The Kitáb-i-Aqdas - The Most Holy Book
Page 4
During the thirty-six years of his ministry, Shoghi Effendi raised up the structure of elected Spiritual Assemblies--the Houses of Justice referred to in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, now in their embryonic stage--and with their collaboration initiated the systematic implementation of the Divine Plan that ‘Abdu’l-Bahá had laid out for the diffusion of the Faith throughout the world. He also set in motion, on the basis of the strong administrative structure that had been established, the processes which were an essential preparation for the election of the Universal House of Justice. This body, which came into existence in April 1963, is elected through secret ballot and plurality vote in a three-stage election by adult Bahá’í­s throughout the world. The revealed Word of Bahá’u’lláh, together with the interpretations and expositions of the Centre of the Covenant and the Guardian of the Cause, constitute the binding terms of reference of the Universal House of Justice and are its bedrock foundation.
As to the laws themselves, a careful scrutiny discloses that they govern three areas: the individual’s relationship to God, physical and spiritual matters which benefit the individual directly, and relations among individuals and between the individual and society. They can be grouped under the following headings: prayer and fasting; laws of personal status governing marriage, divorce and inheritance; a range of other laws, ordinances and prohibitions, as well as exhortations; and the abrogation of specific laws and ordinances of previous Dispensations. A salient characteristic is their brevity. They constitute the kernel of a vast range of law that will arise in centuries to come. This elaboration of the law will be enacted by the Universal House of Justice under the authority conferred upon it by Bahá’u’lláh Himself. In one of His Tablets ‘Abdu’l-Bahá elucidates this principle:
Those matters of major importance which constitute the foundation of the Law of God are explicitly recorded in the Text, but subsidiary laws are left to the House of Justice. The wisdom of this is that the times never remain the same, for change is a necessary quality and an essential attribute of this world, and of time and place. Therefore the House of Justice will take action accordingly...