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Explaination on What is Zakaatul Fitr? - IslamQA
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Explaination on What is Zakaatul Fitr?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by DarulUloomTT.net

Assalaamu Alaikum, can you explain in detail zaakatul fitr and saadaqatul fitr. The difference, who can receive it, should it be food or money and if money how can there be a set rate. I am a little confused i have never heard anyone explain this.

Wa Alaikum Assalaam,

Zakaatul Fitr and Sadaqatul Fitr both refer to the same thing.  It is the charity that is given on account of the day of Eid Ul Fitr. This is why it is called Zakaah Al Fitr or Sadaqah Al Fitr.

Those who are poor and needy can receive it. It can be given in food and also in cash. If it is given in food, then the following can be given:

  • 1 Saa’a of dates or barley. This is based on the tradition of Abdullah Bin Umar (R.A) who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) prescribed the payment of Zakaat Ul Fitr of Ramadhan for people, for every freeman, or slave, male and female among the Muslims, one Saa of dried dates or one Saa of barley.’ (Muslim Hadith No.2149)
  • 1/2 Saa’a of wheat. This is based on the tradition of Abdullah Bin Umar (R.A) who said, ‘The Messenger of Allah prescribed the Sadqa of Ramadhan (Sadaqatul Fitr) one saa of dates or one saa of barley for every free man or a slave, male or female, and then the Muslims (Sahabahs and Tabieen), equalized (one saa of dates or barley) with half saa’a of wheat’. (Muslim – Hadith No. 2151).
  • 1 Saa’a of raisins, dried cottage cheese. This is based on the tradition of Abu Saeed Al Khudri (R.A) who said, ‘At the time of the Messenger of Allah (S.A.S) we used to give a saa of food on the day of Eid Ul Fitr.’ Abu Saeed then said, ‘And our food was barley, raisins dried cottage cheese and dates.’ (Sahih Al Bukhari Hadith no. 1408).

Based on the above, Sadaqatul Fitr can be given in dates, barley, raisins, cottage cheese, wheat and flour. The Scholars have stated in this regard, ‘If the staple food of a people is corn, pearl millet,  thin husk barley, rice or any grain on which Zakaat is obligatory then they may give it as Zakaat Al Fitr.’ (Al Umm).

With respect to the amount which must be given in these grains, many Scholars have stated that on behalf of a Muslim, one Saa’a of dates, barley, raisins, dried cottage cheese, wheat, corn or flour etc. will be given to the poor and needy. One Saa’a is equal to 2kg 174 grams or 43/4 lbs. According to many scholars, one Saa is equivalent to four full handfuls (of both hands) of grain; such handfuls being of an average size.

Other scholars have stated that if wheat is given, then half of a saa’a of wheat will be given, and if barley, raisin or dates is given then one saa’a will be given. According to these scholars, one saa’a is equal to 3kg 240 grams or 7lbs 2 ounces.

The preferred view is that one saa’a will be used as the measurement for any  grain or the staple food of any community since one saa’a has been clearly stated in authentic hadith for the calculation of Sadaqatul Fitr and it is of precaution. Also, according to some scholars, the usage of half a saa’a for wheat by the companions of the Prophet (S.A.S) was due to the reason that at that time, half of a saa’a of wheat was equal in value to one saa’a of other grains such as barley or dates or raisins.

Therefore, with the preferred view, 43/4 lbs or 2kg 174 grams of wheat, barley, raisins, dates, flour or any staple food etc. will be given as Sadaqatul Fitr on behalf of a Muslim individual.

With respect to paying Sadaqatul Fitr in money/cash, this is also permissible. The purpose of sadaqatul fitr is that this charity be given to the poor and needy so that it will be a help to them, particularly on the day of Eid so that they may also enjoy themselves and have sufficient to eat on this day. It also serves as purification for the giver against mistakes made while fasting.

Seeing that the Sadaqatul Fitr is to be given to help the poor and needy, consideration must be given to them so that they will not be in a state of want and deprivation. In our times, dates, raisins, barley, wheat is not from the staple foods that many people consume. Although these are used, they are not from the food/meals that people eat on a daily basis. Therefore, one needs to consider whether the above mentioned dry foods will help in satisfying the needs of the poor and needy today. In our times, fulfilling the needs of the poor and needy can be easily done with cash which they can use to purchase food and clothing on the day of Eid.

While shedding light on the above topic, the prominent Muslim economist Dr. Monzer Kahf writes, ‘Zakaatul Fitr can be paid in cash if cash is better from the point of view of the recipient poor.’

‘We have correct sayings by the Prophet (S.A.S) that the due Zakaat Ul Fitr is one saa’a of barley, dates, raisins, or dried yoghurt. These were common foods in Madinah and its surroundings. At the time of the companions (Sahabahs), wheat started to become a food item for the well-to-do families, and was a lot more expensive than barley. They estimated that one saa of barley is equivalent in value to half saa’a of wheat.’

‘Consequently, 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 (S.A.S).’

‘Ibn Taimiyah, one of the prominent Scholars of the early ninth century of Hijrah, argued that the payment of Zakaatul Fitr in cash in metropolitan area such as Damascus where he lived, is actually better for the poor.’

When the cash value is given in Sadaqatul Fitr, then it will be equivalent to one saa’a which is 43/4 lbs of wheat/flour.

And Allah Knows Best.

Mufti Waseem Khan.

22/06/17.

This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.

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