Bah Hah IsT Behhai OhrThuhdoks Ahbhah Vrchuuz

Bah Hah IsT Behhai OhrThuhdoks Ahbhah Vrchuuz


BisharaT

Thuh NeksT TeksT wuhz Fruhm:

Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh

Author: Baha-u-llah

BISHÁRÁT (Glad-Tidings)

This is the Call of the All-Glorious which is proclaimed from the Supreme Horizon in the Prison of ‘Akká

He is the Expounder, the All-Knowing, the All-Informed.

GOD, the True One, testifieth and the Revealers of His names and attributes bear witness that Our sole purpose in raising the Call and in proclaiming His sublime Word is that the ear of the entire creation may, through the living waters of divine utterance, be purged from lying tales and become attuned to the holy, the glorious and exalted Word which hath issued forth from the repository of the knowledge of the Maker of the Heavens and the Creator of Names. Happy are they that judge with fairness.

O people of the earth!

The first Glad-Tidings which the Mother Book hath, in this Most Great Revelation, imparted unto all the peoples of the world is that the law of holy war hath been blotted out from the Book. Glorified be the All-Merciful, the Lord of grace abounding, through Whom the door of heavenly bounty hath been flung open in the face of all that are in heaven and on earth. 22

The second Glad-Tidings

It is permitted that the peoples and kindreds of the world associate with one another with joy and radiance. O people! Consort with the followers of all religions in a spirit of friendliness and fellowship. Thus hath the day-star of His sanction and authority shone forth above the horizon of the decree of God, the Lord of the worlds.

The third Glad-Tidings concerneth the study of divers languages. This decree hath formerly streamed forth from the Pen of the Most High: It behoveth the sovereigns of the world—may God assist them—or the ministers of the earth to take counsel together and to adopt one of the existing languages or a new one to be taught to children in schools throughout the world, and likewise one script. Thus the whole earth will come to be regarded as one country. Well is it with him who hearkeneth unto His Call and observeth that whereunto he is bidden by God, the Lord of the Mighty Throne.

The fourth Glad-Tidings

Should any of the kings—may God aid them—arise to protect and help this oppressed people, all must vie with one another in loving and in serving him. This matter is incumbent upon everyone. Well is it with them that act accordingly.

The fifth Glad-Tidings

In every country where any of this people reside, they 23 must behave towards the government of that country with loyalty, honesty and truthfulness. This is that which hath been revealed at the behest of Him Who is the Ordainer, the Ancient of Days.

It is binding and incumbent upon the peoples of the world, one and all, to extend aid unto this momentous Cause which is come from the heaven of the Will of the ever-abiding God, that perchance the fire of animosity which blazeth in the hearts of some of the peoples of the earth may, through the living waters of divine wisdom and by virtue of heavenly counsels and exhortations, be quenched, and the light of unity and concord may shine forth and shed its radiance upon the world.
We cherish the hope that through the earnest endeavours of such as are the exponents of the power of God—exalted be His glory—the weapons of war throughout the world may be converted into instruments of reconstruction and that strife and conflict may be removed from the midst of men.

The sixth Glad-Tidings is the establishment of the Lesser Peace, details of which have formerly been revealed from Our Most Exalted Pen. Great is the blessedness of him who upholdeth it and observeth whatsoever hath been ordained by God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise.

The seventh Glad-Tidings

The choice of clothing and the cut of the beard and its dressing are left to the discretion of men. But beware, O people, lest ye make yourselves the playthings of the ignorant. 24

The eighth Glad-Tidings

The pious deeds of the monks and priests among the followers of the Spirit 1 —upon Him be the peace of God—are remembered in His presence. In this Day, however, let them give up the life of seclusion and direct their steps towards the open world and busy themselves with that which will profit themselves and others. We have granted them leave to enter into wedlock that they may bring forth one who will make mention of God, the Lord of the seen and the unseen, the Lord of the Exalted Throne.

The ninth Glad-Tidings

When the sinner findeth himself wholly detached and freed from all save God, he should beg forgiveness and pardon from Him. Confession of sins and transgressions before human beings is not permissible, as it hath never been nor will ever be conducive to divine forgiveness. Moreover such confession before people results in one’s humiliation and abasement, and God—exalted be His glory—wisheth not the humiliation of His servants. Verily He is the Compassionate, the Merciful. The sinner should, between himself and God, implore mercy from the Ocean of mercy, beg forgiveness from the Heaven of generosity and say:

O God, my God! I implore Thee by the blood of Thy true lovers who were so enraptured by Thy sweet utterance that they hastened unto the Pinnacle of Glory, the site of the most glorious martyrdom, and I beseech Thee by the mysteries which lie enshrined in Thy knowledge and by 25 the pearls that are treasured in the ocean of Thy bounty to grant forgiveness unto me and unto my father and my mother. Of those who show forth mercy, Thou art in truth the Most Merciful. No God is there but Thee, the Ever-Forgiving, the All-Bountiful.

O Lord! Thou seest this essence of sinfulness turning unto the ocean of Thy favour and this feeble one seeking the kingdom of Thy divine power and this poor creature inclining himself towards the day-star of Thy wealth. By Thy mercy and Thy grace, disappoint him not, O Lord, nor debar him from the revelations of Thy bounty in Thy days, nor cast him away from Thy door which Thou hast opened wide to all that dwell in Thy heaven and on Thine earth.
Alas! Alas! My sins have prevented me from approaching the Court of Thy holiness and my trespasses have caused me to stray far from the Tabernacle of Thy majesty. I have committed that which Thou didst forbid me to do and have put away what Thou didst order me to observe.
I pray Thee by Him Who is the sovereign Lord of Names to write down for me with the Pen of Thy bounty that which will enable me to draw nigh unto Thee and will purge me from my trespasses which have intervened between me and Thy forgiveness and Thy pardon.
Verily, Thou art the Potent, the Bountiful. No God is there but Thee, the Mighty, the Gracious.

The tenth Glad-Tidings

As a token of grace from God, the Revealer of this Most Great Announcement, We have removed from the Holy Scriptures and Tablets the law prescribing the destruction of books. 26

The eleventh Glad-Tidings

It is permissible to study sciences and arts, but such sciences as are useful and would redound to the progress and advancement of the people. Thus hath it been decreed by Him Who is the Ordainer, the All-Wise.

The twelfth Glad-Tidings

It is enjoined upon every one of you to engage in some form of occupation, such as crafts, trades and the like. We have graciously exalted your engagement in such work to the rank of worship unto God, the True One. Ponder ye in your hearts the grace and the blessings of God and render thanks unto Him at eventide and at dawn. Waste not your time in idleness and sloth. Occupy yourselves with that which profiteth yourselves and others. Thus hath it been decreed in this Tablet from whose horizon the day-star of wisdom and utterance shineth resplendent.
The most despised of men in the sight of God are those who sit idly and beg. Hold ye fast unto the cord of material means, placing your whole trust in God, the Provider of all means. When anyone occupieth himself in a craft or trade, such occupation itself is regarded in the estimation of God as an act of worship; and this is naught but a token of His infinite and all-pervasive bounty.

The thirteenth Glad-Tidings

The men of God’s House of Justice have been charged with the affairs of the people. They, in truth, are the Trustees of God among His servants and the daysprings of authority in His countries.

O people of God! That which traineth the world is Justice, for it is upheld by two pillars, reward and punishment. These two pillars are the sources of life to the world. Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution, such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time. They that, for the sake of God, arise to serve His Cause, are the recipients of divine inspiration from the unseen Kingdom. It is incumbent upon all to be obedient unto them. All matters of State should be referred to the House of Justice, but acts of worship must be observed according to that which God hath revealed in His Book.
O people of Bahá! Ye are the dawning-places of the love of God and the daysprings of His loving-kindness. Defile not your tongues with the cursing and reviling of any soul, and guard your eyes against that which is not seemly. Set forth that which ye possess. If it be favourably received, your end is attained; if not, to protest is vain. Leave that soul to himself and turn unto the Lord, the Protector, the Self-Subsisting. Be not the cause of grief, much less of discord and strife. The hope is cherished that ye may obtain true education in the shelter of the tree of His tender mercies and act in accordance with that which God desireth. Ye are all the leaves of one tree and the drops of one ocean.

The fourteenth Glad-Tidings

It is not necessary to undertake special journeys to visit the resting-places of the dead. If people of substance and 28 affluence offer the cost of such journeys to the House of Justice, it will be pleasing and acceptable in the presence of God. Happy are they that observe His precepts.

The fifteenth Glad-Tidings

Although a republican form of government profiteth all the peoples of the world, yet the majesty of kingship is one of the signs of God. We do not wish that the countries of the world should remain deprived thereof. If the sagacious combine the two forms into one, great will be their reward in the presence of God.

In former religions such ordinances as holy war, destruction of books, the ban on association and companionship with other peoples or on reading certain books had been laid down and affirmed according to the exigencies of the time; however, in this mighty Revelation, in this momentous Announcement, the manifold bestowals and favours of God have overshadowed all men, and from the horizon of the Will of the Ever-Abiding Lord, His infallible decree hath prescribed that which We have set forth above.

We yield praise unto God—hallowed and glorified be He—for whatsoever He hath graciously revealed in this blessed, this glorious and incomparable Day. Indeed if everyone on earth were endowed with a myriad tongues and were to continually praise God and magnify His Name to the end that knoweth no end, their thanksgiving would not prove adequate for even one of the gracious favours We have mentioned in this Tablet. Unto this beareth witness every man of wisdom and discernment, of understanding and knowledge.

We earnestly beseech God—exalted be His glory—to aid the rulers and sovereigns, who are the exponents of power and the daysprings of glory, to enforce His laws and ordinances. He is in truth the Omnipotent, the All-Powerful, He Who is wont to answer the call of men.

THiss Iz Thuh LasT Lyn Uhv TeksT In Thuh Paeej Naeemd " BisharaT ".


Abduul-BahHah ToT Theez Prinsipulz Uhv Thuh BahHah-ee FaeeTh

Thuh NeksT TeksT Wuhz Fruhm:

Principles of the Bahá'í Faith [ ToT By Abduul-BahHah: ]

The principles of the Bahai Faith were established by Bahs'u'lláh, the Founder of the Faith, in the latter half of the nineteenth century and promulgated by His Son and appointed successor, 'Abdul-Baha during a tireless twenty -nine year ministry. While on an historic teaching trip in 1912 throughout the United States and Canada, 'Abdul-Baha explained Bahá'u'lláh's Teachings to audiences of infinitely varied backgrounds. Many of His talks included discussions of such Bahaí principles as:

The oneness of mankind

Universal peace upheld by a world government

Independent investigation of truth

http://omnionica.wikidot.com/abduul-bahhah-tot-theez-prinsipulz-uhv-thuh-bahhah-ee-faeeth#toc5 The common foundation of all religions]

The essential harmony of science and religion

Equality of men and women

Elimination of prejudice of all kinds

Universal compulsory education

A spiritual solution to the economic problem

A universal auxiliary language

The explanations of these principles in the sections following are excerpts from the public talks of 'Abdu'l-Bahá in America in 1912, published in The Promulgation of Universal Peace.

The oneness of mankind.

A fundamental teaching of Bahá'u'lláh is the oneness of the world of humanity. Addressing mankind He says, "Ye are all leaves of one tree and the fruits of one branch." By this it is meant that the world of humanity is like a tree, the nations or peoples are the different limbs or branches of that tree and the individual human creatures are as the fruits and blossoms thereof.

Although in former centuries and times this subject received some measure of mention and consideration, it has now become the paramount issue and question in the religious and political conditions of the world. History shows that throughout the past there have been continual warfare and strife among the various nations, peoples and sects, but now…. in this century of illumination, hearts are inclined toward agreement and fellowship and minds are thoughtful upon the question of the unification of mankind.

What incalculable benefits and blessings would descend upon the great human family if unity and brotherhood were established! In this century when the beneficent results of unity and the ill effects of discord are so clearly apparent, the means for the attainment and accomplishment of human fellowship have appeared in the world.

Universal peace upheld by a world government.

The world is in greatest need of international peace. Until it is established, mankind will not attain composure and tranquility. It is necessary that the nations and governments organize an international tribunal to which all their disputes and differences shall be referred. The decision of that tribunal shall be final.

He (Bahá'u'lláh) exhorted them (rulers of the world) to peace and international agreement, making it incumbent upon them to establish a board of international arbitration; that from all nations and governments of the world there should be delegates selected for a congress of nations which should constitute a universal arbitral court of justice to settle international disputes.

Warfare and strife will be uprooted, disagreement and dissension pass away and Universal Peace unite the nations and peoples of the world. All mankind will dwell together as one family, blend as the waves of one sea, shine as stars of one firmament and appear as fruits of the same tree.

True civilization will unfurl its banner in the midmost heart of the world whenever a certain number of its distinguished and high-minded sovereigns - the shining exemplars of devotion and determination - shall for the good and happiness of all mankind, arise, with firm resolve and clear vision, to establish the Cause of Universal Peace. They must make the Cause of Peace the object of general consultation, and seek by every means in their power to establish a Union of the nations of the world.

