Dedication to the Sacredness of the Bahá’í Fund 

Compiled by the National Spiritual Assembly of Azerbaijan

Privilege Reserved

for Every Bahá’í

 

Privilege Reserved by Bahá’u’lláh

to His Declared Followers

One of the distinguishing features of the Cause of God is its principle of non-acceptance of financial contributions for its own purposes from non-Bahá’ís: support of the Bahá’í Fund is a bounty reserved by Bahá’u’lláh to His declared followers.   

-The Universal House of Justice

 

It is to the believers, and to the believers alone, that Bahá’u’lláh has given the bounty of contributing the material things of this world for the progress of His Faith. It is not the amount of the contribution which is important, but the degree of self-sacrifice that it entails—for it is this that attracts the confirmations of God.

-The Universal House of Justice

 

Only those who have already identified themselves with the Faith and are regarded as its avowed and unreserved supporters should be invited to join and collaborate…. The reason for this is twofold: First because the institutions which the Bahá'ís are gradually building are in the nature of gifts from Bahá'u'lláh to the world; and secondly the acceptance of funds from non-believers for specific Bahá'í use would, sooner or later, involve the Bahá'ís in unforeseen complications.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

There is a profound aspect to the relationship between a believer and the Fund, which holds true irrespective of his or her economic condition. When a human soul accepts Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation of God for this age and enters into the divine Covenant, that soul should progressively bring his or her whole life into harmony with the divine purpose—he becomes a co-worker in the Cause of God and receives the bounty of being permitted to devote his material possessions, no matter how meager, to the work of the Faith.  Giving to the Fund, therefore, is a spiritual privilege, not open to those who have not accepted Bahá’u’lláh, of which no believer should deny himself. It is both a responsibility and a source of bounty.

-The Universal House of Justice

 

The contribution which has been made by your friend who has not been active in the Cause for a short time will be the means of stimulating her to renewed service. There is nothing that brings success in the Faith like service. Service is the magnet which draws the divine confirmations. Thus, when a person is active, they are blessed by the Holy Spirit. When they are inactive, the Holy Spirit cannot find a repository in their being, and thus they are deprived of its healing and quickening rays.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

Any Bahá'í can give to the Cause's Funds, adult or child. No statement is required on this subject; Bahá'í children have always given to the Cause, everywhere.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

All donations and contributions should be offered to the Treasurer of the Assembly, for the express purpose of promoting the interests of the Cause, throughout that locality or country.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

Thought to Ponder:

Spiritual Development

Even though Shoghi Effendi would urge every believer to sacrifice as much as possible for the sake of contributing towards the fund of the National Assembly, yet he would discourage the friends to incur debts for that purpose.  We are asked to give what we have, not what we do not possess, especially if such an act causes suffering to others.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

Grave Spiritual Responsibility

 
 

Youth!

Ye have become Celestial

 

Grave Spiritual Responsibility

Contributing to the Fund is a service that every believer can render, be he poor or wealthy; for this is a spiritual responsibility in which the amount given is not important. It is the degree of the sacrifice of the giver, the love with which he makes his gift, and the unity of all the friends in this service which bring spiritual confirmations.

-The Universal House of Justice

 

Every Bahá’í, no matter how poor, must realize what a grave responsibility he has to shoulder in this connection, and should have confidence that his spiritual progress as a believer in the World Order of Bahá’u’lláh will largely depend upon the measure in which he proves, in deeds, his readiness to support materially the Divine institutions of his Faith.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

To offer contributions towards this end [in support of the activities of the Spiritual Assembly] is one of the pressing requirements of the Cause of God, is deemed highly essential, and is of fundamental importance. Next to the payment of the Huqúq it is the obligation of every Bahá'í.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

The importance of contributing resides in the degree of sacrifice of the giver, the spirit of devotion with which the contribution is made and the unity of the friends in this service; these attract the confirmations of God and enhance the dignity and self-respect of the individuals and the community.

