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What is Zakat ul-fitr? What is its purpose, who must pay, when to give, whome to give?


Zakat ul-fitr is a type of sadaqah which must be paid by every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave, at the end of the month of fasting (Ramadan).

Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate from Ibn 'Umar that he said: "The Prophet, upon whom be peace, enjoined the payment of one sa' of dates or one sa' of barley as zakat ul-fitr on every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave."

The Purpose of Zakat ul-Fitr

Zakat ul-fitr was made obligatory in the month of Sha'ban in the second year of the hijrah. Its purpose is to purify one who fasts from any indecent act or speech and to help the poor and needy. This view is based upon the hadith reported by Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, and ad-Daraqutni from Ibn 'Abbas.

The Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, enjoined zakat ul-fitr on the one who fasts to shield one's self from any indecent act or speech and for the purpose of providing food for the needy. It is accepted as zakah for the person who pays it before the 'id salah, and it is sadaqah for the one who pays it after the salah.

Who Must Pay Zakat ul-Fitr

Zakat ul-fitr is incumbent on every free Muslim who possesses one sa' of dates or barley which is not needed as a basic food for himself or his family for the duration of one day and night. Every free Muslim must pay zakat ul-fitr for himself, his wife, children, and servants

When Zakat ul-Fitr is Due

The jurists agree that zakat ul-fitr is due at the end of Ramadan. They differ, however, about. However Most scholars believe that it is permissible to pay zakat ul-fitr a day or two before 'id the exact time.

Whom to give

The kin are considered the most deserving people for the sadaqah gift because of the common blood relationship. When a man is in need and some of his relatives are rich, naturally he looks to them for help because they are of one family. Also, it is natural for a man to feel more sympathy and pain with his hard-pressed and needy relatives than with strangers. He is humiliated by their degradation and elevated by their honor. Therefore, any well-to-do person who cuts off his kin from assistance and lives in luxury while his relatives are in a state of misery is devoid of natural feeling or lacks belief and is far away from goodness or piety. On the other hand, for one who maintains close links with his kin, his sustenance is assured and his relationship is of beneficence to his kin. Others who are also eligible are: Orphans, The Needy, Wayfarere, Beggars, Slaves. And Allah alone knows the best.