Ramadan : Obligation of Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr)

zakatul-fitr

Obligation of Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr)

Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) narrated:

“Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) made obligatory the payment of one Sa’ (approx 2.6 Kg) of dates or one Sa’ of barley as zakatul-fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old; and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer ‘Eid prayer.” [Bukhari, 1503]

Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) said:

“The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) made obligatory on every male or female, free man or slave, the payment of one Sa’ of dates or barley as sadaqatul-fitr.” The people then substituted one-half Sa’ of wheat for that. Ibn Umar used to give dates. Nafi’ added: ‘Once there was scarcity of dates in Madinah and Ibn ‘Umar gave barley (instead).  And Ibn Umar used to give sadaqatul-fitr for every young and old person. He even used to give it on behalf of my children.’

Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) used to give sadaqatul-fitr to those who had been officially appointed for its collection. People used to give sadaqatul-fitr to those who had been officially appointed for its collection. People used to give sadaqatul-fitr even a day or two before Eid. [Bukhari, 1511]

‘Abdullah bin Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) used to give sadaqatul-fitr on behalf of his servants who were in the Wadi Qura and Khaibar. [Muwatta, 1/283]

Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr) on Fetus

No zakah is obligated on the fetus, according to the majority of the jurists. Ibn Hazm disagrees, saying that if the fetus completes one hundred and twenty days before the dawn of the last day of Ramadan, then zakatul-fitr must be paid on its behalf. The hundred and twenty days is taken from the saying that indicates that it is at this time that the soul is blown into the fetus. Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said:

“The creation of anyone of you is gathered for forty days in his mother’s womb as a nutfah, then he be comes a clot for a similar period of time, then he becomes a little lump of flesh for a similar length of time. Then the angel is sent to him and he breaths the soul into it, and four things are decreed; his provision, his life-span, his deeds and whether he will be wretched or blessed.” [Ahmad, 1/382]

Ibn Hazm argues that the fetus is included by the word of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) “young” and reports that Uthman bin Affan (radhiAllaahu anhu) used to pay sadaqatul-fitr on behalf of the young, old and unborn babies. Abu Qilabah says, “They (the Companions) used to like paying sadaqatul-fitr on behalf of the young, the old, and the fetus in the womb.” Ibn Hazm clarifies that Abu Qilabah met many Companions and narrates from them.

Sulaiman bin Yasar answered “Yes” to a question about sadaqatul-fitr on behalf of the fetus and adds: “No companion is known to have differed with Uthman on this issue.” [Muhalla, 6/132]

The truth is that there is no evidence on the obligation of sadaqatul-fitr on unborn babies in what Ibn Hazm quotes, and it is gross arbitration to include the fetus in the meaning of the “young”. Uthman’s action is not indicative of the obligation, although it may mean encouragement of this action. So to be on the safe side we can say that it is permissible. Ash-Shawkani relates from Ibn al-Mundhir as reporting ijma that “it is not obligatory on unborn babies,” and Ahmad considers this payment desirable and not obligatory. [Nail al-Awtar, 4/181]

Conditions for the Obligation of Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr)

The majority of the scholars believe that there are only two conditions that are obligatory: Islam and owing the amount of zakatul-fitr above what is needed as provision for the day of ‘Eid for the person and his family. Imam Ash-Shawkani says that this is correct because the texts are general and inclusive of the rich and poor. The term of the ability of zakah is not subject to human opinion in this case, since the purpose of this zakah is the clearing of vain speech, etc., includes both the poor and the rich. On the other hand, the condition for owning food for the day of ‘Eid
is indispensable, because without this condition, the person deserves to receive sadaqatul-fitr and to be satisfied on that day. [Nail al-Awtar, 4/181]

The Wisdom Behind Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr)

Ibn Abbas (radhiAllaahu anhu) narrated:

“The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) obligated zakatul-fitr for the one who fasts as a means of purifying him from vain speech and immoral deeds, and as a means of feeding the poor. Whoever gives it before the (‘Eid) prayer will have it counted as an accepted sadaqah, and whoever gives it after the prayer will have it counted as a charity among charities.” [Abu Dawud, 1609]

When it Must be Given

As described in above mentioned narration: “Whoever gives it before the (‘Eid) prayer will have it counted as accepted sadaqah.”

Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) used to give sadaqatul-fitr to those who had been officially appointed for its collection. People used to give sadaqatul-fitr (even) a day or two before the ‘Eid. [Bukhari, 1511]

Paying Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr) During the First or Second Ten Days of Ramadan

Zakatul-fitr is connected to al-fitr (breaking of the fast) because al-fitr is the reason for it. So, if the breaking of the fast of Ramadan is the reason for this expiation, then it is dependent upon it and it should not precede it. This is why the best time to pay it is on the day of ‘Eid, prior to the prayer. However, it is permissible to pay it one or two days before ‘Eid, as this makes things easier for the giver and the recipient. Before that, according to the most authoritative opinion of the scholars, it is not permissible, and according to this there are two times for it; the permissible time, which is one or two days before the ‘Eid and the preferred time, which is on the day of ‘Eid prior to the prayer.

As for delaying it until after the prayer, that is unlawful and it will not be counted as zakatul-fitr. Unless the person was ignorant of the day of ‘Eid, such as if he was out in the desert and he did not know until it was too late, and something like that. In that case, there is no sin upon him in paying it after the ‘Eid prayer and it will be counted as zakatul-fitr. [Fatawa Arkanul-lslam: 2/605, 606]

Shaykh Muhammad ibn Saalih al-‘Uthaymeen (rahmatullah) was asked, as it says in Majmoo’ al-Fatawa (18/zakatul-fitr/question no. 180): “I paid zakatul-fitr at the beginning of Ramadan in Egypt before I came to Makkah, and now I am staying in Makkah al-Mukarramah. Do I have to pay zakatul-fitr?”

He replied: “Yes, you have to pay zakatul-fitr, because you paid it before its time came. The phrase “zakatul-fitr” is composed of two words, which explains the reason for the zakah, which is breaking the fast (fitr). So zakatul-fitr is mentioned in conjunction with the fitr (breaking of the fast) because that is the reason for it, and it is known that breaking the fast of Ramadan occurs only on the last day of Ramadan, so it is not permissible to pay zakatul-fitr except when the sun has set on the last day of Ramadan, except that there is a concession allowing it to be paid one or two days before. Otherwise the proper time for it is after sunset on the last day of Ramadan, because that is the time when the Ramadan fast is to be broken. Hence we say that it is better to pay it on the morning of ‘Eid if possible.” End quote.

It says in ‘Awnul-Ma’bod Sharh Abi Dawud: “Obviously, the one who gives zakatul-fitr after the prayer is like one who did not give it, because both have in common the fact that they did not give this obligatory charity. Most of the scholars think that giving it before the ‘Eid prayer is only mustahab (desirable), and they confirmed that it is acceptable to give it at any time until the end of the day of fitr, but this opinion is refuted by the hadith. With regard to delaying it until after the day of ‘Eid, Ibn Raslon said: “This is haram by consensus, because it is zakah, so the one who delays it must be committing a sin, as is the case when one delays a prayer.” [‘Awnul-Ma’bod: 5/3, 4]

So it is haram to delay giving it for no good reason, because this defeats the purpose, which is to save the poor from having to ask on the day of joy. If a person delays giving it without any excuse, he has committed a sin but he still has to make it up.

Zakatul-fitr has to be handed over to someone who is entitled to it or someone who has been appointed to collect it, at the right time before the Eid prayer. If a man wants to give it to a particular person but cannot find him or a trustee who can accept it on his behalf and he is afraid that time is running out, he has to give it to another entitled person and not delay giving it. If a person wants to give zakatul-fitr to a specific needy person and is afraid that he may not see him at the appropriate time, he should tell him to appoint someone to accept it on his behalf. [Zakatul-Fitr by Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid]

Amount of Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr)

The amount to be given is one Sa’ of food according to the measure of Sa’ used by the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam). Ibn Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) narrated: “Allah’s Messenger (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) made the payment of sadaqatul-fitr obligatory (and it was), either one Sa’ of barley or one Sa’ of dates.” [Bukhari: 1512]

muddA Prophetic Sa’ is not a weight measurement.  It was and still is a measurement of volume, similar to the size of a large salad bowl.  It is made up of four mudds, and a mudd is a smaller container, close to the size of a small salad bowl. To be precise, a Prophetic mudd in modern volume measurements is .75L (or 750mL), which means that a saa’ is three litres (3 L). [More on this here.]

