Prelude to the Guardianship (GR)

(Code: FIG734.SC)
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Prelude to the Guardianship  (GR)

As ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’ís secretary and translator from 1918 to 1920, and then at Balliol College Oxford, the young Shoghi Effendi was being prepared to become the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith.

As World War I drew to its close, Shoghi Effendi, a young graduate of the American University of Beirut, returned home to Haifa in the Holy Land to be of service to his beloved grandfather, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the head of the Bahá’í Faith. From late 1918 to mid-1920 Shoghi Effendi became the chief secretary and translator of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s voluminous correspondence with Bahá’ís in Western countries as well as India and Japan, and accompanied ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in his meetings in Haifa and ‘Akká with officials, enquirers and pilgrims. All this prepared him for directing the growth and development of the Bahá’í Faith as its Guardian – a responsibility that would be bestowed upon him on the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. 

Shoghi Effendi himself was unaware of this future event. He longed to perfect his command of the English language that he might be of better service to his beloved grandfather, and to fulfil this purpose he applied and was admitted to Balliol College at Oxford University, one of the greatest centres of learning in the world. His studies at the University, and his visits to the Bahá’í communities in England, are described in this book.

Riaz Khadem, the son of one of the 27 helpers of the Guardian known as Hands of the Cause and himself a student at Balliol College almost fifty years after Shoghi Effendi, traces the future Guardian’s educational career from his early youth through his year at Oxford. Drawing on the letters and diaries of Shoghi Effendi and Bahá’ís of the time and on the memoirs of Shoghi Effendi’s fellow students at Balliol, the author provides a fascinating glimpse into this period in Bahá’í history when the young Shoghi Effendi, the future head of the Faith, was being prepared for that mission by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá himself. The reader will discover how the educational experience of Shoghi Effendi at Oxford contributed to his literary style and to his amazing analysis of the Faith’s impact on the social forces that have shaped, and continue to influence, the evolution of humanity towards its ultimate destiny.

This updated and expanded edition was originally published as Shoghi Effendi in Oxford.

George Ronald, Oxford


288 pages plus pictures

21.6 x 13.8 cm (8.75 x 5.5 in)