Pearl of Wisdom
Verily the most evil of people in the sight of Allah is the tyrannical leader who himself has gone astray and through whom others go astray. He abolishes established practices and revives abandoned innovations.'
Imam Ali ibn Abi Talib [as]
Nahj al-Baldgha, Sermon 164
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Subject: define khums and zakat
Question: what is khums and zakaat and how do i fulfill these vajibats in my fru-e-deen?
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 Quran 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)
In this verse, the word ghanimtum has been used which has been translated as you acquire. As explained above, it means certain items which a person acquires as wealth
According to the ahadith of the Imams of Ahlu l-bayt, the items which are eligible for khums are seven:
1. the profit or the surplus of the income.
2. the legitimate wealth which is mixed with some illegitimate wealth.
3. mines and minerals.
4. the precious stones obtained from sea by diving.
6. the land which a dhimmi kafir buys from a Muslim.
7. the spoils of war.
While the concept of Zakat, defined as that which purifies or an obligatory giving of alms, is observed throughout Islam, and is one of the Five Pillars of the faith.
Zakat can be spent for the following eight purposes:
1. It may be given to poor person, who does not possess actual or potential means to meet his own expenses, as well as that of his family for a period of one year. However, a person who has an art or possesses property or capital to meet his expenses, is not classified as poor.
2. It may be paid to a miskin (a destitute person) who leads a harder life than a Faqir (a poor person).
3. It can be given to a person who is a Wakil of Holy Imam (A.S.) or his representative to collect Zakat, to keep it in safe custody, to maintain its accounts and to deliver it to the Imam or his representative or to the poor.
4. It can be given to those non-Muslims who may, as a result, be inclined to Islam, or may assist the Muslims with the Zakat for fighting against the enemies, or for other justified purposes. It can be given to those Muslims also whose faith in the Prophet or in the Wilayat of Amirul Momineen is unstable and weak, provided that, as a result of giving, their faith is entrenched.
5. It can be spent to purchase the slaves to set them free, the details of which have been given in its relevant Chapter.
6. It can be given to an indebted person who is unable to repay his debt.
7. It may be spent in the way of Allah for things which has common benefit to the Muslims; for example, to construct a mosque, or a school for religious education, or to keep the city clean, or to widen or to build tar roads.
8. It may be given to a stranded traveller.
These are the situations in which Zakat can be spent. But in situation number 3 and 4, the owner cannot spend without the permission of Imam (A.S.) or his representative; and the same applies to the 7th situation, as per obligatory precaution.
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