Approximately, One Sa’ equals to 2.6 kilograms [2.6 kg] of most food grains covered.

Increasing the amount of Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr) with the Intention of Giving Voluntary Charity

It is permissible for a person to increase the zakatul-fitr payment and make the intention that what was in excess of the obligatory amount be considered as voluntary charity. Included in this is the practice of some people nowadays who have zakatul-fitr for ten persons to distribute for example, so they buy a bag of rice which holds more than the zakatul-fitr for ten persons, and he gives all of it as payment for himself and for his family. This is permissible if the person is certain that the bag holds what is incumbent upon him or more, because measuring the amount of zakatul-fitr is not obligatory, except to know if it is sufficient, so if we know that the amount is sufficient in this bag and we pay it to the poor person, then there is no sin in this. [Fatawa Arkanul-IsIam: 2/606, 607]

Types of Things that May be Given

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (radhiAllaahu anhu) narrated:

“We used to give one Sa’ of meal, or one Sa’ of barley or one Sa’ of dates, or one Sa’ of iqt (dried yoghurt or cottage cheese), or one Sa’ of raisins (dried grapes) (per head) as zakatul-fitr.” [Bukhari, 1506]

‘Abdullah bin Umar (radhiAllaahu anhu) narrated:

“The Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) ordered (the Muslims) to give one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barley as zakatul-fitr. The people regarded two mudd of wheat as equal to that.” [Bukhari, 1507]

Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (radhiAllaahu anhu) narrated:

“In the life time of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) we used to give one Sa’ of meal or one Sa’ of dates, or one Sa’ of barley, or one Sa’ of raisins (dried grapes) (per head) as sadaqatul-fitr. When Mu’awiyah become the caliph and the wheat was (available in abundance) he said: ‘I think that one mudd (of wheat) equals two mudd (of any of the above mentioned things).” [Bukhari, 1508]

‘Ammar bin Sa’id, the mu’adhdhin of the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam), narrated from his father that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) enjoined sadaqatul-fitr one Sa’ of dates, one Sa’ of barley, or one Sa’ of sult (a kind of barley without skin on it, resembling wheat). [IbnMajah, 1830]

Giving Something Other Than Above Mentioned Things

Some scholars say that if the five types of food are available, which are: wheat, dates, barley, raisins and cottage cheese, then zakatul-fitr will not be fulfilled by giving something other than these. This view completely contradicts the view of those who say that it is permissible to pay zakatul-fitr with any of these things and others, even with money. So there are two conflicting opinions.

The correct view is that paying it with any human food will be counted, because Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri said as confirmed in Sahih Bukhari:

“We used to pay it during the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) with a Sa’ of food, and our food consisted of dates, barley, raisins and cottage cheese.”

He did not mention wheat, and I do not know of any clear, authentic hadith in which wheat is mentioned as being given as zakatul-fitr but there is no doubt that wheat is valid.

Then there is a hadith of Ibn Abbas (radhiAllaahu anhu) in which he said: The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) enjoined the payment of zakatul-fitr as a purification for the fasting person from vain talk, obscenity and in order to feed the destitute.

Therefore, the correct view is that any human food is valid for the payment of zakatul-fitr, even if it is not one of the five types which have been reported by the scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence because four of these types as indicated earlier, were the food of the people during the time of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam). [Fatawa Arkanul-lslam: 2/607, 608]

Opinions of the Scholars of Islamic Jurisprudence

An-Nawawi (rahmatullah) said: “Our companions (fellow scholars of the shafi’i school of thought) said: It is a condition of giving something as zakatul-fitr that it should be one of the foodstuffs on which zakah is paid at the rate of one-tenth (i.e., zakah of grains and fruits). Nothing else is accept able except aqit (dried yoghurt), cheese and milk.”

