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Zakāh al-Fitr Q&A

Click here to pay your Zakāt al-Fitr

All praise and thanks are due to Allāh, the Lord of the worlds. Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet, Muhammad, his family and all his Companions. The following is a clarification of the rulings concerning Zakāh al-Fitr, this great symbol of Islām, for Muslims residing in Britain and other non-Muslim countries.

zakah emag front cover

1. What is Zakāh al-Fitr?

Zakāh al-Fitr is a zakāh which is given at the end of the month of Ramadan by every Muslim, small or old, male or female, whether free or a slave.

2. What is the wisdom behind it?

This was explained by the great exegete [mufassir] of the Qur’ān, the noble Companion, ‘Abdullāh bin ‘Abbas when he said, ‘The Messenger of Allāh, may Allāh praise and send peace and blessings upon him, obligated Zakāh al-Fitr to serve as purification for the one fasting for any vain speech or indecent behaviour; and also to serve as food for the indigent.’

3. What is the legal ruling?

In the view of the majority of scholars, both early and latter generations, it is obligatory. This is due to the saying of Ibn ‘Umar, ‘The Messenger of Allāh obligated Zakāh al-Fitr as one sā’ of dates, or one sā’ of barley upon the slave, the free, the male, the female, the young and the old Muslim. He ordered that it be given before the people leave for the prayer.’2

4. On whom is it obligatory?

It is obligatory upon the Muslim, male or female; whether a slave or free, if he finds that he has a surplus of property after having catered for his core needs on the day and night of ‘Id such as food, shelter, clothes etc. He must give this on his own behalf and on behalf of all Muslims who are dependant upon him, whether young or old, free or a slave, provided that the dependant is not able to give the zakāh on his or her own behalf. If they are able, it is better that they give on their own behalf due to the generality of the address that the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, gave to the Muslims.

With regard to the young and insane, it should be paid on their behalf by their legal guardian from their own wealth if they have wealth, or if not, they take the ruling of those who are unable to pay on their own behalf. If a woman is the head of the household, she must pay on her own behalf and for her dependants as previously explained.

The meaning of ‘dependant’ is the person on whom it is a duty upon another to provide for. If someone were to give on behalf of a dependant who is a disbeliever, there is no harm in this insha’Allāh in accordance to the Hanafi school.

5. To whom should it be given?

It is best for Zakāh al-Fitr to be given to the poor and indigent. They are the first two categories of the eight to whom Zakāh is normally given to. This is due to his (peace and blessings be upon him) saying, ‘…and as food for the indigent’. The majority of scholars are of the opinion that Zakāh al-Fitr is not to be given to non-Muslims.

It is possible for a person to give his and his dependants Zakāh al-Fitr to one person just as it is possible that the Zakāh al-Fitr of one person be distributed amongst a number of indigent people.

6. When should it be given?

It is best that it be given one or two days before the ‘Īd prayer, meaning that it should be given on the twenty-ninth day of Ramadan onwards; al-Bukhāri records, ‘They would give Zakāh al-Fitr a day or two before (‘Īd).’

In the case that one giving Zakāh al-Fitr gives money to an Islamic organisation which acts as a representative on his behalf to convert this money to food, there is no harm in giving the value in money to such an organisation a number of days before ‘Id. This is because in this case someone else is acting on his behalf and he is not giving Zakāh directly; the person to whom he is giving money is acting as his representative and hence he is not actually giving the Zakāh at the time he hands over the money.

It is best for a person to give it before his ‘Id prayer and not to delay it until after the prayer due to the saying of Ibn ‘Umar, ‘The Prophet ordered that it be given before the people leave for the prayer.’ Agreed upon.

If the person is to pray in a Mosque in which a number of ‘Id congregations will be held, and he decides to pray in the second congregation, for example, then the deadline for his Zakāh al-Fitr is extended until just before he prays his prayer.

7. What should be given?

Zakāh al-Fitr should be given as staple food of the country in which one resides. Hence it is possible that it be given as rice in some countries and flour or wheat in others etc. It is also possible to give it as modern day food items, provided that the food can be stored, such as pasta. The proof for this is the hadīth of Abū Sa‘id al-Khudri who said, ‘We would give zakāh al-Fitr as a sā’ of food, or a sā’ of barley, or a sā’ of dates, or a sā’ of dry cheeseor a sā’ of raisins.’3

8. How much should be given?

sā’ of food in modern day usage translates to approximately 2.25kg.

