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husainshahid

Enquiry into Khums Accounts of Marjas

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As Salaam Alaykum

I am an open-minded nominal Usuli shia. I consider myself a realist and not an idealist when it comes to my attitudes about the ulema and their dictates. We have a responsibility to be responsible when we comes to who to trust, as the marjas themselves say. I am not an Akhbari. In fact I guess most of the silent majority of shias are like me.

I am continually searching for the best marja whose views to consult as is our responsibility according to the marjas.

One of the most important self-declared jobs of the Marjas is as self-appointed tax collectors they take 20% of our excess money which is the compulsory Khums tax previously taken by the Imams themselves. I was hoping someone could let me know how I view the accounts of the Marjas for khums income and expenditure. After all the religious tax accounts in the case of the big marjas amount to at least tens-hundreds of millions dollars of annual tax paid to them by their followers who recognise them as self-declared representatives (naib-e-Imam) of the 12th Imam (as) per year.

I have tried many websites but can't find even the basic accounts I need. This is a very major issue.

Apparently we need to be satisfied before giving Khums that it is being spent appropriately. Even if we do not have the funds to give Khums we should satisfy ourselves that the Marja collecting Khums has transparent accounting practices.

Surely there must be accounts as with any one collecting astronomical sums of money in trust.

Can someone show me how to find out how last year's khums was spent by the different marjas, even just a basic breakdown. Can anyone help me in this enquiry? Thanks.

Wa Salam

Edited by husainshahid

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(bismillah)

First of all Marja are not self-declared representatives.

Imam (ATF) have directed us too find scholars with certain qualities and seek their guidance with regards to our problems. This is why we call them his (general) representatives since they are addressing our problems in place of the Imam (ATF). In other words in place of going to our imam (ATF) we go to them.

Second it sems from your post that you have not yet picked your marja. Khums issue will be solved after you choose your Marja and not before.

Third, Marja is chosen based on the recommendation of Ahly Khubra, who direct you towards rhe most knowledgeable scholar. Marja is not chosen based on how he distributes khums.

Fourth, are you fimilar with how khums is distributed and in what purposes it is used for. Once you learn it you will not ask this question. I doubt if any Marja would disclose to you the names of individuals or institutions as it is personal and private information.

Lastly you should learn to trust your scholar. Look at them. The clothes they wear, the food they eat, the houses they live in. If they were spending all the khums money for themselves you would find them in the top most wealthy individuals list.

WS

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(bismillah)

First of all Marja are not self-declared representatives.

Imam (ATF) have directed us too find scholars with certain qualities and seek their guidance with regards to our problems. This is why we call them his (general) representatives since they are addressing our problems in place of the Imam (ATF). In other words in place of going to our imam (ATF) we go to them.

Second it sems from your post that you have not yet picked your marja. Khums issue will be solved after you choose your Marja and not before.

Third, Marja is chosen based on the recommendation of Ahly Khubra, who direct you towards rhe most knowledgeable scholar. Marja is not chosen based on how he distributes khums.

Fourth, are you fimilar with how khums is distributed and in what purposes it is used for. Once you learn it you will not ask this question. I doubt if any Marja would disclose to you the names of individuals or institutions as it is personal and private information.

Lastly you should learn to trust your scholar. Look at them. The clothes they wear, the food they eat, the houses they live in. If they were spending all the khums money for themselves you would find them in the top most wealthy individuals list.

WS

As Salam Alaykum

The question is where can I see the accounts of the marjas. Any tax collector must show accounts.

You on the other hand are telling me the Marjas despite collecting tax do not produce accounts.

Are U serious brother? Are U certain of this?

What you are saying is that there are de facto priests who take hundreds of millions of dollars in cash annually and don't produce accounts?

If this is the case (and forgive me if I misunderstand you) then what you are saying is an outrage and an insult against the ulema who you are impugning are no different to some socalled sufi saints who take money off their followers 'in trust' and do not produce accounts.

