شوقی افندی ربّانی (۱ مارس ۱۸۹۷ م - ۴ نوامبر ۱۹۵۷ م) که به شوقی افندی هم شناخته میشود، به مدت سی و شش سال ولی امر و سرپرست جامعه بهائی در سراسر عالم بود و نظم اداری جهانی بهائی را توسعه بخشید. او که نتیجه (فرزند نوه) بهاءالله شارع دین بهائی و نوه دختری عبدالبهاء بود، طبق الواح وصایا (وصیت نامه عبدالبهاء) پس از وی، مسئولیّت ولایت امر در جامعه بهائی را از ۲۸ نوامبر ۱۹۲۱ میلادی تا زمان مرگش در نوامبر ۱۹۵۷ میلادی، به عهده گرفت و در بین پیروان آئین بهائی به ولیِّ امرُالله ملقّب گردید.
دوران کودکی و نوجوانی[ویرایش]
شوقی افندی در یکم مارس ۱۸۹۷ در شهر عکا (تبعیدگاه بهاءالله و خانوادهاش) در قلمرو دولت عثمانی متولّد شد. پدرش میرزا هادی از خویشاوندان سید علی محمّد باب بود و مادرش ضیائیّه، دختر عبدالبهاء. در زمان تولّد شوقی، عبدالبهاء و خانوادهاش هنوز زندانی حکومت عثمانی بودند ولی در آن هنگام، کمی از محدودیّتهای زندان کاسته شده بود و آنها در خانهای در شهر عکّا که محلّ تبعیدشان بود و محصور به دیوار و خندق بود، سکونت داشتند. شوقی افندی تا ۱۱ سالگی را در زندان عکّا به همراه خانوادهٔ خود سپری نمود. با انقلاب ترکان جوان در سال ۱۹۰۸ میلادی بسیاری از زندانیان آزاد شدند، از جمله عبدالبهاء که به همراه خانوادهٔ خود جهت تأمین تحصیلات نوادههایش به شهر حیفا که در ۱۲ کیلومتری عکّا واقع شده، نقل مکان کرد. شوقی افندی برای ادامهٔ تحصیل به کالج دفرر (به فرانسوی: Des Freres) و بعد از آن به مدرسهٔ شبانهروزی کاتولیکی در بیروت وارد شد و بعد در دانشگاه آمریکایی بیروت ادامهٔ تحصیل داد. در همان زمان بود که نام خانوادگی ربّانی که به پیشنهاد عبدالبهاء به او داده شده بود را برگزید و از آن پس به شوقی ربّانی مشهور گردید. پس از آن برای ادامهٔ تحصیل در کالج بالیول (به انگلیسی: Balliol) وابسته به دانشگاه آکسفورد به انگلستان مهاجرت کرد.
شوقی افندی در سال ۱۹۱۸ میلادی در سن ۲۱ سالگی از دانشگاه علوم و صنایع دانشگاه بیروت با مدرک لیسانس، فارغ التّحصیل شد. پس از آن به حیفا بازگشت و مدّت دو سال را به عنوان منشی و فرد مورد اعتماد عبدالبهاء به خدمت او پرداخت. پس از آن به قصد ادامهٔ تحصیل و تکمیل زبان انگلیسی به انگلستان رفت و در کالج بالیول که یکی از قدیمیترین کالجهای دانشگاه آکسفورد بود در رشته اقتصاد و علوم اجتماعی مشغول به تحصیل شد. شوقی افندی در خلال تحصیل، بخشی از وقت خود را به یادگیری زبان انگلیسی و تسلّط بر این زبان اختصاص داد تا این که بر این زبان هم در حدّ زبانهای فارسی، ترکی، عربی و فرانسه مسلّط گردد. هدف او از احاطه بر زبان انگلیسی این بود که بتواند در آینده، آثار بهائی را به این زبان ترجمه کند.
