A Bahá’í, who is an undischarged bankrupt, is not legally qualified to serve as a member of an incorporated Spiritual Assembly in Ontario. Following the election of the Spiritual Assembly at Ridvan, or whenever there is a by-election, it is essential to ensure that all members elected/appointed are legally qualified to serve as directors of an incorporated Spiritual Assembly.
(NSA of Canada)
From time to time the National Spiritual Assembly receives inquiries from Local Spiritual Assemblies or individuals asking whether it is permissible for a Bahá’í to file for bankruptcy. A Bahá’í as a citizen has the right to avail himself of the laws pertaining to the payment of debts and thus is entitled make use of the provisions to declare bankruptcy. When faced with such a possibility, a Bahá’í should, of course, obtain competent legal counsel. However, such a problem must be viewed in the light of the Bahá’í Teachings. Shoghi Effendi wrote: “Our debts, however, should be considered as sacred and take precedence over any other thing for upon this principle does the foundation of our economic life rest."
In the Tablet of the True Seeker, Bahá’u’lláh has counseled: “He should not wish for others that which he doth not wish for himself, nor promise that which he doth not fulfill.” These writings indicate the supreme importance of honoring our commitments. For a Bahá’í, fulfilling a financial obligation is to be regarded as a sacred responsibility. Consequently, the Bahá’í position on bankruptcy is that although the courts may absolve one of the legal obligation of making good on certain debts, a Bahá’í’s moral and spiritual obligation to redeem his debts continues.
(NSA of the USA, Bahá’í National Review, September 1980, p. 4)