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The Baháʼí Faith has had challenges to its leadership, usually at the death of the head of the religion. The vast majority of Baháʼís have followed a line of authority from Baháʼu'lláh to ʻAbdu'l-Bahá to Shoghi Effendi to the Custodians to the Universal House of Justice. Sects diverging from this line of leadership have failed to attract a sizeable following. In this sense, there is only one major branch of the Baháʼí Faith, represented by at least 5 million adherents, whereas the groups that have broken away have either become extinct with time, or have remained very small in number, representing far less than 0.1% of all Baháʼís. Globally the Baháʼí community has maintained its unity.
Baháʼí scriptures define a Lesser Covenant regarding succession which is intended to keep the Baháʼís unified. Claimants challenging the widely accepted successions of leadership are shunned by the majority group as Covenant-Breakers.
A separate entry discusses the Baháʼí/Bábí split.
Baháʼu'lláh remained in the Akka-Haifa area under house arrest until his death in 1892. According to the terms of his will, his eldest son ʻAbdu'l-Bahá was named the centre of authority; Mírzá Muhammad ʻAlí, the eldest son from Baháʼu'lláh's second wife, was assigned a secondary position.
Pursuant to his role as Centre of the Covenant, ʻAbdu'l-Bahá became the head of the Baháʼí community. Soon Muhammad ʻAli complained that ʻAbdu'l-Bahá was not sharing authority and he started working against his elder brother. Most members of the families of Baháʼu'lláh's second and third wives supported Muhammad ʻAlí; however, there were very few outside of Haifa who followed him.
Muhammad ʻAlí's machinations with the Ottoman authorities resulted in ʻAbdu'l-Bahá's re-arrest and confinement in Acre. They also caused the appointment of two official commissions of inquiry, which almost led to further exile and incarceration of ʻAbdu'l-Baha to North Africa. In the aftermath of the Young Turk revolution, Ottoman prisoners were freed thus ending the danger to ʻAbdu'l-Baha. Meanwhile, Ibrahim George Kheiralla, a Syrian Christian, converted to the Baháʼí Faith, emigrated to the United States and founded the first American Baháʼí community. Initially, he was loyal to ʻAbdu'l-Bahá. With time Kheiralla began teaching that ʻAbdu'l-Baha was the return of Christ, and this was becoming the widespread understanding among the Baháʼís in the United States, despite ʻAbdu'l-Baha's efforts to correct the mistake. Later on, Kheiralla switched sides in the conflict between Baháʼu'lláh's sons and supported Mirza Muhammad Ali. He formed the Society of Behaists, a religious denomination promoting Unitarian Bahaism in the U.S., which was later led by Shua Ullah Behai, son of Mirza Muhammad Ali, after he emigrated to the United States in June 1904 at the behest of his father. Muhammad ʻAlí's supporters either called themselves Behaists  or "Unitarian Baháʼís". From 1934 to 1937, Behai published Behai Quarterly a Unitarian Bahai magazine written in English and featuring the writings of Muhammad Ali and various other Unitarian Bahais.
ʻAbdu'l-Bahá's response to determined opposition during his tenure was patterned on Baháʼu'lláh's example and evolved across three stages. Initially, like Baháʼu'lláh, he made no public statements but communicated with his brother Muhammad ʻAlí and his associates directly, or through intermediaries, in seeking reconciliation. When it became clear that reconciliation was not possible, and fearing damage to the community, ʻAbdu'l-Bahá wrote to the Baháʼís explaining the situation, identifying the individuals concerned and instructing the believers to sever all ties with those involved. Finally, he sent representatives to those areas most affected by the problem.
The function of these representatives was to explain matters to the Baháʼís and to encourage them to persevere in cutting all contact. Often these chosen individuals would have ʻAbdu'l-Bahá's authority to open up communications with those involved to try to persuade them to return. In Iran, such envoys were principally the four Hands of the Cause appointed by Baháʼu'lláh.
When ʻAbdu'l-Bahá died, his Will and Testament explained in some detail how Muhammad ʻAlí had been unfaithful to the Covenant, identifying him as a Covenant-breaker and appointing Shoghi Effendi as leader of the Faith with the title of Guardian. Baháʼí authors such as Hasan Balyuzi and Adib Taherzadeh set about refuting the claims of Muhammad ʻAlí. This represented what is often described as the most testing time for the Baháʼí Faith. The Behaists rejected the authority of the Will and Testament of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá, claiming loyalty to the leadership succession as they inferred it from Baha'u'llah's Kitab-i-Ahd.
