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A Profile of the Bahá'í Faith and its Worldwide Community

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bullet.gif (837 bytes) The Bahá'ís
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Unity in Diversity
bullet.gif (837 bytes) Bahá'u'lláh
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Social and Moral
Teachings
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Spiritual Beliefs of
the Bahá'í Faith
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A System for
Global Governance
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) A Century of
Growth and
Expansion
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) New Approaches
to Old Problems
bullet1.gif (837 bytes) Towards the New
World Order

"Hands of the Cause" and "Counsellors"

The emphasis on group leadership, as opposed to individual power, runs throughout the Bahá'í administrative system.

Individuals do not set policy or make rules in Bahá'í Institutions -- Spiritual Assemblies make the decisions, but may delegate specific executive responsibilities.

There are, however, several distinct groups of individuals who are recognized for their spiritual capacities and experience. They play a special role in inspiring and advising the Bahá'í community.

Although they have no decision-making power, their ideas and insights are often sought by elected Bahá'í decision-making bodies.

Foremost among these advisers are the "Hands of the Cause of God." This title has been given to some 47 individuals in the history of the Faith; all were appointed either by Bahá'u'lláh or Shoghi Effendi. Only three were living in mid-1992, and no more can now be appointed.

In 1968, the Universal House of Justice began to designate a number of spiritually mature and experienced individuals as "Continental Counsellors," so as to extend into the future the functions of the Hands of the Cause. Appointed to five year terms, they coordinate their activities through the instrumentality of continental Boards. The work of the Boards--which comprise those Counsellors who reside in a specific continental region--is coordinated, in turn, by a body known as the International Teaching Centre. Located in Haifa, Israel, the Centre's membership comprises all living Hands of the Cause and a number of Counsellors. Continental Counsellors appoint various auxiliaries and assistants, who are charged with working to stimulate and advise Bahá'í communities at the regional and local levels. There are 72 Counsellors worldwide.

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"Excerpted from The Bahá'ís, a publication of the Bahá'í International Community."


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Photo from page 45
The Hands of the Cause of God in 1963, at the time of the election of the first Universal House of Justice.

 

 


 

 

 

 

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