-The Universal House of Justice

 

The friends must understand that whilst no Assembly or individual may force the friends to give to the Faith, such giving has been considered in our Teachings as a spiritual obligation and an act of sacrifice, which is closely related to the spiritual development of the individual believer.

-The Universal House of Justice

 

There can be no limit to one's contributions.… The more one can give the better it is, especially when such offerings necessitate the sacrifice of other wants and desires on the part of the donor.  The harder the sacrifice the more meritorious will it be, of course, in the sight of God.  For after all it is not so much the quantity of one's offerings that matters, but rather the measure of deprivation that such offerings entail.

-Shoghi Effendi

Thought to Ponder:

Spiritual Development

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.  Verily thy Lord is the All-Sufficing, the All-Praised.

‑Bahá’u’lláh

 

Were a person to offer all the treasures of the earth at the cost of debasing the honour of the Cause of God, were it even less than a grain of mustard, such an offering would not be permissible. All the world hath belonged and will always belong to God.

‑Bahá’u’lláh

 

If a person is willing to make his offering with utmost contentment, its acceptance is permissible, otherwise our merciful Lord is independent of all mankind.

‑Bahá'u'lláh

God hath, at all times and under all conditions, been wholly independent of His creatures.

‑The Báb

Youth!

Ye have become celestial

Praise ye God, that in this age of youth ye have entered the Kingdom of God! Ye have become enlightened. Ye have become celestial, divine and heavenly…. Through the graces of His Holiness, Bahá’u’lláh … I cherish the hope that ye will, day by day, progress more and more in the Kingdom of God.

-‘Abdu’l-Bahá

 

This is the Springtime of benevolent deeds, were ye of them that comprehend.

-Bahá’u’lláh

 

The youth are indeed those to whom the Cause should perforce offer its greatest appeal, as it holds alone the promise for their future security.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

Any Bahá'í can give to the Cause's Funds, adult or child. No statement is required on this subject; Bahá'í children have always given to the Cause, everywhere. Whatever situation may arise in a class which non-Bahá'í children attend is for the teacher of the class to solve. No ruling should be made to cover such things.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

The importance of contributing resides in the degree of sacrifice of the giver, the spirit of devotion with which the contribution is made and the unity of the friends in this service; these attract the confirmations of God and enhance the dignity and self-respect of the individuals and the community.

-The Universal House of Justice

Thought to Ponder:

Spiritual Development

Making regular contributions to the fund is a spiritual bounty. It is an expression of love. All of the friends including the youth have been given a unique privilege to give to the Funds. Even the junior youth and the children are blessed with the opportunity of contributing in the path of God. They are encouraged to use their God given privilege.

 

-National Spiritual Assembly of Azerbaijan

Direct and Unavoidable Responsibility

Direct and Unavoidable

Responsibility

A corollary to the sacred obligation of the friends to contribute to the Funds of the Faith, is the direct and unavoidable responsibility of each Local and National Assembly to educate them in the spiritual principles related to Bahá’í contributions. Failure to educate the friends in this aspect of the Faith is tantamount to consciously depriving them of the spiritual benefits accruing from giving in the path of God.

-The Universal House of Justice

 

The House of Justice appreciates the difficult task of educating the Local Assemblies and the believers in the importance of contributing regularly and sacrificially to the Fund and it feels sure that you frequently remind them of the principles of universal participation in this.

-The Universal House of Justice

 

The Guardian would advise your Assembly to continue impressing upon the believers the necessity of their contributing regularly to the national fund, irrespective of whether there is an emergency to be met or not. Nothing short of a continuous flow of contributions to that fund can, indeed, ensure the financial stability upon which so much of the progress of the institutions of the Faith must now inevitably depend.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

The friends should certainly be encouraged and even urged to support financially this, as well as other national institutions of the Cause. But they should, under no circumstances, be required to do so.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

The National Assembly should neither feel embarrassed nor ashamed in turning to the friends, continuously appealing to them to exemplify their faith and devotion to the Cause by sacrificing for it, and pointing out to them that they will grow spiritually through their acts of self-abnegation, that the fear of poverty should not deter them from sacrificing for the Fund, and that the assistance and bounty of the Source of all good and of all wealth are unfailing and assured.