در روز ۲۹ نوامبر ۱۹۲۱ میلادی، زمانی که شوقی افندی در آکسفورد مشغول به تحصیل بود، خبر درگذشت عبدالبهاء را دریافت کرد. پس از بازگشتش به حیفا و اطّلاع از مضمون الواح وصایا دریافت که به عنوان جانشین عبدالبهاء تعیین گشته و وظیفهٔ رهبری و سرپرستی جامعهٔ بهائیان عالم به او محوّل شدهاست. او این مسئولیّت را در سنّ ۲۴ سالگی برای خود بسیار سنگین میدانست و جهت آمادگی برای انجام این وظیفهٔ خطیر، حیفا را برای چند ماه ترک کرد و عزلت اختیار نمود و اداره امور، به بهیّه خانم، دختر بهاءالله و خواهر عبدالبهاء ملقّب به ورقهٔ علیا سپرده شد. شوقی افندی در ۱۵ دسامبر ۱۹۲۲ به حیفا بازگشت و تا پایان عمر، نزدیک به ۳۶ سال مسئولیّت ولایت امر را به عهده داشت.
در مارس ۱۹۳۷ شوقی افندی با مری مکسوِل که بعدها به روحیّه خانم ملقّب گردید، ازدواج کرد. او تنها فرزند مِی مکسول و ویلیام سادرلند مکسول بود. ویلیام مکسول یک معمار کانادایی بود و بعدها در بسیاری از طرّاحیهای ساختمانهای بهائی به شوقی افندی کمک بسیاری کرد. نامزدی و مراسم عقد، هر دو در اتاق ورقهٔ علیا صورت گرفت.
اواخر سال ۱۹۵۷ میلادی، شوقی افندی به جهت تهیّهٔ لوازم و اثاثیّه برای دارالآثار، در لندن بسر میبرد که به آنفلوآنزای آسیائی مبتلا گردید. او که در اثر این بیماری بسیار ضعیف شده بود، در سحرگاه چهارم نوامبر ۱۹۵۷ قلبش از کار ایستاد. بر طبق احکام بهائی که جسد را نمیتوان بیش از یک ساعت از محلّ فوت حرکت داد، بنابراین شوقی افندی در لندن به خاک سپرده شد.
ولی امر جوان مأموریّت خود را در شرایط آشفتهٔ پس از جنگ جهانی اوّل آغاز نمود. او با تکیه بر الواح وصایای عبدالبهاء که به تعبیر خود او «منشور نظم اداری بهائی» است، این نظم اداری را بنا ساخت و پس از مطالعهٔ دقیق آثار بهاءالله و عبدالبهاء دربارهٔ تأسیس مؤسّسات بهائی، روش هائی ابداع کرد تا بتوان مؤسّسات و تشکیلات بهائی را ایجاد نمود.
به موازات همهٔ این اقدامات، به ترجمهٔ آثار بهائی از زبانهای فارسی و عربی به زبان انگلیسی پرداخت و الگویی برای ترجمهٔ این آثار برای دیگران و برای آیندگان ایجاد کرد. کتاب «تاریخ نبیل»، نوشتهٔ نبیل زرندی که مربوط به تاریخ سالهای اوّلیّهٔ آئین بهائی است را تلخیص و ترجمه نموده، به نام «مطالع الانوار» منتشر کرد. او همچنین بهطور مستقل تاریخ امر بهائی را به شکلی دقیق و روش مند در چهار جلد به نام «قرن بدیع» God Passes By مدوّن نمود.
او به اجراء برنامههایی برای انتشار آئین بهائی در سطح جهان اقدام نمود و خود شخصاً نامههای بی شماری به جوامع بهائی در سراسر عالم ارسال کرد و آنان را به انجام وظائف و خدماتشان دعوت و ترغیب نمود. همچنین برنامهریزی امور مهاجرین و نقاط مهاجرتی آنها را در سراسر عالم انجام داد. در این سالها شمار کشورهایی که آئین بهائی در آنها معرفی و ارائه گردید، از ۳۵ به ۲۵۰ کشور رسید.
شوقی افندی به رشد و توسعهٔ مرکز جهانی بهائی در شهر حیفا مبادرت ورزید و املاک بهائی را توسعه داد و باغهای باشکوهی در آن اراضی طرّاحی و اجراء نمود. بر مزار باب، معروف به مقام اعلی، گنبد زیبائی بنا نمود و همچنین در اطراف آرامگاه بهاءالله معروف به روضهٔ مبارکه در خارج شهر عکّا باغهای بی نظیری ترتیب داد. بنای «دارالآثار» را تدارک دید که در آن، آثار بهائی و اشیاء متبرکّه مربوط به باب و بهاءالله نگهداری میشود. این همه اقدامات برای آن صورت گرفت تا فضایی مناسب و روحانی برای مرکز اداری و روحانی آئین بهائی مهیّا گردد.
