Shia Khums: Where’s Our Money?

Some young people from Qatif have published an open letter to Shia religious leaders, calling for a reform in management of Khums. According to Shia Islamic legal terminology, Khums means “one-fifth of certain items which a person acquires as wealth, and which must be paid as an Islamic tax.”

In their letter, they raised questions on the fate of millions of riyals paid by the faithful. These enormous amounts of money have gone to support religious schools in Iraq, Iran and other places, as well as supporting liberation movements in other countries. Meanwhile, most people in the local Shia communities never dared to ask where does the money go and how it is spent, especially when our communities suffer from many problems that could have been solved using these vast resources.

I join these young men and women in their call for more transparency regarding the management of Khums money. The lack of transparency and accountability has led to increased incidents of corruption and misuse of power. If religious leaders claim the Khums money is spent the way God intended, then they should not be afraid to come out and publish regular financial reports to back these claims. I believe we have the right to know how our resources are managed, and I believe that our local communities are entitled to see these resources contribute to improving living standards of people here.

28 thoughts on “Shia Khums: Where’s Our Money?

  1. First, let me say that what you are proposing is admirable.

    Regarding your statement:

    “The lack of transparency and accountability has led increased incidents of corruption and misuse of power. If religious leaders claim the Khums money is spent the way God intended, then they should not be afraid to come out and publish regular financial reports to back these claims.” could one go even a bit further, and state:

    “If religious leaders claim the Khums money is spent the way God intended, then they must make public in a clear and verifiable manner how all the funds have been used, and have such statements be independently verified by neutral parties.”

    It is lamentable that a small commercial business operating abroad may be required to undergo a financial audit, but a religious charity has no such duty of openness and transparency as it engages in religious work.

  2. I do join your call!!
    Such faithful people and faithful communities must benifit from the money!!

    They are having Khums in Iraq and Iran, where do the spend the money then!! On Saudis!!

  3. Actually, khums is adopted by other sects as well. The difference is what the khums is due on; war bounty only or more than that.

    Sorry for going off-topic but had to correct this mis-statement.

  4. Although I’m a Saudi I find myself woefully ignorant about shia concepts like Khums, which was why I found this post enlightening in more than one way. I would love to read more about this neglected part of Saudi society.

  5. this is a genuin question,raised by people…..but i do agree wth ANON view that if khum is adopted by other sects as well then how one will be able to understand the khum practiced by shittes or other sects….so if it is possible then revel other hidden aspects too……

  6. In my humble and lack of knowledge, khums are collected by clerics who appointed and authorized by maraji’ such as Grand Ayatollahs.
    Without this authorization, no clerics are allowed to receive khums.
    When we give our khums to the authorized cleric, he will give us a receipt with Grand Ayatollah’s official chop. Then the auth cleric will submit all the khums to the marja’.
    Khums are used to empower shia centers, libraries and education, etc.

  7. “Khums” should be paid to the poor of Aal Al-bait (House of Mohammed), to everyone has an authentic proof of lineage with Prophet Mohammed (PBUH). We used to take “khums” in Egypt from Ashraaf Syndicate but that ceased since the revolution of July.

    “Khums” is not only in the Shiite sect, as a Sunni I say it’s know in the books of Sunnah but some scholars choose to hide that fact.

    Why the “House of Mohammed” take the Khums? the answer is quite simple, because we don’t accept Charity from others, and that’s what the Prophet said:

    إنما حرمت الصدقة على آل محمد لإنها أوساخ الناس

    Yes, I second you on the transparency of spending the Khums as long as it stays at the disposal of the authentic members or Aal-Albait

  8. Well, I’m not that familiar with Shia’s rules but this issue should really be looked into, you definitely have the right to know where all khums are going.
    However, inner intentions are what matter most if you catch the drift.

  9. @Yusra

    That is not true to the best of my knowledge, there are myriad of proofs from the books of Sunnah that talk about “Khums”, but due to some political causes the issue of “Khums” kept behind closed doors.

    Don’t forget that for a certain period of our history the members of Aal-albait were persecuted everywhere, do you think such an atmosphere would let the honest scholars to speak up about financial rights of Aal-Albait?

