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Zakat al-Fitr: Jurisprudential Rulings and Educational Secrets
Author : Dr. Hassan Abu_Arqoub
Date Added : 03-04-2024

Zakat al-Fitr: Jurisprudential Rulings and Educational Secrets

 

 

Zakat al-Fitr is a compound term consisting of two words: "Zakat" and "al-Fitr." It is essential to explain the meaning of each of them.

 

 Linguistically, the term "Zakat" refers to growth and purification[1], as evidenced by the Quranic verse: "Take from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase"[2]. Allah the Almighty removes affliction from that wealth due to its purification, so purification became synonymous with growth in meaning, although there is a reduction in form. It is a means of enhancing wealth in terms of blessings and purifying both the wealth and its owner [3].

 

According to Islamic Law, Zakat al-Fitr is a specified amount given from wealth or a specific type of foodstuff on a specific occasion [4].

 

The term "Al-Fitr" is the antonym of fasting (Sawm), and it is said that someone breaks their fast (Iftaar) with a meal [5].

 

The scholars of Islamic jurisprudence refer to it as "Sadaqat al-Fitr," attributing Zakat and Sadaqa (voluntary charity) to "Al-Fitr" because it is obligatory to be given upon the arrival of the Eid al-Fitr, after the sunset of the last day of Ramadan [6].

 

It is also referred to as "Zakat al-Fitr" or "Zakat al-Khilqah, [7]" meaning the purification or cleansing of the self and the enhancement of one's deeds. This term is used because it is obligatory for every individual to purify their soul and enhance their deeds by giving this Zakat [8]. Additionally, it is called "Fitr" due to what is extracted from it [9].

 

Therefore, Zakat Al-Fitr can be defined as a specific amount of money that must be paid on the first night of Eid, marking the end of Ramadan, by every responsible person and those whom they are responsible for.

 

The wisdom behind the obligation of Zakat al-Fitr, as mentioned by Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him), is to purify the fasting person from any shortcomings or indecencies in their fasting, and also to provide sustenance for the needy [10].

 

The significance of Zakat al-Fitr is that it is obligatory because it purifies the fasting person from indulging in vain or idle talk (laghw) and indecency (rafath), which are prohibited during fasting. Additionally, it helps the poor by providing them with sustenance [11].

 

Narrated by Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) mandated Zakat al-Fitr and said: "Give it to them (the poor) on this day (Eid) so that they may be enriched [12]."

 

The significance here is that the Prophet instructed to enrich the needy Muslims on the day of Eid al-Fitr, ensuring they have enough to meet their needs and alleviating them from having to ask or depend on the wealthy [13].

 

The ruling of Zakat al-Fitr is that it is obligatory, mandated upon every Muslim, male or female, free or slave, young or old, to be given before the end of the first night of Eid [14].

 

The evidence for this is the narration from Ibn Umar, may Allah be pleased with them both, where he said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) mandated Zakat al-Fitr, a Sa' of dates or a Sa' of barley, upon slaves and free individuals, males and females, young and old among the Muslims. He ordered that it should be paid before people go out to offer the Eid prayer."[15]

This indicates that the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) made Zakat al-Fitr obligatory specifically for Muslims[16].

 

Three conditions must be met for the obligation of Zakat al-Fitr:

 

Firstly, being a Muslim, as Zakat al-Fitr is not obligatory for non-Muslims, based on the hadith of Ibn Umar mentioned earlier.

 

Secondly, the sunset of the last day of Ramadan and the beginning of the night of Eid. Based on this, Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory for those who die after the sunset of the last day of Ramadan and for those born before its sunset [17].

 

Thirdly, the person must possess surplus wealth beyond their basic needs, the needs of their dependents, and their dependents' needs on the day of Eid and its night [19]. If someone does not have this surplus wealth at the time of obligation, they are considered incapable (mu'assir) and are not required to pay Zakat al-Fitr. However, if they become capable after Eid's sunset, it is recommended for them to pay it [19]. It seems that the ability to earn does not remove one from being considered incapable [20].

 

If these three conditions are met by the responsible individual, then it is obligatory for them to pay Zakat al-Fitr for themselves, their spouse, their dependents (both ascendants and descendants), and anyone else they are responsible for financially. The principle governing this is that "whoever is responsible for the sustenance of another is also responsible for their Zakat al-Fitr [21]."

 

If the husband is incapable while the free wife is capable, then the correct view is that it is not obligatory for her to pay her Zakat al-Fitr, but it is recommended for her to do so [22].

If the responsible person is incapable of providing for all those they are responsible for, they should first pay Zakat al-Fitr for themselves, then for their spouse, then for their young children, then for their parents if they are poor and being financially supported by the responsible person, then for their adult children if they have no earnings and are dependents due to disability or mental illness [23].

