Zakat al-Fitr, also known as Sadaqat al-Fitr or Zakat al-Fitrah, is a mandatory form of alms-giving in Islam that Muslims are obliged to pay at the end of the month of Ramadan. This charitable donation is unanimously recognized by all schools of Islamic Law as a pious duty for every capable Muslim, irrespective of age or gender.
The origin of this obligation dates back to the month of Shaban in the second year of Hijrah.
It is a small amount, typically measured in terms of food such as one Sa of dates or one Sa of barley, as specified by the Prophet Muhammad (Peace Be Upon Him).
The purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to enable poor and needy individuals to partake in the celebration of Eid al-Fitr, the festival marking the end of Ramadan.
Zakat al-Fitr emphasizes the communal aspect of charity and the responsibility of Muslims to contribute to the well-being of others, ensuring that everyone can enjoy the festivities of Eid al-Fitr.
What is the amount of Zakat al-Fitr?
The amount of Zakat al-Fitr is typically based on a measure known as Sa` (Sa). The Sa is equivalent to 4 mudds, with a mudd representing the amount that an average man can hold in his hand.
The contemporary equivalent weights of Sa can vary depending on the specific food item being measured. For example, a Sa of wheat is approximately 2176 grams, a Sa of rice is around 2520 grams, and a Sa of beans is about 2250 grams.
However, the monetary equivalent is often considered for practicality. In the context of financial contributions, the amount of Zakat al-Fitr is commonly estimated, and one common estimation is around £7 or US$7.
It’s important to note that these values may vary, and local scholars or communities might use different calculations based on the cost of staple foods or prevailing economic conditions. Additionally, the focus is sometimes placed on the measure itself rather than the weight, recognizing that different foods have different densities.
Can the Payment of Zakat al-Fitr Be an Equivalent Value of Money?
Most contemporary scholars allow for the payment of Zakat al-Fitr in the equivalent value of money. The practice is supported by a hadith that indicates a historical adjustment where two mudds of Syrian wheat were considered equivalent to one sa‘ of dates.
This adjustment was accepted, and it suggests a recognition of value equivalency, especially considering the rarity and higher worth of wheat in Arabia at that time.
Traditionally, opinions on this matter varied among scholars, with some strictly advocating for the payment of Zakat al-Fitr in specific food items mentioned by the Prophet, while others, including Abu Hanifah and certain individual scholars, permitted the payment in its equivalent monetary value.
The acceptance of monetary equivalents allows for flexibility in fulfilling the charitable obligation, taking into consideration regional differences and economic circumstances.
When must Zakat Al-Fitr be paid?
The obligation commences from sunset on the last day of fasting in Ramadan and continues until the commencement of the Eid al-Fitr prayer, which takes place shortly after sunrise on the following day. While it is mandatory during this specific timeframe, Muslims have the flexibility to pay it in advance.
Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported:
“The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) ordained Zakat ul Fitr [Fitrana] to purify the fasting person from indecent words or actions, and to provide food for the needy. It is accepted as Zakat for the person who gives it before the Eid prayer; but it is a mere Sadaqah for the one who gives it after the prayer.”[Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah]
Who Must Pay Zakat al-Fitr?
Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory for every Muslim, regardless of gender, age, or social status, as long as they have the means to do so. This includes both males and females, minors and adults, free individuals, and slaves. The obligation extends to every member of the Muslim community, and it is considered a duty that must be fulfilled by those who are capable.
The head of the household is allowed to pay the required amount on behalf of other family members. Additionally, married Muslim women may have Zakat al-Fitr paid by their husbands on their behalf, although the Hanafi school suggests that women, married or unmarried, should pay from their own wealth.
Children who possess wealth are obligated to pay Zakat al-Fitr out of their individual holdings. The obligation also applies to the poor, with the exception being those who lack sufficient food for the day of Eid, shelter, clothing, and similar essentials.
To whom should Zakat al-Fitr be given?
Zakat al-Fitr should be given to specific categories of recipients, as outlined in Surat Al-Tawbah (9:60). These recipients include:
- The Poor
- The Needy
- Collectors of Zakah
- Reconciliation of Hearts
- Freeing Captives (fi al-Riqab)
- Sadaqa for the Cause of Allah ‘fi sabil illah’ (commonly associated with Jihad or the broader cause of Allah)
- The Wayfarer
There are varying opinions among scholars regarding the distribution of Zakat al-Fitr:
Equal Distribution: Some scholars, particularly the Shafi’is, suggest that Zakat al-Fitr should be divided equally among all eight categories.
