Debt

As to thy question concerning interest and profit on gold and silver: Some years ago the following passage was revealed from the heaven of the All-Merciful in honour of the one who beareth the name of God, entitled Zaynu'l-Muqarrabin [1] -- upon him be the glory of the Most Glorious. He -- exalted be His Word -- saith: Many people stand in need of this. Because if there were no prospect for gaining interest, the affairs of men would suffer collapse or dislocation. One can seldom find a person who would manifest such consideration towards his fellow-man, his countryman or towards his own brother and would show such tender solicitude for him as to be well-disposed to grant him a loan on benevolent terms. [2] Therefore as a token of favour towards men We have prescribed that interest on money should be treated like other business transactions that are current amongst men. Thus, now that this lucid commandment hath descended from the heaven of the Will of God, it is lawful and proper to charge interest on money, that the people of the world may, in a spirit of amity and fellowship and with joy and gladness, devotedly engage themselves in magnifying the Name of Him Who is the Well-Beloved of all mankind. Verily He ordaineth according to His Own choosing. He hath now made interest on money lawful, even as He had made it unlawful in the past. Within His grasp He holdeth the kingdom of authority. He doeth and ordaineth. He is in truth the Ordainer, the All-Knowing.

[1 One of the early believers who is best known to the friends for his reliable transcriptions of the Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh. (See Memorials of the Faithful pp. 150-153.)]

[2 Such loans as bear no interest and are repayable whenever the borrower pleases.]

Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 132-133

In connection with the demands for payment of which thou hast written in thy letter, it is manifestly clear that anyone who hath the ability to settle his debts, and yet neglecteth to do so, hath not acted in accordance with the good pleasure of the one true God. Those who incur debts should strive to settle them with all diligence and application. God's binding commandments with respect to trustworthiness, uprightness and the honouring of rights have been recorded in clear and perspicuous language in all the sacred Books, Tablets, Scriptures and holy Writings. Well is it with him whom the fleeting vanities of the world have not deprived of a lasting adornment, and whom avarice and negligence have not shut out from the illumination of the sun of trustworthiness. These matters, however, depend on the existence of ability, for the making of a demand is contingent upon ability to meet it. By the Lord of the Book, the former is not permissible in the absence of the latter. To this testifieth the Verse: "Respite thy debtor till he findeth means to pay."

Bahá’u’lláh, The Compilation of Compilations vol II, p. 336

Many ecclesiastics in Persia have, through innumerable designs and devices, been feeding on illicit gains obtained by usury. They have contrived ways to give its outward form a fair semblance of lawfulness. They make a plaything of the laws and ordinances of God, but they understand not. However, this is a matter that should be practised with moderation and fairness. Our Pen of Glory hath, as a token of wisdom and for the convenience of the people, desisted from laying down its limit. Nevertheless We exhort the loved ones of God to observe justice and fairness, and to do that which would prompt the friends of God to evince tender mercy and compassion towards each other. He is in truth the Counsellor, the Compassionate, the All-Bountiful. God grant that all men may be graciously aided to observe that which the Tongue of the One true God hath uttered. And if they put into practice what We have set forth, God -- exalted be His glory -- will assuredly double their portion through the heaven of His bounty. Verily He is the Generous, the Forgiving, the Compassionate.

Bahá’u’lláh, Tablets of Bahá’u’lláh, p. 132

Outstanding debts and payments of Huquq should be settled from the remainder of the estate, but if this is insufficient for the purpose, the shortfall should be met from his residence and personal clothing.

Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 130

QUESTION: Which is to take precedence: the Huququ'lláh, the debts of the deceased or the cost of the funeral and burial? ANSWER: The funeral and burial take precedence, then settlement of debts, then payment of Huququ'lláh. Should the property of the deceased prove insufficient to cover his debts, the remainder of his estate should be distributed among these debts in proportion to their size.

Bahá’u’lláh, The Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 109

The inheritance should not be divided until after the payment of the Huququ'lláh (The Right of God), of any debts contracted by the deceased and of any expenses incurred for a befitting funeral and burial.

Bahá’u’lláh, Synopsis and Codification of the Kitab-i-Aqdas, p. 45