I cannot accept this, if this is true, which I am sure it is not, then I shall leave Usuli shi'ism as a conscientious realist shia muslim. No one but an infallible can take money and not produce accounts, still less if that money is in trust and not theirs. But U are telling me this is exactly what the ulema do!

Can someone tell me where I can get the accounts. Is there a website for example?

As for the statement of yours that I should enquire what Khums is for, I know this. It is for the Ahl ul Bayt, it is their right. You would have implied I should not be asking for accounts as we must believe that the Marjas give this money to the 12th Imam (as) which is why I should not ask questions. Is that what you are saying? If that is the case why does the respected Khoei Foundation (founded using the late marja's massive Khums stockpile) have an astronomical fund of money in foreign accounts? Are these accounts run by the 12th Imam (as)? NO. Is Imam Mahdi (atf) the signatory on these bank accounts run by the marjas? NO. The fact Marjas usually put the money accumulated into the names of their sons when they die not another mujtahid also suggests the 12th Imam (atf) is not in charge of these accounts, for he'd presumbaly in the usuli worldview give responsibility to another marja?

So I think your explanation for no accounting practices by the Marja (which I still think to be a misconception of yours) that the Marjas give the money to the 12th Imam (atf) unlikely to be correct. The evidence, for example with the respected Khoie Foundation, shows the money remains money and gets put into bank accounts the signatories to which are the Marjas and after them their boys, a typical cultural practice but how islamic is it? I am not criticising this, just thinking.

However surely a good amount must be put to good practical use on the deserving and needy people and causes. SO back to my question.

Where are the accounts? They must exist. Or do they?

Thanks

Wa Salaam

Edited by husainshahid

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Reality is there is much corruption with Khums and no one knows to what degree.

Transparency as suggested by OP would help reduce this corruption.

I don't think this transparency exists and so I don't think there is what you ask for.

There is many Charity organizations in the world that original purpose is good but then a lot of the money (sometimes almost all) is used corruptly.

You may dream wish this away with our khums and keep this ideal view you wish was reality, but reality is corruption exists.

Edited by Awakened

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As Salam Alaykum

The question is where can I see the accounts of the marjas. Any tax collector must show accounts.

You on the other hand are telling me the Marjas despite collecting tax do not produce accounts.

Are U serious brother? Are U certain of this?

What you are saying is that there are de facto priests who take hundreds of millions of dollars in cash annually and don't produce accounts?

If this is the case (and forgive me if I misunderstand you) then what you are saying is an outrage and an insult against the ulema who you are impugning are no different to some socalled sufi saints who take money off their followers 'in trust' and do not produce accounts.

I cannot accept this, if this is true, which I am sure it is not, then I shall leave Usuli shi'ism as a conscientious realist shia muslim. No one but an infallible can take money and not produce accounts, still less if that money is in trust and not theirs. But U are telling me this is exactly what the ulema do!

Can someone tell me where I can get the accounts. Is the a website for example?

Thanks

Wa Salaam

You cannot accept this because you dont know how the khums system works. You are assuming that millions of dollars in cash reach the hands of the Marja annually.

Khums have 2 parts. Sahm e Saddat and Sehm e Imam. Sahm e Saddat is given to the deserving Sayyeds all over the world...so half is already gone.

Now what is left is Sahm e Imam. Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi writes in his book on Khums:

"I would not be wrong in saying that most of this does not even reach to the mujtahids themselves, rather it is used, with their permission, in various parts of the Shiah world".

and

"The most important causes for which the Sehm ul Imam is used presently are the following:-

-providing the necessary expenses of the poor and needy Shi`ah Ithna-`Asharis; it may also be used by the mujtahid during natural disasters like earthquake, famine, war, etc;

-propagating the religion of Islam to the believers as well as the non-believers;

-providing the household and academic expenses of the `ulama' (the religious scholars) who dedicate their life and efforts in teaching and preaching the religion of Islam to the people.