  10. BTW, khums is also mentioned in the Koran:

    “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)

    • You failed to quote the whole verse; [8:41] “You should know that if you gain any spoils in war, one-fifth shall go to GOD and the messenger, to be given to the relatives, the orphans, the poor, and the traveling alien. You will do this if you believe in GOD and in what we revealed to our servant on the day of decision, the day the two armies clashed. GOD is Omnipotent.”

      So we are talking about SPIOLS of war, and not something else. Why are shias required to pay spoils of war, again? lolz.

      Also, someone mentioned that sunnis try to hide the concept of Khums. No, they don’t. It’s so typical of shias to pretend to be sunnis and then argue against sunni-islam.

  11. Transparency indeed is important and it is a requirement, in fact of the rules of khums the advocate appointed by the jurist to collect the money is obliged to provide the one paying khums with statement confirming the amount given. This only is given when the khums payer requests it, and no one ever does.

    As for transparency this is a major problem but the problem begins with the ignorant masses who don’t bother to understand their faith and it’s requirements in his book Fiqh al Sadiq (as) Sheikh Mohammad Jawad Mughniyyah (ra) discusses the issue of khums and he states that there is no evidence provided to suggest that the khums must be given to a jurist. People have got into the habit of doing so because they haven’t the jurisprudential knowledge to know how to disperse it.

    I am all for transparency and should be incumbent on all jurists to publish money collected and from where (as in cities or countries) and how it was handled. Otherwise we allow for jurists siblings to run off with a bag of goodies as has happened in the recent past.

    Money should always be spent in the country where it is given out first. “Al Aqraboona Awla Bil Ma3roof” or as we say in english Charity begins at home.

  12. The khums goes to the jurist pocket who uses some of the money for education and some for himself and his family. Lucky him.

  13. I consider you to be a fairly smart person given the effort you’ve displayed on this website.

    It should not escape you that religion= controlling the masses. And they’re taking your money…..come on….you can put 2 and 2 together.

    The mere fact that your religion has sects is proof that it is man made, like all religions.

    Let this be a lesson to all those who trust their lives to the bearded billy goats.

  14. The Quranic Verse is the Following:
    “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)
    It does not say give money to Ahel Al Bayt, It says clearly how to Devide the War booty.
    This verse lay’s down the law for distributing the spoils of war. Spoils of war, as mentioned earlier, essentially belong to God and His Messenger. They alone have the right to dispose of them. As for the soldiers who fight, they are not the rightful owners of the spoils; whatever they do receive should be considered an extra reward from God rather than their legitimate right.
    Here it is stated how God and His Messenger decided to dispose of the spoils. The prescribed rule is that the soldiers should depbsit all the spoils with the ruler or the commander without making any effort to conceal anything. One-fifth of the spoils thus deposited would be assigned for the purposes mentioned in the present verse and four-fifths would be distributed among the soldiers who had taken part in the fighting. In keeping with the directive contained in the present verse, after every battle the Prophet (peace be on him) used to proclaim: ‘These are your spoils. My own share in them is no more than one-fifth and even that fifth is spent on you. Bring everything, even if it be a piece of thread or a needle, or anything bigger or smaller, and take nothing by stealth (gulal), for taking by stealth is a shameful deed, and would lead to Hell.’ (Ahmad b. Hanbal, Musnad, vol. 5, p. 316 – Ed.)


  15. I agree completely with this idea of reform. There is no transparency nor, accountability in the amount of khums and the peopl that invest it, and the people that steal it and are still around. For instance the khoei foundation are alleged to have taken 750 million dollars and invested in in plantaions and sky tv and supermarkets.

    How can we sit by and allow and pertetuate this corruption.

    I setup this blog so we can discuss these problems we have and what we can do.