This schism had very little effect. In the ʻAkká area, the followers of Muhammad ʻAlí represented six families at most, they had no common religious activities, and were almost wholly assimilated into Muslim society. A modern academic observer has reported an attempt to revive the claims of Muhammad Ali in order to lend legitimacy to a newly established sect avowing loyalty to Baháʼu'lláh but rejecting the authority that Baháʼu'lláh gave to ʻAbdu'l-Bahá and to the Universal House of Justice.
Shoghi Effendi as Guardian
At 24, Shoghi Effendi was particularly young when he assumed leadership of the religion in 1921, as provided for by ʻAbdu'l-Bahá in his Will and Testament. He had received a Western education at the Syrian Protestant College and later at Balliol College, Oxford.
At this time Muhammad-ʻAlí revived his claim to leadership of the Baháʼí community. He seized the keys of the Tomb of Baháʼu'lláh at the mansion of Bahjí, expelled its keeper, and demanded that he be recognized by the authorities as the legal custodian of that property. However, the Palestine authorities, after having conducted some investigations, instructed the British officer in ʻAkká to deliver the keys into the hands of the keeper loyal to Shoghi Effendi.
After the death of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá, Ruth White questioned the Will's authenticity as early as 1926, and openly opposed Shoghi Effendi's Guardianship, publishing several books on the subject. She wrote a letter to the United States Postmaster General and asked him, among other things, to prohibit the National Spiritual Assembly from "using the United States Mails to spread the falsehood that Shoghi Effendi is the successor of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá and the Guardian of the Cause." She also wrote a letter to the High Commissioner for Palestine; both of these letters were ignored.
Another division occurred primarily within the American Baháʼí community, which increasingly consisted of non-Persians with an interest in alternative spiritual pursuits. Many had been strongly attracted to the personality of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá and the spiritual teachings of the Baháʼí Faith. Some regarded it as an ecumenical society to which all persons of goodwill—regardless of religion—might join. When Shoghi Effendi made clear his position that the Baháʼí Faith was an independent religion with its own distinct administration through local and national spiritual assemblies, a few felt that he had overstepped the bounds of his authority. Most prominent among them was a New York group including Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, Lewis and Julia Chanler, who founded the "New History Society", and its youth section, the Caravan of East and West. Sohrab and the Chanlers refused to be overseen by the New York Spiritual Assembly, and were expelled by Shoghi Effendi as Covenant-breakers. They argued that the expulsion was meaningless because they believed the faith could not be institutionalized. The New History Society published several works by Sohrab and Chanler and others. Sohrab accepted the legitimacy of Shoghi Effendi as Guardian, but was critical of the manner of his leadership and the methods of organizing the Baháʼí administration. The New History Society attracted fewer than a dozen Baháʼís, however its membership swelled to several thousand for a time. The New History Society was active until 1959 and is now defunct. The Caravan House, aka Caravan Institute, later disassociated itself from the Baháʼí Faith, and remained as an unrelated non-profit educational organization.
All of the divisions of this period were short-lived and restricted in their influence.
Family members expelled
In 1932 Shoghi Effendi's great aunt, Bahiyyih Khanum, died. She was highly respected and had instructed all to follow Shoghi Effendi through several telegrams she had sent around the world announcing the basics of the provisions of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá's will and was witness to the actions relatives took in violation of provisions of the will. Bahíyyih Khánum had devoted much of her life towards protecting the accepted leadership of the Baháʼí Faith and after Shoghi Effendi's appointment there was little internal opposition until after her death when nephews began to openly oppose Shoghi Effendi over Baháʼu'lláh's house in Baghdad. Some family members disapproved of his marriage to a Westerner, Mary Maxwell — daughter of one of the foremost disciples of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá — in 1937. They claimed that Shoghi Effendi introduced innovations beyond the Iranian roots of the Faith. This gradually resulted in his siblings and cousins disobeying his instructions and marrying into the families of Covenant-breakers, many of whom were expelled as Covenant-breakers themselves. However, these disagreements within Shoghi Effendi's family resulted in no attempts to create a schism favouring an alternative leader. At the time of his death in 1957, he was the only remaining male member of the family of Baháʼu'lláh who had not been expelled. Even his own parents had openly fought against him.
The founding of the Universal House of Justice
Shoghi Effendi died in 1957 without explicitly appointing a successor Guardian. He had no children, and during his lifetime all remaining male descendants of Baháʼu'lláh had been excommunicated as Covenant-breakers. He left no will. Shoghi Effendi's appointed Hands of the Cause unanimously voted it was impossible to legitimately recognize and assent to a successor. The Baháʼí community was in a situation not dealt with explicitly in the provisions of the Will and Testament of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá. Furthermore, the Universal House of Justice had not yet been elected, which represented the only Baháʼí institution authorized to adjudicate on matters not covered by the religion's three central figures. To understand the transition following the death of Shoghi Effendi in 1957, an explanation of the roles of the Guardian, the Hands of the Cause, and the Universal House of Justice is useful.
