Chapter 7: Khums, Zakat, Enjoining The Good And Forbidding The Wrong, Jihad And Defense


One of the economic obligations of Muslims is the payment of khums. Khums is the paying of one fifth from one’s wealth to the ruler of Muslims to be spent in certain fields.

Khums is obligatory on seven things:
1. That which is over one’s expenditure of a year

2. Minerals

3. Treasure

4. Loots of war

5. Gems (or pearls) that are gotten from the sea by diving

6. Lawful money (property) that is mixed with unlawful money

7. The land that a dhimmi1 unbeliever buys from a Muslim2

Paying the khums is obligatory like prayer and fasting. Every one of age and sane, who has one of the seven items mentioned above, must pay the khums.

As one who becomes of age, thinks of offering prayer and fasting, he must think of paying khums and zakat and performing the other obligations. Therefore, being familiar with the rulings of khums is necessary.

We shall discuss the rulings of one of the seven items of khums that concerns most people in the society. It is the khums of that “which is extra to the yearly expenditure of one and his family”.

We must answer two questions in order to clear this matter:

• What is meant by “the expenditure of a year”?

• Is one year counted due to lunar or solar months? And when is the beginning of this year?

Yearly Expenses

Islam respects one’s work and earnings and prefers his needs to the paying of the khums.

Therefore, if there is nothing left after assuring the necessities of life from one’s income, khums is not obligatory. If one has money left over after assuring all of the necessities of life (normal life; neither of wasting nor of stinginess) for one year, he has to give one fifth of his additional income as khums and four fifths remains in his possession.

The necessary expenses of life are the things that one needs in his and his family’s life. The following items are some examples of those expenditures:

• Food and clothing

• Furniture

• A vehicle, that is used not only for work or gaining

• Expenses of guests

• Expenses of marriage

• Books that one needs

• What is spent on ziyara3

• Presents that one gives to others

• Charity, vow, and kaffarah that one pays.

The Year Of Khums

Once one becomes of age, he must perform the prayers and in the first Ramadan he must fast, and after the passing of one year since the first income he gets, he must pay khums from what is left over the expenses of the elapsed year. So, the beginning of the year of khums is when one gets his first income and the end is when one lunar year elapses.

No Khums on the following incomes:

• Money that is gotten from inheritance

• Something that is given to someone as donation

• A prize that one gets4

• A gift that one gets on an Eid

• Money that one gets from khums, zakat or charity5

What Happens If One Does Not Pay Khums?

The money, whose khums is not paid, cannot be spent. For example, the food, whose khums had not been paid, should not be eaten, and with the money, whose khums has not been paid, one cannot buy anything. 6

If one performs a commercial transaction with money whose khums has not been paid, (without the permission of the legal ruler), a fifth of that commercial transaction is invalid.7

If one pays the owner of a public bathhouse money, whose khums has not been paid, his ghusl that he performs there is invalid.8

If one buys a house with money, whose khums has not been paid, the prayers that are performed in that house are invalid.9

The Rulings Of Khums

If one, out of satisfaction (little spending), saves some money over the expenses of his year, he must pay the khums of that additional money.10

If one no longer needs a piece of furniture that he has bought for his house before, as an obligatory precaution he should pay khums on it. For example, one buys a big refrigerator and now he no longer needs the small one that he had bought before.11

The khums of the leftover food (after the end of year), such as rice, oil, sugar and the like, that one has bought to be used during the year, must be paid.12

If a child that is not of age has a sum of money that he makes a profit from, as an obligatory precaution, he should pay the khums on it when he becomes of age.13

Spending The Khums

The money of Khums must be divided into two parts; one part is called “the share of the” that has to be paid to a mujtahid, whom people imitate (as an authority of taqlid), or to his deputy.

The other part can either be given to the mujtahid or, by the permission of the mujtahid, to the descendants (sayyids) of the Prophet (S) within the specified conditions.14

The conditions a sayyid has so that it is possible to give him the khums:

• That he is poor, or when being on travel and runs out of money even if he is not poor in his hometown.

• That he does not commit sin (as an obligatory precaution) and giving khums to him may help him to commit more sin.

• Not to be responsible for the expenditure of other ones such as a spouse or a child (as an obligatory precaution).15


Another one of the important economical duties of Muslims is the payment of zakat. It is sufficient to mention the importance of zakat that it is mentioned in the Holy Qur’an after the prayer and considered as a sign of faith and deliverance. It has been mentioned in many traditions of the Infallible Imams (‘a) that:

“One, who refrains from paying the zakat, is an apostate.”

Zakat is like khums in that it is obligatory only on some certain things. One of those things is the tax one’s body and life that has to be paid once every year on the day of Eid al-Fitr, and it is obligatory only on those who are able to pay it.

The details of this matter have been discussed at the end of the chapter of fasting.