شوقی افندی، در این سالها، نهایت توجه خود را به بنای مؤسّسات محلی و ملّی معطوف داشت و اصول انتخابات بهائی را برای جوامع بهائی سراسر عالم تشریح نمود. برای جامعهای که کشیش و روحانی ندارد، این هیئتهای منتخب دموکراتیک، اساس همهٔ پیشرفتهای دیگر محسوب میشدند. او تلاش کرد جامعههای نو پای بهائی را به مرتبهای برساند که مؤسّسات و تشکیلات بهائی قابلیت و توانائی تشکیل بیت العدل اعظم را داشته باشند. بیت العدل اعظم همان مؤسّسهای است که از چند سال پس از درگذشت شوقی ربّانی تا کنون، رهبری و قیادت جامعهٔ بهائی در سراسر عالم را به عهده دارد و در آینده نیز این مسئولیّت را به عهده خواهد داشت.
تألیفات و ترجمهها[ویرایش]
- توقیعات و تلگرافها به مؤسّسات اداری بهائی در سراسر دنیا
- توقیعات، شامل دستورالعمل هائی خطاب به افراد
- نامه هائی به مؤسّسات و افراد غیر بهائی
- ترجمههای متعدّدی از آثار بهائی
- سه جلد آمار
- ویرایش مجلّدات مجلّهٔ عالم بهائی و انتخاب مطلب برای آن مجلّه
تمام توقیعات شوقی افندی چاپ نشده، ولی بسیاری از آنها جمعآوری و به صورت کتاب منتشر شدهاست.
۱- نظم جهانی حضرت بهاءالله (۲۷ فوریه ۱۹۲۹)
۲- نظم جهانی حضرت بهاءالله، ملاحظات بیشتر (۲۱ مارس ۱۹۳۰)
۳- هدف نظم بدیع جهانی (۲۳ نوامبر ۱۹۳۱)
۴- عصر ذهبی آئین حضرت بهاءالله (۲۱ مارس ۱۹۳۲)
۵- آمریکا و صلح اعظم (۲۱ آوریل ۱۹۳۳)
۶- دور بهائی (۸ فوریه ۱۹۳۴)
۷- تولّد مدنیّت جهانی (۲ مارس ۱۹۳۶)
۸- توقیعات مبارکه خطاب به احبّای شرق
۹- توقیعات مبارکه (۱۹۲۶–۱۹۲۲)
۱۰- توقیعات مبارکه (۱۹۳۹–۱۹۲۷)
۱۱- توقیعات مبارکه (۱۹۴۸–۱۹۲۲)
۱۲- توقیعات مبارکه (۱۹۵۲–۱۹۴۵)
۱۳- مائدهٔ آسمانی جلد ۳ (جمعآوری توقیعات)
۱۴- مائدهٔ آسمانی جلد ۶ (جمعآوری توقیعات)
۱۵- حیات بهائی (جمعآوری توقیعات، تاریخ جمعآوری و نشر ۱۹۷۲)
۱- کتاب اصل کلّ الخیر (اثر بهاءالله)
۲- کلمات مکنونه (اثر بهاءالله) تاریخ انتشار:۱۹۲۵
۳- کتاب ایقان (اثر بهاءالله) تاریخ انتشار:۱۹۳۱
۴- مطالع الانوار (تاریخ نبیل) تاریخ انتشار:۱۹۳۲
۵- منتخبات آثار مبارکه حضرت بهاءالله. تاریخ انتشار ۱۹۳۵
۶- ادعیه و مناجاتهای حضرت بهاءالله. تاریخ انتشار ۱۹۳۸
۷- لوح ابن ذئب (اثر بهاءالله) تاریخ انتشار ۱۹۴۱
۱- ظهور عدل الهی. ۱۹۳۸
۲- قَد ظَهرَ یومُ المیعاد. ۱۹۴۱
۳- قرن بدیع. ۱۹۴۴
۴- مجموعه مناجات (جمعآوری دعاها و مناجاتها)
Shoghí Effendí Rabbání (1 March 1897 – 4 November 1957), better known as Shoghi Effendi (/
After the death of `Abdu'l-Bahá in 1921, the leadership of the Bahá'í community changed from that of a single individual to an administrative order with executive and legislative branches, the head of each being the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice, respectively. Shoghi Effendi was referred to as the Guardian, and had the authority to interpret the writings of the three central figures of the religion and define the sphere of legislative authority. His writings are effectively limited to commentaries on the works of the central figures, and broad directives for the future.