Other than allusions in the writings of Baháʼu'lláh to the importance of the Aghsán, the role of the Guardian was not mentioned until the reading of the Will and Testament of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá. Shoghi Effendi later expressed to his wife and others that he had no foreknowledge of the existence of the Institution of Guardianship, least of all that he was appointed as Guardian.
ʻAbdu'l-Bahá warned the Baháʼís to avoid the problems caused by his half-brother Muhammad ʻAlí. He stipulated the criteria and form for selecting future Guardians, which was to be clear and unambiguous. His will required that the Guardian appoint his successor "in his own life-time ... that differences may not arise after his [the Guardian's] passing." The appointee was required to be either the first-born son of the Guardian, or one of the Aghsán (literally: Branches; male descendants of Baháʼu'lláh). Finally, ʻAbdu'l-Bahá left a responsibility to nine Hands of the Cause, elected from all of the Hands, who "whether unanimously or by a majority vote, must give their assent to the choice of the one whom the Guardian of the Cause of God hath chosen as his successor."
The will also vested authority in the Guardian's appointed assistants, known as the Hands of the Cause, giving them the right to "cast out from the congregation of the people of Bahá" anyone they deem in opposition to the Guardian.
Relationship between the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice
The roles of the Guardianship and the Universal House of Justice are complementary, the former providing authoritative interpretation, and the latter providing flexibility and the authority to adjudicate on "questions that are obscure and matters that are not expressly recorded in the Book." The authority of the two institutions was elucidated by ʻAbdu'l-Bahá in his will, saying that rebellion and disobedience towards either the Guardian or the Universal House of Justice, is rebellion and disobedience towards God. Shoghi Effendi went into further detail explaining this relationship in The World Order of Baháʼu'lláh, indicating that the institutions are interdependent.
Role of the Hands of the Cause
Shortly after Shoghi Effendi's death, the 27 then-living Hands of the Cause (Hands) deliberated over whether or not they could legitimately consent to any successor. Only two members present could translate between English and Persian. Following these events Time Magazine reported that there were debates about two possible candidates for Guardian.
On November 25, 1957, the Hands signed a unanimous proclamation stating that he had died "without having appointed his successor"; that "it is now fallen upon us... to preserve the unity, the security and the development of the Baháʼí World Community and all its institutions"; and that they would elect from among themselves nine Hands who would "exercise ... all such functions, rights and powers in succession to the Guardian of the Baháʼí Faith... as are necessary to serve the interests of the Baháʼí World Faith, and this until such time as the Universal House of Justice... may otherwise determine." This body of nine Hands became known as the Hands of the Cause in the Holy Land, sometimes referred to as the Custodians.
- "That the entire body of the Hands of the Cause, ... shall determine when and how the International Baháʼí Council shall pass through the successive stages outlined by Shoghi Effendi culminating in the election of the Universal House of Justice"
- "That the authority to expel violators from the Faith shall be vested in the body of nine Hands [The Custodians.], acting on reports and recommendations submitted by Hands from their respective continents."
In their deliberations following Shoghi Effendi's passing they determined that they were not in a position to appoint a successor, only to ratify one, so they advised the Baháʼí community that the Universal House of Justice would consider the matter after it was established.
In deciding when and how the International Baháʼí Council would develop into the Universal House of Justice, the Hands agreed to carry out Shoghi Effendi's plans for moving it from the appointed council, to an officially recognized Baháʼí Court, to a duly elected body, and then to the elected Universal House of Justice. In November 1959, referring to the goal of becoming recognized as a non-Jewish religious court in Israel, they said: "this goal, due to the strong trend towards the secularization of Religious Courts in this part of the world, might not be achieved." The recognition as a religious court was never achieved, and the International Baháʼí Council was reformed in 1961 as an elected body in preparation for forming the Universal House of Justice. The Hands of the Cause made themselves ineligible for election to both the council and the Universal House of Justice.
Charles Mason Remey
Charles Mason Remey was among the Hands who signed the unanimous proclamations in 1957, acknowledging that Shoghi Effendi had died without having appointed his successor. He was also among the nine Custodians initially elected to serve in the Holy Land as interim head of the religion.
On 8 April 1960, Remey made a written announcement that he was the second Guardian of the Baháʼí Faith and explained his "status for life as commander in chief of Baháʼí affairs of the world" in this proclamation which he requested to be read in front of the annual US convention in Wilmette.
He based his claim on his having been appointed President of the first International Baháʼí Council by Shoghi Effendi in 1951. The appointed council represented the first international Baháʼí body. Remey believed that his appointment as the council's president meant that he was the Guardian of the Baháʼí Faith.