The second source of zakat concerns one’s wealth. Zakat is not obligatory on all kinds of wealth, but only on nine things. These nine things can be divided into three parts:


1. Wheat

2. Barley

3. Dates

4. Raisins


1. Camels

2. Cows

3. Sheep


1. Gold coins

2. Silver coins.


Nisab is the definite limited value that requires zakat to be paid for. Zakat on these items is obligatory when they reach the limit of Nisab. It is called “hadd an-Nisab”. If a crop or the number of cattle is less than the limit of nisab, zakat will be not obligatory on it.

The Nisab Of Crops

The nisab of the four crops mentioned above is 850 kilograms. If a crop is less than this amount, there will be no zakat on it.16

The Amount Of Zakat On Crops

When one of these crops reaches the nisab, a portion of this crop must be paid as zakat. The amount of zakat on these items depends on the way of irrigation. This can be divided into three kinds:

1. The amount of zakat on the crops that are irrigated by rainwater and river water or are planted in dry-farming method is one tenth of the crop.

2. The amount of zakat on the crops that are irrigated by using buckets or water pumps is one twentieth of the crop.

3. The amount of zakat on the crops that are irrigated by both rainwater and river water and by using buckets or water pumps is one tenth of half of the crop and one twentieth of the other half.17

The Nisab Of Cattle

Sheep: The first nisab of sheep is forty heads. The amount of zakat is one head for these forty head, and if the sheep are less than forty, there will be no zakat on them.18

Cows: the first nisab of cows is thirty heads and the amount of zakat is one calf that has completed one year of age.19

Camels; the first nisab limit of camels is five heads and the amount of zakat is one sheep. As long as the number of camels is less than twenty-six, for every five heads one sheep is paid. When the number of camels is twenty-six heads, the amount of zakat will be one camel.20

The Nisab Of Gold And Silver

The nisab of gold is 15 weights, and silver is 105 weights. The amount of zakat on both is one fortieth.21

The Rulings Of Zakat

The expenses that are spent on growing the wheat, barley, dates or raisins, such as the cost of the seeds, the fees of farming and the like can be subtracted from the yield, but the nisab is calculated before the subtraction is made. If the yield reaches the limit of nisab before the subtraction, paying the zakat becomes obligatory but the zakat of the remaining amount is paid.22

The zakat on animals becomes obligatory when:

• The animals remain in one’s possession for one year. Therefore, if one buys 100 heads of cows and sells them after nine months, zakat is not obligatory.23

• The animals remain idle during the whole year. There is no zakat on a cow or a camel that is used for farming or transportation.24

• The animals feed on wild plants during the whole year. So, there is no zakat on the animal that feeds on plants, which have been planted or harvested during the whole year or a part of the year.25

Zakat on gold and silver is obligatory when they are coins that are used in transactions. Therefore, there is no zakat on the gold that women wear nowadays as decoration.26

Zakat on gold and silver is obligatory when one has the gold and silver that reach the limit of nisab in his possession for eleven months. Zakat is not obligatory if the amount of gold or silver becomes less than the nisab in these eleven months.27

Paying the zakat is a kind of worship and one must pay it with the intention of zakat and to be close to Allah.28

The Spending Of Zakat

The zakat can be spent on eight ways that one can spend it on all the eight ways or on some of them. The zakat is to be given:

1. To the poor whose incomes are less than their and their family’s expenses.

2. To the destitute who are in utmost need.

3. To the ones who are appointed by the Imam (‘a) or his deputies as officials to collect the zakat.

4. To other than Muslims in order to attract their hearts towards Islam and Muslims, that when they are given some financial help, may turn to Islam or help the Muslims at war.

5. To free slaves.

6. To the ones in debt who cannot pay back their debts.

7. For the sake of Allah; such as building mosques, bridges, streets and the like that benefits the public and pleases Allah.

8. To Travellers who does not have enough money to go back to their countries, even though they are not poor in their countries.29

Enjoining The Good And Forbidding The Wrong

Everyone is responsible for the bad deeds that are done in the society and for the good deeds that are left off. Therefore, if an obligatory duty is left off or a prohibited doing is committed, keeping silent and being indifferent towards that are impermissible. All people in the society must strive to enjoin the good deeds and forbid the unlawful deeds.

The Importance Of Enjoining The Good And Forbidding The Wrong

It has been related from the Infallible Imam (‘a) that they have said:

Enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong are among the holiest and most important obligations.

Religious obligations are confirmed by “enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong”.

“Enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong” are from the necessities of religion and whoever denies them is an unbeliever.

If people give up enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong, the blessing of Allah will be prevented, and supplications will not be responded to.

Definition Of Good And Wrong

In religious verdicts, all obligatory and recommended acts are called “good” and all forbidden and Makruh acts are called “wrong or abominable”. Therefore, encouraging the people in the society to perform obligatory and recommended acts is “enjoining the good” and preventing them from forbidden and Makruh acts is “forbidding the wrong”.

