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

Wealth

A financier with colossal wealth should not exist whilst near him is a poor man in dire necessity. When we see poverty allowed to reach a condition of starvation it is a sure sign that somewhere we shall find tyranny. Men must bestir themselves in this matter, and no longer delay in altering conditions which bring the misery of grinding poverty to a very large number of the people. The rich must give of their abundance, they must soften their hearts and cultivate a compassionate intelligence, taking thought for those sad ones who are suffering from lack of the very necessities of life.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 153)


Above all it is imperative that in ever greater measure each individual believer should realize the vital need to subordinate his personal advantages to the overall welfare of the Cause, to awaken and reinforce his sense of responsibility before God to promote and protect its vital interests at all costs, and to renew his total consecration and dedication to His glorious Faith, so that, himself enkindled with the flames of its holy fire, he may, in concert with his fellow-believers, ignite the light of faith and certitude in the hearts of his family, his tribe, his countrymen and all the peoples of that mighty continent, in preparation for the day when Africa’s major contribution to world civilization will become fully consummated.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 341)


All around us today we see how man surrounds himself with every modern convenience and luxury, and denies nothing to the physical and material side of his nature. But, take heed, lest in thinking too earnestly of the things of the body you forget the things of the soul: for material advantages do not elevate the spirit of a man.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 62-63)


Consider a pearl which shineth by virtue of its inherent nature. If it be covered with silk, its luster and beauty will be concealed. Likewise, man’s distinction lieth in the excellence of his conduct and in the pursuit of that which beseemeth his station, not in childish play and pastimes. Know that thy true adornment consisteth in the love of God and in thy detachment from all save Him, and not in the luxuries thou dost possess. Abandon them unto those who seek after them and turn unto God, He Who causeth the rivers to flow.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Summons of the Lord of Hosts, p. 62)


Consider the human world. See how nations have come and gone. They have been of all minds and purposes. Some were mere captives of self and desire, engulfed in the passions of the lower nature. They attained to wealth, to the comforts of life, to fame. And what was the final outcome? Utter evanescence and oblivion. Reflect upon this. Look upon it with the eye of admonition. No trace of them remains, no fruit, no result, no benefit; they have gone utterly—complete effacement.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 186)


Even this earth’s happiness does not depend upon wealth. You will find many of the wealthy exposed to dangers and troubled by difficulties, and in their last moments upon the bed of death there remains the regret that they must be separated from that to which their hearts are so attached. They come into this world naked, and they must go from it naked. All they possess they must leave behind and pass away solitary, alone. Often at the time of death their souls are filled with remorse; and worst of all, their hope in the mercy of God is less than ours.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 33)


Fear the sighs of the poor and of the upright in heart who, at every break of day, bewail their plight, and be unto them a benignant sovereign. They, verily, are thy treasures on earth. It behoveth thee, therefore, to safeguard thy treasures from the assaults of them who wish to rob thee. Inquire into their affairs, and ascertain, every year, nay every month, their condition, and be not of them that are careless of their duty.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 236)


Haji Muhammad-Baqir was a well-known merchant, foremost among the believers in faith, certitude and enthusiasm, and was serving the Cause with devotion and self-sacrifice. This man attained the presence of Bahá’u’lláh in Baghdad. There He wrote a letter to Him and begged for wealth and prosperity. In answer, this exalted and wonderful Tablet was revealed for him. In it Bahá’u’lláh stated that his request would be granted and that the doors of prosperity and wealth would be opened for him from every direction. He warned him, however, to be on his guard and not to allow riches to become a barrier and make him heedless. Now you are here to attain the presence of Bahá’u’lláh and in the future you will witness that this man will be overtaken with fear to such an extent that he will renounce God and His Cause. Not long after, he will make substantial losses, following which he will write a letter to Bahá’u’lláh and repent. God will then turn his losses into profit and he will become again highly successful in his business and will emerge as the foremost merchant in Constantinople and Tabriz. However, this time he will wax prouder than before, more heedless and deprived... This time he will lose all his possessions, will be unable to continue trading and will become helpless in arranging his affairs. It is then that he will repent and return, and will be content to live as a poor man. He will spend the days of his life in the service of the Cause of God. His end will be blessed and he will receive great confirmations from God.’ He then said to me: ‘Remember all these things, for they will come to pass, and you shall witness them.’
(Adib Taherzadeh, Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh, v2, p. 277-278)


