The Kitáb-i-Aqdas - The Most Holy Book
Index term: anticipation of institution in Kitáb-i-Aqdas, under Guardianship
k42.
Endowments dedicated to charity revert to God, the Revealer of Signs. None hath the right to dispose of them without leave from Him Who is the Dawning-place of Revelation. After Him, this authority shall pass to the Aghsán, and after them to the House of Justice -- should it be established in the world by then -- that they may use these endowments for the benefit of the Places which have been exalted in this Cause, and for whatsoever hath been enjoined upon them by Him Who is the God of might and power. Otherwise, the endowments shall revert to the people of Bahá who speak not except by His leave and judge not save in accordance with what God hath decreed in this Tablet -- lo, they are the champions of victory betwixt heaven and earth -- that they may use them in the manner that hath been laid down in the Book by God, the Mighty, the Bountiful.
n66.
Aghsán
"Aghsán" (plural of Ghusn) is the Arabic word for "Branches". This term is used by Bahá'u'lláh to designate His male descendants. It has particular implications not only for the disposition of endowments but also for the succession of authority following the passing of Bahá'u'lláh (see note 145) and of 'Abdu'l-Bahá. Bahá'u'lláh, in the Book of His Covenant, appointed 'Abdu'l-Bahá, His eldest son, as the Centre of His Covenant and the Head of the Faith. 'Abdu'l-Bahá, in His Will and Testament, appointed Shoghi Effendi, His eldest grandson, as the Guardian and Head of the Faith.
This passage of the Aqdas, therefore, anticipates the succession of chosen Aghsán and thus the institution of the Guardianship and envisages the possibility of a break in their line. The passing of Shoghi Effendi in 1957 precipitated the very situation provided for in this passage, in that the line of Aghsán ended before the Universal House of Justice had been established (see note 67).
n125.
Should anyone acquire one hundred mithqáls of gold, nineteen mithqáls thereof are God's and to be rendered unto Him
This verse establishes Huqúqu'lláh, the Right of God, the offering of a fixed portion of the value of the believer's possessions. This offering was made to Bahá'u'lláh as the Manifestation of God and then, following His Ascension, to 'Abdu'l-Bahá as the Centre of the Covenant. In His Will and Testament, 'Abdu'l-Bahá provided that the Huqúqu'lláh was to be offered "through the Guardian of the Cause of God". There now being no Guardian, it is offered through the Universal House of Justice as the Head of the Faith. This fund is used for the promotion of the Faith of God and its interests as well as for various philanthropic purposes. The offering of the Huqúqu'lláh is a spiritual obligation, the fulfilment of which has been left to the conscience of each Bahá'í. While the community is reminded of the requirements of the law of Huqúq, no believer may be approached individually to pay it.
A number of items in Questions and Answers further elaborate this law. The payment of Huqúqu'lláh is based on the calculation of the value of the individual's possessions. If a person has possessions equal in value to at least nineteen mithqáls of gold (Q&A 8), it is a spiritual obligation to pay nineteen percent of the total amount, once only, as Huqúqu'lláh (Q&A 89). Thereafter, whenever one's income, after all expenses have been paid, increases the value of one's possessions by the amount of at least nineteen mithqáls of gold, one is to pay nineteen percent of this increase, and so on for each further increase (Q&A 8, 90).
Certain categories of possessions, such as one's residence, are exempt from the payment of Huqúqu'lláh (Q&A 8, 42, 95), and specific provisions are outlined to cover cases of financial loss (Q&A 44, 45), the failure of investments to yield a profit (Q&A 102) and for the payment of Huqúq in the event of the person's death (Q&A 9, 69, 80). (In this latter case, see note 47.)
Extensive extracts from Tablets, Questions and Answers, and other Writings concerning the spiritual significance of Huqúqu'lláh and the details of its application have been published in a compilation entitled Huqúqu'lláh.