North America What does Huqúqu'lláh mean to you?

Jul 2014
Thank you Romane for that very informative response...I like the way you put it "the payment of Huquq'u'llah could appear as an expense (or payment) to, when the reality it is an income (receipt) from."...That statement puts a lot of things in proper perspective for me. I am going to spend some time studying the pdf link you posted in the coming days.

From what I understand, the giving of the Huququ'llah is mandatory, or is it voluntary? In other words, is it an obligation, or is it discretionary? I am just wondering. :)
Oct 2013
Glenwood, Queensland, Australia
Good morning Thomas

From what I understand, the giving of the Huququ'llah is mandatory, or is it voluntary? In other words, is it an obligation, or is it discretionary? I am just wondering. :)
Perhaps the best way to answer this is with the words of Baha'u'llah Himself. You will find this in the compilation. I have taken the liberty of placing in italics the relevant portions as the answer:

8. As to the question of Huqúq: Reference to this matter is in no wise permissible. We have formerly enjoined upon you and Jináb-i-Amín that which will redound to the glory and dignity of the Word of God and of His Cause. Touching on this particular subject We have bidden thus: Ye may relinquish the whole world but must not allow the detraction of even one jot or tittle from the dignity of the Cause of God. Jináb-i-Amín—upon him be My glory—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. Verily, thy Lord is the Self-Sufficing, the All-Praised. Indeed, independence of all things is a door of guidance unto His faithful servants. Well is it with them that have severed themselves from the world and have arisen to serve His Cause. Verily, they are numbered with the people of Bahá at the court of His resplendent Beauty.
With warmest greetings

Dec 2012
Greetings Thomas,

That is a fabulous question, because not even the Trustees of Huqúqu’lláh can answer that question for each individual. Rather just allow them to come to their own understanding.

In many ways Huqúqu’lláh can appear to be more difficult than what it really is. This is because all people have different questions on this because at first glance it can appear to be complicated. Therefore such concerns are perfectly natural because they apply to all Bahá’ís that wish to contribute, from those on the poverty line, namely people who are actually exempt from paying it by Bahá’í law but wish to do so all the same, to those that are extremely wealthy. So it really is a spiritual challenge for all Bahá’ís, irrespective of their economic situation. In this respect do not concern yourself too much with the details because you are not alone here. Like all things it is something you learn more about it once you begin to understand the blessings and bounties that come from it. It is simply a question of deciding when to start. As you have raised this topic here, see this as a positive step in its own right. In the end the contribution is not as important as the process of being involved and many impoverished Bahá’ís understand this all too well and wish to partake because of this.

The first stage with Huqúqu’lláh is in deciding to undertake it. While the Universal House of Justice has made this process available to Bahá’ís in the west since 1992, it is really more important to appreciate that believers have to decide for themselves when it is right for them to commence this law. In this respect, based on the excellent quotation offered by Romane, do appreciate that it can never be truly obligatory, even if a few Bahá’ís might suggest otherwise. So never feel ashamed or embarrassed of starting now, even if you have been a Bahá’í for a long time. In the end the Bahá’í Faith has no legal right to look into the financial affairs of individuals, so this is a self regulating law more than anything else. That is to say it is taken on faith.

To begin with it is good to sit down and list your exemptions. These include the cost of your home, or at least the mortgage or rent, the cost of your food, education and a host of other things that only you can deem to be necessary. Exemptions will also apply to other things you will purchase in time. It is important to be very honest with yourself here along with any needs your family may have because the aim is not to rob yourself or your family of the things that you believe are necessary for your wellbeing. For instance some Bahá’ís consider a wide range of things as being necessary for them, like books, computers, cars and they are perfectly within their right to make the cost of these things exempt from Huqúqu’lláh. In the end it is more about understanding your own needs and values more than anything else and this in many ways is one of its strengths. For it allows you to understand yourself in ways that you may not have truly done before now. There is no shame in seeing the need to have material things along with having insurance to protect them if they have a positive impact on your life. So the primary principle of Huqúqu’lláh is to apply a realistic appreciation of your needs rather that seeking to force you to make any financial contributions that will be a burden to you.

