Hands of the Cause
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The Hands of the Cause of God, Hands of the Cause, or Hands (informally) were a select group of Bahá'ís, appointed for life, whose main function was to propagate and protect the Bahá'í Faith. Unlike the members of the elected institutions and other appointed institutions in the Bahá'í Faith, who serve in those offices, Hands are considered to have achieved a distinguished rank in service to the religion.
According to The Will and Testament of `Abdu'l-Bahá, they are to be nominated and appointed by the Guardian of the Cause of God and are to be under his direction and obey his command and a quote of Bahá'u'lláh's is also used as a prayer for them.
The title is no longer conferred. The last living Hand of the Cause was `Alí-Muhammad Varqá (1911–2007). The work of the Hands of the Cause is now carried out by the Continental Counsellors and the Auxiliary Boards.
There were fifty Hands of the Cause in all, four named by Bahá'u'lláh, four by `Abdu'l-Bahá and forty-two by Shoghi Effendi (including ten posthumously). Twenty-seven Hands were alive when Shoghi Effendi died in 1957.
The most complete list of the Hands available is from The Bahá'í World: Vol XIV. The Universal House of Justice has confirmed that this list may not be complete, and that a study of the letters and archives may reveal others named to this station.
Note: Orthography of some names below is not correct. Accented and underscored characters were not transcribed.
Appointed by Bahá'u'lláh
- Hají Mullá `Alí-Akbar (1842–1910), known as Hají Ákhúnd
- Hájí Mírzá Muhammad-Taqí (d.1917), known as Ibn-i-Abhar
- Mírzá Muhammad-Hasan (1848–1919), known as Adíb
- Mírzá `Ali-Muhammad (d.1928), known as Ibn-i-Asdaq
Appointed by `Abdu'l-Bahá
- Aqa Muhammad-i-Qa'ini (1829–1892), known as Nabíl-i-Akbar
- Mirza 'Alí-Muhammad Varqá (d. 1896), the father of Rúhu'lláh
- Mulla Sadiq-i-Muqaddas, entitled Ismu'llahu'l-Asdaq
- Shaykh Muhammad-Riday-i-Yazdi
Appointed posthumously by Shoghi Effendi
- John Ebenezer Esslemont (1874–1925)
- Hájí Amín (1831–1928)
- Keith Ransom-Kehler (1876–1933)
- Martha Root (1872–1939)
- John Henry Hyde Dunn (1855–1941)
- Siyyid Mustafá Rúmí (d. 1942)
- Abdu'l-Jalil Bey Sa'd (d. 1942)
- Muhammed Taqiy-i-Isfahani (d. 1946)
- Roy C. Wilhelm (1875–1951)
- Louis George Gregory (1874–1951)
First contingent, appointed 24 December 1951 by Shoghi Effendi
- Dorothy Beecher Baker (1898–1954)
- Amelia Engelder Collins (1873–1962)
- `Alí-Akbar Furútan (1905–2003)
- Ugo Giachery (1896–1989)
- Hermann Grossmann (1899–1968)
- Horace Hotchkiss Holley (1887–1960)
- Leroy C. Ioas (1896–1965)
- William Sutherland Maxwell (1874–1952)
- Taráz'u'lláh Samandarí (1874–1968)
- Valíyu'lláh Varqá (1884–1955)
- George Townshend (1876–1957)
- Charles Mason Remey (1874–1974)
Second contingent, appointed 29 February 1952 by Shoghi Effendi
- Siegfried Schopflocher (1877–1953)
- Shu'á'u'lláh `Alá'í (1889–1984)
- Músá Banání (1886–1971)
- Clara Dunn (1869–1960)
- Dhikru'lláh Khádim (1904–1986)
- Adelbert Mühlschlegel (1897–1980)
- Corinne Knight True (1861–1961)
Appointed by Shoghi Effendi [year of appointment]
- Amatu'l-Bahá Rúḥíyyih Khánum (1910–2000) 
- Jalál Kháḍih (1897–1990)  (also transliterated Jalal Khazeh)
- Paul Edmond Haney (1909–1982) 
- `Alí-Muhammad Varqá (1911–2007) 
- Agnes Baldwin Alexander (1875–1971) 
Last contingent, appointed 2 October 1957 by Shoghi Effendi
- Hasan Muvaqqar Balyúzí (1908–1980)
- Abu'l-Qásim Faizi (1906–1980)
- John Graham Ferraby (1914–1973)
- Harold Collis Featherstone (1913–1990)
- Rahmatu'lláh Muhájir (1923–1979)
- Enoch Olinga (1926–1979)
- John Aldham Robarts (1901–1991)
- William Sears (1911–1992)
During the period between the death of Shoghi Effendi and the election of the Universal House of Justice the Hands of the Cause held a convocation from which they constituted a body of nine from among their number to serve in the Holy Land and to act as Custodians of the Bahá’í Faith, a body which functioned without officers and with a quorum of five, whose duties included taking care of Bahá’í World Center properties and other assets; corresponding with and advising National and Regional Spiritual Assemblies; acting on behalf of the Bahá’í Faith for its protection; and maintaining close contact with the rest of the Hands, who would henceforth devote their time to the successful completion of the goals of the Ten Year Crusade. The Hands of the Cause maintained the number of Custodians, replacing those who died or were unable, for health or personal reasons, to remain at the Bahá’í World Center permanently.
- Apostles of Bahá'u'lláh
- Disciples of `Abdu'l-Bahá
- Institution of the Counsellors
- Letters of the Living
- Bahá'u'lláh (1992) . The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-85398-999-0.
- Bahá'u'lláh (1994) [1873-92]. Tablets of Bahá'u'lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-174-4.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1974). Bahá'í Administration. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-166-3.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1976). Principles of Bahá'í Administration (4th ed.). London, UK: Bahá'í Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-900125-13-6.
- Harper, Barron (1997). Lights of Fortitude (Paperback ed.). Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-413-1.
- Compilations (1983). Hornby, Helen (Ed.), ed. Lights of Guidance: A Bahá'í Reference File. Bahá'í Publishing Trust, New Delhi, India. ISBN 81-85091-46-3.
- Rabbani, Ruhiyyih (Ed.) (1992). The Ministry of the Custodians 1957-1963. Bahá'í World Centre. ISBN 0-85398-350-X.
- Universal House of Justice (2007). Reflections on the Institution of the Hands of the Cause of God (PDF).
- "Hands of the Cause of God (in Arabic: Ayádí Amru'lláh)". Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project. Online. National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States. 2009. Retrieved 2010-08-16.
- Portraits of the Hands of the Cause of God
- Braun, Eunice (2009). "Hands of the Cause of God". Bahá’í Encyclopedia Project. Evanston, IL: National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States.
- Hands of the Cause of God - links to biographies
- Fadil-i-Mazandarani - House of Justice message of 1998 concerning the status and rank of Fadil-i-Mazandarani.
- The Guardian Announces Appointment of Hands of the Cause - Announcement of the first contingent of 12 Hands in 1951.
- Second Appointment of Hands of the Cause - Announcement of the second contingent, appointing 7 new hands in 1952.
- A Tribute to the Hands of the Cause of God - History, appointments, and other details.