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beardedbaker

Show me the money

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In the absence of a powerful Shia lobby that can fund a revivalist reformist religious project, the religious establishment must open its books to independent  financial auditors. They must publish their findings to enable scrutiny and allow us to challenge the way religious funds are spent [or not spent]. I will post later what i mean by this reformist project.

Until that time, when we move on from archaic practices and lack of transparency, i will boycott all khums payments, and suggest you do as well, instead spend it wisely to establish social justice in your local community.

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52 minutes ago, realizm said:

:salam:

Dear brother, is it the money you have an issue with, or what they do with it ?

و عليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against khums or zakat, God forbid, on the contrary, it's the perfect means to alleviate social injustice anywhere in the world. 

My issue is with the strategy and transparency , or in our case the lack of strategy and transparency, on how to best make use of that money, and if it. Is being spent, what and where and who is it being spent on. 

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7 minutes ago, beardedbaker said:

و عليكم السلام ورحمة الله وبركاته 

Don't get me wrong, I'm not against khums or zakat, God forbid, on the contrary, it's the perfect means to alleviate social injustice anywhere in the world. 

My issue is with the strategy and transparency , or in our case the lack of strategy and transparency, on how to best make use of that money, and if it. Is being spent, what and where and who is it being spent on. 

Have you actually gone to a marja and asked him what they do with the money?

 

Hawza in Iran including stipend & accommodation for students - free

Hawza in Iraq including stipend & accommodation for students- free 

Support for all the refugees in Iraq - free

There is a long list of things that are done with the money.

These things will happen without your money so feel free to hold back. I bet no marja will lose sleep over it.

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1 hour ago, shiaman14 said:

Have you actually gone to a marja and asked him what they do with the money?

 

Hawza in Iran including stipend & accommodation for students - free

Hawza in Iraq including stipend & accommodation for students- free 

Support for all the refugees in Iraq - free

There is a long list of things that are done with the money.

These things will happen without your money so feel free to hold back. I bet no marja will lose sleep over it.

multiple (free) hospitals per marja, built from scratch. not even renovating existing premises.

improvements/ maintenance/ management of holy sites

multiple orphanages

you are right, the list is incredible. a lot of people in the west are whining why khums is not spent on their local communities, when the average westerner earns more in a month than people in impoverished countries earn in a year/ many years.

and besides, khums IS available for social projects in the west. all you have to do is literally walk into a mrjas offices.

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3 hours ago, beardedbaker said:

Until that time, when we move on from archaic practices and lack of transparency, i will boycott all khums payments, and suggest you do as well, instead spend it wisely to establish social justice in your local community.

Do you have authority to call for this?

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3 hours ago, beardedbaker said:

In the absence of a powerful Shia lobby that can fund a revivalist reformist religious project, the religious establishment must open its books to independent  financial auditors. They must publish their findings to enable scrutiny and allow us to challenge the way religious funds are spent [or not spent]. I will post later what i mean by this reformist project.

Until that time, when we move on from archaic practices and lack of transparency, i will boycott all khums payments, and suggest you do as well, instead spend it wisely to establish social justice in your local community.

Sometimes we think of doing good and we really will to do it, for instance making a great lasting change like changing the archaic ways and using more efficient ones, forming Shia lobbies and ... , these are not bad by their nature and shaytan know this, and here is his masterpiece, misguiding people through good deeds,  what you said is a plan of shaytan instilled in your mind and you think it is yours, you want to change, so... boycott Khums, it is like being thirsty but forbidding yourself from drinking water yet thinking about satisfying your thirst . You can't achieve a better result by ignoring something which is wajib, wajib based on Quran itself: Surah Al-anfal verse 41 mentions the importance of it, Those who ignored wajibs hoping of gaining better things, always failed, a good example is Saqifa, they didn't obey the prophet(sawa) hoping others would be better caliphs but everything ended up to disaster which even now we are dealing with it. Examples are beyond counting.

 

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12 hours ago, beardedbaker said:

Until that time, when we move on from archaic practices and lack of transparency, i will boycott all khums payments, and suggest you do as well, instead spend it wisely to establish social justice in your local community.

There is a popular saying which says: "Two wrongs can never make a right". One cannot boycott an obligation such as Khums etc simply because its collector mismanages it rather one gives it to another qualified personnel instead. Likewise, our duty as a Muslim is to give out our portion of the Khums to a qualified Marja and I believe it is never our religious obligation to know where it is being spent.

Besides, there are several projects such as those mentioned above on which the Khums is spent.

