Writings of Shoghi Effendi concerning the Will and Testament

Before considering and discussing the text of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá it is essential that we also review some of the passages in the writings of Shoghi Effendi attesting to the divine genesis, nature and character of this unique, sacred and immutable Document that he has characterized as the very “Child of the Covenant.”

In Shoghi Effendi’s work “The Dispensation of Bahá’u’lláh” we find the following wonderful description of the genesis of this divinely-conceived and immortal “Child”:

“The creative energies released by the Law of Bahá’u’lláh permeating and evolving within the mind of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá have, by their very impact and close interaction, given birth to an Instrument which may be viewed as the Charter of the New World Order which is at once the glory and the promise of this most great Dispensation. The Will may thus be acclaimed as the inevitable offspring resulting from that mystic intercourse between Him who communicated the generating influence of His divine Purpose [Bahá’u’lláh] and the One Who was its vehicle and chosen recipient [‘Abdu’l-Bahá] . Being the Child of the Covenant – the Heir of both the Originator and the Interpreter of the Law of God – the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá can no more be divorced from Him who supplied the original and motivating impulse than from the One Who ultimately conceived it.”

“Only future generations can comprehend the value and the significance attached to this Divine Masterpiece, which the hand of the Master-builder of the World has designed for the unification and the triumph of the world-wide Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.”

“It would, however, be helpful and instructive to bear in mind certain basic principles with reference to the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá which together with the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, [the Most Holy Book] constitutes the chief depository wherein are enshrined those priceless elements of that Divine Civilization, the establishment of which is the primary mission of the Bahá’í Faith. A study of the provisions of these sacred documents will reveal the close relationship that exists between them, as well as the identity of purpose and method which they inculcate. Far from regarding their specific provisions as incompatible and contradictory in spirit, every fair-minded inquirer will readily admit that they are not only complementary, but that they mutually confirm one another, and are inseparable parts of one complete unit. (Underlining added for emphasis.)

“For nothing short of the explicit directions of their Book, and the surprisingly emphatic language with which they have clothed the provisions of their Will could possibly safeguard the Faith for which they have both so gloriously laboured all their lives.” (Underlining added for emphasis.) Nothing short of this could protect it from the heresies and calumnies with which denominations, peoples and governments have endeavored, and will, with increasing vigor, endeavor to assail it in the future.”

“The Administrative Order which this historic Document [ The Will and Testament ] has established, it should be noted, is by virtue of its origin and character, unique in the annals of the world’s religious systems.”

“The last twenty-three years of the first Bahá’í century [1921-1944] may thus be regarded as the initial stage of the Formative Period of the Faith, an Age of Transition to be identified with the rise and establishment of the Administrative Order, upon which the institutions of the future Bahá’í World Commonwealth must needs be ultimately erected in the Golden Age that must witness the consummation of the Bahá’í Dispensation. The Charter which called into being, outlined the features and set in motion the processes of, this Administrative Order is none other than the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, His greatest legacy to posterity, the brightest emanation of His mind and the mightiest instrument forged to insure the continuity of the three ages which constitute the component parts of His Father’s Dispensation.”

“The creative energies unleashed by the Originator of the Law of God in this age gave birth, through their impact upon the mind of Him Who had been chosen as its unerring Expounder, to that Instrument, the vast implications of which the present generation, even after the lapse of twenty three years [ written in 1944 ] is still incapable of fully apprehending. This Instrument can, if we would correctly appraise it, no more be divorced from the One who provided the motivating impulse for its creation [Bahá’u’lláh] than from Him Who directly conceived it [‘Abdu’l-Bahá]. The purpose of the Author of the Bahá’í Revelation had, as already observed, been so thoroughly infused into the mind of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, and His Spirit had so profoundly impregnated His being, and their aims and motives been so completely blended, that to dissociate the doctrine laid down by the former from the supreme act associated with the mission of the latter would be tantamount to a repudiation of one of the most fundamental verities of the Faith.”

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