‘Khums’ literally means ‘one-fifth’. In Islamic law, it refers to an obligatory (wajib) religious tax which one must pay on several things, the most common of which is surplus income from earnings and gains. The amount of khums one must pay on surplus income is 20%.
Khums payments are divided into two equal parts:
One half is given to the Imam (a) of the time; this is called ‘Sahm-e Imam’ (the portion for the Imam (a)). In the absence of the Imam (a), this part must either be given to a Marja-e Taqlid (i.e. a high religious authority who can be followed in matters of Islamic law), or to an individual or organisation that has been given permission (ijaza) to collect khums on behalf of the Marja. This portion is then used for worthwhile purposes authorised by the Marja.
The other half is given to sayyids (descendants of the great grandfather of the Prophet (s)) who are poor, orphans, or stranded travellers. This is called ‘Sahm-e Sadat’ (the portion for sayyids).
The World Federation is proud to have permission from His Eminence al-Sayyid Ali al-Sistani (may God protect all our scholars) to collect khums payments on his behalf and to disperse the Sahm-e Imam part on religious projects, such as our fantastic children’s education and teacher training programmes.
Alternatively, you can make your khums payment through your local Jamaat which will process your payment and transfer it to The World Federation through our regional member federations.
Our new easy-to-digest Khums Guide will give you a clear overview of the most essential rulings on khums. The Guide also explains the differences between the previous and new ruling on loans and includes worked examples which show how the new ruling applies in practice.
Essentially, the Guide tells you what khums is payable on, why we pay it, when to pay, who to pay, and where it goes.