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In order to understand the relationship between the institution of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár and that of the Local Spiritual Assembly, you should appreciate their difference in character. The term “Mashriqu’l-Adhkár”, when it refers to a House of Worship, denotes a building, the centre in which the people gather to hear the Word of God and to worship Him. Surrounding this central House of Worship are the dependencies of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, which express worship in the form of service to humanity. The Local House of Justice is the body which Bahá’u’lláh has created to govern the affairs of the community. Among other things, it is responsible for the building of the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár as well as for the administration of all its activities. The members of the Spiritual Assembly go to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár for worship, and to the Hazíratu’l-Quds for the conducting of their administrative functions. […]

To dispute the relative status of these institutions, to depict the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár as an institution independent of the jurisdiction of a Spiritual Assembly, would imply a fundamental flaw in reasoning.

The Bahá’í world has already experienced the functioning of two Mashriqu’l-Adhkárs during the ministries of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá and Shoghi Effendi, those in Ashqabat and Wilmette. Both had one or more dependencies and each functioned under the jurisdiction of a Spiritual Assembly. Naturally, as the Cause grows, the administration of each dependency of a Mashriqu’l-Adhkár will be developed in accordance with its needs and with varying degrees of autonomy, but all will be under the overall aegis and guidance of the National or Local House of Justice.

The Universal House of Justice, Letter dated 24 February 1998

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