-providing the expenditure of religious establishments, religious schools, teachers and students"

WS

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Orion, there is all of kind of charities whom state all these good stuff the money will be used for, but then reality is otherwise.

What he is stating is realistic.

Or are you denying there is any corruption?

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Salaams,

Husain Shaih has made a very valid point. When we are living in an era wherein enemies from outside and withim are seeking to attack the foundations of the Marja system, every effort should be made to curtail their evil propaganda. There should be transparency on the issue of Khums. Why should we know where our hard earned cash is going? This isnt to suggest that Marja are corrupt (God Forbid) but its good to see how money received is then distributed out. All charities operate this, and this transparency can only be a good thing. To suggest that Marja should be eexempt from such transparency because they are Marja is an extremely poor argument, and is the sort of cannon fodder that those critical of Usooli Shiism need. I too would like to know whether any Marja publish accounts of their spend. Can any learned brother / sister shed some light on the matter?

wasalaam

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You cannot accept this because you dont know how the khums system works. You are assuming that millions of dollars in cash reach the hands of the Marja annually.

Khums have 2 parts. Sahm e Saddat and Sehm e Imam. Sahm e Saddat is given to the deserving Sayyeds all over the world...so half is already gone.

Now what is left is Sahm e Imam. Sayyid Muhammad Rizvi writes in his book on Khums:

"I would not be wrong in saying that most of this does not even reach to the mujtahids themselves, rather it is used, with their permission, in various parts of the Shiah world".

and

"The most important causes for which the Sehm ul Imam is used presently are the following:-

-providing the necessary expenses of the poor and needy Shi`ah Ithna-`Asharis; it may also be used by the mujtahid during natural disasters like earthquake, famine, war, etc;

-propagating the religion of Islam to the believers as well as the non-believers;

-providing the household and academic expenses of the `ulama' (the religious scholars) who dedicate their life and efforts in teaching and preaching the religion of Islam to the people.

-providing the expenditure of religious establishments, religious schools, teachers and students"

WS

As Salam Alaykum

One word summarises what U have said: theory.

One word summarises your estimates of the sums of money involved: guesswork.

One word would solve this problem: accounts.

That is why accounts exist.

Where are the marja's accounts?

Surely they exist. The fault may not be theirs. It is ours for not asking for them. Where can I get them?

Wa Salam

Edited by husainshahid

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Reality is there is much corruption with Khums and no one knows to what degree.

Transparency as suggested by OP would help reduce this corruption.

I don't think this transparency exists and so I don't think there is what you ask for.

There is many Charity organizations in the world that original purpose is good but then a lot of the money (sometimes almost all) is used corruptly.

You may dream wish this away with our khums and keep this ideal view you wish was reality, but reality is corruption exists.

I am sure there are corrupt people in every society. But look around yourself. All the Shia Masjids, Hussainyas, Imam Bargahs, Islamic centers, Majlis, Milads, TV channels, orphan houses, hospitals, clinics, books, libraries, publishing houses, thousands of students at the hawza in Qom, Najaf, Syria etc.....who is running the show and from what money????

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When I pay khums I pay it to a scholar or organization approved by my marja'. Before I pay them I look into their organization - how it is run, what the money is used for, etc. If I am confident that the money is going 100% to good purposes and nothing shady is happenng then I pay it there.

Of course religiously there is no need for such scrutiny but I am a little cynical so that's why I check up on these things first

However what I wanted to say is with some marja's (such as the marja' I follow, Ayatollah Seestani) the money doesnt all go to him but goes to other people or groups with his authorization who redistribute it.

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I am sure there are corrupt people in every society. But look around yourself. All the Shia Masjids, Hussainyas, Imam Bargahs, Islamic centers, Majlis, Milads, TV channels, orphan houses, hospitals, clinics, books, libraries, publishing houses, thousands of students at the hawza in Qom, Najaf, Syria etc.....who is running the show and from what money????

That some money is used for good doesn't prove what most money is used for.

