Ḥuqúqu’lláh—The Right of God


3. Functions of the Trustees of Ḥuqúqu’lláh and the Spiritual Assemblies

Extracts from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh

He is the True, the Faithful!

O Abu’l-Ḥasan!8 God willing thou art sustained by His lordly favours and art occupied with such deeds as befit His Day. Regard faith as a tree: its fruits and leaves, its branches and boughs are, and ever have been, truthfulness, trustworthiness, rectitude of conduct, and forbearance. Be assured of God’s sustaining grace, and engage thyself with service to His Faith. We have designated thee a trustee of God, have bidden thee to observe that which shall exalt the Cause of Him Who is the Lord of the worlds, and have bestowed upon thee the right to receive Ḥuqúqu’lláh. Consort with the people in a spirit of amity and concord, and be unto them a loyal counsellor and a loving companion. Content thyself then with that which We have ordained for thee.


As to the question of Ḥuqúq: Reference to this matter is in no wise permissible. 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 as 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.


O Abu’l-Ḥasan!9

May my Glory rest upon thee! Fix thy gaze upon the glory of the Cause. Speak forth that which will attract the hearts and the minds. To demand the Ḥuqúq is in no wise permissible. This command was revealed in the Book of God for various necessary matters ordained by God to be dependent upon material means. 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.


Whenever they make reference to the Ḥuqúq, let them confine themselves to a mere word uttered for the sake of God and this will suffice; coercion is unnecessary, inasmuch as God hath never wished that those engaged in His service should experience any hardship. Verily He is the Forgiving, the Merciful, the Gracious, the All-Bountiful.


If a person is willing to offer the Right of God, such offering should be received by the Trustees, to whom reference hath been made in the Book of God. This ordinance hath, in view of certain considerations, been revealed from the heaven of divine Revelation as a token of His grace. The advantages arising therefrom shall fall to the individuals themselves. Verily He speaketh the truth and there is none other God but Him, the Mighty, the Powerful.

Any amount received by them will be transmitted. Great is the blessedness of them that observe His bidding.


Whoso desireth to offer Ḥuqúqu’lláh with the utmost joy and eagerness should pay it to trustworthy persons like unto thyself10 and obtain a receipt, so that whatsoever is effected may conform to His sanction and permission. Verily He is the Knowing, the Wise.


Thou hast written that those individuals had been told that payments for the Ḥuqúqu’lláh cannot be handed over to every person. This assertion is indeed true. The Ḥuqúqu’lláh should be kept in the custody of trusted individuals and forwarded to His holy court through the Trustees of God.


To discharge one’s obligations is highly praiseworthy in the sight of God. However, it is not permitted to solicit Ḥuqúq from anyone. Beseech ye the one true God to enable His loved ones to offer that which is the Right of God, inasmuch as the observance of this injunction would cause one’s possessions to be purified and protected and would become the means of attracting goodly gifts and heavenly blessings.


Someone must needs remind the servants of God, that perchance they may be privileged to meet their obligation of Ḥuqúq, thus attaining a sublime station and gaining a reward that would last for ever. The payments for the Ḥuqúq should be kept in the custody of a trusted person and a report submitted so that steps may be taken according to the good pleasure of God.


O Amín! Upon thee be My glory. It behoveth thee to have the utmost regard for the dignity of the Cause of God in all circumstances…. We exhort thee to keep thine eyes directed to the horizon of dignity and, while being mindful of His sublime words: “...yet warn them, for in truth warning will profit the believers”,11 to give the friends of God a gentle reminder in a spirit of amity and concord. Indeed, whoever is graciously enabled to fulfil this obligation, he will be reckoned among the sincere lovers of God in the lucid Book; but if not, no one should contend with him.

In this Day the glances of God—exalted be His glory—are directed towards the hearts of men and to the goodly pearls treasured therein. This beseemeth the Lord and His chosen ones—glorified be His majesty. It behoveth thee to pray on behalf of the friends and loved ones of God, that He may graciously enable them to fulfil that which is ordained in the Book, and that they may not be hindered by vain imaginings and the transitory things of the world.


