بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
The meaning of Zakâh Al-Fitr
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn said: It is called sadaqah because it is an indicator of the truth – sidq – of a persons îmân, of the one who pays it. Its attachment to the word al-fitr is the attachment of something to its time, as is said: ‘Salâtul-Fajr or Salâtul-Maghrib’. (Sharh Umdatul-Ahkâm 172)
The ruling of Zakâh Al-Fitr
عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَرَضَ زَكَاةَ الْفِطْرِ صَاعًا مِنْ تَمْرٍ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ شَعِيرٍ، عَلَى كُلِّ حُرٍّ أَوْ عَبْدٍ، ذَكَرٍ أَوْ أُنْثَى، مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ
Ibn ‘Umar narrated: Allâhs Messenger (ﷺ) made it obligatory upon the slave or free Muslim, male or female, to give one Sa’ of dates or barley as Zakâtul-Fitr. (Sahîh Bukhârî 1504)
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn said: In this hadîth ‘Abdullâh Ibn ‘Umar informed us that the Prophet obligated for his nation Zakâh Al-Fitr… (Sharh Umdatul-Ahkâm 172/173)
Imâm Muhammad Al-Mundhir said: They (the islâmic jurists) agreed that Zakâh Al-Fitr is obligatory. (Al-Ijmâ’ 106)
On whom Zakâh Al-Fitr is obligatory upon
عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ فَرَضَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم زَكَاةَ الْفِطْرِ صَاعًا مِنْ تَمْرٍ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ شَعِيرٍ عَلَى الْعَبْدِ وَالْحُرِّ، وَالذَّكَرِ وَالأُنْثَى، وَالصَّغِيرِ وَالْكَبِيرِ مِنَ الْمُسْلِمِينَ،
Ibn ‘Umar narrated: Allâhs Messenger (ﷺ) enjoined the payment of one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barley as Zakâtul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old.. (Sahîh Bukhârî 1503)
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn said: Zakâh Al-Fitr is obligatory upon the adult, the young, the male, the female, the freed and enslaved from the Muslims. Zakâh Al-Fitr is not obligatory for the fetus, except if you choose to do so voluntarily as The Commander of the Believers, ‘Uthmân used to do. Zakâh Al-Fitr is obligatory only on those who have enough to cover their needs for ‘îd and extra. Every Muslim must give it on behalf of himself and those whom he is responsible for, including his wife and relatives if they cannot give it out on their own. (Abridged from Majâlis Sharh Ramadân, 28th sitting)
Shaykh Abdurrahmân As-Sa’dî said: Zakâh Al-Fitr is obligatory upon oneself and for those whom he is obligated to spend upon, if he posses what is more than his provisions for a day and night :a sa’ of dates, grains, dried yogurt, raisins or wheat. (Minhaj Al-Sâlikîn 67)
Ibn Rushd said: The jurists agreed that is it obligatory on each person who is able to pay it on his own behalf, for it is a Zakâh on the person and not on wealth. It is also obligatory on the person to pay it on behalf of his minor children if they do not possess independent wealth, and also for the slaves if they do not possess any wealth. (Bidâyat Al-Mujtahid 1/325)
The wisdom of giving Zakâh Al-Fitr & when it is due
عَنِ ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، قَالَ فَرَضَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم زَكَاةَ الْفِطْرِ طُهْرَةً لِلصَّائِمِ مِنَ اللَّغْوِ وَالرَّفَثِ وَطُعْمَةً لِلْمَسَاكِينِ مَنْ أَدَّاهَا قَبْلَ الصَّلاَةِ فَهِيَ زَكَاةٌ مَقْبُولَةٌ وَمَنْ أَدَّاهَا بَعْدَ الصَّلاَةِ فَهِيَ صَدَقَةٌ مِنَ الصَّدَقَاتِ
‘Abdullâh ibn ‘Abbâs narrated: The Messenger of Allâh (ﷺ) prescribed Zakâh Al-Fitr as a purification of the fasting person from empty and obscene talk and as food for the poor. If anyone pays it before the prayer (of ‘Îd), it will be accepted as Zakâh. If anyone pays it after the prayer, that will be a sadaqah like other sadaqahs (alms). (Abû Dawûd 1609. Declared Hasan by Al-Albânî)
عَنِ ابْنِ عُمَرَ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ قَالَ فَرَضَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم…. وَأَمَرَ بِهَا أَنْ تُؤَدَّى قَبْلَ خُرُوجِ النَّاسِ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ
Ibn ‘Umar narrated: Allâhs Messenger (ﷺ) ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the ‘Îd prayer. (Sahîh Bukhârî 1503)
Nâfi’ narrated: Ibn ‘Umar used to give Zakâtul-Fitr for every young and old person. He even used to give on behalf of my children. Ibn’ Umar used to give Zakâtul-Fitr to those who had been officially appointed for its collection. People used to give Zakâtul-Fitr a day or two before the ‘Îd. (Sahîh Bukhârî 1511)
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn said: The performance (of Zakâh Al-Fitr) is a worship for Allâh, a purification for the one who pays it, a cleansing for the one who fasted from bad speech and evil actions, and food for the poor to enjoy on the day of ‘Îd just as the rich do. (Sharh Umdatul-Ahkâm 172)
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn said: The obligatory time of giving out the Zakâh Al-Fitr is after the sunset of the night before ‘Îd. This is because it is the time in which fasting the month of Ramadân ends and breaking the fast begins from that time. This is the reason why it is said “zakâtul-fitr” (the charity of breaking the fast of Ramadân).
