No announcement yet.

Khums (Islamic Tax) How many of us pay it ?

  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

    Khums (Islamic Tax) How many of us pay it ?

    "Khums" literally means "one-fifth or 20%". In Islamic legal terminology, it means "one-fifth of certain items which a person acquires as wealth, and which must be paid as an Islamic tax". The Qur'an mentions it in the following verse:

    Know that whatever of a thing you acquire, a fifth of it is for Allah, for the Messenger, for the near relative, and the orphans, the needy, and the wayfarer...(8:41)

    We hear often of zakat but khums is just as important and a commandment from the Almighty (swt).

    For those that do pay, how do you distribute khums ?

    This ayat pertains to material recovered as the result of a war, referred to as 'maal-e-ghaneemat'. During times of peace, this ruling does not apply.


      Not a single sect of Islam confines the meaning of ghanimah to the 'spoils of war'.

      In addition to the 'spoils of war' the following items are subject to khums:

      (a) Minerals: eligible for khums in Shi`ah and Hanafi sects.

      (b) Buried treasure: eligible for khums in all Muslim sects (that is, Shi`ah, Hanafi, Maliki, Hanbali and Shafi`iy).

      What has been quoted above can also be substantiated from the practice of the Prophet of Islam himself.

      For example, when the Prophet sent `Amr bin Hazm to Yemen, he wrote instructions for him in which, among other things, he says, " gather the khums of Allah from the gains [of Yemenis]."

      (Ibn Khaldun, Ta'rikh, vol. 2, part II (Beirut: al-A`lami, 1971) p. 54; Ibn Kathir, al-Bidayah wa 'n-Nihayah, vol. 5 (Beirut: al-Ma`arif, 1966) pp. 76-77; Ibn Hisham, Sirah, vol. 4 (Beirut: Daru 'l-Jayl, 1975) p. 179.)

      And when the tribe of Bani Kilal of Yemen sent its khums to the Prophet, the latter acknowledges it by saying, "Your messenger has returned and you have paid the khums of Allah from the gains (al-ghana'im)."

      (Abu `Ubayd, al-Amwal (Beirut: Mu'assah Nasir, 1981) p. 13; al-Hakim, Mustadrak, vol. 1 (Hyderabad: `Uthmaniyyya Press, 1340 AH) p. 395. For more references, see Ja`far Murtada al-`Amili, al-Sah°h fi Sirati 'n-Nabi, vol. 3 (Qum: n.p, 1983) p. 309.)

      It is interesting to note that the Bani Kilal obeyed the Prophet's order and sent the khums of its gains to him while no war had taken place between the Muslims of Yemen and the unbelievers. This is a clear indication that khums was not restricted by the Prophet to the spoils of war.


        Another incident, found in Sahih Bukhari, clearly shows that the holy apostle (pbuh) collected khums from people who were not in any state of war :-

        The Bani `Abdu 'l-Qays was a small tribe that existed at the time of the prophet (pbuh). In order to travel to Medina, they had to cross an area inhabited by the Muzar tribe which was against the Muslims.

        Consequently, the Bani `Abdu 'l-Qays could not travel safely to Medina except during the months in which war-fare was forbidden according to the Arab custom.

        Once a delegation from Bani `Abdu 'l-Qays came to Medina and said to the Prophet, "We cannot come to you except in the haram months [when war-fare is forbidden], and there are between us and you the unbelievers of Muzar. Therefore, please give us some advice that we may give to those whom we have left behind and that we may enter the Paradise [by acting on it ourselves]."

        The Prophet advised them to believe in One God, establish prayer, pay zakat, fast in the month of Ramadhan, and "to pay khums (one-fifth) of whatever you gain."

        (Bukhari, Sahihu 'l-Bukhari, vol. 4 (Beirut: Daru 'l-`Arabiyyah, n.d.) p. 213; Abu `Ubayd, al-Amwal, p. 13. This has also been recorded by other Sunni sources of hadith like Sahih Muslim, Sunan Nisa'i, Musnad of Ahmad bin Hanbal, and Sunan of Tirmidhi.)

        The circumstances of the Bani `Abdu 'l-Qays -- they were weak and small in numbers, and were thus prevented from traveling safely to Medina -- leaves no room for interpreting the application of khums in the above hadith on spoils of war exclusively.


          I hope you are not implying that its obligatory.


            The holy ahl bait (as) has instructed us to pay khums each financial year as per the verdicts of Allah (swt) and his holy apostle (pbuh). Khums is to be paid from the extra / excess profit of an individual.

            Amir al- Muímineen Imam Ali (as) has said that whatever a person has in excess of what he needs, he is only keeping for the use of others.

            Furthermore, if a person does not pay the khums, that personís money becomes haraam. If the food is bought with it, that food becomes haraam regardless of how much care goes into ensuring that it is halaal. If clothing is purchased with it, that clothing becomes haraam, and no one can pray in it.

            Although the money may be in a particular personís safekeeping, it is not really his or her own; it lawfully belongs to the poor and needy and the service of Islam.

            What is the verdict of the other schools of thought regarding khums ?