Rulings on Zakat ul Fitr

28Aug10

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم الحمدُ للهِ ربِّ العالمين والصلاةُ والسلامُ على رسوله الأمين;

أما بعد

فالسلام عليكم و رحمة الله

فعَنْ ابْنِ عُمَرَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمَا قَالَ : ( فَرَضَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ زَكَاةَ الْفِطْرِ، صَاعًا مِنْ تَمْرٍ ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ شَعِيرٍ عَلَى الْعَبْدِ وَالْحُرِّ ، وَالذَّكَرِ وَالأُنْثَى ، وَالصَّغِيرِ وَالْكَبِيرِ مِنْ الْمُسْلِمِينَ ، وَأَمَرَ بِهَا أَنْ تُؤَدَّى قَبْلَ خُرُوجِ النَّاسِ إِلَى الصَّلاةِ ) رواه البخاري (1503) ومسلم 984

It was narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (radhiAllahu ‘anhu) said, “The Messenger of Allaah (salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) enjoined zakaat al-fitr, a saa’ of dates or a saa’ of barley, upon everyone, slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he enjoined that it be paid before the people went out to pray.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1503) and Muslim (984).

One matter many Muslims are negligent of in Ramadan is Zakat al-Fitr. Every Muslim is obligated to pay this to the poor Muslims of their community, although the Lajna has a fatwa indicating it may be given to a foreign Muslim community in greater need.  The head of the household must pay it on behalf of those he looks after, including children and newborns (its optional for a fetus).  It consists of a staple food in the amount of one saa’, i.e. four times the amount that may be held in the two hands of a man of average build.  Meaning, four times the amount shown in this picture:

(Zakat ul Fitr = ~3kg of food)

Although Imam Abu Haneefah, Hasan al-Basri, Umar ibn Abd al Azeez and some others allowed distributing Zakat ul Fitr in the form of money, know that the majority of our ulamaa’ state that it must be distributed in the form of food.  The fact of the matter is, the practice of Rasulallah, salallahu ‘alayhi wasallam, and the Sahaabah was to always pay it in the form of food.  So if you pay it in money, be prepared to defend yourself on the Day of Judgement for doing so.

As for when it is to be distributed, the Hanafis and Shafi’is believe it may be distributed from the beginning of Ramadhan, although the stronger opinion is that of al Hanbalis and al Maalikis which states it is to be distributed on the day of Eid, but before salaat al Eid, or one to two days prior to that.  Their evidence is Ibn ‘Umar’s, radhiAllahu ‘anhu, above mentioned hadeeth as well as his statement:

وَكَانُوا يُعطُونَ قَبلَ الفِطرِ بِيَومٍ أَو يَومَينِ- رواه البخاري 1511

“They used to give (zakaat) al-fitr one or two days before (Eid).” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (1511).

Lastly, know that by paying Zakat ul Fitr you are making up for the deficiencies in your fasting, as Ibn Abbas, radhiAllahu ‘anhu, states:

فَرَضَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ زَكَاةَ الْفِطْرِ ، طُهْرَةً لِلصَّائِمِ مِنْ اللَّغْوِ وَالرَّفَثِ ، وَطُعْمَةً لِلْمَسَاكِينِ – رواه أبو داود 1609

“The Messenger of Allaah (salallahu Alayhi wasallam) enjoined zakaat al-fitr as a purification for the fasting person from idle talk and obscene speech, and to feed the poor.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (1609)

والحمد للّه أولا وآخراً. والله وليّ التوفيق وصلى اللّه على نبينا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه وسلم

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