Regarding the authority of the Hands of the Cause, Remey wrote in his letter that the Hands "have no authority vested in themselves... save under the direction of the living Guardian of the Faith." He further commanded the Baháʼís to abandon plans for establishing the Universal House of Justice.
Remey never addressed the requirement that Guardians should be male-descendants of Baháʼu'lláh, of whom Remey was not. His followers later referred to letters and public statements of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá calling him "my son" as evidence that he had been implicitly adopted but these claims were almost universally rejected by the body of the Baháʼís.
In response, and after having made many prior efforts to convince Remey to withdraw his claim, the Custodians took action and sent a cablegram to the National Spiritual Assemblies on 26 July 1960. Two days later the Custodians sent Mason Remey a letter informing him of their unanimous decision to declare him a Covenant-breaker. They cited the Will and Testament of ʻAbdul-Bahá, the unanimous joint resolutions of November 25, 1957, and their authority in carrying out the work of the Guardian as their justification. Anyone who accepted Remey's claim to the Guardianship was also expelled.
Remey attracted about 100 followers in the United States and a few others in Pakistan and Europe. Remey maintained his claim to Guardianship, and went on to establish what came to be known as the Orthodox Baháʼís Under the Hereditary Guardianship, which later broke into several other divisions based on succession disputes within the groups that followed Remey. Although initially disturbing, the mainstream Baháʼís paid little attention to his movement within a few years. As of 2006 his followers represent two or three groups that maintain little contact with each other, comprising a few hundred members collectively.
Decision of the Universal House of Justice
The Baháʼí institutions and believers around the world pledged their loyalty to the Hands of the Cause, who dedicated the next few years to completing Shoghi Effendi's Ten Year Crusade, culminating with the election of the Universal House of Justice in 1963. It was at this time the Custodians officially passed their authority as the head of the Faith to the Universal House of Justice, which soon announced that it could not appoint or legislate to make possible the appointment of a second Guardian to succeed Shoghi Effendi.
A short time later it elaborated on the situation in which the Guardian would die without being able to appoint a successor, saying that it was an obscure question not covered by Baháʼí scriptures, that no institution or individual at the time could have known the answer, and that it therefore had to be referred to the Universal House of Justice, whose election was confirmed by references in Shoghi Effendi's letters that after 1963 the Baháʼí world would be led by international plans under the direction of the Universal House of Justice.
A break in the line of Guardians
Mason Remey and his successors asserted that a living Guardian is essential for the Baháʼí community, and that the Baháʼí writings required it. The basis of these claims were almost universally rejected by the body of the Baháʼís, for whom the restoration of scripturally sanctioned leadership of the Universal House of Justice proved more attractive than the claims of Mason Remey.
The House commented that its own authority was not dependent on the presence of a Guardian, and that its legislative functioning was unaffected by the absence of a Guardian. It stated that in its legislation it would be able to turn to the mass of interpretation left by Shoghi Effendi. The Universal House of Justice addressed this issue further early after its election clarifying that "there is nowhere any promise or guarantee that the line of Guardians would endure forever; on the contrary there are clear indications that the line could be broken."
Further development of Remey's followers
All those that professed belief in Mason Remey as the second Guardian did not accept the Universal House of Justice established in 1963.
Among the Baháʼís who accepted Mason Remey as the second Guardian, several further divisions have occurred based on conflicting opinions of legitimacy and succession of authority. They began to split into smaller groups even before his death in 1974. Small Remeyite groups are now largely confined to the United States. Some of these divisions are described below.
The Encyclopædia Iranica reports the following:
- Remey died in 1974, having appointed a third Guardian, but the number of adherents to the Orthodox faction remains extremely small. Although successful in Pakistan, the Remeyites seem to have attracted no followers in Iran. Other small groups have broken away from the main body from time to time, but none of these has attracted a sizeable following.
Remey died at the age of 99 living many of his last years in Florence, Italy.
Under the Hereditary Guardianship
In 1962 Mason Remey asked his supporters in the United States to organize themselves and elect a "National Spiritual Assembly Under the Hereditary Guardianship" (NSAUHG). The Assembly was incorporated in New Mexico in 1964.
In 1964 the NSAUHG filed a lawsuit against the National Spiritual Assembly (NSA) of the Baháʼís of the United States to receive the legal title to the Baháʼí House of Worship in Illinois, and all other property owned by the NSA. The NSA counter-sued and won. Later that year, Remey asked the NSAUHG to dissolve, as well as the second International Baháʼí Council that he had appointed with Joel Marangella, residing in France, as president. Marangella, Donald Harvey, and Jacques Soghomonian had previously served on the National Spiritual Assembly of France (in 1961) and had been declared Covenant-breakers when they accepted Mason Remey as the next Guardian.