They must conclude a binding treaty and establish a covenant, the provisions of which shall be sound, inviolable and definite. They must proclaim it to all the world and obtain for it the sanction of all the human race.This supreme and noble undertakingthe real source of the peace and well-being of all the worldshould be regarded as sacred by all that dwell on earth. All the forces of humanity must be mobilized to ensure the stability and permanence of this Most Great Covenant. In this all-embracing Pact the limits and frontiers of each and every nation should be clearly fixed, the principles underlying the relations of governments towards one another definitely laid down, and all international agreements and obligations ascertained. In like manner, the size of the armaments of every government should be strictly limited, for if the preparations for war and the military forces of any nation should be allowed to increase, they will arouse the suspicion of others. The fundamental principle underlying this solemn Pact should be so fixed that if any government later violate any one of its provisions, all the governments on earth should arise to reduce it to utter submission, nay the human race as a whole should resolve, with every power at its disposal, to destroy that government. Should this greatest of all remedies be applied to the sick body of the world, it will assuredly recover from its ills and will remain eternally safe and secure.

Independent investigation of truth.

God has given man the eye of investigation by which he may see and recognize truth. He has endowed man with ears that he may hear the message of reality and conferred upon him the gift of reason by which he may discover things for himself. This is his endowment and equipment for the investigation of reality. Man is not intended to see through the eyes of another, hear through another's ears nor comprehend with another's brain. Each human creature has individual endowment, power and responsibility in the creative plan of God.

The common foundation of all religions.

The foundation of all the divine religions is one. All are based upon reality. Reality does not admit plurality, yet amongst mankind there have arisen differences concerning the manifestations of God. Some have been Zoroastrians, some are Buddhists, some Jews, Christians, Mohammedans and so on. This has become a source of divergence whereas the teachings of the holy souls who founded the divine religions are one in essence and reality All these have served the world of humanity…. All have guided souls to the attainment of perfections, but among the nations certain imitations of ancestral forms of worship have arisen. These imitations are not the foundation and essence of the divine religions. Inasmuch as they differ from the reality and the essential teachings of the Manifestations of God, dissensions have arisen and prejudice has developed. Religious prejudice thus becomes the cause of warfare and battle. If we abandon these time-worn imitations and investigate reality all of us will be unified. No discord will remain; antagonism will disappear. All will associate in fellowship. All will enjoy the cordial bonds of friendship. The world of creation will then attain composure. The dark and gloomy clouds of blind imitations and dogmatic variances will be scattered and dispelled; the Sun of Reality will shine most gloriously.

The essential harmony of science and religion.

Religion must conform to science and reason, otherwise it is superstition. God has created man in order that he may perceive the verity of existence and endowed him with mind or reason to discover truth. Therefore scientific knowledge and religious belief must be conformable to the analysis of this divine faculty in man.

Equality of men and women.

There must be an equality of rights between men and women. Women shall receive an equal privilege of education. This will enable them to qualify and progress in all degrees of occupation and accomplishment. For the world of humanity possesses two wings, man and woman. If one wing remains incapable and defective, it will restrict the power of the other, and full flight will be impossible. Therefore the completeness and perfection of the human world is dependent upon the equal development of these two factors.

Elimination of prejudice of all kinds.

Prejudice of all kinds, whether religious, racial, patriotic or political is destructive of divine foundations in man. All the warfare and bloodshed in human history have been the outcome of prejudice. This earth is one home and nativity. God has created mankind with equal endowment and right to live upon the earth. As a city is the home of all its inhabitants, although each may have his individual place or residence therein, so the earth's surface is one wide native land or home for all races of humankind.

Universal compulsory education.

… inasmuch as ignorance and lack of education are barriers of separation among mankind, all must receive training and instruction. Trough this provision the lack of mutual understanding will be remedied and the unity of mankind furthered and advanced. Universal education is a universal law. It is therefore incumbent upon every father to teach and instruct his children according to his possibilities. If he is unable to educate them, the body politic, the representative of the people, must provide the means for their education.

A spiritual solution to the economic problem.

Among the results of the manifestation of spiritual forces will be that the human world will adapt itself to a new social form, the justice of God will become manifest throughout human affairs and human equality will be universally established.The poor will receive a great bestowal and the rich attain eternal happiness. For although at the present time the rich enjoy the greatest luxury and comfort, they are nevertheless deprived of eternal happiness; for eternal happiness is contingent upon giving and the poor are everywhere in the state of abject need. Through the manifestation of God's great equity the poor of the world will be rewarded and assisted fully and there will be a readjustment in the economic conditions of mankind so that in the future there will not be the abnormally rich nor the abject poor. The rich will enjoy the privilege of this new economic condition as well as the poor, for owing to certain provision and restriction they will not be able to accumulate so much as to be burdened by its management, while the poor will be relieved from the stress of want and misery.

A universal auxiliary language.

Bahá'u'lláh has proclaimed the adoption of a universal language. A language shall be agreed upon by which unity will be established in the world. Each person will require training in two languages, his native tongue and the universal auxiliary form of speech. This will facilitate intercommunication and dispel the misunderstandings which the barriers of language have occasioned in the world.


9 Basic Behai Principles

9-Basic-Behai-Principles.jpeg

Thiss Iz Thuh LasT Lyn Uhv TeksT In Thuh Paeej Naeemd " 9 Basic Behai Principles ".


NexT TekST UhbowT Vrchoouhs PrinsihpuLz Wuhz Fruhm:

The wonderful essence of Baha'u'llah's Revelation is the oneness of mankind. This Revelation is summed up in 12 basic principles..

The principles of the Teachings of Baha'u'llah should be carefully studied, one by one, until they are realized and understood by mind and heart - so will you become strong followers of the light, truly spiritual, heavenly ( Arm Ease ) of God, acquiring and spreading the true civilization in Persia, in Europe, and in the whole world. This will be the paradise which is to come on earth, when all mankind will be gathered together under the tent of unity in the Kingdom of Glory. (‘Abdu’l-Baha: Paris Talks*, Page: 22)

These Holy Words and teachings are the remedy for the body politic, the divine prescription and real cure for the disorders which afflict the world. Therefore, we must accept and partake of this healing remedy in order that complete recovery may be assured. Every soul who lives according to the teachings of Baha'u'llah is free from the ailments and indispositions which prevail throughout the world of humanity; otherwise, selfish disorders, intellectual maladies, spiritual sicknesses, imperfections and vices will surround him, and he will not receive the life-giving bounties of God. Baha'u'llah is the real Physician. He has diagnosed human conditions and indicated the necessary treatment. The essential principles of His healing remedies are the knowledge and love of God, severance from all else save God, turning our faces in sincerity toward the Kingdom of God, implicit faith, firmness and fidelity, loving-kindness toward all creatures and the acquisition of the divine virtues indicated for the human world. These are the fundamental principles of progress, civilization, international peace and the unity of mankind. These are the essentials of Baha'u'llah's teachings, the secret of everlasting health, the remedy and healing for man. It is my hope that you may assist in healing the sick body of the world through these teachings so that eternal radiance may illumine all the nations of mankind. (`Abdul-Baha: Promulgation of Universal Peace*, Pages: 204-205)


1. The Oneness of Humanity
2. Independent, Unfettered Investigation of the Truth:

3. Religion is Progressive, All having a Common Foundation
4. Religion must be the Source of Unity
5. True Science and True Religion must Correspond
6. The EekwahLiTTee Uhv Gyz And GaLz
7. Removal of all Prejudice
8. Universal Peace upheld by a Spiritual World Government]]
9. Universal Compulsary Education
10. A Spiritual Solution to the Economic Problem
11. A Universal Auxiliary Language
12. Universal House of Justice with the Davidic King


See: Wy PrakTiss UhgehnsT SmahL T

IndeepehndehnT InvehsTiggayshuhn Uhv TruuTh Iz FohnehTik EengLish Fohr

NexT TexT Fruhm: http://uhj.net/bahaiprinciples/investigation.html

A Basic Baha'i Principle is:

"The Independent Investigation of Truth."

All must be free to seek out truth in their own way…Man must be free to soar in this "Dome of heavens [of] truth," and see it with his own eyes.

Truth is the object of search among the principles of finding and gaining new knowledge about the existence of ourselves. Without the gained knowledge, we are but in darkness, unlearned, uncaring and an unimportant animal of creation. However, when mankind is stimulated to even investigate the simplest of items, radiant brilliance of truth of science, religion, knowledge of all things are opened to his understanding. The complex patterns of the intellect, the mind in its functioning capacity, has the ability to comprehend both concrete and abstract thought patterns…[T]he whole of humanity has both the concrete and abstract thought patterns of tangible physical things as well as the unseen comprehension of intangible thoughts.

To be able to achieve the collected findings of investigated truth, we first must clear our thoughts of traditional concepts unsubstantiated by proofs. Secondly, we have to arise above the prejudices of cultural superstition and small insignificant and trivial notions. Possessing an open receptive mind is essential for positive and untarnished investigation. If we allow our thoughts to prematurely establish our concepts, that we are the only one right and everyone else can only be wrong, we then set before our investigation an obstacle…great to over come. Truth is of one source, foundation and origin. To achieve to the pathway of truth, we must be in unity, which is essential if we are to find the awaiting truth.

Truth is one, of one accord, and can not contradict another truth, for being of the same origin, truth is always of the same radiant vibration. A rose is beautiful and the same, no matter which garden it may bloom in. A star, shining forth constantly in the same radiance, whether from the East or Western horizon, is the same, never is its light opposed to the nature of its reality. In like manner, truth is of one nature and accord, no matter where it is found, or where it may achieve a radiant attraction to any individual.

We must find ourselves willing to clear away all that we have previously learned. Preventing traditional obstacles to clog our steps on the way to truth. We must not allow our love for any one religion or any one personality to blind our eyes and to cloud our thoughts, or we would become fettered by mere superstitions. When we become freed from all these bonds and begin seeking with liberated minds, then shall we be able to arrive at our goal, the radiant light of truth.

"God Himself does not compel the soul to become spiritual. The exercise of the free human will is necessary."

The investigation of truth is not binding upon mankind, rather, it is of a free will of the individual to pursue. For each individual should see and realize for himself the necessary truth manifested in the human temple. God has gifted mankind with the purest gift, the intellect. With such a tool, mankind may discover the realities of his existence, the essence of his creation, its purpose and meaning. The Prophets called onto mankind to open their eyes, not shut them, to use their reason and not to suppress it. "It is clear seeing and free thinking, not servile credulity, that will enable them to penetrate the clouds of prejudice, to shake off the fetters of blind imitation, and attain to the realization of the truth of a new Revelation." Mankind should become use to using all the faculties God has so gloriously given to humanity for the acquisition of truth.

It is essential that individuals should become capable of discerning the true from the false, right from wrong, and of seeing things in their true proportions. Be weary of sayings and purposed truths without valid proofs and sufficient evidence to their credibility. If a heart of the seeker is pure, and their mind is free and escapes the worldly prejudices, the true and earnest seeker will not fail to recognize the divine glory in what ever temple it may become manifested.

"O ye sons of intelligence! The thin eyelid prevents the eye from seeing the world and what is contained therein. Then think of the result when the curtain of greed over the sight of the heart!

O people! The darkness of greed and envy obscures the light of the soul as the cloud prevents the penetration of the sun's rays."

The use of the intellect is the fundamental tool and foundation to search after truth and knowledge. A pure heart and free will to search, to investigate, is the very foundation of a independent Search for Truth. Let it swell in the hearts of all mankind. Once truth is found, then unity can be achieved in its total essence.


Thuh Web Address Fohr Thuh Followeeng Iz:

EekwahliTTee Uhv Gyz And GaLz Uhv Bah Hah IsT Behhai OhrThuhdoks Ahbhah Vrchuuz

Thuh NeksT TekST Wuhz Fruhm:

The Equality of Men and Women

“The world of humanity has two wings—one is women and the other men,” wrote ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, “Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible.”

In this small selection of passages and quotations, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá explains how human success and prosperity is dependent on the achievement of equality.

The Lord, peerless is He, hath made woman and man to abide with each other in the closest companionship, and to be even as a single soul. They are two helpmates, two intimate friends, who should be concerned about the welfare of each other.

If they live thus, they will pass through this world with perfect contentment, bliss, and peace of heart, and become the object of divine grace and favor in the Kingdom of heaven. But if they do other than this, they will live out their lives in great bitterness, longing at every moment for death, and will be shamefaced in the heavenly realm.

Strive, then, to abide, heart and soul, with each other as two doves in the nest, for this is to be blessed in both worlds.

(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

Until the reality of equality between man and woman is fully established and attained, the highest social development of mankind is not possible. Even granted that woman is inferior to man in some degree of capacity or accomplishment, this or any other distinction would continue to be productive of discord and trouble. The only remedy is education, opportunity; for equality means equal qualification.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

And let it be known once more that until woman and man recognize and realize equality, social and political progress here or anywhere will not be possible.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

[T]he principle of religion has been revealed by Bahá’u’lláh that woman must be given the privilege of equal education with man and full right to his prerogatives. That is to say, there must be no difference in the education of male and female in order that womankind may develop equal capacity and importance with man in the social and economic equation. Then the world will attain unity and harmony. In past ages humanity has been defective and inefficient because it has been incomplete. War and its ravages have blighted the world; the education of woman will be a mighty step toward its abolition and ending, for she will use her whole influence against war. Woman rears the child and educates the youth to maturity. She will refuse to give her sons for sacrifice upon the field of battle. In truth, she will be the greatest factor in establishing universal peace and international arbitration. Assuredly, woman will abolish warfare among mankind.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed. Without equality this will be impossible because all differences and distinction are conducive to discord and strife. Equality between men and women is conducive to the abolition of warfare for the reason that women will never be willing to sanction it.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

Woman must especially devote her energies and abilities toward the industrial and agricultural sciences, seeking to assist mankind in that which is most needful. By this means she will demonstrate capability and ensure recognition of equality in the social and economic equation.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

[I]mbued with the same virtues as man, rising through all the degrees of human attainment, women will become the peers of men, and until this equality is established, true progress and attainment for the human race will not be facilitated.

