Prelude to the Guardianship
Prelude to the Guardianship by Riaz Khadem has much of the same content as Shoghi Effendi in Oxford by the same author. Prelude to the Guardianship is expanded and revised.
As World War I drew to its close, Shoghi Effendi, a young graduate of the American University of Beirut, returned home to Haifa in the Holy Land to be of service to his beloved grandfather, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, the head of the Bahá'í Faith. From late 1918 to id-1920 Shoghi Effendi became the chief secretary and translator of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá's voluminous correspondence with Bahá'ís in Western countries as well as India and Japan and accompanied ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in his meetings in Haifa and 'Akka with officials, enquirers and pilgrims. All this prepared him for directing the growth and development of the Bahá'í Faith as its Guardian-a responsibility that would be bestowed upon him on the passing of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá.
Shoghi Effendi himself was unaware of this future event. He longed to perfect his command of the English language that he might be of better service to his beloved grandfather, and to fulfill this purpose he applied and was admitted to Balliot College at Oxford University, one of the greatest centers of learning in the world. His studies at the University, and his visits to the Bahá'í communities in England, are described in this book.
Riaz Khadem, the son of one of the 27 helpers of the Guardian known as Hands of the Cause and himself a student at Balliol College almost fifty years after Shoghi Effendi, traces the future Guardian’s educational career from his early youth through his year at Oxford. Drawing on the memoirs of Shoghi Effendi’s fellow students at Balliol, the author provides a fascinating glimpse into this period in Bahá'í history when the young Shoghi Effendi, the future head of the Faith, was being prepared for the mission by ‘Abdu’l-Bahá himself. The reader will discover how the education experience of Shoghi Effendi at Oxford contributed to his literary style and to his amazing analysis of the Faith’s impact on the social forces that have shaped, and continue to influence, the evolution of humanity towards its ultimate destiny.