Seat of The Universal House of Justice
The Universal House of Justice is the name used by Bahá'u'lláh for the elected supreme institution of the Bahá'í Faith, The nine-member institution administers the affairs of the Bahá'í community. This body is elected every five years.
In the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Bahá'u'lláh ordains the institution of the Universal House of Justice and defines its functions. He further elucidates on the institution in the Tablet of Ishráqát .
`Abdu'l-Bahá, in his Will and Testement, elaborated on its functioning and outlines the method for its election. Shoghi Effendi, during his ministry, prepared for the election of the Universal House of Justice, by establishing a strong administrative structure at the local and national levels.
The first Universal House of Justice was elected in April 1963.
The Universal House of Justice is elected through secret ballot and plurality vote in a three-stage election by adult Bahá'ís throughout the world. The House is elected without nominations or campaigning and all adult male members of the Bahá'í Faith are elegible for election to the House.
The body is elected every five years during a convention of the members of the various National Spiritual Assemblies (NSA) of the Bahá'ís from over 230 nations. Each member of the various NSAs, who were themselves voted onto their institution by the Bahá'ís of their country, votes for nine adult male Bahá'ís. The nine people who have the most votes are elected onto the Universal House of Justice.
The most recent elections were in the spring of 2003.
As to the reason why women are excluded from the Universal House of Justice `Abdu'l-Bahá states the reason for this will be revealed in the future, and that men and women are spiritually equal.
The Universal House of Justice itself states in it's constitution that "The provenance, the authority, the duties, the sphere of action of the Universal House of Justice all derive from the revealed Word of Bahá'u'lláh which, together with the interpretations and expositions of `Abdu'l-Bahá and of Shoghi Effendi ... constitute the binding terms of reference of the Universal House of Justice and are its bedrock foundation."  http://bahai-library.com/published.uhj/constitution.html
The Universal House of Justice today guides the growth and development of the global Bahá'í community. Some of it's responsibilities include:
- Promoting the spiritual qualities that characterize Bahá'í life individually and collectively.
- Preserving the Bahá'í Sacred Texts
- Defending and protecting the global Bahá'í community
- Preserving and developing the world spiritual and administrative centre of the Bahá'í Faith
The Universal House of Justice is also given the responsibility of adapting the Bahá'í Faith as society progresses, and is thus given the power to legislate on matters not explicitly covered in the Bahá'í sacred texts. While the Universal House of Justice is authorized to change or repeal its own legislation as conditions change, it cannot disolve or change any of the laws which are explicitly written in the sacred texts.
Furthermore, the Universal House of Justice is instructed by Bahá'u'lláh to exert a positive influence on the general welfare of humankind, to promote a permanent peace among the nations of the world, ensure the "training of peoples, the upbuilding of nations, the protection of man and the safeguarding of his honor.  http://www.bahai-library.com/writings/bahaullah/tb/7.html "
The Universal House of Justice is supported by the elected national and local governing bodies of the Bahá'í Faith (the National Spiritual Assemblies and Local Spiritual Assemblies respectively). It has, furthermore, created several appointed institutions to support its work around the world; among these are the Boards of Continetal Councilors, the International Teaching Institute.
The Seat of the Universal House of Justice is on Mount Carmel in Haifa, Israel. The location for the Universal House of Justice was indicated by Bahá'u'lláh in the Tablet of Carmel .
See also: Orthodox Bahai Faith.
- Constitution of the Universal House of Justice http://bahai-library.com/published.uhj/constitution.html
Last updated: 05-03-2005 17:50:55