The Equalization of the Means of Livelihood for All Humanity

Contradictions

Bahā’u’llāh:
“Contradiction has and will not ever have a way in the sanctified realm of the Divine Manifestations.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, Badī`, p. 126.

1. Is Equalizing the Means of Livelihood a New Principle?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Former religious book have not spoken about this problem.

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 455.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: “We ordered that the zakāt be paid as has been revealed in the Quran.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 12, p. 149.

 

2. Is Usury Good or Bad? Does `Abdu’l-Bahā Hate Bahā’u’llāh’s Favors to the People?

`Bahā’u’llāh: We made usury legal as a favor to God’s servants.

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 24, p. 202.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Even though usury is allowed no one is allowed to engage in such an act because I hate it.

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 24, p. 204.

 

3. Helping the Needy a Legal Obligation or Voluntary?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: The wealthy must voluntarily help the poor.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Helping the needy must be enforced by law.

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 135 & 148.

 

4. Equalization of Means of Livelihood or Paying Thousands of Tons of Gold to the UHJ?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Remedying the means of livelihood for humans is necessary.

Bahā’u’llāh: After 20 times of adultery pay 34 tons of gold to the UHJ and after 100 times, 8000 times the weight of earth.

Refer the previous posts for sayings and references on above.

 

5. Equalization of the Means of Livelihood or Depriving Some of Any Livelihood at All?

When the Baha’i kingdom materializes thieves and excommunicated individuals (No one is allowed to speak or interact with these individuals) are kicked out of the community and are deprived of means of livelihood.

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, pp. 35–36.

 

6. Must There Be Complete Equality between All People?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: There must be complete equality between all people.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: Complete equality is not possible in the community because people have different ranks and are from different classes.

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 30 & 138

 

7. Has God Made Distinctions between People?

`Abdu’l-Bahā: God has created people without any differences or distinctions.

`Abdu’l-Bahā: People have different degrees of intelligence.

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 42 & 134.

 

We request the readers to read the book Payām-i malakūt. As quoted above you will find contradictions in the sayings of Abdul Baha. On difference pages different sayings exist which contradicts the previous saying.

We leave it upon the readers to draw their own conclusion!

Four means devised by Bahā’u’llāh and `Abdu’l-Bahā to Equalize the means of livelihood

If the purpose of this principle is the assistance of the needy by the wealthy and implementation of a series of laws and legislations which help in closing the income gap between different groups of the community, then yes it is completely logical and rational. The problem in reaching such a goal, is to bring forward a practical program and to introduce a system which allows the efficient implementation of such a program.

`Abdu’l-Bahā believes the only program that can reach this goal is the one devised by Bahā’u’llāh:

“The economic problem will not be completely solved but by these teachings, rather, it is impossible [to solve them by any other method].”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 135.

He believes that to overcome economic problems, the first group in which reform must take place in are the farmers because they make up the bulk of the working class:

“The economic problem [must be solved] by starting from the farmers until it reaches other groups. For the population of farmers is many more times higher than other [working] classes. Thus, it is worthy to start from the farmers and farmers are the foremost working class of the community. Yes, in each village a council consisting of the most rational people of the village must be set up and the village must be managed by that council. A public storehouse must be built and a secretary assigned to it. At the time of harvest, with the knowledge of the council, some of the produce from [all farmers] must be taken to supply the storehouse.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, pp. 135–136.

What `Abdu’l-Bahā proposes is neither novel nor exceptional. The only point that is somewhat troubling is the fact that the poor farmers and peasants have been selected as the first class that must be reformed. This reformation is in no way helpful to them because they must give up some of their produce for the welfare of others, while the role of other groups in this system has not been specified.

The justification for starting with the peasants is even more interesting: they make up a larger portion of the community. Would it not be better to start with the minority groups who hold the largest wealth in the community and not the majority groups who are themselves the neediest? It seems awfully convenient for the small elite controlling all the wealth that it is the farmers and pheasants who should take the first step.

Four means have been devised by Bahā’u’llāh and `Abdu’l-Bahā to Equalize the means of livelihood

  1. Inheritance

Inheritance is distributed amongst seven groups.