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13 hours ago, beardedbaker said:

In the absence of a powerful Shia lobby that can fund a revivalist reformist religious project, the religious establishment must open its books to independent  financial auditors. They must publish their findings to enable scrutiny and allow us to challenge the way religious funds are spent [or not spent]. I will post later what i mean by this reformist project.

Until that time, when we move on from archaic practices and lack of transparency, i will boycott all khums payments, and suggest you do as well, instead spend it wisely to establish social justice in your local community.

Bismehe Ta3ala,

Assalam Alikum Brother BB

Brother how can you come to this decision on your own?  Do you have a fatwa from a marj3?  A portion of your khumus you can give it to a person you know who needs it.  But the other portion you must give it to the marj3. 

If you no longer want to give Khumus, that's on you and you are answerable to God.  But this is not something you can't suggest to other Shias not to do. As brother Magma asked above, and I will word it differently, who authorized you to make that call?

Be careful brother this is a grave mistake to make.

M3 Salamah, FE AMIN Allah

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Salam,

Hmm I think for sure there is corruption to different extent in every major marjas office, someone out of all the workers are probably misusing the money. However, this is between Allah(SWT) and them, Allah(SWT) told us to pay khums and so we do to our best ability and if anyone in the marjas office misuse the money then that is on them and that does not mean that your reward for obeying Allah(SWT) will be any less or that His satisfaction with you will be any less.

And so, I do not believe you have the right or authority to deny paying khums. You can still, if your following seyyed Sistani, pay 10% to a poor sayyid/sayyida that you personally know and then the remaining 10% to the marjas office.

Either way, one cannot ever be truly sure that the money will be put to good use, even if you give it to someone you know.

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I went to Iraq with a bunch of khojas once. We met sayed sistani. All the wealthy khojas had envelopes bursting with cash that they wanted to give to the sayeds office in person. we were taken to a small room next to the room we met sayed sistani in, and there must have been approx 20 or so men from his office who walked in, took each khoja to a corner and took the khums off them.

then they handed the khoja a receipt, stuffed the envelopes in their pockets and walked out the back door. the best bit? they called the khums "amanah" (amanat). one came up to me and asked me if I had any amanat for him. I pointed to my dad (my dad is called Amanat Ali) and said "take my dad if you want mate". 

I might not be the best witness, but I know a straight up jacking when I see one. so maybe OP has a point that there is corruption, which goes all the way to the top of the marjas offices. 

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26 minutes ago, DigitalUmmah said:

I went to Iraq with a bunch of khojas once. We met sayed sistani. All the wealthy khojas had envelopes bursting with cash that they wanted to give to the sayeds office in person. we were taken to a small room next to the room we met sayed sistani in, and there must have been approx 20 or so men from his office who walked in, took each khoja to a corner and took the khums off them.

then they handed the khoja a receipt, stuffed the envelopes in their pockets and walked out the back door. the best bit? they called the khums "amanah" (amanat). one came up to me and asked me if I had any amanat for him. I pointed to my dad (my dad is called Amanat Ali) and said "take my dad if you want mate". 

I might not be the best witness, but I know a straight up jacking when I see one. so maybe OP has a point that there is corruption, which goes all the way to the top of the marjas offices. 

Yeah that is sad bro, but there will always be corruption until the time of his(ajf) return.

The way I see it is that I have done my part and I am not responsible for what they do. It is a kind of amanat I guess, but not to them but to Allah(SWT), fi sabilillah and whatever you give to Allah(SWT) He will give you back even more.

I remember the first time I paid khums, I just made a dua to Allah(SWT) and I stated that I do this only because I want Him to be happy with me and because He has ordered it of me, so in whatever way this money will be used, please be pleased with me, your slave and servant.

Bismillah:

[2:261]

The example of those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah is like a seed [of grain] which grows seven spikes; in each spike is a hundred grains. And Allah multiplies [His reward] for whom He wills. And Allah is all-Encompassing and Knowing.

[2:262]

Those who spend their wealth in the way of Allah and then do not follow up what they have spent with reminders [of it] or [other] injury will have their reward with their Lord, and there will be no fear concerning them, nor will they grieve.

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While I won't suggest other people to boycott khums, I think there is nothing wrong with asking the marja's office to publish a yearly break up of the how the khums was distributed or spent.

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15 minutes ago, starlight said:

While I won't suggest other people to boycott khums, I think there is nothing wrong with asking the marja's office to publish a yearly break up of the how the khums was distributed or spent.