After 1966, some followers of Mason Remey began forming their own groups based on different understandings of succession.
Orthodox Baháʼí Faith
Joel Marangella was president of Remey's "Second International Baháʼí Council", and claimed in 1969 to have been secretly appointed by Remey as Guardian several years earlier. His supporters came to be known as Orthodox Baháʼís. Membership data is scarce. One source estimated them at no more than 100 members in 1988, and the group claimed a United States membership of about 40 in a 2007 court case. Websites claiming to represent the Orthodox community indicate followers in the United States and India. Joel Marangella died in San Diego, California on Sept 1, 2013.
Baháʼís under the provisions of the covenant
Leland Jensen accepted Remey's claim to the Guardianship and later left the group. In 1969 he was convicted of "a lewd and lascivious act" for sexually molesting a 15-year-old female patient, and he served four years of a twenty-year sentence in the Montana State Prison. It was in prison that Jensen converted several inmates to his ideas of being what he called the "Establisher" of the Baháʼí Faith, stemming from his belief that the Baháʼí administrative order became corrupted. After being paroled in 1973 and before Remey's death, Jensen formed a group called the Baháʼís Under the Provisions of the Covenant.
Since the 1970s, Jensen believed Remey's adopted son Joseph Pepe was the Guardian, an idea that Pepe rejected several times. In 1991 Jensen appointed followers to a second International Baháʼí Council (sIBC), intending that it would grow into an elected Universal House of Justice after a nuclear holocaust. Jensen died in 1996.
A researcher has noted that since 1980, BUPC membership has never exceeded 200 nationwide, and declined in size significantly by 1990 and beyond. Adherents were mostly concentrated in Montana.
Donald Harvey (d.1991), was appointed by Remey as "Third Guardian" in 1967. After Harvey's death in 1991, leadership of this group went to Jacques Soghomonian, a resident of Marseilles, France. Soghomonian died in 2013 and passed the successorship to E.S. Yazdani.
The Remey Society
Francis Spataro of New York City, who supported Donald Harvey's claim as Remey's successor, independently organized "The Remey Society" after losing favor with Harvey. Spataro published books about Charles Mason Remey, and at one time had a newsletter with about 400 recipients. When Spataro began to preach that Charles Mason Remey was a "Prophet", Harvey cut all ties to Spataro. He then continued to promote the life and works of Charles Mason Remey. In 1995 Francis Spataro became an Old Catholic priest and left the Baháʼí religion altogether. The Remey Society is now extinct.
The term Free Baháʼís has been used by or about a small number of Baháʼís that have attempted schism from the main body of believers of the Baháʼí Faith. More specifically, it is a form of belief that rejects the authority of Shoghi Effendi, appointed in 1921 to lead the community following the death of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá.
The term was first used by Hermann Zimmer, who revived the earlier claims of Ruth White that the Will and Testament of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá was forged. White's claim was widely rejected by other Baháʼís of the time, including Baháʼís who, like her, were enemies of Shoghi Effendi. White was able to gather the support of a single Baháʼí in Germany, Wilhelm Herrigel, who took up her cause; only a few Baháʼís followed him, and most repudiated him following his death in 1932.
"The House of Mankind and the Universal Palace of Order" followed Jamshid Ma'ani and John Carré, but appears now to be defunct. In the early 1970s a Persian man named Jamshid Ma'ani claimed he was "The Man"; or a new Manifestation of God. He gained a few dozen Iranian Baháʼí followers. John Carré heard of Jamshid, and wrote a book trying to get other Baháʼís to accept a new, third Manifestation. Carré even invited "The Man" to live in his home in California, but soon concluded, after living with "The Man" for four months, that "The Man" was not at all godly or spiritual and certainly not a Manifestation of God. "The Man" went back to Iran, and Carré ended all association with him.
Reginald ("Rex") King
Rex King rejected all claimants to the Guardianship after Shoghi Effendi including Remey. He claimed that he, Rex King, was a "regent" pending the emergence of the second Guardian who was in "occultation". His group called themselves the Orthodox Baháʼí Faith under the Regency. King died in 1977 and appointed four of his family as the council of regents. This group today calls itself the "Tarbiyat Baha'i Community".
- MacEoin, Dennis. "Bahai and Babi Schisms". Iranica.
The history of Bahaism as a distinct movement is punctuated by divisions of varying severity, usually occurring as responses to the death of one of the religion's leaders.
- Barrett 2001, pp. 247–248
- Momen & Smith 1989, p. 64
- Smith 2000, pp. 115–116
- MacEoin, Dennis. "Bahai and Babi Schisms". Iranica.
Other small groups have broken away from the main body from time to time, but none of these has attracted a sizeable following.
