"Dispensation of Baha'u'llah" in the Light of Prevailing Conditions

By Sima Quddusi

First presented at the Irfan Colloquia Session #72
Louhelen Bahá'í School: Davison, Michigan, USA
October 6–9, 2006
(see list of papers from #72)

    From 1926-1936, the beloved Guardian addressed seven messages to the Bahá'ís of the West. These messages have been compiled and published under the title of "The World Order of Bahá'u'lláh." One of these letters is named 'The Dispensation of Baha'u'llah'. It was written 72 years ago addressing the Bahá'ís of the West and is our main focus for this session.

    In this epistle regarded as his will and testament, the beloved Guardian says: "My chief concern at this challenging period of Bahá'í history is rather to call the attention of those who are destined to be the champion builders of the Administrative Order of Bahá'u'lláh to certain fundamental verities the elucidation of which must tremendously assist them in the effective prosecution of their mighty enterprise."

    Although in this letter the Guardian mainly focuses on the interpretation of the fundamental verities of the Faith, it remains an important living document containing guidance that will remain relevant throughout the Bahá'í Dispensation. In the concluding pages of this epistle the Guardian correlates the happenings and events within and without the Faith as a necessary supplement for the rise and establishment of Bahá'u'lláh's World Order: "Might we not look upon the momentous happenings which, in the course of the past twenty years, have so deeply agitated every continent of the earth, as ominous signs simultaneously proclaiming the agonies of a disintegrating civilization and the birth-pangs of that World Order — that Ark of human salvation — that must needs arise upon its ruins?"

    In this presentation we briefly touch on the historical background of that challenging period of the Faith during a 20-year period from 1914-1934, and then concentrate on the ongoing processes of integration and disintegration to which Shoghi Effendi refers: "How striking, how edifying the contrast between the process of slow and steady consolidation that characterizes the growth of [the Bahá'í Administration's] infant strength and the devastating onrush of the forces of disintegration that are assailing the outworn institutions, both religious and secular, of present-day society!" We end by outlining the duties of the people of Bahá in the spiritual organization of the world.

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