The Center of the Covenant


In His Writings, Baha’u’llah established a Covenant with His followers. Following His death, on May 29, 1892, He asked Baha’is to turn to ‘Abdu’l-Baha as the “Centre of the Covenant,” the moral authority, and the leader of the Baha’i Faith.

On August 31, 1908, after 40 years, ‘Abdu’l-Baha was released from political arrest and traveled to Europe and North America to spread the teachings of the Baha’i Faith.

He was the embodiment of what a Baha’i (follower of His Father’s teachings) should be, serving as a model of unconditional love and selfless service for all of humanity.

‘Abdu’l-Baha in America

Since the first believer in 1894, ‘Abdu’l-Baha gave particular attention to the development of the Baha’i Faith in North America. He corresponded regularly, hosted visitors to Palestine, made a pivotal 239 day teaching tour through America and Canada in 1912, and offered steady guidance.

By the time of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s death at the age of 77 on 28 November 1921, the Bahá’í Faith had spread to 35 countries.

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Remembering ‘Abdu’l-Baha

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The title ‘Abdu’l-Baha means Servant of Glory

In His own words, “My name is ‘Abdu’l-Baha. My qualification is ‘Abdu’l-Baha. My reality is ‘Abdu’l-Baha. My praise is ‘Abdu’l-Baha. Thraldom to the Blessed Perfection is my glorious and refulgent diadem, and servitude to all the human race my perpetual religion… No name, no title, no mention, no commendation have I, nor will ever have, except ‘Abdu’l-Baha. This is my longing. This is my greatest yearning. This is my eternal life. This is my everlasting glory.”

The Guardianship

Shoghi Effendi

Shoghi Effendi’s Writings

Shoghi Effendi wrote, “The Revelation of Baha’u’llah, whose supreme mission is none other but the achievement of this organic and spiritual unity of the whole body of nations, should, if we be faithful to its implications, be regarded as signalizing through its advent the coming of age of the entire human race.”

He continued, “Unification of the whole of mankind is the hall-mark of the stage which human society is now approaching. Unity of family, of tribe, of city-state, and nation have been successively attempted and fully established. World unity is the goal towards which a harassed humanity is striving.”

Continuing the covenant established by His Father, Baha’u’llah, ‘Abdu’l-Baha in His Will and Testament appointed His grandson, Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith.When ‘Abdu’l-Baha passed away in November 1921, Shoghi Effendi began his 36-year guidance of the Faith. During that time he systematically grew the Faith worldwide.

Advent of Divine Justice

Shoghi Effendi continued to guide the American Baha’i community to embody the Teachings of Baha’u’llah, and implored them to follow the example of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. He called upon the Western believers to play a significant role in establishing the elimination of prejudice through the principle of the oneness of humanity. Among the many letters to America was the poignant Advent of Divine Justice, which emphasized the challenges racism posed to collective well-being and unity.

In 1957—while he was visiting London—Shoghi Effendi passed away suddenly at the age of 60. Though leaving no will and testament, Shoghi Effendi’s work had built the global Baha’i Community to a point where they could elect the global institution Baha’u’llah Himself envisioned called the Universal House of Justice.

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Shoghi Effendi

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Baha’i International Governing Body

The Universal House of Justice

The Universal House of Justice was established in the Writings of Baha’u’llah’s as the highest Baha’i Administrative institution.

When Shoghi Effendi passed away on 4 November 1957, the Baha’i World Community moved ahead to full-fill the Vision of Baha’u’llah, Shoghi Effendi had been working to establish. Aided by members of the community designated as, Hands of the Cause, the Faith worked for five years after Shoghi Effendi’s passing to achieve this goal. The Baha’i, in 1963, elected the first Universal House of Justice which has guided the Baha’i world to develop its capacity to participate in building a prosperous global civilization.

National and Local Assemblies

The Universal House of Justice is a nine-member body, elected every five years by the entire membership of all national Baha’i assemblies. Under this global body are subordinate national assemblies and local assemblies which translate the global directives to the respective realities of their jurisdictions. The National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada was formed in 1925. It was preceded by the Baha’i Temple Unity which was formed in 1909 and renamed the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States in 1922.

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The Universal House of Justice

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Houses of Justice

Baha’u’llah wrote, “In every city a House of Justice [should] be established wherein shall gather counselors… It is incumbent upon them to take counsel together and to have regard for the interests of the servants of God, for His sake, even as they regard their own interests, and to choose that which is meet and seemly.”

‘Abdu’l‑Baha elucidated, “Those matters of major importance which constitute the foundation of the Law of God are explicitly recorded in the Text, but subsidiary laws are left to the House of Justice. The wisdom of this is that the times never remain the same, for change is a necessary quality and an essential attribute of this world, and of time and place.”

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