“The deceased’s property are split into 2520 portions. Out of these, 1080 are for the children, 390 for the wives, fathers 330, mothers 270, brothers 210, sisters 150, teachers 90”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 10, pp. 117–119.

Under some circumstances portions of the inheritance are handed over to the Universal House of Justice. If deemed appropriate, the UHJ can use some of this money for equalization of the means of livelihood or for propagating Baha’i beliefs. Inheritance is only distributed in the aforementioned manner if the deceased does not leave a will. If the deceased has specified in his will for his wealth to be distributed in a manner which goes against the equalization of the means of livelihood, no one can protest his or her decision.
Furthermore, inheritance usually stays in the family and is not distributed in the community to help those who are in need.

In any case, the laws of inheritance in the Baha’i creed do not have a meaningful influence in achieving the goal of the current principle, and are sometimes in conflict with it. For instance, as we already pointed out, the living residence of the deceased becomes the property of his eldest son, even if the deceased has left no other wealth.

2. Tax

In the Baha’i creed two kinds of taxes are payable. The first is paid to the government according to the laws of each country. The government then does with these taxes what it wishes, whether waging war or helping the needy. This tax has nothing to do with equalizing the means of livelihood.

The second is called `ushr (one tenth) which is a religious tax imposed on Baha’is in accordance with Baha’i law.

`Abdu’l-Bahā says:

“It is not fair to put the same tax on both the rich and the needy. The needy must be exempted from paying tax. It is not fair that the needy pay one tenth as tax and the wealthy pay one tenth too . . . laws are needed [to address this] issue . . . I will tell you God’s law [regarding this issue] . . . the farmers plant crops in a village and produce is harvested. One tenth of the harvest is taken from both the rich and the needy [as tax]. Then a public storehouse is erected in the village and both the tax and the produce are gathered there. It is then possible to see who is wealthy and who is poor. Nothing will be taken from the farmers who have been able to produce only enough to feed their families and procure their daily needs. All the produce and taxes are now in the general storehouse. If there are crippled people in the village, their minimum sustenance will be provided from the storehouse. On the other hand, a wealthy person who [for instance] needs only fifty thousand kilos for a living but has produced five hundred thousand kilos will be taxed twice as much (meaning one fifth) and whatever remains in the storehouse at the end of the year will be employed for general use.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, pp. 148–150.

In this plan which is slightly different from the previous one, the poor still remain poor and the rich, rich. In the aforementioned system, the poorer farmer classes achieve nothing extra from the taxes and no equalization of the means of livelihood is achieved. The only group that benefits from this system are a small number of crippled people.

Thus, the wealthy classes still keep the bulk of their wealth and accumulate it while the poorer classes retain what they had before and nothing is added to it. The plan devised by `Abdu’l-Bahā does not help in the flow of wealth from the wealthy to the poor and no equalization is achieved. It may sound interesting on paper, but in action achieves nothing novel. It resembles the tax systems employed in all governments.

3. Huqūq Allah

Huqūq Allah or God’s Share, is a form of tax Baha’is must pay to the Universal House of Justice. When a Baha’i person’s wealth exceeds the price of nineteen mithqāls of gold, 19 percent of the wealth must be handed over to the UHJ.

Refer: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 9, pp. 94 & 101.

This tax is then used by the UHJ in whatever affairs they deem appropriate and is in no way guaranteed to be used for the equalization of the means of livelihood.

4. Zakāt tax

“We ordered that the zakāt be paid as has been revealed in the Quran.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 12, p. 149.

 

As we can see, the Baha’i system proposed for the equalization of the means of livelihood is based on systems that were already implemented in government taxing systems or have been borrowed from Islamic Sharia. The irony is that the proposed system has a minimal effect on the Equalization of the Means of Livelihood for All Humanity, for wealth is not redistributed among the needy in a manner which helps close the gap between the rich and the poor, rather, it is merely a method for taxing the people of society.

It is up to you to draw your own conclusions!

Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings

Outrageous Fines For Different Crimes

Fine for fornication and adultery

“God hath imposed a fine on every adulterer and adulteress, to be paid to the House of Justice nine mithqāls of gold, to be doubled if they should repeat the offence . . . Although the term translated here as adultery refers, in its broadest sense, to unlawful sexual intercourse between either married or unmarried individuals (see note 36 for a definition of the term), `Abdu’l-Bahā has specified that the punishment here prescribed is for sexual intercourse between persons who are unmarried . . . In relation to the application of the fine, Bahā’u’llāh clearly specifies that each succeeding fine is double the preceding one; thus the fine imposed increases in geometrical progression.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, pp. 200–202.

Unmarried people who engage in acts of sexual intercourse—especially teenagers— will likely frequently perform such acts. The number of times copulation occurs in a year can easily reach one hundred times if this shameful act is performed only twice a week. The amount of gold payable by each of these two people equals to: 3.6 grams * 9 * 2^100 = 41071879447394632608493183854 kilograms, which is fairly equal to 8000 times the weight of the earth. Just in case you are wondering, the fine will be about 34000 kilos of Gold if copulation is performed only 20 times. We’ll leave it to up to the readers to judge the practicality of these luminous laws. One wonders how a society governed by this law will ever be able to get closer to economic justice and attaining a means of livelihood for all people.

In fact this law is so outrageous that, as is standard for problematic Baha’i laws, its implementation has been postponed until a future time:

“The imposition of this fine is intended for a future condition of society, at which time the law will be supplemented and applied by the Universal House of Justice.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, p. 201.

Excommunication and Shunning

Excommunicated members of the community have to break all ties with their family members. If the breadwinner of the family is excommunicated, his/her family will be left with no source of income. Likewise, if a dependent is excommunicated, they will have to fend off for themselves and find an alternative source of sustenance. Is this how the means of livelihood are equalized in this creed?

Deceased’s living residence

According to Baha’i law a deceased’s living residence is solely the property of his oldest son even if the deceased has left no other wealth behind:

“The living residence belongs to the oldest living son, whether or not the deceased has any other wealth. The oldest living son also takes his share from the other belongings.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 10, p. 128.

Treatment of Thieves

Where does a thief receive sustenance from after being punished according to Baha’i law?

“Exile and imprisonment are decreed for the thief, and, on the third offence, place ye a mark upon his brow so that, thus identified, he may not be accepted in the cities of God and His countries.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, pp. 35–36.

If a thief is caught for the third time a mark must be put on his brow so that he will not be accepted in any city or country. Thus he will be completely deprived of all means of livelihood!

Is this law problematic?

No problem, this is how it is resolved:

“The punishments for theft are intended for a future condition of society, when they will be supplemented and applied by the Universal House of Justice.”

Reference: Bahā’u’llāh, The Kitābi Aqdas, p. 198.

 

What is Equalization of the Means of Livelihood and Did the Founders of the Baha’i Creed Follow this principle?

The Equalization of the Means of Livelihood for All Humanity means that universal wealth must be distributed in such a way that all people—rich or poor—live in peace and tranquility.

Did the Founders of the Baha’i Creed Follow this principle?

1- Confiscating the wealth of all non-Bābīs:

Bab had given orders to confiscate the wealth of all who didn’t believe in him:

“The fifth chapter of the fifth unit which is about the decree of taking the property of those who do not believe in [the religion] of Bayan and giving it back if they become believers in this religion, except in the lands where taking [property] is not possible.”

Reference: The Bāb, Farsi Bayān, unit 5, chap. 5.

2- All kinds of outrageous fines for Bābīs

In the book of Bayān, for every misdemeanor committed, an outrageous fine has to be paid to the Bāb. For instance:

“You have been prohibited in the Bayān from having more than nineteen books. If you do so, you will be fined 19 mithqāls of gold.”

Reference: The Bāb, Arabic Bayān, unit 11, chap. 7.

“He who deliberately saddens another [follower of the Bāb], must pay a fine of nineteen mithqāls of gold, or else silver, or else must repent to God nineteen times.”

Reference: The Bāb, Farsi Bayān, unit 7, chap. 18.

