SHOGHí EFFENDí RABBáNí (1 March 1897 – 4 November 1957), better known as SHOGHI EFFENDI /ˈʃoʊɡiː ɛˈfɛndi/ , was the Guardian and appointed head of the Bahá\'í Faith from 1921 until his death in 1957. After the death of `Abdu\'l-Bahá in 1921, the leadership of the Bahá'í community changed from that of a single individual to an administrative order with executive and legislative branches, the head of each being the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice , respectively. Shoghi Effendi was referred to as the Guardian, and had the authority to interpret the writings of the three central figures of the religion and define the sphere of legislative authority. His writings are effectively limited to commentaries on the works of the central figures, and broad directives for the future.
Future hereditary Guardians were permitted in the Bahá'í scripture
by appointment from one to the next with the prerequisite that
appointees be male descendants of Bahá\'u\'lláh . At the time of
Shoghi Effendi's death, all living male descendants of Bahá'u'lláh
had been declared
Covenant-breakers by either
* 1 Background
* 1.1 Tablet from `Abdu\'l-Bahá * 1.2 Education * 1.3 Death of `Abdu\'l-Bahá and Guardianship
* 2 Accomplishments * 3 Translations and writings * 4 Leadership * 5 Private life
* 6 Marriage
* 6.1 Opposition
* 7 Unexpected death
* 8 See also * 9 Notes * 10 References * 11 External links
The young Shoghi, c. 1905
Born in `Akká in the
Sanjak of Acre of the
From his early years, Shoghi
Effendi was introduced to the suffering
which accompanied the Bahá'ís in Akká, including the attacks by
Mírzá Muhammad `Alí against `Abdu'l-Bahá. As a young boy, he was
aware of the desire of Sultán `Abdu\'l-Hamíd (reigned 1876-1909) to
TABLET FROM `ABDU\'L-BAHá
As the eldest grandson of `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi from his earliest childhood had a special relationship with his grandfather. According to one account, when Shoghi Effendi was only 5 years old, he pestered his grandfather to write a tablet for him, which was common practice for `Abdu'l-Bahá. He wrote the following for his grandson:
He is God! O My Shoghi, I have no time to talk, leave me alone! You said write, I have written. What else should be done? Now is not the time for you to read and write. It is the time for jumping about and chanting O My God! Therefore, memorize the prayers of the Blessed Beauty and chant them that I may hear them. Because there is no time for anything else.
Effendi then set out to memorize a number of prayers, and
chanted them as loud as he could. This caused family members to ask
Effendi received his early education at home with the other
children in the household, then attended a French Christian Brothers
During his studies, he dedicated himself to mastering English
—adding this language to the Persian , Turkish , Arabic and French
languages in which he was already fluent—so that he could translate
the letters of
DEATH OF `ABDU\'L-BAHá AND GUARDIANSHIP
Shoghi Effendi before 1940
The issue of successorship to
While studying in England, on 29 November 1921, the news of
`Abdu'l-Bahá's death reached Shoghi Effendi, which, according to
Wellesley Tudor Pole , the deliverer of the cable, left him "in a
state of collapse". After spending a couple of days with John
Esslemont , and after some passport difficulties, he sailed from
In the will Shoghi
Effendi found that he had been designated as "the
Sign of God, the chosen branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God". He
also learned that he had been designated as this when he was still a
small child. As Guardian he was appointed as head of the religion,
someone whom the Bahá'ís had to look to for guidance.
`Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament is considered one of the three
charters of the Bahá'í administrative order , and in it
...The Guardian of the Cause of God, as well as the Universal House of Justice to be universally elected and established, are both under the care and protection of the Abha Beauty... Whatsoever they decide is of God. Whoso obeyeth him not, neither obeyeth them, hath not obeyed God; whoso rebelleth against him and against them hath rebelled against God; whoso opposeth him hath opposed God; whoso contendeth with them hath contended with God; whoso disputeth with him hath disputed with God; whoso denieth him hath denied God; whoso disbelieveth in him hath disbelieved in God; whoso deviateth, separateth himself and turneth aside from him hath in truth deviated, separated himself and turned aside from God.
