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Category: Truth of Islam





Allah, the Exalted, prescribed the obligation of zakah al-fitr after the completion of fasting in the blessed month of Ramadan. Zakah al-fitr is purification for the fasting person from idle and foul speech, a means to please the poor, and a tool to revive the spirit of cooperation, solidarity and compassion within the Muslim community. Allah, the Exalted, says (what means): {Take [O, Muammad] from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase…} [Quran 9:103]

 

Ibn ‘Abbas, may Allah be pleased with him, said:

 

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, deemed zakah al-fitr obligatory upon Muslims as a means of purifying the fasting person from idle talk and foul language and also to feed the poor. Whoever offers it before the (Feast) prayer will have it accepted as zakah, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it will count as a form of charity. [Abu Daawood]

 

What is the religious ruling on zakah al-fitr? What is its due amount? When and how should it be offered? How should women pay zakah al-fitr?

 

Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Azeez Ibn Baaz  said:

 

Zakah al-fitr is an individual obligation upon every Muslim who can afford it, young or old, male or female and the free or enslaved, based on the texts of the Sunnah, as is confirmed in the hadith that was narrated by Ibn ‘Umar, may Allah be pleased with them. He, may Allah be pleased with him, said,"The Messenger of Allah ,peace and blessings be upon him said, ordered zakah al-fitr to be given as a saa’ (i.e. a handful equaling almost 3 kg) of dates or barley for every slave and free Muslim, male or female, young or old. He ordered it to be given out before the Muslims go to the eid prayer."[Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

 

There is no specific nisab (minimum amount one should own) for zakah al-fitr. Each and every Muslim should offer zakah al-fitr on behalf of himself, his family members, children, wives and slaves as long as the amount (i.e. one saa’) exceeds his own needs and those of his dependants for the day and night of the eid.

 

The hired servant should offer zakah al-fitr for himself unless the employer donates it or it was stipulated earlier.

 

Zakah al-fitr should be given out of the common staple food of the country, whether in dates, barley, wheat, corn or the like, according to the more correct opinion from the two scholarly opinions in this regard.

 

The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, did not specify a certain kind of food to be given out as zakah al-fitr and, because it is a kind of compensation, Muslims are not obliged to compensate with anything other than their main staple food.

 

The Sunnah of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, with regards to zakah al-fitr is that it is to be distributed among the poor in the giver's own country or town—not in any other. This is in order to enrich the people of his country or town so that they will not need to ask others or be in need on that day (i.e. eid al-fitr). If one travels two or more days before the eid, then he should give zakah al-fitr to some poor people in that Muslim country (to which he traveled). If he travels to a non-Muslim country, then he should give zakah al-fitr to any poor Muslims there.

 

If one travels after the time in which it is permissible to pay zakah al-fitr (i.e. from the 28th night of Ramadan and until right before the eid prayer), then he should distribute it among the poor people of his country because the purpose of zakah al-fitr is to show sympathy and kindness towards them and enrich them so that they will not ask others or be in need on that day (i.e. eid al-fitr).

 

According to the Standing Committee for Scientific Research and Issuing Fatwas:

 

"The amount of zakah al-fitr is one saa‘ of the common staple food of the country and this is not dependent on inflation. Rather, the amount set in the sharia is one saa’."

 

It was stated in Majmoo‘ Al-Fataawa and the articles of Shaykh Ibn Baaz that the obligation of zakah al-fitr is to give one saa‘ of the common staple food of the country according to the words of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him,. This equals four handfuls (of an average man with both hands together) and weighs approximately three kilograms.

 

Abu Sa‘eed Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, said:“We used to give one saa‘ of food, one saa‘ of barley, one saa‘ of dates, one saa‘ of iqt (i.e. dried yoghurt), or one saa‘ of raisins (as zakah al-fitr).”[Bukhari]

 

Muslim Scholars have unanimously agreed that zakah al-fitr should be given before the eid prayer and that it is impermissible to delay it until after the prayer. There is no harm in giving it one or two days before the eid. Hence, one may offer zakah al-fitr on the twenty-eighth night of Ramadan because the month may be twenty-nine or thirty days.

 

The Companions of the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, used to offer zakah al-fitr a day or two before the eid.

 

Muslim scholars differed on whether zakah al-fitr should be given in the form of food or cash according to its value in kind. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, and his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, used to offer zakah al-fitr as food. The Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, informed us that Allah, the Exalted, commands us to offer one saa‘ of such and such (food). Therefore, it should not be given out in cash equivalent to the value of its sale, for cash is one thing and food is another. Neither the Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, nor his Companions, may Allah be pleased with them, offered zakah al-fitr in cash.

 

The opinion of some scholars that it can be paid in the form of money if it is better from the point of view of the recipient (i.e. poor person) does not constitute a solid argument. Muslims should give out the due zakah al-fitr as Allah, the Exalted, prescribed, as food and not as cash, even if some scholars said that this is a weak and outweighed opinion.

 

Dr. Faatimah Al-Jarallaah, Assistant Professor in the Faculty of Sharee‘ah College, Imaam Muhammad Ibn Saud, Islamic University, said:

 

Zakah al-fitr is an individual obligation on every Muslim woman as it is on every Muslim man. Muslim men and women are equal with regards to paying zakah al-fitr. A woman's father, husband, or whoever provides for her should offer zakah al-fitr on her behalf. If a Muslim woman makes her own living and provides for herself, then she should offer zakah al-fitr for herself (as she has no one to financially support her). If she is a widow and has children, then zakah al-fitr for her and her children should be taken out of their shares in the husband's inheritance. If there was no inheritance and she works and provides for her children, then she should offer zakah al-fitr for herself and her children as long as the amount (of one saa’) exceeds her own needs and that of her dependants for the day and night of the eid.

 


Ref. Islam Web