The preferable time to give Zakâh Al-Fitr begins the morning of the ‘Îd prayer, before the prayer itself. The proof of this is the above mentioned hadîth [Sahîh Bukhârî 1503].
The permissible time to give Zakâh Al-Fitr begins a day or two before ‘Îd day. It is narrated by Nâfi’ who said about Ibn ‘Umar… [ refer to the above mentioned narration Sahîh Bukhârî 1511].
It is not permissible to delay it until after the ‘Îd prayer. (Majâlis Sharh Ramadân, 28th sitting)
What & how much must be given
عَنْ أَبِي سَعِيدٍ الْخُدْرِيِّ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ كُنَّا نُعْطِيهَا فِي زَمَانِ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم صَاعًا مِنْ طَعَامٍ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ تَمْرٍ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ شَعِيرٍ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ زَبِيبٍ، فَلَمَّا جَاءَ مُعَاوِيَةُ وَجَاءَتِ السَّمْرَاءُ قَالَ أُرَى مُدًّا مِنْ هَذَا يَعْدِلُ مُدَّيْنِ
Abû Sa’îd Al-Khudrî narrated: In the lifetime of the Prophet (ﷺ) we used to give one Sa’ of food or one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barley or one Sa’ of Raisins (dried grapes) as Zakâtul-Fitr. And when Mu’âwiyah became the Caliph and the wheat was (available in abundance) he said, “I think (observe) that one Mudd (of wheat) equals two Mudds (of any of the above mentioned things). (Sahîh Bukhârî 1508)
In another narration :
وَكَانَ طَعَامَنَا الشَّعِيرُ وَالزَّبِيبُ وَالأَقِطُ وَالتَّمْرُ
Our food used to be either of barley, raisins (dried grapes), cottage cheese or dates. (Sahîh Bukhârî 1510)
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn said: As for what should be given for the Zakâh, it is whatever the sons of Âdam consume including dates, wheat, rice, barley, raisins, cheese or other than that.
The amount of food that should be given is one Sa’ of food even if the type and value of food differs. This is due to the general nature of the narrations.
As for the quantity of Zakâtul-Fitr, it is equal to the Prophetic Sa’, which measures to 480 mithqâl of the pure barley and in grams it is equal to 2.4 kilograms. (Sharh Umdatul-Ahkâm 172, Majâlis Sharh Ramadân 28th sitting).
For more information regarding the Prophetic sa’ & mudd measurements please see:
Giving money instead of food
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn said: Giving cash instead of food will not be accepted, because it is contrary to what the Prophet (ﷺ) commanded us with. It is narrated that he (ﷺ) said:
من عمل عملا ليس عليه أمرنا فهو رد
Whoever does a deed which is not in accordance to this affair (religion) of ours, then it is rejected (Sahîh Muslim)
Who to give Zakâh Al-Fitr to
Shaykh Muhammad Al-Uthaymîn said: Zakâh Al-Fitr should be paid to the poor people of your land, where you are residing, whether you are a residing there permanently or temporarily. If you are in a land where there is no one to receive it because everyone is well off, you should entrust someone who lives in a place where there are poor people, in order that they may give it on your behalf. (Majâlis Sharh Ramadân, 28th sitting)
Ibn Rushd: They (the jurists) agreed that Zakâh Al-Fitr is to be given to the poor, because of the prophets (ﷺ) statement “make them free from want this day”.