Will and Testament
Covenant of Baha’u’llah
Will and Testament
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.
Source: The Child of the Covenant by Adib Taherzadeh
In His Will and Testament, ‘Abdu’l-Baha describes the many cases of ‘deviation’ from the Cause of God [by His brother, who was originally to lead the Faith after Him] and ‘Abdu’l-Baha appointed Shoghi Effendi and the Universal House of Justice as His successors.
The announcement of the appointment of Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian of the Cause of God, about 40 days after the passing of the Master, brought much joy and a sense of relief to the believers…
Divine guidance was inherent within the person of Baha’u’llah. Through the institution of the Covenant it was conferred upon ‘Abdu’l-Baha, whose every word and deed during His ministry was divinely inspired. This process was continued in the ministry of Shoghi Effendi, as he inherited the same powers born of divine guidance.
Shoghi Effendi received his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Beirut in 1918. He was then able to return to Haifa and serve the Master, which he did uninterruptedly, day and night, with a devotion that knew no bounds. Not only did he serve as His secretary and the English translator of His Tablets, he also attended to many other duties, which he took upon himself in order to assist the Master in His manifold activities. He did this with characteristic sincerity, promptness and thoroughness, and brought great joy to the heart of the Master.
For a period of two years, until 1920, Shoghi Effendi was the constant companion of ‘Abdu’l-Baha. He accompanied his grandfather when He visited high-ranking government officials or religious dignitaries and he saw how the Master treated His friends and dealt with His enemies. In all these encounters, Shoghi Effendi observed the manner in which ‘Abdu’l-Baha conducted Himself, with that majesty and authority that were characteristic of His person. This period, which brought Shoghi Effendi so close to the Master and linked his heart to ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s, was among the most fertile of his life. But this intimate association, in the course of which ‘Abdu’l-Baha bountifully endowed the future Guardian with special powers and capacities, irrevocably came to an end when it was decided that Shoghi Effendi should enter Oxford University in England to perfect his English, thus equipping himself to achieve his heart’s desire to better translate the Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Baha and other holy writings.
Although the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha was read out to Shoghi Effendi soon after his arrival in Haifa, it had to be formally presented to the members of the family and others in the Holy Land. On 3 January 1922, in the presence of nine persons, mainly senior members of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s family, and in Shoghi Effendi’s absence, the Will and Testament was read aloud and its seal, signature and handwriting were shown to those present. Later, the Greatest Holy Leaf sent cables to Persia and America — the two major communities at that time — informing them that according to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, Shoghi Effendi had been appointed ‘Guardian of the Cause of God’.