-The Universal House of Justice

 

These Assemblies should not hesitate, nor be diffident, in speaking of the Fund to the believers. The friends in the mass teaching areas… are full and equal members of the Bahá’í community; they should know their blessings and responsibilities… Service to God and His Cause is the heart of the life of every true believer and contributing to the Fund is a vital aspect of such service.

-The Universal House of Justice

Thought to Ponder:

Spiritual Development

I feel urged to remind you of the necessity of ever bearing in mind the cardinal principle that all contributions to the Fund are to be purely and strictly voluntary in character. It should be made clear and evident to every one that any form of compulsion, however slight and indirect, strikes at the very root of the principle underlying the formation of the Fund ever since its inception. While appeals of a general character, carefully worded and moving and dignified in tone are welcome under all circumstances, [but] it should be left entirely to the discretion of every conscientious believer to decide upon the nature, the amount, and purpose of his or her contribution.

-Shoghi Effendi

 

Gatherings for collection of funds are permissible if it is done with a true spirit of sacrifice, not when the audience is especially aroused to a frenzy, and mob psychology is used to induce them to pay. No pressure should be used upon the friends, and psychological pressure falls under that category. There is much difference between such gatherings, often used by religious bodies, and a true quiet, prayerful atmosphere when a person is of his own accord aroused to make some sacrifice… All the activities of the Cause should be carried through, in a dignified manner.

-Shoghi Effendi

Messages of the

Universal House of Justice

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

7 August 1985

To National Spiritual Assemblies

 

Dear Bahá’í Friends,

This letter and the annexed memorandum of comments are addressed primarily to those National Spiritual Assemblies whose communities include large numbers of materially poor people but inasmuch as the principles expressed, as distinct from some of the procedures suggested, are of universal application, they are being sent to all National Assemblies.

 

There is a profound aspect to the relationship between a believer and the Fund, which holds true irrespective of his or her economic condition. When a human soul accepts Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation of God for this age and enters into the divine Covenant, that soul should progressively bring his or her whole life into harmony with the divine purpose—he becomes a co-worker in the Cause of God and receives the bounty of being permitted to devote his material possessions, no matter how meager, to the work of the Faith.

 

Giving to the Fund, therefore, is a spiritual privilege not open to those who have not accepted Bahá’u’lláh, of which no believer should deny himself. It is both a responsibility and a source of bounty. This is an aspect of the Cause which, we feel, is an essential part of the basic teaching and deepening of new believers. The importance of contributing resides in the degree of sacrifice of the giver, the spirit of devotion with which the contribution is made and the unity of the friends in this service; these attract the confirmations of God and enhance the dignity and self-respect of the individuals and the community.

 

To reemphasize the spiritual significance of contributing to the Faith by all members of the Bahá’í community, we quote the following extract from a letter of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Central and East Africa dated 8 August 1957:  All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. Upon the degree of self-sacrifice involved in these individual contributions will directly depend the efficacy and the spiritual influence which these nascent administrative institutions, called into being through the power of Bahá’u’lláh, and by virtue of the Design conceived by the Center of His Covenant, will exert. A sustained and strenuous effort must henceforth be made by the rank and file of the avowed upholders of the Faith …

 

We assure you of our prayers at the Sacred Threshold for your guidance and confirmation as you labor to develop this aspect of Bahá’í life in your communities.

 

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

18 December 1963

To the Bahá’ís of East and West

 

 

Dear Friends,

With the rapid approach of the launching of the Nine Year Plan, the Universal House of Justice feels that it is timely to lay clearly before the Bahá’ís of all countries, the needs of the Fund at all its levels: local, national, continental and international.

