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In Sunni Islam, there's a concept of zakah -- 2.5% (1/40) of your savings saved for a year need to be given to the poor in eight groups, which are outlined in ayah az-zakah (The Ayah of Zakah). This is well understood.

I know some people who are Ismailis. I have heard them talking about a similar concept, except that it is one eighth (12.5%), and apparently it also applies to cooked food and other things.

My question is, what is this called and what is the "fiqh" of it?

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What is the Ismaili equivalent of zakah?

The Ismaili equivalent of zakah is dasond. The amount of dasond is generally between 10% or 12.5% of one’s net income.

However, Ismailis don't consider dasond (zakah) as charity or alms. They interpret zakah as "purification dues". It is considered as a “purification due” that is given to the Imam (Ismaili doctrine of Imamah), for which the Imam bestows his prayers and blessings on them and purifies them (forgives their sins).

Fiqh of dasond (summarized below):

Dasond must be given willingly, wholeheartedly, truthfully and with trust in the Imam of the Time – only then will it bring worldly and spiritual benefit to the murid (KIM, No. 1, September 1, 1885)

The Imam of the Time is the one who distributes the dasond monies appropriately (KIM, No. 1, September 1, 1885)

Without giving dasond, one’s worship (‘ibadat) is not accepted (KIM, No. 2, Bombay, September 8, 1885)

Every murid has promised to give dasond to the Imam and those who do will attain spiritual liberation (KIM, No. 2, Bombay, September 8, 1885)

Those who have not given dasond, the right of the Imam, will be accountable on the Day of Judgment (KIM, No. 21,, Manjevadi, January 2, 1894)

One’s earnings and food are only permissible (halal) after giving dasond (KIM, No. 24, Amdavad, December 2, 1896)

Faith (iman) remains secure through giving dasond (KIM, No. 125, Nairobi, October 6, 1905)

The Imam accepts dasond from the murids and forgives their sins (KIM, No. 125, Nairobi, October 6, 1905)

Without giving dasond, all other deeds are meaningless and one will have nothing in the hereafter (KIM, No. 155, September 22, 1899)

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There is no real fiqh in Ismailism. It is mostly based on whims of the imaam.

For example: Most Ismailis are told to marry within the community, but all of the imaams children marry outside. ( not one found a suitable spouse within the Ismaili community )

Dasond is really a "pay to pray" scheme. In this scheme the higher the dasond you give the more spiritual enlightenment you can get by attending a higher majalis or prayer.

All this money goes to aga khan ( not the poor ), which then aga khan claims to do "good" with his AKDN.

To read more go to https://ismailitoislam.com/understanding-ismailism/

  • an ex ismaili
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