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Unfolding Destiny

  • Author:
  • Shoghi Effendi

  • Source:
  • UK Bahá’í Publishing Trust, 1981 edition
  • Pages:
  • 490
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Pages 282-288

Letter of 12 June 1952

12 June 1952
Dear Bahá’í Brother:
The beloved Guardian has received your letters of October 3, October 27 (4), November 5, 9, 22 (2), 24 and 29, December 6, 19 (4) and 21, 1951, and January 1, 2, 7, 11, 16, 17, 20 and 29 (3), February 1, 16, 20 (3), 27 (2) and February 29, March 5 and 14, April 3, 15 and 24, May 5, 13, 19 (2), 27 and 31, and June 6th, 10th and June 12, 1952, and he has instructed me to answer you on his behalf. He also has received the various enclosures which you sent with these letters….
The book you sent from the friends in Bahrein was received, and pleased the beloved Guardian very much, as the lines are written in the handwriting of Bahá’u’lláh at the beginning of the book. (This answers your question in your letter of June 6th.)
It brought great joy to his heart to see that you were able to maintain all assemblies in spite of the heavy odds against you. It demonstrates to him once more the tenacity and devotion of the British Bahá’ís, which is rapidly becoming one of the great assets of the Faith in its process of international expansion….
The wonderful spirit shown by Dr. Afnán and his wife is 283 certainly an example to all pioneers. He hopes that Mrs. Afnán will settle herself successfully in Africa, and soon be able to have her husband join her.
He was very happy to hear that the Teaching Conference has been so successful. Undoubtedly the dedication of the friends to their tasks at that time facilitated the achievement of their goals in April….
The Guardian would like to assure your Assembly of his loving prayers for dear Mr. Sam Scott, who pioneered at such a ripe age, and who is surely receiving his reward in the Abhá Kingdom. 1
He considers it advisable that all believers living in Africa, even those who did so before the beginning of the Plan, should have some form of credentials….
Your suggestion of inaugurating the Holy Year next Riḍván and continuing on until October, 1953, with celebrations, meets with his approval.
As regards the Africa campaign: this enterprise, so enthusiastically carried on, has been throughout this past year the greatest source of joy to the heart of the beloved Guardian. The visits of the dear Banánís and Ted Cardell, the news they brought and the general progress of the work, have made Africa seem right next door to Haifa! The formation of the Dar-es-Salaam and Kampala Assemblies was also a great satisfaction to him.
He urges you to now concentrate on an Assembly for Nairobi by next April. This should not be too difficult of achievement in view of the devoted efforts of Mr. Cardell and the pioneers eager to go there.
As regards your question about Somaliland: any one of the three Somalilands may be chosen as a goal territory.
In this connection, he feels that Persian pioneers should be accepted for any and all territories; they are arising in large numbers to offer their services, and it is a great pity that these dedicated and eager friends are so restricted as regards settlement. Your Assembly should do all in its power to facilitate placing them.
The Guardian feels that although the Conference planned for Kampala is primarily a Conference and in no sense a Convention 284 (having no delegates), there is no objection to the representatives of various N.S.A.s who may attend meeting in separate sessions for more special and concentrated consultation. Any Hands of the Cause attending could also be included in this private discussion.
He feels that now more than ever the British friends have every reason to feel proud of their accomplishments and happy over the very evident bestowals from the Throne on High. They have found, after half a century of development, scope for their abilities, and a field large enough to distinguish themselves in, and they are certainly taking advantage of it, much to the delight of the Guardian and their fellow-Bahá’ís.
You may be sure that he remembers you all in his prayers, and also the body of the faithful believers you serve to such good purpose.
He would like you to please thank, on his behalf, the friends who so devotedly contribute to the construction of the Holy Shrine….
P.S. As regards Bahá’í divorce as mentioned in your letters of June 12th: Bahá’ís (whether one party or both are believers) should follow the Bahá’í law of divorce, i.e. one year of waiting, and not neglect this divinely given law. Whether they were Bahá’ís when they married or not has nothing to do with it.