The evident reasons underlying this are as follows: Woman by nature is opposed to war; she is an advocate of peace. Children are reared and brought up by the mothers who give them the first principles of education and labor assiduously in their behalf. Consider, for instance, a mother who has tenderly reared a son for twenty years to the age of maturity. Surely she will not consent to having that son torn asunder and killed in the field of battle. Therefore, as woman advances toward the degree of man in power and privilege, with the right of vote and control in human government, most assuredly war will cease; for woman is naturally the most devoted and staunch advocate of international peace.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

The woman is indeed of the greater importance to the race. She has the greater burden and the greater work. Look at the vegetable and the animal worlds. The palm which carries the fruit is the tree most prized by the date grower. The Arab knows that for a long journey the mare has the longest wind. For her greater strength and fierceness, the lioness is more feared by the hunter than the lion.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, pp. 102-3)

The woman has greater moral courage than the man; she has also special gifts which enable her to govern in moments of danger and crisis.

(‘Abdu’l-Bahá in London, p. 103)

And among the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh is the equality of women and men. The world of humanity has two wings—one is women and the other men. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of women becomes equal to the world of men in the acquisition of virtues and perfections, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be.

(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

Know thou, O handmaid, that in the sight of Bahá, women are accounted the same as men, and God hath created all humankind in His own image, and after His own likeness. That is, men and women alike are the revealers of His names and attributes, and from the spiritual viewpoint there is no difference between them. Whosoever draweth nearer to God, that one is the most favored, whether man or woman. How many a handmaid, ardent and devoted, hath, within the sheltering shade of Bahá, proved superior to the men, and surpassed the famous of the earth.

(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

In this day man must investigate reality impartially and without prejudice in order to reach the true knowledge and conclusions. What, then, constitutes the inequality between man and woman? Both are human. In powers and function each is the complement of the other. At most it is this: that woman has been denied the opportunities which man has so long enjoyed, especially the privilege of education.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

The truth is that all mankind are the creatures and servants of one God, and in His estimate all are human. Man is a generic term applying to all humanity. The biblical statement “Let us make man in our image, after our likeness” does not mean that woman was not created. The image and likeness of God apply to her as well. In Persian and Arabic there are two distinct words translated into English as man: one meaning man and woman collectively, the other distinguishing man as male from woman the female. The first word and its pronoun are generic, collective; the other is restricted to the male. This is the same in Hebrew.

To accept and observe a distinction which God has not intended in creation is ignorance and superstition.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

It is my hope that the banner of equality may be raised throughout the five continents where as yet it is not fully recognized and established. In this enlightened world of the West woman has advanced an immeasurable degree beyond the women of the Orient. And let it be known once more that until woman and man recognize and realize equality, social and political progress here or anywhere will not be possible. For the world of humanity consists of two parts or members: one is woman; the other is man. Until these two members are equal in strength, the oneness of humanity cannot be established, and the happiness and felicity of mankind will not be a reality. God willing, this is to be so.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

Today questions of the utmost importance are facing humanity, questions peculiar to this radiant century… One of these questions concerns the rights of woman and her equality with man. In past ages it was held that woman and man were not equal—that is to say, woman was considered inferior to man, even from the standpoint of her anatomy and creation. She was considered especially inferior in intelligence, and the idea prevailed universally that it was not allowable for her to step into the arena of important affairs. In some countries man went so far as to believe and teach that woman belonged to a sphere lower than human. But in this century, which is the century of light and the revelation of mysteries, God is proving to the satisfaction of humanity that all this is ignorance and error; nay, rather, it is well established that mankind and womankind as parts of composite humanity are coequal and that no difference in estimate is allowable, for all are human. The conditions in past centuries were due to woman’s lack of opportunity. She was denied the right and privilege of education and left in her undeveloped state. Naturally, she could not and did not advance. In reality, God has created all mankind, and in the estimation of God there is no distinction as to male and female. The one whose heart is pure is acceptable in His sight, be that one man or woman. God does not inquire, “Art thou woman or art thou man?” He judges human actions. If these are acceptable in the threshold of the Glorious One, man and woman will be equally recognized and rewarded.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

The status of woman in former times was exceedingly deplorable, for it was the belief of the Orient that it was best for woman to be ignorant. It was considered preferable that she should not know reading or writing in order that she might not be informed of events in the world. Woman was considered to be created for rearing children and attending to the duties of the household. If she pursued educational courses, it was deemed contrary to chastity; hence women were made prisoners of the household. The houses did not even have windows opening upon the outside world. Bahá’u’lláh destroyed these ideas and proclaimed the equality of man and woman. He made woman respected by commanding that all women be educated, that there be no difference in the education of the two sexes and that man and woman share the same rights. In the estimation of God there is no distinction of sex. One whose thought is pure, whose education is superior, whose scientific attainments are greater, whose deeds of philanthropy excel, be that one man or woman, white or colored, is entitled to full rights and recognition; there is no differentiation whatsoever.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

Woman’s lack of progress and proficiency has been due to her need of equal education and opportunity. Had she been allowed this equality, there is no doubt she would be the counterpart of man in ability and capacity. The happiness of mankind will be realized when women and men coordinate and advance equally, for each is the complement and helpmeet of the other.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

Women have equal rights with men upon earth; in religion and society they are a very important element. As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

In the world of humanity … the female sex is treated as though inferior, and is not allowed equal rights and privileges. This condition is due not to nature, but to education. In the Divine Creation there is no such distinction. Neither sex is superior to the other in the sight of God. Why then should one sex assert the inferiority of the other, withholding just rights and privileges as though God had given His authority for such a course of action? If women received the same educational advantages as those of men, the result would demonstrate the equality of capacity of both for scholarship.

In some respects woman is superior to man. She is more tenderhearted, more receptive, her intuition is more intense.

(Paris Talks)

Divine Justice demands that the rights of both sexes should be equally respected since neither is superior to the other in the eyes of Heaven. Dignity before God depends, not on sex, but on purity and luminosity of heart. Human virtues belong equally to all!

(Paris Talks)

In this Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, the women go neck and neck with the men. In no movement will they be left behind. Their rights with men are equal in degree. They will enter all the administrative branches of politics. They will attain in all such a degree as will be considered the very highest station of the world of humanity and will take part in all affairs. Rest ye assured. Do ye not look upon the present conditions; in the not far distant future the world of women will become all-refulgent and all-glorious, For His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh Hath Willed It so! At the time of elections the right to vote is the inalienable right of women, and the entrance of women into all human departments is an irrefutable and incontrovertible question. No soul can retard or prevent it.

(Paris Talks)

His Holiness Bahá’u’lláh has greatly strengthened the cause of women, and the rights and privileges of women is one of the greatest principles of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. Rest ye assured! Erelong the days shall come when the men addressing the women, shall say: “Blessed are ye! Blessed are ye! Verily ye are worthy of every gift. Verily ye deserve to adorn your heads with the crown of everlasting glory, because in sciences and arts, in virtues and perfections ye shall become equal to man, and as regards tenderness of heart and the abundance of mercy and sympathy ye are superior.”

(Paris Talks)

The world in the past has been ruled by force, and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the balance is already shifting; force is losing its dominance, and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more evenly balanced.

(Quoted in J. E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era)

[I]t is incumbent upon the father and mother to train their children both in good conduct and the study of books; study, that is, to the degree required, so that no child, whether girl or boy, will remain illiterate.

(Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá)

…it is incumbent upon the girls of this glorious era to be fully versed in the various branches of knowledge, in sciences and the arts and all the wonders of this pre-eminent time, that they may then educate their children and train them from their earliest days in the ways of perfection.

(Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Women, p. 17)

The purpose, in brief, is this: that if woman be fully educated and granted her rights, she will attain the capacity for wonderful accomplishments and prove herself the equal of man. She is the coadjutor of man, his complement and helpmeet. Both are human; both are endowed with potentialities of intelligence and embody the virtues of humanity. In all human powers and functions they are partners and coequals. At present in spheres of human activity woman does not manifest her natal prerogatives, owing to lack of education and opportunity. Without doubt education will establish her equality with men.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

In proclaiming the oneness of mankind He taught that men and women are equal in the sight of God and that there is no distinction to be made between them. The only difference between them now is due to lack of education and training. If woman is given equal opportunity of education, distinction and estimate of inferiority will disappear.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

He promulgated the adoption of the same course of education for man and woman. Daughters and sons must follow the same curriculum of study, thereby promoting unity of the sexes. When all mankind shall receive the same opportunity of education and the equality of men and women be realized, the foundations of war will be utterly destroyed.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

According to the teachings of Bahá’u’lláh the family, being a human unit, must be educated according to the rules of sanctity. All the virtues must be taught the family. The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered, and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed. The rights of the son, the father, the mother—none of them must be transgressed, none of them must be arbitrary. Just as the son has certain obligations to his father, the father, likewise, has certain obligations to his son. The mother, the sister and other members of the household have their certain prerogatives. All these rights and prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family must be sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each, the comfort of all; the honor of one, the honor of all.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

From the beginning of existence until the present day, in any of the past cycles and dispensations, no assemblies for women have ever been established and classes for the purpose of spreading the teachings were never held by them. This is one of the characteristics of this glorious Dispensation and this great century. Ye should, most certainly, strive to perfect this assemblage and increase your knowledge of the realities of heavenly mysteries, so that, God willing, in a short time, women will become the same as men; they will take a leading position amongst the learned, will each have a fluent tongue and eloquent speech, and shine like unto lamps of guidance throughout the world. In some respects, women have astonishing capacities; they hasten in their attraction to God, and are intense in their fiery ardour for Him.

(From a Tablet, translated from the Persian)

Equality of the sexes will be established in proportion to the increased opportunities afforded woman in this age, for man and woman are equally the recipients of powers and endowments from God, the Creator. God has not ordained distinction between them in His consummate purpose.

(The Promulgation of Universal Peace)

Woman must endeavor then to attain greater perfection, to be man’s equal in every respect, to make progress in all in which she has been backward, so that man will be compelled to acknowledge her equality of capacity and attainment.

In Europe women have made greater progress than in the East, but there is still much to be done! When students have arrived at the end of their school term an examination takes place, and the result thereof determines the knowledge and capacity of each student. So will it be with woman; her actions will show her power, there will no longer be any need to proclaim it by words.

It is my hope that women of the East, as well as their Western sisters, will progress rapidly until humanity shall reach perfection.

God’s Bounty is for all and gives power for all progress. When men own the equality of women there will be no need for them to struggle for their rights! One of the principles then of Bahá’u’lláh is the equality of sex.

Women must make the greatest effort to acquire spiritual power and to increase in the virtue of wisdom and holiness until their enlightenment and striving succeeds in bringing about the unity of mankind. They must work with a burning enthusiasm to spread the Teaching of Bahá’u’lláh among the peoples, so that the radiant light of the Divine Bounty may envelop the souls of all the nations of the world!

(Paris Talks)

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Equality of Men & Women: A New Reality

A pamphlet prepared for International Women's Year, 1975.
New York—5 April 1993

1975

Over a century ago, and for the first time in the history of revealed religion, Bahá’u’lláh, Prophet-Founder of the Baha'i Faith, proclaimed the equality of man and woman. He did not leave this pronouncement as an ideal or pious hope but wove it, as a basic factor, into the fabric of His social order. He supported it by laws requiring the same standard of education for women as for men, and equality of rights in society.

Equality of the sexes is, for Baha'is, a spiritual and moral standard essential for the unification of the planet and the unfoldment of world order. Without the qualities, talents, and skills of both women and men, full economic and social development of the planet becomes impossible. For

The world of humanity is possessed of two wings — the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment.1

In the present transition of humanity from adolescence to maturity, signs of this evolving equality can be observed everywhere. In the Baha'i view this is hardly surprising, for "As long as women are prevented from attaining their highest possibilities, so long will men be unable to achieve the greatness which might be theirs."

The character of this unique age we are entering is further brought into focus in the following statement from the Baha'i Writings:

The world in the past has been ruled by force and man has dominated over woman by reason of his more forceful and aggressive qualities both of body and mind. But the scales are already shifting, force is losing its weight, and mental alertness, intuition, and the spiritual qualities of love and service, in which woman is strong, are gaining ascendancy. Hence the new age will be an age less masculine and more permeated with the feminine ideals, or, to speak more exactly, will be an age in which the masculine and feminine elements of civilization will be more properly balanced.

Unity and Equality in the Family

The Baha'i world community has, for more than one hundred years, accepted as truth the principle of equality of the sexes and has understood the importance of implementing this standard in individual, family, and community life. The institution of marriage, the basis of the family in the Baha'i community, is part of this process. Before a Baha'i marriage can take place the couple, who have freely chosen each other, must obtain the consents of all parents and transmit them to the community’s governing body. The couple then weds in an atmosphere of loving parental approval and acceptance by the community. With the exchange of vows, in which each partner repeats, "We will all, verily, abide by the Will of God," the newly wedded begin their lives together on a basis of true spiritual unity and equality.