Effendi later expressed to his wife and others that he had no
foreknowledge of the existence of the Institution of Guardianship,
least of all that he was appointed as Guardian. The most he expected
was perhaps, because he was the eldest grandson,
From the time of his appointment as Guardian until his death the
Under Shoghi Effendi's direction, National Spiritual Assemblies were
formed, and many thousands of Local Spiritual Assemblies were created.
During the 1930s he worked on projects translating the works of
In the 1950s he also continued building the Bahá'í administration,
establishing in 1951 the International Bahá\'í Council to act as a
precursor to the Universal House of Justice, as well as appointing 32
Hands of the Cause
TRANSLATIONS AND WRITINGS
See also: Shoghi Effendi\'s writings One of Shoghi Effendi's earliest letters as Abdu'l-Bahá's amanuensis, 1919
In his lifetime, Shoghi
Effendi translated into English many of the
writings of the
These letters, of which 17,500 have been collected thus far and are believed to number a total of 30,000, ranged from routine correspondence regarding the affairs of Bahá'ís around the world to lengthy letters to the Bahá'ís of the world addressing specific themes. Some of his longer letters include World Order of Bahá\'u\'lláh , regarding the nature of Bahá'í administration, Advent of Divine Justice , regarding teaching the religion, and Promised Day is Come regarding Bahá'u'lláh's letters to world leaders.
Other letters included statements on Bahá'í beliefs, history,
morality, principles, administration and law. He also wrote obituaries
of some distinguished Bahá'ís. Many of his letters to individuals
and assemblies have been compiled into several books which stand out
as significant sources of literature for Bahá'ís around the world.
The only actual book he ever wrote was
God Passes By in 1944 to
commemorate the centennial anniversary of the religion. The book,
which is in English, is an interpretive history of the first century
of the Bábí and Bahá'í Faiths. A shorter
As a young student of twenty-four, Shoghi
Effendi was initially
shocked at the appointment as Guardian. He was also mourning the death
of his grandfather to whom he had great attachment. The trauma of this
culminated in him making retreats to the
He also was concerned with matters dealing with Bahá'í belief and
practice — as Guardian he was empowered to interpret the writings of
Shoghi Effendi's personal life was largely subordinate to his work as
Guardian of the religion. His lack of secretarial support with the
mass of correspondence had left a pattern of hard work in Haifa
interspersed with occasional summer breaks to Europe—in the early
years often to the
Effendi had a great love for the
Mary Maxwell, known as
In March 1937, Shoghi
Effendi married Mary Maxwell , entitled
Rúhíyyih Khanum, a Canadian. She was the only child of
May Maxwell ,
a disciple of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and
William Sutherland Maxwell , a
Canadian architect. Shoghi
Effendi had first met Mary as a girl when
she came on pilgrimage with her mother in 1923. Mary was an active
Bahá'í teacher and youth worker, and a letter written to Shoghi
Effendi described her as "a beautiful and most refreshing girl to
know". Whilst on her third pilgrimage in 1937 the two began a
discreet courtship. Then herself 26 years old, Mary was a tall,
athletic woman. The couple married in the room of
Bahíyyih Khánum in
the House of
Announce Assemblies celebration marriage beloved Guardian.
Inestimable honour conferred upon handmaid of
Mírzá Muhammad `Alí was `Abdu'l-Bahá's half brother and was
After Shoghi Effendi's death,
If the friends only knew how the Master and the Guardian both suffered through the calibre of the local Bahá'ís. Some of them were good. But some were rotten. It's as if, when someone was unsound in the Covenant, they attacked the very body of the Manifestation, or the Exemplar, or the Guardian. I have seen this. It is like poison. He recovers from it, but it causes him untold suffering and it was from such things that the Master described Himself in His Will as 'this broken-winged bird.'
They have gone a long way to crushing every ounce of spirit out of the Guardian. By nature he is cheerful and energetic... But the perpetual strife of life with the Master's family... have clouded over him... Shoghi Effendi has been abused. That is the only word for it, abused, abused, abused. By now he has reached the point of a man fighting with his back to the wall. He says he will fight it out to the last round.
