Fatawa >Khums




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.

Requirements of Khums

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 are fulfilled.

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.