This unity and equality, rooted in the rights and responsibilities of every person before God, unfolds in the family. Here, values and attitudes essential for the development of the individual, the community, the nation, and humanity must be taught from early life. In the Baha'i view

the family being a human unit must be educated according to the rules of sanctity. All the virtues must be taught the family. The integrity of the family bond must be constantly considered and the rights of the individual members must not be transgressed…. All these rights and prerogatives must be conserved, yet the unity of the family must be sustained. The injury of one shall be considered the injury of all; the comfort of each the comfort of all; the honor of one the honor of all.

Equality in Education and Training

Although both parents share in the overall responsibility of educating the children, the mother is given recognition as the first educator of humanity, and she must be carefully prepared for this task. Her education, in fact, from the Baha'i point of view,

is more necessary and important than that of man, for woman is the trainer of the child from its infancy. If she be defective and imperfect herself the child will necessarily be deficient; therefore imperfection of woman implies a condition of imperfection in all mankind, for it is the mother who rears, nurtures and guides the growth of the child.

Since Baha'is do not separate life into religious and secular compartments, and since faith must be expressed in social action, education for men and women, in all its facts, "holds an important place in the new order of things." For this reason, the education

of each child is compulsory. If there is not money enough in a family to educate both the girl and the boy the money must be dedicated to the girl’s education, for she is the potential mother. If there are no parents the community must educate the child. In addition to this widespread education each child must be taught a profession, art, or trade, so that every member of the community will be enabled to earn his own livelihood.

It is also significant that, in the spirit of this new era of human evolution, Bahá’u’lláh has "promulgated the adoption of the same course of education for man and woman," making clear that "daughters and sons must follow the same curriculum of study, thereby promoting unity of the sexes."
Contribution of Women to Peace

The Baha'i Writings promise that "the entrance of women into all human departments is an irrefutable and incontrovertible question. No soul can retard or prevent it"; that in "no movement" will women "be left behind; that they "will attain in all such a degree as will be considered the very highest station of the world of humanity and will take part in all affairs"; that "when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world…war will cease." This contribution of women to the establishment of world unity and peace will inevitably be recognized and developed.

In past ages humanity has been defective and inefficient because incomplete. War and its ravages have blighted the world. The education of woman will be a mighty step toward its abolition and ending for she will use her whole influence against war…. In truth she will be the greatest factor in establishing Universal Peace and international arbitration. Assuredly woman will abolish warfare among mankind.

An Equal Voice

A great responsibility is, however, placed on woman to develop her potentialities fully.

She must make every effort

to attain greater perfection, to be man’s equal in every respect, to make progress in all in which she has been backward, so that man will be compelled to acknowledge her equality of capacity and attainment.

Certainly the well-being of mankind depends on the development of the potential virtues and abilities of every individual, regardless of race, nationality, class, religion, or sex. For this reason prejudices, which cause division and oppression, are systematically abolished in Baha'i community life. A unique administrative system, rooted in the concept of unity in diversity, both insists on education for all members of the community and allows for the immediate assimilation of all those who in the past have been deprived of their rights. The Baha'i electoral system, operating by secret ballot, with no nominations or electioneering, encourages universal participation: every adult Baha'i is eligible for election to local and national administrative bodies responsible for decision in the conduct of Baha'i affairs. The ease with which women, long deprived of equal opportunities, can now be integrated into the life of society, is vividly evidenced by the participation of women in all areas of Baha'i community life.

Today, in the Baha'i world community, in over 200 nations and territories, women are joining with men in building a global society. Their full contribution toward the establishment of a world civilization is possible, Baha'is believe, because of the all-pervasive spiritual power released in this age by Bahá’u’lláh, Who has erased all limitations preventing the fulfillment of human potentialities. For in the Baha'i view, since

this is the century of light, it is evident that the Sun of Reality, the Word has revealed itself to all humankind. One of the potentialities hidden in the realm of humanity was the capability or capacity of womanhood. Through the effulgent rays of divine illumination, the capacity of woman has become so awakened and manifest in this age that equality of man and woman is an established fact.


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The Equality of Men and Women

The Sixth Basic Baha'i Principle is:
"The Equality of Men and Women."

They must be as the two wings of the soul, each equally developed. The sixth foundation stone, the Sardonyx, is a stone of two layers, one white and one red, symbolical of the two in one who unitedly further the progress of mankind.

'Abdu'l-Baha

Topaz

Considering the time and place in which Baha'u'llah proclaimed his principles, this one, the equality of men and women, was probably the most revolutionary and startling of them all. And yet it is now the most universally accepted, outwardly at least. Feminine emancipation has swept the world, both West and East, and women have proved their capacity to enter the professions, trades, and arts, on an equal footing with men. But this is only a superficial equality, concessions extorted from a man's world. Full psychic equality is not yet; men are unwilling to recognize it, and women, owing to thousands of years of inferior education and position, are unable to accept it.

"The world of humanity has two wings; one is woman and the other man. Not until both wings are equally developed can the bird fly. Should one wing remain weak, flight is impossible. Not until the world of woman becomes equal to the world of man in the acquisition of virtues and perfection's, can success and prosperity be attained as they ought to be."

'Abdu'l-Baha

Men and women are not the same, they have different functions. But these functions are complementary and both must be equal for a perfect result. In psychological terms we say there are two principles, Logos the male, and Eros the female. So far, Logos, the active, achieving principle has been dominant in world affairs. Eros, the principle which brings people into relatedness and maintains harmony, has been in the background or confined to the family. But its power and value is unconsciously recognized in the fact that the woman, the hostess, is the important person at a social gathering, the mother in the home. When this force is released into all human affairs, it will accomplish its work between nations, in the human family. The excesses to which women have been lead by their sudden and-swift emancipation, their attempts to achieve equality through sacrifice of femininity, or through outdoing men in masculine activities, offer no standard of judgment for a truly mature sex.

Equality of women does not mean that they must make better males than men, but that they must achieve true maturity of soul. The same obligation rests upon men. Baha'u'llah declared the equality of men and women, expressed through equal responsibilities and equal rights and privileges. And since that declaration, the bonds by which women have been bound for ages have been breaking, and women have rapidly been securing her rightful place as the equal and partner of man.

"Women must go on advancing; they must extend their knowledge of science, literature, history, for the perfection of humanity. Erelong they will receive their Rights. Men will see women in earnest, bearing themselves with dignity, improving the civil and political life, opposed to warfare, demanding suffrage and equal opportunities. I expect to see you advance in all phases of life; then will your brows be crowned with the diadem ofeternal glory."

'Abdu'l-Baha

Of great importance is that women should be regarded as the total equals of men. It is their right to enjoy all privileges, an equal education and equal opportunities just as men do. Bringing about the emancipation of women relies on universal education. Girls are to receive as good an education as boys. In fact, the education of girls is of greater importance than that of boys. In time girls will become mothers, and as mothers, they will be the first teachers of the next generation.

"Children are like green and tender branches; if the early training is right they grow straight, and if it is wrong they grow crooked; and to the end of their lives they are affected by the training of their earliest years. How important, then, that girls should be well and wisely educated!"

'Abdu'l-Baha

Equality is a virtue of right and of principle among the foundation of God's Teachings. No longer are women held back from their full powerful potency of spiritual endowment. It is incumbent upon men to recognize women as their equal and as their partner in the New World Order. Oneness, Unity, and harmony among mankind can not be achieved unless there is equality between men and women. The oneness of mankind is essential for world harmony and peace, as the common foundation of racial origins be the same, this hold true to the origins of woman and man, we are all of God's creation, There are no second class citizens in the Kingdom of God.

"Humanity is like a bird with two wings- the one is male, the other female. Unless both wings are strong and impelled by some common force, the bird cannot fly heavenwards. According to the spirit of this age, women must advance and fulfill their mission in all departments of life, becoming equal to men, they must be on the same level as men and enjoy equal rights. This is my earnest prayer and it is one of the fundamental principles of Bahá'u'lláh."

'Abdu'l-Baha


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WOMEN ON THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

Over the course of the development of the Baha'i Administration a concept has entered the Faith that women do not have the right to share the highest seat of authority with men on the Universal House of Justice.

"Yet another of the teachings of Baha'u'llah is the equality of men and women and their equal sharing of all rights." ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, pg. 249)

The following document explains why women have the right to be elected as honored members of that body.

If there be justice, this will be acknowledged; but there are some people who, even if all the proofs in the world be adduced before them, still will not judge justly! ('Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 36)

WOMEN ON THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

AN EXPLANATION OF THE ISSUE FROM THE APPOINTED BODY OF
THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE:

The service of women on Houses of Justice has been controversial ever since 'Abdu'l-Baha began setting up the administration with the early formation of local spiritual assemblies. Women were first put on local assemblies in the West, where sexism was not so deeply rooted as in the East. This formation of assemblies began early in the first decade of this century. At first women were not allowed on assemblies even in America. They served separately on "Assemblies of Teaching" and were not eligible for membership on the Local Spiritual Assembly. When questioned about this 'Abdu'l-Baha said,

The House of Justice, however, according to the positive commandments of the Doctrine of God, has been specialized to the men, for a (specific) reason or exercise of wisdom on the part of God, and this reason will presently appear, even as the sun at midday. (Tablets of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 90, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 80)

'Abdu'l-Baha made this statement sometime during the years 1906-09, it was not a statement for all time but for that specific time. It was in response to a question he received. He was not talking about the Universal House of Justice, which was a long way from coming into existence; he was talking about the current situation of the local assemblies which did not have women members at that time. This was why questions were being asked on this subject.

The reason 'Abdu'l-Baha was exercising wisdom and discretion was because of the prejudices of the people. In other words, 'Abdu'l-Baha provided this answer, not because it was intended as a permanent state of affairs, but because it was needed due to the exigencies of that time.

Gradually the situation changed. In April of 1910 'Abdu'l-Baha said,

The Spiritual Assemblies which are organized for the sake of teaching the Truth, whether assemblies for men, assemblies for women or mixed assemblies, are all accepted and are conducive to the spreading of the Fragrances of God. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'i World Faith, p. 411)

This was to do away with the segregation into male and female assemblies, at least on assemblies for teaching. The actual Spiritual Assembly gradually became integrated from this point onward. The situation in the Mid-East was more difficult. For a long time women were still not able to serve on local assemblies.

This was because some of the believers were adamant that Baha'u'llah had used the Arabic word "rijal" (translated into English as "men") in reference to the House of Justice. To this day there is much confusion surrounding this issue, stemming from prejudice and from the English/Arabic language barrier. What is the reality of this word "rijal"?

MEANING OF THE WORD RIJAL

According to the Dictionary of Modern Written Arabic (Hans Wehr), "rajul" (pl. rijal) means "man" and its derivatives mean "great, important men, leading personalities, men of distinction." And, in context, in expressions and phrases it means "statesmen, informants, sources of information." These usages of the word are generic and are not strictly specific to men. When Baha'u'llah and Abdu'l-Baha used the term "Rijal of Justice" it referred to both the male and female members of the Houses of Justice and was generic. 'Abdu'l-Baha said,

In Persian and Arabic there are two distinct words translated into English as man: one meaning man and woman collectively, the other distinguishing man as male from woman the female. The first word and its pronoun are generic, collective; the other is restricted to the male. This is the same in Hebrew. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 76)

The Hebrew word for man which is restricted to the male is "zakar" (Strong's Concordance, #2145) this is the equivalent of the Arabic "dakar." The first letter in the Arabic word "dakar" is also transliterated as dh, giving a transliterated spelling of dhakar. Shoghi Effendi instructed that the letter dh should be pronounced with a "z" sound. (Baha'i World, Vol. 12, also, Baha'i Administration, p. 48, and Light of Divine Guidance, Vol. 1, p. 49) Thus dhakar would be pronounced "zakar." This shows that it is actually the same word probably stemming from the Hebrew and Arabic parent language, Aramaic. Also, variations of both the Hebrew "zakar" and the Arabic "dhakar" mean "to remember" further showing that this is the same word.

Thus, when we investigate we find that the Arabic word "dakar" (pl. dukur) which means "male" and which is sometimes translated "man" and "men" is the word ‘Abdu’l-Baha intended by "the other distinguishing man as male from woman the female… is restricted to the male." The Arabic "dakar" is never translated generically to include women because it is not generic in the slightest. A derivative of this word means "penis". "Rajul" (pl. rijal) on the other hand, can be translated generically to include women.

An example of generic usage of the word "rijal" is from the Quran. In the Yusuf Ali translation, which is the most respected English translation, Surih 7:155 and Surih 72:6 have the word "rijal" translated as "people" and "persons" respectively.

Another example of generic usage of the word "rijal" is found in the book, The Problem of Diglossia in Arabic. On page 78, the Arabic word "rijal" is translated as "people" and "person." On page 79, an example of the usage of "rijal" in a phrase is given, 'ir-rijjal iddayi' haqqa mayiskut' which was then translated, 'the person who's right is squandered will not remain silent.'

Yet another example of its generic usage is in a book title, Rijal-i Iran, dar Qarn-i 12 and 13 Hijry. This is a Persian history book of important people (rijal) of the last 200 years that includes Tahirih and other women.

Baha'u'llah and 'Abdu'l-Baha didn't speak English. They spoke Persian and Arabic. They never said "men." They said "rijal." We must ask ourselves: Who are these "rijal" of the House of Justice? What does it mean that the House of Justice is confined to the "rijal"?

In the religion of God, the word "rijal" refers to the believers, both men and women.

