Rules concerning Payment of Khums
1. Who is qualified to
You may know by now that Khums is a huge
source of income, should every mukallaf comply with the
requirements of the law and pay their share. These undepletable
funds are not only capable of fulfilling the requirements of the
poor and needy, but constitute an important income for the state
coffers that could be uses in funding vital projects and
satisfying pressing needs.
Accordingly, in distributing Khums on the
eligible recipients, the needs of both the state as well as the
individuals has been taken into consideration. In juridical
terminology, each portion of Khums has been called "share", the
total of which is six allotted as follows:
i. The State share.
Three shares go to the state. These are
Allah's share, The Prophet's and his kinsmen (Thil Qurba),
especially, the Infallible Imam. Had the Prophet (p.) been
alive, he would have been in-charge of all three shares. In his
absence, the Imam, is second in line to assume the
responsibility of these shares; and in his absence, the general
representative of the Imam, i.e. the just jurist, known as the "Marji"'
is the custodian of the shares. In jurists' circles, these three
shares are also known as "The share of the Imam".
Evidently, this part of Khums is not made
available to the Prophet or the Imam in their personal capacity,
but for their position and responsibility at the helm of the
state. This should call for making funds available for them to
help them discharge such responsibility, in the way the
Infallible (ruler) sees fit.
However, since the Infallible (ruler) is
absent, the custodianship of these shares has been passed to the
Marji', who must take into account, when disposing of the share
of the Imam, what pleases the Imam (a.s.), which can generally
be construed from the nature of Islamic legislation and the way
the Imam conducted himself among Muslims at his lifetime; the
requirements and the office of the Imam should also have bearing
on the matter. All this has to be present in the mind of the
Marji' when distributing the share, i.e. according to a list of
priorities, which may vary pursuant to the day and age, and in a
way which is commensurate with the remit of the authority of the
It can be said that these priorities can be
confined to two aspects pursuant to their order of importance:
a. The share of the Imam has to be spent in
the avenues, which propagate the teachings of Islam and
consolidates them; included in this aim should be the defense of
Islam and its territories from the aggression of the enemy.
Ingredients of this avenue are the funding of
centers of propagation and preaching, preparing the
ulema(religious scholars) and preachers, establishing
universities and theological institutes, and printing/publishing
books. Another avenue should be defending Muslim lands and their
achievements at peace as well as war times, as men of expertise
in the field see fit. Making funds available for the cause of
consolidating the Islamic entity (state), safeguarding its
independence and sovereignty, establishing the order of justice,
and warding off transgression is yet another aim.
b. Making money from the Share of the Imam
available to finance vital projects for Muslims. Such as
schools, hospitals, scientific institutions and economic
projects, in the spheres of irrigation, land reclamation, and so
on, of general good. Providing for the needs of the poor and the
needy with grants and institutions overseeing their affairs is
another avenue of expenditure. There are, of course, others.
It goes without saying that should the just
jurist rule, i.e. being at the top echelon of government, the
avenues of spending from the Share of the Imam (May Allah hasten
his reappearance) would be far and wide.
ii. The Share of Individuals
This Share comprises three portions also.
They are given to (a) the poor and needy, especially the poor,
(b) the orphans, and (c) the wayfarer.
Unlike the distribution of Khums, where the
description of "the poor/needy and the wayfarer' can cover all
the Muslim poor, be they Hashimite or non-Hasimite. The
consensus among jurists that this Khums share is exclusive to
the poor/needy, the orphans, and the wayfarer among the
Hashimites, hence the name, "The share of Sadat- the descendants
of the Prophet", as opposed to the Share of the State which is
known as "The Share of the Imam". That said, at certain
occasions a Hashimites might be given of the Share of the Imam.
To sum up, the classification of the
recipient of Khums is the subject the Qur'anic verse,
"And know that whatever thing you gain, a
fifth of it is wayfarer, if you believe in Allah and in that
which We revealed to Our servant, on the day of distinction, the
day on which the two parties met; and Allah has power over all
135. In discussing Zakat, we have already
mentioned categories of people entitled for payment of Khums so
as other conditions that should be fulfilled. Khums is not
different in this regard. However, the following requirements
have to be satisfied in order that those entitled for the share
of Hashimites be granted Khums money.
i. Belief in the true tenets of the faith.
Justice and full adherence to the dictated of sharia law are not
among the conditions, although those who truned their back to
prayers, flagrant in committing sins, and drink alcohol should,
as a matter of obligatory precaution, be denied any share of
ii. The orphan is he who lost his father and
still below the age of adulthood. Once he reached adulthood he
can no longer be considered orphan, according to shari'a law,
even though he is still not mature enough and not capable of
leading an independent life.
Being orphan per se is not a vehicle to
receiving Khums money; an orphan must be poor, i.e. not capable
of subsisting himself for a year, to qualify for receiving any
money of the share of Hashimites.
