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Bahá’í Administration

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • US Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1974 edition
  • Pages:
  • 196
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Pages 137-139

Letter of October 17, 1927.

To the Honored Members of the Bahá’í National Spiritual Assemblies throughout the West.
My dear fellow-workers:
With feelings of burning indignation I find myself impelled to acquaint you with various events that have recently transpired in Persia. Though in their immediate effect these happenings may prove gravely disquieting to the followers of the Faith in Persia and elsewhere, yet they cannot but eventually contribute to the strengthening and purification of the Cause we steadfastly love and serve.
I refer to the treacherous conduct of a professed adherent of the teaching of Bahá’u’lláh, by the name of ‘Abdu’l-Ḥusayn Avarih, hitherto regarded as a respected teacher of the Cause, and not unknown by a few of its followers in Europe. Of a nature and character whom those who have learned to know him well have never ceased to despise, even in the brightest days of his public career in the Cause, he has of late been driven by the force of circumstances which his shortsightedness has gravely miscalculated to throw off the mask which for so many years hid his hideous self.
The sudden removal of the commanding personality of our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Bahá; the confused consternation that seized His followers in the years immediately succeeding His passing; the reputation which to superficial eyes he had acquired by his travels in Europe; the success attending his voluminous compilation of the history of the Cause—these and other circumstances emboldened him to launch a campaign of insinuation and fraud aiming at the eventual overthrow of the institutions expressly provided by Bahá’u’lláh. He saw clearly his chance in the complete disruption of the Cause to capture the allegiance if not of the whole world-wide 138 Bahá’í community of at least a considerable section of its followers in the East.
No sooner had his evil whisperings reached the ears of the loyal and vigilant followers of Bahá’u’lláh, than they arose with overwhelming force and unhesitating determination to denounce him as a dangerous enemy seeking to undermine the faith and sap the loyalty of the adherents of the Cause of God. Shunned by the entire body of the believers, abandoned by his life-long and most intimate friends, deserted by his wife, separated from his only child, refused admittance into even his own home, denied of the profit he hoped to derive from the sale and circulation of his book, he found to his utter amazement and remorse his best hopes irretrievably shattered.
Forsaken and bankrupt, and in desperate rage, he now with startling audacity sought to expose to friend and foe, the futility and hollowness which he attributed to the Cause, thereby revealing the depths of his own degradation and folly. He has with bitter hatred conspired with the fanatical clergy and the orthodox members of foreign Missions in Ṭihrán, allied himself with every hostile element in the Capital, directed with fiendish subtlety his appeal to the highest dignitaries of the State and sought by every method to secure financial assistance for the furtherance of his aim.
Not content with an infamous denunciation of the originality and efficacy of the teachings and principles of the Cause, not satisfied with a rejection of the authenticity of the Will and Testament of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, he has dared to attack the exalted person of the Author and Founder of the Faith, and to impute to its Forerunner and true Exemplar the vilest motives and most incredible intentions.
He has most malignantly striven to revive the not unfamiliar accusation of representing the true lovers of Persia as the sworn enemies of every form of established authority in that land, the unrelenting disturbers of its peace, the chief obstacles to its unity and the determined wreckers of the venerated faith of Islám. By every artifice which a sordid and treacherous mind can devise he has sought in the pages of his book to strike terror in the heart of the confident believer, to sow the seeds of doubt in the mind of the well-disposed and friendly, to poison the thoughts of the indifferent 139 and to reinforce the power of the assaulting weapon of the adversary.
But, alas! he has labored in vain, oblivious of the fact that all the pomp and powers of royalty, all the concerted efforts of the mightiest potentates of Islám, all the ingenious devices to which the cruelest torture-mongers of a cruel race have for well-nigh a century resorted, have proved one and all impotent to stem the tide of the beloved Faith or to extinguish its flame. Surely, if we read the history of this Cause aright, we cannot fail to observe that the East has already witnessed not a few of its sons, of wider experience, of a higher standing, of a greater influence, apostatize their faith, find themselves to their utter consternation lose whatsoever talent they possessed, recede swiftly into the shadows of oblivion and be heard of no more.
Should ever his book secure widespread circulation in the West, should it ever confuse the mind of the misinformed and stranger, I have no doubt that the various Bahá’í National Spiritual Assemblies, throughout the Western world, will with the wholehearted and sustained support of local Assemblies and individual believers arise with heart and soul for the defence of the impregnable stronghold of the Cause of God, for the vindication of the sacredness and sublimity of the Bahá’í Teachings, and for the condemnation, in the eyes of those who are in authority, of one who has so basely dared to assail, not only the tenets, but the holy person of the recognized Founder of an established and world-wide Faith.
Your true brother,
Haifa, Palestine; October 17, 1927.