Shafaqna (International Shia News Agency) – The Grand Ayatollah Sistani answered some questions regarding dues. According to Shafaqna the questions and answers are as follows:
Question 1: What is the limit that you have allowed your agents and representatives (wukalã’) to utilize for their personal use from the religious dues that they collect [from the people]?
Answer: In our ijãzas (authorizations for apportioning the religious dues), we have mentioned that the authorized person is allowed to utilize, for example, one-third or half of whatever he collects of religious dues for the purposes that have been defined by the shari‘a. This does not mean that the percentage mentioned [in the ijãza] is especially for the use of the authorized person himself, because it could happen at times that the use of that due would not apply to him at all — for example, if he is a sayyid while the religious dues that he has collected are from the charity of non-sayyid or other charities like it.
In the light of this, if the authorized person considers himself —in keeping with Allãh as the witness in this matter— eligible for the religious dues in accordance with the conditions mentioned in the Manual of Islamic Laws —for example, if he is needy in the religious definition and is among those who deserve the right of zakãt or sihm-e sãdãt or radd madhãlim etc— he is allowed to take from it according to his need and proportionate to his status and not more than that.
Similarly, if he is providing general religious services and strives for upholding the word of Islam, he deserves the sihm-e Imãm (a.s.) according to the level of his work and the service that he does for Islam.
But, if he is not spending the religious due that he has collected, he must utilize the percentage mentioned [in the ijãza] in its appropriate causes as defined by the shari‘a.
Question 2: I want to pay my religious dues, who should I pay them to?
Answer: You can give religious taxes to anyone who is authorized to collect and who should be holding an authorization document (written permission) from Ayatollah Sistani or his office. Upon giving your religious dues, ask him to give you a receipt of His Eminence’s office of Qom or Najaf.
Question 3: If a person has doubts about the integrity of a representative of the marja‘ as a result of alleged misappropriation of religious dues; what should he do?
Answer: He should rather pay his religious dues to a representative who is known for his integrity and honesty in acting according to his ijãza, i.e. in using some portion of what he has collected of it in their appropriate causes as mentioned earlier and sending the rest to the marja‘.