Extract from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

A third requisite12 is the promulgation of the divine commandments among the friends, such as the Obligatory Prayers, Fasting, Pilgrimage, Ḥuqúqu’lláh and all the other ordinances.


Extract from a Letter Written on Behalf of Shoghi Effendi

The paying of the Ḥuqúq is a spiritual obligation; the friends must not be obliged by the Assemblies to pay it, but they should be encouraged to fulfil this spiritual obligation laid upon them in the Aqdas.

(12 October 1946, to a National Spiritual Assembly) [92]

Extracts from Letters Written by and on Behalf of the Universal House of Justice

Since the Ḥuqúqu’lláh has, according to the injunction in the Book, been designated as one of the institutions of the Cause, and inasmuch as the fulfilment of this obligation is binding on the people of Bahá, therefore it is deemed appropriate that your Spiritual Assembly should fully familiarize the dear friends in Persia with the significance of this momentous responsibility and to promulgate gradually in the entire community such ordinances related to Ḥuqúqu’lláh as are laid down in His perspicuous Book. Obviously in pursuance of the explicit Texts solicitation of the Ḥuqúqu’lláh is not permissible, but it is the responsibility of those Trustees of the Cause to address appeals of a general character to the dear friends, so that they may become more informed about this essential obligation. God willing, through the occasional reminders issued by your Assembly, they may gain the privilege and honour of achieving this benevolent deed—a deed that draws forth heavenly blessings, serves as a means of purifying the earthly possessions of the devoted friends, and promotes the international activities of the people of Bahá.

(27 October 1963, written by the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, translated from the Persian) [93]

Undoubtedly the friends are illumined with the light of the fear of God and are fully conscious of the need to purify and protect their possessions in accordance with the decisive Words revealed by our Lord, the Most High.

In these turbulent days, we that yearn for Him, fervently turn in prayer to the court of the Lord of mankind that He may graciously enable that august Assembly to repeatedly remind the lovers of the Beauty of the All-Merciful of the vital importance and the binding character of this sacred and heavenly injunction. Through issuing announcements, distributing leaflets and in gatherings, schools and conferences held by the followers of our Zealous Lord, they should be guided and encouraged to observe strictly and conscientiously that which His divine commandment has enjoined upon them, so 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.

(12 September 1969, written by the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of Iran, translated from the Persian) [94]

The continuing responsibility for educating the believers in the law of Ḥuqúqu’lláh is shared by all the institutions of the Faith. But your deputies and their representatives, through the close relationships which they are forming with individual believers, will be able to advance their understanding of the spiritual and practical aspects of this law in an especially effective way. The primary need at this time, we believe, is … for the friends to be encouraged to understand and accept the responsibility which rests on every true-hearted follower of the Faith to apply the principles of the law to the specific details of his or her own condition. The members of your institution, through wise and tactful comments and explanations, can assist them to do this, while refraining from exerting, or appearing to exert, any form of pressure.

A major challenge now before those devoted friends who have been called to serve as your deputies and representatives is the organization of their own work to ensure a reliable system for the acceptance, receipting, custody and remittance of the funds of Ḥuqúqu’lláh. It is love for Bahá’u’lláh which will be the primary motive for the friends in obeying this law, but they will carry out their duty with greater assurance and promptitude the greater their confidence in and respect for those on whom has been conferred the responsibility of receiving this Right of God on your behalf.

(13 November 1992, written by the Universal House of Justice to the Trustee of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, the Hand of the Cause of God ‘Alí-Muḥammad Varqá) [95]

The functions you have been summoned to perform are vital. You are charged with the responsibility to educate the believers in the law presented to them in the Kitáb-i-Aqdas to render payment unto God of a specific portion of their material assets. Your task is essentially spiritual, that of drawing the attention of the friends to their obligations as followers of Bahá’u’lláh and thus of playing a significant role in fostering the development of the relationships of love and obedience which must bind the believer to his Creator. In a world preoccupied with self-indulgence, you are called upon to revive the hallowed concept of religious duty and obligation.

