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Ḥuqúqu’lláh—The Right of God

  • Author:
  • Various

  • Source:
  • Compiled by the Research Department of the Universal House of Justice, Bahá’í World Centre, April 2007
  • Pages:
  • 37
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Pages 14-15

Extracts from the Utterances of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá

50. “Question: As to the matter of Ḥuqúq, does it mean…”

Question: As to the matter of Ḥuqúq, does it mean 1/19th of one’s net income or one’s gross income? For example, in America, there is a tax on the gross income, after certain exemptions are made. How is the Ḥuqúq to be worked out? 15
Answer: The substance of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá’s explanation was: After one has paid all his necessary expenses 19% of what is left is then taken by him and given as Ḥuqúq. For example, if a person has 100 piastres left after all his expenses have been paid, then 19 piastres are taken as Ḥuqúq 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 Ḥuqúq.
He pays this once, then there is no more Ḥuqúq 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 Ḥuqúq 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 Ḥuqúq: at the end of the next year after all expenses are determined, he may have 2000 piastres left. As he has already paid Ḥuqúq on 1000 piastres the previous year this sum is deducted from the 2000 and he pays Ḥuqúq 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% on 500 piastres or 95 piastres. If at the end of the 4th year he has 2500 piastres, no Ḥuqúq is taken.
Question: In the deduction of our necessary expenses, are contributions to the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, teaching and other activities of the Cause considered a part of Ḥuqúq or should they be taken separately?
Answer: ‘Abdu’l-Bahá replied that Ḥuqúq 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 Ḥuqúq is given ‘Abdu’l-Bahá will ascertain how much of it is for the Mashriqu’l-Adhkár, how much for teaching and how much for the needy, etc.
(Interview with ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, 26 November 1919, note in the handwriting of Shoghi Effendi circa 1920. Questions posed in a letter from George O. Latimer, undated)