Yeah, definitely they can make more effort to have records for the public. The more transparency the better for sure.

At the same time, massing such records would require some serious systematic paper work and efficient systems and I think that would be hard with regards to the culture in those countries and it would take someone really organized and strict to sort out that mess but iA someone will take that role.

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1 minute ago, IbnSina said:

At the same time, massing such records would require some serious systematic paper work and efficient systems and I think that would be hard with regards to the culture in those countries and it would take someone really organized and strict to sort out that mess but iA someone will take that role.

Its worth the hard work and effort imo. In Oman, when khums is given the marja representitive office  provide you at the end (I think it was every quarter) with a booklet explaining in detial where/how the funds were used

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Guest silasun

The problem is that this will create divisions to a degree between people marja offices.

They will start saying "oh look how Sayed Khamenei spends more on x than Sayed Sistani... why is Sayed Sistani doing this" and I think that the benefit from being more open will be overridden by this issue.

In short, make sure you know who you give your khums to and verify them as adil yourself. You could always ask them if you can have a look at their accounts just to be on the safe side, but I don't think it would be a good idea to make this all public information.

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50 minutes ago, starlight said:

While I won't suggest other people to boycott khums, I think there is nothing wrong with asking the marja's office to publish a yearly break up of the how the khums was distributed or spent.

The Al khoei centre (office of sayed sistani in uk) seems pretty legit

http://opencharities.org/charities/802000 

you can view the accounts online

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22 hours ago, beardedbaker said:

In the absence of a powerful Shia lobby that can fund a revivalist reformist religious project, the religious establishment must open its books to independent  financial auditors. They must publish their findings to enable scrutiny and allow us to challenge the way religious funds are spent [or not spent]. I will post later what i mean by this reformist project.

Until that time, when we move on from archaic practices and lack of transparency, i will boycott all khums payments, and suggest you do as well, instead spend it wisely to establish social justice in your local community.

@magma @Pearl178 @Laayla- comment redacted. I'll keep comments like these to myself from now on.

@Hidaren et al - I suggest you dig deeper into the verse talking about khums and when khums on profits from income was established....

The verse talks specifically about war booty, not financial income. Imam Ja'far al Sadiq (as) established khums on the profit from income during a time when there was financial prosperity in the Shia community, which was a way to maximise the funding of Imam's Islamic revival project (20% vs 2.5% of zakaht income). So, NO, khums on the profits of income is NOT a quranic principle, but a hukm wala'y (ruling performed by the guardian of the believers) established by the wali amr of the time. For those who read arabic, this is explained in detail here. The book also addresses how the Quran emphasised zakah much more, and that it shouldn't be limited to what the scholars have deduced (no different from the Prophet's time), and therefore should cover profits from income, thereby minimising the impact on people in times of hardship, yet still maintaining the duty of spending as it's a way to spiritual perfection

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I said I will explain what I meant by this (financial) project, that we're in desperate need of. At the moment, we (the wider Shia, disunited, collective) do not have a respectable media presence, anywhere (outside of Iran). Without effective media presence it is virtually impossible to change the mindset of the collective subconscious and general public opinion. You will remain in isolated, tribal, nationalistic bubbles, each pushing their own agenda. There is no reformist media channel able to attract people of all ages, with a multi-faceted, diverse program to address cultural, intellectual, political and of course religious topics. It needs a clear strategy and purpose to change our stagnant state from unproductivity, and trying to put down the 'other', to building and developing of the 'collective self'. 

This requires money. And lots of it. The religious establishment is not a charity organisation. Hospitals and providing for the poor is essential, but can be covered in other ways, if the corrupt incompetent governments of our countries knew how to manage the affairs of its people. That's what taxation and oil revenues are for. And on the subject of financing the hawza: if the Quranic verse about going off to study in the hawza is taken seriously and understood properly, our hard-earned khums money shouldn't go to fund people to study najasa and taharah for 50 years, and instead send capable individuals from the diaspora, who are aware of the socio-economic and socio-political needs of his community, study for a few years with a targeted syllabus, and return with enough knowledge to manage the affairs of his people.

The same need applies to newspapers, magazines, websites, think-tanks, video production, etc. Why is there no daily religious newspaper anywhere to be found? Newspapers are a powerful tool to rally people behind a cause.

So the 'Shia financial lobby' that I'd like to see established, will be able to fund projects like this. Easily. If Imam Khomeini 30+ years ago said the khums from the Baghdad bazaar alone could cover the needs of all hawza's in the islamic world, I'm sure we've reached a stage of financial prosperity that we can invest on some of these things I mentioned, without braking the bank.

