The rulings pertaining to zakaah al-fitr

Section Eleven – The rulings pertaining to zakaah al-fitr

In this section read about:
1. The ruling of Zakaatul-Fitr
2.The ruling regarding forgetting to discharge the Zakaatul-Fitr
3. Failing to discharge the Zakaatul-Fitr before the `Eed prayer
4. Dispatched Zakaatul-Fitr to my country
5. The payment of Zakaatul-Fitr in money

1. The ruling of Zakaatul-Fitr

Question: Is Zakaatul-Fitr obligatory or (just) recommended? And upon whom is it obligatory?

Response: Zakaatul-Fitr is obligatory upon the Muslims because the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) legislated it upon the male and the female and the young and the old. And he specified it to be one saa’ of food or dates or barley or raisins or cheese (one saa’ is equal to four mudd, and one mudd is equal to the amount held by cupping the two hands together. It is a measure by volume and not by weight). And he commanded that it be discharged before the people leave to perform the `Eed prayer. So it is a Prophetic obligation which has been legislated for the last part of Ramadan as a purification for the fasting one from any mistake or sexual intercourse (which may have come to pass). And it is food for the needy such that they do not have to wander around asking (begging). And with Allaah is the success.

Shaykh Ibn Jibreen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 2/Page 902/Fatwa No.885), also (Fataawa as-Siyaam libni Jibreen, Page 188)

2. The ruling regarding forgetting to discharge the Zakaatul-Fitr

Question: What is the ruling regarding the one who had not discharged the Zakaatul-Fitr until during the (`Eed) khutbah (sermon) after the `Eed prayer, and that is because he had forgotten?

Response: Discharging the Zakaatul-Fitr before the (`Eed) prayer is obligatory, and whoever forgets then there is nothing upon him except to discharge it after that. This is because it is an obligation so it is upon him to discharge it when he remembers, and it is not permissible for anyone to intentionally delay it until after the `Eed prayer according to the most correct of the two opinions. This is because the Messenger (saw) commanded the Muslims to discharge it before the `Eed prayer.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 2/ Page 931-932/ Fatwa No. 914), also (Majmoo’ Fataawa Samaahatu ash-Shaykh ‘Abdul Azeez Ibn ‘Abdullaah Ibn Baaz, Volume 3/ Page 101)

3. Failing to discharge the Zakaatul-Fitr before the `Eed prayer

Question: If one does discharge the Zakaatul-Fitr before the `Eed prayer, is he relieved (of this obligation)?

Response: One who does discharge the Zakaatul-Fitr before the `Eed prayer then he is a sinner and he is not relieved (of this obligation), rather he must discharge it afterwards.

Shaykh Ibn Jibreen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 2/Page 932/Fatwa No.915), also (Fataawa as-Siyaam libni Jibreen, Page 187)

4. Dispatched Zakaatul-Fitr to my country

Question: I dispatched the Zakaatul-Fitr, specifically pertaining to myself, to my family so that they can discharge it in my country. Is this action correct?

Response: (This is) not a problem, (and) you shall be rewarded inshaa.-Allaah. Discharging it in your area is better, so that you discharge it to the needy in the area in whch you reside, and this is better. However, if you dispatched it to your family to discharge it to the needy in your country then that is not a problem.

Shaykh Ibn Baaz / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 2/ Page 941/ Fatwa No. 929), also (Majmoo’ Fataawa Samaahatu ash-Shaykh ‘Abdul Azeez Ibn ‘Abdullaah Ibn Baaz, Volume 3/ Page 97)

5. The payment of Zakaatul-Fitr in money

Question: Is it permissible to discharge the obligation of Zakaatul-Fitr on the first day of Ramadan? And is it permissible to distribute it in money?

Response: As for the discharging of it on the first day of Ramadan – there is Ikhtilaaf (difference of opinion among the scholars) about it. The most correct opinion is that it’s not permissible, because it is called Zakaatul-Fitr, and al-Fitr (ending of the fast) does not occur except at the end of the month. Also, the Messenger of Allaah [sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam] ordered that it be discharged before the people go out to the Prayer (Salaatul-`Eed). Along with that, the companions (Sahaabah) used to give out the Zakaatul-Fitr one or two days before the `Eed. As for discharging the Zakaatul-Fitr in MONEY, this is a point of Ikhtilaf (difference among the scholars). And the correct opinion – as I see it – is that it is not discharged except by (distribution of) FOOD. This is because Ibn ‘Umar [radhi-yallaahu ‘anhumaa] said: “The Messenger of Allaah [sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam] made obligatory (the payment of) Zakaatul-Fitr from a Saa’ of dates or a Saa’ of barley…” (Bukhaaree 2:579), (One Saa’ is equal to four (4) Mudd, and one (1) Mudd is equal to the amount held by cupping the two hands together. It is a measure by volume not by weight). Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree [radhi-yallaahu ‘anhu] said: “We used to distribute it (Zakaatul-Fitr) in the time of the Messenger of Allaah [sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam] as one saa’ of food, and our food was dates and barley and raisins and cottage cheese…”( Bukhaaree 2:582). So, it becomes clear from these two hadeeth that it (Zakaatul-Fitr) is not discharged except from FOOD. And the distribution of it in food displays it openly and shows it, and all of the members of the family know about it. In this way, there is an exhibition or manifestation of this aspect of the religion. As for discharging it in money, this causes it to be concealed (unseen), and perhaps the person may favor himself, by discharging it in money, and thus reduce its amount. (As the amount would differ if we compare the value of one saa’ of dates to one saa’ of barley for example. Since a saa’ of barley is about 7 riyals ($2.00), while a saa’ of dates ranges -according to quality – from 25 riyals ($7.00) for a lesser quality to 42 riyals ($12.00) for a medium quality, to 175 riyals ($49.00) for the best quality per saa’.)Therefore, strictly following the Law (al-Qur’aan and Sunnah) is best and it is blessed. Someone might argue that the distribution of food doesn’t benefit the poor. (But, we say) the poor person – if truly poor – must definitely benefit from the food.

Shaykh Ibn al-‘Uthaymeen / (Fataawa Ramadan, Volume 2/Page 935/Fatwa No.921), also (Fataawa ash-Shaykh Muhammad as-Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen, Volume 1/ Page 463)