The official legal opinion (fatwa) from his eminence, Sayyid al-Sistani, in response to a question…
The following is the official legal opinion (fatwa) from his eminence, Sayyid al-Sistani, in response to questions on the spending and handling of khums dues as well as the necessity of an official religious receipt.
To the Office of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Al-Sistani:
May the Peace, Mercy and Blessings of God be upon you.
We kindly ask you to answer the following questions:
1) Assuming that a person was authorized by his eminence, Sayyid Al-Sistani, to spend the “Imam’s share” (sahm-ul-imam) which is due of the person’s khums money:
A. Is it permissible to spend it on any needy person whom the person wants to help?
Answer: In His Name, the Most High. The person cannot spend it on anything but securing the basic and necessary needs of religiously practicing believers, including food, medical treatment, and the like.
B. Is it permissible to delegate another person in spending it, by giving the Islamic dues to another person and authorizing that person to identify those in need as well as the amount to give them?
Answer: The person is not allowed to do this.
C. Is it permissible to transfer it to another country?
Answer: The person is not allowed to do this unless the person has eligible relatives in that country.
2) Is a religiously responsible person (one who is Mukallaf) relieved of the religious responsibility if he/she paid his/her Islamic dues to a person whom he/she believed was eligible but then turned out not to be?
Answer: The person is not relieved of the religious responsibility if he/she fell short in checking out the condition of the recipient. Rather, as a matter of obligatory precaution (ihtiyat luzumi), the person is not relieved of the religious responsibility even if he/she did not fall short in checking out the condition of the recipient.
3) There are some individuals who claim agency (wakalat) on behalf of his eminence, Sayyid Al-Sistani, or that they have an official recommendation and trustworthiness letter (e’temadiyya) from his office, or that they are connected to you in some other way. These individuals accept the Islamic dues from believers and, in return, they do not give them a receipt issued from his eminence’s office. Is one who has to pay his/her Islamic dues relieved of the religious responsibility by paying the dues to these individuals?
Answer: The person is not relieved of the religious responsibility by doing so, and Allah is the Guide.
9 Rabi’ ul-Awwal 1433 AH
The Office of Sayyid Sistani