The affairs of the Bahá’í community are administered through a system of institutions, each with its defined sphere of action. The origins of this system—known as the Bahá’í Administrative Order—are found in the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh Himself. He revealed principles that guide its operation, established its institutions, appointed ‘Abdu’l-Bahá as the sole interpreter of His Word, and conferred authority on the Universal House of Justice. In His Will and Testament, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá appointed his grandson, Shoghi Effendi, as the Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith. From the outset of his ministry, Shoghi Effendi dedicated energy to the development of the Administrative Order, bringing it into being in embryonic form and paving the way for the election of the Universal House of Justice.
Today the Universal House of Justice is the central governing body of the Administrative Order. Under its guidance, elected bodies, known as Local Spiritual Assemblies and National Spiritual Assemblies tend to the affairs of the Bahá’í community at their respective levels, exercising legislative, executive, and judicial authority. An institution of appointed individuals of proven capacity—the institution of the Counsellors—also functions under the guidance of the Universal House of Justice and exerts influence on the life of the Bahá’í community, from the grassroots to the international level. The members of this Institution encourage action, foster individual initiative, and promote learning within the Bahá’í community as a whole, in addition to offering advice to Spiritual Assemblies.
Acting in their respective roles, the institutions of the Counsellors and the Spiritual Assemblies share responsibility for the protection and propagation of the Bahá’í Faith. The harmonious interactions between them ensure the constant provision of guidance, love, and encouragement to members of the Bahá’í community throughout the world. Together, they invigorate individual and collective efforts to contribute to the wellbeing of society.
Bahá’í institutions are not conceived only as a means of administering the internal aspects of Bahá’í community life, essential though this is. Foremost, the Administrative Order is intended to serve as a channel through which the spirit of the Faith is to flow, embodying in its operation the kind of relationships that must come to bind together and sustain society as humanity moves towards collective maturity.
“It is the structure of His New World Order, now stirring in the womb of the administrative institutions He Himself has created, that will serve both as a pattern and a nucleus of that world commonwealth which is the sure, the inevitable destiny of the peoples and nations of the earth.”
— Shoghi Effendi
This collection of pages explores the topic of the Bahá’í Administrative Order.