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Old 01-03-2013, 07:29 PM   #1
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What is the wisdom of the hereditary Guardianship?

In Baha'i doctrine the institution of the Guardianship is hereditary and was ordained by Abdul Baha in his Will and Testament. This was intended to be the arrangement until the arrival of the next Manifestation. But we know that for various reasons a hereditary successor for Shoghi Effendi could not be appointed and now we are without a Guardian until the next Manifestation arrives. How do we feel about this? Does anybody feel it was meant to happen?

I just find it hard to believe that after Islam's experience with hereditary leadership that it was still the Divine Will to continue organizing things in this manner with all the problems it caused and its uncertain nature. And from our experience with it we see that it is not a foolproof arrangement by any means. So I'm left wondering what this means. Is this an indication that the Baha'i revelation is really just the well-intentioned brain child of an imperfect man? Is there some sort of special benefit derived from a hereditary leadership succession? Is there some profound lesson to be taught from man's experience with it?

I've been searching the Writings and the Baha'i blogosphere and haven't found much. Hopefully you all can help me out. I'm genuinely perplexed with this one....
 
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Old 01-03-2013, 09:54 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano2k10 View Post
In Baha'i doctrine the institution of the Guardianship is hereditary and was ordained by Abdul Baha in his Will and Testament. This was intended to be the arrangement until the arrival of the next Manifestation. But we know that for various reasons a hereditary successor for Shoghi Effendi could not be appointed and now we are without a Guardian until the next Manifestation arrives. How do we feel about this? Does anybody feel it was meant to happen?

I just find it hard to believe that after Islam's experience with hereditary leadership that it was still the Divine Will to continue organizing things in this manner with all the problems it caused and its uncertain nature. And from our experience with it we see that it is not a foolproof arrangement by any means. So I'm left wondering what this means. Is this an indication that the Baha'i revelation is really just the well-intentioned brain child of an imperfect man? Is there some sort of special benefit derived from a hereditary leadership succession? Is there some profound lesson to be taught from man's experience with it?

I've been searching the Writings and the Baha'i blogosphere and haven't found much. Hopefully you all can help me out. I'm genuinely perplexed with this one....

cyrano2k10 - Welcome to the Forum

Good Question - It has never really bothered me as such as I think the Faith has been adequately protected by the Covenant of Baha'u'llah and the Will & Testament of Abdul'Baha.

As no Guardian could be appointed then the Body of the Universal House of Justice became the Head of the Faith. The Hands of the Cause handled the situation with great wisdom at the time.

Could be that as Baha'is or Mankind as a whole was just not receptive enough for this bounty to be given by God? Abdul'Baha has said that if the Faith was ready the Universal House of Justice would have been elected in His Time. Could this passage in Part 3 of the Will and Testament actually be a vision of what was going to happen;

"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 and 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". (Bold Added)

Could it be that we did not hold to our requirement and thus put undue pressure on Shoghi Effendi and thus he did not become a Fruitful tree (ie give birth to dependents?)

Maybe in the future and with very knowledgeable people the answer to this question will be apparent?

Of most importance though is we do Have the Universal House of Justice that has been appointed as intended by Baha'u'llah and Abdul'Baha. It is with this Body that we must move forward into the future with giving our 100% devotion.

If we do this the Faith will be protected 100%, if we do not, the Faith will be open to attack and may not survive fully intact.

Regards Tony

Last edited by tonyfish58; 01-03-2013 at 10:07 PM. Reason: Added a quote
 
Old 01-03-2013, 11:42 PM   #3
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Sounds like the prophet of Bahai (after the last prophet and seal muhammad) wanted to have his lineage have all the power. And Bahai criticise the Christian Priesthood.
 
Old 01-04-2013, 12:01 AM   #4
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What proof do you have that Baha'u'llah, Abdul'Baha and Shoghi Effendi wanted power? You make false claims against something you've never studied.

If I tell you the sun that rises on Monday is the same sun that rises on Tuesday, would you agree?
 
Old 01-04-2013, 12:26 AM   #5
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I have no reason to think of this as a pure thing, it seems basic from history people with power and authoirty have always wanted their children to inherit such things. Your prophet is no better. Rather it would have meant something if he had actually chosen someone else rather than his son.
 
Old 01-04-2013, 12:20 PM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iconodule View Post
I have no reason to think of this as a pure thing, it seems basic from history people with power and authoirty have always wanted their children to inherit such things. Your prophet is no better. Rather it would have meant something if he had actually chosen someone else rather than his son.
Iconodule - The words you have spoken above are a most unjust representation of the facts. Please find some Justice & Love in your heart

The Bab, Baha'u'llah, Abdul'Baha and even Shoghi Effendi wished for no Earthly Power and lived their lives as such. The Bab and Baha'u'llah sacrificed all earthly comfort and wealth as to allow mankind to be released from their cage of unbelief. Abdul'Baha Sacrificed His life in service to them as the "Servant of Baha"and Shoghi did likewise for them all.

They were all known for their sacrifice, deeds and giving all they could to the poor. There are thousands of eye witness reports that are available to confirm this very fact.

There is no individual in this Faith that can wield any "Power".

It is the same power that Christ wielded that you have just condemned, are you sure you would not like to reconsider?

Regards Tony
 
Old 01-04-2013, 02:08 PM   #7
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The descendents of Baha'u'llah were also not permitted to have property in their names:

It is enjoined upon everyone to manifest love towards the Aghsan, but God hath not granted them any right to the property of others.

