A new version of the Bahá’í Reference Library is now available. This ‘old version’ of the Bahá’í Reference Library will be replaced at a later date.

The new version of the Bahá’i Reference Library can be accessed here »

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
Go to printed page GO
Pages 24-25

75. “In Bahá’í law each individual believer, whether man or…”

In Bahá’í law each individual believer, whether man or woman, is responsible for paying Ḥuqúqu’lláh on the property he or she owns or acquires; this presumes the right of individual ownership of property. In the case of a married couple, however, the Universal House of Justice has indicated that they may choose to pay their Ḥuqúqu’lláh jointly, if they so wish, and there is no prohibition against joint ownership, whether by a couple or by two or more business partners. Each individual is under the obligation of making a will. In the Questions and Answers no. 78 we read that, in the case of intestacy, apart from used clothing, whatever there may be among the husband’s possessions, whether jewellery or otherwise, belongs to the husband, “except what is proven to have been gifts to the wife”. Similarly, in a letter written on behalf of the Guardian in Persian we find the following: “You have asked concerning the division of furniture and property, after the completion of the year of waiting…. The Guardian stated that whatever belonged to the wife and constituted her personal property remains hers and that no one has any right to interfere.”
It is clear, therefore, that the property of a husband and wife are regarded as separate except insofar as one makes gifts to the other or they agree to own all or part of the property jointly. In other words, it is for the husband and wife themselves to decide how their property is held. An inheritance or gift received by one spouse would remain the property of that individual unless he or she decides otherwise.
It is also possible for a husband and wife to enter into an agreement at the time of marriage, or later, concerning the apportionment of their property.
The status of the ownership of the property then affects what becomes of it in the case of divorce or the death of one of the parties. 25
This is a very brief summary of the situation. Undoubtedly in the years to come the Universal House of Justice will be called upon to decide on specific issues of detail as they arise. It must also be remembered that at the present time the implementation of Bahá’í law in such matters is dependent upon the provisions of the civil law, which takes precedence.
(15 October 1998, written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer)