The commentary of the word of Allah, the High:

وَاعْلَمُواْ أَنَْمَا غَنِمْتُم مِْن شَيْءٍ فَأَنَْ لِلْهِ خُمُسَهُ وَلِلرَْسُولِ وَلِذِي الْقُرْبَى وَالْيَتَامَى وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَابْنِ السَْبِيلِ إِن كُنتُمْ آمَنتُمْ بِاللهِ وَمَا أَنزَلْنَا عَلَى عَبْدِنَا يَوْمَ الْفُرْقَانِ يَوْمَ الْتَقَى الْجَمْعَانِ وَاللهُ عَلَى كُلِْ شَيْءٍ قَدِيرٌ

“And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer, if you believe in Allah and in that which We revealed to Our servant, on the day of distinction, the day on which the two parties met; and Allah has power over all things.”[1]

Sulaym Ibn Qays al-Hilaali, while narrating from Ameerul Momineen (a.s.), recounts, “I heard him speak profusely when he (a.s.) said, ‘And He gave them from this a portion for the near of the kin, those about whom Allah said, ‘…if you believe in Allah and in that which We revealed to Our servant, on the day of distinction, the day on which the two parties met;…’ By Allah! We are the near of kin and those whom Allah has associated with Himself and His Prophet (s.a.w.a.). He said, ‘…a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle and for the near of kin and the orphans and the needy and the wayfarer,…’ for us in particular. He has not determined for us any portion in charity. He has honoured His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and honoured us by prohibiting for us the eating of the dirt (leftovers) of the hands of the people.”[2]

Explaining the saying of Allah — the High — “And know that whatever thing you gain, a fifth of it is for Allah and for the Apostle and for the near of kin…”, Imam Sadeq (a.s.) says, “(This verse was revealed in favour of) Ameerul Momineen (a.s.) and the Imams (a.s.).”[3]

In the book of al-Tahzeeb, it is narrated from either Imam Baqer (a.s.) or Imam Sadeq (a.s.), “The one-fifth portion of Allah — the High — is for the (infallible) Imam (a.s.), the one-fifth portion of the Messenger (s.a.w.a.) is for the (infallible) Imam (a.s.) and the one-fifth of the near of kin is for the close relatives of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and the Imam (a.s.); orphans implies the orphans of the progeny of the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and the destitute from amongst them and the wayfarers from amongst them. So, it does not come out from them to other than them.”[4]

In Al-Kaafi, it has been recorded that our master Imam al-Reza (a.s.) was asked about this verse and it was said to him (a.s.), “Whatever is for Allah to whom does it belong?” He (a.s.) replied, “For the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) and whatever is for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), it is for the Imam.” It was said to him (a.s.), “Don’t you think that one group of people have been given a lot while another has been given very little?’ Imam (a.s.) retorted, “That is for the Imam (to decide). You saw what the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.) did? Is it not that he (a.s.) used to give of what he sees? Such is the Imam.”[5]

And know that this noble verse is like the earlier verses in proving the distinction of the ‘near of the kin’ with Imamate and caliphate from Allah — the High — and His Messenger (s.a.w.a.). Indeed, it has become clear for you of what we have explained over here the aspect of its evidence according to what we have mentioned. Now, it is appropriate here that we explain a few points:

A)    The reason for the predicate preceding the subject and the conjunction after the completion of the sentence, and its completion.

B)     The emphasis contained in the verse and its reason.

C)     The subject of Khums (the one-fifth share): Is it specific to the spoils of war or no? Is it distinct from restoration or no?

D)    Reason for charity being dirt and not Khums or restoration.

Now for the details:

A)    The bringing ahead of what was supposed to be later (predicate) is only for the purpose of limitation and confinement as also for attention and care according to His status; here, each one of these probable. In fact, they are probably together since there is no contradiction amongst the two. Similarly, it does not contradict the limitation of referring the Khums to His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and to the near of the kin too because its reference to them both is because both represent Allah — the High. Therefore, referring to them is in actuality reference to Allah Himself. This is the meaning of the saying of our master Imam Reza (a.s.), “Whatever is for Allah, then it is for His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and whatever is for the Messenger of Allah (s.a.w.a.), it is for the Imam”. From this, the secret of conjunction for the predicate after completion also becomes clear because it’s is for drawing attention that the basis of the statement is the noun that follows the conjunction. The partnering of conjunctions with Him in the statement is only for their being in the vertical order and not in the horizontal order.

B)    The emphasis in it is for six reasons:

1)      Beginning of the sentence by Allah — Mighty be He — with, “And know that…” is the reason for the addressees to listen and verify whatever Allah — Mighty and Majestic be He — is mentioning. This word is more eloquent and complete from the other elements of notice to draw the attention of the addressee.

2)      Beginning of the noun with the word “that” is used to denote emphasis and significance.

3)      The beginning of the sentence with the predicate is for the same reason too.

4)      The attachment of the statement with their belief in Allah — the High. Rather, their steadfastness on belief in Him when He says, “…if you believe in Allah…” and He did not say ‘if you believed in Allah.’

5)      Its attachment with the belief in whatever He has sent down from the signs, the angels and the divine help “…on the day of distinction…” i.e. the Day of the Badr and “…the day on which the two parties met…” i.e. the night of Badr, as has come in some traditions.