In connection with the budget, mentioned in your letter of June 10th, he feels, in the future, you should not set a budget which the resources of the community are unable to meet; however, owing to the crucial Africa work and the forthcoming Conference, he realises you had at this time no other choice. He is going to arrange for one thousand pounds to be sent to your Assembly in order to meet the needs of the Conference and the literature in African languages still to be published. The remaining translations should be pressed forward in order to be ready for the Conference next year.
[From the Guardian:]
Dear and valued co-workers,
The Two Year Plan on which the British Bahá’í community has embarked bids fair, as it approaches its conclusion, to eclipse, however short its duration, the exploits of that community throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles, in the course of the prosecution of the first collective enterprise undertaken in British Bahá’í history. 285 This second historic undertaking marks the inauguration of the Mission entrusted to this community for the purpose of diffusing the Message of Bahá’u’lláh and of implanting its banner through successive stages, and in collaboration with its sister communities, not only in the territories of the British Crown in the African Continent, but throughout the dependencies of a widely scattered Empire in the remaining continents of the globe. It may well be regarded as a befitting prelude to the official participation of this community in the Ten Year, world-encircling Crusade, designed to signalise the celebration of the hundredth anniversary of the birth of Bahá’u’lláh’s Mission, involving the systematic co-operation of no less than twelve National Assemblies throughout the Bahá’í world, and destined to culminate in the Most Great Jubilee that will, God willing, witness the introduction of the Faith into all the Sovereign States, the Chief Dependencies and Islands of the entire planet.
In the conduct of this world-encompassing task, so vast in scope, so thrilling in its possibilities, so formidable in its potentialities, the British Bahá’í community will be called upon to play a preponderating rôle, in conjunction with the American Bahá’í community, acting as the Chief Custodians of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s Master Plan, and seconded by its sister communities in the British Dominions in both hemispheres, in awakening the peoples, races and nations comprising the British Commonwealth and Empire to the redemptive Message of Bahá’u’lláh, and in establishing, on an unassailable foundation, the structural basis of His World Order.
The diversity of functions which the assumption of this task will involve; the privileges and bounties it will, of a certainty, confer on its prosecutors; the degree of dedication, the amount of preparation it will require for its proper discharge; the severe strain it must necessarily impose on all those who will shoulder its burdens; the gravity of the manifold problems it will raise; the severe challenge with which they who will arise to carry it out will be confronted—as witnessed by the delicate and complicated situation that has already arisen in the initial stage of this historic Mission in the heart of Africa, in connection with the holding of the projected inter-continental conference—all these must be carefully pondered in preparation for the launching, at its appointed time, of an undertaking that will constitute, not only a milestone of the utmost significance in the history of the Faith in the British Isles, but will also be hailed by posterity as a landmark of peculiar significance in British history. 286
Whilst the small band of wholly dedicated, patiently labouring, much admired, greatly promising followers and supporters of the Faith, in England, Wales, Ireland and Scotland, contemplate, from their respective homelands, the grandeur of their future task, dwell on its sacred character, and meditate on the wide range of its problems, possibilities, perils and glories, let them devote particular and sustained attention to the imperative needs, the urgent requirements of their no less important and vital mission at home, in their boroughs and counties, amidst their own people, and strain every nerve to reinforce, through a rapid increase in their numbers, through a steady multiplication of their administrative institutions, through a systematic consolidation of the structure of the edifice they are raising within the borders of their native land, their respective communities, which must be regarded as the base for the future operations that will be conducted by the members of these communities, under the guidance of their elected representatives, for the spiritual conquest and the ultimate redemption of the nations, tribes and races owing allegiance to the British Crown.