136. A Hashimite woman married to non-Hashimite
man does not automatically qualify for Khums money by virtue of
being Hashimite, especially if her husband can support her all
year round, even though by way of borrowing. Should the husband
not be in a position to do that, or she needed the money to,
say, pay back her debt, which the husband is not normally
responsible for, should be granted money of the share of
Hashimites in Khums. Once she receives the money she will have
right of disposal over it.
137. Unlike the ruling in Zakat, a Hashimite
is entitled to receive Khums money, regardless of the payer
being one or not.
138. It is permissible to pay Khums money to
one category among those entitled to receive it to sustain them
for one year. It is also permissible to distribute the sum among
the three categories in the way the payer likes.
2. Rules of Payment to Eligible Recipients
The payer of Khums is not free to pay his
dues directly to those Hashimites who are entitled to receive a
share, nor is he free to dispose of the share of the Imam prior
to having contacted the Marji', who is the mujtahid just jurist,
or his agent, as a matter obligatory precaution. Furthermore,
such a jurist must also be very well aware of his public as well
as private spending, which should be concordant with the
dictated of the shari'a.
139. It is not obligatory to pay Khums to the
entitled recipients where the Khums is generated, although it is
advisable to do so, as a matter of voluntary ihtiyat (awla).
However, should transferring the money to some other place
entail any apathy to paying one's dues, such as delaying payment
for a long time, it is not permissible to do so. Likewise, if
the Khums has been generated in a place, other that that of the
Khums payer, he should do his best in choosing an early date of
settling his Khums liability.
140. Should the payer of Khums owe any money
from the person entitled for Khums, who he wishes to pay Khums
to, he is entitled to offset such debt against any Khums
payments, if he has agreed before hand on such an arrangement
with the Marji'.
141. Should erroneous payment of Khums be
made, after the year has drawn to a close, e.g. for
miscalculation, the payer is entitled to claim back from the
poor person what he paid them in Khums. But, if the payment is
made earlier in the (tax) year, in the belief that the payer was
not in need then for money he paid for his annual expenditure,
only to find out that he needed the money, it is not permissible
for him to claim back what he gave, even though the actual Khums
money was still available, let alone what of it was already
142. While we were discussing "Khums
Assessment", we have already mentioned that the Khums payer, who
is not a position to know how much Khums he should pay, has to
reach a settlement with the Marji'. The issue here is that: is
the payer obliged to pay the sum of Khums to the same Marji' he
made the settlement with or his agent, or can he pay it to any
The answer is that the follower of a mujtahid
should abide by the fatwa of the mujtahid, i.e. should he rule
that payment must be made to the Marji', he must comply, on the
assumption that he had reached such a settlement with him or his
agent. If, perchance, the agent was that of the Marji' himself
too, there is no objection to making payment to him, unless he
has reached such a settlement with a Hashimite agent has already
received the money from him (mukallaf) and took it for himself,
the lending it to him, in which case, he is not allowed to pay
to others, even if that other (agent) is an agent of his Marji'
But, if the mukallaf was following a Marji'
who does not make it obligatory to pay Khums to him or his agent
alone, the payer can settle his Khums liability by paying it to
whomsoever of the mujtahids he wishes. It is within a right too
to apportion the Khums by giving it to more than one mujtahid.
The exception of the Hashimite cleric discussed in the previous
para. applies here too.
143. For a host of valid reasons, the
mukallaf may not be in a position to settle him Khums liability
in full and in single payment. The Marji' may consider granting
the mukallaf a delay in paying his dues as he sees fit.
This could be done either by receiving the
amount of Khums from the mukallaf, then return same to him by
way a debt, or grant an outright extension to settle it on some
future date in full or in part, or any other method of payment,
not losing sight of both the interests of the mukallaf and the
recipient of Khums.
Should such an arrangement be agreed by the
Marji', the Khums be treated as though it has been paid. If the
market value of the provisions increases, during the grace
period, no extra Khums should be levied.
144. Many years may elapse before the
mukallaf realizes that he should have been paying Khums. Such
must take necessary action to rectify his position vis-à-vis
The following scenarios may come into play:
i. His income could have been sufficient for
him and members of his family, i.e. without being able to save
any money. Provided that the income was not misuse, i.e. for
illicit spending or got mixed with ill-gotten, he is required to
take into account only those items of provisions which were
surplus, albeit an ounce of tea or sugar; he must estimate an
amount for each year he missed out on payment of tax and get it
settled with the Marji'.
ii. The mukallaf's income could have been
fluctuating; he may have spent irresponsibly in some avenues; he
may as well have spent some of his income in illicit ways. He
may have traded in his property, making a profit or loss. He may
have disposed of his income in this way or the other.
