The eldest daughter of Abdu’l-Baha, Diya’iyyih Khanum, gave birth to Shoghi Effendi on March 1st, 1897, in Akka, Palestine. His father, Mirza Hadi Shirazi, was a relative of the Bab’s.
Educated at the American University of Beirut and Balliol College, Oxford, England, Shoghi Effendi learned of his appointment as the Guardian of the Baha’i Faith at the age of 24, soon after the passing of his grandfather Abdu’l-Baha.
As a Baha’i institution, the Guardianship was foreseen by Baha’u’llah in The Most Holy Book (the Kitab-i-Aqdas) and created by Abdu’l-Baha in his Will and Testament. Appointed by Abdu’l-Baha, the Guardian acted as the sole, authoritative interpreter of the Baha’i teachings—but could not legislate on any questions the Baha’i scriptures did not cover. That legislative function, according to Abdu’l-Baha’s Will and Testament, rested entirely with the democratically-elected Universal House of Justice, which first came into being in 1963, six years after Shoghi Effendi’s passing.
Shoghi Effendi guided and shepherded the nascent Baha’i community for thirty-six years, strategically mapping and directing its organized progress and growth from a small, persecuted minority religion in a handful of countries to its worldwide presence today.
He wrote voluminously, with powerful erudition. The author of God Passes By, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, The Advent of Divine Justice and many other books and treatises, Shoghi Effendi expounded and explained the Baha’i principles and linked their implementation to the ongoing development of the modern world:
Leaders of religion, exponents of political theories, governors of human institutions, who at present are witnessing with perplexity and dismay the bankruptcy of their ideas, and the disintegration of their handiwork, would do well to turn their gaze to the Revelation of Baha’u’llah, and to meditate upon the World Order which, lying enshrined in His teachings, is slowly and imperceptibly rising amid the welter and chaos of present-day civilization. – Shoghi Effendi, The World Order of Baha’u’llah, p. 22.
Today, Baha’is everywhere take part in Shoghi Effendi’s brightest legacy—the global, democratically-elected administrative order of the Baha’i Faith