The work in which you are engaged is most challenging. It concerns promulgation of a law which is fundamental to the individual’s spiritual life, and the attitude with which it is carried out is an essential feature of its observance. The befitting discharge of your functions requires the utmost sensitivity and discretion, to avoid undue pressure on believers to adhere to a law which is a matter of conscience, and to find the proper mode of communication which provides timely reminders while refraining from unproductive repetition.

Central to the success of your endeavours is the extent to which you are able to create and sustain a relationship of love and trust with the believers you are called upon to assist, so that they will, through their association and interaction with you, be motivated to adhere wholeheartedly to the law of Ḥuqúqu’lláh and to partake of its inestimable spiritual benefits.

These are still early days in the worldwide development of the institution of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, which will expand and flourish in the centuries to come, and will provide material resources essential for the advancement of the human race. How important, then, that such an institution be distinguished by the impeccable probity with which it is administered, and by the evident trustworthiness of those who serve it. Assuredly your efforts will continue to be exerted in a manner that will enhance the high reputation which the institution of Ḥuqúqu’lláh has acquired in the eyes of the believers.

(14 February 1997, written by the Universal House of Justice to the Deputies and Representatives of the institution of Ḥuqúqu’lláh) [96]

One of the tasks of the Representatives is to assist in educating the believers in the law of Ḥuqúqu’lláh and its importance. Naturally, this process of education cannot be limited to those whose possessions reach the amount to bring them within the obligation of the law, since this fact is often known only to the individual concerned. Children, also, should learn the law of the Right of God as part of their Bahá’í education. Sometimes friends become so enthused with the concept of this law that they express the wish to make contributions to the Ḥuqúqu’lláh Fund, even though they are not obliged to do so. The House of Justice has stated that it is permissible for the Representatives to accept such contributions.

In other words, if someone, out of their love for the Cause, makes a payment to Ḥuqúqu’lláh, it is not for the Representative to question whether or not that person is under obligation to pay it; he should graciously accept it.

This, as you can see, is quite different from actually encouraging Bahá’ís to pay more Ḥuqúqu’lláh than the law of God requires them to do, and such encouragement would be a departure from the spirit of the law as Bahá’u’lláh has revealed it.

(13 September 1998, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer) [97]

It is clear that, over the past decade, more and more believers have become informed of the significance of the law of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, and are following its provisions. You may well contemplate with satisfaction the results of your labours, as you formulate your plans for the extension of the influence of this mighty law to all segments of the worldwide Bahá’í community. Your integrity, the scrupulous care with which you have handled the funds entrusted to you, and your efficiency in providing receipts and maintaining accurate records have all contributed to the confidence of the believers in this institution and to the high prestige with which it is held in the Bahá’í community.

In carrying out your functions, you are assisting in the advancement of a process which will, in the centuries ahead, give rise to a transformation of society far beyond our present capacity to comprehend.

(12 January 2003, written by the Universal House of Justice to the Deputies and Representatives of the institution of Ḥuqúqu’lláh) [98]

Furthermore, efforts at fostering the development of institutions operating at the World Centre were especially evident in the continuing evolution of the institution of Ḥuqúqu’lláh under the distinguished leadership of the Trustee, the Hand of the Cause of God ‘Alí-Muḥammad Varqá. Through his wise initiative and constant endeavour, Dr. Varqá has inspired the education of the friends everywhere concerning the law of Ḥuqúqu’lláh. In the decade since the law was universally applied, a network of national and regional boards of trustees has been brought into existence, which provides coordination and direction to the service of an increasing number of deputies and representatives. Knowledge of this great law has spread widely, and friends from all continents are responding to it with a spirit of devotion, which the Trustee hopes will touch those who have not yet availed themselves of the promised blessings flowing from adherence to this law.

