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Questions and Answers on The Right of God

 

What is the Right of God?

 The payment of the Huququ’lláh is one of the essential spiritual obligations that the wondrous Pen of Bahá’u’lláh has laid down in the Most Holy Book. (Huququ’llah, p. 34)

In brief, payment of Huququ’lláh is one of the binding spiritual responsibilities of the followers of Bahá’u’lláh . . . In other words, whatever portion of one’s wealth is due to the Huququ’lláh belongs to the World Centre of the Cause of God, not to the individuals concerned. Thus the friends should not follow their own volition and judgement in using any of the funds set aside for Huququ’lláh for any other purpose, even for charitable contributions of the Faith.  (Huququ’llah, p. 36)

 Who is required to pay it?

 lt is incumbent upon everyone to discharge the obligation of Huquq. (Huququ’llah, p. 2)

As to your second question asking whether, where there is perfect understanding between husband and wife and she is empowered to manage her husband’s property as well as her own, she could pay the amount of Huququ’lláh applicable to all their possessions or, since the husband owns a portion of the property, she should pay only the amount of Huququ’lláh on her own share of the property.

In answering this question one should remember that the Huququ’lláh is payable on possessions that are indisputably recognized as being one’s own and not on property that one merely controls or uses. However, in cases similar to the one you have mentioned above, it is incumbent on husband and wife to take counsel together and to define precisely the limits of their personal belongings, then they should either jointly or individually render to the Huquq the amount they consider to be their binding obligation. (Huququ’llah, p. 39-40)

 Why is the paying of the right of God important?

This is the commandment of God that hath been prescribed in His weighty and inviolable Book. (Huququ’llah, p. 1)

. . . in accordance with His inscrutable wisdom and in order to apply a unique test to distinguish the friend from the stranger, He hath enjoined the Huquq upon His servants and made it obligatory.  (Huququ’llah, p. 23)

We earnestly hope that everyone may be privileged to observe this sacred and blessed obligation which would ensure the attainment of true happiness and would serve to promote the execution of Bahá’í enterprises throughout the world. (Huququ’llah, p. 36)

What effect will it have on me?

Such souls as comply with the injunction of God prescribed in the Book are regarded as most excellent in the estimation of God. (Huququ’llah, p. 2)

It is clear and evident that the payment of the Right of God is conducive to prosperity, to blessing, and to honour and divine protection. (Huququ’llah, p. 2)

. . . it is the source of grace, abundance, and of all good. It is a bounty which shall remain with every soul in every world of the worlds of God  (Huququ’llah, p. 3)

Indeed there lie concealed in this command, mysteries and benefits which are beyond the comprehension of anyone save God . . .  through this injunction God desireth to purify your possessions and enable you to draw nigh unto such stations as none can attain, except those whom God may please.   (Huququ’llah, p. 4)

. . . this would serve as the means for the salvation of mankind, and may of their own accordance carry out that which would purify them and cause them to attain everlasting life…. (Bahá’u’lláh, Huququ’llah, p. 7)

Whoso is privileged to pay the Right of God will be numbered with such as have observed the ordinances of the one true God—magnified be His glory—and have fulfilled that which is set down by the All-Glorious Pen. (Huququ’llah, p. 11)

. . . that which is destined for them is far beyond the power of reckoners to reckon. (Huququ’llah, p. 13)

. . . is an effective means for the purging, the purification and sanctification of the souls of men and a source of prosperity and blessing. Happy are they that have observed His commandments.  (Huququ’llah, p. 14)

This ordinance is binding upon everyone, and by observing it one will be raised to honour inasmuch as it will serve to purify one’s possessions and will impart blessing, and added prosperity. However, the people are as yet ignorant of its significance. They continually endeavour to amass riches by lawful or unlawful means in order to transmit them to their heirs, and this to what advantage, no one can tell. Say: In this day the true Heir is the Word of God, since the underlying purpose of inheritance is the preservation of the name and traces of men. It is indubitably clear that the passing of centuries and ages will obliterate these signs, while every word that hath streamed from the Pen of Glory in honour of a certain individual will last as long as the dominions of earth and heaven will endure. (Huququ’llah, p. 15)

Were the people to know what hath been concealed from their eyes and become fully aware of the ocean of grace which lieth hid within this divine command, all the people of the world would offer everything they possess in order to be mentioned by Him. Blessed is the man who hath been privileged to observe that which he hath been commanded by God, the All-Knowing, the All-Wise…. (Huququ’llah, p. 15-16)

