Shoghi Effendi

Shoghi Effendi (1921-1957) - The Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith

`Abdu'l-Bahá in His Will and Testament appointed His grandson, Shoghi Effendi Rabbani, Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith and interpreter of its teachings. Shoghi Effendi served until his death in 1957. During these thirty-six years the Guardian translated many of the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá into English, expounded their meanings, encouraged the establishment of local and national Bahá'í institutions, and guided a series of plans aimed at diffusing Bahá'í ideals throughout the world.

After the passing of `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1921, the leadership of the Bahá'í community entered a new phase, evolving from that of a single individual to an administrative order founded on the "twin pillars" of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice. 

This administrative order was originally envisaged by Bahá'u'lláh in his Book of Laws and was given further shape by `Abdu'l-Bahá, particularly in His Will and Testament. In that document He appointed His eldest grandson, Shoghi Effendi, as Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith and also referred to the future election of the Universal House of Justice, a legislative body of which the Guardian would be the "sacred head and the distinguished member for life."

The Universal House of Justice was not established in `Abdu'l-Bahá's lifetime; it fell to the Guardian to lay the base for its foundation throughout the thirty-six years of his tenure as head of the Faith of Bahá'u'lláh. 

Throughout those years, Shoghi Effendi educated the Bahá'í community about the administrative order of the Faith and prepared it for the eventual establishment of that order's other central institution by writing consistently about the interconnection of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice, both of which he described as "divine in origin, essential in their functions and complementary in their aim and purpose." He continued on to state that their common purpose is "to insure the continuity of that divinely-appointed authority which flows from the Source of our Faith, to safeguard the unity of its followers and to maintain the integrity and flexibility of its teachings."

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