According to the Will and Testament of 'Abdu'l-Baha, the Universal House of Justice is to be elected by "universal suffrage," meaning that all people are to participate, and then he adds, "that is, by the believers," showing that the Universal House of Justice, as well as the houses on the local and national levels, is confined to the believers. This concept of the word "rijal" meaning the true believers in every day and age is attested to throughout Baha'i history.

The Baha'i Glossary (Baha'i Glossary, p. 32, compiled by Marzieh Gail) refers to the "Rijal of the Unseen" as that invisible hierarchy of saints thanks to whose intercessions the cosmic order endures. This refers to the Concourse on High which is made up of all the believers both men and women. Can you imagine heaven being males only? That would be hell. According to Muhammad, heaven is filled with beautiful women. Obviously heaven is confined to the believers ("rijal"), whereas there is a whole other place for those that do not believe.

Likewise, Shayk-Ahmad, the first forerunner of the Bab, was said to be an expert in the science of Rijal. The "ridjal" in Islam were those faithful men and women who were the accurate transmitters of the Hadith. This gave rise to giant "ridjal" lexicons that included the histories and biographies of these faithful men and women, all of whom are referred to as "ridjal." Again these faithful ones, these "ridjal," can only be of the believers.

The Arabic word "rijal" which in common usage came to be used to mean "men" actually means "believers." We find a similar situation in the changing meaning of the English word "man." Its original meaning was "to think" and the word "man" designated those who had the intellect, the humans. In common usage it was understood to mean only "men" as in males because the females were thought to be sub-human. In many cultures women were viewed as not even having a soul. Thus they were thought not to have the force of the human spirit, the ability to think in the abstract, the ability to fulfill God's purpose in creating mankind, and thus they were not counted as men, they were not counted as human. Today the people know better. The English language often uses the words man and men generically to include females as well as males. What makes them "man" is not their sex organs but the fact that they have a soul.

In this Dispensation those who are counted as "rijal" are those who are believers, those who are fulfilling the purpose for which God created mankind in the first place. Baha'u'llah said that women who were believers in His Manifestation were counted as being men:

Throughout the centuries and ages many a man hath waited expectant for God's Revelation, and yet when the Light shone forth from the horizon of the world, all but a few turned their faces away from it. Whosoever from amongst the handmaidens hath recognized the Lord of all Names is recorded in the Book as one of those men by the Pen of the Most High.
Baha'u'llah, Women, p. 359; see also Women, p. 4 #7

In the Kitab-i-Aqdas, the word "rijal" refers specifically to those believers, both men and women, who are eligible for election by plurality ballot to the membership of the local, national and universal Houses of Justice.

The wisdom of this, which was to be revealed in the future, is that it will be important to specify that only believers are eligible to election, as there will be a transition phase during which the secular peoples of the world will be interacting with the Baha'i government. The faith is to evolve through an era of transition with living creatures beside the wheels within wheels, (See Ezekiel 1:15:21) i.e., we will have a parallel system of religious courts next to that of the secular courts and eventually these will all be under the authority of the Supreme Tribunal (the 3rd stage of the UHJ) which has both men and women on it, all of whom will be believers.

'Abdu'l-Baha knew that it was his Father's intent to have women serve fully in every level of the administration. In a Tablet in Paris Talks he writes of women:

In no movement will they be left behind… They will enter all the administrative branches of politics… They will attain in all such a degree as will be considered the very highest station of the world of humanity and will take part in all affairs. Rest ye assured. Do ye not look upon the present conditions; in the not far distant future the world of women will become all-refulgent and all-glorious, For His Holiness Baha'u'llah Hath Willed It so! … the entrance of women into all human departments is an irrefutable and incontrovertible question. No soul can retard or prevent it.
'Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 182-184

When 'Abdu'l-Baha put women on the local spiritual assemblies these prejudiced ones were forced to accept it but they assumed that even though women were on local assemblies they wouldn't be on the national or universal ones. There was an assumption that since the text said "rijal," somewhere along the line women were going to be excluded from God's Plan.

'Abdu'l-Baha knew they were misconstruing his, and his Father's, statements but he did nothing to clear up the matter. He stated that the wisdom of this would become known in the future like the sun at noon day. This meant that because of the extreme prejudice of the people the light of equality of men and women could only be revealed gradually.

Some examples showing the gradual introduction of the equality of men and women in Islamic countries follow.

In India and Burma: On December 27th, 1923 Shoghi Effendi informed the Baha'is of India and Burma that women were now eligible to serve on local and national spiritual assemblies.

In Iran: In 1947 the National Assembly of Iran started a 4-year plan which included the promotion of the interests of women members of the community. In October of 1952, Shoghi Effendi, announcing the goals of the upcoming 10-year plan for Persia (1953-63), listed the membership of women on local and national assemblies, thus ordering that nation to make the equality of women a reality. This goal was achieved, after the passage of two years, in 1954. The fact that it wasn't achieved immediately shows the high level of resistance to it, even in the face of a direct order from the Guardian.

In Egypt: In April of 1951, the right of membership on local assemblies was extended to women believers in Egypt. In April of 1956 women achieved the right to serve on the National Assembly in Egypt and to serve as delegates to the National Convention.

Even though Shoghi Effendi specifically established that women were eligible to serve on Local and National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the Middle-East and Asia, a perusal of Local Spiritual Assembly photos found in the Baha'i World volumes (from the 1950s up to recently) shows that, shockingly, the nature of prejudice against women was still to such an incredible extent in the Middle-East, Asia, Japan, Indonesia and in predominately Islamic areas of Africa, that women were rarely ever elected, and when they were it was in very scant numbers (sometimes one, maybe two).

When Shoghi Effendi put women on the national spiritual assemblies these prejudiced ones were forced to accept it but they found hope in their assumption that even though women were eligible to election on local and national assemblies the UHJ would still be confined to men. They could rest assured that the Universal House of Justice would be a last bastion for male isolation from the presence of women. Also, it was unthinkable, even blasphemous, to them that the institution which was to receive Divine Guidance from God and lead the faith could have women participating on it.
During the interim Shoghi Effendi placated them with assurances that women would not be on the UHJ but he always left the door open for a different interpretation of his statements because he disclaimed any understanding of what 'Abdu'l-Baha meant in the Tablet on which all of this controversy was based. Thus it was left obscure, making it possible for the UHJ itself to make the proper adjustments later on.

On January 9, 1951 Shoghi Effendi finally announced the formation of the International Baha'i Council (IBC). This was in a cablegram announcing the formation of the first embryonic council, called the first International Baha'i Council, which would effloresce through a four-stage process and eventually become the Universal House of Justice. In his first cablegram, Shoghi Effendi did not explain that women would be appointed to the embryonic stage of the UHJ. Knowing that 'Abdu'l-Baha stated the embryo possesses from the first all perfections of the adult, ('Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 231) the believers assumed the embryonic institution would not include women. Also, many of the older, established, and respected Baha'is were happy about this, thinking that they could finally get Shoghi Effendi on there and outvote him. But this was not to be because Shoghi Effendi had decided to appoint all the members himself.

Two months later Shoghi Effendi announced that he had placed 'Abdu'l-Baha's son at the head of the IBC with a woman for the vice-president. A year later, in early March of 1952, Shoghi Effendi took decisive action announcing the appointed members, with women comprising more than one-half of the membership of the embryonic council of the Universal House of Justice. Not only that, but in this announcement he also notified them that he had appointed a woman as his representative (his liaison officer)! Shoghi Effendi was infallibly guided to place women on that council, in spite of the prejudices of the believers against women.

These prejudiced ones were appalled and furious. They wrote strong letters to put pressure on Shoghi Effendi. We don't know whether these letters were nasty notes or vicious diatribes at the beloved guardian, but we know what the effect was.

In his Will and Testament, 'Abdu'l-Baha says Shoghi Effendi is "tender" and that the friends were to "take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi… that no dust of despondency and sorrow may stain his radiant nature…" Shoghi Effendi was a delicate and sensitive soul. When he was a small child a European pilgrim said of him, "Master, if I may speak openly, I must say that in this boy's face are the dark eyes of a sufferer, one who will suffer a great deal!" 'Abdu'l-Baha said in response, "My grandson does not have the eyes of a trailblazer, a fighter or a victor, but in his eyes one sees deep loyalty, perseverance and conscientiousness." (both quotes) The Priceless Pearl, p. 12

When Shoghi Effendi was loaded with the responsibility of leading God's Cause at the age of only twenty-five years, many of the Baha'is felt it was a mistake that he had been made head of the faith. His own mother and grandmother bemoaned the fact, unfavorably comparing him to 'Abdu'l-Baha with the implication that he fell far, far short of what was needed in such a leader.

Shoghi Effendi was small in stature and later on during his ministry one of the ways that he protected himself from being browbeaten by visitors with an agenda was that the friends were not allowed to visit him without an appointment. The arrangements were very formal and structured; when the time was up the person would be escorted out.

In the early years of his ministry he received many challenges to his leadership from Covenant-breakers such as Ahmad Sohrab, Ruth White, also his own relatives who later joined forces with Muhammad-Ali. He had to remove all of these people for Covenant-breaking.

A history of Shoghi Effendi's life (written by Ruhiyyih Khanum) records that even the supposedly loyal friends made subtle challenges against Shoghi Effendi.

There is no doubt in my mind, from things he told me at different times, that in the opening years of his Guardianship he sensed from certain prominent believers a desire to be on a body such as the House of Justice or some interim institution, and that he felt a belittling of his judgment and capacity on their part and a trend to seize the reins of the Cause of God; these were men old enough to be his father, who, whatever their thoughts about the Master's Will, looked upon him in some ways as an inexperienced young man.
Ruhiyyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 250

So Shoghi Effendi could only go just so far in his attempts to set matters aright in relation to the membership of women on the UHJ.

After being questioned about his placement of women on the IBC, Shoghi Effendi relented saying that when the International House of Justice was elected there would only be men on it, but he qualified his statement by prefacing it with,"At present there are women on the International Council, and this will continue as long as it exists,…" (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 80) meaning there will be women on it through all its four stages of existence including the universal stage.

Over the years Shoghi Effendi had received so much resistance from the Baha'is in relation to the membership of women on local and national councils that he played along with their prejudices, mollifying them with the assurance that while women were on local and national houses they would not be on the international one. There was a real danger of the majority of Baha'is, who lived in the Islamic countries, walking out of the faith. Thus he left this battle for the future Universal House of Justice itself to fight.

In spite of the prevailing attitudes, he shrewdly made the following statement in God Passes By:

In it [the Aqdas] He [Baha'u'llah] formally ordains the institution of the "House of Justice," defines its functions, fixes its revenues, and designates its members as the "Men of Justice," the "Deputies of God," the "Trustees of the All-Merciful,"…
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 214

If we carefully read this, judging justly, we can perceive that Shoghi Effendi is talking about all the Houses of Justice when he says "the institution of the House of Justice."

This is because not only does Shoghi Effendi not specify any particular one, but here he is itemizing the provisions of the Aqdas and the Aqdas ordains both the local and the universal houses. Shoghi Effendi doesn't itemize the local and universal ones separately, so we can perceive that he is speaking collectively of the Houses of Justice when he says:

In it [the Aqdas] He [Baha'u'llah] formally ordains the institution of the "House of Justice," defines its functions, fixes its revenues, and designates its members as the "Men of Justice," the "Deputies of God," the "Trustees of the All-Merciful,"…
Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 214

This means that all of these expressions, including the expression "Men of Justice" (in the Aqdas-Arabic: Rijal u'l-'Adl) designate the members of the Local Houses of Justice as well as the members of the universal one. (Of course this would include the national ones also.)

So the expression "Men of Justice" (Rijal u'l-'Adl) definitely includes the members of Local Houses of Justice.

At the time Shoghi Effendi wrote "God Passes By" (where the above-referenced itemization of the Aqdas occurs) in the early 1940s, women were already serving as members on local and national Baha'i assemblies (Houses of Justice) in most of the countries of the world where these assemblies could be found. This was not an accident but had been deliberately prescribed, sometimes even enforced, by 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi.

This shows that "Men of Justice" (Rijal u'l-'Adl) is an expression applying to the membership of any of the Houses of Justice, including those that already had women on them. Meaning, when Baha'u'llah, according to Shoghi Effendi, used the phrase "Men of Justice" He was referring to Houses of Justice comprised of both male and female members.

In other words, the expression in Arabic "Rijal u'l-'Adl" (Men of Justice) used by Baha'u'llah in the Aqdas, designates all the members, both male and female, of the Houses of Justice.

This means the Arabic word "rijal" (translated into English as "men") is inclusive of women whenever it is used in relation to membership of Houses of Justice, and it also means the Arabic word "rijal" is not exclusive of women whenever it is used in relation to membership on Houses of Justice.

Therefore, from his explanation in "God Passes By" it is reasonable to assume that Shoghi Effendi understood that:

  • The term "rijal" did not exclude women from membership on Local Houses of Justice (local assemblies).
  • The term "rijal" did not exclude women from membership on National Houses of Justice (national assemblies).

Baha'u'llah's use of the term "rijal" in the Aqdas in reference to the House of Justice, was not intended to mean women were to be excluded from membership on local and national houses of justice. Therefore the Arabic word "rijal" cannot be construed to have that meaning.

How, then, could the term "rijal" be construed to mean that women were to be excluded from membership on the Universal House of Justice?

The term "rijal" cannot be construed to mean that women are to be excluded from membership on the Universal House of Justice, any more than the term "rijal" could be construed to mean women are excluded from membership on local and national Houses of Justice. Judge fairly!

Shoghi Effendi knew this.