Moreover, such payment will enable them and their offspring to benefit from their possessions. As thou dost observe, large portions of people’s wealth are lost to them as God causeth strangers, or heirs in Company with whom strangers would have been preferable, to lay hands on their possessions. (Huququ’llah, p. 17)

One of the tokens of His consummate wisdom is that the payment of the Huquq will enable the donors to become firm and steadfast and will exert a great influence on their hearts and souls. (Huququ’llah, p. 23)

Know thou, moreover, that those who faithfully serve the All-Merciful will be enriched by Him out of His heavenly treasury  (Huququ’llah, p. 26)

. . . that those believers who are adorned with the fear of God may be shielded from the dire consequences foreshadowed in His ominous warnings, may become the recipients of His assured blessings and be enabled to partake of the outpourings of His infallible spiritual grace. (Huququ’llah, p. 35)

It purifies one’s possessions, averts loss and disaster, conduces to prosperity and honour and imparts divine increase and blessing. It is a sacrifice offered for and related to God, and an act of servitude leading to the promotion of His Cause. As affirmed by the Centre of the Covenant, Huquq offerings constitute a test for the believers and enable the friends to become firm and steadfast in faith and certitude. (Huququ’llah, p. 36)

Beseech ye God—exalted be His glory—to enable the people to honour the obligation of Huquq, for had everyone perceived the advantage of such a deed and desisted from withholding the Right of God, the friends in that region would not have experienced any hardship. (Bahá’u’lláh, Huququ’llah, p. 6)

When can I expect to notice the results of paying it?

He desireth for you the things that are inscrutable to you at present, though the people themselves will readily discover them when their souls take their flight and the trappings of their earthly gaieties are rolled up. (Huququ’llah, p. 4)

They that have kept their promises, fulfilled their obligations, redeemed their pledges and vows, rendered the Trust of God and His Right unto Him—these are numbered among the inmates of the all-highest Paradise. (Huququ’llah, p. 9)

. . . its goodly results and the fruits thereof will last as long as the kingdom of earth and heaven will endure. (Huququ’llah, p. 13)

What will happen if I don’t pay?

Well is it with them that comprehend and recognize this truth and woe betide them that believe not . . . It behoveth you to counsel the friends to do that which is right and praiseworthy. Whoso hearkeneth to this call, it is to his own behoof, and whoso faileth bringeth loss upon himself. (Huququ’llah, p. 2)

Take heed, O people, lest ye deprive yourselves of this great bounty. (Huququ’llah, p. 3)

Whoso dealeth dishonestly with God will in justice be exposed (Huququ’llah, p. 4)

. . . woe betide the rich that hold back Huququ’lláh and fail to observe that which is enjoined upon them in His Preserved Tablet. (Huququ’llah, p. 8)

What if I have nothing to give?

It is incumbent upon all to make this offering  (Huququ’llah, p. 3)

The devoted believer who is privileged to pay “the Right of God”, far from seeking excuses for evading this spiritual obligation, will do his utmost to meet it. (Huququ’llah, p. 37)

Moreover, although these insignificant amounts are not worthy of mention, they are well-pleasing, since the donors offer them for the sake of God. If the offering be but a single grain it is regarded as the crowning glory of all the harvests of the world. (Huququ’llah, p. 2)

The payment of the Right of God is conditional upon one’s financial ability. If a person is unable to meet his obligation, God will verily excuse him. (Huququ’llah, p. 8)

Those that are unable to pay will be invested with the ornament of His forgiveness. (Huququ’llah, p. 14)

Who enforces the payments?

Time and again have We written and commanded that no one should solicit such payment.  (Huququ’llah, p. 11)

To demand the Huquq is in no wise permissible. (Huququ’llah, p. 3)

As to the question of Huquq: Reference to this matter is in no wise permissible . . . must also refrain from mentioning this matter, for it is entirely dependent upon the willingness of the individuals themselves. They are well acquainted with the commandment of God and are familiar with that which was revealed in the Book. Let him who wisheth observe it, and let him who wisheth ignore it. (Huququ’llah, p. 3)

It is not permissible to solicit Huquq. If anyone offereth something of his own volition, thou mayest accept it, but it is not thine to demand anything from anyone. (Huququ’llah, p. 18)

. . . . a general appeal should be made once at the meeting, and that should suffice. They that are assured, steadfast and endowed with insight will act spontaneously and observe what hath been prescribed by God (Huququ’llah, p. 13)

Someone must needs remind the servants of God, that perchance they may be privileged to meet their obligation of Huquq, thus attaining a sublime station and gaining a reward that would last for ever. (Huququ’llah, p. 17)

On the other hand, inasmuch as obedience to this Law is a matter of conscience, and payment of Huququ’lláh is a voluntary act, it would not be seemly to go beyond informing the Persian friends of their spiritual obligation, and leaving to them to decide what they wish to do about it.