 

 

The time for giving Zakat al-Fitr can be divided into several periods:

 

Permissible Time (Al-Jawaz): It starts from the first day of Ramadan, and it is permissible for the obligated person to give Zakat al-Fitr from the first day of Ramadan until the sunset of Eid day.

 

Obligatory Time (Al-Wujub): It begins from the sunset of the last day of Ramadan until the sunset of Eid day [24]. During this period, it becomes obligatory for the obligated person to give Zakat al-Fitr.

 

The benefit of this division is evident in the cases where someone passes away before the sunset of the last day of Ramadan or when a child is born after the beginning of Eid night. In such cases, Zakat al-Fitr is neither obligatory nor required to be given [25].

 

It is recommended to give Zakat al-Fitr on the day of Eid, not before it, and it is recommended that this be done before going out for the prayer [26]. This is based on the narration of Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) where he said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) made Zakat al-Fitr obligatory and commanded that it should be given before the people go out for the Eid prayer [27]."

 

The evidence for this is that the Prophet Mohammad (peace be upon him) recommended giving Zakat al-Fitr before people go out for the Eid prayer [28].

 

It is disliked (Makruh) to delay giving Zakat al-Fitr until after the Eid prayer, and it is prohibited (Haram) to delay it beyond the day of Eid without a valid excuse, as its time ends at the sunset of Eid day [29]. Those who delay it without a valid excuse commit a sin, and they must make it up as an obligatory act immediately [30]. However, if someone forgets to give it, they are not required to make it up immediately, as forgetfulness does not constitute intentional disobedience [31].

 

The obligated person should give a Sa'a of the predominant staple food of his country, and a Sa'a is equivalent to 2.5 kilograms. If the staple foods in the country are wheat, barley, rice, and one of them is predominant, such as wheat, then the Zakat al-Fitr should be given from that predominant staple. If there is no predominant staple among them, then the person can choose from any of them [32].

 

This is based on the narration from Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both), who said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) made Zakat al-Fitr obligatory, to be paid by a Sa'a of dates or a Sa'a of barley, upon the slave and the free, the male and the female, the young and the old among the Muslims, and he ordered that it be paid before the people go out for the Eid prayer [33]."

 

The indication is that the amount of Zakat al-Fitr is a Sa' of food that is the staple of the country.

 

In the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan, the staple food is wheat because bread is the main item on the tables of the people [34].

 

The Shafi'i school of thought holds that it is not permissible to give Zakat al-Fitr in monetary value. However, some contemporary scholars among them permit that following the school of thought of Imam Abu Hanifa al-Nu'man, may Allah be pleased with him. This is because giving the monetary value is more beneficial to the poor in this era [35]. This is also the view adopted by the Iftaa` Council in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan.

 

According to the Shafi'i school of thought, it is necessary to include all eight categories mentioned in the verse of Zakat [37] when giving Zakat al-Fitr. Allah Almighty says: "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 wayfarers; a duty imposed by Allah. Allah is All-Knowing, All-Wise [38]" (At-Tawbah, 60). The same ruling applies to Zakat al-Fitr according to the Shafi'i scholars. Some scholars among the Shafi'i school permit giving it to three poor or needy individuals, while others allow giving it to a single person. The preferred opinion for issuing fatwas among the Shafi'is is to allow giving Zakat al-Fitr to three individuals from the eight specified categories. Imam Ar-Rawyan [39] justified this by saying, "This is a choice due to the difficulty of applying our school's rulings. If Imam Ash-Shafi'i were alive, he would have issued such a fatwa." Therefore, if someone gives their Zakat al-Fitr to a single person, they are following an opinion within the Shafi'i school and not deviating from it entirely [41].

 

The general rule is that the obligated person should pay the Zakat al-Fitr in the place where it is due. The Shafi'i school explicitly prohibits transferring the Zakat from the place of obligation to another place where there are also deserving recipients, explaining that such thing is prohibited and doesn`t avail the giver of Zakat [42]. However, a group within the Shafi'i school permits this transfer, even though it is considered a less favored opinion within the school [43]. Nonetheless, acting upon this opinion is permissible, as it is permissible to follow the opinions of trusted scholars within the school in accordance with the reliable opinion [44]. The General Ifta Department in the Hashemite Kingdom of Jordan has approved the transfer of Zakat al-Fitr to a place other than where it is obligated [45].

 

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: "The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) made Zakat al-Fitr obligatory as a purification for the fasting person from idle talk and obscenities, and as provision for the poor [46]." This indicates that Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory because it purifies the fasting person from idle talk, which refers to false or trivial speech, and obscenities, which refers to indecent speech. Additionally, it assists the poor by providing them with their sustenance [47].