- Major Branches of Religions Ranked by Number of Adherents, Adherents.com
- Smith 2000, pp. 116 Quote from source: "Some attempts were made during the 1950s and 1960s to bring together the disparate groups of Covenant-breakers, but these had little effect. Globally, the Baháʼí community has maintained its unity."
- Momen 2003, §D 
- Baháʼu'lláh, Tablets of Baháʼu'lláh, p. 221
- Smith 2000, pp. 252
- Smith 2008, p. 44
- Smith, Peter (1999). A Concise Encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford, UK: Oneworld Publications. p. 218. ISBN 1-85168-184-1.
- Smith, Peter (2004). The Baha'i Faith in the West. Kalimat Press. pp. 4, 7. ISBN 978-1-890688-11-0.
- Cole, Juan R.I.; Quinn, Sholeh; Smith, Peter; Walbridge, John, eds. (July 2004). "Behai Quarterly". Documents on the Shaykhi, Babi and Baha'i Movements. h-net.msu.edu. 08 (2). Retrieved 2010-04-17.
- Shu'a'ullah, Behai Quarterly Volume 4 Page 23
- Browne, p. 82. The reference appears to be to the unitarian theology of one god, rather than any identification with the American Unitarian Association.
- Warburg, Margit. Baháʼí: Studies in Contemporary Religion. Signature Books. p. 64. ISBN 1-56085-169-4. Archived from the original on 2013-02-02. Retrieved 2010-04-18.
- Momen 2003, §G.2.b 
- Momen 2003, §G.2.c 
- MacEoin, Dennis. "Bahai and Babi Schisms". Iranica.
In Palestine, the followers of Moḥammad-ʿAlī continued as a small group of families opposed to the Bahai leadership in Haifa; they have now been almost wholly re-assimilated into Muslim society.
- McGlinn, Sen (March 27, 2010). "A Muhammad Ali revival?". Retrieved 2010-04-17.
- Momen, Moojan. "Covenant, The, and Covenant-breaker". Retrieved 2009-06-27.
- See Effendi 1944, p. 355 
- Momen 2003, §G.2.d.i 
- Momen 2003, §G.2.d.ii 
- Mirza Ahmad Sohrab, The Baháʼí Cause pp. 309-14
- Smith 2000, pp. 325
- Smith, Peter (2004). Smith, Peter (ed.). Baha'is in the West. 14. Kalimat Press. p. 15.
- Moojan Momen 2003, § G.2.d.ii  See also New York Tax Exempt and NonProfit Organizations 
- Khan, Janet A. (2005). Prophet's Daughter: The Life and Legacy of Bahíyyih Khánum, Outstanding Heroine Of The Baháʼí Faith. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. pp. 123–4. ISBN 1-931847-14-2.
- Smith 2000, pp. 169–170
- Momen 2003, §G.2.e 
- Smith 2000, pp. 175–177
- Smith 2000, pp. 356–357
- Smith 2000, pp. 346–350
- Momen & Smith 1989, p. 89
- Gallagher & Ashcraft 2006, p. 201.
- Time Magazine Dec. 9, 1957 "In the Hands of the Hands"
- Smith 2000, p. 117
- For their authority, the Custodians referred to the Will and Testament of ʻAbdul-Bahá which states that "the Hands of the Cause of God must elect from their own number nine persons that shall at all times be occupied in the important services in the work of the Guardian of the Cause of God.”(Hatcher & Martin 1998, p. 190)(ʻAbdu'l-Bahá & 1901-08, p. 12) harv error: no target: CITEREFʻAbdu'l-Bahá1901-08 (help) See: Rabbani, Ministry of the Custodians, 1992, Letter of 28 May 1960, to all National Spiritual Assemblies (pp. 204-206), Letter of 5 July 1960, to all National Spiritual Assemblies (pp. 208-209), Letter of 7 July 1960, to all Hands of the Cause, Cable of 26 July 1960, to all National Spiritual Assemblies (p.223), and Letter of 15 October 1960, to all National Spiritual Assemblies (pp. 231-236) In addition, the Guardian had written that the Hands had executive authority in carrying out his directives. (Effendi 1982, pp. 82–83)
- See Rabbani 1992, p. 37  and Effendi, 1971 & pp-7-8 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFEffendi1971pp-7-8 (help) 
- See Rabbani 1992, p. 169 
- Taherzadeh 1992, p. 324 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFTaherzadeh1992 (help)
- Smith 2000, p. 200
- Smith 2000, p. 292
- See Charles Mason Remey, Proclamation to the Baháʼís of the World, p. 1 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- The Hands of the Cause wrote regarding his reasoning on this point, "If the President of the International Baháʼí Council is ipso facto the Guardian of the Baháʼí Faith, then the beloved Guardian, himself, Shoghi Effendi would have had to be the President of this first International Baháʼí Council." (Rabbani 1992, p. 234) 
- See Charles Mason Remey, Proclamation to the Baháʼís of the World, p. 5 Archived 2008-11-20 at the Wayback Machine and also "Role of the Hands of the Cause".
