As we have already mentioned in the chapter
dedicated to zakat that Khums (20% tax on
earnings) is among the sublime obligations decreed by the
Law-giver. This is so because of the important role this tax
plays in the circulation of money, the enrichment of state
treasury, and the materialization of social welfare. Thus, in
common with zakat, Khums shares the same objectives and
reaps the same rewards.
This 20% tax is levied on all kinds of property,
be it real estate or money. Zakat, as we have
illustrated, is confined to certain kinds of property. It will
transpire that Khums covers all kinds of property where
zakat is not levied. However, payment of khums on
some kinds of property, where zakat has already been
paid, might become obligatory. That is, when the requirements of
Zakat had been fulfilled, especially at the point of
circulation of property.
In common with other fiscal obligations, such as
zakat and kaffarahs, Khums is an act of worship
whose validity and acceptance is predicated on the niyyah
of qurbah at the point of payment.
Khums should not become due unless a number
of conditions are met:
i. and ii. Adulthood and Reason, in that
Khums should not become due on the property of a minor until
he attains adulthood, nor should it become due on the property
of an insane person, until he regains his senses, should his
insanity be perpetual. If it is occasional, Khums is
obligatory on him; the same applies to the person who has
frequent bouts of unconsciousness.
iii. Islam, in that no Khums is due on
the property of an unbeliever, regardless of the period he
remains unbeliever and the extent of his wealth.
68. These requirements should be upheld in the
obligation of paying Khums on all kinds of property,
except for adulthood, where the property is mixed with illicit
money, in which case it is obligatory on the guardian to pay
Khums on the property of the minor, should it become tainted
with illicit gains, even before the attains adulthood. The other
exception being that, when a covenanted (zimmi)
non-Muslim person buying a plot of land from a Muslim, Khums
has to be paid by the purchaser.
Should these three conditions be met besides all
other requirements, immediate payment of Khums becomes
due. For example, if one year has already elapsed on the
property of a minor before he attains adulthood, only to attain
it. In this case, he should hasten to pay Khums, i.e.
without the need to wait for the anniversary of attaining
adulthood so long as the property is still intact.
iv. Attaining the threshold in some kinds of
property, such as in treasure trove and metal, not others, like
gains; this will be elaborated later on.
v. The property should be privately owned, in
that no Khums should be levied on, for example, property
owned by the state or a charitable trust, regardless of length
of time and the return it might yield.
However, "private ownership" should not mean
individual ownership; it covers partnership, companies, and
co-operative societies where the property is shared.
69. The return of waqf, which has been
covenanted for a particular family, for example, should be
subject of Khums on each one's share, after receipt by
the beneficiary. The same applies on returns of general
endowment of a particular title, such as that dedicated to
theology students, or the general public – that fits the banner
of Sabilil lah. That is, any individual gets a portion of the
gains on such wakf it becomes part of his own property, in which
case he is liable to pay Khums on it so long as the requirements
70. It is not a condition that the property to
be taxed should be in hand. Debt due to the proprietor, the
usurped property whose return might be forthcoming, money
stashed away, which is although difficult to get hold of now,
yet might be retrieved in the future, and so on Khums
becomes due on it. However, it is not obligatory to pay Khums
on it so long as it is unavailable to you; the choice is left to
the proprietor who may wish to pay the Khums on it now or
later, i.e. after he can lay his hands on it. That said, when
all hope is lost in retrieving the property, such as bad debt,
no Khums should be payable on it. But, if per chance the
proprietor gets hold of his property, he should then pay
Khums on it, should the requirements be met.
71. When all the requirements are met, the
obligation to pay Khums should be applied to both man and
woman, irrespective of whether or not they have independent
means of income. A youth who is still living of his father's, or
his brother's, means of support, should pay Khums on the
surplus of his yearly provisions or normal expenditure of the
money he earns, be it that which is given to him or that which
he himself earns. The same applies to a woman, be she young or
married, even if the property was hers.