(Baha'u'llah, Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 221)

On his passing in 1957 Shoghi Effendi left no will and there was no one left in the family of Baha'u'llah from which to select another Guardian.

So the appointed Hands of the Cause from 1957 until the election of the House of Justice in 1963 guided the Faith and protected it which was their role.. Protection and Propagation of the Faith.

From the Kitab-i-Aqdas:

Endowments dedicated to charity revert to God,
the Revealer of Signs. None hath the right to dispose of 35
them without leave from Him Who is the Dawning-place
of Revelation. After Him, this authority shall
pass to the Aghsan, 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.

(Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 34)

So from this we can gather that it is the House of Justice that disposes of endowments and this in the Kitab-i-Aqdas.

The Universal House of Justice was foreseen all along...
 
Old 03-15-2013, 09:24 AM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano2k10 View Post
In Baha'i doctrine the institution of the Guardianship is hereditary and was ordained by Abdul Baha in his Will and Testament. This was intended to be the arrangement until the arrival of the next Manifestation. But we know that for various reasons a hereditary successor for Shoghi Effendi could not be appointed and now we are without a Guardian until the next Manifestation arrives. How do we feel about this? Does anybody feel it was meant to happen?

I just find it hard to believe that after Islam's experience with hereditary leadership that it was still the Divine Will to continue organizing things in this manner with all the problems it caused and its uncertain nature. And from our experience with it we see that it is not a foolproof arrangement by any means. So I'm left wondering what this means. Is this an indication that the Baha'i revelation is really just the well-intentioned brain child of an imperfect man? Is there some sort of special benefit derived from a hereditary leadership succession? Is there some profound lesson to be taught from man's experience with it?

I've been searching the Writings and the Baha'i blogosphere and haven't found much. Hopefully you all can help me out. I'm genuinely perplexed with this one....
Dear friend I would like to explain from my own understanding.
As you say this guardianship is in Islam, but only one part of Islam (shia) believe this. But as a Baha'i we also believe it to be so. OK.
Now the problem with Islam is that it was not written down by the Prophet so it was not obeyed, and division was caused.

Now in the Baha'i Faith there is no cause for division as it is in the writings, so was confirmed by the messenger of God. So how can you say:-I just find it hard to believe that after Islam's experience with hereditary leadership that it was still the Divine Will to continue organizing things in this manner with all the problems it caused and its uncertain nature.End quote

So we have answered this misunderstanding.

Now Baha'u'lah had other son's why did He choose Abdul-Baha, was it not because of his perfections, his spiritual understanding? He did not choose His eldest son just because he was family as some appear to think. No and then Abdul-Baha chose who? a grandson who again he saw had these spiritual qualities or I believe he would have chosen no one and hastened the Universal House of Justice which was foreseen by Baha'u'llah as having to be formed one day. So in fact it is not a progressive line of relatives, but a progressive line of spiritual leadership.
Now we know that certain souls tried to usurp Baha'u'llah's directions but of course they were not successful due to His Promise to mankind.

Does this give you a better understanding?
 
Old 03-17-2013, 08:17 AM   #9
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A clarification

Hey guys,

Thanks for all your responses. I think, though, I should clarify my question. I'm not worried about the role of the UHJ vs the role of the Guardian. According to my understanding the Guardian and the UHJ were to be co-existing institutions, the Guardian to resolve doctrinal issues and the UHJ to legislate Baha'i law. They are/were supposed to be complimentary institutions.

My doubt is with the uncertain nature of the hereditary Guardianship. It's always a possibility that the Guardian won't have offspring or a suitable male relative to succeed him. And I'm sure Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha knew this. So my question is, if they knew that a hereditary guardianship was not guaranteed, why did they intend for the institutions of Guardian and UHJ to be complimentary and co-existing?

It also seems like it would be more important to have both institutions rather than insist on a hereditary succession in the Guardianship. Why would they rather do away with the Guardianship than abrogate its hereditary nature?

I look forward to your insights. Thanks in advance.
 
Old 03-17-2013, 09:20 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano2k10 View Post
Hey guys,

Thanks for all your responses. I think, though, I should clarify my question. I'm not worried about the role of the UHJ vs the role of the Guardian. According to my understanding the Guardian and the UHJ were to be co-existing institutions, the Guardian to resolve doctrinal issues and the UHJ to legislate Baha'i law. They are/were supposed to be complimentary institutions.

My doubt is with the uncertain nature of the hereditary Guardianship. It's always a possibility that the Guardian won't have offspring or a suitable male relative to succeed him. And I'm sure Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha knew this. So my question is, if they knew that a hereditary guardianship was not guaranteed, why did they intend for the institutions of Guardian and UHJ to be complimentary and co-existing?

It also seems like it would be more important to have both institutions rather than insist on a hereditary succession in the Guardianship. Why would they rather do away with the Guardianship than abrogate its hereditary nature?

I look forward to your insights. Thanks in advance.
I thought I had explained this question.

First where do you get the idea that the of Guardian and UHJ to be complimentary and co-existing? For me this idea is incorrect. Can you show quotes from the writings?

I will explain again the UHJ is a Guardian, and a continuation of what was written, for me your idea is a misunderstanding.
 