- See Charles Mason Remey, Proclamation to the Baháʼís of the World, pp. 6-7 "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2008-11-20. Retrieved 2008-08-10.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
- "Brent Mathieu, Biography of Charles Mason Remey". Archived from the original on 2006-03-18. Retrieved 2006-09-28.
- Taherzadeh 1992, p. 387 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFTaherzadeh1992 (help)
- Taherzadeh 2000, p. 370
- See (Rabbani 1992, p. 223)
- See Effendi 1982, pp. 82–83 
- Smith 2000, pp. 292–293
- Smith 2008, p. 68
- The Universal House of Justice, Letter of 9 March 1965, Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986, p. 50
- Momen & Smith 1989, p. 76
- Taherzadeh 1992, p. 390 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFTaherzadeh1992 (help)
- The Universal House of Justice, Letter of 7 December 1969, Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986, p. 158
- The Universal House of Justice specifically refers to paragraph 42 of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas as evidence that Baháʼu'lláh anticipated that the line of Guardians was not guaranteed forever by providing for the disposition of the religion's endowments in the absence of the Aghsán.(Taherzadeh 1992, p. 390) harv error: no target: CITEREFTaherzadeh1992 (help) See also Notes 66 and 67 of the Kitáb-i-Aqdas, pp. 196-197.
- Warburg 2004 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFWarburg2004 (help)  Archived 2006-01-14 at the Wayback Machine
- Grattan, Joan (1995). "Special Collections: Milton S. Eisenhower Library". The Johns Hopkins University. Archived from the original on 2005-10-24. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
- Baháʼís vs New Mexico Group District Court, N.D. Illinois, E. Div. No. 64 C 1878. Decided June 28, 1966
- THE COVENANT, Moojan Momen. Quoting Chicago Tribune, 10 June 1988, section 1, p. 9
- , US District Court for Northern District Court of Illinois Eastern Division, Civil Action No. 64 C 1878: Orthodox Baháʼí Respondents' Surreply Memorandum to NSA's Reply Memorandum, p2 para 2 line 15
- The National Baháʼí Council of the Orthodox Baháʼí Faith
- State v. Jensen, 153 Mont. 233, 455 P.2d 631 (Montana, 1969)[permanent dead link]
- Stone 2000, p. 271
- Harvard researchers have noted a community of 30 members in the headquarters of Missoula, Montana in 2003, as well as the existence of BUPC adherents in Denver and Alaska. ("Baháʼí Faith Center". Harvard University, Committee on the Study of Religion. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19.)("Mapping Religious Diversity in Montana (2003)". Harvard University, Committee on the Study of Religion. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007. Retrieved 2007-08-19.)
- stone 2000, p. 280 harvnb error: no target: CITEREFstone2000 (help)
- *Spataro, Francis C. (2003). Charles Mason Remey and the Baháʼí Faith, Tover Publications, Queens, NY 11427-2116. 2003 ISBN 0-9671656-3-6.
- Momen, Moojan (1995). "Covenant, The, and Covenant-breaker". Baháʼí Library Online. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
- Taherzadeh, Adib (2000). The Child of the Covenant. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. pp. 299–300. ISBN 0-85398-439-5.
- Adamson, Hugh C. (2009). The A to Z of the Baha'i Faith. Rowman & Littlefield. p. 121. ISBN 0810868539.
- Taherzadeh, Adib (1972). The Covenant of Baháʼu'lláh. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. p. 347. ISBN 0-85398-344-5.
- Bramson-Lerche, Loni (1988). "Establishment of the Guardianship". In Moojan Momen (ed.). Studies in Honor of the Late Hasan M. Balyuzi. Kalimát Press.
- Rabbani, Ruhiyyih (1948). Twenty-Five Years of the Guardianship. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. p. 21.
- See online at The third Manifestation of the Revelation of the Greatest Name, soon to appear
- ʻAbdu'l-Bahá. The Will And Testament of ʻAbdu'l-Bahá. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust.
- Baháʼu'lláh (1873). The Kitáb-i-Aqdas: The Most Holy Book. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-85398-999-0.
- Baháʼu'lláh (1873–92). Tablets of Baháʼu'lláh Revealed After the Kitáb-i-Aqdas. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-174-4.