 

The continual expansion of the Faith and the diversification of the activities of Bahá’í communities make it more and more necessary for every believer to ponder carefully his responsibilities and contribute as much and as regularly as he or she can. Contributing to the Fund is a service that every believer can render, be he poor or wealthy; for this is a spiritual responsibility in which the amount given is not important. It is the degree of the sacrifice of the giver, the love with which he makes his gift, and the unity of all the friends in this service which bring spiritual confirmations. As the beloved Guardian wrote in August 1957: “All, no matter how modest their resources, must participate. Upon the degree of self-sacrifice involved in these individual contributions will directly depend the efficacy and the spiritual influence which these nascent administrative institutions, called into being through the power of Bahá’u’lláh, and by virtue of the Design conceived by the Center of His Covenant, will exert.”

 

Not only the individual’s responsibility to contribute is important at this time, but also the uses to which the fund is put and the areas in which it is expended.

 

Much of the present rapid expansion of the Faith is taking place in areas of great poverty where the believers, however much they sacrifice, cannot produce sufficient funds to sustain the work. It is these very areas which are the most fruitful in teaching, and a sum of money spent here will produce ten times—even a hundred times—the results obtainable in other parts of the world. Yet in the past months the Universal House of Justice has had to refuse a number of appeals for assistance from such areas because there just was not enough money in the International Fund.

 

It should therefore be the aim of every local and national community to become not only self-supporting, but to expend its funds with such wisdom and economy as to be able to contribute substantially to the Bahá’í International Fund, thus enabling the House of Justice to aid the work in fruitful but impoverished areas, to assist new National Assemblies to start their work, to contribute to major international undertakings of the Nine Year Plan such as Oceanic Conferences, and to carry forward the work of beautifying the land surrounding the Holy Shrines at the World Center of the Faith.

 

Nor should the believers, individually or in their Assemblies, forget the vitally important Continental Funds which provide for the work of the Hands of the Cause of God and their Auxiliary Boards. This divine institution, so assiduously fostered by the Guardian, and which has already played a unique role in the history of the Faith, is destined to render increasingly important services in the years to come.

In the midst of a civilization torn by strifes and enfeebled by materialism, the people of Bahá are building a new world. We face at this time opportunities and responsibilities of vast magnitude and great urgency. Let each believer in his inmost heart resolve not to be seduced by the ephemeral allurements of the society around him, nor to be drawn into its feuds and short-lived enthusiasms, but instead to transfer all he can from the old world to that new one which is the vision of his longing and will be the fruit of his labors.

 

With loving greetings,

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

20 April 1990

To all National Spiritual Assemblies

 

 

Dear Bahá’í Friends,

Twenty-five years ago, when the International Deputization Fund was established in the Holy Land by the Universal House of Justice and the friends were invited to contribute to it in support of pioneering and traveling teaching projects throughout the world, these illuminating words of Bahá’u’lláh were quoted:

Center your energies in the propagation of the Faith of God. Whoso is worthy of so high a calling, let him arise and promote it. Whoso is unable, it is his duty to appoint him who will, in his stead, proclaim this Revelation, whose power hath caused the foundations of the mightiest structures to quake, every mountain to be crushed into dust, and every soul to be dumbfounded.…

It is clear from this injunction of Bahá’u’lláh’s that the primary responsibility to promote the propagation of the Faith of God rests on the individual believer. It is, likewise, his responsibility, if he is unable to discharge this duty, to appoint one who will, in his stead, proclaim this Revelation.

Many of the friends have, ever since these words were revealed by Bahá’u’lláh, succeeded in responding to the call. A great number have not found it easy to select suitable and qualified deputies willing to undertake such a task for them.

We feel that the time has come, as the Bahá’í world is rapidly moving towards the end of the Six Year Plan, for National Spiritual Assemblies to take an active part in facilitating the selection and appointment of suitable pioneers and traveling teachers, by providing a link between those wishing to deputize, and those qualified and ready to be deputized. The manner in which this objective can be achieved is left to the discretion of each National Spiritual Assembly, which should consider the conditions of its national community, and determine, preferably in consultation with the Counselors or their representatives, the wisest and most effective course of action to follow. It is hoped that whatever procedures are adopted, they will assist the friends to fulfill their responsibilities, to the extent possible, in the manner prescribed by Bahá’u’lláh.