Ash-Shafi’i (rahmatullah) said: “If the staple food of a people is corn, pearl millet (dukhn) thin husked barley (sult), rice or any grain on which zakah is obligatory, then they may give it as zakatrul-fitr.” [Al-Majmo’]

Ibnul Qayyim (rahmatullah) said: “If it was said: You must give a Sa’ of dates everywhere, whether it is the staple food or not, this is a disputed matter which is subject to ijtihad. There are some people who say that it is obligatory, and others who say that in each country it is obligatory to give a Sa’ of whatever is the staple food there. This is more correct and is closer to the principles of shari’ah, for how can you make it obligatory for people whose staple food is fish, for example, or rice or pearl millet, to give dates?” [I’lamul-Muwaqq’ain]

Conclusion

Any human food is valid for the payment of zakatul-fitr.

Giving Money for Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr)

Zakatul-fitr is an act of worship according to the consensus of the Muslims, and the fundamental principle regarding acts of worship is that they are tawqeef (i.e., limited to whatever there is a text for). Therefore, it is not permissible for anyone to seek to worship Allah with any act of worship except with what is taken from the wise person who was the source of Islamic legislation (i.e., Prophet Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam)). He is the one for whom His Lord, blessed is He the Most High, said.

“And he (Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam)) does not speak from (his own) desire. It is only a revelation that is revealed (to him).” [Surah An-Najm 53:3,4]

He (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) said conceming that: “Whoever introduces into this matter of ours that which is not of it is rejected.” [Bukhari, 2697]

He (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) legislated zakatul-fitr by that which is confirmed from him in the authentic hadiths as a Sa’ of food or a Sa’ of dried dates or a Sa’ of barley or a Sa’ of raisins or a Sa’ of cottage cheese.

Hence, this is the Sunnah of Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) regarding zakatul-fitr. It is known that during the time of the legislating dinars and dirhams (i.e., gold and silver coins) existed — especially in Madinah among the Muslims. There were the two leading forms of currency at that time and yet he, the Prophet did not mention them in regards to zakatul-fitr. If either of them were acceptable for zakatul-fitr, he would have clarified that, as it is not permissible to delay explanation past the time of need. If this explanation had occurred, the Companions would have acted upon it (i.e., by giving money).

The fundamental principle regarding acts of worship is tawqeef. We do not know of anyone of the Prophet’s Companions giving money for zakatul-fitr, and they were the most knowledgeable people of his Sunnah and the most devout people in following it. If anything like this had occurred among them, it would have been reported just as other things were reported from their statements and deeds that were related to the matters of Islamic legislation. Indeed Allah, Glory is unto Him the Most High, said:

“Verily there is an excellent example for you all in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam).” [Surah Al-Ahzab, 33:21]

And He, the Mighty and Majestic, said:

“And the first and foremost (to believe) from the Muhajirun (immigrants to Al-Madinah) and the Ansar (the citizens of Al-Madinah who helped the Muhajirun) and those who followed them in goodness, Allah is pleased with them and they are pleased with Him. And He has prepared for them Gardens with rivers flowing beneath them. They will abide therein forever. That is the supreme success.” [Surah At-Tawbah, 9:100]

From what we mentioned, it becomes clear to the person who follows the truth that giving money for zakatul-fitr is not permissible and it does not suffice for whoever gives it because he is opposing what has been mentioned of the legislative evidences. [Majm’u Fatwa, Ibn Baz: 14/208-211]

Shaykh Salih Al-Munajjid says: “There are obvious benefits to giving it in the form of staple foods, such as at times when businessmen are hoarding certain goods, prices have gone up, or at time of war and inflation. If someone were to say: “But money is more useful for the poor, because then they can buy what they want, and they might need something other than food, so the poor person might sell the food and loose the money. The response to this is that there are other sources for meeting the needs of the poor with regard to shelter, clothing and so on, which are provided for from the zakah paid on people’s wealth, general charity and other kinds of donations. Let us put things into the proper Islamic perspective and adhere to what was set out by the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) who told us that giving a Sa’ of food to feed the poor is obligatory. If we give food to a poor person, he will eat it and will benefit from it sooner or later, because it is the kind of food he uses away.

