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Sihmu 'l-Imam's Role in the Financial Independence of the Mujtahids

Adopted from the Book : "Khums; An Islamic Tax" by : Sayyid Mohammad Rizvi

The sihmu 'l-Imam has also played an important role in the financial independence of our great `ulainir. 'Unlike the Sunni `ulania' whose appoint­ment to the position of mufti or shaykhul Islam, and their livelihood depends on the ruler of the country, the Shriah mujtahids do not have to rely on govern 'ments or other organizations for their position or their livelihood. This prevents any unwarranted in­fluence in their fatwas and decision making process. A look at the political fatwas of our mujtahids during the last century will prove this point.

This is not to imply that the integrity of our mujtahids depends on khums; they have to preserve their independence and integrity even without khums. After all, the most important condition in a mujtahid is that he must be 'add, that is, pious and of upright character. If a person who has great knowledge in Islam but is not of upright character or is under the influence of a tyrant and unjust ruler, then he will not be accepted as the religious leader by the people.

Secondly, and more importantly, the amount and flow of khums has not always been the same; it depends on the overall economic well being of the Shriah community. When the community is in good 'economic condition, the khums revenue is generated satisfactorily; but if it is not in good economic condition, the khums flow is meager. Also remember that not all eligible Shriahs pay their khums : some out of ignorance and others out of negligence.

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