Future hereditary Guardians were permitted in the Bahá'í scripture by appointment from one to the next with the prerequisite that appointees be male descendants of Bahá'u'lláh. At the time of Shoghi Effendi's death, all living male descendants of Bahá'u'lláh had been declared Covenant-breakers by either `Abdu'l-Bahá or Shoghi Effendi, leaving no suitable living candidates. Shoghi Effendi died without appointing a successor Guardian, and the Universal House of Justice, the only institution authorized to adjudicate on situations not covered in scripture, later announced that it could not legislate to make possible the appointment of a successor to Shoghi Effendi. Shoghi Effendi was the first and last person acknowledged as Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith.
Born in ʿAkkā in the Acre Sanjak of the Ottoman Empire in March 1897, Shoghi Effendi was related to the Báb through his father, Mírzá Hádí Shírází, and to Bahá'u'lláh through his mother, Ḍíyá'íyyih Khánum, the eldest daughter of `Abdu'l-Bahá. `Abdu'l-Bahá, who provided much of his initial training, greatly influenced Shoghi Effendi from the early years of his life. Shoghi Effendi learned prayers from his grandfather, who encouraged him to chant. `Abdu'l-Bahá also insisted that people address the child as "Shoghi Effendi", ("Effendi" signifies "Sir"), rather than simply as "Shoghi", as a mark of respect towards him.
From his early years, Shoghi Effendi was introduced to the suffering which accompanied the Bahá'ís in Akká, including the attacks by Mírzá Muhammad `Alí against `Abdu'l-Bahá. As a young boy, he was aware of the desire of Sultan Abdul Hamid II (reigned 1876-1909) to banish `Abdu'l-Bahá to the deserts of North Africa where he was expected to perish. At one point, Shoghi Effendi was warned not to drink coffee in the homes of any of the Bahá'ís in the fear that he would be poisoned.
Tablet from `Abdu'l-Bahá
As the eldest grandson of `Abdu'l-Bahá, Shoghi Effendi from his earliest childhood had a special relationship with his grandfather. According to one account, when Shoghi Effendi was only 5 years old, he pestered his grandfather to write a tablet for him, which was common practice for `Abdu'l-Bahá. He wrote the following for his grandson:
Shoghi Effendi then set out to memorize a number of prayers, and chanted them as loud as he could. This caused family members to ask `Abdu'l-Bahá to quieten him down, a request which he apparently refused.
Shoghi Effendi received his early education at home with the other children in the household, then attended a French Christian Brothers school in Haifa, and later boarded at another Catholic school in Beirut. Shoghi Effendi later attended the Syrian Protestant College (later known as the American University of Beirut) for his final years of high school and first years of university, where he earned an arts degree in 1918. He reports being very unhappy in school and often returned on vacations to Haifa to spend time with `Abdu'l-Bahá.
During his studies, he dedicated himself to mastering English—adding this language to the Persian, Turkish, Arabic and French languages in which he was already fluent—so that he could translate the letters of `Abdu'l-Bahá and serve as his secretary. Shoghi Effendi was protected from World War I due to the neutrality of the Syrian Protestant College. Though political tensions in 1917 meant the college was closed briefly, student life continued. In the summer of 1918 `Abdu’l-Bahá’s life was in critical danger until the entry of General Allenby’s troops to Haifa. With the Armistice looming and having completed his studies Shoghi Effendi was ready to return to his grandfather. In the Autumn of 1918 Shoghi Effendi went back to Haifa to assist `Abdu'l-Bahá in his mounting correspondence. In a private letter to a friend from late 1918 Shoghi Effendi reflects on the untold sufferings of the War but anticipates that "this is indeed the era of service".