 

Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) ordained Zakat al-Fitr and said: "Make them self-sufficient on this day."

 

The implication is that the Prophet (peace be upon him) instructed to ensure that the needy Muslims are provided for and made self-sufficient on the day of Eid al-Fitr. This helps relieve them from having to seek help from the wealthy and ask for assistance.

 

In summary, this directive serves as a refinement of the self, encourages refraining from indecent speech, reinforces social solidarity among Muslims, and warns against becoming complacent in one's worship. It emphasizes that one should not nullify righteous deeds by engaging in indecency, and if one does so, they should follow it with a righteous act.

 

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[1] Ibn Faris, Ahmed ibn Faris ibn Zakariya (d. 395 AH), Mu'jam Maqayis al-Lughah, trans. Abdul Salam Haroun, Dar al-Fikr, 1979, Vol. 3, p. 17.

[2] Surah At-Tawbah/103 (Quran, verse 103).

[3] Fakhr al-Din al-Razi, Muhammad ibn Umar (d. 606 AH), Mafatih al-Ghaib, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 3rd edition, 1999, Vol. 3, p. 486.

[4] Al-Qalyubi: Ahmed Salama (1069 AH), Hashiyah Qalyubi 'ala Sharh al-Minhaj li'l-Mahalli, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 1995, Vol. 2, p. 3.

[5] Ibn Manzur, Muhammad ibn Mukram (d. 711 AH), Lisan al-Arab, Dar Sader, Beirut, 3rd edition, 1994, Vol. 5, p. 59.

[6] Al-Khatib al-Shirbini: Muhammad ibn Ahmed (d. 977 AH), Mughni al-Muhtaj, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1994, Vol. 2, p. 110.

[7] Ibn Faris, Mu'jam Maqayis al-Lughah, previously cited, Vol. 4, p. 510. And Ibn Manzur, Lisan al-Arab, previously cited, Vol. 5, p. 58.

[8] Al-Khatib al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 2, p. 111.

[9] Al-Nawawi: Yahya ibn Sharaf (d. 676 AH), Al-Majmu', Dar al-Fikr, Vol. 6, p. 103.

[10] Narrated by Abu Dawood: Sulaiman ibn al-Ash'ath (d. 275 AH), Sunan Abu Dawood, Al-Maktabah Al-Asriyyah, Beirut, Chapter: Zakat al-Fitr, Hadith No. 1609, Vol. 2, p. 111.

 [11] Badr al-Din al-Ayni: Mahmoud ibn Ahmed (d. 855 AH), Sharh Sunan Abi Dawood, Maktabah al-Rashid, Riyadh, 6th edition, 1999, Vol. 6, p. 318.

[12] Al-Daraqutni: Ali ibn Umar (d. 385 AH), Sunan al-Daraqutni, Dar al-Resalah, Beirut, 1st edition, 2004, Book of Zakat al-Fitr, Hadith No. 2133, Vol. 3, p. 89. Note: This hadith is considered weak.

[13] Badr al-Din al-Ayni: Mahmoud ibn Ahmed (d. 855 AH), Umddat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, Vol. 9, p. 118.

[14] Al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 2, p. 111.

[15] Al-Bukhari: Muhammad ibn Ismail (d. 256 AH), Sahih al-Bukhari, Dar Tauq al-Najah, 1st edition, 2000, Chapter: Obligation of Zakat al-Fitr, Hadith No. 1503, Vol. 2, p. 130.

[16] Ibn Abdul Barr: Yusuf ibn Abdullah (463 AH), Al-Istidhkar, Dar al-Kutub al-Ilmiyyah, Beirut, 1st edition, 200, Vol. 3, p. 260.

[17] Al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 2, p. 111.

[18] Ibn al-Qasim al-Ghazzi: Muhammad ibn Qasim (918 AH), Fath al-Qarib al-Mujib, Dar Ibn Hazm, Beirut, 1st edition, 2005, p. 131.

[19] Al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 2, p. 113.

[20] The same previous source.

 [21] Al-Shirbini: Muhammad ibn Ahmed (d. 977 AH), Al-Iqna, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, Vol. 1, p. 277.

[22] Al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 2, p. 115.

[23] Al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 2, p. 116.

[24] Al-Shams al-Ramli: Muhammad ibn Ahmed (d. 1004 AH), Nihayat al-Muhtaj, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 1984, Vol. 3, p. 109.

[25] Al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 2, p. 111.

[26] Ibn Hajar al-Haytami: Ahmad ibn Muhammad (d. 974 AH), Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, 1983, Vol. 3, p. 308.