Computing Khums on such a diverse situation
should follow the rules, already set out, that deal with each
and every according to its merits, whether he knew what he
earned/spent in detail, vaguely, or not at all. Since, people in
such cased do not pay attention to choosing a date in the year
to mark the beginning of their tax year, they can rely on the
date they generated the income and how they spent it, as the
date of the tax year. After allowing for one's yearly
provisions, any excess/shortfall should be counted for the
payment of otherwise of Khums.
Should the mukallaf not be in a position to
any detail of his income and outgoing, he has no alternative but
to reach a settlement with the Marji'.
145. It is permissible to take away the
amount of Khums due from the property of the person who
withholds payment, provided that it is done with the knowledge
and approval of the Marji'.
3. Rules of Loss of Khums Money
146. The Khums taxable property could be lost
through fire or the sort without the fault of the proprietor.
Should this happen before the amount of Khums paid, no liability
shall befall the proprietor.
The taxpayer could be responsible for not
setting aside, in good time, the amount of Khums before the loss
was sustained; he may as well have not a good reason for
delaying payment; he may be held responsible for not giving due
care to preserving the property before it was accidentally lost;
he may be at fault in causing the property to be lost by way of
sabotage. In all these cases, the proprietor should stand to
indemnify the amount of Khums in the property. The Marji' has,
in this case, the right to demand the payment of Khums either in
kind or the value thereof.
Even if the property is lost by others, but
through the negligence of the proprietor, he should stand to
indemnify the amount of Khums. The Marji' should have recourse
to the proprietor in the same way just explained, according to
the principles of compensation, because the settlement of this
issue is confined to the responsibility of the proprietor in
safeguarding the amount of Khums due on his property before the
Marji', who is the guardian of Khums.
Should there be no case for negligence on the
part of the proprietor, and the property was lost through
others' wanton aggression, the latter should be made to pay the
amount of Khums; the Marji' should have the right to demand
payment from the culprit directly.
147. The mukallaf may be following the fatwa
of a certain jurist, who is of the opinion that no Khums should
be levied on items acquired by way of gift; on the death of this
jurist, the follower switched his allegiance to another jurist,
who thinks differently. The mukallaf should pay Khums on those
gifts, even though they may have been disposed of or lost.
148. The amount of Khums may be set aside the
mukallaf prior to handing it over to the recipient. Should it be
lost, the mukallaf must compensate same; this is because mere
setting aside of the Khums does not actually take it out of his
ownership and place it under that of the recipient. Thus, in the
event of loss, the mukallaf is responsible for such a loss.
149. The mukallaf may lawfully dispose of the
asset which is still liable for Khums. Should his action be
unintentional or through ignorance, he must not be deemed
sinful. If it was deliberate, he be deemed sinner. However, in
both the cased, the disposal of the asset be deemed as though it
was lost. Here, there is a number of rules that should be
i. The proprietor must stand to indemnify the
Khums due on the property that was disposed of; the Marji' can
demand payment from him. He should pay in kind or the value
ii. The transaction of disposing of the asset
is valid. Thus, the new owner, should he be believer, can have
right of disposal over the acquired item, without being held
responsible for the unpaid amount of Khums due on it.
Furthermore, the proprietor does mot have an automatic right to
canceling the transaction, even if it was struck inadvertently,
unless the terms of sale provide for such an option.
iii. The proprietor may have disposed of
certain items, such as grain and eggs, whose Khums is not yet
paid, by way of using the grains as seeds and the eggs to
produce chicks and suchlike. The proprietor should guarantee the
payment of the original items not what they have turned out.
That is, any return that may result of the Khums of the new
items should be deemed as the property of the owner and not the
recipient of Khums.
iv. The mukallaf may decide to trade in the
item, be it money or asset, after it has become liable for Khums,
and before its payment, even for a good reason, making a profit
in the process. If the transaction was struck by way of the
owner's selling the item, the would-be Khums recipient must be
paid his share, i.e.20%, of the profit. But, if the mukallaf
bought the item with his won money and sold it, making some
profit in the process, the would-be recipient is not entitled to
a share in the profit. That is, the mukallaf has already paid
the recipient his share before the end of the year the
transaction was struck. Otherwise, the recipient would stand to
gain a share of the profit.
v. The believer has the right of disposal
over what the person withholding the payment of Khums make
available of his property for him. Thus, it is permissible for
him to eat, drink, or prayer in his house, wearing his clothes
and so on; this is because the sin resulting from having the
right of use (disposal) over the property which is still liable
for Khums falls squarely on the shoulders of the person
withholding payment of Khums; thus, no offence is done by the
believer who may have had a free hand in the property, be it
knowingly or unknowingly.
150. Should the value of the lost/disposed of
property be different, i.e. at the time of loss and that of
payment, the deciding value should be that of the date of