Frequently Asked Questions
1. How can I contribute to the Bahá’í Fund?
You should consult your Spiritual Assembly and arrange to make your contributions directly to the Assembly treasurer. If the treasurer is not available, in some communities the Bahá’ís place their contributions in an envelope and send it to the treasurer via mail. In other communities with a large number of friends, the Spiritual Assembly may decide to provide a fund box, securely placed in a dignified and respectful location under the supervision of the treasurer or treasurer assistants so the friends can confidently contribute. The Bahá’í fund box should come with clear instructions on the nature of the Bahá’í contributions. Friends should place their contributions in envelopes provided by the Spiritual Assembly, write their names and community where they live before placing it in the box. The Spiritual Assembly treasurer should be the only one with a key to the fund box. If you are physically unable to bring your regular contributions to the treasurer, you are welcome to contact the local treasurer and arrange pick up from your home on regular basis. No one should be deprived of this unique privilege which Bahá’u’lláh has reserved for every believer.
2. Can I contribute to the Bahá’í Fund if I have not accepted Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation of God for this day and age??
No! Contribution to the Bahá’í Fund is a privilege reserved only for those who have accepted Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation of God for this age, and you are encouraged to read the Sacred Text on this matter or the Roaring Fountain bulletin #8.
The spiritual relationship between Bahá’u’lláh and His believers is based on a "divine Covenant" that requires a profound connection, created through worship, obedience, obligatory prayers, attending Feast, humility, rectitude of conduct, service to mankind, love for all, reverence, going on pilgrimage, generous and sacrificial offerings made to the Bahá’í Fund, and a range of other acts. Therefore, the relationship extends beyond money. It is about accepting Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation of God for this age and entering into the "divine Covenant."
3. My father was not a Bahá’í, may I give in his memory? And I live with my mother who is not a Bahá’í, may I give in her honor?
Absolutely! As someone who has accepted Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation of God for this age, you are encouraged to pray for the development of your father’s spirit in the other world. ‘Abdu’l-Bahá says, “The progress of man’s spirit in the divine world, after the severance of its connection with the body of dust, is through the bounty and grace of the Lord alone, or through the intercession and sincere prayers of other human souls, or through the charities and important good works which are performed in its name.” Simply put your name on your contribution envelope and write down, “In memory of my father [his name]”. The receipt will be issued to you in his memory.
In regards to contributions in the name of your mother who is living but not a Bahá’í, you are welcome to make contributions to the Bahá’í Fund “in her honor”.
4. I do not need a receipt for my contributions. Can I ask the treasurer not to issue receipts for me?
Yes! You are certainly welcome to request the treasurer not to issue you receipts. However, the Spiritual Assemblies are instructed to issue receipts for every contribution. The Universal House of Justice says, “The National Spiritual Assembly has the responsibility to ensure that contributions received are properly receipted, and satisfactory accounts kept of all receipts and disbursements.” ‘Abdu’l-Bahá issued a personally written receipt for every contribution to the Bahá’í Faith. There is a deeper and more meaningful reason for this exchange. This is not a normal receipt for purchase of material but a relationship with the divine Covenant. Please see “Sacred Text” and Roaring Fountain bulletin #10.
5. I just became a Bahá’í yesterday. Can I participate in the Bahá’í Fund?
Absolutely! In fact you are a co-worker in the Cause of God. What higher honor is there than this? The Universal House of Justice says, “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 meagre, to the work of the Faith.”
6. My wife is not a Bahá’í and will not allow me to give to the Bahá’í Fund. What are my alternatives?
Marriage is a sacred bond, and the couple must consult in love and harmony each day for their individual and collective development. If your wife disagrees with your contributions, you need to lovingly explain to her your spiritual obligations and read with her the “Sacred Text” part of this website. If she still does not allow you to participate in the Bahá’í Fund, you are welcome to serve and dedicate your time to the service of your community and generousely offer your energy in the path of God for the good of the society. You can hold feasts in your home, Ruhi classes, gatherings, or you can bake a cake and take it to Bahá’í functions. Giving in the path of God can be realized through non-monitory services because it is generosity, self-sacrifice, and the motive of giving that maters not the amount of money.
True generosity is evaluated by one’s motives at the time of giving. An old lady was having bread and cheese for lunch one day when Ḥájí Amín passed through her village and she got up and took her cheese and bread lunch and gave it to Ḥájí Amín as contributions for the Faith. Ḥájí Amín delivered the cheese and bread contribution to ‘Abdu’l-Bahá. It is reported that it was almost lunch time when the Master received the contribution and became so touched and delighted that He cut the bread in pieces and offered it to the pilgrims in His house stressing the exaltation of the contributor on generosity and sacrifice.
But consultation with your wife does not need to start and end with one discussion in one day and one event. People are people and relationships develop, and we must continually and lovingly consult with our spouce to create better understanding and greater unity. Over time, you and your wife can decide what is best for your individual and collective growth..
7. What is a pledge to the Spiritual Assembly and how is it different from regular contributions?
Pledges to the Spiritual Assembly, to make a specific contribution, can be made on special occasions like fundraising events, in order to achieve certain goals. Pledge are usually associated with a fundraising activity and they are definitely part of one’s journey into a life of sacrificial service for the Bahá’í Fund. But they are not part of the normal, regularly-made contributions in the path of God as revealed in the Bahá’í Scriptures. Giving to the Bahá’í Fund is a personal commitment we make with Bahá’u’lláh when we embark on our journey towards a lifetime of generous and sacrificial services. This commitment does not depend on community circumstances; it starts on the day we accept Bahá’u’lláh as the Manifestation of God for this age and goes on until the end of our lives. The Bahá’ís in Azerbaijan do not need to wait for a fundraising event to begin exercising their privilege of a life of generous giving. Start growing now!
When you do make a pledge to the Spiritual Assembly it is like extra blessings and will help you to go beyond the usual sacrifices you make. It is like extending our generosity to a new level. But there is no pressure involved, and each believer must take initiative to make sure to remember and honor his/her pledge! The Universal House of Justice says,
“Pledges can be useful as a means of encouraging contributions and of bringing the financial needs of the Cause to the attention of the friends. This method can be particularly helpful in a situation where a Spiritual Assembly has a major task to perform, such as the building of a Haziratu'l-Quds or the establishment of a tutorial school, and needs to have some idea in advance of whether the funds for the project will be available. However, it would be entirely contrary to Bahá'í principles to bring any pressure to bear when calling for pledges or when endeavouring to collect them. Once a pledge has been given it is permissible to remind the donor, privately, of his expressed intention to contribute and to enquire courteously if it would be possible for him to honour his pledge, but Assemblies must be aware that such pledges are not an obligation in any legal sense; their redemption is entirely a matter of conscience. Lists of those making pledges must not be publicized.”