Powers and Duties
The elected members of the Universal House of Justice are described in the Bahá’í Sacred Writings as the “Trustees of God among His servants and the daysprings of authority in His countries”,1 as the “Men of Justice”,2 the “Deputies of God”,3 the “Trustees of the All-Merciful”.4 They must be “shepherds unto His sheep”,5 protecting and preserving the unity and well-being of Bahá’u’lláh’s followers, as well as “manifestations of the fear of God and daysprings of knowledge and understanding”,6 “steadfast in God’s faith and the well-wishers of all mankind”.7
The Universal House of Justice is charged with the affairs of the people. It must apply the Bahá’í teachings to “the training of peoples, the upbuilding of nations, the protection of man and the safeguarding of his honour.”8 It must have the utmost regard for the interests of the people at all times and under all conditions, and ensure the protection and safeguarding of men, women and children.
The promotion of peace in the world is also among the responsibilities of the Universal House of Justice, “so that the people of the earth may be relieved from the burden of exorbitant expenditures.”9 Its members must additionally “endeavour to the utmost of their power to safeguard”10 the position of religion, “promote its interests” and “exalt its station in the eyes of the world.”11
Since “change is a necessary quality and an essential attribute of this world, and of time and place”,12 Bahá’u’lláh has invested the members of the Universal House of Justice with the authority to consider matters that He did not specifically deal with in His own Writings and “enforce that which is agreeable to them.”13
“Inasmuch as for each day there is a new problem and for every problem an expedient solution,”14 wrote Bahá’u’lláh, “such affairs should be referred to the Ministers of the House of Justice that they may act according to the needs and requirements of the time.”15
Bahá’í Sacred Writings give the guarantee that the Universal House of Justice would take decisions and establish laws through the “inspiration and confirmation of the Holy Spirit”.16 For Bahá’ís, “obedience to its decisions is a bounden and essential duty and an absolute obligation”.17