WHAT IS ZAKAT AL-FITR

Think of the word “Iftar”, Zakat Al-Fitr is the charity that we give at the end of Ramadhan. Here is the foundational hadith that establishes the obligation of Zakat Al-Fitr: Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet (sallAllaahu ‘alayhiwasallam), made Zakat al-Fitr compulsory on every slave, freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one Saa` (a measurement: four double handfuls) of dried dates or one Saa` of barely. [Bukhari]. A “saa” is 4 complete scoops, as scooped up with two hands of a man of average build. It is a measure of volume, not weight. It is equivalent to approximately 3 Litre. Scholarly estimations in (Kg) puts it at 1 SAA’= 2.1 to 3kg.It is to purify our fasts and shield it from any indecent act or speech.

COMMON ERRORS IN GIVING ZAKATUL-FITR

1⃣: CONFUSING ZAKAT AL-FITR WITH ZAKAT UL-MAAL: We are talking about Zakatul-Fitr here (think “Iftar”, i.e. Ramadan). Zakat Al-Maal (Maal literally means wealth), is the Zakah due on one’s money – and that could be due any time during the year.

2⃣: SNAIL MAILING THE MONEY/FOOD OVERSEAS:The Zakat al-Fitr, food not money, MUST be in the hands of the needy BEFORE Eid prayer. One cannot mail the money/food overseas and have it arrive in the hands of the needy after Eid prayer is over.

3⃣: NOT GIVING. Yes, as simple as this error is, it is very common. When one can afford, it is HARAM to skip the giving of Zakat Al-Fitr. Every member of the household must give Zakat Al-Fitr. So, if you have 8 people in your house, Zakat Al-Fitr must be paid x 8, even if the youngest member is just a day old.

4⃣: GIVING IT AT EID SALAH: Some people go to Eid prayers and drop money into the donation box thinking they have done their Zakat Al-Fitr. No, Zakat al-Fitr, which is food not money must be in the hands of the needy or poor Muslims BEFORE Eid prayer. Thus, the person is sinful for having missed the giving of Zakat al-Fitr. May Allah forgive us.

5⃣: GIVING MONEY INSTEAD OF FOOD: The spirit of Zakatul -Fitr is to give food to the needy/poor in the Muslim community, NOT money. Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree (radiallahu anihu), said, “In the Prophet’s time, we used to give it (Zakatal-Fitr) as a sa`a of food, dried dates, barley, raisins or dried cheese”. [Bukhari].N.B. In situations of Darurah (necessity) e.g. communities where it’s practically impossible to find needy Muslims and there is a need to go to far off places, one can give the food to organisations in charge and they can give the food before eid salah in poor needy or muslim communities.

6⃣: GIVING ONE’S ZAKATUL-FITR TO A CHARITABLE BUILDING PROJECT: Some people mistakenly give their Zakatul-Fitr to a charitable project: like the building of a Masjid, or Islamic school. Suffice to say that the spirit of Zakatul-Fitr is that the needy should have plentiful food on Eid

7⃣: GIVING ZAKATUL-FITR TO NON-MUSLIMS:.Regular charity may be given to both Non-Muslims and Muslims. However, Zakatul-Fitr charity is something exclusive to the MUSLIM poor and needy. Hence, one cannot give Zakatul-Fitr to any needy person on the street. “Regular” charity can be given to them, but not Zakatul-Fitr.

8⃣: BANKING ZAKATUL FITR: Sometimes, Masjids that coordinate the collection of zakatul fitr collect Zakatul-Fitr money instead of food (wrongly so, because zakatul fitr is food not money) and they put it in a bank for future Islamic projects. This is wrong. If they must coordinate the collection & distribution to the needy, the correct method is to collect the zakatul fitr from the people in the form of food & give it out on behalf of those people to the needy Muslims before eid salah. May Allah accept our efforts, purify our fasts and shield it from any indecent act or speech with this zakatul fitr. What is worth doing at all is worth doing well.

Those who may receive Zakat al-Fitr are the eight categories of recipients mentioned in Surat Al-Tawbah , They include:

1. the poor

2. the needy,

3. collectors of Zakah,

4. reconciliation of hearts,

5. freeing captives / slaves(fee al-Riqab),
6. debtors

7. those fighting for a religious cause or a cause of God ( Fī Sabīlillāh )
or for
Jihad in the way of Allah and for Islamic warriors who fight against the unbelievers but are not part of salaried soldiers.

8. the traveler

Zakat al-Fitr must go to the above-mentioned categories. We do not ignore Ramadan or Zakat al-fitr.

Purpose

The main purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to provide the poor which they can celebrate the festival of breaking the fast ( `Eid al-Fitr ) along with the rest of the Muslims.

Every Muslim is required to pay Zakat al-Fitr at the conclusion of the month of Ramadan as a token of thankfulness to God for having enabled him or her to observe the obligatory fast. Its purpose is:

1. As a levy on the fasting person. This is based on the hadith: The Prophet of Allah said, “The fasting of the month of fasting will be hanging between earth and heavens and it will not be raised up to the Divine Presence without paying the Zakat al-Fitr .

2. To purify those who fast from any indecent act or speech and to help the poor and needy.

The latter view is based upon the hadith from Ibn `Abbas who related, “The Prophet of Allah enjoined Zakat al-Fitr on those who fast to shield them from any indecent act or speech, and for the purpose of providing food for the needy. It is accepted as Zakah for the one who pays it before the `Eid prayer, and it is sadaqah for the one who pays it after the prayer.

Who must give.

As stated in the hadith of Prophet Muhammad, Zakatul Fitr is incumbent on all free Muslim, who possesses one sa’ of dates or barley which is needed as a basic food for himself or his family for the duration of one day and night

The three schools of thought other than the Hanafi school state that Zakat should be paid on qualifying wealth owned by the oprhan, child and the insane.

Adult (have reached the age of puberty)

Muslim ummah (Zakatul-fitr is not paid by non-Muslims)
Sane

In complete ownership of the Nisab

reference: {Sahih Muslim}

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Nafysah @.Knowislam.com.ng.