April 10, 2023

The grandeur of the House of Justice – by Hand of the Cause William Sears, 1981

[A letter from the Hand of the Cause of God William Sears to members of the Continental Board of Counsellors and National Spiritual Assemblies in Africa.]

"The National Spiritual Assemblies, like unto pillars will be gradually and firmly established in every country on the strong and fortified foundations of the Local Assemblies. On these pillars, the mighty Edifice, the Universal House of Justice, will be erected, raising high its noble frame above the world of existence. The unity of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh will thus be realized and fulfilled from one end of the earth to the other… and the living waters of everlasting life will stream forth from that fountain-head of God’s World Order upon all the warring nations and peoples of the world, to wash away the evils and iniquities of the realm of dust, and heal man‘s age-old ills and ailments.

"Then will all our cherished hopes and aspirations be realized, the tree of our endeavours bear fruit, ... and the hidden powers of the Cause of our Lord and God be fully manifested. Then will be unveiled to our eyes the in- auguration of an era the like of which has never been witnessed in past ages." — Shoghi Effendi

August 4, 1981

Beloved Friends, Colleagues, and fellow Bahá’is:

On my second visit to the Holy Land this year on a special project, I was once again made keenly aware of the majesty and grandeur of our Supreme Universal House of Justice. Each time I am with them the joy and wonder of those days in the presence of our beloved Guardian come rushing back upon me, and I say to myself: "I have made another pilgrimage!"

How often every Bahá’í has said. What a blessing it would have been if only we had seen the Precious Báb, or been in the presence of the Blessed Beauty, Bahá’u’lláh, or could have visited the Holy Land when the Beloved Master was there. Many of us have looked upon the face of the beloved Guardian. Still more, however, have been deprived of all these past bounties and blessings.

Suddenly I realized that each one of these great blessings was ours all over again! Little by little it became clear to me that there were no such days as these very days we are living in now! These are the very days which the Báb, Bahá’u’lláh, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and our beloved Guardian had sacrificed their lives to bring to reality. These days!

I said to myself, do we really understand and appreciate who it is that sends that Book, that Compilation, that Letter to us from the side of the Mountain of God? I vowed to myself that the next time I received a Letter or a Message from the Universal House of Justice, I would look upon it with new eyes, and listen to their words of guidance and instruction with new ears.

‘Thrilled to my fingertips’

I felt this overwhelming urgent desire to share my feelings with all the Bahá’i Institutions in Africa, and with my fellow Bahá’ís throughout that continent. I wanted you to see and feel all the things that enriched, deepened and inspired me on this "Second Pilgrimage."

The wonders and accomplishments of our Universal House of Justice swept over me like a flood. I was thrilled to my fingertips!

I was standing on the top floor of the new Seat of the Universal House of Justice looking toward the Archives Building, the Shrine of the Báb, and up toward the Obelisk where Bahá’u’lláh had chanted the Tablet of Carmel, the Charter for all these World Centre Institutions. I could see the Spot where He foretold the Ark that God would sail on this holy Mountain manifesting the people of Bahá, the men of the House of Justice. I looked across the Bay toward the Prison-City of ‘Akká and the Mansion at Bahji, and felt this tremendous urge to go down the Mountain and write this letter to you. To share with our continent, Africa, all the blessings from God which our Supreme Universal House of Justice has so generously and so bountifully bestowed upon us.

I went first to the three Holy Shrines, to pray for each one of you, and myself, for Africa as a continent, for every one of the Bahá’í Institutions and believers in Africa.

