Question: Concerning the basic sum on which Huqúqu'lláh is payable.
Answer: The basic sum on which Huqúqu'lláh is payable is nineteen mithqáls of gold. In other words, when money to the value of this sum hath been acquired, a payment of Huqúq falleth due. Likewise Huqúq is payable when the value, not the number, of other forms of property reacheth the prescribed amount. Huqúqu'lláh is payable no more than once. A person, for instance, who acquireth a thousand mithqáls of gold, and payeth the Huqúq, is not liable to make a further such payment on this sum, but only on what accrueth to it through commerce, business and the like. When this increase, namely the profit realized, reacheth the prescribed sum, one must carry out what God hath decreed. Only when the principal changeth hands is it once more subject to payment of Huqúq, as it was the first time. The Primal Point hath directed that Huqúqu'lláh must be paid on the value of whatsoever one possesseth; yet, in this Most Mighty Dispensation, We have exempted the household furnishings, that is such furnishings as are needed, and the residence itself.
Question: In the holy Tablets it hath been revealed that when someone acquireth the equivalent of nineteen mithqáls of gold, he should pay the Right of God on that sum. Might it be explained how much of this nineteen should be paid?
Answer: Nineteen out of one hundred is established by the ordinance of God. Computation should be made on this basis. It may then be ascertained what amount is due on nineteen.
Raise up and exalt the two Houses in the Twin Hallowed Spots, and the other sites wherein the throne of your Lord . . . hath been established.
Bahá'u'lláh identifies the "two Houses"
as His House in Baghdád, designated by Him as the "Most Great House"
, and the House of the Báb in Shíráz, both of which have been ordained by Him as sites of pilgrimage. (See Q&A 29
and note 54
Shoghi Effendi explained that "the other sites wherein the throne of your Lord . . . hath been established"
refers to those places where the Person of the Manifestation of God has resided. Bahá'u'lláh states that "the people of the areas where these are situated may choose to preserve either each house"
wherein He resided, "or one of them"
). Bahá'í institutions have identified, documented, and where possible, acquired
and restored a number of the historical sites associated with the Twin Manifestations.
It is unlawful to beg, and it is forbidden to give to him who beggeth.
In a Tablet 'Abdu'l-Bahá expounds the meaning of this verse. He states that "mendicancy is forbidden and that giving charity to people who take up begging as their profession is also prohibited"
. He further points out in that same Tablet: "The object is to uproot mendicancy altogether. However, if a person is incapable of earning a living, is stricken by dire poverty or becometh helpless, then it is incumbent on the wealthy or the Deputies to provide him with a monthly allowance for his subsistence . . . By 'Deputies' is meant the representatives of the people, that is to say the members of the House of Justice."
The prohibition against giving charity to people who beg does not preclude individuals and Spiritual Assemblies from extending financial assistance to the poor and needy or from providing them with opportunities to acquire
such skills as would enable them to earn a livelihood (see note 56
Should anyone acquire one hundred mithqáls of gold, nineteen mithqáls thereof are God's and to be rendered unto Him, the Fashioner of earth and heaven. Take heed, O people, lest ye deprive yourselves of so great a bounty. This We have commanded you, though We are well able to dispense with you and with all who are in the heavens and on earth; in it there are benefits and wisdoms beyond the ken of anyone but God, the Omniscient, the All-Informed. Say: By this means He hath desired to purify what ye possess and to enable you to draw nigh unto such stations as none can comprehend save those whom God hath willed. He, in truth, is the Beneficent, the Gracious, the Bountiful. O people! Deal not faithlessly with the Right of God, nor, without His leave, make free with its disposal. Thus hath His commandment been established in the holy Tablets, and in this exalted Book. He who dealeth faithlessly with God shall in justice meet with faithlessness himself; he, however, who acteth in accordance with God's bidding shall receive a blessing from the heaven of the bounty of his Lord, the Gracious, the Bestower, the Generous, the Ancient of Days. He, verily, hath willed for you that which is yet beyond your knowledge, but which shall be known to you when, after this fleeting life, your souls soar heavenwards and the trappings of your earthly joys are folded up. Thus admonisheth you He in Whose possession is the Guarded Tablet.
Save in the Prayer for the Dead, the practice of congregational prayer hath been annulled.
Congregational prayer, in the sense of formal obligatory prayer which is to be recited in accordance with a prescribed ritual as, for example, is the custom in Islám where Friday prayer in the mosque is led by an imám, has been annulled in the Bahá'í Dispensation. The Prayer for the Dead (see note 10
) is the only congregational prayer prescribed by Bahá'í law. It is to be recited by one of those present while the remainder of the party stands in silence; the reader has no special status. The congregation is not required to face the Qiblih (Q&A 85
The three daily Obligatory Prayers are to be recited individually, not in congregation.
