Happy are ye, O ye the learned ones in Baha. By
the Lord! Ye are the billows of the Most Mighty
Ocean, the stars of the firmament of Glory, the
standards of triumph waving betwixt earth and
heaven. Ye are the manifestations of steadfastness
amidst men and the daysprings of Divine Utterance
to all that dwell on earth. Well is it with him that
turneth unto you, and woe betide the froward. This
day, it behoveth whoso hath quaffed the Mystic
Wine of everlasting life from the Hands of the
loving-kindness of the Lord his God, the Merciful,
to pulsate even as the throbbing artery in the body
of mankind, that through him may be quickened the
world and every crumbling bone.

~ Baha’u’llah,
The Kitab’i’Aqdas, p. 82, Paragraph 173

“O ye the learned ones in Baha…” #173

Bahá’u’lláh eulogizes the learned among His followers.
In the Book of His Covenant, He wrote: “Blessed are
the rulers and learned among the people of Baha.”
Referring to this statement, Shoghi Effendi has written:

In this holy cycle the “learned” are, on the one hand,
the Hands of the Cause of God, and, on the other,
the teachers and diffusers of His Teachings who do
not rank as Hands, but who have attained an eminent
position in the teaching work. As to the “rulers” they
refer to the members of the Local, National and
International Houses of Justice. The duties of each
of these souls will be determined in the future.

The Hands of the Cause of God were individuals
appointed by Bahá’u’lláh and charged with various
duties, especially those of protecting and propagating
His Faith. In Memorials of the Faithful ‘Abdu’l-Bahá
referred to other outstanding believers as Hands of
the Cause, and in His Will and Testament He included
a provision calling upon the Guardian of the Faith to
appoint Hands of the Cause at his discretion.
Shoghi Effendi first raised posthumously a number
of the believers to the rank of Hands of the Cause,
and during the latter years of his life appointed a total
of 32 believers from all continents to this position. In
the period between the passing of Shoghi Effendi in
1957 and the election of the Universal House of Justice
in 1963, the Hands of the Cause directed the affairs of
the Faith in their capacity as Chief Stewards of
Bahá’u’lláh’s embryonic World Commonwealth
(see note 67). In November 1964, the Universal House
of Justice determined that it could not legislate to
make it possible to appoint Hands of the Cause.
Instead, by a decision of the House of Justice in
1968, the functions of the Hands of the Cause in
relation to protecting and propagating the Faith
were extended into the future by the creation of
the Continental Boards of Counsellors, and in 1973
through the establishment of the International Teaching
Centre, which has its seat in the Holy Land. The
Universal House of Justice appoints the Counsellor
members of the International Teaching Centre and
the Continental Counsellors. Members of Auxiliary
Boards are appointed by the Continental Counsellors.
All these individuals fall within the definition of the
“learned” given by Shoghi Effendi in the statement
quoted above.

~ The Kitab-i-Aqdas, ‘Notes’, p. 246

Photo of Hand of the Cause, Dr. Ali-Muhammad Varqa