9. Can the monetary value of food be given as Zakāh al-Fitr? 

The majority of scholars say that this is not permissible whereas the Hanafis say that it is. It is best for a person to not give its monetary value but give it as food because this is what the texts specify. Moreover, the specific reasoning of the text further proves that this is what should be given. Therefore, it is not possible to exercise ijtihad on this issue by claiming that one is looking to the reasoning behind the ruling. Furthermore, Zakāh al-Fitr is a very specific form of Zakāh and one cannot make an analogy between it and the Zakāh of one’s wealth and property: its source is different, the ones upon whom it is obligatory are different and its timing is different. As such, it cannot be said that it has the same purpose and can be associated to it in this manner.

10. How should one give Zakāh al-Fitr in the UK and other similar countries?

If a Muslim finds one who is deserving of Zakāh al-Fitr, he must give them a sā’ of food. If he does not find anyone, he can give an amount of money which is equivalent to the cost of food in these countries to an Islamic organisation that can distribute it as food in other lands. His intention should be that he is giving this money to a representative who can act on his behalf to buy food. The scholars have allowed this transferral, especially in demanding situations. Our state of affairs here, where it is hard to find the poor and indigent; the difficulty that exists in trying to give it as food; along with the dire need that exists in other lands presents a compelling case for the allowance of food to be distributed in other countries.

And Allāh knows best.

Click here to pay your Zakāt al-Fitr

Source: www.islam21c.com

Notes:

This article has been reposted.  Last posted on 10th August 2012

Click here for Islam21c’s interactive Fiqh of Zakāh eMag.

Click here for a Zakāh Guide by 1st Ethical.

1. Recorded by Abū Dāwūd.
2. The hadīth is agreed upon and the wording is that of al-Bukhāri.
3. Agreed upon.

About Shaikh (Dr) Haitham Al-Haddad

Dr. Haitham al-Haddad is a jurist and serves as a judge for the Islamic Council of Europe. He has studied the Islamic sciences for over 20 years under the tutelage of renowned scholars such as the late Grand Mufti of Saudi Arabia as well as the retired Head of the Kingdom's Higher Judiciary Council. He specialises in many of the Islamic sciences and submitted his doctoral thesis on Islamic jurisprudence concerning Muslim minorities. Shaikh Haitham is highly respected having specialised knowledge in the field of fiqh, usul al-fiqh, maqasid al-shari'ah, ulum al-Qur’an, tafsir, aqidah, and fiqh al-hadith. He provides complex theories which address the role of Islamic jurisprudence within a western environment whilst also critically re-analysing the approach of Islamic jurists in forming legal rulings (ifta’) within a western socio-political context. He has many well known students most of whom are active in dawah and teaching in the West. The shaikh is an Islamic jurist (faqih) and as such is qualified to deliver verdicts as a judge under Islamic law, a role he undertakes at the Islamic Council of Europe as Islamic judge and treasurer. Dr Haitham al-Haddad also sits on various the boards of advisors for Islamic organisations, mainly in the United Kingdom but also around the world.

21 comments

  1. MOHAMMED MAHMOOD

    As Salamu Alaikum

    Dear Sir,

    I am from India but i am working in Saudi Arabia so where should i pay my Zakāh al-Fitr.
    Should i pay in india or in Saudi Arabia. kindly help me in this matter.

  2. MOHAMMED MAHMOOD

    Dear sir,

    i am from India but i am working in Saudi Arabia. so where should i give my Zakāh al-Fitr.
    Should i give my Zakāh al-Fitr in India or Saudi Arabia. kindly help me in this matter.

  3. could pay sadaqa fitra by money?

  4. Salam alaikum,
    Jazaakumullah khairan for the explanation on zakat ul fitr but I need more clarification on how staple food could be distributed within the two day permitted to give out thses food. I live in London and run a small welfare unit.

    My question goes thus: How do we get staple food to families living outside London for example, Manchester whom one knows they are in great need?

    Secondly, how do you know what kind of a particular food they eat? For example there are different kind of rice, bearing in mind that people might have allergies.

    To avoid wastage, can money be given in the instances stated above?

