Posted by: samandal | June 5, 2010

Shoghí Effendí Rabbání, VIII: The Headless House and the Handless Maiden

Díyáfat-i-Núr, the Feast of Light

Both Bahá’u’lláh and ‘Abdu’l-Bahá specified their successors in their respective Wills, but declined to disclose their identities. The Guardian might have done likewise and presented his Will to the nine Hands in order to secure their assent to his choice of a successor. Alternatively, had the Guardian chosen not to have informed the Hands of his decision, the production of his Will, the election of nine Hands (from among their own number) and their subsequent assent to his choice of a successor would have established the legitimacy of a new Guardian.

But the Guardian never nominated a successor, the nine Hands were not elected, and no vote was ever held. Given the criteria for succession, there is no legitimate way for another Guardian to be appointed. The absence of a Guardian effectively renders the divinely-ordained Universal House of Justice institutionally moribund and defunct. The Guardian specifically stated that the Universal House of Justice is inseparable (in both principle and in practice) from the Guardianship, and any ostensible administration in its absence would be spurious.

‘Abdu’l-Bahá was de facto and de jure the primogeniture successor of Bahá’u’lláh; Muhammad-‘Alí was de jure, but not de facto, the second successor of Bahá’u’lláh; Shoghí Effendí was de facto, but not de jure, the third successor of Bahá’u’lláh.

There are, at present, a number of Bahá’ís who believe that the current descendants of Muhammad-‘Alí are eligible for appointment (by acclamation) to the Guardianship and anticipate such a direct male descendant of Bahá’u’lláh to arise as the rightful Guardian. This is highly problematic.

An appointment by acclamation would violate the provisions of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and would, in any case, never be acknowledged by the Administrative Order of the Bahá’í International Community. It would, therefore, be more correct to regard any claimant to the Guardianship as Guardian-Regnant of the Faith rather than Guardian of the Cause. The Guardian-Regnant would serve as a purely symbolic locus of Bahá’í spiritual unity and religious community.

The lineal descendants of Muhammad-‘Alí may one day unite both the inward and the outward traditions of the Faith through the Regnancy. The Guardian-Regnant of the Faith is the bloodline successor of Bahá’u’lláh, much as the Imáms are the bloodline successors of Muhammad.

Behind the Regnant stands the archetype of the Hidden Guardian (Valí-i-Ghá’ib) and behind the Manifestation stands the archetype of the Wondrous Maiden (Húr-i-‘Ujáb).


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