“The world is in the need of universal peace. The world will not rest unless universal peace is announced. The governments and nations must create a supreme tribunal to which differences are referred to and that supreme tribunal will settle them.”
Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 48.
The Universal House of Justice (UHJ) is an institution made up of nine people who are selected by ballot and work under the supervision of the Guardian of the Cause of God. The supreme tribunal is a committee which governs all world affairs with representatives from all nations of the world.
The Universal House of Justice (UHJ) is the highest governing body of the Baha’i administrative organization. Its establishment was originally proposed by Bahā’u’llāh but he failed to establish it. After Bahā’u’llāh, `Abdu’l-Bahā too tried in vain to establish it. Shoghi aspired to achieve this goal but he also failed. Even with all the spiritual and material sources at their disposal, the Baha’i prophet, the interpreter of his words, and the Guardian of the Cause of God, all failed to realize this dream.
Rulers and National Constitutions
As opposed to all other religions, Baha’is must adhere to the orders of the kings and governments they live in regardless of whether these laws are correct, incorrect, moral, or oppressive. Bahā’u’llāh argues that since God has granted the kings and rulers authority over their lands, no one is allowed to oppose or disobey them:
“God Mighty and Majestic be He, has granted the evident lands to the rulers. No one is allowed to oppose the verdict of the heads of the country.”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Iqtidārāt wa chand lauḥ dīgar, p. 324.
“Every nation must have a high regard for the position of its sovereign, must be submissive unto him, must carry out his behests, and hold fast his authority. The sovereigns of the earth have been and are the manifestations of the power, the grandeur and the majesty of God.”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Epistle to the Son of the Wolf, p. 89.
`Abdu’l-Bahā too, orders Baha’is to obey the rulers and kings:
“No movement—minor or major—must be made without the consent and permission of the government. Whoever makes the slightest movement without the permission of the government will have disobeyed the Blessed Affair (meaning the Baha’i creed) and no excuse will be accepted from him. God’s definite order is that the government must be obeyed. This [order] neither needs to be paraphrased nor interpreted. An example of obeying the government is this: not a single word can be published without the government’s permission. The duty of God’s Friends is to obey and submit to the government whether [that government is] a state or constitutional.”
Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 75, pp. 463–464.
According to Baha’i teachings, government orders must be preferred over Baha’i laws:
“The laws revealed by Bahā’u’llāh in the Aqdas are, whenever practicable and not in direct conflict with the Civil Law of the land, absolutely binding on every believer or Bahā’ī institution whether in the East or in the West.”
Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, p. 6.
This means that regardless of the government being just or unjust, right or wrong, Baha’is must adhere to its rules and orders even if it means disobeying their own religious decrees!
Although `Abdu’l-Bahā had declared that “God’s definite order is that the government must be obeyed. This [order] neither needs to be paraphrased or interpreted,” and neither him nor Bahā’u’llāh had announced any exception with regard to this law, Shoghi insists on implementing his own interpretation of these words. Shoghi claims that governments must only be obeyed if they impose limits on Baha’i administrative affairs. In matters of belief no compromise is allowed and Baha’is must disobey the government even if they are killed or banished:
Obedience to the state is so vital a principal of the Cause that should the authorities in . . . [sic] decide to-day to prevent the Baha’is from holding any meeting or publishing any literature they should obey . . . [sic] But, as already pointed out, such an allegiance is confined merely to administrative matters which if checked can only retard the progress of the Faith for some time. In matters of belief, however, no compromise whatever should be allowed, even though the outcome of it be death or expulsion (From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi to an individual believer, February 11, 1934).
Reference: Helen Bassett Hornby, Lights of Guidance: A Bahā’ī Reference File, chap. XXXIX, no. 1455.
According to the government rules of some countries, Baha’is are not allowed to teach or preach their religion amongst non-Baha’is. These orders are blatantly ignored by the Baha’i community under the disguise of discrimination and freedom of religion. Ironically, Baha’is gladly oblige to similar laws in Israel.
Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings