The most challenging frauds to thwart, according to experts, are those that aim to use your own religion against you out of all the ways scammers might steal your money. They prey on people who have something in common, usually a shared religion. This fraud losses are estimated to reach in the billions of dollars annually, despite the fact that figures are difficult to find due to the schemes’ extreme prevalence. A common scam among Haifan Baha’is is huquq’ullah, in which the con artist takes significant sums of money from the faithful without providing any documentation of the money taken or an accounting of the expenses incurred. This has been going on since Huquq’ullah was founded in 1963, but regrettably no one has brought it up or requested accounts from the UHJ. With the exception of the Free Baha’is, who have repeatedly followed up with the UHJ on this topic without success.
Huquq’ullah is a voluntary wealth tax paid by Baha’is to assist the work of the faith. According to the Haifan Baha’is – the largest domination amongst the different Baha’i sects, the UHJ has presided over the faith since 1963 and thus collects all the Huquq’ullah money from the community.
According to Baha’u’llah’s teachings, making the Huquq’ullah contribution is regarded as a means of purifying one’s income. It should be highlighted that Huquq’ullah is not intended to be a gift but rather God’s request for assistance in advancing the needs of all people.
In the Kitab-i-Aqdas, Baha’u’llah introduced the concept of “Huquq’ullah,” which is distinct from the general Baha’i funds that the UHJ or NSA/LSA separately collect under various headings. Let us dissect the law of Huquq’ullah from Kitab-i-Aqdas below.
“If anyone possesses a hundred mithqals of gold, nineteen mithqals of them are for God, the Maker of earth and heaven. Beware, O people, lest you deny yourselves this great favour. We have commanded you to do this although We can do without you and without all who are in the heavens and the earths. In that, there are wise and useful things of which no one has acquired knowledge except God, the Omniscient, the Knower. Say: By that command, God desired the purification of your wealth and your drawing near to those stations which are only attained by those whom God wills. Indeed, He is the Generous, Almighty Giver of Grace. O People, do not be dishonest in the duties owed to God; do not spend (God’s money) except by His permission. Thus is the matter decided in the Tablets and in this Powerful Tablet. Whoever cheats God is cheated by Justice, but when one does what he is commanded, there descends upon him a blessing from the heaven of giving, from his Lord, the Bountiful, the Giver, the Eternal Bestower. He desires for you that which you do not know today. The People shall know it whenever spirits soar and the rich carpets of joy are folded up. Thus, does he who has a Preserved Tablet remind you.”
We can extract three important points regarding Huquq’ullah from the above paragraph:
1.Huquq’ullah is 19% on your savings.
2.It has been made mandatory so that one’s wealth gets purified.
3.It has to be spent with the permission of God.
Therefore, we might conclude that Huquq’ullah is being paid by all Baha’is. What would be the amount that the UHJ collects in a year, given that the UHJ doesn’t disclose any reports of the entire collection it makes through Huququ’llah? According to the Globe Religion Database, there were 8,531,050 Baha’is in the world as of 2020. So, if we consider that each Baha’i contributes a bare minimum of 100 dollars (on average) in a year towards Huquq’llah, even then the total would come to $853,105,000 worldwide. But one should also understand the fact that within the Baha’i community, there are various funds that are established at the local, national, continental, and international levels to which its members may alone contribute.
1.Local Fund – It aids with the Local Spiritual Assembly’s work and the management of the community’s affairs.
2.National Fund – The activity of the National Spiritual Assembly is supported by this fund.
3.International Fund – All the UHJ’s work is maintained by this fund. It is employed, among other things, to support the worldwide operations of the Baha’i community and the Baha’i World Center. Every nation, big or small, is urged to contribute a donation to the UHJ. This is in addition to what the NSA contributes towards the UHJ already.
4.Continental Fund – This fund assists the International Teaching Center, the Continental Boards of Counselors, the Auxiliary Boards, and their assistants in their task of propagation and preservation. One should note that UHJ’s major task of ITC and propagation is taken care of through this fund, but still, UHJ has to collect another fund under a separate head.
5.Regional fund – This fund is to provide funding for the work of the new Regional Councils. A small contribution for the feast given by everyone.
6.Fund for the Shrine of the Master – This is a brand-new fund that was established following the tragic fire at the Abdu’l Baha Shrine. Everyone had previously been encouraged to donate to the Shrine, but since the accident, there has been a lot more pressure on Baha’is to do so.
In addition to the Huquq’ullah, the UHJ also raises money under the other headings indicated above, and the majority of Baha’is are required to donate because they are explicitly asked to place their donations in the collection box. So, one must put something in the box in order to avoid shame, correct?
Imagine the sum collected by the UHJ and its other administrative bodies in the name of religion. And icing on the cake is that the Haifan Baha’is are tax exempt in Israel, which means that all of their earnings have been declared tax-free. Being tax-exempt means that no federal, state, or municipal taxes are applied to any of their transactions. In the name of belief and tradition, this may be referred to as an organized swindle
The UHJ and its sister bodies could be asked to provide an annual report or some other type of accounting statement as a way to keep things simple and prevent confusion among Baha’is. After all, they are all responsible to the community because the money raised comes from the contributions of the faithful, who have a right to know how much was raised and how it was spent. Let’s unite in our opposition to this apparent fraud activity and put an end to the mistrust that exists between the UHJ, ourselves, and other Baha’is worldwide. Will you continue to ask the UHJ questions regarding Huquq’llah? We will.
Reference : The Caravan, Volume 6, Edition 6