A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Business

Businesses owned or managed by Bahá’ís should not feature entertainment or offer services that are inconsistent with the teachings of the Bahá’í Faith. Managers of businesses that offer entertainment and services inconsistent with the teachings who do not have authority to discontinue such practices should seek other employment as soon as it is reasonably possible to do so.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 16)


Commerce, agriculture and industry should not, in truth, be a bar to service of the one true God. Indeed, such occupations are most potent instruments and clear proofs for the manifestation of the evidences of one’s piety, of one’s trustworthiness and of the virtues of the All-Merciful Lord.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 341)


Every business company should be established on divine principles. Its foundations should be trustworthiness, piety and truthfulness in order to protect the rights of the people.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 341)


Friends should seek advice in business ventures
The National Spiritual Assembly has become concerned in recent years about the entangled disputes in which Bahá’ís become involved when their business ventures go awry. Therefore, it offers the friends the following counsel:
The cases that have been brought to the National Assembly’s attention invariably involve Bahá’ís who had the best of intentions when they initially made plans to start a business or made a business deal of some sort with another Bahá’í or group of Bahá’ís.
Feeling that they could trust their Bahá’í partners many believers have neglected to seek the advice of an attorney and have entered into the venture on the basis of oral agreements or inadequately written statements that later were misunderstood or misinterpreted. Consequently, when differences arose, there was no real way to resolve the problem, since the parties often could not agree on what the original terms of the venture were.
The National Spiritual Assembly cannot stress strongly enough the importance of establishing all business dealings on a firm legal foundation, whether or not they involve other Bahá’ís. This applies equally to loan transactions.
The National Assembly also has noted that the friends, in their eagerness to gain large and quick returns on their investments, sometimes enter into a speculative business ventures without legal counsel. When these ventures fail, as they sometimes do, the friends feel cheated. The believers must understand that speculation entails risks, and should be prepared to take the risks along with the rewards.
Another factor to be considered is Bahá’í ethical standards. Shoghi Effendi’s discussion of rectitude of conduct in The Advent of Divine Justice, pp. 18-24, is recommended for all individuals who are considering a business venture.
Taking the precaution of seeking competent legal advice, having a realistic understanding of the risks involved, and trying to keep one’s dealings in line with Bahá’í ethical standards not only saves everyone from considerable grief later on, but prevents either the Local Spiritual Assembly or the National Spiritual Assembly from having to spend its energies trying to resolve disputes that could have been avoided in the first place. It should also be understood that the institutions of the Faith are limited in their ability to resolve financial disputes, since final authority in the U.S. for resolving such disputes rests with the civil courts.
The extension of loans by Assemblies and individuals can also cause problems. Individuals who are habitually unemployed or who are in the habit of borrowing from others often take advantage of the generosity of Bahá’ís, who lend them money or give them hospitality, sometimes at considerable sacrifice. When a dispute does arise, the friends should call to mind these words of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá:
"Endeavor ye as much’ as possible that differences may not arise in the affairs; let not every insignificant matter become the cause of disagreement. If such conditions exist the end will be complete dispersion. The believers and maid-servants of the Merciful must all consider how to produce harmony, so that the unity of the human world may be realized, not that every wholly unimportant subject become conducive to differences of opinion. “It is my hope that the friends and the maidservants of America become united on all subjects and not disagree at all. If they agree upon a subject, even though it be wrong, it is better than to disagree and be in the right, for this difference will produce the demolition of the divine foundation. Though one of the parties may be in the right and they disagree that will be the cause of a thousand wrongs, but if they agree and both parties are in the wrong, as it is in unity the truth will be revealed and the wrong made right.” (Bahá’í World Faith, p. 411) (National Spiritual Assembly of the Bahá’ís of the United States, Bahá’í National Review, January 1983, p. 2-3)


If, God forbid, he should be guilty of the least breach of trust, or approach his duties in a slack or desultory fashion, or extort so much as a farthing from the populace, or seek to further his own selfish interests and personal gain—then it is certain that he shall be deprived of the outpourings of God’s grace.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 341)


If a man in his own home doth not treat his relations and friends with entire trustworthiness and integrity, his dealings with the outside world—no matter how much trustworthiness and honesty he may bring to them—will prove barren and unproductive. First one should order one’s own domestic affairs, then attend to one’s business with the public.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 339)


If the friends, however, are willing, spontaneously, to establish a profitable business in order to benefit themselves as well as the other friends, it is meritorious and there is no objection.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 253)


Should such a business venture as you propose be undertaken — and there is nothing wrong with it in principle — it would be well to advise the Bahá’ís who participate to approach it on the basis of its viability as a business project and they should not underestimate the possibilities of financial loss.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 253)


Since the orderly running of your association dependeth upon the devotion, integrity, fair-mindedness and sanctity of purpose manifested by the friends of God, they should show forth in their management of its affairs such purity, nobility and far-sighted wisdom that they will become a model for other societies, and all people may be edified and enlightened by their example. In this way the Bahá’ís will become known to all as people who are dependable and honest, virtuous and enlightened, pure and refined; who are industrious and high-principled, liberal-minded and promoters of freedom; whose concern is to serve the common good, not to advance their own interests, and whose aim is to further the welfare and prosperity of the people, not to foster their own well-being.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 340)


Stores and establishments where the majority of owners are Bahá’ís should be closed on the nine Holy Days, even though they may have non-Bahá’ís in their employ.
(USA- NSA, Guidelines for Local Spiritual Assemblies, Chapter 14, p. 16)



The House of Justice feels that the institutions of the Faith should neither themselves become involved in nor promote such a private business. The use of national endowments as collateral for such a business is not permissible.
(Universal House of Justice, Lights of Guidance, p. 253)


You have written on the question of how the friends should proceed in their business dealings with one another. This is a question of the greatest importance and a matter that deserveth the liveliest concern. In relations of this kind, the friends of God should act with the utmost trustworthiness and integrity. To be remiss in this area would be to turn one’s face away from the counsels of the Blessed Beauty and the holy precepts of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 339)


Your criterion should be to pursue your commercial activities with such fairness and equity as to be a cause of guidance to others. The friends of God should, through the instrumentality of their business, lead the people to God’s path, and make them so astonished as to exclaim: “How great is their truthfulness, how high their trustworthiness, and how true is their good will!”
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 341)