After studying at the American University of Beirut he later went to Balliol College, Oxford, in England, where he matriculated in "Economics and Social Sciences", while still perfecting his translation skills. Shoghi Effendi was happy during his time in Balliol. Accounts from his contemporaries remember him as a cheerful and popular student. He was acquainted with future British prime minister Anthony Eden but they were not close friends. His studies were interspersed with occasional trips around the United Kingdom to meet Bahá’í communities. Shoghi Effendi was particularly touched meeting the small group of Bahá’ís from Manchester. During this period Shoghi Effendi began what would be a life-long affinity to aspects of British culture such as reading The Times everyday and his love for English literature.
Death of `Abdu'l-Bahá and Guardianship
The issue of successorship to `Abdu'l-Bahá was in the minds of early Bahá'ís, and although the Universal House of Justice was an institution mentioned by Bahá'u'lláh, the institution of the Guardianship was not clearly introduced until the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá was publicly read after his death.
While studying in England, on 29 November 1921, the news of `Abdu'l-Bahá's death reached Shoghi Effendi, which, according to Wellesley Tudor Pole, the deliverer of the cable, left him "in a state of collapse". After spending a couple of days with John Esslemont, and after some passport difficulties, he sailed from England accompanied with Sara Blomfield and his sister Ruhangiz on 16 December and arrived in Haifa on 29 December. A few days later he opened `Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament, which was addressed to Shoghi Effendi.
In the will, Shoghi Effendi found that he had been designated as "the Sign of God, the chosen branch, the Guardian of the Cause of God". He also learned that he had been designated as this when he was still a small child. As Guardian he was appointed as head of the religion, someone whom the Bahá'ís had to look to for guidance. `Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament is considered one of the three charters of the Bahá'í administrative order, and in it `Abdu'l-Bahá laid down the authority of the Guardian and the Universal House of Justice, the elected governing body of the Bahá'í Faith that had been written about by Bahá'u'lláh, and had not yet been established:
Shoghi Effendi later expressed to his wife and others that he had no foreknowledge of the existence of the Institution of Guardianship, least of all that he was appointed as Guardian. The most he expected was perhaps, because he was the eldest grandson, `Abdu'l-Bahá might have left instructions as to how the Universal House of Justice was to be elected and he might have been designated as Convener of the gathering which would elect it.
From the time of his appointment as Guardian until his death the Bahá'í Faith grew from 100,000 to 400,000 members, capitalizing on prior growth and setting the stage for more, and the countries and territories in which Bahá'ís had representation went from 35 to 250. As Guardian and head of the religion, Shoghi Effendi communicated his vision to the Bahá'ís of the world through his numerous letters and his meetings with pilgrims to Palestine. During the 1920s he first started to systematize and extend the Bahá'í administration throughout the world; the Bahá'í community was relatively small and undeveloped when he assumed leadership of the religion, and he strengthened and developed it over many years to support the administrative structure envisioned by `Abdu'l-Bahá.
Under Shoghi Effendi's direction, National Spiritual Assemblies were formed, and many thousands of Local Spiritual Assemblies were created. During the 1930s he worked on projects translating the works of Bahá'u'lláh into English. Starting in 1937, he set into motion a series of systematic plans to establish Bahá'í communities in all countries. A Ten Year Crusade was carried out from 1953 to 1963 with the aim of electing the Universal House of Justice as its paramount aim. Starting in the late 1940s, after the establishment of the State of Israel, he started to develop the Bahá'í World Centre in Haifa, including the construction of the superstructure of the Shrine of the Báb and the building of the International Archives as well as beautifying the gardens at Bahji, where the Shrine of Bahá'u'lláh is located, as well as developing plans and resources to raise several of the continental Bahá'í Houses of Worship around the world; these plans continued through the 1950s.
In the 1950s he also continued building the Bahá'í administration, establishing in 1951 the International Bahá'í Council to act as a precursor to the Universal House of Justice, as well as appointing 32 living Hands of the Cause — Bahá'ís appointed to the highest rank of service available, whose main function was to propagate and protect the religion. He also acted as the official representative of the religion to legal authorities in Israel as well as designated other representatives to work with the UN. In a more secular cause, prior to World War II he supported the work of restoration-forester Richard St. Barbe Baker to reforest Palestine, introducing him to religious leaders from the major faiths of the region, from whom backing was secured for reforestation.