As a general simple guide, and I do mean at its most basic level, to help you taste what it is like, once you have a list of your exemptions, then it is just a question of paying 19% of the costs of your luxuries. So if you consider a TV to be a luxury and it costs $1,000, then this means that 19% of this cost, namely $190 is payable as Huqúqu’lláh. That is to say at its simplest level you can pay Huqúqu’lláh on individual luxury items. Many people that have modest means find this works well for them for it allows them to keep track of their expenditure day to day.

Regardless of your level of maths, simply take the cost of the luxury item, then divide that by 100 (this will always be 1% of the total cost). Then multiply this by 19 to obtain the amount payable as Huqúqu’lláh. Without in any way intending to be patronising, generally I find that many people need assistance with the basic maths rather than the law itself and once they can do this they are capable of understanding the general principle much more easily. For many this is enough for them to participate because it is such an easy method.

While this is my personal choice, when you start paying Huqúqu’lláh I generally advise Bahá’ís to start with a clean slate, otherwise you can end up developing a guilt complex over making payments for luxuries you have already obtained and used. So if you only apply it to new things that you purchase from the time you elect to start and consider all former luxuries as being necessities for you at that time, this will be much easier for you. It means you will be freed from developing a guilt complex over luxuries that you previously purchased. In time you will learn the value of having stocks of purified wealth to purchase luxuries with, but to begin with it is often beneficial to keep things as simple as possible in order to appreciate how it works along with being able to monitor your own progress and understanding. The mistake many Bahá’ís from the West make is they want to do it correctly right from the start. As you will learn this is nearly impossible because it is as much an evolutionary process of understanding as much as anything else. In the end one comes to realise that all luxuries are pointless and only things that allow you and others to grow have good material value. This of course ends up revolutionising your own economic values and allows you to think and act in more dynamic ways and this then becomes a tool for acquiring greater wealth. So it is an excellent discipline to acquire. In the end you actually end up being wealthier through paying Huqúqu’lláh, but one has to apply it to understand how this really works.

Try to keep things as simple as possible when you start and only pay it on your luxuries, not your savings, because you can offer Huqúqu’lláh from your savings in your last Will and Testament, and in truth, no one knows how their savings will be used in an uncertain world until they have enough to see them through difficult times. As you start to become more proficient at doing this in an easy and simple manner you will naturally start to devise your own system inline with the finer points of the law and this can be tailormade to your own needs. As you progress, the process will become easier and seem very natural.

Songwriter and singer Dave Mallett touches on the bounty of the principle of such spiritual values more than many. The following link to one of his well known songs has had a profound spiritual impact on people that can grasp its deeper meaning. In the same way Huqúqu’lláh fosters spiritual development in individuals because it helps them to focus more on developing their personal lives towards obtaining excellence rather than becoming concerned with trivial matters. This is why is it offers enormous personal rewards. Learn to enjoy these because life is all about finding a unique role that is perfectly suited for yourself. In this respect Huqúqu’lláh is actually a tremendous tool for personal development.

Dave Mallett - Garden Song - YouTube

If you feel you would like some personal assistance with understanding Huqúqu’lláh, never be afraid to invite a Trustee of Huqúqu’lláh to your local community or home to discuss this topic. Far from acting like tax collectors, the Trustees are enormously helpful to all Bahá’ís that wish to progress in their understanding and development in this area as it is never too late to start. All Bahá’ís have to start somewhere. So learn to be kind to yourself too. For in the end, before we actually start Huqúqu’lláh, we merely see many things as necessities. That is all. In truth there is nothing wrong with this because faith progresses in stages. So partaking of the bounty of Huqúqu’lláh allows us to simply tune our bodies and minds to becoming more like gardeners in, what the Guardian called, the Divine Vineyard.


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