With every forward step taken by this stalwart community in the path of service to the Cause of Bahá’u’lláh, with every signal victory achieved for the promulgation of His Faith, a new revelation of the glorious Mission which this community is privileged to undertake is unfolded before the eyes of its members and a wider vista of the future range of its operations, both at home and overseas, opens before it. With every complication that arises in the course of its unfolding Mission, with even every seeming reverse it meets with, as its destiny unfolds, a clearer understanding of the character of its stewardship to the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh is vouchsafed to its members, a greater measure of His sustaining grace is poured forth from on high, a more compelling evidence of His all-conquering power is evinced, and a more majestic assertion of His mysterious purpose is demonstrated.
The potent seeds a loving and vigilant Master sowed with His Own hands, in the course of a twice repeated visit to the homeland of this community, are now, after having lain dormant for almost a quarter of a century, at long last, sprouting throughout the length and breadth of the British Isles, and are even revealing the potency of their regenerative power, through the instrumentality of those valiant pioneers, who, faithful to His Call and dedicated to His service, are leaving the shores of those islands to settle in the territories of a far-away and backward continent. Amidst their arduous labours, in their 287 contact with the heterogeneous tribes and races dwelling in that continent, in their dealings with the civil authorities of divers countries and states within whose jurisdiction they will labour, in their struggle with an inhospitable climate, in the hazards to which they will be inevitably exposed, in the adventures they may experience, in the reverses they may temporarily suffer, in the opposition they will meet with, in the tests and trials they will undergo, His unfailing guidance will be vouchsafed to them in direct proportion to the degree of their consecration to their task, and the perseverance, the courage and fidelity they will display as they discharge their duties.
The remarkable success that has attended their high endeavours since the initiation of their first collective enterprise within the confines of their native land, the still more notable evidence of God’s sustaining grace that has accompanied the opening of the first stage of their Mission overseas, are sufficient proof of the tremendous potency of the forces at work for the purpose of ensuring the unrestricted expansion of their future activities within and beyond the frontiers of their island home, and the ultimate consummation of their magnificent enterprise.
In the months immediately ahead, the strongholds of the Faith erected, in the form of local assemblies, and already established in Ireland, Scotland, Wales and England, must be maintained at all costs in their present strength; the groups and isolated centres already brought into being must, under no circumstances, be allowed to decrease in number or be lost to the Faith; the translation and publication of pamphlets in the languages already selected must be vigorously pushed forward and completed; the centre in the capital of Kenya must be assiduously expanded; the preparations for the projected inter-continental Conference must be carefully carried out; the effective participation of the representatives of the British Bahá’í community in the Stockholm inter-continental Conference must be ensured; and all the preparatory steps, required for the effectual collaboration of the members of this community in the global crusade, destined to be launched on the morrow of the world-wide celebrations of the approaching Holy Year, should, to whatever extent possible, be undertaken.
There is no time to lose. The issues at stake call for immediate action, demand unrelaxing vigilance, undivided attention, and a consecration unexampled in the annals of the Faith in the British Isles. Though the number of those summoned to shoulder so immense a task be dishearteningly small, though the resources at their disposal 288 be meagre, though the cares and preoccupations of the peoples amidst whom they live are such as to often blind them to the Faith and its healing message, yet the position they occupy and the responsibilities devolving upon them in the heart and centre of a world-wide empire, the manifold tokens of esteem and loving-kindness showered upon them during the infancy of this community by the Centre of God’s Covenant; the inherent qualities of tenacity of purpose, of exemplary fidelity, of perspicacity that distinguishes the race to which they belong, must inspire hope and confidence in their future, and fully entitles them to play a leading role in the future proclamation of the Message of Bahá’u’lláh to the multitudes that live beneath the shadow of the British Crown.
That they may become increasingly conscious of the sublimity of their task; that they may address themselves to it with their characteristic zeal, ability, intelligence and fervour; that they may speedily acquire the spiritual potentialities for the initiation of a still more momentous stage in the unfoldment of their historic Mission; that they may earn increasingly, through their superb feats, the unqualified admiration of their brethren in every continent of the globe and prove themselves worthy of the bounties already received and those which, we may well believe, are held in store for them, is my cherished hope and constant prayer.
1. From Leeds to Norwich at age 84 and died at age 86.   [ Back To Reference]