  • He knew the term "rijal" did not exclude women from membership on Local Houses of Justice (local assemblies).
  • He knew the term "rijal" did not exclude women from membership on National Houses of Justice (national assemblies).
  • And likewise, Shoghi Effendi knew the term "rijal" did not exclude women from membership on the Universal House of Justice. This is why he placed women on the embryonic Universal House of Justice, and why he stated that women would be on it for as long as it existed (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 80).

So, in the Aqdas we find that Baha'u'llah uses the word "rijal" in referring to the members of the House of Justice. This reference does not refer exclusively to the members of the Universal House. It does not refer to any House of Justice in particular. There is no link between the word "rijal" and the Universal House specifically. In the Aqdas, Baha'u'llah does not distinguish between the local, national and Universal Houses of Justice.

Shoghi Effendi disclaimed any understanding of what 'Abdu'l-Baha meant in the Tablet on which all of this controversy is based. He said:

The Baha'is should accept this statement of the Master in a spirit of deep faith, confident that there is a divine guidance and wisdom behind it, which will be gradually unfolded to the eyes of the world.
Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 79

…the Master said the wisdom… would become manifest in the future. We have no other indication than this.
Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 80

As the Master says the wisdom of this will be known in the future, we can only accept, believing it is right but not able to give an explanation…
Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Divine Guidance, p. 613

The reason Shoghi Effendi could not give an explanation for why women couldn't be on the UHJ was because there is no explanation. There was no reason for this other than the people's prejudices and opposition to it. So he deliberately left it obscure, which places it under the jurisdiction of the UHJ itself to decide on.

Shoghi Effendi's statements to the effect that there would be no women on the UHJ were only given to appease the prejudiced mind-set of the vast majority of Baha'is who resided in the Islamic countries of the Middle-East. This stance of appeasement was sometimes employed, out of discretion, by 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi in response to deeply ingrained attitudes among the people.

Some examples of this are the statements of 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi against men having two wives even though this is allowed in the Aqdas. That was on behalf of Westerners who find the concept offensive. Another example is 'Abdu'l-Baha's and Shoghi Effendi's statements of agreement with the Catholic doctrine of the immaculate conception of Jesus (meaning He did not have a human father). This was on behalf of the Christians. Another example is that when local assemblies were established in America, statements were made that these were not political and had nothing to do with material affairs or with a government. The name "House of Spirituality, or "Spiritual Assembly" was even substituted for the name "House of Justice!" This was to appease the government.

If we examine the writings we will find several more examples. The purpose of this was partly out of mercy to the ones who held these beliefs to ease their transition into the Faith, and partly to protect the newly born Faith from too much opposition by pacifying these segments of the population. 'Abdu'l-Baha said that when the doctor has a sick patient he might lie to him and tell him there is hope, so in cases like these, while lying is normally wrong, in such an instance it is not blameworthy.

Shoghi Effendi said,

If certain instructions of the Master are today particularly emphasized and scrupulously adhered to, let us be sure that they are but provisional measures designed to guard and protect the Cause in its present state of infancy and growth until the day when this tender and precious plant shall have sufficiently grown to be able to withstand the unwisdom of its friends and the attacks of its enemies.
Shoghi Effendi, Baha'i Administration, p. 63

This shows that, in relation to the reality of women's membership on all levels of the institution of the House of Justice, appeasement was necessary on behalf of the sexism of Baha'i men of Islamic background. Many of the Baha'is of Islamic countries were heedless behind thick veils and rooted in the darkness of their apostate Islamic culture. In the Mid-East the oppression of women is even more severe, extreme and entrenched than it is in the West. So, the reality of woman's equality with man had to be introduced and established very slowly amongst the peoples of the world, even in the West.

When the sun dawns over the horizon it doesn't immediately jump to the brilliancy of high-noon, for if it did all life would wither and this is not in conformity with the method of God. The sun dawns gently and gradually giving the creatures of earth time to adjust to its brightness. Likewise, the spiritual rays of the Realities of the Baha'i Revelation, must be unveiled slowly, rising gradually to their zenith. This is Mercy on the part of God.

Know of a certainty that in every Dispensation the light of Divine Revelation hath been vouchsafed unto men in direct proportion to their spiritual capacity. Consider the sun. How feeble its rays the moment it appeareth above the horizon. How gradually its warmth and potency increase as it approacheth its zenith, enabling meanwhile all created things to adapt themselves to the growing intensity of its light. How steadily it declineth until it reacheth its setting point. Were it, all of a sudden, to manifest the energies latent within it, it would, no doubt, cause injury to all created things… In like manner, if the Sun of Truth were suddenly to reveal, at the earliest stages of its manifestation, the full measure of the potencies which the providence of the Almighty hath bestowed upon it, the earth of human understanding would waste away and be consumed; for men's hearts would neither sustain the intensity of its revelation, nor be able to mirror forth the radiance of its light. Dismayed and overpowered, they would cease to exist. (Baha'u'llah, Gleanings, p. 87-88)

The outer sun is a sign or symbol of the inner and ideal Sun of Truth, the Word of God. Inasmuch as this is the century of light, it is evident that the Sun of Reality, the Word, has revealed itself to all humankind. One of the potentialities hidden in the realm of humanity was the capability or capacity of womanhood. Through the effulgent rays of divine illumination the capacity of woman has become so awakened and manifest in this age that equality of man and woman is an established fact. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 74)

So, the light of woman's equality with man could only dawn gradually over the hearts of the Baha'is, in a spirit of patience, especially with those from an Islamic background, corresponding to the degree of fanatical prejudice, on their part, against this equality.

'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi knew that they had been appointed by God to serve in a transitional capacity because the world at large, even the Baha'is, were not ready for the Universal House of Justice to be established. Their service was for the exigency of the time, the needs of the people of that time, and they knew that anything they set up for the exigency of that time would later be rectified as necessary by God's Universal House of Justice. Shoghi Effendi said,

It should also be borne in mind that the machinery of the Cause has been so fashioned, that whatever is deemed necessary to incorporate into it in order to keep it in the forefront of all progressive movements, can, according to the provisions made by Baha'u'llah, be safely embodied therein. To this testify the words of Baha'u'llah, as recorded in the Eighth Leaf of the exalted Paradise: "It is incumbent upon the Trustees of the House of Justice to take counsel together regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book, and to enforce that which is agreeable to them. God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth, and He, verily, is the Provider, the Omniscient."… the House of Justice [has] been invested by Baha'u'llah with the authority to legislate whatsoever has not been explicitly and outwardly recorded in His holy Writ… Such is the immutability of His revealed Word. Such is the elasticity which characterizes the functions of His appointed ministers. The first preserves the identity of His Faith, and guards the integrity of His law. The second enables it, even as a living organism, to expand and adapt itself to the needs and requirements of an ever-changing society. (Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 22-3)

Today this House finds that there is nothing explicitly or expressly recorded in the Aqdas about women's membership on the UHJ.

This is what the Aqdas does say,

We have decreed that a third part of all fines shall go to the Seat of Justice, and We admonish its men [rijal] to observe pure justice, that they may expend what is thus accumulated for such purposes as have been enjoined upon them by Him Who is the All-Knowing, the All-Wise. O ye Men [rijal] of Justice! Be ye, in the realm of God, shepherds unto His sheep and guard them from the ravening wolves that have appeared in disguise, even as ye would guard your own sons. Thus exhorteth you the Counsellor, the Faithful. (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 38)

This does not constitute an explicit law on women's membership on the UHJ.

To illustrate what is an explicit law: The Aqdas explicitly reveals that women are not obliged to fast when they are menstruating, lactating or pregnant, for it says, God hath exempted women who are in their courses from obligatory prayer and fasting… those who are with child or giving suck, are not bound by the Fast;… (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 23-24, 25)

There is no explicit statement in the Aqdas that women are not allowed to serve on the Universal House of Justice. So, in accordance with the writings of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi the IBC is within its sphere to decide on this issue. It is clearly established by Baha'u'llah, by 'Abdu'l-Baha, by the texts of the Covenant, and by Shoghi Effendi, that the UHJ has the final authority to decide on anything which is not explicitly revealed in the Aqdas.

It is incumbent upon the Trustees of the House of Justice to take counsel together regarding those things which have not outwardly been revealed in the Book, and to enforce that which is agreeable to them. God will verily inspire them with whatsoever He willeth, and He, verily, is the Provider, the Omniscient. (Tablets of Baha'u'llah, p. 68)

The Most Holy Book is the Book to which all peoples shall refer, and in it the Laws of God have been revealed. Laws not mentioned in the Book should be referred to the decision of the Universal House of Justice. ( 'Abdu'l-Baha, Establishment of the U.H.J., p. 322 and Persian and Arabic Tablets, Vol. III, p. 499)

Unto this body all things must be referred. It enacteth all ordinances and regulations that are not to be found in the explicit Holy Text. By this body all the difficult problems are to be resolved… ('Abdu'l-Baha, Will and Testament, p. 14)

Unto the Most Holy Book every one must turn, and all that is not expressly recorded therein must be referred to the Universal House of Justice. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Will and Testament, p. 19)

…deliberate upon all problems which have caused difference, questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book. Whatsoever they decide has the same effect as the Text itself. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Will and Testament, p. 20)

…the powers and prerogatives of the Universal House of Justice, possessing the exclusive right to legislate on matters not explicitly revealed in the Most Holy Book;… (Shoghi Effendi, God Passes By, p. 326)

What has not been formulated in the Aqdas, in addition to matters of detail and of secondary importance arising out of the application of the laws already formulated by Baha'u'llah, will have to be enacted by the Universal House of Justice. (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 3,4)

Therefore this issue is under the sphere of authority of Shoghi Effendi's successor to determine.

Today the Universal House of Justice in its appointed stage determines the truth and purpose of God and no one else! This is because no one other than the true UHJ itself has the interpretive power to truly understand the intent of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi. So, the believers should not allow themselves to be agitated due to the fact that Shoghi Effendi said,

…when the International House of Justice is elected, there will only be men on it, as this is the law of the Aqdas. (Shoghi Effendi, Directives of the Guardian, p. 79-80)

He also said,

All matters not specifically provided by Baha'u'llah are to be referred to the Universal House of Justice. (Shoghi Effendi, Huququ'llah, p. 515)

Further, he disclaimed that his authority superseded that of the UHJ's authority to decide on issues related to the Aqdas.

It must be also clearly understood by every believer that the institution of Guardianship [Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship] does not under any circumstances abrogate, or even in the slightest degree detract from, the powers granted to the Universal House of Justice by Baha'u'llah in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and repeatedly and solemnly confirmed by Abdu'l-Baha in His Will.(Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 8)

Those powers granted to the UHJ in the Kitab-i-Aqdas, and confirmed in the Will and Testament, include the authority to decide on those issues which may be related to the Aqdas but which are not explicitly recorded therein. This authority is not revoked in the least by Shoghi Effendi's statements. There is nothing in the Aqdas to establish that women are not to be on the UHJ.

In addition, Shoghi Effendi disclaimed a complete understanding of the Aqdas.

We stand indeed too close to so monumental a document to claim for ourselves a complete understanding of all its implications, or to presume to have grasped the manifold mysteries it undoubtedly contains. (Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 8)

He said that the real meaning of the Aqdas, especially in relation to the constituent elements of the UHJ, were too futuristic for that generation to comprehend.

I consider it my duty to warn every beginner in the Faith that the promised glories of the Sovereignty which the Baha'i teachings foreshadow, can be revealed only in the fullness of time, that the implications of the Aqdas and the Will of Abdu'l-Baha, as the twin repositories of the constituent elements of that Sovereignty, are too far-reaching for this generation to grasp and fully appreciate. (Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 16)

This means that the people of that day were blind to the reality of these things; this was mostly because of their prejudice. He said the UHJ would give a clearer and fuller understanding of these issues.

To attempt to estimate its full value, and grasp its exact significance after so short a time since its inception would be premature and presumptuous on our part. We must trust to time, and the guidance of God's Universal House of Justice, to obtain a clearer and fuller understanding of its provisions and implications. (Shoghi Effendi, Baha'i Administration, p. 62-63)

Finally, there is no law in the Aqdas prescribing that only males are eligible to the UHJ. Shoghi Effendi made it clear that he cannot make such a law on his own.

…upon the international elected representatives of the followers of Baha'u'llah has been conferred the exclusive right of legislating on matters not expressly revealed in the Baha'i writings [meaning Baha'u'llah's and 'Abdu'l-Baha's]. Neither the Guardian of the Faith nor any institution apart from the International House of Justice can ever usurp this vital and essential power or encroach upon that sacred right. (Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 153)

Shoghi Effendi did not explain the reason for the statements about women not being on the UHJ. He just said that we should be confident that there was a divine guidance and wisdom behind it, that this wisdom would become manifest in the future and that the meaning would gradually unfold to the eyes of the world. Shoghi Effendi said he was not able to give an explanation about the issue and that he had no indication other than what 'Abdu'l-Baha had said about it. As has already been explained, 'Abdu'l-Baha never said women would not be on the UHJ. His statement that women would not be on the House of Justice referred to the Local Spiritual Assemblies and was only meant as a temporary measure. Later, the people took this completely out of context of the circumstances for which it had been written. When these people, out of prejudice, insisted that it meant women were to be excluded from the UHJ, Shoghi Effendi pretended to go along with it in order to placate them.

