The seat of the Universal House of Justice, Mount Carmel, Haifa, Israel.
In the Baháʼí Faith there are two covenants, deemed the ‘greater’ and ‘lesser’. The greater covenant refers to an agreement of progressive revelation: that God will send messengers about every thousand years, and it is humanity’s duty to recognize them and respond to their teachings. The lesser covenant is the agreement between the faith’s founder, Baháʼu’lláh, and his followers, regarding the succession of leadership and the maintenance of unity.
Succession in the Bahá’í covenant was explicit and in written form, providing a clear chain of authority that led Bahá’ís to follow ʻAbdu’l-Bahá as the authorized interpreter of Bahá’í scripture after Bahá’u’lláh’s death, and the one who would lead the community. Bahá’u’lláh outlined the Universal House of Justice, a nine-member institution that could legislate on religious matters, and hinted at an appointed role for his descendants, both of which were elaborated upon by ʻAbdu’l-Bahá when he appointed Shoghi Effendi as the Guardian. The Universal House of Justice, first elected in 1963, remains the supreme governing body of the worldwide Bahá’í community.