There is no prescribed way for the recital of the many other Bahá'í prayers, and all are free to use such non-obligatory prayers in gatherings or individually as they please. In this regard, Shoghi Effendi states that
. . . although the friends are thus left to follow their own inclination, . . . they should take the utmost care that any manner they practise should not acquire
too rigid a character, and thus develop into an institution. This is a point which the friends should always bear in mind, lest they deviate from the clear path indicated in the Teachings.
to engage in some occupation
It is obligatory for men and women to engage in a trade or profession. Bahá'u'lláh exalts "engagement in such work"
to the "rank of worship"
of God. The spiritual and practical significance of this law, and the mutual responsibility of the individual and society for its implementation are explained in a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:
With reference to Bahá'u'lláh's command concerning the engagement of the believers in some sort of profession: the Teachings are most emphatic on this matter, particularly the statement in the Aqdas to this effect which makes it quite clear that idle people who lack the desire to work can have no place in the new World Order. As a corollary of this principle, Bahá'u'lláh further states that mendicity should not only be discouraged but entirely wiped out from the face of society. It is the duty of those who are in charge of the organization of society to give every individual the opportunity of acquiring
the necessary talent in some kind of profession, and also the means of utilizing such a talent, both for its own sake and for the sake of earning the means of his livelihood. Every individual, no matter how handicapped and limited he may be, is under the obligation of engaging in some work or profession, for work, especially when performed in the spirit of service, is according to Bahá'u'lláh a form of worship. It has not only a utilitarian purpose, but has a value in itself, because it draws us nearer to God, and enables us to better grasp His purpose for us in this world. It is obvious, therefore, that the inheritance of wealth cannot make anyone immune from daily work.
In one of His Tablets, 'Abdu'l-Bahá states that "if a person is incapable of earning a living, is stricken by dire poverty or becometh helpless, then it is incumbent on the wealthy or the Deputies to provide him with a monthly allowance for his subsistence. . . . By 'Deputies' is meant the representatives of the people, that is to say the members of the House of Justice."
(See also note 162
In response to a question concerning whether Bahá'u'lláh's injunction requires a wife and mother, as well as her husband, to work for a livelihood, the Universal House of Justice has explained that Bahá'u'lláh's directive is for the friends to be engaged in an occupation which will profit themselves and others, and that homemaking is a highly honourable and responsible work of fundamental importance to society.
Concerning the retirement from work for individuals who have reached a certain age, Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf stated that "this is a matter on which the International House of Justice will have to legislate as there are no provisions in the Aqdas concerning it".
Should anyone acquire one hundred mithqáls of gold, nineteen mithqáls thereof are God's and to be rendered unto Him
This verse establishes Huqúqu'lláh, the Right of God, the offering of a fixed portion of the value of the believer's possessions. This offering was made to Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God and then, following His Ascension, to 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of the Covenant. In His Will and Testament, 'Abdu'l-Bahá provided that the Huqúqu'lláh was to be offered "through the Guardian of the Cause of God"
. There now being no Guardian, it is offered through the Universal House of Justice as the Head of the Faith. This fund is used for the promotion of the Faith of God and its interests as well as for various philanthropic purposes. The offering of the Huqúqu'lláh is a spiritual obligation, the fulfilment of which has been left to the conscience of each Bahá'í. While the community is reminded of the requirements of the law of Huqúq, no believer may be approached individually to pay it.
A number of items in Questions and Answers further elaborate this law. The payment of Huqúqu'lláh is based on the calculation of the value of the individual's possessions. If a person has possessions equal in value to at least nineteen mithqáls of gold (Q&A 8
), it is a spiritual obligation to pay nineteen percent of the total amount, once only, as Huqúqu'lláh (Q&A 89
). Thereafter, whenever one's income, after all expenses have been paid, increases the value of one's possessions by the amount of at least nineteen mithqáls of gold, one is to pay nineteen percent of this increase, and so on for each further increase (Q&A 8
Certain categories of possessions, such as one's residence, are exempt from the payment of Huqúqu'lláh (Q&A 8
), and specific provisions are outlined to cover cases of financial loss (Q&A 44
), the failure of investments to yield a profit (Q&A 102
) and for the payment of Huqúq in the event of the person's death (Q&A 9
). (In this latter case, see note 47
Extensive extracts from Tablets, Questions and Answers, and other Writings concerning the spiritual significance of Huqúqu'lláh and the details of its application have been published in a compilation entitled Huqúqu'lláh.