February 15, 2015

Shoghi Effendi: A uniquely significant figure of the twentieth century – by the 1997 editors of “World Order” Baha’i magazine

[The 1997 editors of World Order magazine were Firuz Kazemzadeh, Betty Fisher, Howard Garey, Robert Stockman, and James Stroke]

Shoghi Effendi, who was born a hundred years ago [as of 1997] in Ottoman Palestine, became a uniquely significant figure of the twentieth century. But his intrinsic importance to the history of the period is as yet generally unrecognized outside the Baha’i community. Through prodigious activity as Guardian of the Baha’i Faith, he carried out his designated responsibility as interpreter, both in literary and practical terms, of the vision of world unity advanced by Baha’u’llah, founder of the Baha'i Faith. The principal effect of Shoghi Effendi's thirty-six-year ministry as the Guardian of the Faith was to create an incomparably diverse but united global community in a remarkably short time. The potential of this community is to become a pattern for future society. Anyone acquainted with its workings will be impressed by the spirit that induces its coherence. As it expands and develops along the lines indicated by Shoghi Effendi, there emerges compelling evidence that the efficacy of his guidance is destined to obtain wide notice and, inevitably, to influence the shaping of a millennium.

No celebration will mark the centennial of Shoghi Effendi's birth: this absence of a memorial ceremony is out of respect for his clear instruction against the commemoration of any event associated with his life. Yet remembrance of his monumental achievements is irrepressible and begs for expression at every opportunity. This anniversary is a welcome occasion, then, to reflect on the nature of his work and the relevance of his thought to contemporary concerns about the state and direction of human society, especially as the century about which he offered such illuminating and proven analyses draws to a close. The sheer volume and efficiency of his output in any one of his vocations as exegete, author, translator, administrator, commentator on world trends, master planner, organizer of global undertakings, aesthete was astounding. But it was the distinction of his inspired insight that lent a singular quality to his varied occupations and that remains as a unique and potent legacy.