Center of the Covenant
Covenant of Baha’u’llah
Center of the Covenant
The Baha’i Faith began with the mission entrusted by God to two Divine Messengers—the Bab and Baha’u’llah. Today, the distinctive unity of the Faith They founded stems from explicit instructions given by Baha’u’llah that have assured the continuity of guidance following His passing. This line of succession, referred to as the Covenant, went from Baha’u’llah to His Son ‘Abdu’l-Baha, and then from ‘Abdu’l-Baha to His grandson, Shoghi Effendi, and the Universal House of Justice, ordained by Baha’u’llah. A Baha’i accepts the divine authority of the Bab and Baha’u’llah and of these appointed successors.
Abdu’l-Baha, the Centre of the Covenant
Source: The Covenant of Baha’u’llah by Adib Taherzadeh
One distinguishing feature [of the Baha’i Faith] is the vastness of this Revelation of Baha’u’llah. The words have been revealed with such profusion that — as Baha’u’llah Himself testifies — were His Writings to be compiled, they would produce no less than one hundred volumes of Holy Scripture for mankind in this age. […]
God has in this day vouchsafed to humanity two priceless gifts. One is the Revelation itself, supreme over all things, the other is an instrument to shield the Revelation. The one is manifested through Baha’u’llah, the other fulfilled through Abdu’l-Baha. To revert to the analogy: Baha’u’llah has brought the water of life and created the ocean, while Abdu’l-Baha acts as a mighty wall around it.
This wall — the Covenant — prevents any intruder from polluting the waters of the Revelation and thus preserves its purity and vitality. Hence, the appointment of Abdu’l-Baha as the sole authoritative Interpreter of the Writings of Baha’u’llah provides the guarantee for the incorruptibility of the revealed Word.
Instead of allowing man to interpret His Writings and act upon them as he likes, Baha’u’llah has released the outpourings of His Revelation within the person of Abdu’l-Baha who received them on behalf of all mankind. He became the recipient of the Revelation of Baha’u’llah and the authorized interpreter of His words. His soul embraced every virtue and power which that Revelation conferred upon Him, virtues and powers which, through the operation of the institution of the Covenant, are to be vouchsafed progressively to humanity in the course of this Dispensation, and which are the cause of the social, the intellectual and spiritual development of man on this planet until the advent of the next Manifestation of God.
Abdu’l-Baha acts in this analogy as a receptacle. Before a receptacle is filled, it must first be empty. If it contains anything, even a minute quantity of any substance, that substance will pollute the pure water which is poured into it. One of the most glorious aspects of the Cause of Baha’u’llah is that the person of Abdu’l-Baha had so surrendered His will to that of Baha’u’llah that He was utterly empty of self. He had nothing to express or manifest in His being except self-effacement and absolute servitude.
To read more about the Covenant visit bahai.org/beliefs/bahaullah-covenant