  16. everybody should know that islam is the religion of justice while shia religion is not>>>

    if some body is not from ahl albait -peace be upon them- can be one of the religius shie not by studying but by paying certain amount of money to get ‘ omamah’ in the name of ahl albait..

    shia religion is not included in islam..

    ahmed if u believe in opinion freedom do not

    delete my comment ..tks ;)

  17. All of you are not able to justify that this is Muslim this is not, and also you all are not authorized to say shia religion is not Islamic, just sit and check your sects dont interfere in others sects, their is god who is seeing all of them and their is also a judgement day where every person will know their characters. just finish up your internal sects problem Mr.mohanned j , then come to comment on shia sect bcz their is only one sect in shia, not 72 in ONE.

  18. I agree with those calling for increased transparency and accountability. Religious leaders should be keeping accounts and allowing them to be audited independently so that there is greater trust, and more positive feeling about taxation. One of the problems facing charitable organizations is that voluntary donors are jaded where there is a lack of transparency and accountability or where “overhead” costs are unusually high (to put is politely.

    Interesting topic!



    salamun alaikum,

    how ru? inshallah hope u n ur family r fine by the grace of allah n blessings with 14 masumeen a.s.

    first of all i would lk to say sorry to say for distrubing u n giving trouble pls 4gv me n i am feeling v shy for asking this, inshallah hope u can understand n help me pls. wat ever i am saying my allah(s.w.t) and my imam e zamana (a.t.f.s) is seeing me.

    this is ehsan hyder razvi from vizag,andhra pradesh, india, actully i become homeless n i am staying on roadside n i dnt have money for my food also n my job have gone due to my health, here in vizag i tried in shia communities centers but no proper response from there so i become hopeless, if any one can help me i am v gr8ful to u, first of all i lk to stay in room for tht i have to pay advance thn i can serch job, inshallah hope u can understand me pls help me wat ever u can do for me pls do it for me here em giving my contact number pls cal me at 0091-09573008708 any tym pls i badly need help, inshallah may allah help u all amin, i pray for u all till my last breath.

    pls tk cr n remb me in ur duas.

    thanx alot

    1s again em v sorry for giving trouble., em facing prob i am not able to offer my namaz n roza specially in this month of ramzaan due to residence prob. pls help help beg u

    yours sincerely

    ehsan hyder razvi.

    walaykum salam

    khuda hafiz


  20. a guy is asking for help but no one is answering…how come?? i think we were discussing the same fact….now here comes the needy person… action….? han? hmm factor? right? another issue in khums eligibility criteria……..!!!

    by the way it a drastic debate… and yes there should be a propers accounts system in every country…..

    well am more interested in the solution of this problem…..THE PROPER SYSTEM…

    Ali from pakistan, karachi

  21. So people want to take account of how the khums is spent and want the Marja’ein to publish the spendings like a balance sheet for shareholders? What has happened to you all? Do you not see how many sunni’s just criticised and argued about the concept in THIS post? Typical shia grudge! Imagine what issues will they rais when the khums spendings are published openly. Its funny that you follow the marja’s ruling about how to eat drink live and everything, but when it comes to your money, all of a sudden you become their boss. If you dont trust them, dont give them money and dont follow their rulings and prescriptions that they achieved by spending all their lives learning the teachings of Ahlulbayt(AS).
    Now comming to my opinion.. I strongly disagree for khums spendings to be declared before the appearance of Imam (AJ). Shia’s have always been surrounded by internal and external enemies. If for example the shia’s of Lebenon are opressed and killed everyday and they need money to hold a resistance, do you think the marajas should publish openly about funding money to the resistance force to liberate shias and innocent human beings??? Thats when the magic card of “terrorism funding” will be stamped on shias by the so called international community, the cia and the rest of the gangs of the world. Declaration of khums brings more harm to the Shi’ee religion than not knowing how its spent. Do you tell the secrets of your family to the whole world??? You dont prefer it for yourself, yet you want shias to open themselves to the world which is full of their enemies. Yes the declarations for all the spendings should be made when the prevailing religion will be true islam after the emmergence of Imam (AJ). And hopefully he(AS) will enrich the world so much that people will not even feel the need for more money.

    People can & will disagree with me and they have every right to. On the contrary I do agree that the system of khums needs to fulfill the needs of people who deserve it at the right time effectively and that is our job to do and communicate with the reliable authorities of our lands than to criticise their spending.
    They are united in their falshood but you are devided in your truth. (Imam Ali)

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