The way is, of course, always open for the friends to use the International Deputization Fund as the vehicle of their compliance with Bahá’u’lláh’s injunction. Thus, those who are unable, or find it difficult, to identify suitable candidates to be designated as their deputies are able to send their contributions to the International Deputization Fund on a regular basis in order to fulfill their sacred obligation for the promotion of the teaching work.

Responsibility for the administration of this Fund has been assigned to the International Teaching Centre and, in its turn, the Teaching Center makes specific allocations through the Continental Pioneer Committees, whose memberships have recently been renewed and made known to the friends. A few months ago short-term pioneer projects were announced and the concept of short-term pioneers has been received with great excitement by the friends everywhere. Whenever supplementary funds are needed to assist in the prosecution of these projects, or to finance long-term pioneering and traveling teaching projects, application could be made to the International Deputization Fund. National Spiritual Assemblies, therefore, could work out cost estimates of projects needing financial support, and submit their requests for budget assistance to the Continental Pioneer Committees.

The occasion demands that the followers of Bahá’u’lláh should wholeheartedly, with fresh enthusiasm and renewed dedication, step into this arena of service. It is our hope and prayer that through such universal participation in this mighty endeavor, those whose circumstances do not enable them at this time to fulfill the Beloved’s call, as clearly enunciated in His celebrated passage quoted above, will discharge their obligation by contributing to the International Deputization Fund, thus providing the means whereby others may propel the remaining stages of the Six Year Plan to a triumphant conclusion.

 

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE
DEPARTMENT OF THE SECRETARIAT

1 July 1993

[To an individual]

 

 

Dear Bahá’í Friend,

The Universal House of Justice was touched to receive your letter of 11 June 1993 which evinces such devotion to the Cause of God. It has asked us to send you the following reply.

The House of Justice has never gone to the extreme of telling the friends that now is the time to give their long-range savings to the Fund. It sets forth the needs of the Cause, and calls upon the believers to sacrifice, but the degree and manner of his sacrifice depends on each believer’s own faith and good judgment in light of his responsibilities. Again and again in His Writings Bahá’u’lláh emphasizes the need for moderation in all things, and He upholds the importance of using wisdom in all we do and say.

Devoted believers in every age have found it challenging to decide how much of their worldly wealth they should give to the Cause of God, and how much they should use to meet their many responsibilities of life, such as educating their children, preparing for their old age so that they will not be a burden on others, and so forth. You will recall the story of the Muslim who asked Muḥammad whether he should tie up his camel or trust in God that it would not run away. Muḥammad’s answer was that he should tie up the camel and trust in God! In this Dispensation, by the institution of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, Bahá’u’lláh has provided us with a measure. We are all obliged to pay that portion of our savings that is God’s Right. What remains thereafter is ours to use at our own discretion, for the promotion of the work of the Cause and for helping others less fortunate than ourselves.  In the Hidden Words Bahá’u’lláh revealed:

O My Servant! The best of men are they that earn a livelihood by their calling and spend upon themselves and upon their kindred for the love of God, the Lord of all worlds.

Furthermore, in the twelfth Glad-Tidings He stated:

The most despised of men in the sight of God are those who sit idly and beg. Hold ye fast unto the cord of material means, placing your whole trust in God, the Provider of all means. When anyone occupieth himself in a craft or trade, such occupation itself is regarded in the estimation of God as an act of worship; and this is naught but a token of His infinite and all-pervasive bounty.

Thus to earn a livelihood is a spiritual obligation, and one should not consciously place oneself in a position where one would have to beg others for material support.

It is against this background of responsibility for oneself and one’s family that each person must estimate the degree to which he or she can sacrifice for the Funds of the Faith. The range of options and decisions that the believers can make regarding the management of their personal finances without jeopardizing their future security are great, and can only be evaluated by each individual.

The House of Justice asks us to assure you of its prayers at the Sacred Threshold that you may be assisted with divine guidance and confirmations in all your devoted services on behalf of the Faith of Bahá’u’lláh.