Distribution Among All or to the Poor and Needy Only: The majority view allows flexibility, permitting Zakat al-Fitr to be distributed among all eight categories or, more commonly, to focus on the poor and needy.
Restriction to the Poor and Needy Only: This view, supported by the Maliki school and one opinion within the Hanbali school, emphasizes giving Zakat al-Fitr exclusively to the poor and needy.
While there are differing opinions on the distribution, the primary purpose is to fulfill the needs of the poor on the day of Eid. The poor and needy should be given precedence unless there is a specific need or considerable interest in providing for other recipients.
Importance of Zakat al-Fitr
Zakat al-Fitr stands as a heartfelt expression of gratitude to Allah for the strength to observe fasting throughout the holy month of Ramadan.
Exclusive to the conclusion of Ramadan, this practice underscores the spiritual and communal aspects of acts of charity. Furthermore, it is recognized as a distinctive form of giving that not only cleanses the fasting individual but also bolsters their faith.
Going beyond personal purification, Zakat al-Fitr carries communal importance by relieving the financial struggles of the less fortunate, guaranteeing their inclusion in the festive celebrations of Eid al-Fitr.
Give your Zakat al-Fitr to those who deserve it through Bonyan Organization
As the holy month of Ramadan draws to a close, seize the opportunity to fulfill your Zakat al-Fitr through Bonyan Organization. Your Zakat al-Fitr serves as a means of purifying those who fast from any indecent act or speech and to help the poor and needy.
With Bonyan, you can ensure that your Zakat al-Fitr reaches those who truly deserve it, particularly in war-torn regions like Syria, Palestine, and Yemen. Contribute to programs that focus on providing essential necessities, including food, to families who are facing challenging circumstances.
By directing your Zakat al-Fitr through Bonyan, you become a part of a compassionate effort to nourish lives and spread hope during this blessed season. Your generosity can make a meaningful impact on individuals and families, allowing them to partake in the joyous occasion of Eid with dignity.
Donate your Zakat al-Fitr now through Bonyan and play a vital role in bringing comfort and relief to those in need. Together, let’s make this Ramadan a source of blessing and support for vulnerable communities.
Can the Payment of Zakat al-Fitr Be More than the Minimum?
Yes, the payment of Zakat al-Fitr can be more than the minimum required amount. While there is a suggested minimum amount for Zakat al-Fitr, individuals are encouraged to give more if they can afford to do so. There is no maximum cap on the Zakat amount, and Muslims are free to contribute additional funds beyond the minimum to help those in need.
Is Zakat Al Fitr Obligatory?
Yes, Zakat Al-Fitr is obligatory for every self-supporting adult Muslim who has food in excess of their needs, on behalf of themselves and their dependents. It is considered a duty (wajib) for every Muslim, regardless of gender or age, as long as they have the means to fulfill this obligation.
Is Zakat al-Fitr obligatory for children?
Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory for every self-supporting adult Muslim who has food in excess of their needs, on behalf of themselves and their dependents.
Can Zakat al-Fitr payment be delayed or advanced?
Zakat al-Fitr cannot be delayed past its annual due date. However, one may pay due Zakat in advance of its deadline if they wish to do so.
When Should Zakat Al-fitr Be Paid?
Zakat Al-Fitr, also known as Fitrana, must be paid within the month of Ramadan. The latest acceptable time for payment is before the Eid prayer begins.
What is the difference between Zakat and Zakat al-Fitr?
Zakat is calculated as a percentage of one’s total wealth, addressing financial assets, and is obligatory annually.
Zakat al-Fitr is a fixed amount of food or cash per person, serving as a purification of fasts during Ramadan and mandatory for every Muslim.
Zakat is due when a person’s wealth reaches a certain threshold, and it can be paid throughout the year.
Zakat al-Fitr is specific to the occasion of Eid al-Fitr and must be paid before the Eid al-Fitr prayer.
Zakat is distributed to specific categories of recipients, including the poor, needy, and others.
Zakat al-Fitr is meant for those in need, primarily to ensure everyone can partake in the joy of Eid.
Zakat al-Mal pertains to financial assets.
Zakat al-Fitr involves a fixed amount of food or cash per person.