Throughout Shoghi Effendi's life, nearly all remaining family members
and descendants of
Shoghi Effendi's resting place in
Shoghi Effendi's death came unexpectedly in
Shoghi Effendi beloved of all hearts sacred trust given believers by Master passed away sudden heart attack in sleep following Asiatic flu. Urge believers remain steadfast cling institution Hands lovingly reared recently reinforced emphasized by beloved Guardian. Only oneness heart oneness purpose can befittingly testify loyalty all National Assemblies believers departed Guardian who sacrificed self utterly for service Faith. — Ruhiyyih
According to the framework of the Will and Testament of
`Abdu'l-Bahá, it was not possible to appoint a successor, and the
legislative body "possessing the exclusive right to legislate on
matters not explicitly revealed" was not yet established in the world.
Effendi had left no will as attested to by the
Hands of the Cause
MINISTRY OF THE CUSTODIANS
In Shoghi Effendi's final message to the Baha'i World, dated October
1957, he named the
Hands of the Cause
ELECTION OF THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
At the end of the
Ten Year Crusade , planned by Shoghi
concluding in 1963, the
Universal House of Justice was first elected.
As its first order of business, the Universal House of Justice
evaluated the situation caused by the fact that the Guardian had not
appointed a successor. It determined that under the circumstances,
given the criteria for succession described in the Will and Testament
of `Abdu\'l-Bahá , there was no legitimate way for another Guardian
to be appointed. Therefore, although the Will and Testament of
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* ^ Marks, Geoffry W., ed. (1996). Messages from the Universal
House of Justice 1963-86. Baha'i Publishing Trust. p. 14. ISBN
* ^ A B C D Smith, Peter (2000). "Guardianship". A concise
encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. pp.
169–170. ISBN 978-1-85168-184-6 .
* ^ A B Bergsmo, M. (1991). "Life of Shoghi Effendi, The". Studying
the Writings of Shoghi Effendi. Retrieved 2 February 2018.
* ^ A B C Rabbani, R. (1969). The Priceless Pearl (Hardcover ed.).
London, UK: Bahá'í Publishing Trust: 2000. p. 8. ISBN
* ^ A B C D E F G H I J K L M N Smith, Peter (2000). "Shoghi
Effendi". A concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford:
Oneworld Publications. pp. 314–317. ISBN 978-1-85168-184-6 .
* ^ Khadem, Riaz (1999). Shoghi
Effendi in Oxford. Oxford, UK:
George Ronald. ISBN 978-0-85398-423-8 .
* ^ Smith, Peter (2000). "Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá". A
concise encyclopedia of the Bahá'í Faith. Oxford: Oneworld
Publications. pp. 356–357. ISBN 1-85168-184-1 .
* ^ Taherzadeh, A. (2000). The Child of the Covenant. Oxford, UK:
George Ronald. pp. 272–273. ISBN 978-0-85398-439-9 .
* ^ Rabbani, R. (1969). The Priceless Pearl (Hardcover ed.).
London, UK: Bahá'í Publishing Trust: 2000. p. 41. ISBN
* ^ `Abdu\'l-Bahá (1992) . The Will And Testament of
‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Mona Vale, N.S.W, Australia: Bahá'í Publications
Australia. p. 11. ISBN 978-0-909991-47-0 .
Richard St. Barbe Baker
* Giachery, Ugo (1973). Shoghi Effendi - Reflections. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 978-0-85398-050-6 . * Khadem, Riaz (1999). Shoghi Effendi in Oxford. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 978-0-85398-423-8 . * Rabbani, Ruhiyyih (Ed.) (1992). The Ministry of the Custodians 1957-1963. Bahá'í World Centre. ISBN 978-0-85398-350-7 . CS1 maint: Extra text: authors list (link ) * Rabbani, Ruhiyyih (1969). The Priceless Pearl (Hardcover ed.). London, UK: Bahá'í Publishing Trust: 2000. ISBN 978-1-870989-91-6 .
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