Old 03-17-2013, 09:46 AM   #11
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Iconodule View Post
I have no reason to think of this as a pure thing, it seems basic from history people with power and authoirty have always wanted their children to inherit such things. Your prophet is no better. Rather it would have meant something if he had actually chosen someone else rather than his son.
This is rhetorical misrepresentation of a social fact.

As religions form, believers adhere to the central "figure" until his/her passing, after which they require someone other form of authority by which to continue in the religion. If this authority isn't found, the religion becomes un-institutionalized, and thus the believers will drift into other institutions - be they religious, political, social, etc.

If authority is passed on, it is done through 1) culturally relevant methods or 2) methods the religion itself set up. More often than not, the 1) only happens when 2) is perceived to be unavailable.

This is a generalization of Weber's theory of Charisma in religious leaders. Hamid Dabashi, (Ph.D. UPenn, Professor at Columbia) discusses this in Islam in his book Authority in Islam, in which he states that Sunnis - who rejected Alí as a genuine leader - actually preferred culturally appropriate means of succession and thus re-implement a tribal system by which they arrived at the Caliphate. Shi'is, on the other hand, used the methods unique to their religion to continue a "spiritual" and not just "political" successor.

The Bahá'í Faith emulates the Shi'i stance not only because it originates in a Shi'i context, but also because, as a global religion, it's not possible for us to have a "cultural" method of succession. Having hereditary leadership was the closest method given our context, but it was explicitly ordained in various Tablets and Writings.

To claim it was a "power grab" is to dispute the social complexity of religion in general.
 
Old 03-17-2013, 09:53 AM   #12
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkeyBill View Post
I thought I had explained this question.

First where do you get the idea that the of Guardian and UHJ to be complimentary and co-existing? For me this idea is incorrect. Can you show quotes from the writings?

I will explain again the UHJ is a Guardian, and a continuation of what was written, for me your idea is a misunderstanding.
No, they are two separate institutions that, ideally, would have functioned together. The Guardian is the Executive and interpreter, whereas the Universal House of Justice only has the power to legislate and apply law. Thus, the Guardian was our sort of "lead theologian," and the UHJ does not have the power to declare this or that theological.

"The interpretation of the Guardian, functioning within his own sphere, is as authoritative and binding as the enactments of the International House of Justice, whose exclusive right and prerogative is to pronounce upon and deliver the final judgement on such laws and ordinances as Bahá’u’lláh has not expressly revealed. Neither can, nor will ever, infringe upon the sacred and prescribed domain of the other. Neither will seek to curtail the specific and undoubted authority with which both have been divinely invested." -- World Order of Bahá'u'lláh -- Shoghi Effendi

The UHJ is a "continuation" only in the sense that as Head of the Faith we must turn ourselves to it. It does not have the same function as the Guardian.
 
Old 03-17-2013, 12:32 PM   #13
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No, they are two separate institutions that, ideally, would have functioned together. The Guardian is the Executive and interpreter, whereas the Universal House of Justice only has the power to legislate and apply law.
The Guardian is not named as the executive power, but is named as authoritative interpreter.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Owings View Post
The UHJ is a "continuation" only in the sense that as Head of the Faith we must turn ourselves to it. It does not have the same function as the Guardian.

Because we are familiar in the West with the models of Christian churches, in which the clergy both interpret the scripture and lay down the law, it is especially important for us to distinguish between the different roles of the Guardianship and the House of Justice. The Guardian "cannot legislate," and the House of Justice does not give us interpretations of scripture, so when we read their works, we have to read each within the framework of their two different functions.
 
Old 03-17-2013, 01:58 PM   #14
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Would not "head of the Faith" make him the Executive?

By this I did not mean "the grand enforcer."
 
Old 03-17-2013, 03:15 PM   #15
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BlinkeyBill View Post
I thought I had explained this question.

First where do you get the idea that the of Guardian and UHJ to be complimentary and co-existing? For me this idea is incorrect. Can you show quotes from the writings?

I will explain again the UHJ is a Guardian, and a continuation of what was written, for me your idea is a misunderstanding.
Hi Blinkey,

I was tutored in Book 8 recently on the Covenant and it is more in-depth than the other Ruhi books I've done so far..

I readily admit I don't understand this matter fully, but we seemed to glean that The Universal House of Justice and the Institution of the Guardianship are two different but inseparable Institutions. Indeed they are referred to as Twin Institutions.

When we speak of the Guardian, we think of Shoghi Effendi don't we? I know I do.

But also importantly, we realised that the Institution of the Guardianship has not ended, despite Shoghi Effendi passing to the next World. The UHJ hasn't taken over its role, as it plays a slightly different one. The Institution of the Guardianship lives on in the form of Shoghi Effendi's many Writings and letters.
Indeed the House of Justice regularly refers to His guidance.



1071. The Chosen Successors of Bahá'u'lláh' and 'Abdu'l-Bahá

"...They have ... in unequivocal and emphatic language, appointed those twin institutions of the House of Justice and of the Guardianship as their chosen Successors, destined to apply the principles, promulgate the laws, protect the institutions, adapt loyally and intelligently the Faith to the requirements of progressive society, and consummate the in- corruptible inheritance which the Founders of the Faith have bequeathed to the world."

(Shoghi Effendi: World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, 1982 ed., Wilmette, pp. 19-20)

(Compilations, Lights of Guidance, p. 318)
 
Old 03-17-2013, 03:34 PM   #16
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twin pillars

An attempt, I feel, should at the present juncture be made to
explain the character and functions of the twin pillars that support
this almighty Administrative Structure -- the institutions of the
Guardianship and of the Universal House of Justice...