 

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

Department of the Secretariat

THE UNIVERSAL HOUSE OF JUSTICE

19 November 1974

The National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of Italy

 

 

Dear Bahá’í Friends,

In your letter of 11 September you say that the questions of how to help the Third World or the poor who are suffering under calamities are much discussed in your community and you wish to know whether to create a special fund for such needs, to ask for special contributions from time to time, or whether there are other ways in which you could help.

It is understandable that Bahá’ís who witness the miserable conditions under which so many human beings have to live, or who hear of a sudden disaster that has struck a certain area of the world, are moved to do something practical to ameliorate those conditions and to help their suffering fellow-mortals.

There are many ways in which help can be rendered. Every Bahá’í has the duty to acquire a trade or profession through which he will earn that wherewith he can support himself and his family; in the choice of such work he can seek those activities which are of benefit to his fellowmen and not merely those which promote his personal interests, still less those whose effects are actually harmful.

There are also the situations in which an individual Bahá’í or a Spiritual Assembly is confronted with an urgent need which neither justice nor compassion could allow to go unheeded and unhelped. How many are the stories told of ‘Abdu’l‑Bahá in such situations, when He would even take off a garment He was wearing and give it to a shivering man in rags.

But in our concern for such immediate obvious calls upon our succor we must not allow ourselves to forget the continuing, appalling burden of suffering under which millions of human beings are always groaning—a burden which they have borne for century upon century and which it is the mission of Bahá’u’lláh to lift at last. The principal cause of this suffering, which one can witness wherever one turns, is the corruption of human morals and the prevalence of prejudice, suspicion, hatred, untrustworthiness, selfishness and tyranny among men. It is not merely material well-being that people need. What they desperately need is to know how to live their lives—they need to know who they are, to what purpose they exist, and how they should act towards one another; and, once they know the answers to these questions they need to be helped to gradually apply these answers to everyday behavior. It is to the solution of this basic problem of mankind that the greater part of all our energy and resources should be directed. There are mighty agencies in this world, governments, foundations, institutions of many kinds with tremendous financial resources which are working to improve the material lot of human beings. Anything we Bahá’ís could add to such resources in the way of special funds or contributions would be a negligible drop in the ocean. However, alone among men we have the divinely given remedy for the real ills of mankind; no one else is doing or can do this most important work, and if we divert our energy and our funds into fields in which others are already doing more than we can hope to do, we shall be delaying the diffusion of the Divine Message which is the most important task of all.

Because of such an attitude, and also because of our refusal to become involved in politics, Bahá’ís are often accused of holding aloof from the “real problems” of their fellowmen. But when we hear this accusation let us not forget that those who make it are usually idealistic materialists to whom material good is the only “real” good, whereas we know that the working of the material world is merely a reflection of spiritual conditions and until the spiritual conditions can be changed there can be no lasting change for the better in material affairs.

We should also remember that most people have no clear concept of the sort of world they wish to build, nor how to go about building it. Even those who are concerned to improve conditions are therefore reduced to combating every apparent evil that takes their attention. Willingness to fight against evils, whether in the form of conditions or embodied in evil men, has thus become for most people the touchstone by which they judge a person’s moral worth. Bahá’ís, on the other hand, know the goal they are working towards and know what they must do, step by step, to attain it. Their whole energy is directed towards the building of the good, a good which has such a positive strength that in the face of it the multitude of evils—which are in essence negative—will fade away and be no more. To enter into the quixotic tournament of demolishing one by one the evils in the world is, to a Bahá’í, a vain waste of time and effort. His whole life is directed towards proclaiming the Message of Bahá’u’lláh, reviving the spiritual life of his fellowmen, uniting them in a divinely created World Order, and then, as the Order grows in strength and influence, he will see the power of that Message transforming the whole human society and progressively solving the problems and removing the injustices which have so long bedeviled the world.

With loving Bahá’í greetings,

[signed: The Universal House of Justice]

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