Zakat Al-Fitr: when to deliver and who can receive it

Zakat Al-Fitr: when to deliver and who can receive it

Sadaqah al-fitr or zakat al-fitr means to break after the end of the month of Ramadan. Zakat al-fitr is compulsory since the second year of Hijr i.e. in the month of Ramadan (Sheikh Sayid Sabiq said Sha’ban) and is obligated two days before Eid. 

Who is obliged to give zakat al-fitr

Zakat al-fitr is required for slaves, free people, men, women, adults, and young children from among the Muslims. As mentioned in the following hadith:

It was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar (RA), who said: “The Prophet (SAW) has required the slave, freeman, male, female, adult, and small child from among Muslims to pay zakat fitr as one sha’ of dates or one sha’ of wheat to submitted before the Eid prayer.” (Hadith narrated by Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

Based on the above hadith it is clear that zakat al-fitr is compulsory and not issued from bondsmen who still disbelieve.

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The amount

Zakat al-fitr should be given by one sha ‘or equal to 5 1/3 rithal or 4 mud. The size of 1 sha’ is approximately 2.5 kg. The above hadith also shows that zakat al-fitr distributed is one sha’ of wheat or one sha’ full of other foods. If it is distributed less than one sha ‘ this does not qualify as zakat al-fitr’s weight size.

Time to deliver

We must deliver zakat al-fitr BEFORE the Eid prayer, when after the prayer, then it is ordinary charity and not including zakat al-fitr. According to the following hadith:

It was narrated from Ibn Abbas (RA) who said: “The Messenger of Allah (SAW) made zakat al-fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed. He who pays zakat al-fitr before prayer will have it accepted as zakat and whoever pays the alms after prayer has given sadaqah. (Hadith narrated by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah and validated by Al-Haakim).

Therefore, the purpose of paying zakat al-fitr is for cleaning the vile sayings that might accidentally be spoken during fasting, and so that the poor can also feast on Eid.

Recipients

Who should receive zakat al-fitr? Is it only given to the needy and the poor as in the above hadith, or it may also be given to 6 other groups such as those employed to collect (the funds); for attracting the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); to the free the captives; for those in debt; for Allah’s cause (i.e. for Mujahidun – those fighting in the holy wars), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything) as in QS. At-Tawbah 9:60:

The alms are only for the poor and the needy, and those who collect them, and those whose hearts are to be reconciled, and to free the captives and the debtors, and for the cause of Allah, and (for) the wayfarer; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is Knower, Wise.

In this case there are different opinions:

First, zakat al-fitr may be given to the eight groups. This opinion is from the majority of scholars. They evidence in the word of Allah (SWT) to QS Al-Tawbah 9:60. The Prophet (SAW) called zakat al-fitr “charity”, and referred to it as obligatory. Therefore, zakat al-fitr is like other charity and should be given to the eight groups. An-Nawawi said, “the opinion that is famous in our school (Syafi’iyah) is that zakat al-fitr must be given to the eight groups that are entitled to zakat of wealth.” (Al-Majmu’)

Al-Malibari in his book Fath al-Mu’in said that:

“Zakat property was required in the second year of the Hijr after zakat al-fitr was obliged …” (Fath al-Mu’in, h. 48).

Therefore zakat al-fitr was first prescribed before other zakat, then the hadith about zakat al-fitr as “food for poor people” cannot be a reason to specialize zakat al-fitr to the poor alone, but it should also be for the eight zakat recipients that are specified in QS Al-Tawbah 9:60, moreover, the provision of eight recipients of zakat is determined by the Holy Qur’an and the degree of the Holy Qur’an is higher than the degree of the Al-Hadith.

Second, zakat al-fitr should not be given to the eight groups, in addition to the poor and the needy. It is the opinion of Malikiyah, Sheikhul Islam Ibn Taymiyyah and Ibn al-Qayyim.

Some scholars (Ibn al-Qayyim) asserts that the Prophet (SAW) and the companions (RA) never paid zakat al-fitr except to the poor. Ibn al-Qayyim said, “Bab ‘zakat al-fitr is NOT allowed to be given except to the poor.’ Among the instructions of the Prophet (SAW) is this charity is only for the poor. He (SAW) never shared zakat al-fitr to all of the eight groups. He also never ordered it. It also had not been done by one of the companions, nor the people after them (tabi’in). There is one opinion in our schools that should not give the charity except to the poor alone. This opinion is stronger than the opinion of donating zakat al-fitr to the eight groups.” (Zadul Ma’ad, 2:20)

Based on the above description, the recipient of zakat al-fitr is prioritized to the needy and the poor only and this must be given before the Eid prayer.

Allah knows best.

 

Sources:

Asnaf zakat fitrah 

Zakat Ul Fitr 

Zakat 

Who can receive zakat 

Sharh Bulughul Mahram, Imam Ibn Hajar Al ‘Asqolaany

 

Delina Partadiredja

The author has been writing since elementary school. Prior to be the in-charge person for contents she often contributed to an Islamic website. Further, she has co-authored two books and one book of poetry. Her previous banking career followed her completing Bachelor of Economics. She obtained an MBA from Leicester University in the UK. She currently lives in Jeddah, Saudi Arabia.

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