Posted by: samandal | May 17, 2010

Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, V: Dear Bahá’í Friend, Interdictum Ferendae Sententiae

Díyáfat-i-‘Azamat, the Feast of Grandeur

He and all his followers were subsequently declared Covenant-breakers, the collective term for those Bahá’ís who have allegedly broken (naqd) the Covenant of Bahá’u’lláh. His claim was unsupported by any explicit appointment by the Guardian; the line was confined to the male descendants of Bahá’u’lláh. Nonetheless, authoritative expulsion from the Faith lay within the remit of the Guardian alone.

It was incumbent upon the Guardian to appoint his successor in his own lifetime and it was incumbent upon the Hands to approve his choice via the assent of nine elected from among their own number. Since the Guardian never appointed a successor, the Hands never elected nine from their own number, never approved a successor who was never appointed. Nor could the Guardian appoint his successor through his Will without Assent: the intestacy of the Guardian, at least in relation to the choice of his successor (in the absence of any testamentary appointment), seems contrived.

Nonetheless, the Hands expected to find a document that would provide direction and guidance in the appointment of a successor. The Hands would then presumably have indicated their assent ex post facto in order to preserve the Guardianship. Had they withheld their assent to his choice, they would not have been free to dissent at a later date. Although the language of the Will and Testament clearly mandates the selection process, it does not strictly preclude the possibility of the ex post facto assent of the Hands to the choice of a successor. That which is possible is not necessarily probable, nor is the ideal the enemy of the essential.

Over the course of his lifetime, the Guardian expelled all of his brothers and cousins (descendants of Bahá’u’lláh) from the Faith. There is an unsubstantiated allegation which asserts that he had intended to nominate an Afnán (a maternal relative of the Báb) rather than a Ghusn (a male descendant of Bahá’u’lláh) as his successor. This allegation avers that he traveled to London in 1957 in order to nominate a renowned Afnán (believed by some to have been Hand of the Cause Hasan Balyúzí) as Second Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith. He was about to call a Conclave of the Hands in London prior to his untimely death, and the Will in which he nominated the Afnán as his sole successor was suppressed. All of this, of course, is at best speculation.