Segment 2 – The Greatest Holy Leaf
On November 29, 1921 at 9:30 am, the following cable reached Major Tudor Pole ‘s office address: “His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Baha ascended Abha Kingdom. Inform friends.”
Greatest Holy Leaf
(See The Priceless Pearl, p. 39)
The Greatest Holy Leaf (probably with few members of the Master’s family) cabled on 21 December 1921: “Memorial meeting world over January seven. Procure prayers for unity and steadfastness. Master left full instructions in His Will and Testament. Translation will be sent. Inform friends.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 39)
The Greatest Holy Leaf announced to the Baha’i world the provisions of the Master’s Will and Testament on 7 January, sending two cables to Persia: “Memorial meetings all over the world have been held. The Lord of all the worlds in His Will and Testament has revealed His instructions. Copy will be sent. Inform believers.” and “Will and Testament forwarded to Shoghi Effendi Center Cause.”
(See The Priceless Pearl, p. 47)
On January 16, the Greatest Holy Leaf sent a cable to the Baha’i world announcing the provisions of ‘Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament: “In Will Shoghi Effendi appointed Guardian and Head of the House of Justice. Inform American friends.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 49)
Although there was opposition to the appointment among a small minority of Covenant breakers, most Baha’is received the announcement with great enthusiasm and interest and pledged their support to the Guardian: “We long to assist the Guardian in every way and our hearts are responsive to the burdens upon his young shoulders…” (The Priceless Pearl, p 50)
The preceding events prompted Shoghi Effendi to select eight passages from the Will and Testament of Abdu’l-Baha and circulate them among the Baha’is. Only one of these briefly referred to himself: “O ye the faithful loved ones of ‘Abdu’l-Baha! It is incumbent upon you to take the greatest care of Shoghi Effendi. . . For he is, after `Abdu’l-Baha, the Guardian of the Cause of God, the Afnan, the Hands (pillars) of the Cause and the beloved of the Lord, must obey him and turn unto him.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 48) “Of all the thundering and tremendous passages in the Will referring to himself, Shoghi Effendi chose the least astounding and provocative to first circulate among the Baha’is. Guided and guiding he was from the very beginning.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 48)
Before Shoghi Effendi reached Haifa, the Greatest Holy Leaf had been obliged to cable America on 14 December: “Now is the period of great tests. The friends should be firm and united in defending the Cause. Nakeseens [Covenant – Breakers] starting activities through press other channels all over the world. Select committee of wise cool heads to handle press propaganda in America.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 49)
In a letter Shoghi Effendi “appointed a body of nine people to act tentatively as an Assembly” (See Priceless Pearl, pp.56-57) under the supervision of the Holy Family and headship of the Greatest Holy Leaf.
He is God!
“This servant, after that grievous event and calamity— the ascension of His Holiness ‘Abdu’l-Baha to the Abha Kingdom—has been stricken with grief and pain and so entangled in
the troubles (created) by the enemies of the Cause of God, that I consider my
presence here, at such a time and in such an atmosphere, is not in accordance with the fulfillment of my important and sacred duties. For this reason, unable to do otherwise, I have left for a time the affairs of the Cause, both at home and abroad, under the supervision of the Holy Family and headship of the Greatest Holy Leaf—may my soul be a sacrifice to her—until, by the Grace of God, having gained health, strength, self-confidence and spiritual energy, and having taken into my hands, in accordance with my aim and desire, entirely and regularly the work of service, I shall attain to my utmost spiritual hope and aspiration.
The servant of His Threshold,
(See The Priceless Pearl, p. 57)
On April 7, the Greatest Holy Leaf wrote a general letter to the friends. She first acknowledges the letters of allegiance they have sent and says Shoghi Effendi is counting upon their co-operation in spreading the message; the Baha’i world must from now on be linked through the Spiritual Assemblies and local questions must be referred to them. She then goes on say: “Since the ascension of our beloved ‘Abdu’l-Baha Shoghi Effendi has been moved so deeply. . . that he has sought the necessary quiet in which to meditate upon the vast task ahead of him, and it is to accomplish this that he has temporarily left these regions. During his absence he has appointed me as his representative, and while he is occupied in this great endeavour, the family of ‘Abdu’l-Baha is assured that you will all strive to advance triumphantly the Cause of Baha’u’llah. . .” The typewritten letter in English is signed in Persian “Bahiyyih” and sealed with her seal. (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 58)
In her work during the transition period, the Greatest Holy Leaf’s last act was to send members of the Guardian’s family to find him and ask him to return: “In the autumn of 1922 the Greatest Holy Leaf, deeply distressed by Shoghi Effendi’s long absence, sent members of his family to find him and plead with him to come back to the Holy Land. In the street of a small village in the mountains, as he returned in the evening from one of his all-day walks, Shoghi Effendi, to his great surprise, found his mother looking for him; she had come all the way from Palestine for this purpose, accompanied by another member of the Master’s family; with tears she informed him of the distress of Bahiyyih Khanum, the family and friends and persuaded him to return and assume his rightful place.” (See The Priceless Pearl, p. 63)