(Riḍván 2003, written by the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the world) [99]

With the approach of the meeting …, which will mark your inaugural meeting as members of the International Board of Trustees of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, we have decided that it is now appropriate to provide you with guidance about your work and the development of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, the Right of God, in the years ahead.

As stated in our letter …, notifying you of your appointment, your duties are those of the trusteeship of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, following in the path of the Chief Trustee of Ḥuqúqu’lláh, the Hand of the Cause Dr. ‘Alí-Muḥammad Varqá….

A major element of the duties to be undertaken by the Deputies and Representatives throughout the world will continue to be the education of believers in the Right of God. The required education should be accomplished in a moderate and patient manner, so that the hearts of the believers are attracted to obedience to the provisions of the law of Ḥuqúqu’lláh as part of their yearning to pursue the path of spiritual development prescribed by Bahá’u’lláh. The most important features of the law should be presented in as simple a form as possible, to avoid the dear friends obligated to pay Ḥuqúqu’lláh from becoming inhibited about doing so by an unwarranted fear of its complexity of application.

Under all conditions, due attention should be given to preserving the dignity of the Faith….

We ask you to propose … details for a network of National or Regional Boards embracing the entire worldwide community and to recommend the membership of these Boards. In countries where there are a substantial number of believers obligated to pay Ḥuqúqu’lláh, a National Board is appropriate. Regional Boards should be set up to cover other groups of countries, with the expectation that each Regional Board will be replaced by a number of National Boards in the future, as the Bahá’í community grows.

The members of these Boards will be appointed to serve for a term of three years and will be eligible for reappointment. No specific date is set for the appointment, so that a replacement can be approved whenever a Deputy is unable to discharge the functions. We have decided that Counsellors should not be eligible for membership to these Boards.

The Regional and National Boards would have the function of appointing Representatives, for a term of three years; as in the case of Deputies, when a Representative is appointed to replace an existing member unable to carry out the functions, the new appointee will serve for a full three years.

To the extent possible the Representatives will not be required to receive and transmit funds or to issue receipts…. This modification in the functions of the Representatives means that their work will be educational….

(25 January 2005, written by the Universal House of Justice to the members of the International Board of Trustees of Ḥuqúqu’lláh) [100]

New developments have, likewise, taken place at the World Centre. We have decided that the time is propitious to bring into being an International Board of Trustees of Ḥuqúqu’lláh to guide and supervise the work of Regional and National Boards of Trustees of Ḥuqúqu’lláh throughout the world. It will operate in close collaboration with the Chief Trustee, the Hand of the Cause of God Dr. ‘Alí-Muḥammad Varqá, and will be able to benefit from his knowledge and counsel in carrying out its duties. The three members now appointed to the International Board of Trustees are Sally Foo, Ramin Khadem, and Grant Kvalheim. Their term of office will be determined at a later date. The members of the Board will not transfer their residence to the Holy Land but will utilize the services of the Office of Ḥuqúqu’lláh at the World Centre in performing their functions.

(Riḍván 2005, written by the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the world) [101]

The Universal House of Justice has received your email letter dated 4 December 2005 concerning the permissibility of individuals paying Ḥuqúqu’lláh via their National Spiritual Assembly and has forwarded it to our Department for reply.

…the believers may prefer to make their payments through the treasurers of their National Assemblies, and the House of Justice has maintained the right of the friends to pay their Ḥuqúqu’lláh in this way if they so choose.

(19 January 2006, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to a National Spiritual Assembly) [102]

The Institution of Ḥuqúqu’lláh has steadily progressed under the stewardship of the Hand of the Cause of God Dr. ‘Alí-Muḥammad Varqá, appointed Trustee by Shoghi Effendi fifty years ago, culminating in the establishment in 2005 of an international board designed to promote the continued widespread application of this mighty law, a source of inestimable blessings for all humanity.

(Riḍván 2006, written by the Universal House of Justice to the Bahá’ís of the world) [103]

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