Education as Prerequisite for Women Serving on Universal House of Justice

He is God!

O thou handmaiden of God who art drawing nigh! The letter thou hast written should take at least one day to read. Although I did not have the opportunity to read even one line, I was compelled to read it in the middle of the night. Regarding your appointment as supervisor of education for girls’ schools, this is very agreeable. God willing, thou mayest become the cause of organizing schools for girls.

The establishment of a women’s assemblage for the promotion of knowledge is entirely acceptable, but discussions must be confined to educational matters. It should be done in such a way that differences will, day by day, be entirely wiped out, not that, God forbid, it will end in argumentation between men and women. As in the question of the veil, nothing should be done contrary to wisdom. The individual women should, today, follow a course of action which will be the cause of eternal glory to all womankind, so that all women will be illumined. And that lieth in gathering to learn how to teach, in holding meetings to recite the verses, to offer supplications to the kingdom of the Lord of evident signs, and to institute education for the girls. Ponder the manner in which Jináb-i-Ṭáhirih used to teach. She was free from every concern, and for this reason she was resplendent.

Now the world of women should be a spiritual world, not a political one, so that it will be radiant. The women of other nations are all immersed in political matters. Of what benefit is this, and what fruit doth it yield? To the extent that ye can, ye should busy yourselves with spiritual matters which will be conducive to the exaltation of the Word of God and of the diffusion of His fragrances. Your demeanour should lead to harmony amongst all and to coalescence and the good-pleasure of all.

A brief summary hath now been written which will be expanded later. Women of the sort thou knowest are so aided through the power of the covenant that thou hast become famous and well-known and publicly and officially appointed by the government as supervisor of schools and education for all girls. Appreciate this bounty and be thankful so that the blessing shall increase day by day. The glory of the All-Glorious be upon thee. 24 Rabi al-Awwal 1338 [Dec 17, 1919] Haifa.

I am endeavouring, with Bahá’u’lláh’s confirmations and assistance, so to improve the world of the handmaidens that all will be astonished. This progress is intended to be in spirituality, in virtues, in human perfections and in divine knowledge. In America, the cradle of women’s liberation, women are still debarred from political institutions because they squabble. They are yet to have a member in the House of Representatives. Also Bahá’u’lláh hath proclaimed: “O ye men of the House of Justice.” Ye need to be calm and composed, so that the work will proceed with wisdom, otherwise there will be such chaos that ye will leave everything and run away. “This newly born babe is traversing in one night the path that needeth a hundred years to tread.” In brief, ye should now engage in matters of pure spirituality and not contend with men. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will tactfully take appropriate steps. Be assured. In the end thou wilt thyself exclaim, “This was indeed supreme wisdom!” I appeal to you to obliterate this contention between men and women.

Consider how to organize the eighth grade of school.

I am waiting to hear good news from you soon. I have written to Haji Ghulam-Rida about the redolent graves of Ibn Abhar and Adib. `Abdu’l-Baha `Abbas

No one can on his own achieve anything. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá must be well pleased and assist. `Abdu’l-Baha `Abbas 

[Abdu’l-Baha, letter ( MKT7.034c, Phelps AB00677) written in several parts, the first of which is dated December 17, 1919, possibly to Lillian Kappes. Italicized portions previously translated in Compilation on Women #11.]


“Question. I see that in his tablet to Ex-Governor Sulzer the Master says that the Universal Arbitration Tribunal will consist of the best men and women of the different countries. Will women in the future sit in the Beit-ul-Adl also?

Abdul Baha: Men and women are equal in this respect, with the condition that women should reach to the degree of men. As yet they have not reached this state. They will become members of the Beit-ul-Adl in the future. The time will come when women will reach the degree of men (as regards education). Then they will be equal.”

[Abdu’l-Baha, oral statement recorded by Fujita, 7 December 1919 (Phelps ABU1350) – credit to Steven Phelps for the find]

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