- Gallagher, Eugene; Ashcraft, William (2006). Introduction to New and Alternative Religions in America: African Diaspora Traditions and Other American Innovations. 5. Greenwood. ISBN 0275987175.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Balyuzi, Hasan (2001). ʻAbdu'l-Bahá: The Centre of the Covenant of Baháʼu'lláh (Paperback ed.). Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-043-8.
- Browne, E.G. (1918), "Materials for the Study of the Bábí Religion"
- Cohen, Erik (1972). "The Baháʼí Community of Acre". Folklore Research Center Studies 3: 119–141.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1944). God Passes By. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-020-9.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1982). The Light of Divine Guidance (Volume 2). Germany: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. ISBN 3-87037-159-5.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1971). Messages to the Baháʼí World, 1950-1957. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-036-5.
- Effendi, Shoghi (1938). The World Order of Baháʼu'lláh. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-231-7.
- "Baháʼí Faith: Baháʼí and Babi schisms". Encyclopædia Iranica. 1989.
- Hatcher, William; Martin, J.D. (1998). The Baháʼí Faith: The Emerging Global Religion. New York: Harper and Row. ISBN 0-87743-264-3.
- Hinnells, John R., ed. (1984). A Handbook of Living Religions (Paperback ed.). London, UK: Penguin. ISBN 0-14-013599-5.
- Momen, Moojan (2003). "The Covenant and Covenant-Breaker". bahai-library.com. Retrieved 2009-01-01.
- Momen, Moojan; Smith, Peter (1989). "The Baha'i Faith 1957-1988: A Survey of Contemporary Developments". Religion. 19: 63. doi:10.1016/0048-721X(89)90077-8.
- Rabbani, Ruhiyyih, ed. (1992). The Ministry of the Custodians 1957-1963. Baháʼí World Centre. ISBN 0-85398-350-X.
- Rabbani, R. (1969). The Priceless Pearl (Hardcover ed.). London, UK: Baháʼí Publishing Trust: 2000. ISBN 1-870989-91-0.
- Schaefer, U.; Towfigh, N.; Gollmer, U. (2000). Making the Crooked Straight: A Contribution to Baháʼí Apologetics. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-443-3. OL 11609763M.
- Smith, Peter (2000). A concise encyclopedia of the Baháʼí Faith. Oxford: Oneworld Publications. ISBN 1-85168-184-1 https://archive.org/details/conciseencyclope0000smit. Missing or empty
- Smith, Peter (2008). An Introduction to the Baha'i Faith. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. ISBN 0-521-86251-5.CS1 maint: ref=harv (link)
- Spataro, Francis C. (2003). Charles Mason Remey and the Baháʼí Faith. Tover Publications, Queens, NY 11427-2116. 2003 ISBN 0-9671656-3-6.
- Stone, Jon R. (ed) (2000). Expecting Armageddon, Essential Readings in Failed Prophecy. New York: Routledge. pp. 269–282. ISBN 0-415-92331-X.CS1 maint: extra text: authors list (link)
- Taherzadeh, Adib (1992). The Covenant of Baháʼu'lláh. Oxford, UK: George Ronald. ISBN 0-85398-344-5.
- Universal House of Justice (1996). Marks, Geoffry W. (ed.). Messages from the Universal House of Justice, 1963-1986: The Third Epoch of the Formative Age. Wilmette, Illinois, USA: Baháʼí Publishing Trust. ISBN 0-87743-239-2.
- Warburg, Margit (2004). Baháʼí, Studies in Contemporary Religion. Signature Books. ISBN 1-56085-169-4. Archived from the original on 2015-09-09. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- Momen, Moojan (2007-06-08). "Marginality and Apostasy in the Baha'i Community". Religion. Elsevier. 37 (3): 187–209. doi:10.1016/j.religion.2007.06.008. ISSN 0048-721X. Archived from the original on 6 October 2010. Retrieved 2010-11-03.
- Mirza Ahmad Sohrab. The Will and Testament of Abdul Baha, An Analysis.
- Living Schools of Religion Vergilius Ferm, ed. Ames, Iowa: Littlefield, Adams & Co., 1956. Chapter 19, "The Baháʼí Cause," by Mirza Ahmad Sohrab (pages 309-14)
- Official Page of the Unitarian Baha'is
- Proclamation of Mason Remey – Remey's public declaration in 1960
- Orthodox Baháʼí Guardian – Official website
- Tarbiyat Baháʼí Community – Official website
- Baháʼís Under the Provisions of the Covenant – Official website
- Free Baha'i Faith - Official website
- Guardianship of the Baháʼí Faith – Jacques Soghomonian – Official website
- Mason Remey and Those Who Followed Him – Published by the Universal House of Justice, along with introductory statements.
- Issues Related to the Study of the Baháʼí Faith – Extracts from letters written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice
- From Gaslight to Dawn by Julie Chanler New History Foundation, NY 1956.