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Dictionary term

Definition of "Al-fai"

Lit: Return. Tech: Signifies what is obtained from the enemies when they lay down arms (without fighting) and what is received from any alien people under a treaty, the proceeds of which, according to the majority of jurists, go to the public sector of the Islamic state. According to some, however, a fifth of al- fai’, like that of al-ghanimah, is to be divided among the five categories specified for the latter: the Prophet, his near relatives, destitute, orphans and poor wayfarers. After the demise of the Prophet, the two shares of the Prophet and his relatives from the fifth of the al-fai’ and al-ghanimah, as held by the majority, were withheld by Abu Bakr and this practice was also followed by the sub- sequent three caliphs. These two shares were either absorbed in the shares of the other three beneficiaries or, as some reports say, went to the general public sector. Subsequently, al-fai’ came to be identified with all revenues except zakah, a term that can mean civil revenues these days.

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