Perfect Men


• Mark A. Foster, Ph.D.
• Introduction: My Personal Viewpoint

Although ʿAbduʾl-Bahá, the Mystery of God, was, like the Prophets, the perfect Man (al-Insān al-Kāmil), He was not  a Prophet– Greater or Lesser. According to Baháʾuʾlláh, another Prophet would not  appear before the passing of a full millennium.

... in the days of the voice of the seventh angel, when he is about to sound, then is finished the mystery of God, according to the good tidings which he declared to his servants the prophets.
Revelation 10:7. American Standard Version (1901).

Since ʿAbduʾl-Bahá’s station (status or position) and mission were not  prophetic or revelatory, He was not  given the title of a Prophet. Instead, His station was “interpretive” which, as the Perfect Exemplar (Master) of Servitude, He demonstrated in His Own life.

My view, right now, is that the Master and His brother, Muḥammad ʿAlī, were both specially created souls. ʿAbduʾl-Bahá achieved perfection by making the right choice. Baháʾuʾlláh then blessed Him with the perfection of creation or servitude.

Muḥammad ʿAlī may have had a similar potential. Instead, he turned away from it and broke Baháʾuʾlláh’s Covenant.

Like the beloved Master, the Greatest Holy Leaf also chose correctly, and she became the greatest exemplar for womanhood in this Dispensation. Her station was similar other women, like Sarah and the Virgin Mary, from past Dispensations.

The entire Holy Family, the Aġṣān (Branches), may have also had extraordinary capabilities. Spiritually, it might have been better for many of them not to have ever had those capacities at all.

Of course, Baháʾuʾlláh, like all the Prophets, is also a Perfect Man. His Perfection, however, is in the Station is Prophethood (the Greater World), not, like the Master, the human kingdom (the lesser world).

Some Answered Questions
• ʿAbduʾl-Bahá

Briefly, it is said that the “Dayspring of Revelation” is the manifestation of these words, “He doeth whatsoever He willeth”; this condition is peculiar to that Holy Being, and others have no share of this essential perfection. That is to say, that as the supreme Manifestations certainly possess essential infallibility, therefore whatever emanates from Them is identical with the truth, and conformable to reality. They are not under the shadow of the former laws. Whatever They say is the word of God, and whatever They perform is an upright action. No believer has any right to criticize; his condition must be one of absolute submission, for the Manifestation arises with perfect wisdom–so that whatever the supreme Manifestation says and does is absolute wisdom, and is in accordance with reality....

So also, when the head of the army is unrivaled in the art of war, in what he says and commands he does what he wishes. When the captain of a ship is proficient in the art of navigation, in whatever he says and commands he does what he wishes. And as the real educator is the Perfect Man, in whatever He says and commands He does what He wishes.

Some Answered Questions
• ʿAbduʾl-Bahá

The Manifestation of God is the Perfect Man. He is in the condition of a clear mirror in which the Sun of Reality becomes visible and manifest with all its qualities and perfections. So the Reality of Christ was a clear and polished mirror of the greatest purity and fineness. The Sun of Reality, the Essence of Divinity, reflected itself in this mirror and manifested its light and heat in it; but from the exaltation of its holiness, and the heaven of its sanctity, the Sun did not descend to dwell and abide in the mirror. No, it continues to subsist in its exaltation and sublimity, while appearing and becoming manifest in the mirror in beauty and perfection.

Ministry of the Custodians
• The Universal House of Justice

[ʿAbduʾl-Bahá was] that unique Being, the Centre of the Covenant, the Mystery of God, the perfect Man, Who served the Cause of His glorious Father for no less than twenty-nine years ....

• The World Order of Baháʾuʾlláh
• Shoghi Effendi

That ʿAbduʾl-Bahá is not a Manifestation of God, that, though the successor of His Father, He does not occupy a cognate station, that no one else except the Báb and Baháʾuʾlláh can ever lay claim to such a station before the expiration of a full thousand years–are verities which lie embedded in the specific utterances of both the Founder of our Faith and the Interpreter of His teachings.

• The Promised Day is Come
• Shoghi Effendi

[ʿAbduʾl-Bahá was] the Center and Pivot of Baháʾuʾlláh’s peerless Covenant and the perfect Exemplar of His teaching ....