Then I began to set down my thoughts as follows:


The least glimpse into the majesty of this divine Institution would fill anyone with awe and wonder:

  • "God, verily, will inspire them with whatsoever He willeth,” is Bahá’u’lláh’s incontrovertible assurance.
  • The Universal House of Justice is the “Source of all good” and is "freed from all error,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá confirms in His Will and Testament.
  • Shoghi Effendi has written that it is the "Apex" of "Bahá’í Administration.” It is the "Supreme Organ” of the "Bahá’í Commonwealth,” and the "sole refuge for a tottering civilization.” It is this Body, the beloved Guardian points out, the members of which, in consultation, have been made "the recipients" of ‘the Divine Guidance" which is at once “the life’s blood” and ‘‘ultimate safeguard” of this Revelation.
  • “All must obey the Universal House of Justice,” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá declares. "Obedience to it is obedience to the Cause. Opposition to it is opposition to the Blessed Beauty. Denial of it is denial of God, the True One."
  • The power and authority that is breathed upon the Universal House of Justice by the Holy Spirit is made forever clear in these Words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Who tells us “Renouncing any word of the Universal House of Justice is like unto the renunciation of a Word of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas”
  • “Observe how important this matter is!" “’Abdu’l-Bahá points out. “The Blessed Beauty has ordained the House of Justice as the lawmaker. If the House of Justice had been operating (now) by the One True God ...I would have been the first to obey its decree, even if it had been against me."

In a Tablet the Beloved Master has written:

"Let it therefore not be imagined that the House of Justice will make any law according to its own concepts and opinions. God forbid! The Most Great House of Justice will establish laws and ordinances through the inspiration and confirmation of the Holy Spirit, because it is in the safekeeping and under the shelter and protection of the Ancient Beauty, and obedience to its decisions is a bounden duty and an inescapable obligation, and there is no escape for anyone. Say, O people, verily the Most Great House of Justice is under the wings of your Lord, the Compassionate, the All-Merciful, in other words under His protection, His care, and His shelter; for He has commanded the firm believers to obey that sanctified and all-powerful body, whose dominion is spiritual and of the Kingdom of Heaven, and whose laws are inspired and spiritual."

Perhaps with this background, which is but one leaf from the tree of its greatness, we can begin to understand the miracles it has accomplished in the space of only eighteen years. There is no time to speak of each one of them in detail, but every one of these achievements is history-making in itself. The promise was enshrined in the words of our beloved Guardian about this Supreme House of Justice:

“When the Universal House of Justice shall have stepped forth from the realm of hope into that of visible fulfillment and its fame be established in every corner and clime of the world, then that august Body, solidly grounded and founded on the firm and unshakeable foundation of the entire Bahá’l community of East and West, and the recipient of the bounties of God and His inspiration, will proceed to devise and carry cut important undertakings, world-wide activities and the establishment of glorious institutions. By this means, the renown of the Cause of God will become worldwide and its light will illumine the whole earth."

‘Important undertakings’ carried out

The Universal House of Justice ‘‘stepped forth" into ‘visible fulfillment" in 1963. It has launched these “world wide activities,’’ these great teaching plans: the Nine Year Plan, the Five Year Plan, and the Seven Year Pian now in progress.

It has already established glorious institutions ...

I wrote to you about the grandeur and majesty of these glorious Institutions in my last letter.

Before we begin to recount the fabulous victories that followed these “important undertakings" the Universal House of Justice has already proceeded to “carry out,” let us hear once more about the Supreme Body from the beloved Guardian.

“Then (with the establishment of the Universal House of Justice) will the banner of the independence of the Faith be unfurled and His Most Great Law be unveiled… then will the ardent hopes of the people of Bahá be realized… then will the throne of Bahá’u’llah’s Sovereignty be founded in the Promised Land and the scales of Justice raised on high…”

All of these tremendous promises have already been achieved, or are under way!

Those great souls who were called by Bahá’u’llsh the ‘‘people of Bahá,” those ‘‘men of justice,” those “Trustees of God” amongst His servants, have given to the world the mighty Constitution of this “crowning glory" of all Bahá‘u’llah’s Administrative Institutions. These Institutions are “the very ‘nucleus and forerunner’ of His World Order.”

They have showered upon us the glorious blessing of the Synopsis and Codification of the Laws and Ordinances of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, the Most Holy Book.