[27] Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, previously cited, Chapter: Obligation of Zakat al-Fitr, Hadith No. 1503, Vol. 2, p. 130.

[28] Badr al-Din al-Ayni, Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari, previously cited, Vol. 9, p. 111.

[29] Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, previously cited, Vol. 3, p. 309.

[30] Al-Shams al-Ramli, Nihayat al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 3, p. 112.

[31] Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, previously cited, Vol. 3, p. 309.

[32] Al-Shirbini, Mughni al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 2, p. 118.

[33] Al-Bukhari, Sahih al-Bukhari, previously cited, Chapter: Obligation of Zakat al-Fitr, Hadith No. 1503, Vol. 2, p. 130.

[34] Fatwa of the Council of Fatwa and Islamic Studies No. (286) for the year 2020. Link

[35] A group of authors (Mustafa al-Khan, Mustafa al-Bagha, and Ali al-Sharbaji), Methodical Jurisprudence According to the School of Imam al-Shafi'i, Dar al-Qalam, Damascus, 1992, Vol. 1, p. 230.

[36] Fatwa of the Council of Fatwa and Islamic Studies No. (286) for the year 2020. Link

[37] Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, previously cited, Vol. 7, p. 169.

[38] Surah At-Tawbah/60.

[39] (Abdul Wahid bin Ismail bin Ahmad, Abu al-Muhassin, Fakhr al-Islam al-Ruyani: A Shafi'i Jurist, from the region of Ruyan (near Tabaristan) and he had favor with the rulers. He reached such expertise in jurisprudence that it was said: "If the books of al-Shafi'i were to burn, I would reproduce them from my memory.") Al-Zarkali: Khair al-Din bin Mahmoud (d. 1396 AH), Al-A'lam, Dar al-Ilm lil-Malayin, Beirut, 15th edition, 2002, Vol. 4, p. 175.

[40] Ibn Hajar al-Haytami, Tahdhib al-Tahdhib, previously cited, Vol. 7, p. 169; Al-Shams al-Ramli, Nihayat al-Muhtaj, previously cited, Vol. 6, p. 164.

[41] Al-Suyuti: Abdul Rahman bin Abi Bakr (d. 911 AH), Al-Hawi lil-Fatawi, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 2004, Vol. 1, p. 102.

[42] Jalal al-Din al-Mahalli: Muhammad bin Shahab al-Din (d. 864 AH), Kunuz al-Raghibin, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 1995, Vol. 3, p. 204.

[43] Al-Qaliubi: Ahmed Salama (d. 1069 AH), Hashiyat al-Qaliubi Ala Sharh al-Mahalli, Dar al-Fikr, Beirut, 1995, Vol. 3, p. 204.

[44] The same previous source.

[45] Fatwa No. (2658)

[46] Narrated by Abu Dawood: Sulaiman ibn al-Ash'ath (d. 275 AH), Sunan Abi Dawood, Al-Asriya Library, Beirut, Chapter of Zakat al-Fitr, Hadith No. (1609), Vol. 2, p. 111.

[47] Badr al-Din al-Ayni: Mahmoud ibn Ahmad (d. 855 AH), Explanation of Sunan Abi Dawood, Dar al-Rashid, Riyadh, 6th edition, 1999, Vol. 6, p. 318.

[48] Al-Daraqutni: Ali ibn Umar (d. 385 AH), "Sunan al-Daraqutni," Dar al-Risalah, Beirut, 1st Edition, 2004, Book of Zakat al-Fitr, Hadith No. 2133, Vol. 3, p. 89. This hadith is considered weak.

 [49] Badr al-Din al-Ayni: Mahmoud ibn Ahmad (d. 855 AH), "Umdat al-Qari Sharh Sahih al-Bukhari," Dar Ihya al-Turath al-Arabi, Beirut, Vol. 9, p. 118.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Summarized Fatawaa

What is the expiation for breaking fast due to being on a journey, or being sick, or being in a state of menstruation?

No expiation is due on the aforesaid categories, but they are obliged to make up for the missed fast. However, if any of them failed to do so while being able to, and the next Ramadhaan has come, then making up for those days is incumbent on him/her , and paying the ransom as well.

I can`t afford to get married, what should I do to curb my sexual drives?

You should offer a lot of voluntary fasting, keep busy with useful and permissible acts and make supplication to Allah, The Exalted.

Is it permissible for the big brother to force his sisters to wear Hijjab(Islamic wear) if their father didn`t do his part in this regard ?

The father`s attention should be drawn gently and politely, and the sisters should also be reminded with good words since Allah, The Almighty, says: “O ye who believe! Save yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is Men and Stones.”{Al-Tahreem/6}.

Should water be put in the deceased`s mouth and nose while washing him/her?

No, it shouldn`t.