shoghi Effendi, and if it were true, as they erroneously claim, that their disloyalty had now precluded his naming a successor, they should have been asked why then would Shoghi Effendi, certainly aware of this, have still written all that he did so copiously about the Guardianship and its continuance and its essentiality to the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh in his writings and messages?

Beyond those significant and “deal-closing” facts, I must admit that I have never understood the logic of the bogus UHJ using the Endowments Dedicated to Charity and the Huqúq’u’lláh to justify their position as being the central authority of the Bahá’í Faith.They use the Most Holy Book, the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, to give credence to their twisted intent. Yes, the line of the Aghsán had ended, but that had no direct impact upon the formation of a Universal House of Justice. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had already anticipated and taken care of that in His Will. The Will and Testament has many facets, one of which describes what could happen if an Aghsán was not available for succession to the guardianship. (Could it not be that is precisely why ‘Abdu’l-Bahá included that in His Will? Although it is so very obvious now, He knew the likelihood of the availability of the Aghsán was to be either a non-issue or not very likely?) ‘Abdu’l-Bahá further discusses that another branch may be chosen under certain circumstances, not that the UHJ may be formed first, and then afterwards anoint itself to be the center of authority. The Will of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá stipulates in great detail the manner in which a proper UHJ must be structured in order for it to be the Universal House of Justice envisioned by Bahá’u’lláh. It clearly tells of the essentiality of the guardian of the Cause of God to provide the proper conduct of its responsibilities. Nowhere in any of the Holy Writings does it discuss that a UHJ may exist absent a living guardian. Quite the contrary, the Institution of the Guardianship is such an elemental factor in the activities of the Administrative Order that should there be a time that there is no living guardian, the wheels will immediately fall off, and the carcass of the Faith will turn to dust.

The Kitáb-i-Aqdas refers to endowments dedicated to charity as well as Huqúq’u’lláh, the fixed money offering (the right of God.) However, it discusses them in two separate categories. The Huqúq’u’lláh is the right of God, to be managed within the offices of the guardian of the Cause, while endowments dedicated to charity is in the responsibility of the UHJ. They comprise two separate categories, yet the bogus UHJ manages them both and apparently combines them into one category.

The Huqúq’u’lláh was not intended to be involved in guardianship succession. I am reminded of an obnoxious slogan used by a noted politician in the United States during his successful presidential campaign: “It’s the economy, stupid!” Unfortunately, I find parallels of that within the approach the bogus UHJ uses in the justification of their House of Justice. Any aspect of the handling of monetary issues smacks of materialism; money is the fuel of materialism. Materialism is the antithesis of spirituality. Spirituality is the foundation of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. It is no accident that monetary issues, Huqúq’u’lláh and the endowments dedicated to charity are discussed within the Holy pages of the book of laws. How else will humans learn to overcome their materialistic bent?

The bogus Universal House of Justice uses the spiritually charged Kitáb-i-Aqdas, with its mantle of spirituality, to give credence to their use of its words to justify their existence.

The problem with that is that the instruction they cling to was intended for the handling of monetary matters; materialism. I daresay that protection from an avenue that can lead to the peril and decay that materialism has brought to our present society definitely has a place in the Aqdas. It is the pinnacle of irony that the bogus UHJ has to resort to a matter of discussion dealing with materialistic overtones and twist its intent, for the foundation of their supposedly spiritual Universal House of Justice.

The primary element that is missing in all the activities of the bogus Universal House of Justice is the element of connectivity with the Holy Spirit, the Divine Linkage with God.

God’s Covenant with humans has always been in the forefront of any religious thought and authenticity. The Ark of the Covenant is often emphasized in the hereditary lineage of the religion. In any case, it is a given that a proper lineage is necessary in order that an effective adherence to God’s Law may be realized. History tells us that this is the one element of any revelation that becomes almost immediately flawed with the passing of the Prophet, and thus has led to murky or corrupted lines of succession.

The most distinguishing feature of the Bahá’í Faith is that for the first time, humans were left with a clearly defined path to follow in order that the hereditary lineage to the All Knowing would be ensured. It logically follows that the avenue of the lineage must follow certain tests in order to be valid. The Will and Testament provides the touchstone for that to happen. If every Sacred Clause of the Will is not satisfied, there is most certainly error involved in whatever results are generated.

Do you follow every Sacred Clause of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Will and Testament? One of the conditions of the Will is that a guardian must appoint his successor during his lifetime. Shoghi Effendi did that. In fact, every action performed by Shoghi Effendi was in compliance with the Will. Since the connection with the Holy Spirit flows through that Institution, it is absolutely necessary for the guardian’s pronouncements to be followed.

One of the requirements that Shoghi Effendi called an essential prelude to the establishment of the House of Justice was that a system of six national Bahá’í Courts be established in the chief Islámic Eastern cities of Tihrán, Cairo, Baghdád, New Delhi, Karachi, and Kabul. In discussing the activities of the duties of the members of his International Bahá’í Council, he related: “…To these will be added further functions in course of evolution of this first embryonic International Institution, marking its development into officially recognized Bahá’í Court, its transformation into duly elected body, its efflorescence into Universal House of Justice, and its final fruition through erection of manifold auxiliary institutions constituting the World Administrative Center destined to arise and function and remain permanently established in close neighborhood of Twin Holy Shrines.”  — Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Bahá’í World: 1950-1957 pages 7, 8

Process of the unfoldment of the ever-advancing Administrative Order accelerated by the formation of the International Bahá’í Council designed to assist in the erection of the superstructure of the Báb’s Sepulcher, cement ties uniting the budding World Administrative Center with the recently established state, and pave the way for the formation of the Bahá’í Court, essential prelude to the institution of the Universal House of Justice.  — Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Bahá’í World: 1950-1957 page 13

It has been argued more than once by sans-guardian Baha’is on the newsgroup, talk religion bahai, that it had been impossible to establish a Bahá’í Court system then since conditions were not amenable. Excuse me? That is the lamest of lame excuses. That is like saying that God knew less about the establishment of the UHJ than they did. They had no authority to by-pass one of the essential preludes to the establishment of a UHJ simply because they pre-judged that it was too difficult. There was no pre-ordained timeline for the development of that Court System other than in the minds of the Hands.Had the Shoghi Effendi-appointed International Bahá’í Council convened, the Bahá’í Court System would have been accomplished and its growing stature would have led to the formation of a Universal House of Justice with a guardian at its head.

This concludes Part Four of the Critique.

This is part Four of a Critique by Hand of Cause of God David Maxwell of A Study for Auxiliary Board Members of the Guardianship & The Universal House of Justice Prepared by the International Teaching Centre (of the heterodox Bahá’ís).  Click here to read: Part 1 | Part 2 | Part 3 | Part 5 | Part 6

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