“Indeed,” Bahá‘u’lláh tells us, “the laws of God are like unto the ocean, and the children of men as fish" swimming in that protective sea.

The Universal House of Justice with this book has given us a glimpse of that "breath of life" for “all created thing." Those were Bahá’u’lláh’s Words. With the coming of this Body we have a new awareness of this "mightiest stronghold" and the "highest means for the maintenance of order in the world" and for the "security of its peoples."

The "Most Great Law" has been ‘‘unveiled” and the "throne" of Bahá’u’llah’s "Sovereignty" has been “founded in the Promised Land" and those "scales of Justice" are being "raised on high."

What days we are living in!

Now for the downpour of only some of those victories which are among those "important undertakings” the beloved Guardian promised us they would “carry out." I have not listed them in order of importance, only the Universal House of Justice could do that. I have listed them as they flooded through my mind and memory and lifted me into a new realm.

  • The last map our beloved Guardian made for us showed 4,500 centres in the Bahá’l world. He hoped it would reach 5,000 before the end of the Ten Year Plan. It reached more than 13,000. Since that day, under our Universal House of Justice, the number of Bahá’í centres now exceeds 100,000.
  • There were even fewer Local Spiritual Assemblies in that day. Now the Universal House of Justice has inspired and guided the friends until they have raised up over 29,000.
  • Twelve National Spiritual Assemblies launched the beloved Guardian’s Ten Year Plan. One hundred and twenty- five launched the current Seven Year Plan of the Universal House of Justice. Even more National Assemblies have been added since.

An entire letter could (and should) be written about each one of these marvelous victories. We have merely listed them for you. Even that, in itself, I am sure, leaves us overwhelmed and in awe and admiration. Our hearts are ready to burst. Every line telling of a new victory assures us that this indeed is the "House of the Lord of Hosts."

  • Acquired the Mansion of Mazra’ih where Bahá‘u’lláh was so happy. (Needs a volume!)
  • Acquired the House of ‘Abdu’lláh Páshá where the beloved Guardian was born; where the Master received the first pilgrims from the West on that pilgrimage which the beloved Guardian, Shoghi Effendi, said was a pilgrimage that changed the world. ‘Some Answered Questions’ was written there—on and on and on!
  • Raised the Obelisk on the spot where Bahá’u’liah chanted the Tablet of Carmel, where a Bahá’í House of Worship will be raised, a "prayer house for all nations" as promised in Scripture.
  • Have raised up, and will soon occupy the Majestic Seat on the side of God’s Holy Mountain, from where the "Law of God" is already going into all parts of the world as promised by Baha’u’lláh, and envisioned by Isaiah.
  • Great extension of the Bahá’i gardens at Bahjí, new entrances, a beautiful circle of green lawns, paths, and flowering trees surrounding the entire Spot where the “holiest dust" ever to be accepted into the “bosom of the earth" lies enshrined.
  • The pilgrimage opened to additional thousands on the Anniversary of the Martyrdom of the Purest Branch, who asked that it might be so - a Son Bahá’u’llah sacrificed for the regeneration, purification, and unification of all the peoples of the world.
  • Wonderful new books to thrill every heart:
    • Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh
    • Selections from the Writings of the Báb
    • Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l- Bahá
    • Call to the Nations
  •  A special book of the Letters of Bahá’u’lláh to the Kings and rulers of the world: ‘The Proclamation of Bahá’u’lláh. Presented to 126 Heads of State and leaders of mankind.
  • Books filled with guidance both immediate and enduring:
    • Wellspring of Guidance
    • Messages of the Universal House of Justice, 1968 to 1973
  • Nine special compilations on every aspect of the Bahá’í Faith for the inspiration, deepening, and guidance of the World Bahá’i community in their teaching work so they can most effectively carry out the spiritual conquest of the planet.
  • Consultative status at the United Nations, an accomplishment longed for by the beloved Guardian. An expanded and developed International Bahá’í Community at the United Nations.
  • House of Worship in Panama, raised up at the crossroads of two continents, an area of great predictions and promises for the future of the Faith.
  • Plans racing toward completion for the House of Worship in both Samoa and India
  • The House of Worship in Samoa will be in the land of the first King and reigning monarch to accept the Bahá’í Faith, the Malietoa Tanumafili II. He was present at the dedication of that House of Worship, and has visited the Resting-Place of the beloved Guardian in England.
  • Commemoration of the one hundredth Anniversary of Bahá’u’lláh’s arrival in the Holy Land with some two thousand in attendance.
  • Well over twenty International, Intercontinental, and Oceanic Teaching Conferences in every part of the world with all the attendant world publicity, press, radio, television and magazines.