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When I pay khums I pay it to a scholar or organization approved by my marja'. Before I pay them I look into their organization - how it is run, what the money is used for, etc. If I am confident that the money is going 100% to good purposes and nothing shady is happenng then I pay it there.

Of course religiously there is no need for such scrutiny but I am a little cynical so that's why I check up on these things first

However what I wanted to say is with some marja's (such as the marja' I follow, Ayatollah Seestani) the money doesnt all go to him but goes to other people or groups with his authorization who redistribute it.

As Salam Alaykum

In fact Syed Sistani to his credit does not insist that the Khums be sent to his central office, he often allows it to go to local projects his reps authorise. However, some people make massive donations of millions and tens of millions of pounds a year if their income has been very high and this goes centrally to the Marja's offices (and there are now have 32 Marjas at the last count according to Wikipedia). Some donations are so big they could support large numbers of poor syeds etc for years.

Accounts are the most basic regulatory practice of any organisation dealing with money. Can anyone provide evidence for the marjas and where they produce their accounts. How much do they spend, how much they save, etc.

Wa Salam

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Salaams,

Husain Shaih has made a very valid point. When we are living in an era wherein enemies from outside and withim are seeking to attack the foundations of the Marja system, every effort should be made to curtail their evil propaganda. There should be transparency on the issue of Khums. Why should we know where our hard earned cash is going? This isnt to suggest that Marja are corrupt (God Forbid) but its good to see how money received is then distributed out. All charities operate this, and this transparency can only be a good thing. To suggest that Marja should be eexempt from such transparency because they are Marja is an extremely poor argument, and is the sort of cannon fodder that those critical of Usooli Shiism need. I too would like to know whether any Marja publish accounts of their spend. Can any learned brother / sister shed some light on the matter?

wasalaam

It maybe that the top Head (ie. the Marja) is not corrupt, but it may very well be the system and how it's runned is extremely corrupt.

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That some money is used for good doesn't prove what most money is used for.

Actually it does. The success of Shias in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon is proof itself.

It was Hazrat Khatija's (as) money that helped Islam in its early days. And its Khums money that is helping it now.

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Actually it does. The success of Shias in Iran, Iraq and Lebanon is proof itself.

It was Hazrat Khatija's (as) money that helped Islam in its early days. And its Khums money that is helping it now.

If it does to you, then it does to you.

But by the same logic, all corrupt organizations are proven non-corrupt (ie. some money is used for good).

There is no corrupt charity organization that will not to do any good with the money.

So you can rely on false conjecture (fallacious argument) but don't expect everyone to do so.

The Quran talks about how there is many scholars (and this means of all religions) that steal people money...and don't use in God's way. So it's not that it is very odd for "religiously" posed leaders to do this and that there is absolutely no reason to suspect it.

Rather it's been shown to be a custom and one of Satanic ways of corrupting society.

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However, some people make massive donations of millions and tens of millions of pounds a year if their income has been very high and this goes centrally to the Marja's offices

Again your post indicates that you need to learn some basic things about khums.

E.g. Khums is not "donation" and its not "charity".

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I believe transparency in financial transactions would clear a lot of questions and alleviate a lot of doubts. They don't have to specifically name organizations or individuals even - they can just say "such and such amount to support such and such activity or family".

It's never been an issue for me though. I've not ever had reason to put thought into it.

Saying "Such and such amount to support such and such activity or family" will not satisfy people.

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Again your post indicates that you need to learn some basic things about khums.

E.g. Khums is not "donation" and its not "charity".

As Salam Alaykum

You're right.

It's a tax. It's a massive tax. It's 20% of what the excess income is of every shia in the world.

There is therefore no justification if the marjas are not producing accounts showing what they do with this massive tax and how they manage it. It is therefore improbable there are no accounts. We are trying to locate them. You seem to think there are none and /or we will not be able to find any. I have enough trust in our marjas to believe we will, it's just they need to be educated in modern financial propriety in showing such accounts in the modern world.

