The tax of one-fifth (Khums)

Topics
ثبت نام فارسی
The tax of one-fifth (Khums)
2665 0 اشتراک گذاری 0

All the Fuqaha' of Islam are of the belief that spoils obtained in war should be divided amongst the warriors, but a fifth of all spoils is to be given for certain other purposes, as the following verse states:

And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the 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 things. (Sura al-Anfal, 8: 41)

The fuqaha' of Shi'ism differ from those of other schools in that the latter regard this 'fifth' ( khums) as being confined to spoils of war, and do not believe in giving over this share in any other circumstances, arguing that this verse relates only to spoils of war. But this position is incorrect, from two points of view.
Firstly, in the Arabic language, anything that one obtains without having worked for it, is referred to as ghan'ima, and the word is not restricted in its application only to the ghanima obtained in war. As lbn Manzur says:

'Al-ghunm is the obtaining of a thing without [having had to] toil [for it]. '[1]

The Qur'an also brings in this word when describing the blessings of Paradise:

With God are plenteous spoils ... (Sura al-Nisa', 4: 94)

In principle, ghanima should be seen in contrast with gharama (indemnity). When someone is forced to pay an indemnity or reparation in the form of a sum of money, this will be called a gharama; if one receives the profit thereof, it will be called a ghan'ima.
Therefore, there is no reason for restricting the import of this verse to the spoils of war alone, nor can one make such a restriction simply on account of the verse being revealed after the Battle of Badr. The law of the khums applies universally to profits made, and is not confined to the circumstances in which the verse was revealed.

certain narrations make it clear that the Prophet made the khums tax obligatory in respect of all types of profit. A group from the tribe of 'Abd al-Qays came to the Prophet and said: 'Between us and you there is the forbidding barrier of the polytheists, and it is only during the sacred months that we are able to come close to you. Make clear to us some orders which, if acted upon, will lead us to Paradise, orders that we can invite others to act on also.' The Prophet said:
'I give you the order of 'iman (faith),' then he proceeded to explain 'iman: 'To bear witness tnat there is no god but God, to establish prayer, to give the poor-due, and to give one-fifth of your profits ( maghnam).

Secondly, certain narrations make it clear that the Prophet made the khums tax obligatory in respect of all types of profit. A group from the tribe of 'Abd al-Qays came to the Prophet and said: 'Between us and you there is the forbidding barrier of the polytheists, and it is only during the sacred months that we are able to come close to you. Make clear to us some orders which, if acted upon, will lead us to Paradise, orders that we can invite others to act on also.' The Prophet said:

'I give you the order of 'iman (faith),' then he proceeded to explain 'iman: 'To bear witness tnat there is no god but God, to establish prayer, to give the poor-due, and to give one-fifth of your profits ( maghnam). '[2]

It is obvious that the meaning of maghnam in this hadith does not pertain to spoils of war, for the tribe in question lived in a place from which they could not easily make contact with the Prophet since, out of fear of the polytheists, they could not reach Medina, except during the sacred months. Such persons as these, surrounded as they were by the polytheists, did not have the power to fight them, and thus could not have given one-fifth of the spoils of war resulting therefrom.
Also, there are narrations related of the Imams of the ahl al¬bayt that show very explicitly the necessity of paying a tax of one-fifth on all profits, such that there is no room for ambiguity on this issue.[3]

1. See Lisan al-'arab, under the word ghanam; a similar meaning is given by lbn Athir in his al-Nihaya, and by al-Firuzabadi in his Qamus al¬lugha. .The books referred to here are classical Arabic. lexicons.
2. al-Bukhari, Sahih, vol. 4, p. 2 50.
3. al-'Amili, Wasa'il al-Shi'a, vol. 6, Kitab al-khums, ch. 1.

COMMENTS
Leave a Reply

Daily Hadith
لا يكونُ أخوكَ أقوى مِنكَ على مَودّتِهِ.
Do not let your brother be stronger than you are in your amity for him.