Translations and writings
In his lifetime, Shoghi Effendi translated into English many of the writings of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá, including the Hidden Words in 1929, the Kitáb-i-Íqán in 1931, Gleanings in 1935 and Epistle to the Son of the Wolf in 1941. He also translated such historical texts as The Dawn-breakers. His significance is not just that of a translator, but he was also the designated and authoritative interpreter of the Bahá'í writings. His translations, therefore, are a guideline for all future translations of the Bahá'í writings. The vast majority of his writings were in the style of letters with Bahá'ís from all parts of the globe.
These letters, of which 17,500 have been collected thus far and are believed to number a total of 30,000, ranged from routine correspondence regarding the affairs of Bahá'ís around the world to lengthy letters to the Bahá'ís of the world addressing specific themes. Some of his longer letters include World Order of Bahá'u'lláh, regarding the nature of Bahá'í administration, Advent of Divine Justice, regarding teaching the religion, and Promised Day is Come regarding Bahá'u'lláh's letters to world leaders.
Other letters included statements on Bahá'í beliefs, history, morality, principles, administration and law. He also wrote obituaries of some distinguished Bahá'ís. Many of his letters to individuals and assemblies have been compiled into several books which stand out as significant sources of literature for Bahá'ís around the world. The only actual book he ever wrote was God Passes By in 1944 to commemorate the centennial anniversary of the religion. The book, which is in English, is an interpretive history of the first century of the Bábí and Bahá'í Faiths. A shorter Persian language version was also written.
As a young student of twenty-four, Shoghi Effendi was initially shocked at the appointment as Guardian. He was also mourning the death of his grandfather to whom he had great attachment. The trauma of this culminated in him making retreats to the Swiss Alps. However, despite his youth, Shoghi Effendi had a clear idea of the goal he had for the religion. Oxford educated and Western in his style of dress, Shoghi Effendi was a stark contrast to his grandfather `Abdu'l-Bahá. He distanced himself from the local clergy and notability, and travelled little to visit Bahá’ís unlike his grandfather. Correspondence and pilgrims were the way that Shoghi Effendi conveyed his messages. His talks are the subject to a great number of "pilgrim notes".
He also was concerned with matters dealing with Bahá'í belief and practice — as Guardian he was empowered to interpret the writings of Bahá'u'lláh and `Abdu'l-Bahá, and these were authoritative and binding, as specified in `Abdu'l-Bahá's will. His leadership style was however, quite different from that of `Abdu'l-Bahá, in that he signed his letters to the Bahá'ís as "your true brother", and he did not refer to his own personal role, but instead to the institution of the guardianship. He requested that he be referred in letters and verbal addresses always as Shoghi Effendi, as opposed to any other appellation. He also distanced himself as a local notable. He was critical of the Bahá'ís referring to him as a holy personage, asking them not to celebrate his birthday or have his picture on display.
Shoghi Effendi's personal life was largely subordinate to his work as Guardian of the religion. His lack of secretarial support with the mass of correspondence had left a pattern of hard work in Haifa interspersed with occasional summer breaks to Europe—in the early years often to the Swiss Alps. In 1929 and 1940 he also travelled through Africa from south to north. In public Shoghi Effendi was variously described as aristocratic, composed and highly informed in international affairs. In private his contemporaries remembered him as warm, informal and humorous. Shoghi Effendi would sleep very little and usually ate only once a day. He was short in stature, with dark hair, an olive complexion and hazel eyes. He was noted as not resembling his grandfather `Abdu’l-Bahá (who was taller and had blue eyes) but his great-grandfather Bahá’u’lláh.
Shoghi Effendi had a great love for the English language. He was an avid fan of English literature, and enjoyed reading the King James Bible. He was noted for speaking English in clipped received pronunciation, and Persian in an Isfahani dialect, inherited from his grandmother. Shoghi Effendi held Iranian (Persian) nationality throughout his life and travelled on an Iranian passport, although he never visited Iran.
