Extension of International Bahai Endowments

One of the most enduring works of the Guardian was the preparation of a secure foundation for the support of the World Spiritual and Administrative Centre of the Faith in the Holy Land. The acquisition of properties situated in the heart of Mt. Carmel and in the plain of Akka was essential to this purpose and was vigorously pressed by Shoghi Effendi throughout his ministry.

The decade of the fifties saw a marked acceleration of this process and notable victories were won. Foremost was the cleansing of the area immediately surrounding the Shrine of Baha’u’llah from Covenant-breakers and the acquisition of their properties, which were expropriated by the Government of Israel and transferred to the Faith. The purchase of land for the future Mashriqu’l-Adhkar on Mt. Carmel was another milestone at the World Centre, as was the addition of the plot on Mt. Carmel, formerly owned by the sister of a “notorious enemy” of ‘Abdu’l-Baha, which opened the way to the building of the International Baha’i Archives. Other significant purchases provided the land needed for the development on Mt. Carmel of extensive new gardens containing the “arc”, about which, in future, the various buildings of the World Administrative Centre will be built. Another important step was the pur¬chase of five houses at the foot of Mt. Carmel, part of the German colony settled before 1870 by the Templars, in anticipation of the coming of the Lord of Hosts. The precincts of Baha’¬u’llah’s Shrine were protected by further additions of land, and a house near Bahji which had been used by ‘Abdu’1-Baha was acquired.

In April, 1954 the Guardian announced that “the vast area of Baha’i holdings per¬manently dedicated to the Shrines of the Founder of the Faith and of its Herald” exceeded three-hundred-and-fifty thousand square metres. Within two years these endow¬ments had been increased to over four-hundred-thousand square metres, and they were further extended before 1959. In 1954 their value had been about four million dollars. In his last message, October, 1957, Shoghi Effendi estimated the value of these International Baha’f endowments as over five-and-a-half million dollars.
(Bahai World vol  13, page 253)

Bahai International Archives

One of the foremost objectives of the World Crusade, Shoghi Effendi announced in 1954, was the erection on Mt. Carmel of the Baha’I International Archives, designed to serve as “the permanent and befitting repository for the priceless and numerous relics associated with the Twin Founders of the Faith, with the Perfect Exemplar of its teachings and with its heroes, saints and martyrs…”

The story of its design and construction is detailed in another article in this volume.2 Suffice it to say here that by April, 1957 a beautiful edifice of classical Greek style, costing over a quarter-of-a-million dollars, stood completed on Mt. Carmel. In the last year of his life Shoghi Effendi chose and purchased the entrance gate and many furnishings, including the exquisitely carved and inlaid Japanese and Chinese cabinets in which the sacred relics were placed with loving care by Amatu’1-Baha Ruhiyyih Khanum.
(Bahai World vol  13, page 253)

Israel Branches

The Palestine Branches of the National Spiritual Assemblies of the United States and Canada and of India, Pakistan and Burma had been organized as religious societies in 1930 and 1934 respectively and were legally empowered to hold unrestricted title to movable and immovable property in the Holy Land, a status which was continued with the founding of the State of Israel. The beloved Guardian set as a goal of the Ten-Year Plan the establishment of seven additional Israel Branches of National Spiritual Assemblies, and in his Ridvan Message in 1954 he was able to announce the formation of those of the National Assemblies of the British Isles, Persia, Canada, and Australia and New Zealand. By November, 1957 separate Branches were established for the National Assemblies of New Zealand, Alaska and Pakistan, bringing the total number of Israel Branches to eleven.

After the passing of Shoghi Effendi the Government of the State of Israel recognized the status of the Custodians elected by the Hands of the Cause and took legal cognizance of the Custodians as new managers for the several Israel or Palestine Branches of Nation¬al Spiritual Assemblies.

As circumstances permitted, properties were registered in the names of the various Israel Branches. These included the Shrine of Baha’u’llah, the Mansion of Bahjf, the properties in the Haram-i-Aqdas which were evacuated by the Covenant-breakers, and many properties on Mt. Carmel.
(Bahai World vol  13, page 253)

Read More: Bahai Israel Relationship

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About imranshaykh
I am a student of comparative religion with a special interest in Islam and The Bahai Faith

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