The same principle applies to those friends who spend lavishly on their families, who purchase or build residences and furnish them far in excess of their needs, and rationalize these expenditures in their desire to avoid payment of Huququ’lláh. (Huququ’llah, p. 38)

Appeals and exhortations must always be made to the generality of the friends, not to individuals. (Huququ’llah, p. 39)

In what spirit is the Right of God offered?

However, the acceptance of the offerings dependeth on the spirit of joy, fellowship and contentment that the righteous souls who fulfil this injunction will manifest. If such is the attitude acceptance is permissible, and not otherwise. (Huququ’llah, p. 2)

And such benefits will indeed accrue if the Huquq is offered with the utmost joy and radiance and in a spirit of perfect humility and lowliness. (Huququ’llah, p. 1)

Therefore, if someone, with utmost pleasure and gladness, nay with insistence, wisheth to partake of this blessing, thou mayest accept. Otherwise, acceptance is not permissible. (Huququ’llah, p. 3)

What is it used for?

. . . the Huquq will be used for charitable purposes. (Huququ’llah, p. 23)

And now concerning the poor, thou hast written to ask whether it is permissible to pay them out of the Right of God. This is conditional upon permission having been granted. In each locality where the Right of God is being received, details of it must be submitted to His exalted presence together with a statement describing the position of the needy ones. (Huququ’llah, p. 16)

Thus every true and sincere believer will offer Huquq to be expended for the relief of the poor, the disabled, the needy, and the orphans, and for other vital needs of the Cause of God   (Bahá’u’lláh, Huqúqu’lláh, p. 26)

Huququ’lláh can be used to promote the interests of the Cause throughout the Bahá’í world only with the permission of the Authority in the Cause to which all must turn. (Huququ’llah, p. 33)

Isn’t offering up the Right of God the same as contributing to the other funds of the Faith?

Recently one of the friends asked the following question: Were a person to offer his property, partly or wholly, to the Bahá’í Funds, what responsibility does he still have for payment of the Huququ’lláh?

This is what was stated in reply: The payment of Huququ’lláh is one of the essential spiritual obligations of the people of Baha which has been revealed in the Most Holy Book by the Pen of Glory. Therefore the friends should separate the account of Huququ’lláh from that of their other contributions . Thus they must first settle their obligations concerning Huququ’lláh, then they may make other contributions at their own disposition, inasmuch as the disposition of the funds of the Huququ’lláh is subject to decision by the Authority in the Cause to which all must turn, whereas the purposes of contributions to other Funds may be determined by the donors themselves. (Huququ’llah, p. 34)

When is it paid?

Well is it with him who ascendeth unto God, without any obligations to Huququ’lláh  (Huququ’llah, p. 8)

Thine intention to pay a visit to the blessed House is acceptable and well-pleasing in the sight of this Wronged One . . .  Therefore it beseemeth thee to meet thine obligation to the Right of God first, then to direct thy steps toward His blessed house. (Huququ’llah, p. 11)

The time and conditions of payment are left to each individual.

For example, if one’s assets include property or shares in addition to cash, he may find it disadvantageous or inconvenient to pay nineteen per cent of the value of the non-cash assets until they are disposed of, at which time he would prefer to fulfil this spiritual obligation. (Huququ’llah, p. 37)

How often is it paid?

The Huququ’lláh is payable only once; for example if a person acquireth a thousand mithqals in gold and payeth the Huquq thereof, the Right of God ceaseth to be applicable to that amount, except in regard to what accrueth to it through commerce and transactions; when such profits reach the prescribed minimum, one must carry out what God hath decreed. (Huququ’llah, p. 7)

. . . the general principle is that once you have paid on your capital you don’t have to pay it again. (Huququ’llah, p. 31)

To Whom must it be paid?