Fantastic proclamation!

  • Established Bahá’í radio stations in South America. More on the way.
  • Four World Conventions in the Holy Land for the election of the Universal House of Justice by delegates representing some three hundred countries, territories, and islands of the seas and Bahá’is in more than one hundred thousand centres around the entire planet.

On and on go the wonders!

How thrilling!

How inspiring!

How overwhelming!

Beloved friends, in the midst of all this majesty and might, there is a tenderness and compassion unique in the religious history of the world. Never has there been an elected Body endowed with such transcendent authority and power coupled with such a kindness, consideration and compassion. The two exist side by side only here in this "Source of all good" which is "freed from all error." No wonder it is the “sole refuge for a tottering civilization.” I know I said that before, but it is so beautiful I had to say it again.

Let me give you but one example: Every Tuesday morning before the day’s work begins in this “Land of unfading Splendour,” all the Baháíis serving at the World Centre are called together by the Universal House of Justice to its present Seat—a gathering of love—to join them in prayers, prayers of protection, guidance, inspiration, and thanksgiving. There follows a report from the Universal House of Justice to all the workers in the World Centre, giving them the highlights of the past week. They share events from all over the world, the victories, the crises, the news of every significant thing happening everywhere in the Bahá’í world, so that all, without exception, will feel an intimate, vital part of this great work of God.

This is the House of the Lord of Hosts we are speaking about, our own wonderful Universal House of Justice. Authority and power, tenderness, thoughtfulness and compassion—all together!

How lucky we are to be alive in this day, and to have the opportunity to serve this unique and wondrous Body in any way we can.

To paraphrase the Words of the Beloved Master, these are but the least of the significance of this "Most Great House of Justice." Indeed, as promised in Scripture, the "nations" have "flowed" toward this "House of the Lord," and it is only the beginning. Through it, as foreseen by the Old Testament Prophet, Habakkuk, "the knowledge of the glory of the Lord (Bahá’u’lláh) has covered the earth as the waters cover the sea.”

We shall close these words of love… by citing yet another tribute of the beloved Guardian to our Universal House of Justice:

"Through it (the Universal House of Justice) the ardent hopes of the people of Bahá will be realized. Through it, the pillars of the Faith (the National Spiritual Assemblies) on this earth will be firmly established, and its hidden powers be revealed, its signs shine forth, its banners be unfurled and its light be shed upon all peoples."

Beloved friends, fellow-workers in the fruitful African vineyard—during these dramatic and richly-blessed days of the Seven Year Plan, I feel confident that we shall surge forward as never before in the accomplishment of the goals of this second phase of the Plan.

Just the contemplation of who it is that has called us into action, and who it is that is guiding us, inspiring us every step of the way, praying for us, encouraging us in everything we do—all this, surely, will electrify our souls and illumine our faces with a brilliance that will itself attract even greater victories.

I close this letter as I began it, with more words of tender love about this wondrous Universal House of Justice of ours, this glorious House of the Lord of Hosts, from the be- loved Guardian:

“... the unity of the Cause of God and the victory of His Faith will, even as the sun, become manifest in this Exalted Body."

With tenderest, grateful love to each Bahá’í in Africa for your loving and dedicated services. Press on!

William Sears

Hand of the Cause of God

(Baha’i News, January 1982)