Wa Salaam

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i think in the recent past there were no attempts at transparency because most of the marja's were in a difficult situation versus the govenrment. for instance, during the shah's time in iran, or saddam's time in iraq. (it's awfully nice to be able to refer to both of them in the past tense) so not advertising how much money the shi'a leadership had was prudent.

nowdays, of course, the situation is changing and people's expectations are changing so perhaps this will change too

ayatollah seestani, for one, requires that everything involving khoms be documented (ie i cant just give a shaykh represnting him my money and then disappear... it needs to go into paperwork and i need to get a receipt) and he gave a fatwa some time ago requiring that...... i dont know about the other marjas

also there is no need to give the sahm-e-sadat to a marja, you can distribute that yourself and be satisfied that it goes where it is most needed, it is only the sahm-e-imam that are said should be distributed by the marja

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I am sure there are corrupt people in every society. But look around yourself. All the Shia Masjids, Hussainyas, Imam Bargahs, Islamic centers, Majlis, Milads, TV channels, orphan houses, hospitals, clinics, books, libraries, publishing houses, thousands of students at the hawza in Qom, Najaf, Syria etc.....who is running the show and from what money????

As Salam Alaykum

More guesswork and assumptions. In fact a lot of these organisations are run by private donations from the congergations without any medium of a marja (though some like Syed Sistani authorise his reps to allow some organisations to receive khums). Some get khums. It's all incredibly nebulous and murky without accounts and there are 1001 ways money could be being misappropriated beneath an elderly and honest marja's nose without him knowing. These are 3rd world countries after all and that too those notorious for corruption like Iraq.

I want facts: accounts please.

I am a realist not an idealist.

The only people who dont like producing accounts are people who know of fraud and the bone idle lazy. I don't believe the marja's offices are lazy or practicing fraud. There must be accounts. Would seomone please reply - where can I find them.

Wa Salam

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i think in the recent past there were no attempts at transparency because most of the marja's were in a difficult situation versus the govenrment. for instance, during the shah's time in iran, or saddam's time in iraq. (it's awfully nice to be able to refer to both of them in the past tense) so not advertising how much money the shi'a leadership had was prudent.

nowdays, of course, the situation is changing and people's expectations are changing so perhaps this will change too

ayatollah seestani, for one, requires that everything involving khoms be documented (ie i cant just give a shaykh represnting him my money and then disappear... it needs to go into paperwork and i need to get a receipt) and he gave a fatwa some time ago requiring that...... i dont know about the other marjas

also there is no need to give the sahm-e-sadat to a marja, you can distribute that yourself and be satisfied that it goes where it is most needed, it is only the sahm-e-imam that are said should be distributed by the marja

As Salam Alaykum

Good points. Personally I always gave the marjas the benefit of the doubt that they were tight-lipped about money matters because of their political situations. In the past 30 years that has changed bit by bit. But they haven't moved with the times.

There's very little excuse now for most of them not producing accounts, if indeed that turns out to be the case, though perhaps Syed Khamenei might have some political reasons.

If there are no accounts its perplexing and maybe because the marjas have simply failed to look at the modern world and what is expected of them by people now. If so there may be also be some murky people in these vast organisations who are adept like so many 3rd world organisations at misappropriating funds and in whose interests rigid accounting practices are not in the interest of. I suspect the marjas themselevs (well, most of them) probably are honest - but they're doctors of the law, mainly elderly men, and need to adopt the habits of tax men like sound accounts and auditing practices to run a tight ship financially.

But hey, maybe someone will find some accounts

here's hoping.

Wa Salaam

So, why are you asking us this? Why not get in communication with the offices yourself and see what you might find?

As Salam Alaykum

My approach is logical. I want to know has anyone else investigated? It would make sense before doing research to do a review of what is already known.

I'll see what comes up on this Thread in the next few days. Surely someone must have done this before?

If not I'll email them and let you know what's up.

Wa Salaam

Need to find out if other shias have enquired before doing so myself - it's a logical approach to review what is known then to investigate.

