When Shoghi Effendi died, the so-called subordinate spiritual leaders he had appointed, termed “Hands of the Cause of God,” seized the affairs of the Baha’i Faith. Initially, they claimed for themselves all the powers of the Guardianship. Later, they claimed the authority to form a Universal House of Justice without any Guardian, altering the requirements for the Divine Administrative Order set down by Abd’ul-Baha in his holy writings and interpretations.
- “The obligations of the Hands of the Cause of God are to diffuse the divine fragrances, to edify the souls of men, to promote learning, to improve the character of all men and to be, at all times and under all conditions, sanctified and detached from earthly things. They must manifest the fear of God by their conduct, their manners, their deeds and their words. This body of the Hands of the Cause of God is under the direction of the Guardian of the Cause of God. He must continually urge them to strive and endeavour to the utmost of their ability to diffuse the sweet savers of God, and to guide all the peoples of the world, for it is the light of Divine Guidance that causeth all the universe to be illumined. To disregard, though it be for a moment, this absolute command which is binding upon everyone, is in no wise permitted.” (Abd’ul-Baha. Will and Testament, p. 13.)
- “The Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord must obey him and turn unto him [the Guardian]. He that obeyeth him not, hath not obeyed God; he that turneth away from him, hath turned away from God; and he that denieth him, hath denied the True One.” (Abd’ul-Baha. Will and Testament, p. 25.)
- “Beware lest anyone falsely interpret these words, and like unto them that have broken the Covenant after the Day of Ascension (of Baha’ullah) advance a pretext, raise the standard of revolt, wax stubborn and open wide the door of false interpretation. To none is given the right to put forth his own opinion or express his particular conviction.” (Abd’ul-Baha. Will and Testament, pp. 25-26.)
Did the Hands of Cause really hold such comprehensive authority? Are they infallible? Do the Baha’is have to accept what they did as automatically correct, even if it conflicts with and banishes previous teachings of the faith?
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