The Trustees should receive these offerings  (Huququ’llah, p. 11)

Payments for the Huququ’lláh cannot be handed over to every person . . . The Huququ’lláh should be kept in the custody of trusted individuals and forwarded to His holy court through the Trustees of God. (Huququ’llah, p. 20)

On what is Huquq applied?

Huquq is applied on everything one possesseth. (Huququ’llah, p. 24)

Having deducted the expenses incurred during the year, any excess of income derived from one’s property, profession or business is subject to the payment of Huquq. (Huququ’llah, p. 25)

How much do I contribute to the Right of God?

Should a person acquire one hundred mithqals of gold, nineteen mithqals thereof belong unto God  (Huququ’llah, p. 3)

One mithqal consists of nineteen nakhuds. The weight of twenty-four nakhuds equals four and three-fifths grammes. Calculations may be made on this basis. Nineteen mithqals therefore equal 69.191667 grammes. One troy ounce equals 31.103486 grammes, thus 19 mithqals equal 2.224563 oz. At the current rate of $339.10 per ounce, 19 mithqals of gold would amount to $754.35. Thus on a savings of $754.35 an amount of $143.33 (i.e. 19%) would be payable as Huququ’lláh.  (Huququ’llah, p. 38)

Question: When the possessions exceed nineteen, must they equal another nineteen before the Huquq is again payable, or is the Huquq due on any exceeding sum? Answer: The Huquq is not payable on any exceeding sum, unless it reacheth another nineteen. (Huququ’llah, p. 5)

How do I calculate what I owe?

From one’s annual income, all expenses during the year are deductible, and on what is left 19% is payable to the Huquq. Thus, a person hath earned $1,000 income out of his business. After deducting his annual expenses of say $600, he would have a surplus of $400 on which Huquq is payable at the rate of 19%. This would amount to $76 to be offered for charitable purposes to the Huquq. (Huququ’llah, p. 24)

For instance, whatever income thou hast earned in a particular year, you should deduct from it your expenses during that year. The Huquq will then be payable on the remainder. (Huququ’llah, p. 24)

After one has paid all his necessary expenses 19% of what is left is then taken by him and given as Huquq. For example, if a person has 100 piastres left after all his expenses have been paid, then 19 piastres are taken as Huquq for the Cause of God. This is done at the end of the year after he has ascertained what his expenses are. For every hundred piastres, 19 are taken for Huquq.

He pays this once, then there is no more Huquq to be paid on that sum. It is finished. Next year he will pay on the amount he has left over in his possession after his expenses have been deducted, and after the amount he paid Huquq on the previous year is also deducted.

For example, at the end of the first year a man has 1000 piastres left after all his expenses are paid, then 190 piastres are taken as Huquq: at the end of the next year after all expenses are determined. he may have 2000 piastres left. As he has already paid Huquq on 1000 piastres the previous year this sum is deducted from the 2000 and he pays Huquq on 1000 piastres (or 190 piastres). The third year the net amount of what he owns may be 2500 piastres, he deducts 2000 piastres from this amount and pays 19 per cent on 500 piastres or 95 piastres. If at the end of the 4th year he has 2500 piastres, no Huquq is taken.  (Huququ’llah, p. 27)

Question: In the deduction of our necessary expenses, are contributions to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, teaching and other activities of the Cause considered a part of Huquq or should they be taken separately?

Answer: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied that Huquq was separate and independent of these and came first. After that had been determined then the other affairs could be looked after. He smiled and said when Huquq is given ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will ascertain how much of it is for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkar, how much for teaching and how much for the needy, etc. (Huququ’llah, p. 27)

This Law of the Aqdas stipulates that nineteen per cent of one’s capital is payable as Huququ’lláh when such capital has reached an amount of at least “nineteen mithqals in gold”…. In determining the amount a believer should pay, he should first deduct any debts and expenses he may have, and pay nineteen per cent on the remainder of his capital if it is equal to at least nineteen mithquls of gold. (Huququ’llah, p. 37)

. . . determine the total value of your inheritance in cash and other assets less any expenses or debts you may have, and consider the circumstances under which you may be able to pay Huququ’lláh on the net value of your inheritance. (Huququ’llah, p. 37)

 What is exempted from payment?

