All you need to know about Zakat Al-Fitr

First of all, Zakat Al-Fitr is NOT to be confused with the annual Zakat on Wealth. Zakat Al-Fitr is staple food donated to poor people between 28 of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr prayer. The donations must arrive to the poor in the form of food, not money.

Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid

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Last update
May 9, 2021
ﷺ means: Allah's Peace and Blessings be upn him
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Zakat on Wealth is a different Zakah

Zakat on Wealth (which is the third pillar of Islam) is the 2.5% that a Muslim pays on all his/her not-in-use wealth that fall under the following nine wealth types: camels, cattle, sheep, gold, silver, wheat, barley, dates and raisins.

Zakat on Wealth is obligatory provided that the wealth is at or above the minimum threshold (equivalent of 84 grams of gold) and been in possession for at least 354 days (Hijri year days).

As for Zakat Al-Fitr, it must be given out restrictively between 28 of Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr, and it must be given to the poor in the form of food.

Zakat Al-Fitr in brief

What: Zakat Al-Fitr is given to the poor people in the form of staple food, not money.

Amount: Per person, 3kg of staple food of the country it is being given in e.g. 3kg rice or dates etc.

When: Zakat Al-Fitr must reach the poor between 28 Ramadan and Eid Al-Fitr prayer, not after. Otherwise, it will be considered a Sadaqa (charity).

How: Send AUD15 (estimate as of Ramadan 1442 - May 2021) to a trustworthy and reliable person you know in an Islamic country, and ask them to purchase 3kg of staple food. For example, 3kg of rice (rice is considered a staple food in many Islamic countries) along with ingredients required to cook the rice, such as a bottle of oil. You must ensure that the food reaches the poor on 28 or 29 Ramadan.

Who: You must pay Zakat Al-Fitr for yourself and for each person in your family (3kg of food and cooking ingredients, per person in your family).

What should be given for Zakat Al-Fitr?

Some of the scholars have interpreted “food” (ta’aam) in this hadeeth as referring to wheat; others interpreted it as meaning the staple food of the country, whatever it is, whether it is wheat, corn, pearl millet or whatever. This is the correct view, because Zakah is a help from the rich to the poor, and the Muslim does not have to help with anything other than the staple food of his country. Undoubtedly rice is the staple food in the land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries (Saudi Arabia) and it is a good and valuable food; it is better than the barley that is mentioned in the text. Hence it is known that there is nothing wrong with giving rice as zakat al-fitr.

What must be given is a saa’ of any kind of staple food, i.e., a saa’ of the Prophet ﷺ, which is four complete scoops as scooped up with two hands, according to al-Qaamoos etc. In modern weights this is equivalent to approximately three kilograms. If a Muslim gives rice or some other staple food of his country, that is sufficient even if it is not one of the types mentioned in the hadeeth, according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions. There is nothing wrong with giving the equivalent amount by weight, which is approximately three kilograms.

Remember, Zakat Al-Fitr is NOT a financial aid

It is not permissible to pay the value in money to the poor, according to the majority of scholars; this view has the stronger evidence. Rather it must be given in the form of food, as the Prophet ﷺ and his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) did. This is also the view of the majority of the ummah.

How much is Zakat Al-Fitr?

It was proven from the Messenger of Allah ﷺ that he enjoined zakat al-fitr on the Muslims one saa’ of dates or one saa’ of barley, and he commanded that it be given before the people went out to the (Eid) prayer. In al-Saheehayn it is narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: At the time of the Prophet ﷺ we used to give one saa’ of food, or one saa’ of dates, or one saa’ of barley, or one saa’ of raisins.

When must we give Zakat Al-Fitr?

It is also obligatory to give it before the Eid prayer, and it is not permissible to delay it until after the Eid prayer. There is nothing wrong with giving it one or two days before the Eid. Hence it is known that the earliest time when it may be given, according to the more correct of the two scholarly views, is the night of the 28th of Ramadan, because the month may be twenty-nine or thirty days. The companions of the Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to give it one or two days before Eid.

Who must give Zakat Al-Fitr?

Zakat al-fitr must be given on behalf of all Muslims, young and old, male and female, free and slave. With regard to a foetus, it is not obligatory to give it on his behalf according to scholarly consensus, but it is mustahabb, because ‘Uthmaan (may Allah be pleased with him) did that.  

Who must receive Zakat Al-Fitr

Those to whom it must be given are the poor and needy. It was proven that Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ enjoined zakaat al-fitr as a purification for the fasting person from idle and obscene speech, and to feed the poor. Whoever gives it before the prayer, it is zakaat al-fitr, and whoever gives it after the prayer, it is ordinary charity. This was narrated by Abu Dawood and classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

We ask Allah to help us and all the Muslims to understand His religion properly and adhere to it steadfastly, and to guide us, for He is the Most Generous, Most Kind.

Evidences from Hadith

Al-Bukhaari and Muslim narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ enjoined zakat al-fitr, a saa’ of dates, or a saa’ of barley, for every Muslim, slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he enjoined that it be given before the people go out to the prayer.

Al-Bukhaari (1503) and Muslim (984)

Abu Dawood narrated that Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The Messenger of Allah ﷺ enjoined zakat al-fitr as a purification for those who fasted from idle or obscene talk, and so as to feed the poor. Whoever gives it before the prayer, it is accepted zakah and whoever gives it after the prayer, it is ordinary charity. Classed as hasan by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

Abu Dawood (1609)

And Allah knows best.

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