It should be stated, at the very outset, in clear and unambiguous
language, that these twin institutions of the Administrative Order
of Bahá'u'lláh should be regarded as divine in origin, essential in
their functions and complementary in their aim and purpose.
Their common, their fundamental object is to insure the continuity
of that divinely-appointed authority which flows from the Source
of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain
the integrity and flexibility of its teachings. Acting in conjunction
with each other these two inseparable institutions administer its
affairs, coordinate its activities, promote its interests, execute
its laws and defend its subsidiary institutions. Severally, each
operates within a clearly defined sphere of jurisdiction; each is
equipped with its own attendant institutions -- instruments designed
for the effective discharge of its particular responsibilities
and duties. Each exercises, within the limitations imposed upon
it, its powers, its authority, its rights and prerogatives. These are
neither contradictory, nor detract in the slightest degree from the
position which each of these institutions occupies. Far from being
incompatible or mutually destructive, they supplement each other's
authority and functions, and are permanently and fundamentally
united in their aims.


(Adib Taherzadeh, The Child of the Covenant, p. 358)
 
Old 03-17-2013, 04:37 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano2k10 View Post
My doubt is with the uncertain nature of the hereditary Guardianship. It's always a possibility that the Guardian won't have offspring or a suitable male relative to succeed him. And I'm sure Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha knew this. So my question is, if they knew that a hereditary guardianship was not guaranteed, why did they intend for the institutions of Guardian and UHJ to be complimentary and co-existing?

It also seems like it would be more important to have both institutions rather than insist on a hereditary succession in the Guardianship. Why would they rather do away with the Guardianship than abrogate its hereditary nature?
cyrano, it doesn't make sense to me, either. I've never been satisfied with any of the explanations I've seen for what happened with the Guardianship. I've never found a good answer, and it might be a good long time before anyone does, if ever. Maybe the next Manifestation will explain it to us. You might be better off finding something better to do with your time, but you'll probably just have to find that out for yourself! Sorry, I wish I could do better!
 
Old 03-17-2013, 05:03 PM   #18
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Dear Owings and Rani

I realize fully that the UHJ does not have the full function of the Guardian, what I was saying is that we are now guided by the UHJ since the Guardianship did not continue, but now we are guided by the UHJ, so in a way we still have a guardian but without the power of interpretation and of course the spiritual knowledge of Shoghi Effendi. So for me we still have a guardian of the Faith but in a slightly different way.
Does this explain my thoughts better, I guess I did not explain myself properly.

I myself fully understand the sequence as handed down by Baha'u'llah and have no problem with the way it worked out.

My question as to why this person considers that the Guardian and the UHJ would or should work together, this was starting to sound very much like covenant breaking thoughts. That the Guardianship should have continued, I was wondering if he thought this way then with who? Just my thoughts.
 
Old 03-17-2013, 10:10 PM   #19
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Here are some of my thoughts about the Guardianship:

It looks to me like Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi both thought that there would be Guardians after Shoghi Effendi.

I think the Faith might be missing a lot by not having a living Guardian.

"Without such an institution the integrity of the Faith would be imperiled, and the stability of the entire fabric would be gravely endangered. Its prestige would suffer, the means required to enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking, and the necessary guidance to define the sphere of the legislative action of its elected representatives would be totally withdrawn."
- Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 148

That might all very well be what has happened. Actually, it does look that way to me. For example, I do see the prestige of the Faith suffering, from its treatment of gays and academics for example, and I can see very well how a living Guardian might have helped us avoid that. I don't see how all that can be discounted by saying we still have the writings of Shoghi Effendi. I don't see that as a substitute, at all, for the Guardianship I see in the writings of Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi. When Shoghi Effendi writes about the importance of the Guardianship, and what the Faith would be like without it, I don't see at all that he considers his own writings as sufficient for that purpose. For example, how does having his writings "enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations"?

Even if the Faith is missing a lot by not having a living Guardian, I don't see any value in agonizing over it, but I don't see any harm either, in anyone who wants to searching for ways to remedy it. I'm not thoroughly convinced, myself, that there can never be another Guardian, but I don't feel called to occupy myself with that.

I'm not willing to accept any cheap substitutes, either. I haven't seen enough fruits from the leadership of anyone who has claimed to be a Guardian after Shoghi Effendi, to take any interest in their claims. Besides, if any of them really were the Guardian, I don't think he would be campaigning against the House of Justice, even if it were not authentic. Even if I did not see the House of Justice as authentic, nothing could convince me to campaign against it. In my understanding, that would be contrary to what Baha'u'llah says about our relationships with those in authority, and to Shoghi Effendi's highest hopes.

"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 Effendi, Baha'i Administration, p. 66

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-17-2013 at 10:23 PM. Reason: to add
 
Old 03-17-2013, 10:23 PM   #20
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cyrano, I see a possible answer to your question about the wisdom of it in the words of Shoghi Effendi that I quoted above

"Without such an institution ... the means required to enable it to take a long, an uninterrupted view over a series of generations would be completely lacking ..."
- Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 148

Also Baha'u'llah said that He did not wish the world to be deprived of the majesty of kingship, and the hereditary nature of kingship might be part of its majesty. He said that there would be a reward for combining that with a republican form of government, and that's precisely what I see Abdu'l-Baha doing for the Faith, in his will and testament.

Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano2k10 View Post
It also seems like it would be more important to have both institutions rather than insist on a hereditary succession in the Guardianship. Why would they rather do away with the Guardianship than abrogate its hereditary nature?
I don't understand you saying that we "did away" with the Guardianship. We didn't just "do away" with it. The House of Justice tried its best to find a way for us to have one, and failed.

In accordance with guidance from the House of Justice about Internet discussions, I'd like to point out something you've said that might seem to some to be contrary to the Covenant. I see at least three things in Abdu'l-Baha's will and testament we would have had to ignore, to continue having a living Guardian. One of them is the hereditary nature of the Guardianship, and you seem to be depreciating that, and saying that it would be better to ignore it. Am I understanding you correctly?

If so, then in accordance with that same guidance, I invite you to re-evaluate your opinion and, if you still believe it to be valid, explain why it is not contrary to either the letter or the spirit of the Covenant.

Last edited by jimhabegger; 03-17-2013 at 10:52 PM.
 
Old 03-18-2013, 05:32 AM   #21
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Man you guys are quick!

Thanks for all the quick responses. And thanks to Jim, Owings, Sen, and Rani for collecting those quotations from the Writings. A guy sure does miss a lot over a weekend! :P

From your responses I can see that my question is better understood now. And, Jim, I suppose I chose my words poorly when I suggested that the UHJ did away with the Guardianship. That is not what I meant at all. I'm aware of the history of how it ended and how it left the UHJ without many options. I just chose my words poorly. I do think they made the best choice given the options available.

Also, I apologize if my line of questioning seems less than genuine or disrespectful of the Covenant. I have not yet studied book 8 and, being a new Baha'i, I may not know the rules and conventions for talking about the Covenant. But be assured that I am not trying to suggest things are being done wrong or they are being done better elsewhere. I'm simply trying to see how others view this dramatic turn in the Faith's history, what effects it has on the community, both good and bad.

Jim, it's precisely for the kinds of issues you mentioned with gays and academics that I've been thinking about this issue. I can see how the lack of a Guardian is seemingly leaving us to kind of muddle along for the next 800 years unresolved on important issues that the wider world is quickly leaving us behind on. And I see, especially as a young convert, how that unnecessarily damages the reputation of the Faith among people for whom it should be a natural draw. That doesn't mean I think the Faith is any less amazing or is incapable of dealing with these issues. I definitely think there are satisfactory answers out there. But I just see consensus on those issues taking much longer to achieve, since those changes will now have to happen from the bottom up.

There has also been talk that there is foreshadowing in the Writings of the Guardianship not lasting forever. That makes me think there might be a silver lining to this seeming predicament. What is everybody's view on that? Do you think it was supposed to happen like this? Do you think it is somehow for the good of the community rather than a handicap that we must overcome?

Hopefully you all are as talkative this week as you were last. Looking forward to your thoughts.

P.S. - I realize this is a potentially sensitive subject. But the purpose of this forum is to talk about anything and everything related to the Faith with others. To have some sensitive topics be de facto forbidden would be contrary to the spirit of "independent investigation of truth." When talking about issues surrounding the Covenant I would hope we can give each other the benefit of the doubt, at least until true trolling behavior happens. Otherwise it will be increasingly difficult to talk about this subject at all. And that's not what any of us wants. Thanks.
 
Old 03-18-2013, 05:56 AM   #22
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano2k10 View Post
Do you think it is somehow for the good of the community rather than a handicap that we must overcome?
Epiphany.

I've seen a movement among blind people to reject the label "handicap." I don't see any way to communicate all the implications of that in a few words. For now I will say that I still call blindness a disability, but I see it just as much as a gift. Now I see not having a living Guardian the same way: a disability, and a gift, at the same time.

It also gives me a new idea about God's plan: I've always thought of God's plan as a single, fixed plan. God has shown us through particle physics that we can't confine Him like that. A photon can be in two different places at the same time. God's plan could have been for us to have more Guardians, and not have more Guardians, at the same time.

We have what we have. I see nothing wrong with people speculating about it, and discussing, it until the end of time, as long as they do it in the right spirit, but I'd rather spend my time making the best of it.
 
Old 08-06-2013, 10:52 PM   #23
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheeler View Post
Does anyone want to know the truth behind these questions regarding the Guardianship?

Send me a message on Skype at wheeler928 and I'll get back to you. The truth behind these questions comes in a manner & a way in which nobody has anticipated.
The truth is already available.

One would wonder what you intend to present to an enquirer.

Regards Tony
 
Old 08-07-2013, 07:16 AM   #24
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My 2 cents

There are several "covenant-breaking" and "anti-bahai" internet sites that talk about "hereditary guardianship" so it makes red flags go up in the minds of Baha'is when you start talking about the concept of heredity in the guardianship. Unfortunately in this case, I think the red flags clouded the responses to the original question. (guys, seriously, do you have to run scared all time?)

In my days as an active Baha'i, I believed that the lack of an heir to the guardianship was, like you say, MEANT TO BE.

The very idea that heredity is the medium by which spiritual ability can be transferred is just silly and frankly, superstitious. It runs into genetic/racial superiority issues, entitlement issues, and discrimination issues. To me, this was symbolically important to the Baha'is from that cultural/religious background at that time, but now it's just not.