We have exempted the residence and the household furnishings, that is, such furnishings as are needful  (Huququ’llah, p. 4)

Question: Is Huququ’lláh payable on such equipment of a store as is necessary for the carrying on of business . . . Answer: It is under the same ruling as the household furnishings. (Huququ’llah, p. 4)

It hath been decreed by God that a property which is not lucrative, that is, yieldeth no profit, is not subject to the payment of Huquq. (Huququ’llah, p. 8)

Possessions on which Huquq was paid the previous year will be exempt from further payment. (Huququ’llah, p. 24)

However, any money or possession which is necessary in producing income for one’s subsistence, and on which Huquq hath once been paid is exempt from Huquq. This exemption also applieth to a property on which Huquq hath already been paid, and the income of which doth not exceed one’s needs (Huququ’llah, p. 24)

However, if a person hath paid the Huquq on a certain property, and the income from that property is equal to his needs, no Huquq is payable by that person. (Huququ’llah, p. 25)

Huquq is not payable on agricultural tools and equipment, and on animals used in ploughing the land, to the extent that these are necessary. (Huququ’llah, p. 25)

Any expenses that may be involved in disposing of one’s assets should be deducted before calculating the net value on which Huququ’lláh is payable. (Huququ’llah, p. 37)

 How do I decide what is needful?

. . . many details in the computation of Huququ’lláh have been left by Bahá’u’lláh to the judgement and conscience of the individual believer. For example, He exempts such household equipment and furnishings as are needful, but He leaves it to the individual to decide which items are necessary and which are not. Contributions to the funds of the Faith cannot be considered as part of one’s payment of Huququ’lláh; moreover, if one owes Huququ’lláh and cannot afford both to pay it and to make contributions to the Fund, the payment of Huququ’lláh should take priority over making contributions. But as to whether contributions to the Fund may be treated as expenses in calculating the amount of one’s assets on which Huququ’lláh is payable; this is left to the judgement of each individual in the light of his own circumstances   (Huququ’llah, p. 38)

It is clear from the Writings that a person is exempt from paying Huququ’lláh on his residence and such household and professional equipment as are needful. It is left to the discretion of the individual to decide which items are necessary and which are not. It is obvious that the friends should not spend lavishly on residences and furnishings and rationalize these expenditures in their desire to avoid payment of Huququ’lláh. No specific text has been found exempting capital used to earn income. The Universal House of Justice leaves such matters to the consciences of individual believers. (Huququ’llah, p. 39)

Thus the friends are left free, and whenever no definite rulings exist they may fulfil in each case that which they understand from the texts, and may honour their Huququ’lláh obligations according to their own judgement and the promptings of their own conscience. (Huququ’llah, p. 41)

How rigorous am I to be in deciding what is “needful”?

Thou hast written that they have pledged themselves to observe maximum austerity in their lives with a view to forwarding the remainder of their income to His exalted presence. This matter was mentioned at His holy court. He said:  Let them act with moderation and not impose hardship upon themselves. We would like them both to enjoy a life that is well-pleasing. (Bahá’u’lláh, Huqúqu’lláh, p. 20)

Are there alternative ways to pay it?

There is no objection to offering for sale that which is donated in the name of Huquq. (Huququ’llah, p. 20)

If I haven’t paid the Huquq before I die, how is my estate to be handled?

Question: If the deceased hath left the Huquq or his debts unpaid, shall payment be made proportionately from his residence, personal clothing and other property, or are the residence and personal clothing set apart for the male offspring and shall the debts be paid out of remaining property; if such property is insufficient, what shall be done with the debts?

Answer: The debts and Huquq shall be paid out of the remaining property; should the property be insufficient, payment shall be made out of the residence and personal clothing. (Huququ’llah, p. 4-5)

Thou hast asked which is to take precedence: the Huququ’lláh, the debts of the deceased, or the cost of burial. It is God’s command that the cost of burial take precedence, then payment of debts, then the Right of God. Verily He is the One Who will pay due recompense, the All- Rewarding, the All-Generous. If the property is not equal to the debts, the estate must be distributed in direct proportion to each debt. (Huququ’llah, p. 7-8)

Concerning your question whether the heirs to whom the principal residence, furniture and clothing of the deceased are transferred by way of inheritance will be exempt from the payment of Huquq or not, he said: Since the residence, furniture and the tools of trade have, in accordance with the explicit Text, been granted exemption from the Huquq, therefore when the transfer of ownership takes place such possessions continue to be exempt. (Huququ’llah, p. 30-31)