Fitrah is a necessary donation in Islam
Zakat al Fitr is a mandatory charitable donation due before Eid al Fitr, the festival that marks the end of Ramadan. This donation serves to cleanse those fasting during Ramadan while also making sure everyone has enough food and celebration items during Eid al Fitr. In this article we explain its concept, its significance, and benefits of contributing.
What is Zakat al Fitr?
Zakat al Fitr (Fitrah) is an obligatory charity required of every Muslim who can provide for themselves and their dependents during Ramadan. It consists of an equal, fixed amount of food given directly to those less fortunate on Eid al Fitr morning before Eid prayer; its value calculated using staple foods such as rice, wheat or barley prices.
Zakat al Fitr is a separate obligation from Zakat, an annual donation of 2.5% of one's wealth that is given directly to those in need. Where Zakat is calculated based on wealth, while Zakat al Fitr accounts for each household, including children also.
The Importance of Zakat al Fitr
Zakat al Fitr is an integral component of Eid al Fitr celebrations as it ensures everyone, regardless of financial resources, can take pleasure from this festive holiday. According to Muhammad (P.B.U.H), everyone must participate in celebrating Eid al Fitr equally and to enjoy it fully.
"The fast remains suspended between heaven and earth until payment of Fitrah is completed" (Sunan Ibn Majah).
Zakat al Fitr is a form of purification for those fasting during Ramadan, intended to expiate any shortcomings or mistakes made during that month of fasting and thank Allah for blessing it with so many gifts.
Zakat al Fitr is also a form of charity toward those less fortunate; by giving to those less privileged than ourselves, we recognize our own blessings while showing our compassion and care for those less fortunate than us..
The Benefits of Zakat al Fitr
Zakat al Fitr has numerous benefits, both for the giver and the recipient. Following are some of the key benefits:
Providing for the Needy
Zakat al Fitr ensures that everyone has enough to eat and celebrate during the holiday. It is particularly important for those who may not have access to regular meals or who struggle to make ends meet.
Zakat al Fitr serves as a form of purification for the fasting person, helping to expiate any mistakes or shortcomings made during the month of Ramadan.
Zakat al Fitr is a means of expressing gratitude to Allah for the blessings of the month of fasting. By giving to others, we acknowledge the blessings that we have received and express our thanks for them.
Zakat al Fitr helps to build a sense of community among Muslims. By coming together to provide for the less fortunate, we strengthen the bonds of brotherhood and sisterhood that exist within the Ummah.
Forgiveness of sins
“The fast of Ramadan is like ten months, and the obligation of Zakat al Fitr is like two months. Whoever gives it before Eid prayer will have it accepted as Zakat, and whoever gives it after Eid prayer has given a voluntary charity.” (Ibn Majah).
Fulfilling a religious obligation
Zakat al Fitr is a religious obligation upon all Muslims who are able to give it. By fulfilling this obligation, Muslims can earn the pleasure of Allah and gain rewards in the Hereafter.
How to Give Zakat al Fitr
Giving Zakat al Fitr is a simple process that can be done by following a few steps:
- Determine the amount: As mentioned earlier, the amount of Zakat al Fitr is generally equivalent to the cost of one meal. This amount can vary depending on the region and the price of food. It is important to determine the amount before giving the charity.
- Choose a charity organization: There are many charity organizations that collect Zakat al Fitr and distribute it to the needy. It is important to choose a reliable and trustworthy organization that has a good reputation for collecting and distributing Zakat
- Pay before Eid prayer: Zakat al Fitr must be paid before the Eid prayer. It is recommended to pay it a few days before the Eid prayer to ensure that it reaches the needy on time.
- Pay on behalf of dependents: If a person has dependents, such as children or elderly parents, Zakat al Fitr must be paid on their behalf as well. The amount paid for each dependent should be the same as the amount paid for the person paying the Zakat.
- Pay in kind: In some regions, it is common to pay Zakat al Fitr in kind, such as food or grains. This is acceptable as long as the amount paid is equivalent to the cost of one meal.