“It has been destined in the sixth chapter to remember God’s Oneness nineteen times [every day] from the beginning of night to the end of day. If you do not perform this [deliberately] after you have been informed, a fine of 19 mithqāls of fine diamonds will be imposed.”

Reference: The Bāb, Lauḥ haykal al-dīn, chap. 6, p. 3.

After the aforementioned decree, he continues to order the remembrance of himself, and other figures every day for nineteen times and imposes the following fines if such an act is not performed: nineteen mithqāls of gold, five mithqāls of red rubies, and five mithqāls of yellow rubies. The Bab’s writings are replete with fines of this form.

3- Loans with Interest and Usury

Usury has been prohibited in Judaism, Christianity, and Islam:

“If you lend money to one of my people among you who is needy, do not treat it like a business deal; charge no interest.”

Reference: Exodus, 22:25

“Do not take interest or any profit from them, but fear your God, so that they may continue to live among you. You must not lend them money at interest or sell them food at a profit.”

Reference: Leviticus, 25:36–37

“And for taking interest, which was forbidden, and for consuming the people’s money unjustly, we have prepared for the disbelievers among them a painful retribution.”

Reference: Quran 4:161

Now let us see what Mr. Bahā’u’llāh says:

“We see many people who are in need of [these kinds of loans]. If there is no profit [in the loan] the affairs will not move forward. It is very rare that someone becomes successful in tolerating and heeding someone who is the same gender as himself, his countryman, or brethren, and gives them a loan without interest. So, as a favor to [God’s] servants, we made loans with interest like all other forms of deals which people make with each-other. The profit gained [by lending] money, is now permissible, pure, and clean, because this order has been revealed from the Sky of Ordinance, so that the people of earth can be engrossed in remembering/speaking about the Beloved of the World, with utmost peace, tranquility, happiness, and pleasure.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 24, p. 202.

Bahā’u’llāh’s justification for allowing interest is “If there is no profit [in the loan] the affairs will not move forward.” Didn’t God know this when He prohibited this act in all other religions?

He further claims that lending with interest is a favor from God so that people would become engrossed in remembering him with peace and tranquility. The only thing that is clear is having a loan with interest neither brings peace nor tranquility.

Abdul Baha says:

“From now on do not give loans with interest to anyone because `Abdu’l-Bahā dislikes interest even though it is legitimate. Only give [loans] without interest and take no loan with interest from anybody.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Ganjīniy-i ḥudūd wa aḥkām, chap. 24, p. 204.

Again, there is a clear contradiction between Bahā’u’llāh and his son. It is not clear why `Abdu’l-Bahā, who is only allowed to interpret Bahā’u’llāh’s laws, directly orders his followers to disobey his father’s orders and deprives them of the “favor to [God’s] servants.”

Courtesy: Twelve Principles – A Comprehensive Investigation on the Bahai Teachings

Introduction

“Every human being has the right to live; they have a right to rest, and to a certain amount of well-being. As a rich man is able to live in his palace surrounded by luxury and the greatest comfort, so should a poor man be able to have the necessaries of life. Nobody should die of hunger; everybody should have sufficient clothing; one man should not live in excess while another has no possible means of existence.”

Reference: `Abdu’l-Bahā, Paris Talks, pp. 131–132.

`Abdu’l-Bahā says:

“People are of different [social] classes. Some are extremely wealthy others extremely poor. One lives in a splendid palace whilst another doesn’t even have a hole [to live in]. One has all kinds of food on his table another doesn’t even have a single loaf of bread . . . thus the means of livelihood for people must be remedied.

“It is better that moderation be introduced. Moderation means a series of laws and systems must be put in place which prevent some people from unnecessary accumulation of wealth and [at the same time] provide the necessary needs of the public.”

“The wealthy must have mercy on the poor, but out of free will not by force. It is useless if force is used. There must not be force but a general law by which everyone will know their duty.”

Reference: `Abd al-Ḥamīd Ishrāq Khāwarī, Payām-i malakūt, p. 134, p. 142, p. 148.

Abdul Baha contradicts himself in above sayings. Firstly he speaks about different social classes, then he recommends to make a series of law and then finally he says it should be out of free will. If it is out of free will then what is the use of making a series of laws.