The Greatest Holy Leaf's Unparalleled Role in Religious History and the Significance of the Arc, the Site of Her Resting Place

By Baharieh Rouhani Ma'ani

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #121
Louhelen Bahá'í Center: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 10–13, 2013
(see list of papers from #121)

published in Lights of Irfan, volume 15, pages 199-228
© 2014, ‘Irfán Colloquia

    Biography of a most remarkable woman in the history of religion, described by Shoghi Effendi as Abdu'l-Baha's "competent deputy, His representative and vicegerent, with none to equal her." The site Shoghi Effendi chose for her burial place was the specific spot on Mount Carmel that determined the location of the Arc, around which are built the institutions of the world administrative order.

    The Greatest Holy Leaf enjoys a unique station in religious history. She is the only woman with a mandate to lead a worldwide community. She was `Abdu'l-Bahá's 'competent deputy, His representative and vicegerent' during His long absence in the western world. Immediately after `Abdu'l-Bahá's Ascension and several times during the ministry of Shoghi Effendi, she found herself in leadership roles and performed the responsibilities brilliantly. The choice by Shoghi Effendi of a specific spot on Mount Carmel under the shadow of the Báb's Sepulcher as the site of her resting place set in motion the process of establishing the Arc around which are built institutions at the Bahá'í World Centre. The Seat of the Universal House of Justice, the supreme governing body of the Bahá'í Faith, occupies the top of the Arc. This presentation focuses on her station, the services she rendered in the absence of `Abdu'l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi from the World Centre, and discusses the significance of her monument.

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