Shoghi Effendi made it possible for the UHJ to eventually rectify this, in that he left the issue in obscurity. As Shoghi Effendi made it clear that he did not have an understanding of the issue, this again places it within the sphere of the UHJ to resolve. This is why he said:

…the Universal House of Justice… function… is to lay more definitely the broad lines that must guide the future activities and administration of the Movement,… (Shoghi Effendi, Baha'i Administration, p. 63)

He also made it possible that this should be rectified by disclaiming any definite infallibility in areas where he didn't have all the facts. That is, without all the facts Shoghi Effendi couldn't arrive at a basic understanding of the issue and therefore such a decision would be according to the need of that time only.

He likes to be provided with facts by the friends, when they ask his advice, for although his decisions are guided by God, he is not, like the Prophet, omniscient at will, in spite of the fact that he often senses a situation or condition without having any detailed knowledge of it… (Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, p. 449)

God was guiding Shoghi Effendi to make statements about women's membership on the UHJ and his responses were infallible for the needs of that time when there was still so much prejudice against women. However, as that solution to the difficulty was for the needs of that time only, the UHJ is free to institute the actual truth of the matter.

The meaning of "rijal" and the meaning of its usage in the passage of the Aqdas relating to the Houses of Justice has now been made explicit. The issue of whether or not women will be on the UHJ is no longer obscure. They will be. Our ruling on this issue is the actual truth and reality of the question and is not something offered for the exigency of this time. Therefore this ruling will not be within the realm of a future UHJ to overturn. They will not need to.

Due to opposition, 'Abdu'l-Baha and Shoghi Effendi were not able to make this full reality of women's equality with men known to the people of their day. The light of it barely dared to peek over the horizon. In this day its reality is able to shine more brightly.

The realities of things have been revealed in this radiant century, and that which is true must come to the surface. Among these realities is the principle of the equality of man and woman — equal rights and prerogatives in all things appertaining to humanity. Baha'u'llah declared this reality over fifty years ago. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 283)

Consider the mysteries revealed during the last half century, all due to the effulgence of the Sun of Reality, which has been so gloriously manifested in this age and cycle. In this day man must investigate reality impartially and without prejudice in order to reach the true knowledge and conclusions. What, then, constitutes the inequality between man and woman? Both are human. In powers and function each is the complement of the other. At most it is this: that woman has been denied the opportunities which man has so long enjoyed… ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 75)

At last this century of light dawned, the realities shone forth, and the mysteries long hidden from human vision were revealed. Among these revealed realities was the great principle of the equality of man and woman,… ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 74)

In reality, God has created all mankind, and in the estimation of God there is no distinction as to male and female. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 133)

Out of mercy to those who weren't ready, this reality was temporarily obscured. Whatsoever is latent in the innermost of this holy cycle shall gradually appear and be made manifest, for now is but the beginning of its growth and the dayspring of the revelation of its signs.
'Abdu'l-Baha, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 146

When the membership of women on the UHJ was hidden from the people as a mercy from God, the people came to believe, contrary to reality, that the restriction of women from the UHJ was the reality. However, Justice is the Ultimate Reality of this cycle.

O Son Of Spirit! The best beloved of all things in My sight is Justice… (Baha'u'llah, Arabic Hidden Words, p. 2)

'Abdu'l-Baha explained this reality, or justice, as it relates to the equality of men and women.

If we say man and woman differ in creational endowment, it is contrary to divine justice and intention. Both are human. If God has created one perfect and the other defective, He is unjust. But God is just; all are perfect in His intention and creative endowment. To assume imperfection in the creature is to presuppose imperfection in the almighty Creator. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 233)

…why should woman be considered inferior? This is not according to the plan and justice of God. He has created them equal; in His estimate there is no question of sex. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 174-175)

Thus, a Universal House of Justice without women eligible to membership on it would not be a House of Justice at all, but of injustice.

Did Baha'u'llah not know that there would be such opposition to the complete equality of women? Of course He knew! That's why He and 'Abdu'l-Baha revealed so many tablets on women's equality with men.

All should know, and in this regard attain the splendours of the sun of certitude, and be illumined thereby: Women and men have been and will always be equal in the sight of God. The Dawning-Place of the Light of God sheddeth its radiance upon all with the same effulgence. Verily God created women for men, and men for women… The friends of God must be adorned with the ornament of justice, equity, kindness and love. As they do not allow themselves to be the object of cruelty and transgression, in like manner they should not allow such tyranny to visit the handmaidens of God. He, verily, speaketh the truth and commandeth that which benefitteth His servants and handmaidens. He is the Protector of all in this world and the next. (Baha'u'llah, Women, p. 379)

Throughout the centuries and ages many a man hath waited expectant for God's Revelation, and yet when the Light shone forth from the horizon of the world, all but a few turned their faces away from it. Whosoever from amongst the handmaidens hath recognized the Lord of all Names is recorded in the Book as one of those men by the Pen of the Most High. (Baha'u'llah, Women, p. 359; see also Women, p. 4 #7)

Know thou, O handmaid, that in the sight of Baha, women are accounted the same as men, and God hath created all humankind in His own image, and after His own likeness. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Selections from the Writings of 'Abdu'l-Baha, p. 79)

In the estimation of God there is no gender. The one whose deeds are more worthy, whose sayings are better, whose accomplishments are more useful is nearest and dearest in the estimation of God, be that one male or female. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 374)

It has been objected by some that woman is not equally capable with man and that she is deficient by creation. This is pure imagination. The difference in capability between man and woman is due entirely to opportunity and education. Heretofore woman has been denied the right and privilege of equal development. If equal opportunity be granted her, there is no doubt she would be the peer of man. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 135)

…the female sex is treated as though inferior, and is not allowed equal rights and privileges… In the Divine Creation there is no such distinction. Neither sex is superior to the other in the sight of God. Why then should one sex assert the inferiority of the other, withholding just rights and privileges as though God had given His authority for such a course of action?
'Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, 1961 U.K. edition, p. 161

In proclaiming the oneness of mankind He taught that men and women are equal in the sight of God and that there is no distinction to be made between them. The only difference between them now is due to lack of education and training. If woman is given equal opportunity of education, distinction and estimate of inferiority will disappear. The world of humanity has two wings, as it were: One is the female; the other is the male. If one wing be defective, the strong perfect wing will not be capable of flight. The world of humanity has two hands. If one be imperfect, the capable hand is restricted and unable to perform its duties. God is the Creator of mankind. He has endowed both sexes with perfections and intelligence, given them physical members and organs of sense, without differentiation or distinction as to superiority; therefore, why should woman be considered inferior? This is not according to the plan and justice of God. He has created them equal; in His estimate there is no question of sex. The one whose heart is purest, whose deeds are most perfect, is acceptable to God, male or female. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 174-175)

Briefly, history furnishes evidence that during the past centuries there have been great women as well as great men; but in general, owing to lack of educational advantages, women have been restricted and deprived of opportunity to become fully qualified and representative of humankind. When given the opportunity for acquiring education, they have shown equal capacity with men.

Some philosophers and writers have considered woman naturally and by creation inferior to man, claiming as a proof that the brain of man is larger and heavier than that of woman. This is frail and faulty evidence, inasmuch as small brains are often found coupled with superior intellect and large brains possessed by those who are ignorant, even imbecilic. The truth is that God has endowed all humankind with intelligence and perception and has confirmed all as His servants and children; therefore, in the plan and estimate of God there is no distinction between male or female. The soul that manifests pure deeds and spiritual graces is most precious in His sight and nearer to Him in its attainments. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 283)

The truth is that God has endowed all humankind with intelligence and perception and has confirmed all as His servants and children; therefore, in the plan and estimate of God there is no distinction between male or female. The soul that manifests pure deeds and spiritual graces is most precious in His sight and nearer to Him in its attainments. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 283)

The solution to the prejudice against women was to gradually lift the veil and this is why Baha'u'llah didn't come right out in the Aqdas with a statement that women would be on the UHJ. However, if God had really intended Baha'u'llah to exclude women a clear law would have been revealed on this in the Aqdas. Also, instead of using the word "rijal" Baha'u'llah would have used the other Arabic word for man "dakar" (pl."dukur") which strictly means "males" but it can also be translated as "man" or "men".

In the beginning the Baha'is, out of prejudice, assumed that by "rijal" was meant men only. This was in opposition to what Baha'u'llah meant: the believers-both men and women. This prejudice was seemingly validated when initially, in the lifetime of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, only men were members on the local houses of justice, entitled local spiritual assemblies. This was true in both the East and the West.

Even today people are prejudiced against equality of men and women. When the people first became Baha'is they brought their prejudices into the faith with them. The confusion in the minds of some of the believers regarding women on the UHJ stems from this prejudice. The Aqdas of Baha'u'llah and certain Tablets of Abdu'l-Baha have been misunderstood, misinterpreted and even mistranslated on the basis of the prejudice and negative mind-set of the people against the role of women on the UHJ.

It is time that all these prejudices must be put aside, once and for all.

Again, Baha'u'llah declares that all forms of prejudice among mankind must be abandoned and that until existing prejudices are entirely removed, the world of humanity will not and cannot attain peace, prosperity and composure. This principle cannot be found in any other sacred volume than the teachings of Baha'u'llah.

Another teaching is that there shall be perfect equality between men and women. Why should man create a distinction which God does not recognize? ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 434)

Baha'u'llah said that the women (handmaidens) who were believers were counted as men in the Aqdas.

Whosoever from amongst the hand-maidens hath recognized the Lord of all Names is recorded in the Book as one of those men by the Pen of the Most High. (Baha'u'llah, Women, p. 359; see also Women, p. 4 #7)

Baha'u'llah gave instructions on how to understand the Aqdas in the text of the Kitab-i-Aqdas itself.

He says we should weigh it (try to understand it) according to its own standard and not according to the current standards of the people.

Weigh not the Book of God with such standards and sciences as are current amongst you, for the Book itself is the unerring Balance established amongst men. In this most perfect Balance whatsoever the peoples and kindreds of the earth possess must be weighed, while the measure of its weight should be tested according to its own standard, did ye but know it. (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 56)

This means that the correct meaning of the word "rijal" as used in the Aqdas is determined by the Aqdas itself. In everyday street-usage Arabic the word "rijal" is commonly used in its sense of "men," however, this is only one of its meanings. Even though this meaning may currently be the most common one among Arabic speakers, this does not mean that Baha'is should assume the word "rijal" when used in the Aqdas means "men" only, exclusive of women, otherwise we should be weighing the Aqdas according to standards current amongst you and not according to its own standard.

As that Book records women believers as being men, the usage of the word "rijal" cannot be understood by Baha'is to mean restricted to males only.

Baha'u'llah, in His Aqdas, puts women believers on all levels of the Houses of Justice, including the UHJ, and this is part of its Constitution. Like Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha didn't distinguish whether it was the local, national or universal houses of justice when he said it was confined to the "rijal." This is because the word "rijal" is inclusive of all of them, and of all their members, both male and female. In this light, the Master's Tablet in Paris Talks shows that women are eligible for membership on the UHJ, just like on all other levels of the House of Justice, as part of the Constitution of that UHJ.

As regards the constitution of the House of Justice, Baha'u'llah addresses the rijal. He says: 'O ye rijal of the House of Justice!… When the women attain to the ultimate degree of progress, then, according to the exigency of the time and place and their great capacity, they shall obtain extraordinary privileges. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 184)

This statement was prefaced with,

"They will attain in all such a degree as will be considered the very highest station of the world of humanity and will take part in all affairs. Rest ye assured. Do ye not look upon the present conditions; in the not far distant future the world of women will become all-refulgent and all-glorious, For His Holiness Baha'u'llah Hath Willed It so!… the entrance of women into all human departments is an irrefutable and incontrovertible question."

Thus every fair-minded inquirer will see that what 'Abdu'l-Baha meant by, When the women attain to the ultimate degree of progress… is that then they shall be on the UHJ. By progress is meant education and learning. 'Abdu'l-Baha explained that lack of education was the only thing holding women back from complete equality with men. The following statement from the Aqdas reveals the ultimate degree of education and learning, this is the ultimate degree of education and learning that women must attain to in order to be eligible for membership on the UHJ.

We have decreed, O people, that the highest and last end of all learning be the recognition of Him Who is the Object of all knowledge; and yet, behold how ye have allowed your learning to shut you out, as by a veil, from Him Who is the Dayspring of this Light, through Whom every hidden thing hath been revealed. (Baha'u'llah, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 57)

The ultimate degree of progress for any human being, male or female is that they are believers. In order for women to serve on the UHJ they must be believers! It is not important that they be male! What is important in the eyes of God is whether or not they are believers! "Rijal" means believers!

Translating the Tablet from Paris Talks accordingly and without prejudice it would read, As regards the constitution of the House of Justice, Baha'u'llah addresses the believers. He says: 'O ye believers of the House of Justice!

Accordingly, Shoghi Effendi's original Constitution of the UHJ in its embryonic stage provided women as more than half the membership. Before Shoghi Effendi announced this membership to the Baha'is he sent a cablegram proclaiming the formation of the International Baha'i Council saying,

Hail with thankful, joyous heart at long last the Constitution of International [Baha'i] Council which history will acclaim as the greatest event… (Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Baha'i World, p. 8)

It is clear that Shoghi Effendi was infallibly guided to place women on that council, in spite of the prejudices of the believers against women. He decisively placed all the constituent parts of the Universal House of Justice on this embryonic institution. For example, he placed the Davidic King, 'Abdu'l-Baha's son, at the head of it, this is the executive branch. He appointed all the members himself, this is the legislative/judicial branch. He gave it a vice-president, a secretary, assistant secretaries, a treasurer and other members. This wasn't because the International Baha'i Council needed those positions at that time, it wasn't functioning yet, it wasn't born into the world of activity. Shoghi Effendi placed these components on there because the Universal House of Justice would need them in all its later stages of development. This is like the baby in the womb, it has eyes and ears, etc., not because it needs them in the womb, but because it needs them in this life. Likewise, the Universal House of Justice had women on it in its embryonic form because it needs women on it in all of its stages of existence.