- Pay with intention: It is important to pay Zakat al Fitr with the intention of fulfilling a religious obligation and seeking the pleasure of Allah. This intention should be made before giving the charity.
What does Quran say about Zakat al fitr
The Quran does not explicitly mention Zakat al Fitr by name, but it does refer to the concept of giving charity and providing for the needy. There are several verses in the Quran that emphasize the importance of giving charity and helping those who are less fortunate.
“And establish prayer and give Zakat, and whatever good you put forward for yourselves – you will find it with Allah. Indeed, Allah of what you do, is Seeing.” (2:110)
This verse mentions Zakat in general, which includes Zakat al Fitr, and emphasizes that whatever good one puts forward in the form of charity, will be rewarded by Allah.
“Take from their wealth ˹O Prophet˺ charity to purify and bless them, and pray for them—surely your prayer is a source of comfort for them. And Allah is All-Hearing, All-Knowing.” (9:103)
This verse highlights the idea of purification through giving charity, which is one of the purposes of Zakat al Fitr.
“And give food—despite their desire for it—to the poor, the orphan, and the captive, ˹saying to themselves,˺ “We feed you only for the sake of Allah, seeking neither reward nor thanks from you.” (76:8-9)
This verse highlights the importance of giving food to those in need, without seeking any reward or gratitude, as an act of worship and seeking the pleasure of Allah.
In summary, while the Quran does not explicitly mention Zakat al Fitr, it emphasizes the importance of giving charity, providing for the needy, and purifying oneself through charitable acts. These concepts are closely linked to the purpose and significance of Zakat al Fitr.
What does the Hadith say about zakat al fitr
“Whoever gives Zakat al Fitr before the Eid prayer, it will be an accepted Zakat and will be a means of purification for the fasting person from idle talk and obscenities, and will also provide food for the needy.” (Sunan Abu Dawud)
This Hadith emphasizes the importance of giving Zakat al Fitr before the Eid prayer and highlights the benefits of giving this charity, including purification from sins and providing food for the needy.
“Zakat al Fitr is incumbent upon every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
This Hadith highlights the universal nature of Zakat al Fitr and emphasizes that it is a religious obligation for every Muslim, regardless of age, gender, or social status.
The amount of Zakat al Fitr is also mentioned in several Hadiths. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) mentioned: “Whoever gives Zakat al Fitr, it is equal to one Sa’ of dates or barley.” (Sahih Al-Bukhari)
A Sa’ is an ancient measure of volume that is equivalent to approximately 2.25 kg. This Hadith specifies the amount of Zakat al Fitr to be one Sa’ of dates or barley, which is equivalent to the cost of one meal.
In another Hadith, the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) has stated:
“Whoever pays Zakat al Fitr as a means of seeking the pleasure of Allah, his fasts will be accepted from him.” (Sunan Ibn Majah)
This Hadith highlights the importance of the intention behind giving Zakat al Fitr, which should be to seek the pleasure of Allah and to fulfill a religious obligation.
The Hadith literature provides detailed guidance on the concept of Zakat al Fitr, including its importance, amount, and timing. The Hadiths emphasize the benefits of giving Zakat al Fitr, including purification from sins, providing food for the needy, and seeking the pleasure of Allah.
In conclusion, Zakat al Fitr is an important aspect of Islam that holds great significance in the lives of Muslims. It is a mandatory charitable donation that is paid at the end of the month of Ramadan, just before the Eid al-Fitr prayer. The importance of Zakat al Fitr lies in its ability to purify one’s wealth and soul, provide for the basic needs of the poor, strengthen community ties, fulfill a religious obligation, and protect from calamities. By giving Zakat al Fitr, Muslims can demonstrate their gratitude to Allah, fulfill their duty towards their fellow human beings, and earn rewards in the Hereafter. It is a reminder of the importance of helping those who are less fortunate and of our duty to look after one another as a community. Thus, Zakat al Fitr plays a crucial role in the lives of Muslims and serves as a means of spreading love, compassion, and kindness in the world.