Still waiting.

It'll be a bit shocking if no one knows. If so it says something about me, us and all of us that non one bothered to ask.

Wa Salam

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So, why are you asking us this? Why not get in communication with the offices yourself and see what you might find?

As Salam Alaykum Brother

To me the methodical way to make an enquiry is first to assess what other researchers already know. In fact that is quite common on ShiaChat, perhaps very common and logical and one purpose of ShiaChat.

Hence this post. Indeed it would be extraordinary if others have not made this fundamental enquiry before me.

However perhaps I will be disappointed and the answers will come in as negative and I am a pioneer.

If so I shall pursue this enquiry with the Marja's offices. I hope I have a good experience.

Wa Salam

Edited by husainshahid

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This one sentence tells a lot about your mentality and intentions.

AYATOLLATRY & AYATOLLATERS! Says it all to me.

As Salam Alaykum Brother

So as not to upset you I have deleted the words in red you have highlighted as offensive to you.

My aim is not to cause offence.

In fact I was a muqallid of Syed Khoei then subsequently I have followed Syed Sistani.

But it is a great shame that I look around and find that as a reaction against the rising tide of Akhbarism certain Usuli people go in another extreme and look upon the marjas with eyes of pure idealists rather than realists.

I call such people Ayatollaters, and their form of Taqlid is what i call Ayatollatry. It views the Marjas as semi-divine near-infallible people above question, above doubt, an intermediary between God symbolised in the Imam (atf) and man.

The brutal fact is these men have massive disputes between each other till their dying day regarding some of each other as arch-villains, take for example the major dispiutes between Syed Khomeini (ra) and the Marja Montazeri who is still a Marja.

However I believe that one has every right to expect the Marjas to conform to the same standards of financal transparency as all individuals who collect massive taxes are expected to. To me the Marja is an important Doctor of the Law, no more. That is in fact exactly what the Marja is. But they have also taken up the task of tax collector. There are 32 Marjas now (according to Wikipedia). To suggest the Marja does not have to produce accounts suggests he is infallible. If however he is not infallible he is OBLIGED to produce accounts. For example, if a Marja makes an error in his laws on the prayer you could see that in his book of rules and regulations. If he made an error in his accounts how can that be spotted unless he produces a book of accounts? However your perspective on them suggests you regard them as, in practice, infallible. To me that is Ayatollatry, and it is an extreme form of Taqlid which many of the Marjas themselves would condemn.

Wa Salam

Edited by husainshahid

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to the OP: damn good thread, and damn good question. more power to you sir. keep us informed.

who remembers the al-khoei thread? i looked into the UK charity accounts myself and found nothing amiss, apart from a lack of what i would expect to see if usoolis were pumping their khums in that direction, it must all be off the records. which is actually illegal, but who cares about that if marjas are involved.

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But they have also taken up the task of tax collector. There are 32 Marjas now (according to Wikipedia). To suggest the Marja does not have to produce accounts suggests he is infallible. If however he is not infallible he is OBLIGED to produce accounts. For example, if a Marja makes an error in his laws on the prayer you could see that in his book of rules and regulations. If he made an error in his accounts how can that be spotted unless he produces a book of accounts? However your perspective on them suggests you regard them as, in practice, infallible. To me that is Ayatollatry, and it is an extreme form of Taqlid which many of the Marjas themselves would condemn.

Wa Salam

I think that the marjas have better and more important things to do, than to justify to us where the money is going.

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I think that the marjas have better and more important things to do, than to justify to us where the money is going.

LOL bro the sad thing is, theres going to be some freaks on this board who are actually gonna think that for real

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I actually held back from posting in this thread for a number of reasons but I feel I should post to add some clarity to the situation at hand.

First of all, I voice the same words as that of Br Macisaac in regards to your question. While you may have emailed the offices of the Marjas etc and not received a response that is not the same as talking to a representative of the Marja regarding this issue and posting the outcome.