It was meant to be or it would have never happened this way. Will of God, plain and simple. That concept was important to those Baha'is at that time, but today, it's meaningless. I almost think it was a temporary transitional structure that has run it's course.

It's clear to me that since all of the other family members of Baha'u'llah are now no longer in the Faith, that should prove to everyone that heredity is not any kind of spiritual criteria.
 
Old 08-07-2013, 11:05 AM   #25
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P.S. - I realize this is a potentially sensitive subject. But the purpose of this forum is to talk about anything and everything related to the Faith with others. To have some sensitive topics be de facto forbidden would be contrary to the spirit of "independent investigation of truth." When talking about issues surrounding the Covenant I would hope we can give each other the benefit of the doubt, at least until true trolling behavior happens. Otherwise it will be increasingly difficult to talk about this subject at all. And that's not what any of us wants. Thanks.[/QUOTE]

Friends,
. This may seem off the cuff, but I have long pondered on the massive amount of work Shoghi Effendi did and all that he accomplished during his exhausting life of service to the Cause of God, especially setting up the Administrative Order.
. I my thinking, he accomplished what the Guardianship was intended to do, and had it been necessary for humanity to survive that we have another Guardian, God would have provided us with one.

. The Bab accomplished fully His role as the Gate before His martyrdom.
. Baha'u'llah fully revealed all that was necessary and destined by God.
. Abdul Baha accomplished 100% His Mission as the Center of the Covenant.
. Shoghi Effendi fulfilled the necessary functions in whole of Guardianship.
. The Universal House of Justice is infallibly guided to assure us of all that we need until the coming of the next Manifestation of God in a "thousand, or thousands of years"

We have nothing to worry about. There is nothing missing, or lacking, in the World Order of Baha'u'llah.

Ya Baha'ul'Abha!!
 
Old 08-07-2013, 11:37 AM   #26
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Responding to Dale above and the OP --

I agree that the First and Only Guardian "fulfilled" his duties, and did what he was intended to do.

Because of this, it doesn't really bother me that the line didn't continue. As other posters have mentioned and referenced, the institution was dependent on our own faith, and I can't say that it was ever "promised" to continue indefinitely. The successive continuation was simply the ideal.

I'm actually more satisfied that we don't have a Guardian. While I can see the benefits as a believer, I think it would create a lot more problems for nonbelieving seekers. We already have to defend numerous statements of the Guardian (both directly and through letters on his behalf) regarding homosexuality as a medical issue. If we had a Guardian today, who is to say that His interpretations, although infallible, wouldn't stimulate more criticism and rebuff more potential Baha'is than what we already have?

I don't mean to sound so negative about it, but the discontinuation of the Guardianship sounds like a freedom God is granting us to be the individual tailors of our own Faith and answers, as opposed to having absolutely everything codified down to the most mundane doctrinal detail. It's both a blessing and a curse.
 
Old 08-07-2013, 02:00 PM   #27
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by dale ramsdell View Post
Friends,
. This may seem off the cuff, but I have long pondered on the massive amount of work Shoghi Effendi did and all that he accomplished during his exhausting life of service to the Cause of God, especially setting up the Administrative Order.
. I my thinking, he accomplished what the Guardianship was intended to do, and had it been necessary for humanity to survive that we have another Guardian, God would have provided us with one.

. The Bab accomplished fully His role as the Gate before His martyrdom.
. Baha'u'llah fully revealed all that was necessary and destined by God.
. Abdul Baha accomplished 100% His Mission as the Center of the Covenant.
. Shoghi Effendi fulfilled the necessary functions in whole of Guardianship.
. The Universal House of Justice is infallibly guided to assure us of all that we need until the coming of the next Manifestation of God in a "thousand, or thousands of years"

We have nothing to worry about. There is nothing missing, or lacking, in the World Order of Baha'u'llah.

Ya Baha'ul'Abha!!
Well put my friend! I would have to agree 100%

Regards Tony
 
Old 08-15-2013, 06:04 PM   #28
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tonyfish58 View Post
The truth is already available.

One would wonder what you intend to present to an enquirer.

Regards Tony
You're right - the truth is available! And by reading all your posts, it's clear that NONE of you have come across it yet!!

None of you are interested in the truth. You're all interested in your own egos, hearing yourselves talk and ask lots of questions. How do I know this? Because the truth will FORCE you to change, FORCE you to act.... to call you into action, and also destroy your comfortable lives. Want to know the truth? Really?
 
Old 08-16-2013, 03:31 AM   #29
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheeler View Post
You're right - the truth is available! And by reading all your posts, it's clear that NONE of you have come across it yet!!
I'll just say it.. Arrogance will never be conducive to influence.

Besides, I don't believe you know what the participants on this forum do in their daily lives to assume they're not already being productive and offering good contribution to the people around them and in their circle.
But I wish you the best..
 
Old 08-16-2013, 05:18 AM   #30
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Quote:
None of you are interested in the truth. You're all interested in your own egos, hearing yourselves talk and ask lots of questions. How do I know this? Because the truth will FORCE you to change, FORCE you to act.... to call you into action, and also destroy your comfortable lives. Want to know the truth? Really?
Oh yes, by all means please lay out THE TRUTH since you so clearly have it. I very much enjoy laughing and taunting at arrogant narcissistic people with a delusional megalomaniac self-image.
 
Old 08-16-2013, 06:10 PM   #31
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[QUOTE=Wheeler;44419]

Dear friends don't allow the taunts of feeble minds provoke you.

