How did Khums come about? Is it based on verse 41 in Surat al-Anfal?


I’d like to know how (khums) came to be. Is it based on this verse from Surat al-Anfal: 8:41?

Because I am being told that the word ‘ghanimtum’ refers to war booty, and not annual income – as the verses before this verse refer to war time.

Do you know the context in which this Ayah was revealed? What do I say in response to being told zakat should be paid as 2.5% of annual belongings?


1. the term ‘Ghanemtom’ means ‘you profited’. The booty of war is only an example of that. For example, in Ayah 94 Surah Nisa we read: “There are much more profits ( مغانم ) with Allah”.

2. Sunnis who deny Khoms on financial profits also believe there is Khoms on mines, which is not a booty of war.

3. The contents of the Ayah is about the battle of Badr. However, the content is only an example, it does not limit the meaning of the Ayah to the booty of war. Because the Almighty Allah says: ماغنمتم من شیء which means ‘whatever you gained and profited’.  The term ‘whatever’ is general and includes any profit whether the source of it is the booty of a war, a business, finding a treasury, etc.

For example, in Ayah 7 Surah 59 we read: “and whatsoever the Prophet gives you, take it; and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it).” The contents of this Ayah is about a kind of booty that we call: الفیء. But can we say obedience to the Prophet is only on the booty of war? No, why, because the Ayah is general. In fact, this is the style of the Quran, to make a general rule through an example.

4. The percentage of Zakat varies on different items and circumstances. For example, if the farm of wheat or barely was irrigated by rain or any natural water-which did not cost the farmer anymore to irrigate it, once the corps reaches the threshold, 1/10 of it is due for Zakat, whereas if the farm was irrigated artificially, then 1/20 e.t.c.

Answered by: Sheikh Mansour Leghaei