Specific economic principles in the Baha’i Writings, a deepening (part three)

Retirement and Pension


“As to the question of retirement from work for individuals who have reached a certain age, this is a matter on which the International House of Justice will have to legislate as there are no provisions in the Aqdas concerning it.”   -Shoghi Effendi:  Directives of the Guardian, p. 83; Lights of Guidance, p. 626; and Principles of Bahá’í Administration, p. 12.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to the National Spiritual Assembly of the United States and Canada, 22 March 1937.)

“Even though you are 79 years old, that does not seem in your case to be any handicap; and in this Cause, as the Guardian has told us there is work for everyone of some sort, of whatever age he or she may be.” -Shoghi Effendi:  Lights of Guidance, p. 626.  (From a letter written on behalf of the Guardian to an individual believer, 23 August 1954.  Cited by the Universal House of Justice, 14 December 1970.)

“The workers could either be granted a wage that adequately meets their daily needs, as well as a right to a share in the revenues of the factory when they are injured, incapacitated, or unable to work, or else a wage could be set that allows the workers to both satisfy their daily needs and save a little for times of weakness and incapacity.” -‘Abdu’l-Bahá:  Some Answered Questions, p.317



  1. How can workers get support when they become feeble or helpless?


Rate of Interest


Presently, governments and economists use interest rates as an important tool to regulate economic activities. However, there are economies in the world that do not agree with the idea of any interest (e.g. some Islamic countries).


Most of the people are found to be in need of this matter; for if no interest be allowed, affairs (business) will be trammelled and obstructed. …  A person is rarely found who would lend money to anyone upon the principle of ‘Qar-i-hasan’ (literally ‘good loan’, i.e. money advanced without interest and repaid at the pleasure of the borrower).  Consequently, out of favour to the servants, We have appointed ‘profit on money’ to be current, among other business transactions which are in force among people.  That is … it is allowable, lawful and pure to charge interest on money … but this matter must be conducted with moderation and justice.  The Pen of Glory has withheld itself from laying down its limits, as a Wisdom from His Presence and as a convenience for His servants.  We exhort the friends of God to act with fairness and justice, and in such a way that the mercy of His beloved ones, and their compassion, may be manifested toward each other. …

“The execution of these matters has been placed in charge of the men of the House of Justice, in order that they may act in accordance with the exigencies of the time and with wisdom.”  Bahá’u’lláh:  Quoted by J. E. Esselmont in Bahá’u’lláh and the New Era, The Ethics of Wealth section, pp. 136–137.



  1. What is a good loan?
  2. What is the importance of interest rates?
  3. Are you paying any interest? If yes, do you think the rate is fair?

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