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Zakat al-Fitr refers to a type of charitable donation that is required to be given at the end of the Ramadan fast. The term "zakah" is linked to "fitr" in Arabic grammar due to the fact that this type of charity is connected to the act of breaking the fast.

Zakat al-Fitr serves as a means of purifying individuals from any shortcomings during their Ramadan fast. It is common for individuals to engage in actions or say things that go against the teachings of the fast.

This form of Zakat also allows for the less fortunate to partake in the joyous celebration of Eid. It is typically paid on the morning of Eid or the night before, providing a sense of belonging to those in poverty who are able to partake in the festivities alongside others.

Scholars such as Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn al-Qayyim believe that Zakat al-Fitr should be reserved for the poor and destitute, rather than other eligible recipients of charity.

Furthermore, the act of paying Zakat al-Fitr promotes the practice of giving within society, and is seen as a duty for all capable individuals, regardless of their wealth. 

Is zakat al-fitr compulsory?

According to the view held by many scholars, it is considered fard or obligatory. This is based on the statement of Ibn 'Umar that the Prophet Muhammad made Zakat al-Fitr mandatory, as well as the consensus among scholars (ijmaa') that it is fard.

Who should pay zakat al-fitr?

Zakat al-Fitr is an obligation on all Muslims who are able to pay it, and it is given on behalf of oneself and those whom one is responsible for supporting. It should be given by the guardian of minors and the insane. The amount should be one saa' of dates or barley and it should be given before Eid prayers. If a person is unable to pay it due to financial difficulty, they are exempt from this obligation. The obligation is also determined by whether or not a person has enough food to support themselves and those they are responsible for on the day and night of Eid. The obligation to pay Zakat al-Fitr is on parents and grandparents for their children and grandchildren if they are obliged to spend on their maintenance, and it is on the husband to pay on behalf of a divorced wife who is still in the ‘iddah period, but not in the case of a rebellious wife or one whose divorce is final. 

When should zakat al-fitr be paid?

The obligation to pay Zakat al-Fitr begins at sunset on the last day of Ramadan.The Zakat ul-Fitr must be in the hands of the needy before Eid prayer, so sending money overseas won't work. However, if one is able to get the Zakah ul-Fitr to the needy overseas before Eid prayer, then it is acceptable.

What is the amount of Zakat al-Fitr?

The amount to be given is one saa’ of food.  The saa' is a unit of measurement used during the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) to determine the amount of food to be given as Zakat al-Fitr. The exact weight of a saa' can vary based on the type of food, but it is approximately equivalent to three kilograms of rice. It is important to make sure that the amount given as Zakat al-Fitr is equivalent to a saa' of the specific type of food being used.

Can zakat al-fitr be given in cash?

Yes, that's correct.
Zakat al-Fitr can be paid in cash if that is better for the recipient poor. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) had stated that the due Zakat al-Fitr is one sa` (2,176 grams) of barley, dates, raisins, or dried yogurt.

We have several reports from the time of the Companions that they substituted value for the items that are mentioned in the saying of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him).

Imam Abu Hanifah’s view on Zakat al-Fitr is that it could be given as food or its equivalent in monetary form. This is especially relevant when it would meet the recipient's needs better. The options available to the companions in distributing Zakat al-Fitr supports the view of Imam Abu Hanifah. 

In present times, giving a small amount of raisins or wheat as Zakat al-Fitr may not be as effective for the recipient. However, giving 2.5 kg of rice or its monetary equivalent would be appreciated as it would be more practical.

When giving the monetary equivalent of Zakat al-Fitr to someone in need, it's important to make sure the funds will be used for purchasing food for their family and not for harmful substances like cigarettes or drugs.

It is recommended to seek advice from knowledgeable scholars regarding your specific circumstances.

When it should be given

Zakat Al-Fitr is typically paid during the last few days of Ramadan and must be given before the morning of the Eid day. This is done to bring happiness to the poor on the day of Eid. It is permissible to pay it earlier than the last few days of Ramadan if this is necessary to ensure that it reaches the poor just in time for the Eid. In some cases, such as when paying it through intermediaries like Muslim charities that distribute it to other countries or locations, it may be necessary to pay it in advance to ensure it is delivered on time. The timing of Zakat al-Fitr is important as it has a special time-related objective.

Who should receive zakat al-fitr?

 Zakat al-Fitr should be given to the poor and needy, according to the majority opinion. It may also be given to the eight categories of people to whom zakah al-maal may be given. This includes the poor and needy, slaves who are working to buy their freedom, debtors, those fighting in the way of Allah, and wayfarers. Some scholars have stated that it should only be given to the poor and needy. It is not permissible to give it to non-Muslims. The recipient should use it to fulfill their needs, such as food or to pay off debt. It is not permissible for the giver to buy back the zakat al-fitr from the recipient.