“Enjoining the good” and “forbidding the wrong” are kafa’i obligations. It means that if some people do it sufficiently, it will be not obligatory on the others. If all people give up these obligations, all of them will be disobedient by giving up necessary obligations.

The Conditions Of “Enjoining The Good And Forbidding The Wrong”

Enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong becomes obligatory when there are some certain conditions. When these conditions are not there, it is not obligatory to enjoin the good and forbid the wrong. The conditions are as follows:

One, who enjoins the good or forbids the wrong, should know that the act, which someone does, is unlawful and that refraining from it is obligatory.30 So, if one does not know whether that act is unlawful or not, it will be not obligatory to prevent it.

There must be a possibility of the influence of the “enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong”; therefore, if one knows that his enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong will not have any influence, it is not obligatory on him to do that.

If one, who is committing a forbidden act, keeps on his doing intentionally, forbidding him is obligatory, but if that sinful one intends to give up his wrong doing and that he will not do it again or that he will not be successful in doing it again, then the enjoining and forbidding will not be obligatory.

The enjoining and forbidding would not cause fatal, financial or disreputable harms to oneself (who enjoins or forbids), his relatives, companions or other believers.31

Steps Of Enjoining The Good And Forbidding The Wrong

There are steps of “enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong” that if one level is skipped it is not permissible to go onto the next one. The steps of that are as follows:

First: behaving towards the wrongdoer in a way so that he understands that this behavior is as a reaction to the sin he commits, like for example, turning away from him, meeting him with a frowning face or stopping to accompany him.

Second: enjoining or forbidding with the tongue by ordering one, who has turned away from an obligatory duty, to do that duty and ordering one, who has committed sin, to repent and stop committing sin.

Third: using force in order to prevent wrongdoing and enjoin good doing through punishing the sinners.32

The Rulings Of Enjoining The Good And Forbidding The Wrong

Learning the conditions and methods of “enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong” so that no violation may be committed.33

If one knows that this “enjoining and forbidding” without advising and preaching will have no effect, then it is obligatory to give advice hand in hand with the “enjoining and forbidding”. If one knows that advice and preach alone (without enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong) will have a sufficient effect in this concern, then it will be obligatory to do that.34

If one knows or thinks that repeating the “enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong” will be effective, it will be obligatory to do so.35

What is meant by insisting on sin is not that one keeps on committing the sin, but even when one wants to commit the sin one time again, like for example, if one does not offer the prayer one time and wants not to offer it once again, it will obligatory to enjoin the good then.36

It is not permissible, in enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong, to injure or kill the sinner without the permission of the legal ruler of Muslims (the religious authority), except when the sin is of great danger in Islam, as when someone wants to kill an innocent man, and preventing him from that will be not possible except by injuring him.37

The Manners Of Enjoining The Good And Forbidding The Wrong

It is good for the one, who enjoins the good and forbids the wrong:

• To be like a compassionate physician and a kind father

• To be sincere and acts just for the sake of Allah without show off or any other personal desire.

• Not to think himself pure and free from faults; for even the one, who commits the sin, has other qualities that please Allah, although his wrongdoing causes the wrath of Allah.38

Jihad And Defence

With the rising of the sun of Islam all the religions and schools of thought have been invalidated and become unacceptable. All the human beings had to prepare themselves to accept the programs of Islam, even though they were free in their researching and accepting. In the first stage, the Prophet (S) and his successors explained the programs that were needed to save Islam and propagated the religion for people to accept it.

They explained to the people that those who did not follow the rules of Allah would receive the wrath of Allah and be under the swords of Muslims. Struggling to spread Islam and fighting against those, who resist Islam, is called jihad. Of course, this way of spreading Islam had special tactics that were only determined by the Prophet (S) and his successors (the infallible imams) who were free from all kinds of faults and defects. This is only done in the time of an infallible imam. It is not obligatory in our time where the infallible Imam is in occultation.

The other kind of war against the enemies, which is called “defence”, is the conceded right of every Muslim every when and everywhere. Muslims have to fight against the attacks of enemies or when their religion and lives are in danger.39

Kinds Of Defence

• Defending Islam and Muslim countries

• Defending one’s life and properties40

Defending Islam And Muslim Countries

It is obligatory on all Muslims to stand against enemies:

• When an enemy attacks a Muslim country.

• Or when an enemy plans to dominate the economic or military sources of Muslims.

• Or when an enemy plans to dominate Muslim countries politically.

Defending One’s Life And Properties

• The life and properties of Muslims are respected, and it is obligatory on one to defend himself and the ones under his charge like his wife, son, daughter, father, mother, brother, and the like, against the attacks of others, even if it will lead to the killing of the attacker.41

• It is obligatory to defend oneself against a thief when attacking to steal one’s properties.42

• When someone looks into others’ house in order to look at non-mahram women, it is obligatory to prevent him from doing that, even if by hitting him.43

Learning Military Skills

In the world of today where military weapons and techniques have developed so greatly and the enemies of Islam are equipped with the strongest weapons, it is not possible to defend Islam and Muslim countries without learning modern military technology and techniques.

Therefore, it is obligatory upon everyone, who is able to learn and there is a possibility for him to participate in the battlefields of defending Islam and Muslim countries, to learn these military skills.44


(1) On what kind of gems khums must be paid?

(2) Explain the profits of gains

(3) When is the beginning of the khums year?

(4) Is there khums on gifts of value or not?

(5) Is khums obligatory on children who have jobs and make profits?

(6) How should khums be spent?

(7) On what crops should zakat be paid?

(8) What does “nisab” in the concern of zakat mean?

(9) Is the nisab calculated before or after deducting the expenses of yields?

(10) Would you calculate how much zakat must be paid on 18 gold coins that each weigh 10 weights?

(11) Is the zakat on the crops that are irrigated by a water pump, which gets water from a river, one tenth or one twentieth?

(12) Someone buys 25 heads of sheep in January and 20 heads in August of the same year. When is it time to pay zakat on these sheep?

(13) Would you give five examples on good doing and wrongdoing?

(14) In what cases is “enjoining the good and forbidding the wrong” not obligatory?

(15) Is it obligatory on one, who sees someone offer the prayer with najis clothes, to inform him of that? Why?

(16) Is it permissible to buy things from a store, whose keeper does not offer prayers?

(17) What are the differences between jihad and defence?

(18) Would you mention the kinds of defence and give an example on each?

(19) When is it obligatory to fight a thief?

(20) On whom learning military skills is obligatory?

  • 1. A dhimmi is one other than Muslims that lives in a Muslim country under a contract (dhimmah) between him and the Muslims due to which he respects their social laws and limits and pays certain taxes and in return his life and properties are protected by the Muslims.
  • 2. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1751.
  • 3. Ziyara is the visiting of the sacred places.
  • 4. Ayatollah Khamene’i: Presents and prizes that are not so important do not have khums on them, but if they are so important, khums must be paid on them. (Ajwibat al-Istifta’at, vol. 1 p. 261, question 870).
  • 5. Al-Urwat ul-Wuthqa, vol. 2 p. 389, rule 7, p. 390, rule 51.
  • 6. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1790.
  • 7. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1760.
  • 8. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 383.
  • 9. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 873.
  • 10. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 1756.
  • 11. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 1781.
  • 12. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 1780.
  • 13. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 1794.
  • 14. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 1834.
  • 15. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 1835-1841.
  • 16. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1864.
  • 17. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1875-1879.
  • 18. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1913.
  • 19. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1912.
  • 20. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1910.
  • 21. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1896-1897.
  • 22. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1880.
  • 23. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1856.
  • 24. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1908.
  • 25. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1908.
  • 26. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1899.
  • 27. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1902.
  • 28. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 1907.
  • 29. Tawdih al-Masa’il rule 1925.
  • 30. Ayatollah Khamene’i: the doer of the wrong should also know what is good and what is wrong. (Ajwibat al -Istifta’at, vol. 1 p. 334, question 1083).
  • 31. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 1 p. 465, rule 1.
  • 32. Tahrir al-Wasa’il sp.476. Ayatollah Khamene’i: When there is an Islamic government, the duty of the mukalaf ends at [the step of] enjoining or forbidding with the tongue. In the case where using force is necessary, the matter should be referred to the police judicial authorities. (Ajwibat al-Istifta’at, vol. 1 p. 338, question 1090)
  • 33. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, p.476.
  • 34. Tawdih al-Masa’il, p. 467, rule 3.
  • 35. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 1 p. 468, rule 5.
  • 36. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, p. 470, rule 4
  • 37. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, p.481, rule 11, 12
  • 38. Tawdih al-Masa’il, rule 14.
  • 39. Ayatollah Khamene’i: The verdict of starting a war in the time of occultation is the responsibility of a marja’ (religious authority) who has all conditions of taqlid and is in charge of the guardianship of Muslims (wilayat ul-faqih) if he sees there is a benefit. The permissibility of this matter is not unlikely. (Ajwibat al-Istifta’at, volume 1, page 321, question 1074).
  • 40. Tahrir al-Wasa’il, vol. 1 p. 485.
  • 41. Tawdih al-Masa’il, p. 487-488.
  • 42. Tawdih al-Masa’il, p. 487-488.
  • 43. Tawdih al-Masa’il, vol. 1 p. 492, rule 30.
  • 44. Istifta’at.