Secondly, as Sr Bint mentioned regarding how she pays her khums that is a norm now. Any organisation, charity, federation that takes your khums will give you a receipt. In certain aspects, there is another receipt which comes from the office of the marja upon receiving the khums money through that representative.

Third, as you stated yourself Br Husainshahid that Ayatollah Sistani allows organisations to use the Khums for their own projects. This is done by many other marjas hence the khums money that is going into such organisations can easily be verified from their accounts.

Fourthly, if you consider what Br Orion is mentioning is also a very good point. While you may add the labels 'AYATOLLATRY & AYATOLLATERS' however try and be objective and consider his point which is very valid.

Fifth, if you wish to know regarding the accounts then you are better of contacting the offices of the Marjas from where the Khums is distributed or collected. For instance, while in Najaf if you ask the office of Ayat Sistani they will give you a rough idea of the expenditure of the Khums money and also the magnitude of it however they would not disclose down to every penny in many cases, which is not correct but slowly things are changing.

Lastly, Br MDM mentioned regarding the Al Khoei Foundation and its accounts. If I am not mistaken Al Khoei Foundation is a registered Charity in UK hence it has to disclose its account publically just as all the charities in UK have to however there is no such obligation out of UK hence you do not find the accounts so easily.

--------------------------

While the issue of Khums spending is a touchy subject due to the abuse of certain individuals in the position of authority however at the same time we should be objective and try and understand the system.

If you look at the history as Sr Bint mentioned there were reasons why such transparency was difficult however with time things have reformed and continously doing so. A few decades back there was no such aspect of having ijaza from a marja to use khums in an organisation or a charity as such as it is widely spread now, is this not a good thing in the transparency aspect? Ofcourse it is because the khums that goes into the charities will be disclosed publically on the accounts. With time the aspect of khums collection as increased to be a bit more transparent with the ideas of receipts from the marja's office or the representative. The verified representative collecting khums and not just any random person. This all shows progression in the system however there is a lot to be done and with time things will happen.

I will also add here, that this information that sometimes we feel is not disclosed for X reasons can easily be seeked by either by inquiring from the office of the marja or by speaking to someone who is the representative of the marja and is involved in this aspect. However, do not expect full transparency in this issue for another 10-15 years.

Edit: Also I find it is a common misconception amongst us layman regarding the Marjiyyat and its mechanism sometimes when it comes to such issues. While the Marja overlooks every aspect of his office and has to ensure everything is in order but that does not mean that he is taking care of everything from A-Z. He appoints people to takecare of things for him and do X,Y,Z jobs, at times there may be those who take advantage of their position and end up doing wrong.

Edited by A follower

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(bismillah)

More lack of understanding about Marjas:

they need to be educated in modern financial propriety

You are going to educate them? Have you read the book "Iqtasaduna" by Ayatullah Baqar as Sadr? They are the ones who educate the world about financial matters, and not the other way around.

AYATOLLATRY & AYATOLLATERS!

I call such people Ayatollaters, and their form of Taqlid is what i call Ayatollatry. It views the Marjas as semi-divine near-infallible people above question, above doubt, an intermediary between God symbolised in the Imam (atf) and man.

Ayatullahs are not divine or semi-divine. They are people who fear God and provide services to us at no cost on voluntary bases

The brutal fact is these men have massive disputes between each other till their dying day regarding some of each other as arch-villains, take for example the major dispiutes between Syed Khomeini (ra) and the Marja Montazeri who is still a Marja.

The dispute is about how to run the country at its best. Its not about money.

To me the Marja is an important Doctor of the Law, no more. That is in fact exactly what the Marja is. But they have also taken up the task of tax collector.

Again lack of understanding about Marja office, position and responsibility. Also shows that you are fundamentally against Marja collecting Khums and think that they have taken up this task themselves.

marjas have simply failed to look at the modern world and what is expected of them

They are doing an excellent job. More than what is expected of them. And they are well aware of what goes on in your "modern" world.

If he made an error in his accounts how can that be spotted unless he produces a book of accounts?