  5. nadeem ul hassan

    assalaam alaikum,
    jazakallah khair ya shaikh. i just have a doubt which i hope you would be able to clearify as soon as possible. today is the 26 th day of Ramadan and I have already given fitra on the 23 rd of day Ramadan. so i wanted to kno after knowing now that it should be given one or two days before eid, should i pay it again on the 28th day? is my fitra considered as ‘fitra’ since i have given unknowingly in advance?
    waiting for ur reply
    jazakallah khair

    • I think the answer is already implicit in point no. 6, as it says:
      “It is BEST that it be given one or two days before the ‘Īd prayer …”

      So, it is “best to be given upto two days before” implies its still ok to give it before that.

  6. zakat ul fitr
    assalamu alaikum,bro im from dublin,id like to know if im making a contribution in terms of money,how much in euros should i give to meet the zakaat ul fitr criteria in terms of food being 2.25 kg plz,jazakkallah

  7. Abubakar Abbas

    Thanks!
    Thanks Sheikh, you clarified a lots of issues. May Allah accept our efforts! Ameeen!

  8. Abu Ubaidullah

    Question
    JazakAllah for the information Shaykh. I have a question, if you or anybody else can answer inshAllah. Can zakatul fitr be given to your own sister if she does not meet the nisaab to pay normal zakah by herself?

    Jazakumullah khairan

  9. Abdullah Hakeem

    As usual Shaykh Haithum, Crystal Clear Mashallah

  10. Zakah al-Fitr Q&A
    Dear Sh. Haitham,
    in reference to this article, where is the hadith that refers to endnote (1)

  11. Quelle personne mérite mieux le Zaakaat ?
    Je voulais savoir quelle personne mérite le Zakaat et fitr ? J’ai rencontré une personne qui est trésorier d’un Masjid et lui et sa femme font des collectes de l’argent pour le Zakaat et fitr. Moi personnellement j’ai fait un don de 10,000 roupies pour le masjid dans le but d’acheter deux deksi pour les jammats. Monsieur a prit l’argent pour donner à sa soeur qui est une veuve (son mari est mort , il y a un an). Son gendre qui vient de se marier et sa deuxième fille qui travaille. La dame est jeune ,bien physiquement et moralement. Nous avons apprit qu’elle est une voyante et elle intimide des gens par la sorcellerie. Nous voulons savoir est-ce qu’elle a droit de cette zakaat? Est cde que Islam tolère ce genre de pratique diabolique?

  12. Jazaku Allahu khayran
    for this infomration. Sorted and concrete.

  13. Charity Organisations
    Salams

    Charity organisations allocate the donations to the specific needs and you will see that many organisations like Ummah Welfare Trust do not deduct any amount from the donations you make.
    However any charity who does take money, doesnt just take it for the sake of it, it is used to process for that particular donation to get to the needy..

    Charity organisations are doing a great job for the ummah and we should applaude them rather than criticising because it causes confusion to people

    wasalam

  14. Charity Organisations
    With all due respect to the Shaykh, it is not advisable to give both your zakat and your zakat ul fitr to muslim charity organisations. Having worked in this field extensively in one of the major muslim charities, I can confidently say that they way they distribute it invalidates one’s zakat most of the time. They will take their share from the money, use it in ways it shouldn’t be used and may not even use it in time.

    So my advice would be to avoid the charities and send it through someone you know and trust to give it where it is applicable.

    • @Yusuf

      UWT has an excellent reputation, sister Yvonne Ridley said it is the only charity she endorses as some large Muslim charities stay in 5* hotels and travel with a 4×4 and then there is UWT who stay in the simple accommodation and arrives in a rickety truck. And she has personally seen how they operate on the ground.

      My point being, NOT all Muslim charities are like as you described. And UWT is run by ulema and ALL the donations are donated, as opposed to taking out admin costs etc, they raise these costs with their shops!

  15. Nurudeen Tagoe

    Zakat
    Please I am Now very clear on the Zakatil Fitr issue, and I also want to be educated on Zakat itself. Thank u and may Allah bless u.

  16. Good work!
    May Allah Reward you for this ibaddah.

  17. JazakAllahu khairan ya Shaikh. Can articles like these be made more easily acciessible on the frontpage of the website, because after a while they become lost in the archives.
    Perhaps now that there are many articles they can be categorised under groups to be easier to find, especially as it is useful year after year?

  18. Mashallah, a good clarification and guide for the coming Eid.

    Are there any particular organisations we should give our money to, to act on our behalf?

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