In March 1937, Shoghi Effendi married Mary Maxwell, entitled Rúhíyyih Khánum, a Canadian. She was the only child of May Maxwell, a disciple of `Abdu'l-Bahá, and William Sutherland Maxwell, a Canadian architect. Shoghi Effendi had first met Mary as a girl when she came on pilgrimage with her mother in 1923. The two had begun a regular correspondence from the mid-1920s. Mary was an active Bahá'í teacher, and a letter written to Shoghi Effendi described her as "a beautiful and most refreshing girl to know". Whilst on her third pilgrimage in 1937 the two began a discreet courtship. Then herself 26 years old, Mary was a tall, athletic woman. Mary had been living in Nazi Germany for 18 months with her cousin prior to coming to Haifa. The couple married in the room of Bahíyyih Khánum in the House of `Abdu'l-Bahá in Haifa. The ceremony was a short, simple and quiet one in which Rúhíyyih Khánum wore black. Very few knew the wedding was taking place apart from the witnesses and a small group of residents of Haifa. Therefore the marriage came as a great surprise to the world-wide Bahá'í community when the mother of Shoghi Effendi cabled the Bahá'ís:
While Shoghi Effendi and Rúhíyyih Khánum never had children, Rúhíyyih Khánum became his constant companion and helpmate; in 1941, she became Shoghi Effendi's principal secretary in English. In a rare public statement revealing his private sentiments in 1951 he described his wife as "my helpmate, my shield in warding off the darts of Covenant breakers and my tireless collaborator in the arduous tasks I shoulder".
Mírzá Muhammad `Alí was `Abdu'l-Bahá's half brother and was mentioned by Bahá'u'lláh as having a station "beneath" that of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Muhammad `Ali later fought `Abdu'l-Bahá for leadership and was ultimately excommunicated, along with several others in the Haifa/Akka area who supported him. When Shoghi Effendi was appointed Guardian Muhammad `Ali tried to revive his claim to leadership, suggesting that Bahá'u'lláh's mention of him in the Kitáb-i-'Ahd amounted to a succession of leadership.
After Shoghi Effendi's death, Rúhíyyih Khánum published parts of her personal diaries to show glimpses of Shoghi Effendi's life. She recalls a great deal of pain and suffering caused by his immediate family, and Bahá'ís in Haifa.
Throughout Shoghi Effendi's life, nearly all remaining family members and descendants of `Abdu'l-Bahá were expelled by him as covenant-breakers when they didn't abide by Shoghi Effendi's request to cut contact with covenant-breakers, as specified by `Abdu'l-Bahá. Other branches of Bahá'u'lláh's family had already been declared Covenant-breakers in `Abdu'l-Bahá's Will and Testament. At the time of his death, there were no living descendants of Bahá'u'lláh that remained loyal to him.
Shoghi Effendi's death came unexpectedly in London, on 4 November 1957, as he was travelling to Britain and caught the Asian Flu, during the pandemic which killed two million worldwide, and he is buried there in New Southgate Cemetery. His wife sent the following cable:
According to the framework of the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, it was not possible to appoint a successor, and the legislative body "possessing the exclusive right to legislate on matters not explicitly revealed" was not yet established in the world. Furthermore, Shoghi Effendi had left no will as attested to by the Hands of the Cause, who were required to ratify his selection. All of the 27 living Hands of the Cause unanimously signed a statement shortly after the death of Shoghi Effendi stating that he had died "without having appointed his successor..." 
Ministry of the Custodians
In Shoghi Effendi's final message to the Baha'i World, dated October 1957, he named the Hands of the Cause of God, "the Chief Stewards of Bahá'u'lláh's embryonic World Commonwealth." Consequently, following the death of Shoghi Effendi, the Bahá'í Faith was temporarily stewarded by the Hands of the Cause, who elected among themselves 9 "Custodians" to serve in Haifa as the head of the Faith. They reserved to the "entire body of the Hands of the Cause" the responsibility to determine the transition of the International Bahá'í Council into the Universal House of Justice, and that the Custodians reserved to themselves the authority to determine and expel Covenant-breakers. This stewardship oversaw the execution of the final years of Shoghi Effendi's ordinances of the ten year crusade (which lasted until 1963) culminating and transitioning to the election and establishment of the Universal House of Justice, at the first Baha'i World Congress in 1963.
Election of the Universal House of Justice
At the end of the Ten Year Crusade, planned by Shoghi Effendi and concluding in 1963, the Universal House of Justice was first elected. As its first order of business, the Universal House of Justice evaluated the situation caused by the fact that the Guardian had not appointed a successor. It determined that under the circumstances, given the criteria for succession described in the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, there was no legitimate way for another Guardian to be appointed. Therefore, although the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá leaves provisions for a succession of Guardians, Shoghi Effendi remains the first and last occupant of this office.