Having attained the stage of fulfilment and reached his maturity, man standeth in need of wealth, and such wealth as he acquireth through crafts or professions is commendable and praiseworthy in the estimation of men of wisdom.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 437)


He admonished all that we must be the servants of the poor, helpers of the poor, remember the sorrows of the poor, associate with them; for thereby we may inherit the Kingdom of heaven. God has not said that there are mansions prepared for us if we pass our time associating with the rich, but He has said there are many mansions prepared for the servants of the poor, for the poor are very dear to God. The mercies and bounties of God are with them. The rich are mostly negligent, inattentive, steeped in worldliness, depending upon their means, whereas the poor are dependent upon God, and their reliance is upon Him, not upon themselves. Therefore, the poor are nearer the threshold of God and His throne.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 33)


He should be … bestowing a portion upon the destitute, and not refusing benevolence and favor to the unfortunate.
(Compilations, Bahá’í Scriptures, p. 50)


How many kings have flourished in luxury and in a brief moment all has disappeared! Their glory and their honor are forgotten. Where are all these sovereigns now? But those who have been servants of the divine beauty are never forgotten. The result of their works is everywhere visible. What king is there of two thousand years ago whose kingdom has lived in the hearts? But those disciples who were devoted to God—poor people who had neither fortune nor position—are today trees bearing fruit. Their banner is raised higher every day.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Divine Philosophy, p. 137)


How numerous are those negligent souls, particularly from among your own compatriots, who have been deprived of the blessings of faith and true understanding. Witness how, no sooner had they attained their newly amassed wealth and status, than they became so bewitched by them as to forget the virtues and true perfections of man’s station. They clung to their empty and fruitless lifestyle. They had naught else but their homes, their commercial success, and their ornamental trappings of which to be proud. Behold their ultimate fate. Many a triumphal arch was reduced to a ruin, many an imperial palace was converted into a barn. Many a day of deceit turned into a night of despair. Vast treasures changed hands and, at the end of their lives, they were left only with tears of loss and regret. “... all that perisheth and changeth is not, and hath never been, worthy of attention, except to a recognized measure.”
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 438


If the whole earth were to be converted into silver and gold, no man who can be said to have truly ascended into the heaven of faith and certitude would deign to regard it, much less to seize and keep it. We have formerly referred to this subject in passages revealed in the Arabic tongue, in a language of exquisite beauty. God is Our witness! Whoever hath tasted the sweetness of those words will never consent to transgress the bounds which God hath fixed, neither will he turn his gaze towards any one except his Well-Beloved. Such a man will, with his inner eye, readily recognize how altogether vain and fleeting are the things of this world, and will set his affections on things above.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 297)


If they are wealthy, they should make these bestowals a means of drawing nigh unto God’s Threshold, rather than being so attached to them that they forget the admonitions of the Pen of the Most High.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 437)


If wealth and prosperity become the means of service at God’s Threshold, it is highly meritorious; otherwise it would be better to avoid them.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 437)


In idle fancy they have found the door that leadeth unto earthly riches, whereas in the manifestation of the Revealer of knowledge they find naught but the call to self-sacrifice. They therefore naturally hold fast unto the former, and flee from the latter.
(Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitáb-i-Iqan, p. 28)


It is indeed a good and praiseworthy thing to progress materially, but in so doing, let us not neglect the more important spiritual progress, and close our eyes to the Divine light shining in our midst.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 63)


It may be that a man who has every material benefit, and who lives surrounded by all the greatest comfort modern civilization can give him, is denied the all important gift of the Holy Spirit.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 63)


It will not be possible in the future for men to amass great fortunes by the labors of others. The rich will willingly divide. They will come to this gradually, naturally, by their own volition.
(Dr. J.E. Esslemont, Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, p. 145)