Marja are not Infallible but have you ever heard of any marja found guilty of financial fraud. Have you seen them build palaces and castles. Or leave gold and silver for their successors.

Edited by Orion

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i think in the recent past there were no attempts at transparency because most of the marja's were in a difficult situation versus the govenrment. for instance, during the shah's time in iran, or saddam's time in iraq. (it's awfully nice to be able to refer to both of them in the past tense) so not advertising how much money the shi'a leadership had was prudent.

nowdays, of course, the situation is changing and people's expectations are changing so perhaps this will change too

I would like to say 2 things.

First, the Marja system is based on TRUST.

Money is the least important thing, we trust Marja with our faith and our practices (our Salat, our Fasts, our Hajj and so on).

Marja don't come to us and say follow me. They don't knock on our door to ask for Khums money. They dont give newspaper ads or send letters asking for money. Its a voluntary service they provide for those who trust them.

Second, if Marja office do have an account (which is likely), in my humble view it would be irresponsible for them to disclose it to every Tom, Richard and Harry.

Millions of Shia live in countries (like Saudi Arabia, Bahrain, Yemen, Pakistan, the list goes on) where governments and fellow Muslims remain hostile towards them. Lets assume that an Ayatullah is providing Khums money to help the Shia and their institutions in those countries. If they disclose this funding, these hostile governments will use this information to persecute Shia further and seize their assets and close down their institutions.... deeming them "foreign funded".

The implications of such a disclosure would be disastrous for the Shia communities worldwide.

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It seems common sense to me that the offices of the marja's should have their finances regularly audited just like any other organization which handles that kind of money. It seems irresponsible that it is all done with no independent oversight or sometimes even proper record keeping. Businesses, governments and charities don't operate without reviews of where their money is going so why should the marja be exempt? And yes, I would gladly have some of my khums money go towards an accounting firm to do this.

I imagine at some point this will become the norm, but for now all we can do is request more accountability and hope for changes.

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It seems common sense to me that the offices of the marja's should have their finances regularly audited just like any other organization which handles that kind of money. It seems irresponsible that it is all done with no independent oversight or sometimes even proper record keeping. Businesses, governments and charities don't operate without reviews of where their money is going so why should the marja be exempt? And yes, I would gladly have some of my khums money go towards an accounting firm to do this.

I imagine at some point this will become the norm, but for now all we can do is request more accountability and hope for changes.

All this would be necessary if we feel that the funds are being used inappropriately. But we have no such evidence.

Also independent oversight would be done by who? Accounting firms are experts in tax laws related to a country. You would have to create an Accounting firm expert in Islamic financial laws. And the Marja are experts in Islamic financial laws (hakim e shara). Also in any dispute the final verdict will be that of the Marja. So everything will come back to the Marja.

Once again TRUST is the key word here. You voluntarily give Khums to a Marja that you trust.

Edited by Orion

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Sallams,

Great topic! This has been on my mind for years and i have spoken to some of the renowned English speakers who tour the world for their thoughts. One of them (i will not name for obvious reasons) told me if he brought up the issue of khums (the corruption and misuse) on the minbar, he would get his spine ripped out of his back. An extreme metaphor i know, but it goes to show the struggle to maintain power over the millions if not billions of $$$.

Br husainshahid, i really doubt you will find any accounts, transparency or anything resembling an audit (but wish you luck!). I believe we have reached an age (we certainly have the expertise and know-how) that khums money should be audited and annual reports produced documenting the projects happening around the world. I can however understand the argument of 'the shia community is oppressed' hence the need for secrecy (this really applies only in the ME & Asia). This should not stop us from coming up with solutions to embrace transparency in the West. I for one believe we have a long way to go before we start utilizing khums money effectively and efficiently.

Br Orion, set aside Shaheed Sadr's masterpiece, Our economics, the Jafaria school of thought has done very little in terms of implementing and promoting an Islamic economy or producing material in regard to Islamic finance.

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