On this basis, it is not permissible for the purposes of zakatul-fitr to give money for a person to pay off his debts or to cover the cost of surgery for a sick person or to pay for tuition for a needy student and so on. There are other sources for this kind of help as stated above.” [Zakatul-Fitr by Salih Al-Munajjid]

To Whom it May be Given

Those entitled to receive obligatory zakah are entitled to receive zakatul-fitr, though it should not be understood that they are all the types of recipients mentioned in the Quranic verse, for it is not paid to those whose hearts are inclined towards Islam, nor to those who are employed to collect it. We should also remember it is not permissible for the one who gives zakatul-fitr to buy it back from the one to whom he has given it.

Payment and Distribution

1. It is preferable for the person, who is giving it, to distribute it out himself. (Ash-Shafi’i said): “I prefer to distribute zakatul-fitr my self rather than give it to one who is collecting it.”

2. An-Nawawi (rahmatullah) said: “Ash-Shafi’i said in Al-Mukhtasar: “Zakatul-Fitr is to be distributed among those to whom zakat is distributed. I prefer that it should be given to relatives on whom it is not obligatory to spend at all. He said: If he prefers to give it to the one who is collecting it, this should be fine, in-sha’Allah — but it is better for him to distribute it himself. If he gives to the Muslim leader or the collector or the one who is collecting the people’s zaktul-fitr, and he is given permission to give it, this is fine, but distributing it himself is better than all of this.” [Al-Majmo’]

3. It is permissible to appoint a trustworthy person to hand it over to those who are entitled to it, but if he is not trustworthy, then it is not allowed. ‘Abdullah bin Al-Muammal said: “I heard Ibn Abi Mulaykah when a man was saying to him, so and so told me to leave my zakatul-fitr in the mosque, Ibn Abi Mulaykah said: ‘He does not know what he is talking about. You go and distribute it (yourself), otherwise Ibn Hisham (The govemor who was collecting it in the mosque) will give it to his guards and whoever he wants (i.e., he would give it to people who were not entitled to it).'” [Al-Umm]

Imam Ahmad (rahmatullah) stated that it is permissible to share out one Sa’ among a group of people, or to give many Sa’s to one person.

Malik said: “There is nothing wrong with a man giving sadaqatul-fitr on behalf of himself and his family to one needy person.” [Al-Mudawanah]

If one is giving less than a Sa’ to a poor person this must be pointed out, because he might use it to pay his own zakatul-fitr.

It is permissible for a poor person, if he receives zakatul-fitr from someone and he has more than he needs, to give it on his own behalf or on behalf of one of those who are dependent on him if he is sure that the food is acceptable (i.e., it is the right type of food and the quantity is sufficient). [Zakatul-Fitr by Muhammad Salih Al-Munajjid]

Where to Give Zakatul-Fitr (Sadaqatul-Fitr)

The Sunnah is to distribute zakatul-fitr among the poor people of the land. Allah’s Messenger said about every type of zakah:

“It is to be taken from the wealthy among them and given to the poor among them.” [Bukhari, 1395]

Shaykh Ibn Baz (rahmatullah) says: “If someone, who must pay zakatul-fitr, travels two days or more before the ‘Eid, he should give it in the Islamic land that he is travelling to. If he is travelling to lands that are not Islamic, he should find some poor Muslims and give it to them. If his travel was after the permitted time to give it, then he should give it to the poor of his land because its intent is to show beneficence and kindness to them (the poor) and prevent them from begging from the people during the days of ‘Eid.” [Majmo Fatawa: 14/214,215]