All of this requires cooperation and coordination. Which, unfortunately, I don't see happening anytime soon. This level of cooperation will result in self-sustained local economies, where people help each other out to start projects and businesses. Imagine the positive image of Islam this will give to the world. And this kind of work doesn't have to be limited to intra-Shia or even the wider Muslim communities. What's the harm in involving non-Muslims in such projects if they share our principles of social-justice? 

Edited by beardedbaker

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1 hour ago, beardedbaker said:

I said I will explain what I meant by this (financial) project, that we're in desperate need of. At the moment, we (the wider Shia, disunited, collective) do not have a respectable media presence, anywhere (outside of Iran). Without effective media presence it is virtually impossible to change the mindset of the collective subconscious and general public opinion. You will remain in isolated, tribal, nationalistic bubbles, each pushing their own agenda. There is no reformist media channel able to attract people of all ages, with a multi-faceted, diverse program to address cultural, intellectual, political and of course religious topics. It needs a clear strategy and purpose to change our stagnant state from unproductivity, and trying to put down the 'other', to building and developing of the 'collective self'. 

This requires money. And lots of it. The religious establishment is not a charity organisation. Hospitals and providing for the poor is essential, but can be covered in other ways, if the corrupt incompetent governments of our countries knew how to manage the affairs of its people. That's what taxation and oil revenues are for. And on the subject of financing the hawza: if the Quranic verse about going off to study in the hawza is taken seriously and understood properly, our hard-earned khums money shouldn't go to fund people to study najasa and taharah for 50 years, and instead send capable individuals from the diaspora, who are aware of the socio-economic and socio-political needs of his community, study for a few years with a targeted syllabus, and return with enough knowledge to manage the affairs of his people.

The same need applies to newspapers, magazines, websites, think-tanks, video production, etc. Why is there no daily religious newspaper anywhere to be found? Newspapers are a powerful tool to rally people behind a cause.

So the 'Shia financial lobby' that I'd like to see established, will be able to fund projects like this. Easily. If Imam Khomeini 30+ years ago said the khums from the Baghdad bazaar alone could cover the needs of all hawza's in the islamic world, I'm sure we've reached a stage of financial prosperity that we can invest on some of these things I mentioned, without braking the bank.

All of this requires cooperation and coordination. Which, unfortunately, I don't see happening anytime soon. This level of cooperation will result in self-sustained local economies, where people help each other out to start projects and businesses. Imagine the positive image of Islam this will give to the world. And this kind of work doesn't have to be limited to intra-Shia or even the wider Muslim communities. What's the harm in involving non-Muslims in such projects if they share our principles of social-justice? 

Almost all marajae give permission for sehm-e-imam to be used for projects at a local and national level. As such, you could seek out permission from them for such an initiative.

You proposal to not pay khums - was it based on their rejection or your inaction?

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On September 29, 2016 at 7:46 PM, DigitalUmmah said:

I went to Iraq with a bunch of khojas once. We met sayed sistani. All the wealthy khojas had envelopes bursting with cash that they wanted to give to the sayeds office in person. we were taken to a small room next to the room we met sayed sistani in, and there must have been approx 20 or so men from his office who walked in, took each khoja to a corner and took the khums off them.

then they handed the khoja a receipt, stuffed the envelopes in their pockets and walked out the back door. the best bit? they called the khums "amanah" (amanat). one came up to me and asked me if I had any amanat for him. I pointed to my dad (my dad is called Amanat Ali) and said "take my dad if you want mate". 

I might not be the best witness, but I know a straight up jacking when I see one. so maybe OP has a point that there is corruption, which goes all the way to the top of the marjas offices. 

Probably brother if your marja is Ayatullah Sistani you should ask him if you get to  meet him.

If they use a translator to translate your question, better have a prerecorded or written question in Arabic with the help of reliable brothers in uk who are proficient in Arabic and get a direct answer from Sistani himself, either in written or recorded , other wise the answer could be lost in translation by translators or mistranslated .

You could even tell him what you witnessed about Ammanah, if this issue is important for you to know.

One should not be ashamed to ask for the truth.

If he was my point of reference ( marja) in matters of religion, I would have definately raised the issue with him If I got to meet him, otherwise what is the point of having marja when you cannot get proper answers.

Plus you will help others with the answer you receive.

Edited by certainclarity

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