How to distribute zakat al-fitr?

It is preferable for the person who is giving to share it out himself but it is allowed to give Zakat Al-Fitr to a charity organization or through an intermediary. Giving Zakat Al-Fitr to a charity organization or through an intermediary can provide the benefit of supporting a larger group of people in need and also simplifies the process for the giver. However, it's important to ensure that the charity organization you choose is reputable and is using the funds in accordance with the principles of Islam. Before giving, it may be helpful to research the organization and its policies, as well as to seek the advice of a religious scholar.

Where to give Zakat al-Fitr

According to Islamic scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi, transferring Zakah and Zakat al-Fitr to a more needy territory is permissible and is a duty of Muslims to help other needy Muslims. He emphasizes the importance of unity and brotherhood among Muslims and states that if there are no poor or needy people in one country, the poor people of other countries are more deserving of their Zakah. However, local expenditure is required if there are needy Muslims in the locality. He issued a fatwa stating that it is permissible to transfer Zakah to needy Muslim countries, particularly those that need relief, food, clothing, medicine, and heating. 

Types of things that may be given as zakat al-fitr

Zakat al-Fitr should be given in the form of staple food that is used locally, such as wheat, rice, dates, or lentils. Foods like dried yoghurt, cheese, or milk are also acceptable. Meat, fish, eggs, and fruits are not acceptable as Zakat al-Fitr. Macaroni made from wheat is permissible, but it must be equivalent in weight to a saa' of wheat. The weight of the saa’ may vary based on the type of food, but it is generally equivalent to about three kilograms of rice. The decision to give a specific type of food should be based on the local staple food, taking into consideration the principles of Islamic law and fairness to those who will receive the Zakat al-Fitr.


    Common Mistakes in the Payment of Zakat ul-Fitr 

Zakat ul-Fitr is a charity that Muslims are obligated to pay at the end of Ramadan. However, many people make some basic errors in the payment of this charity, which is food and must be in the hands of the needy family before Eid prayer. Here are eight common mistakes to avoid:

1- Paying Zakat ul-Fitr at Eid Salah - Zakat ul-Fitr must be in the hands of the needy family before Eid prayer. If someone pays after the prayer, the money will not arrive on time, and the person paying will be sinful for missing the payment of Zakat ul-Fitr.

2- Snail mailing the money overseas - The Zakat ul-Fitr must be in the hands of the needy before Eid prayer, so mailing the money overseas won't work. However, if one is able to get the Zakah ul-Fitr to the needy overseas before Eid prayer, then it is acceptable.

3- Not paying Zakat ul-Fitr - Skipping the payment of Zakat ul-Fitr is haram (forbidden) and everyone must pay, regardless of age or status. 

4- Confusing Zakat ul-Fitr with Zakat ul-Maal - Zakat ul-Fitr is a charity for Ramadan, while Zakat ul-Maal is a charity for wealth that is due at any time of the year. 

5- Giving money instead of food - Although some scholars allow giving money instead of food, the spirit of Zakat ul-Fitr is to give food to the needy community, not money. 

6- Giving Zakat ul-Fitr to a charitable building project - Zakat ul-Fitr should be given to human recipients, not building projects, so the needy can have plentiful food on Eid 

7- Giving Zakat ul-Fitr to non-Muslims - Zakat ul-Fitr is for Muslim poor and needy only and cannot be given to non-Muslims. 

8- Delaying distribution - Masjids should not collect Zakah ul-Fitr money and keep it in a bank. Zakat ul-Fitr should be given immediately when it is due.

Why Crescent Relief?

Crescent Relief is proud to run one of the best orphan programs in the world, with a mission to provide necessary support and care to these vulnerable children. Our team of experienced professionals is dedicated to ensuring that your Zakat funds are used in the most efficient and effective manner possible, making a lasting impact in the lives of orphans.

When you choose to donate your Zakat to Crescent Relief, you can be confident in the transparent and effective use of your funds. Our impactful programs aim to provide long-term solutions to poverty, hunger, and other social issues, and we have a reputation for being a reputable and well-established organization.

At Crescent Relief, we understand the importance of accountability, which is why we have developed an app that provides our donors with progress reports on the sponsored projects and beneficiaries. You can know exactly where your Zakat funds are going and the positive impact it is making in the lives of those in need. Join us in our mission to make a difference in the world, one child at a time.

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