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Shoghi Effendi Rabbani
Shoghi Effendi Rabbani was the Guardian of the Bahá'í Faith. He was appointed to that station in the Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá. Shoghi Effendi was the eldest grandson of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He was born on March 1st 1897. From his earliest childhood he had a special relationshop with his grandfather 'Abdu'l-Bahá. He studied at the American University of Beirut and later at Balliol College, Oxford in England. After the passing of 'Abdu'l-Bahá on November 28th 1921 Shoghi Effendi began to guide the Bahá'í community, he set up the administrative principles upon which all future Bahá'í institutions are to function, he translated the writings of the Báb, Bahá'u'lláh and 'Abdu'l-Bahá and built the superstructure of the Shrine of the Báb in Haifa, Israel. During his ministry from 1921-1957 the Bahá'í-Religion developed to a global faith. When he took office there existed about 100.000 Bahá'ís, most of them of Persian origin. Only a few Bahá'ís lived in India, Europe and in the United States of America. Bahá'ís lived in about 35 countries. 36 years later at the end of his ministry more than 400.000 Bahá'ís lived in 250 countries. He was married to Amatu'l-Bahá Rúhíyyih Khanum, a Hand of the Cause of God, which is the highest position occupied by individuals in the Bahá'í Faith. Shoghi Effendi died in England on November 4th, 1957 of Asian flu while on a visit to purchase furnishings for the Bahá'í archives building on Mount Carmel, Israel. During his ministry he named 32 living Hands who were custodians of the Bahá'í Faith after his death until April 1963 when the Universal House of Justice was first elected.
Shoghi Effendi's private life
Shoghi Effendi Rabbani was Oxford educated and had an excellent command of the English language. He was highly intelligent and energetic. In 1937, he married Mary Maxwell entitled Amatu'l-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum, a Canadian. She was the only child of May Maxwell, one of the foremost disciples of 'Abdu'l-Baha, and William Sutherland Maxwell, a distinguished Canadian architect. Then herself 27 years old, Mary Maxwell was a tall, athletic active woman. In 1941 she became Shoghi Effendi's principal secretary in English. In 1951, Shoghi Effendi appointed her to the First International Bahai Council, (the embryonic Universal House of Justice.
Shoghi Effendi and Ruhiyyih Khanum never had children.
Shoghi Effendi and Covenant-breaking (Excommunication)
Shoghi Effendi Rabbani declared nearly all remaining family members and descendents of Abdu'l-Baha as Covenant-breakers. This is somewhat equivalent to Cherem in Judaism, Excommunication in Christianity and Takfir in Islamic law, i.e. Baha’is avoid association with them, even if the Covenant–breaker is a family member. Other branches of Baha'u'llah's family had already been declared Covenant-breakers in Abdu'l-Baha's Will and Testament. Refer to Covenant-Breaking in Shoghi Effendi's Immediate Family.
One case which received public attention was the case of Ruhi Afnan. It was presented in the book "A Grandson of Baha'u'llah" by Ahmad Sohrab, who was also a Covenant-breaker. The cable announcing his explusion was published in Baha'i News in December of 1941 and January of 1942. In those cables, Shoghi effendi cited several reasons for the excommunication: That Ruhi had allowed his sister to marry the notorious covenant breaker Fayzi, that his family had exhibited "flagrant disloyalty", his travel to America without permission, and "subsiquent conduct regarding his marriage."
- "Ruhi's sister married Covenant-breaker Faydi whose mother joined and supported arch-enemy Muhammad-'Ali and whose father `Abdu'l-Bahá denounced openly and repeatedly as His deadly enemy. Ruhi's family concurred. Inform all believers all manner communication excommunicated family forbidden."
- "Flagrant disloyalty Ruhi's family compels me disclose information so long patiently withheld American believers concerning his failure obtain my approval his second visit America. His subsequent conduct regarding his marriage which I refrained from revealing anyone except your Assembly, as well as Fu'ad's [Ruhi's brother] departure England without my knowledge, should now be made known believers. Confident unshakable steadfastness exemplary American Bahá'í community."
Then in a 1950 cable:
- "Inform friends that Ruhi, his mother, with Ruha, his aunt, and their families, not content with years of disobedience and unworthy conduct, are now showing open defiance. Confident that exemplary loyalty of American believers will sustain me in carrying overwhelming burden of cares afflicting me."
And in 1953:
- "Treacherous Ruhi Afnan, not content with previous disobedience, correspondence with Ahmad Sohrab, contact with old Covenant-breakers, sale, in conjunction with other members of family, of sacred property purchased by Founder of Faith, and allowing his sister to marry son of Abdu'l-Bahá's enemy, is now openly lecturing on Bahá'í movement, claiming to be its exponent and is misrepresenting the teachings and deliberately causing confusion in minds of authorities and the local population. Inform National Assemblies."
Later, Ruhi was presented with a copy of Sohrab's book about his excommunication:
- "... under ordinary circumstances he would have been very much elated, and therefore thankful to see someone make such records of his services to the Cause, but that the references to the Guardian and the Administration changed his attitude completely. He did not wish to be defended; he felt that he must suffer in silence and be true to the Master’s last will and testament. Then Ruhi Effendi referred to Ahmad as being in the same plight as himself, but reacting differently. He thought this very regrettable." [p. 281] 
Genealogy of Shoghi Effendi
Below are thumbnail illustrations of Shoghi Effendi, showing direct lineage going back to Adam. This genealogy beyond the father of Bahá'u'lláh is not supported by any known documentation. Because of the image length, this chart has been divided into top and bottom sections. The chart was drawn by Grover Gonzales, and is also available here and here (mirrored).
- Ru'hi'yyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, Bahai Publishing Trust, UK; ISBN 1-870989-91-0. 404pp.
- Riaz Khadem, Shoghi Effendi in Oxford, George Ronald, Oxford. ISBN 0-85398-423-9. 173pp.
- Ugo Giachery, Shoghi Effendi - Reflections, George Ronald, Oxford. ISBN 0-85398-050-0
See also: Orthodox Bahai Faith.
- The Bahá'í World
- The work and life of Shoghi Effendi
- Writings of Shoghi Effendi
- Biography of Shoghi Effendi
- Directions to the Resting Place of Shoghi Effendi
- Writings of Shoghi Effendi in English, Persian, and Arabic
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