Man’s distinction lieth not in ornaments or wealth, but rather in virtuous behaviour and true understanding.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 57)


Many would readily acknowledge that the acquisition of wealth should be governed by the requirements of justice, which, as a principle, can be expressed to varying degrees, on different levels. An employer and employee, for example, are bound by the laws and
conventions that regulate their work, and each is expected to carry out his or her responsibilities with honesty and integrity. At another level, however, if the deeper
implications of justice are to be realized, the other two preconditions to the legitimate
acquisition of wealth mentioned above must be taken into account, and prevailing norms reassessed in their light. Here, the relationship between minimum wage and the cost of living merits careful evaluation—this, especially in light of the contribution workers make to a company’s success and their entitlement, as noted by ‘Abdu’l- Bahá, to a fair share of the profits. The wide margin, often unjustifiable, between the production costs of certain goods and the price at which they are sold likewise requires attention, as does the question of the generation of wealth through measures that “enrich the generality of the people”. What such reflection and inquiry will no doubt make abundantly clear is that certain approaches to obtaining wealth—so many of which involve the exploitation of others, the monopolization and manipulation of markets, and the production of goods that promote violence and immorality—are unworthy and unacceptable.
(Universal House of Justice, [Authorized Translation from Persian], 2 April 2010, to the Believers in the Cradle of the Faith)


Only by improving spiritually as well as materially can we make any real progress, and become perfect beings.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Paris Talks, p. 63)


Others ere long will lay hands on what ye possess, and enter into your habitations. Incline your ears to My words, and be not numbered among the foolish.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Gleanings from the Writings of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 260)


Referring to the exigencies of the material world, Bahá’u’lláh has affirmed that to every end has been assigned a means for its accomplishment. A natural conclusion to be drawn from reflection on this fundamental principle is that vigilance must be exercised in distinguishing “means” from “ends"; otherwise, what is intended as a mere instrument could easily become the very goal of an individual’s life. The acquisition of wealth is a case in point; it is acceptable and praiseworthy to the extent that it serves as a means for achieving higher ends—for meeting one’s basic necessities, for fostering the progress of one’s family, for promoting the welfare of society, and for contributing to the establishment of a world civilization. But to make the accumulation of wealth the central purpose of one’s life is unworthy of any human being.
(Universal House of Justice message to the Believers in the Cradle of the Faith, 1 April 2010)


The best of men are they that earn a livelihood by their calling and spend upon themselves and upon their kindred for the love of God, the Lord of all worlds.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Hidden Words, Persian 82)


The essence of wealth is love for Me; whoso loveth Me is the possessor of all things, and he that loveth Me not is indeed of the poor and needy. This is that which the Finger of Glory and Splendour hath revealed.
(Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 156)


The happiness and greatness, the rank and station, the pleasure and peace, of an individual have never consisted in his personal wealth, but rather in his excellent character, his high resolve, the breadth of his learning, and his ability to solve difficult problems.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Secret of Divine Civilization, p. 23)


The legitimacy of wealth depends, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá has indicated, on how it is acquired and
on how it is expended. In this connection, He has stated that “wealth is praiseworthy in the highest degree, if it is acquired by an individual’s own efforts and the grace of God, in commerce, agriculture, crafts and industry", if the measures adopted by the individual in generating wealth serve to “enrich the generality of the people", and if the wealth thus obtained is expended for “philanthropic purposes” and “the promotion of knowledge", for the establishment of schools and industry and the advancement of education, and in general for the welfare of society.
(Universal House of Justice message to the Believers in the Cradle of the Faith, 1 April 2010)