The embryo of the UHJ had women on it and when it was born into the world on January 9th, 1991, as the appointed stage of the Universal House of Justice, it still had women on it. An embryo passes through different stages of evolvement, but whether it goes on to become an infant, a child, an adolescent or an adult, it is still the same entity through all of these stages of its existence. Because the first stage of the Universal House of Justice was born into the world with women on it, when it comes to the adult stage, the fully-elected UHJ, it will still have women on it. The membership of women on the embryonic UHJ is not like the tail that a human embryo has — which falls off while still in the womb, or other parts that may change such as the sex cells which differentiate into either male or female. What the child has in the womb, and is then born with, remains with the child its whole life, and the only change is that these things gradually develop and evolve to greater perfection.

'Abdu'l-Baha explained that the world of the Divine politics which is created by God, "the most excellent of Makers," goes through this same pattern of evolvement.

The world of politics is like the world of man; he is seed at first, and then passes by degrees to the condition of embryo and foetus, acquiring a bone structure, being clothed with flesh, taking on his own special form, until at last he reaches the plane where he can befittingly fulfill the words: "the most excellent of Makers." Just as this is a requirement of creation and is based on the universal Wisdom, the political world in the same way cannot instantaneously evolve from the nadir of defectiveness to the zenith of rightness and perfection. Rather, qualified individuals must strive by day and by night, using all those means which will conduce to progress, until the government and the people develop along every line from day to day and even from moment to moment. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 107-108)

The evolvement of this UHJ runs parallel and corresponds with the development of the people, the Faith itself. To the extent that their prejudices and other failings make them unreceptive to its light, its reality will remain obscured. In the degree that the believers are prepared to receive its light its reality will shine more brightly upon them and throughout the entire world.

We have reached the point of evolvement at which the Baha'is are able to accept the fact that women are eligible to the UHJ; that all levels of Houses of Justice are confined to male and female believers. People must simply accept this reality, this is final.

Now, to be against the membership of women on the UHJ is to be in violation of the Constitution of it. In Some Answered Questions, on page 198, 'Abdu'l-Baha said it is only freed from all error when it is established with the necessary conditions, meaning women must serve as this is part of its essential Constitution.

For instance, the Universal House of Justice, if it be established under the necessary conditions — with members elected from all the people — that House of Justice will be under the protection and the unerring guidance of God. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 172)

To be elected "from all the people" means that all the people must be eligible to be elected to it. A UHJ elected from all the people would have to include women as women comprise half the population. ‘Abdu’l-Baha makes it clear that women are to be on the UHJ.

It is a fundamental principle of the law of God that all living things have both the male and female elements.

…this union of the male and female exists in all living beings and plants. This pairing of things is even shown forth in the Qur'an: "Glory be to Him Who has created all the pairs: of such things as the earth produceth, and of themselves; and of things which they know not" that is to say, men, animals and plants are all in pairs — "and of everything have We created two kinds" — that is to say, We have created all the beings through pairing. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Some Answered Questions, p. 87)

And thus the UHJ must have the female element or else it is not in accordance with divine law and will not have the divine force. There is no separate female UHJ to "pair" with an all-male UHJ — that would be unimaginable! Therefore within itself the UHJ must have both components.

Shoghi Effendi illustrates what is to be the result if Baha'u'llah's principle of the equality of men and women is dissociated from the administration.

To dissociate the administrative principles of the Cause from the purely spiritual and humanitarian teachings would be tantamount to a mutilation of the body of the Cause, a separation that can only result in the disintegration of its component parts, and the extinction of the Faith itself. (Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 5)

To deny women membership on the UHJ is to separate the reality of the spiritual teaching of women's equality with men from the reality of the UHJ. This separation can only result the mutilation, disintegration and extinction of that body.

All of this means that the UHJ will not be infallible without both men and women members. 'Abdu'l-Baha said that it won't fly without both wings.

The world of humanity is possessed of two wings: the male and the female. So long as these two wings are not equivalent in strength, the bird will not fly. Until womankind reaches the same degree as man, until she enjoys the same arena of activity, extraordinary attainment for humanity will not be realized; humanity cannot wing its way to heights of real attainment. When the two wings or parts become equivalent in strength, enjoying the same prerogatives, the flight of man will be exceedingly lofty and extraordinary… until this equality is established, true progress and attainment for the human race will not be facilitated. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 375)

Flight is symbolic of entrance to the highest spiritual realm possible to mankind, the realm of divine guidance. In order for the UHJ to attain this it must be properly constituted, and in order for mankind to attain this they must abandon their prejudices and submit to that properly constituted UHJ.

The following explanation from 'Abdu'l-Baha shows that, without the participation of women, the UHJ will not attain completion and perfection, meaning it would not be the "UHJ" at all.

Again, it is well established in history that where woman has not participated in human affairs the outcomes have never attained a state of completion and perfection. On the other hand, every influential undertaking of the human world wherein woman has been a participant has attained importance. This is historically true and beyond disproof even in religion. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 134)

'Abdu'l-Baha reveals that women are completely capable of serving on the UHJ.

The woman has greater moral courage than the man; she has also special gifts which enable her to govern in moments of danger and crisis. ('Abdu'l-Baha, 'Abdu'l-Baha in London, 1982 UK edition, p. 103)

The membership of women on the UHJ is a vital necessity for many reasons one of which is that the mission of the UHJ is to bring about world peace and this is not possible without the participation of women on that body.

Strive that the ideal of international peace may become realized through the efforts of womankind, for man is more inclined to war than woman, and a real evidence of woman's superiority will be her service and efficiency in the establishment of universal peace. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 284)

So it will come to pass that when women participate fully and equally in the affairs of the world, when they enter confidently and capably the great arena of laws and politics, war will cease; for woman will be the obstacle and hindrance to it. This is true and without doubt. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 135)

Another fact of equal importance in bringing about international peace is woman's suffrage. That is to say, when perfect equality shall be established between men and women, peace may be realized for the simple reason that womankind in general will never favor warfare. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 167)

Therefore, as woman advances toward the degree of man in power and privilege, with the right of vote and control in human government, most assuredly war will cease; for woman is naturally the most devoted and staunch advocate of international peace. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 375)

'Abdu'l-Baha refers here to women's voting and voice in government. In the past this has been interpreted to mean that when women have a vote in council elections, then war will cease. However, the peoples' voice is not heard through their vote in an election. The members of the Houses of Justice do not represent the people who elected them and are not obligated to vote according to the wishes of the people, but they are commanded in the writings to vote their own conscience. So the voice of women will only be heard through their having a direct vote in the decisions that are made. The only way that women will be able to put an end to war is to serve on the very highest level of government.

Therefore when 'Abdu'l-Baha said,

As regards the constitution of the House of Justice, Baha'u'llah addresses the believers. He says: 'O ye believers of the House of Justice! He went on to say, when its members are to be elected, the right which belongs to women, so far as their voting and their voice is concerned, is indisputable. When the women attain to the ultimate degree of progress, then, according to the exigency of the time and place and their great capacity, they shall obtain extraordinary privileges. ('Abdu'l-Baha, Paris Talks, p. 184)

The meaning is that women are eligible to serve on the UHJ. The right to be elected as members belongs to the women, in that their right to voice their concerns through voting is indisputable. The women will raise the cry for peace in the council chambers of the Universal House of Justice in all its levels of evolvement.

Women and men are to be equal in every capacity. This principal is a fundamental teaching for a unified world civilization, a civilization devoid of war and carnage, a civilization in which the prejudices that inhibit the peoples from partaking of their equal share in the bounties of God will have ceased to exist.

In the 1950s Shoghi Effendi ordered those of Iran to re-elect their National Assembly until women were on it, invalidating the election if they weren't. The UHJ must likewise have women on it to be constituted correctly and established under the necessary conditions. If not that election will be declared invalid.

The word "rijal" is generic, referring to men and women both, but confined to those who are believers. Women will sit on the UHJ in all its stages. This is the final word of God on this subject. As rijal forms part of the explicit text this is not subject to change or alteration ever! This is final.
The appointed body of the Universal House of Justice in its first stage,
once and for all, herby resolves that:

Based upon the Explicit Holy Text and the clear and manifest proofs and evidences contained within, and in accordance with, the revealed statements of Baha'u'llah, 'Abdu'l-Baha, and Shoghi Effendi, the Universal House of Justice shall be comprised of both men and women.

And furthermore, that:
The membership of both men and women on the Universal House of Justice is constituted within the Baha'i Administrative Order, that is, the membership of both men and women on the Universal House of Justice forms an irremovable part of the constitution of the Universal House of Justice in all its stages.

And therefore, that:
In conformity with, and in enforcement of, the Explicit Holy Text, if women are not elected to the Universal House of Justice than that election shall be declared invalid.

[Approved this eighteenth day of Mulk in the year one hundred and fifty-two of the Baha'i Era (February 24, 1996)]

How pressing and sacred the responsibility that now weighs upon those who are already acquainted with these teachings! How glorious the task of those who are called upon to vindicate their truth, and demonstrate their practicability to an unbelieving world! Nothing short of an immovable conviction in their divine origin, and their uniqueness in the annals of religion; nothing short of an unwavering purpose to execute and apply them to the administrative machinery of the Cause, can be sufficient to establish their reality, and insure their success. How vast is the Revelation of Baha'u'llah! How great the magnitude of His blessings showered upon humanity in this day! And yet, how poor, how inadequate our conception of their significance and glory! This generation stands too close to so colossal a Revelation to appreciate, in their full measure, the infinite possibilities of His Faith, the unprecedented character of His Cause, and the mysterious dispensations of His Providence. (Shoghi Effendi, World Order of Baha'u'llah, p. 24)


Welcome InTernaTional Council PresidenT Mason Remey

Thuh Nekst Tekst Wuhz Fruhm:

Messages to the Bahá’í World: 1950–1957

Author: Shoghi Effendi

[ Tu ] Spiritual and Administrative World Center

Announce to friends of East and West the following: furnishing Mazra'ih, completion of restoration of historic house of Baha'u'llah in Acre,(1) scene of prolonged afflictions sustained by Founder of Faith, as well as supreme crisis suffered by Abdul-Baha at hands of Covenantbreakers. Greatly enhanced international endowments in Holy Land in twin cities of Acre and Haifa, now include twin Holy Shrines situated on plain of Acre and slope of Mount Carmel; twin Mansions of Bahji and Mazra'ih, twin historic Houses inhabited by Baha'u'llah and Abdul-Baha; twin International Archives adjoining the Bab's Sepulcher and the resting-place of the Greatest Holy Leaf; twin Pilgrim Houses, constructed for Oriental and Occidental pilgrims; twin Gardens of Ridvan and Firdaws, associated with the memory of the Author of the Baha'i Dispensation.

Greatly welcome assistance of the newly-formed International Council,

particularly its President, Mason Remey, and its Vice-President, Amelia Collins ,

through contact with authorities designed to spread the fame, consolidate the foundations and widen the scope of influence emanating from the twin spiritual, administrative World Centers permanently fixed in the Holy Land constituting the midmost heart of the entire planet.

- Shoghi [Cablegram, March 2, 1951]


Incorporation Bahhai Nuu Jehruusuhlem Intrnashuhnul Kownsel

Thuh Nekst Tekst Wuhz Fruhm:

incorporation december 20, 1993

MINUTES OF THE ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING
OF INCORPORATOR
I, Dr. Leland Jensen, N.D., the incorporator of the Second International Baha'i Council appoint the following directors to serve until the respective successors shall be elected and shall qualify, and in addition pursuant to the terms of the by-laws, Joseph Pepe Remey Aghsan is also a director according to the provisions of the CHARTER, the Will and Testament of 'Abdul-Baha, page 14.

The names and addresses of the officers and initial directors are as follows:

(1) Wind Jensen, Liaison officer, 4117 Colonial Ln, Missoula,

MT 59801

(2) Joseph Pepe Remey Aghsan, President, Via Malenchini 6,

Florence, Italy 50122

(3) Neal Chase, Registered Agent, 328 Stephens Avenue, Missoula

MT 59801

(4) Jan Cornell, Vice-President, 1830 South Avenue, Missoula MT

59801

(5) Member at Large

(6) Dr. Trevor Stanwick, Secretary-General,328 Stephens Avenue,

Missoula, MT 59801

(7) Carlotta Geesen, Treasurer, 620 S. 3rd West, Missoula, MT

59801

(8) Esther Hall, Assistant Secretary, 1807 Butte Ave, Black

Eagle, MT 59414

(9) Annie Rubens, Assistant Secretary, 1237 South 2nd West,

Missoula MT 59801

(10) Jo York, 211 Nancy Lou Dr., Missoula MT 59801

(11) Victor Woods, 1647 South 10th, Missoula, Mt, 59801

(12) Jerome Hellman, 1014 Palmer, Missoula MT 59801

(13) Stacey Jaffe, 4022 South Ave. W. #16, Missoula MT 59801

DATED: 12/20, 1993.

[signed]
Dr. Leland Jensen, N.D.

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