It is permissible for a person to pay zakatul-fitr for his family if they are not in the city or country with him. For example, if he was in Makkah and they were in Riyadh, it is permissible to pay zakatul-fitr for them in Makkah, but it is better for a person to pay zakatul-fitr in the place in which the time for its payment overtakes him, so if it overtakes him when he is in Makkah he should pay it in Makkah and if he is in Riyadh then he should pay it in Riyadh. If some of his family members are in Makkah and some of them in Riyadh, then those in Riyadh should pay it in Riyadh and those in Makkah should pay it in Makkah, because zakatul-fitr is due from each person. [Fatawa Arkanul-lslam: 2/610]

Shaykh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah ibn Baz fatawa on Zakatul-Fitr as one Sa’ of the staple food. The Question asked was: “There have been frequent questions regarding the payment of Zakat-ul-Fitr in the form of rice or money instead of food.”:

He replied: “It is authentically reported that the Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) ordered Muslims to pay Zakatul-Fitr in the form of Sa’ (1 Sa’=3 kg. Approx.) of dates or barley. He (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) ordered it to be paid before Salat-ul-‘Eid (the Festival Prayer). It is related in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) from Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri (radhiAllaahu anhu): “During the lifetime of the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) we used to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr in the form of one Sa’ of food, one Sa’ of dates, one Sa’ of barley, one Sa’ of cheese, or one Sa’ of raisins (dried grapes).” A group of scholars interpreted the word “food” which was mentioned in the previous Hadith as referring to wheat; others interpreted it as the local staple food, whether it is wheat, corn, pearl millet or the like. This is the correct view, because Zakah is a form of aid 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 Saudi Arabia and it is a good and valuable food; it is better than the barley that is mentioned in the text. Hence, there is nothing wrong with paying Zakatul-Fitr in the form of rice.

A Sa’ of any kind of staple food is equal to the measurement specified by the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) which was what an average man scoops up in two handfuls four times. In modern weights, this is equivalent to approximately three kilograms (3 kg). If a Muslim gives 3 kilo of rice or some other staple food of his country, that is sufficient even if it is not one of the types mentioned in the Hadith. This is based on the soundest of the two opinions of scholars. There is nothing wrong with giving the equivalent amount by weight, which is approximately three kilograms (3 kg).

It is Wajib (obligatory) to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr on the part of every Muslim; young and old, male and female, and freeman and slaves. Scholars unanimously agreed that it is not obligatory to pay Zakah on behalf of a fetus, however, it is Mustahab (desirable) because ‘Uthman (radhiAllaahu anhu) did so.

It is also Wajib to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr before Salat-ul-‘Eid, and it is not permissible to delay it until after Salat-ul-‘Eid. There is nothing wrong with paying it one or two days before the ‘Eid. Hence, it is known that the earliest time when it may be given, according to the soundest of the two opinions of scholars, is the night of the 28th of Ramadan, because the month may be twenty-nine or thirty days. The Sahabah (Companions of the Prophet, Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) used to give it one or two days before ‘Eid.

Zakat-ul-Fitr should be given to the poor and the needy. It was authentically reported that Ibn ‘Abbas (radhiAllaahu anhu) said, “The Messenger of Allah (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) ordained Zakat-ul-Fitr as a purification from idle talk and obscenities for those who fast, and to feed the needy. Whoever gives it before Salat-ul-Fitr; it will be accepted as Zakah and whoever gives it after Salat-ul-Fitr, it will be counted for him as a regular Sadaqah (voluntary charity).”

It is not permissible to pay the value in money, according to the Jumhur (dominant majority of scholars); this view has the stronger evidence. Rather, it must be given in the form of food, as the Prophet (Sallallahu alayhi wassallam) and his Companions (radhiAllaahu anhuma) did. This is also the view of the Jumhur. We ask Allah (Exalted be He) to help us and all Muslims to understand His Religion properly and adhere to it steadfastly, and to guide us, for He is the Most Generous, Most Kind. Peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.”

[Collection of Fatwas of Shaykh Ibn Baz, vol. 5, p. 92, (Part No. 14; Page No. 201,202)]

And Allaah knows best.

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