The members of the younger generation would do well to ponder the above statement
of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá in which He conditions the acquisition of wealth on diligent work and the
grace of God. Let them weigh carefully in their hearts and minds the difference between
gaining wealth through earnest effort in fields such as agriculture, commerce, the arts, and industry, on the one hand, and, on the other, obtaining it without exertion or through
dishonourable means. Let them consider the consequences of each for the spiritual
development of the individual, as well as the progress of society, and ask themselves what possibilities exist for generating income and acquiring wealth that will draw down
confirmations from on high. It will surely become evident, as they do so, that what will attract God’s blessings and ensure true happiness both in this world and in the next is the development of spiritual qualities, such as honesty, trustworthiness, generosity, justice, and consideration for others, and the recognition that material means are to be expended for the betterment of the world.
(Universal House of Justice, [Authorized Translation from Persian], 2 April 2010, to the Believers in the Cradle of the Faith)


The progress and vitality of humanity requires a coherent relationship between the material and non-material dimensions of human life...if wealth is accumulated by the oppression and domination of others, how can we hope to mobilize the material, intellectual, and moral resources needed to eradicate poverty?
(Bahá’í International Community’s Oral Statement to the 50th Session of the Commission for Social Development)


The wealth of the other world is nearness to God. Consequently, it is certain that those who are near the Divine Court are allowed to intercede, and this intercession is approved by God. But intercession in the other world is not like intercession in this world. It is another thing, another reality, which cannot be expressed in words.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá: Some Answered Questions, p. 231)


The world’s wealth is, by contrast, the stuff of illusion. Those who lust after it are the followers of evil and, erelong, they shall be plunged into confusion and despair.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 343)


Therefore, consider how base a nature it reveals in man that, notwithstanding the favors showered upon him by God, he should lower himself into the animal sphere, be wholly occupied with material needs, attached to this mortal realm, imagining that the greatest happiness is to attain wealth in this world. How purposeless! How debased is such a nature!
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Promulgation of Universal Peace, p. 184)


This matter of teachers requires the greatest condition; that is, they should never stain themselves with the world, they should not look for the least pecuniary reward from any soul; nay, rather they should bear the utmost poverty and with the perfect wealth of nature [a state wherein man can dispense with things and be happy in their absence], through the bounty of God, may they associate with the people. They should seek no reward nor recompense. Freely have thy received, freely should they give. His Holiness Christ sayeth: “When ye leave the city, clean off from your shoes the dust thereof.” The holiness of the teachers must reach this degree. Thus may they utter with eloquence, while in ecstasy and great joy, and guide the people to the manifest light.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v2, p. 359-360)


Turn to the Book of the Covenant, the Hidden Words, and other Tablets, lest the cord of your salvation become a rope of woe which will lead to your own destruction.
(The Universal House of Justice, Messages 1963 to 1986, p. 437-438)


Vanity in riches is worthy of none but the base, and pride in possessions beseemeth only the foolish.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 344)


Ye are the trees of My garden; ye must give forth goodly and wondrous fruits, that ye yourselves and others may profit therefrom. Thus it is incumbent on every one to engage in crafts and professions, for therein lies the secret of wealth, O men of understanding! For results depend upon means, and
the grace of God shall be all-sufficient unto you. Trees that yield no fruit have been and will ever be for the fire.
(Adib Taherzadeh, The Revelation of Bahá’u’lláh v 2, p. 281)


Yea, some of the intellectually cultured people in those countries exert themselves to reach the loftiest summits of prosperity in worldly affairs and most of them are desiring wealth and are making an effort to attain it somehow. But they are unmindful of the treasury of the Kingdom, the spiritual affluence and the wealth of mind; therefore, thou findest them subject to the rage of lusts and under the influence of egotistic and selfish desires, sinking into intemperance and engaged in drinking the cup of lust. Were they to become mindful of their heedlessness and awakened from the sleep of ignorance, they would become intoxicated by the cup of the love of God and exhilarated by the good cheer of the wine of the knowledge of God.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Tablets of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá v3, p. 648-649)


… riches do prevent the rich from entering the Kingdom; and again, He saith, ‘It is easier for a camel to go through the eye of a needle, than for a rich man to enter into the Kingdom of God.’ If, however, the wealth of this world, and worldly glory and repute, do not block his entry therein, that rich man will be favoured at the Holy Threshold and accepted by the Lord of the Kingdom.
(‘Abdu’l-Bahá, Selections from the Writings of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá, p. 195)