56 To Engage In Some Occupation #33

: The Kitab-i-aqdas

It is obligatory for men and women to engage in a trade or profession.

Baha'u'llah exalts engagement in such work to the rank of worship of

God. The spiritual and practical significance of this law, and the mutual

responsibility of the individual and society for its implementation are

explained in a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi:

With reference to Baha'u'llah's command concerning the engagement

of the believers in some sort of profession: the Teachings are

most emphatic on this matter, particularly the statement in the

Aqdas to this effect which makes it quite clear that idle people

who lack the desire to work can have no place in the new World

Order. As a corollary of this principle, Baha'u'llah further

states that mendicity should not only be discouraged but entirely

wiped out from the face of society. It is the duty of those who

are in charge of the organization of society to give every

individual the opportunity of acquiring the necessary talent in

some kind of profession, and also the means of utilizing such a

talent, both for its own sake and for the sake of earning the

means of his livelihood. Every individual, no matter how

handicapped and limited he may be, is under the obligation of

engaging in some work or profession, for work, especially when

performed in the spirit of service, is according to Baha'u'llah a

form of worship. It has not only a utilitarian purpose, but has a

value in itself, because it draws us nearer to God, and enables us

to better grasp His purpose for us in this world. It is obvious,

therefore, that the inheritance of wealth cannot make anyone

immune from daily work.

In one of His Tablets, 'Abdu'l-Baha states that if a person is incapable

of earning a living, is stricken by dire poverty or becometh helpless,

then it is incumbent on the wealthy or the Deputies to provide him with a

monthly allowance for his subsistence.... By 'Deputies' is meant the

representatives of the people, that is to say the members of the House of

Justice. (See also note 162 on mendicancy.)

In response to a question concerning whether Baha'u'llah's injunction

requires a wife and mother, as well as her husband, to work for a

livelihood, the Universal House of Justice has explained that

Baha'u'llah's directive is for the friends to be engaged in an occupation

which will profit themselves and others, and that homemaking is a highly

honourable and responsible work of fundamental importance to society.

Concerning the retirement from work for individuals who have reached a

certain age, Shoghi Effendi in a letter written on his behalf stated that

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.