Is a Universal Governing Organization and Tribunal a Novel Idea?

Bahā’u’llāh opines that the system in England seems appropriate for the Baha’i administration:

“The system of government which the British people have adopted in London appeareth to be good, for it is adorned with the light of both kingship and of the consultation of the people.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Tablets of Bahā’u’llāh Revealed After the Kitāb-i-Aqdas, p. 93.

Would someone who has divine knowledge speak about matters with such doubt, stating that the British system “appeareth to be good”?

It was based on this system that appears good to Bahā’u’llāh, that has both a king and public consultation, that Bahā’u’llāh proposed the UHJ system with the Guardian (as the king) and the elected members for consultation. Thus, as can be seen the method devised by Bahā’u’llāh is merely a copy of the governing system in England.

`Abdu’l-Bahā further admits that UHJ membership is based on European parliaments:

“If differences occur, the Universal House of Justice must swiftly settle the differences, and whatever the majority expresses [as a decision] is the definite truth. The [members of] House of Justice must be selected using the same mechanism and methods that the [members] of parliament in European countries are selected.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Makātīb (Egypt), vol. 3, p. 501.

Both the system and the selection method of the UHJ are based on British and European governance systems. Thus there is nothing novel in this system, it is merely an imitation of what Bahā’u’llāh and `Abdu’l-Bahā had observed or heard of after they were banished from Persia.

It is strange that even though these two Baha’i figures admit that their method is not new, Shoghi in The World Order of Bahā’u’llāh, p. 152 and 157 insists that the structures of this twin institution are similar to nothing the world has seen.

Baha’is believe that if the whole world—not only Baha’is—establish a Universal House of Justice, world peace would be reached. This global UHJ is referred to as the Supreme or International Tribunal.

`Abdu’l-Bahā declares:

“From amongst all governments and nations, using general polling, a supreme tribunal must be established. The differences and quarrels between the governments and nations must be settled in that tribunal so that they do not result in war.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 30.

“Not until the flag of peace is raised and a great universal court of justice is established in which all affairs and differences between governments are settled, the world of creation will not have peace.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Khaṭābāt (Tehran), vol. 2, p. 150.

The United Nations is an organization which fits the criterion set out by `Abdu’l-Bahā to a great extent and Baha’is have a very close connection to it. Unfortunately, more than seventy years after its establishment, the outcome that `Abdu’l-Bahā had envisioned for such an organization has not materialized, and the world, even with all its nations being a part of this tribunal, is still infested with war and oppression and peace is nowhere in sight. These seventy years have shown this tribunal has failed the test of time and it cannot—as Baha’is claim—achieve world peace and tranquility. Yes, this international body might have prevented some wars, but this is nothing new or out of the ordinary, for ever since antiquity, all nations had avoided war through negotiations.

The hope and goal of achieving global peace under the umbrella of a global system is not a matter for Baha’is to show pride in as being something novel or an astounding trait of their creed. It has been and still is the hope of all peaceful movements throughout the world and all divine religions.

 

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