6)      The saying of Allah — the Mighty — “…and Allah has power over all things” after all these emphatic statements.

It is obvious that emphasis is not good when the opponent is a denier or hesitant or is at the desired level of the speaker. So, these eloquent accentuations on the certainty, decisiveness and firmness of the statement reveal the care and preparedness of Allah for the issue, just as it reveals the intensity of their denial for it and their arrogance in refusing to accept it and submit before Him. This is the case only as far as the ‘near of the kin’ are concerned, those who were deprived of their rights and the one-fifth share and their restoration, which Allah has determined for them.

C)    It is the subject of Khums, which includes the spoils of the war zone because spoils of war are the opposite of losses; and no individual is distinguished with the spoils of war of the war zone because the general spoils are free for each material success. There is nothing in the verse that is the cause of distinction with it. In fact, the verse is quite explanatory in its generality.

Its Account: Verily, the word ‘ما’ is ambiguous, which is apparent in general for all spoils of war. If we disregard its explanation, since there’s no covenant in the explanation nor any way to the intention of an individual in it per se over here, so it is determined that generally is intended over here.

But if we take into consideration its explanation, then clearly it is general because explanation of the ambiguous with another thing which is also ambiguous clarifies that there is no particularity and limitation, otherwise it would have been limited with it at the level of explanation.

Conclusion: The making of an ambiguous as an explanation for another ambiguous is more eloquent and clearer than its emphasis in the usage of generality, as is well-known. So, it has become clear that the Sunni belief that this verse is only for the spoils of war, and not all wealth, is contrary to the apparent of the verse.

So, the purpose of the noble verse is that the subject of Khums is what the Muslims gain as profit, not only the spoils of war. Hence, attributing the profit to them is treasured as the subject of Khums like the spoils of war that the Muslim army obtains through victory and fighting, profits from earnings that they acquire (from employment or business) or whatever they gain through diving or through mining or whatever they find from the treasures and its like. Thus, it’s different from restoration because restoration — although spoils of war will apply on it — is not what the Muslims have gained and is attributed to them. For, restoration is something by which a miserly person or a rider will not be agitated or disturbed. So, it did not enter under their possession till it is attributed to them. Then, all of it returns to originally to Allah — the High — and to His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and the nearest of the kin, as opposed to what they have gained and has come under their authority through possession or gaining through some other means. Thus, it ultimately refers to Allah — the High — and to His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and the nearest of the kin and this only is its Khums.

From what we have explained, it has become clear that what some of the Sunnis believe that the verses concerning the windfalls (انفال) and restoration (الفيء) have become abrogated with the verse of the one-fifth share (Khums) is from the blunders that they have committed. For, abrogation can take place only when the subject is the same and indeed, it has become clear for you that the subject of Khums is distinct and different from restoration and windfalls.

D)    Charity (صدقه) being dirt and filth, not restoration (الفيء) or the one-fifth share (Khums). The secret behind this is that wealth is presented as filth and dirt by the Legislator (Allah), even with regards to its owner. Hence, he (the owner) is ordered to purify it and cleanse it by paying a determined amount from it. Thus, this specified amount, which he has been ordered to remove from his wealth, is considered filth by the Legislator in a way that He made its removal from the wealth and paying it as charity as a cause for the purification of the remaining wealth. Therefore, He has kept Himself, His Prophet (s.a.w.a.) and the nearest of kin away and pure from it, and determined for it particular expenditures. Hence, He has declared, وَالْمَسَاكِينِ لِلْفُقَرَاء إِنَْمَا الصَْدَقَاتُ “Alms are only for the poor and the needy…”[6]

But Allah — the High — has chosen restoration and Khums for Himself and determined them from among His rights and distinguished it for His Messenger (s.a.w.a.), the nearest of the kin, their followers from their orphans and their needy and  their wayfarers. Thus, there is not an iota of dirt or filth in these. In fact, these are from the cleanest and purest of wealth because they return to Allah — the High — as He has a right in both of them; thereafter, they return to His Messenger (s.a.w.a.) and the nearest of the kin, as an honour from the side of Allah — Mighty and Majestic be He.

Know that this noble verse, despite its brevity, spells out most of the laws of Khums, nay, all of it. Our Sayyed, my teacher, the learned scholar, (may Allah raise his position) has written under the aforementioned verse an independent booklet and explained in it the method of deriving most of the laws of Khums from this verse. This booklet is from the most precious of booklets except for the fact that it has remained untreated.[7]

[1] Surah Anfaal (8): Verse 41

[2] Al-Kaafi, vol. 4, p. 357; al-Tahzeeb, vol. 4, p. 126

[3] Tafseer al-Burhaan, vol. 2, p. 83 narrating from al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 414

[4] al-Tahzeeb, vol. 4, p. 125

[5] Al-Kaafi, vol. 1, p. 544

[6] Surah Taubah (9): Verse 60

[7] Refer to the book “Zakhaaer al-Imamah” written by Shaikh Fayyaz Zanjaani (r.a.) in the exegesis of the aforementioned verse. Surely this book and the booklet of the Sayed, the teacher (of the author) and the learned scholar, Sayed Mohsin al-Koohkamri (r.a.) are quite identical while both of them were the students of Shaikh Hadi Tehrani (r.a.).