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Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Zakat al-Fitr

You don't need to think about it, Prophet Muhammad (Peace be upon him) already told us! It’s paying Zakat-al-Fitr! 

SubhanaAllah, it’s easy to forget this special Zakat with all the Eid shopping, but please DON’T forget it!  It’s the least you can do to make sure that your fasting is accepted inshaAllah.

Following is an article by Muhammad Alshareef about a few mistakes people normally do regarding Zakat-al-Fitr, please read it as it contains super useful information. I just wanted to add that if you can, try to give this Zakat in person this Ramadan instead of doing it via a Charity organisation. 
It’s very easy, all you have to do is follow these 3 steps:

1. Go buy 3KG of Rice/Dates on behalf of yourself + each of your family member whom you support.
2. Find a needy Muslim person/family in your local area.
3. Go Deliver! (If you can deliver secretly by leaving it at their doorstep would be even better inshaAllah).

Although it’s ‘easier’ and less ‘hassle’ to do it via a charity organisation, but honestly, it’s a different feeling when you do it physically and deliver it by hand. (p.s. if you're really not sure who to give it to then a charity organisation maybe a better option for you inshaAllah).

May Allah (Subhanahu Wa Ta'ala) accept all your good deeds!

I feel compelled to put this together because I’ve seen
the following boo-boos happen for years. In sha Allah,
you can help me spread the word by sharing this article
with your community, friends and family.

What is Zakat ul-Fitr? Think “Iftar”, Zakat Ul-Fitr is
the charity that we pay at the end of Ramadan. Here is the
foundational hadith that establishes the obligation of
Zakat ul-Fitr:

Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet (sal Allahu alayhi wa
sallam), made Zakat al-Fitr compulsory on every slave,
freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one
Saa` (a measurement: four double handfuls) of dried dates or
one Saa` of barely.
[Sahih Bukhari - Arabic/English, vol. 2, p. 339, no. 579]

To understand Zakat ul-Fitr, here is a good summary of it:

But unfortunately, our community makes some basic boo-boos in
the payment of Zakat Al-Fitr that must be clarified.

Boo-Boo One: Paying at Eid Salah
Some people go to Eid prayers and drop money into the
donation box thinking that they have paid their Zakat
ul-Fitr. No, Zakat al-Fitr, which is food, must be in the
hands of the needy family BEFORE Eid prayer. If someone
goes to Eid prayer and pays then it is GUARANTEED that the
money will NOT arrive on time. And thus the person paying
is sinful for having missed the payment of Zakat al-Fitr.
May Allah forgive us.

Boo-Boo Two: Snail mailing the money overseas
Basic principle as before: the Zakat al-Fitr, food, MUST be
in the hands of the needy BEFORE Eid prayer. One cannot mail
the money overseas and have it arrive in the hands of the
needy after Eid prayer is over.

However, if one is able to get the Zakah al-Fitr to the
needy overseas BEFORE Eid prayer is conducted in their
locality, then in sha Allah it’s alright.

Boo-Boo Three: Not paying
Yes, as simple as this boo-boo is, it is HARAM to skip the
payment of Zakat Al-Fitr. EVERYONE must pay Zakat Al-Fitr,
every member of the household. So if you have 8 people in
your house, Zakat Al-Fitr must be paid x 8, even if the
youngest member is just a few days old.

Boo-Boo Four: Confusing Zakat ul-Fitr with Zakat ul-Maal
We are talking about Zakat al-Fitr here (think “Iftar”,
i.e. Ramadan). Zakat Al-Maal (Maal literally means wealth),
is the Zakah due on ones money – and that could be due
any time during the year depending on when it was due.

Boo-Boo Five: Giving money instead of food
Although some scholars have allowed giving money instead of
food, the spirit of Zakat Al-Fitr is to give food to the
needy of the community, NOT money.

The Companion of the Prophet, Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree, radi
Allahu 'anhu, said, "In the Prophet's time, we used to give
it (Zakatal-Fitr) as a sa` of food, dried dates, barley,
raisins or dried cheese".
[Bukhari - Arabic/English vol. 2, p. 340, no. 582]

Boo-Boo Six: Giving one’s Zakah al-Fitr to a charitable building project
Some people mistakenly give their Zakah Al-Fitr to a
charitable building project: like the building of a Masjid,
or Islamic school. There is a difference of opinion on this
issue, but suffice it to say that the spirit of Zakah
Al-Fitr is that the needy should have plentiful food on
Eid. All eight types of recipients of Zakah mentioned in
the Quran are HUMANS, not “building projects”.

Boo-Boo Seven: Giving Zakat ul-Fitr to non-Muslims
Charity is given to both Non-Muslims and Muslims. However,
Zakah al-Fitr charity is something exclusive to the MUSLIM
poor and needy. Hence, one could not give Zakah Al-Fitr to
any needy person on the street. “Regular” charity can
be given to them, but not Zakah Al-Fitr.

Boo-Boo Eight: Delaying distribution
Sometimes Masjids might collect Zakah Al-Fitr money and
then put it in a bank. It doesn’t reach the needy for
months and months. The correct method is to give Zakah
Al-Fitr immediately when it is due.

In sha Allah, if you have Zakah questions, I encourage you
to seek counsel from your local sources of knowledge.
People you can speak to directly. And I've noted some points
that have a difference of opinion, so if your local sources of
knowledge tell you other than what I've told you, and you
trust them, then listen to them.

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