6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.
6:22 Blessed are ye, when men shall hate you, and when they shall separate you from their company, and shall reproach you, and cast out your name as evil, for the Son of man's sake.
6:23 Rejoice ye in that day, and leap for joy: for, behold, your reward is great in heaven: for in the like manner did their fathers unto the prophets.
6:24 But woe unto you that are rich! for ye have received your consolation.
6:25 Woe unto you that are full! for ye shall hunger. Woe unto you that laugh now! for ye shall mourn and weep.

King James Bible : Luke

Of course The Son of Man is the title of each Manifestation, so be happy.
 
Old 08-21-2013, 07:36 PM   #32
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I want to point out something that Owings said:

“I can’t say that it [the Guardianship] was ‘promised’ to continue indefinitely.”

Owings, this couldn’t be further from the truth – God promised that the Guardianship would continue forever! So, what you've done with that statement is imply that God is a liar!

*****

Consider this: You all already know that Baha’u’llah was a descendant of King David. Baha’u’llah said this. Abdu’l-Baha said this. Shoghi Effendi said this:

Baha’u’llah: “The Most Great Law is come, and the Ancient Beauty ruleth upon the throne of David. Thus hath My Pen spoken that which the histories of bygone ages have related.” - The Proclamation of Baha'u'llah, pg. 89

Abdu’l-Baha: This rod out of the stem of Jesse might be correctly applied to Christ, for Joseph was of the descendants of Jesse, the father of David; but as Christ found existence through the Spirit of God, He called Himself the Son of God. If He had not done so, this description would refer to Him. Besides this, the events which he indicated as coming to pass in the days of that rod, if interpreted symbolically, were in part fulfilled in the day of Christ, but not all; and if not interpreted, then decidedly none of these
signs happened. …… But these verses apply word for word to Baha'u'llah.Some Answered Questions, Pgs. 62-63.

Shoghi Effendi
: To [Baha’u’llah] Isaiah, the greatest of the Jewish prophets, had alluded as the "Glory of the Lord," the "Everlasting Father," the "Prince of Peace," the "Wonderful," the "Counsellor," the "Rod come forth out of the stem of Jesse" and the "Branch grown out of His roots," Who "shall be established upon the throne of David.”God Passes By, pg. 94

The Guardianship has never not existed. Baha’u’llah is a direct bloodline descendent of King David, and his Kingship – the Guardianship – was prophesied to continue on with His descendents. So the Guardianship cannot be empty. Here is a reference to the Davidic Kingship being a never-ending kingship:

“David shall never lack a man to sit on the throne…” - Jeremiah 33:17

So what part of never do you all not understand?? Somebody MUST be on the throne. A Guardian MUST exist if Baha’u’llah is the 2nd coming of Christ.

Some more references to David’s throne continuing forever:

Thou hast said, “I have made a covenant with my chosen one, I have sworn to David my servant: ‘I will establish your descendants for ever, and build your throne for all generations.’” - Psalms 89:3-4

My steadfast love I will keep for him for ever, and my covenant will stand firm for him. I will establish his line for ever and his throne as the days of the heavens. - Psalms 89:28-29

I will not violate my covenant, or alter the word that went forth from my lips. Once for all I have sworn by my holiness; I will not lie to David, His line shall endure for ever, his throne as long as the sun before me. - Psalms 89:34-36

The Guardianship is the descendency of King David’s throne – it will live forever…for as long as humans exist on this planet, the throne will exist. What part of for ever do you not understand??

The Guardianship exists. There are Baha’i’s who follow it.

Consider this: The Holy Texts say that only if the human race can stop night from occurring and stop day from occurring, only THEN will God end the throne of King David’s descendents:

“Thus says the Lord: If you can break my covenant with the day and my covenant with the night, so that day and night will not come at their appointed time, then also my covenant with David my servant may be broken, so that he shall not have a son to reign on his throne.” - Jeremiah 33:20-21

So according to the views of most Baha’i’s, the human race has stopped night from occurring. The human race has stopped day from happening. Because according to those Baha’i’s, the throne of David has ceased to exist! Think about that….that’s ridiculous!! Any Baha’i who believes the Guardianship has ceased to exist has NOT investigated the Baha’i Revelation to the point that they need to.

If you do not follow the Guardianship, then you are NOT a Baha’i!!!!!!!!!!
 
Old 08-22-2013, 04:24 AM   #33
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheeler View Post
The Guardianship exists. There are Baha’i’s who follow it.
Wrong.

There are covenant-breakers who follow it.

And while the Guardianship still exists as a spiritual institution, it is (and will remain) unoccupied.

No one but other covenant-breakers (and opponents having nothing whatever to do with the Baha'i Faith) considers them Baha'is.

Simple as that.


Bruce
 
Old 08-22-2013, 11:26 AM   #34
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceDLimber View Post



And while the Guardianship still exists as a spiritual institution,
That's what I was thinking, and
That is what was reminded to us (or me) when I studied The Covenant of Baha'u'llah (Book 8 Ruhi).

The Institution of the Guardianship is certainly alive, even if our beloved Guardian has passed to the spiritual world. It certainly feels alive to me! It is like a big library, full of knowledge, wisdom and wonder, and imbued with spirit, and we benefit from it every time we read some guidance or encouragement from Shoghi Effendi, and every time the House of Justice refers to His writings.
 
