[Updated May 2012, December 2016]
In 2008, I posted an entry about the translation of the Eighth Ishraq, which is the eighth section of one of Baha’u’llah’s shorter works, the Ishraqat or Splendours. The posting explained why I thought that the 1978 translation authorized by the Universal House of Justice was incorrect where it says “All matters of State (‘umuur-e siyaasiyyah) should be referred to the House of Justice.” The earlier translation by Ali Kuli Khan, “Administrative affairs are all in charge of the House of Justice, and devotional acts must be observed according as they are revealed in the Book” was, I thought, more accurate, and more consistent with other works by Abdu’l-Baha and Baha’u’llah. Read the rest of this entry »
Posts Tagged ‘House of Justice’
Posted by Sen on November 5, 2011
Posted in Bahai Writings, Church and State, Community, Translations | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Administrative matters, Affairs of the people, Ali Kuli Khan, amur-e mellat, amuur-e mellat, Aqdas, ‘amuur-e siyaasiyyah, Baha'u'llah, Bahai, Bahai Faith, bahai theology, Bisharat, Church and State, Community, House of Justice, Iqan, ishraqat, lawh-e dunya, matters of state, Organic unity, politics, Religion, Shoghi Effendi, Tehran, The Art of Governance, theocracy, theocratic, Translation, بـهاءالله, بهائی, بهائیت, شوقی افندی | 27 Comments »
Posted by Sen on December 16, 2010
I’m not a historian: I’m interested mainly in the timeless task of understanding the Bahai teachings, leaving history to those able, and crystal-ball gazing to those interested. But those who don’t know their history, will repeat mistakes in understanding quite needlessly, so sometimes we need to look back at the history of an idea in the Bahai community, especially where it is a mistaken idea that keeps resurfacing. In this case I am looking at some words attributed to Abdu’l-Baha, Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Community, Theology | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Administrative Order, Agnes Parsons, Annie Boylan, Baha’i Faith in America, Bahai Administration, Bahai lore, bahai theology, Helen Goodall, House of Justice, Isabel Fraser, Louis Gregory, Mariam Haney, Mason Remey, Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Mountfort Mills, North Shore Review, Oliver Scharbrodt, organisation, Percy Woodcock, Peter Smith, pilgrim's notes, Remey, Robert Stockman, Ruth White, Shoghi Effendi, Sohrab, Sohrab's diary, Spiritual Assembly, Thornton Chase, Y.S. Tsao | 10 Comments »
Posted by Sen on November 22, 2010
This tablet by Abdu’l-Baha, dated around 1899, responds to detailed questions, “concerning the wisdom of referring some important laws to the House of Justice.” Abdu’l-Baha replies that, in principle, the Baha’i Faith is similar to Christianity, whose scriptures also specify only a few laws.
The Bahai Faith, he says, has little connection to worldly concerns. Religion’s primary function is to refine characters and bring light in darkness. However the Bahai scriptures do specify some foundations of our religious law, leaving subsidiary matters to the divinely-inspired House of Justice, which can make ‘cultural laws,’ (ahkaam madaniyyih) in accordance with time and circumstance. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Sen on May 23, 2010
The Universal House of Justice is an elected body that serves as the head of the world-wide Bahai community. It is empowered to decide when Bahai laws are applicable for Bahais, to provide the necessary framework so that they can be applied, and to make laws and rulings for situations that are not covered in Bahai scripture. So it has a very important role in Bahai community life. Unlike all the other Bahai institutions and roles and positions in community life, membership of the Universal House of Justice is, at least for now, reserved for men. I will return to that ‘for now’ briefly, at the end of this posting. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted by Sen on November 22, 2009
This posting begins by discussing a letter written on behalf of the Guardian, which refers to “the Bahai theocracy” as a divinely ordained system, and goes on from there to address the claims that there is ‘a theocratic undercurrent’ in Shoghi Effendi’s writings, or that he contradicted himself, changed his mind or concealed his real views for reasons of prudence. In addition to the few places where Shoghi Effendi speaks directly on the topic, we can look at the Bahai writings he translated, to see what teachings he thought were central and important for the English-speaking Bahais to understand.
The posting continues by looking at the future renaming of the Assemblies as Houses of Justice, and what Shoghi Effendi says about the role of the Universal House of Justice in the Bahai Commonwealth and in a future superstate, which leads to some considerations regarding the role of an established religion, or state religion, in a society. Another section looks at a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi which says that, one day, “the Bahais will be called upon to assume the reins of government,” and at another letter on behalf of Shoghi Effendi that speaks of the International Tribunal and Court of Arbitration being merged in the Universal House of Justice. Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Church and State, Defence of the Faith | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Baha'u'lah, Bahai Commonwealth, Bahai theocracy, Bernard Leach, Church and State, commonwealth of nations, establishment of religion, House of Justice, International Tribunal, John Robarts, non-involvement in politics, pilgrim's notes, Shoghi Effendi, Spiritual Assembly, William Miller, World Order of Baha'u'llah, بهایی, شوقی افندی, عبدالبهاء | 20 Comments »
Posted by Sen on January 21, 2009
Now concerning nature, it is but the essential properties and the necessary relations inherent in the realities of things. And though these infinite realities are diverse in their character yet they are in the utmost harmony and closely connected together. As one’s vision is broadened and the matter observed carefully, it will be made certain that every reality is but an essential requisite of other realities. Thus to connect and harmonize these diverse and infinite realities an all-unifying Power is necessary, that every part of existent being may in perfect order discharge its own function.
(Abdu’l-Baha, Tablet to August Forel, pages 20-21)
In a letter dated 7 April 1999 the Universal House of Justice warns among other things of an “attempt to suggest that the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar should evolve into a seat of quasidoctrinal authority, parallel to and essentially independent of the Local House of Justice.” Although I am not aware that this idea has ever been put forward in the English-speaking Bahai world, the letter may be taken as evidence that it has or may emerge somewhere. So it seems a good idea to consider the relationship between the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar or House of Worship and the Houses of Justice (i.e., the Bahai administrative institutions, which at the local and national level are now known as Spiritual Assemblies). To understand the institutional relations at the core of the organic Bahai community, we will also have to include the guardianship.
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Community, Devotions, Theology | Tagged: Abdu'l-Baha, Administrative Order, August Forel, Bahai, Bahai community, doctrine, Guardianship, Haziratu’l-Quds, House of Justice, House of Worship, Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, Organic unity, quasidoctrinal, Shoghi Effendi, twoness, بهائیت, شوقی افندی, عبدالبهاء | 1 Comment »
Posted by Sen on December 30, 2008
In Shoghi Effendi’s 1934 letter ‘The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah,’ there’s a well-known paragraph in which he says that “the Guardian of the Faith has been made the Interpreter of the Word and that the Universal House of Justice has been invested with the function of legislating …”. I want to look at the paragraph after that, which deals with the fact that the Guardian is a member of the House of Justice; so that while the spheres of the two institutions are distinct, their memberships overlap. How would that work, with the Guardian or his representative in the room, while the House of Justice was making its decisions?
Read the rest of this entry »
Posted in Community, Theology | Tagged: Bahai, bahai theology, Guardian, House of Justice, infallibility, interpreation and legislation, literature review, Mark 2:27, Organic unity, Remeyites, right of self-expression, sabbath, separation of powers, Shoghi Effendi, The Dispensation of Baha’u’llah, twin spheres, `ismat, بهائیت, شوقی افندی | 3 Comments »