Time Off Work and Bahá’í Activities

In one of His Tablets, ‘Abdu’l-Bahá 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 . . .

Bahá’u’lláh, Kitáb-i-Aqdas, Notes, p. 193

He is very sorry that such undesirable things are every now and then cropping up in . . . and discouraging you in your work, keeping you from devoting all your spare time in teaching the Cause, and spreading its principles. He does not wish you, however, to lose heart from such things. As the Cause grows its difficulties will increase and its problems will become more numerous. The friends, especially the older ones, should therefore try and stand unmoved by them. In fact the more their difficulties will increase the more they have to take courage and try to solve them. The Master has often said that sorrows are like furrows, the deeper they go the more productive the land becomes. If this problem. .. should be settled other problems will arise. Are the friends to become discouraged or are they to follow the footsteps of the Master and consider them more as chances to show their tenacity of belief and spirit of sacrifice?

Shoghi Effendi, Unfolding Destiny, pp. 421-422.

If you take better care of your own health, and build up your reserves, it would certainly be better for you and for your work. Then your sensitive, yearning heart, although you may still often suffer for and with others, will be better able to withstand its trials, and you will not get so exhausted, which is certainly no asset to your work for the Cause.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 279.

The Bahá’ís, in spite of their self-sacrificing desire to give the last drop of their strength to serving the Cause, must guard against utterly depleting their forces and having breakdowns. For this can sometimes do more harm than good.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 279.

The Guardian was also very glad and deeply comforted to learn that your health is improving, and that gradually your energy is being restored. He wishes you to be very careful not to overtax your strength, and take all the necessary measures for your speedy and complete recovery.

Shoghi Effendi, Messages to the Indian Subcontinent, p. 104

There is no object in over-taxing your will power and strength by forcing yourself to do things for the Cause. You should let your mind rest in the thought of the infinite love, Mercy and Forgiveness of Bahá’u’lláh, and cease to fret about whether you are or are not doing your share until you fully recover your health.

Shoghi Effendi, Lights of Guidance, p. 282

You should certainly safeguard your nerves and force yourself to take time, and not only for prayer and meditation, but for real rest and relaxation.

Shoghi Effendi, The Importance of Prayer and Meditation and a Devotional Attitude, p. 19

He [Shoghi Effendi] quite understands how the friends can sometimes feel, as you put it, 'spiritually depleted', for the condition of the world is such today that it is like a great negative undertow trying to pull down all but the strongest and most firmly rooted. The friends should realize this and draw closer to each other, knowing that they form one spiritual family, closer to each other, in the sight of God, than those united by ties of blood.

From a letter written on behalf of Shoghi Effendi, 8 May, 1948, Source Unknown

No authoritative statement has been made that National Spiritual Assembly members are ineligible for service on a Local Spiritual Assembly, nor can a believer be instructed to resign from a Local Spiritual Assembly in other than very unusual circumstances, such as being physically incapacitated or being assessed as disloyal to the Faith. However, the passage cited above discourages Spiritual Assemblies from insisting that a member serve on two bodies when circumstances do not warrant it.

Universal House of Justice, to a National Spiritual Assembly, 13 July 2004

You are encouraged to follow the advice of your therapist in regard to the absences which you should take from your employment in order to facilitate your healing from the trauma you experienced in the past. The time taken away from work beneficial to society would doubtless be more than compensated for by the increase in effectiveness with which you will be able to perform such functions when your healing is more advanced.

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 22 December, 1992.

You have asked what to do since psychological problems sometimes make it difficult for you to participate in community events and Assembly meetings. In striving to follow the Teachings and the best medical advice you can obtain, you will want to remember that the healing you do now is an investment that will enable you to better serve in the future. Ideally, you would combine concentrating on healing with avenues of service which do not interfere with it.

From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to an individual believer, 23 October, 1994.

You should have no doubt that the completion of any act of service is contingent on one’s health and well-being, and you are urged to let go of the misconception of failure you have been carrying. In the course of life, unforeseen circumstances occur that can interfere with the achievement of our goals. This is part of life in this world and must not be regarded as a dereliction of duty.

Universal House of Justice to an individual, 12 January 2010

‘…the House of Justice has repeatedly advised that, where the burden of work does not make it possible for such a member to discharge adequately the various duties incumbent on membership on both National and Local Spiritual Assemblies, the individual should feel free to submit, and the Local Assembly to accept, his or her resignation. The same understanding applies where a Local Assembly member has been elected to a Regional Council. Such a step would be entirely reasonable and give no cause for self-reproach on the part of the person concerned.’

Universal House of Justice, to a National Spiritual Assembly, 13 July 2004

Many times when Shoghi Effendi was intensely distressed, I saw him go to bed, refusing to eat or drink, refusing to talk, rolled under his covers, unable to do anything but agonize, like someone beaten to the ground by heavy rain; this condition sometimes lasted for days, until forces within himself would adjust the balance and set him on his feet again. He would be lost in a world of his own where no one could follow.

Ruhiyyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 45.

Shoghi Effendi had to take a “leave of absence” from his job “under the weight of sorrows and boundless grief” until “by the grace of God, having gained health, strength, self confidence and spiritual energy” he was able to return.

Ruhiyyih Rabbani, The Priceless Pearl, p. 42.

We also have a Tablet of ‘Abdu’l-Bahá addressed to Shoghi Effendi, expressing His concern about his health, but at what period it was written I do not know: He is God! Shoghi Effendi, upon him be the glory of the All-Glorious! Oh thou who art young in years and radiant of countenance, I understand you have been ill and obliged to rest; never mind, from time to time rest is essential, otherwise, like unto ‘Abdu’l-Bahá from excessive toil you will become weak and powerless and unable to work. Therefore rest a few days, it does not matter. I hope that you will be under the care and protection of the Blessed Beauty.

Ruhiyyih Khanum, The Guardian of the Bahá’í Faith, p. 7

“...the Guardian of the Cause of God, the chosen Branch, the Leader of the people of Bahá, Shoghi Effendi, under the weight of sorrows and boundless grief, has been forced to leave here for a while in order to rest and recuperate, and then return to the Holy Land to render his services and discharge his responsibilities."

The Greatest holy Leaf cited by Rúhíyyih Khánum, The Priceless Pearl, p. 57