Re: References to Bankruptcy

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Posted by Brett Zamir ( on February 25, 2002 at 23:45:30:

In Reply to: References to Bankruptcy posted by Judd Rook on February 18, 2002 at 01:32:55:

I have included some quotations here which impinge on the subject somewhat, but I think you would best be served by contacting your National Spiritual Assembly since they may be familiar with the conditions of declaring bankruptcy in your country, etc., and have a more clear and authoritative position than a random and subjective culling of the Writings can provide.

In general, of course, trustworthiness (including paying one's debts) is assigned high importance in the Writings:

"The settlement of debts is a most important command set forth in the Book. Well is it with him who ascendeth unto God, without any obligations to Huququ'llah and to His servants." (Huququ'llah, p. 495)

However, the importance of some relief (at least from the point of view of the lender) is covered in the Writings:

"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...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.""(Trustworthiness, p. 336, inside quotation from the Qur'an 2:280)

The former verse, however, would only seem to support debt extensions (and of course, I would say, given Baha'i obedience to the government, would not supercede the law of the land if their laws were more restrictive). However, from the point of view of the lender, the Baha'i Writings condemn usury (while reluctantly permitting interest to be charged) and although Baha'u'llah, in the Tablet of Ishraqat, abrogates the Qur'anic? prohibition on charging interest, the following moral principle from the Qur'an may still ideally apply (from the point of view of the lender) "If any one find difficulty in discharging a debt, then let there be a delay until it be easy for him: but if ye remit it as alms it will be better for you, if ye knew it." (Qur'an, Rodwell's translation)
Again though, these do not deal directly with personal bankruptcy, and you can probably find a more authoritative answer from the institutions...Good luck...

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