183 O Ye The Learned Ones In Baha #173

: The Kitab-i-aqdas

Baha'u'llah eulogizes the learned among His followers. In the Book of His

Covenant, He wrote: Blessed are the rulers and learned among the people

of Baha. Referring to this statement, Shoghi Effendi has written:

In this holy cycle the learned are, on the one hand, the Hands

of the Cause of God, and, on the other, the teachers and diffusers

of His Teachings who do not rank as Hands, but who have attained

an eminent position in the teaching work. As to the rulers they

refer to the members of the Local, National and International

Houses of Justice. The duties of each of these souls will be

determined in the future.

The Hands of the Cause of God were individuals appointed by Baha'u'llah

and charged with various duties, especially those of protecting and

propagating His Faith. In Memorials of the Faithful 'Abdu'l-Baha referred

to other outstanding believers as Hands of the Cause, and in His Will and

Testament He included a provision calling upon the Guardian of the Faith

to appoint Hands of the Cause at his discretion. Shoghi Effendi first

raised posthumously a number of the believers to the rank of Hands of the

Cause, and during the latter years of his life appointed a total of 32

believers from all continents to this position. In the period between the

passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 and the election of the Universal House

of Justice in 1963, the Hands of the Cause directed the affairs of the

Faith in their capacity as Chief Stewards of Baha'u'llah's embryonic World

Commonwealth (see note 67). In November 1964, the Universal House of

Justice determined that it could not legislate to make it possible to

appoint Hands of the Cause. Instead, by a decision of the House of Justice

in 1968, the functions of the Hands of the Cause in relation to protecting

and propagating the Faith were extended into the future by the creation of

the Continental Boards of Counsellors, and in 1973 through the

establishment of the International Teaching Centre, which has its seat in

the Holy Land.

The Universal House of Justice appoints the Counsellor members of the

International Teaching Centre and the Continental Counsellors. Members of

Auxiliary Boards are appointed by the Continental Counsellors. All these

individuals fall within the definition of the learned given by Shoghi

Effendi in the statement quoted above.