1963 – Election of the first Universal House of Justice
‘Abdu’l-Bahá gave significant attention in His Writings to the clarification and
delineation of the administrative system conceived by Bahá’u’lláh. In His Will and
Testament He specified in particular the responsibilities, functions, powers and
authority of the two institutions which would succeed Him: the Guardianship and
the Universal House of Justice.
One of Shoghi Effendi’s chief goals during his ministry was the development of the
Bahá’í community to the point where it could sustain the establishment of the Universal
House of Justice, the elected council ordained by Bahá’u’lláh, whose aims and purposes
would be complementary to those of the Guardianship. Five-and-a-half years after
his passing, the conditions necessary for this to occur were finally fulfilled.
The Seat of the Universal House of Justice, in Haifa, Israel
Today the Bahá’í Faith is guided by the Universal House of Justice, whose nine members
are elected once every five years in accordance with Bahá’u’lláh’s instructions,
and which is endowed by Him with the authority to legislate on matters not explicitly
laid down in the Bahá’í scriptures.
The Bahá’í community now has over five million members worldwide. Elected national
Bahá’í administrative institutions exist in 182 countries. The Bahá’í International
Community is an officially accredited non-governmental organization (NGO) at the United
Nations. Bahá’ís all over the world continue to spread Bahá’u’lláh’s Message and
pursue many endeavors of service in their local communities, such as spiritual education
classes for children, socio-economic development projects, devotional gatherings,
and many other activities.