Old 08-22-2013, 11:32 AM   #35
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So, we know we don't need a living Guardian, as we still have the Institution of the Guardianship. His influence and guidance remains with us, and will do so at the very least until the next Dispensation. Likely after that too.
 
Old 08-22-2013, 12:55 PM   #36
Tony Bristow-Stagg
 
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Quote:
Originally Posted by BruceDLimber View Post


Wrong.

There are covenant-breakers who follow it.

And while the Guardianship still exists as a spiritual institution, it is (and will remain) unoccupied.

No one but other covenant-breakers (and opponents having nothing whatever to do with the Baha'i Faith) considers them Baha'is.

Simple as that.


Bruce
Bruce - That needed to be posted again.

May all be given the bounty to find the path to the light

Regards Tony
 
Old 08-26-2013, 09:20 AM   #37
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Quote:
Originally Posted by cyrano2k10 View Post
In Baha'i doctrine the institution of the Guardianship is hereditary and was ordained by Abdul Baha in his Will and Testament. This was intended to be the arrangement until the arrival of the next Manifestation. But we know that for various reasons a hereditary successor for Shoghi Effendi could not be appointed and now we are without a Guardian until the next Manifestation arrives. How do we feel about this? Does anybody feel it was meant to happen?

I just find it hard to believe that after Islam's experience with hereditary leadership that it was still the Divine Will to continue organizing things in this manner with all the problems it caused and its uncertain nature. And from our experience with it we see that it is not a foolproof arrangement by any means. So I'm left wondering what this means. Is this an indication that the Baha'i revelation is really just the well-intentioned brain child of an imperfect man? Is there some sort of special benefit derived from a hereditary leadership succession? Is there some profound lesson to be taught from man's experience with it?

I've been searching the Writings and the Baha'i blogosphere and haven't found much. Hopefully you all can help me out. I'm genuinely perplexed with this one....
Yes, there is a lesson. The lesson is that, unlike the Roman empire, we are capable of continuing on a religion without it imploding without a central leader. It will come when God decides we are ready. Remember, Bahaullah said it is expected we will be without a prophet for 1000 years. Maybe God wants us to focus on development of human society instead of religion for awhile.
 
Old 11-15-2013, 03:22 PM   #38
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Quote:
Originally Posted by potato skillet View Post
Yes, there is a lesson. The lesson is that, unlike the Roman empire, we are capable of continuing on a religion without it imploding without a central leader. It will come when God decides we are ready. Remember, Bahaullah said it is expected we will be without a prophet for 1000 years. Maybe God wants us to focus on development of human society instead of religion for awhile.
Very well said.
 
Old 11-15-2013, 07:22 PM   #39
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Wheeler View Post
...

The Guardianship exists. There are Baha’i’s who follow it.

...
Good morning

This statement is certain to raise an immediate response (very gentle smile).

Reading your post, it is not clear whether you speak of a "living" guardian, which is an impossibility at this time, or if you are referring to an ongoing Guradianship, which, yes, continues in the legacy of the incredible wealth of material given to the world by Shoghi Effendi.

If it is the former, it is impossible to have a "living" guardian as Shoghi Effendi, with his wisdom, left no will, and thus, no appointment of a flesh and blood successor. 'Abdu'l-Baha, in His Will and Testament, made it clear that it was the responsiblity of the Guardian to make the appointment of one to succeed him. The argument here becomes circular, but the end result is the same. Shoghi Effendi did not appoint a successor, and he was the only one that could.

If it is the latter, though your language may be a little strong for some, yes, the Guardianship continues, even if the person himself is departed. Others in this thread have already adequately covered this matter, so no need from here. But you are right in this respect - if one does not accept the Guardianship, then one could not be properly termed a Baha'i, for that non-acceptance places one in contradiction to the Covenant.

I do like what potato skillet said:

Quote:
Maybe God wants us to focus on development of human society instead of religion for awhile.
When we examine the focus of the Revelation of Baha'u'llah, it is very much on building society. My own understaning, however, is that Religion is an integral part of that.

With warm greetings

Romane
 
Old 12-04-2013, 09:20 PM   #40
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Thanks for your last statement Romane. potato skillet's statement made no sense! The only way to advance human society beyond it's current problems is through religion!!!!! So you can't have one without the other.

The original focus of your message was illogical however. You realize that the Guardianship goes on forever - and that's good! But then you say the Guardianship "continues in the legacy of the incredible wealth of material given to the world by Shoghi Effendi."

If that's the case, then why don't we print out all of the "wealth of material" Shoghi gave us into one giant stack of paper and put that stack of paper on a chair (a throne). And any time we have questions about spirituality we can go up to that stack of paper on that chair and ask it questions??

You're misconstruing the concept of the Guardianship. The Guardianship is a position which is to be occupied by a human being. It's a executive position on the UHJ. And a stack of paper - a collection of a "wealth of material" - cannot execute! - only a living human being can execute!!

Furthermore, for a UHJ to be legitimate it must have several things - A Head (Guardian), a Body, and Hands (Hands of the Cause). Right now, you are all following a body that has no head. A body that has no head dies - and similarly a UHJ that has no head, is spiritually dead.

So Romane, are you going to continue living in denial like all the other people on this thread?? How long are you going to live without questioning that maybe, just maybe, there should be a living Guardian?

What if all the Baha'is of the world were lied to after Shoghi's death?? What if certain people covered up the truth so that they could carry out their own agenda??
 
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