The Two Shares of Khums
- :Sayyid Mohammad Rizvi
Adopted from the Book : "Khums; An Islamic Tax" by : Sayyid Mohammad Rizvi
According to the verse of khums, this Islamic tax is for (1) Allah, (2) the Messenger of Allah, (3) the near relative of the Messenger, (4) the orphans, (5) needy, and (6) stranded traveller.
The first two shares are clear : they belong to Allah and Prophet Muhammad respectively. The third share, that of "the near relative" belongs to the infallible Imam of the time. The latter three shares belong to those of the Hashimite family who are orphan, needy and stranded traveller.
Obviously, Allah does not come in person to take His share of khums; therefore the Prophet, as Allah's representative on this earth, used to receive both his own share of khums and that of Allah. What is to be done with the Prophet's share after his death? The Sunni scholars are in great disagreement with each other on this issue. For example, some say that the 'Prophet's share (which obviously included the share of Allah) goes to the caliph who may use it as he pleases; others say it goes to the Prophet's relatives ( the Hashimites ); and still others say that it should go to the Muslims in general.1
According to the Shi`ah view, after the Prophet's death, the shares of Allah and the Prophet belong to his rightful successor. And the present rightful successor of the Prophet is Imam Muhammad al-Mahdi (upon whom be peace).
Since the Present Imam, besides owning his own share as " the near relative," is also the rightful owner of Allah's and the Prophet's shares of khums, the first half of khums is commonly known as "sihmu 'lImam —the share of the Imam".
The second half of khums is for the orphan, the needy and the stranded traveller from the Prophet's family, that is, the Hashimi or, in its Latin form, the Hashimite. A Hashimite is the one who, from his father's line, is a descendent of Hashim, the great grandfather of the Prophet.
However, the Hashimites who descend from Fatima, the daughter of the Prophet, have preference over other Hashimites. Since the descendents of Fatima are commonly known as "sayyid, pl. sâclät," the second half of khums is known as "sihmu 'ssädät —the share of the sayyids". (In non-Shi'ah parts of the Arab world, the sayyids are commonly known as "sharif, pl. ashraf").
Thus we divide the khums into two equal shares: 1. the share of the Present Imam; 2. the share of the sadat ( the sayyids ).
The recipients of the sihmu chit change all the time: an 'orphan' ceases to be legally an orphan as soon as he becomes an adult; a `needy' ceases to be a needy as soon he becomes financially independent; and an 'stranded traveller' ceases to be an stranded traveller as soon as he reaches home.
But the recipient of the sihmu 'lImam, that is Imam Muhammad alMandi (upon whom be peace), will never cease to be the Prophet's 'near relative' and his rightful successor. Therefore, his right is perpetual and will never end.
1 Ibn Rushd, Bidayatu l-Mujtahid, vol. 1 ( Cairo: al-Maktabatu t-Tijariyyatu l-Kubra, 1952 ) pp.13-14; 377-378.
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