Ramadaniyat 20: Zakat ul-Fitr, Life After Ramadan

Question

How much zakaat al-fitr is and when should it be paid?

Answer

Praise be to Allaah.

It was proven from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings ofAllaah be upon him) that he enjoined zakaat al-fitr on the Muslims,one saa’ of dates or one saa’ of barley, and he commanded that it begiven before the people went out to the (Eid) prayer. In al-Saheehaynit is narrated that Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased withhim) said: At the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaahbe upon him) we used to give one saa’ of food, or one saa’ of dates,or one saa’ of barley, or one saa’ of raisins.

Some of the scholars have interpreted “food” (ta’aam) in this hadeethas referring to wheat; others interpreted it as meaning the staplefood of the country, whatever it is, whether it is wheat, corn, pearlmillet or whatever. This is the correct view, because zakaah is a helpfrom the rich to the poor, and the Muslim does not have to help withanything other than the staple food of his country. Undoubtedly riceis the staple food in the land of the Two Holy Sanctuaries (SaudiArabia) and it is a good and valuable food; it is better than thebarley that is mentioned in the text. Hence it is known that there isnothing wrong with giving rice as zakaat al-fitr.

What must be given is a saa’ of any kind of staple food, i.e., a saa’of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which isfour complete scoops as scooped up with two hands, according toal-Qaamoos etc. In modern weights this is equivalent to approximatelythree kilograms. If a Muslim gives a kilo of rice or some other staplefood of his country, that is sufficient even if it is not one of thetypes mentioned in the hadeeth, according to the more correct of thetwo scholarly opinions. There is nothing wrong with giving theequivalent amount by weight, which is approximately three kilograms.

Zakaat 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 notobligatory to give it on his behalf according to scholarly consensus,but it is mustahabb, because ‘Uthmaan (may Allaah be pleased with him)did that.

It is also obligatory to give it before the Eid prayer, and it is notpermissible to delay it until after the Eid prayer. There is nothingwrong with giving it one or two days before the Eid. Hence it is knownthat the earliest time when it may be given, according to the morecorrect of the two scholarly views, is the night of the 28th ofRamadaan, because the month may be twenty-nine or thirty days. Thecompanions of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaahbe upon him) used to give it one or two days before Eid.

Those to whom it must be given are the poor and needy. It was proventhat Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messengerof Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined zakaatal-fitr as a purification for the fasting person from idle and obscenespeech, and to feed the poor. Whoever gives it before the prayer, itis zakaat al-fitr, and whoever gives it after the prayer, it isordinary charity. This was narrated by Abu Dawood and classed as hasanby al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

It is not permissible to pay the value in money, according to themajority of scholars; this view has the stronger evidence. Rather itmust be given in the form of food, as the Prophet (peace and blessingsof Allaah be upon him) and his companions (may Allaah be pleased withthem) did. This is also the view of the majority of the ummah. We askAllaah to help us and all the Muslims to understand His religionproperly and adhere to it steadfastly, and to guide us, for He is theMost Generous, Most Kind.

Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 14/200.

This is the estimation of Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy onhim), who reckoned the weight of zakaat al-fitr as being approximatelythree kilograms.

This was also the estimate of the scholars of the Standing Committee (9/371).

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) estimated it ingrams as being 2100 grams, as it says in Fataawa al-Zakaah, p.274-276.

This discrepancy occurred because a saa’ is a measure of volume, not weight.The scholars worked it out by weight so that it would be easier towork out. It is well known that the weight of grains varies; some arelight and some are heavy, and some are in between. In fact the weightof a saa’ of the same kind of grain may vary, and new may weigh morethan old. Hence if people err on the side of caution and give more,that will be better.See al-Mughni, 4/168, where it mentions something similar aboutworking out the nisaab of crops by weight.

And Allaah knows best

*******

What After Ramadhan?

AlHamdulillahi wa kafaa, was-Salatu was-salamu `alaa `ibaadihi-lladheena StafaaWe leave the blessed month of Ramadan, its beautiful days and itsfragrant nights. We leave the month of the Qur’an, taqwa, patience,jihad, mercy, forgiveness and freedom from hellfire…

Have we fulfilled the requirements of taqwa and graduated from theRamadan school with the diploma of the God-fearing? Have we fought oursouls and desires and defeated them, or have we been overtaken by ourcustoms and blind imitations? Have we performed our actions in a way that fulfills the conditions for receiving mercy, forgiveness andrelease from the Fire? Many questions and numerous thoughts come to the heart of the sincereMuslim, who asks and answers with truthfulness.

What Have We Gained From Ramadan?

Ramadan is a school of iman and a ‘stop to recharge one’s spiritual batteries’ – to acquire one’s provision for the rest of the year. Forwhen will one take a lesson and change for better if not in the monthof Ramadan?

The noble month is a true school of transformation in which we changeour actions, habits and manners that are in variance with the Law ofAllah ‘azza wa jall. “Verily, Allah does not change the condition of apeople until they change what is in themselves.” [Ar-Ra`d, 11]If you are from those who benefited from Ramadan, fulfilled therequirements of taqwa, truly fasted the month, prayed in it withtruthfulness, and strove against your soul, then praise and thankAllah, and ask Him for steadfastness upon it until you meet your death.

Be not like one who has sewn a shirt and then destroyed it… Have youseen one who sewed a shirt or thawb, so when she looked at it, sheliked it. Then she destroyed it pulling a thread by thread for noreason. What would people say about such a person?! Or have you seenone who earns a fortune trading throughout the day, then when thenight comes, he throws away all that he earned, dirham by dirham. Whatwould people say about such a person?!

This is the condition of one who returns to sinning and evil doing after Ramadan and leaves obedience and righteous actions. So after hewas favored with the blessing of obedience and enjoyment ofcommunicating with Allah he returned to the blaze of sins and evilactions. How evil are the people who know Allah only in Ramadan!

My dear ones, falling short in one’s commitment to Islam after Ramadan is manifested in many ways, including:

•         Men leaving the five prayers in congregation, after theyfilled mosques for Taraweeh prayers, thus going to the masjid for recommended prayers and leaving obligatory ones.

•         Return to musical entertainment, forbidden films, women displaying their adornment beyond that which ordinarily appears thereof, free mixing etc.

This is not thankfulness for blessings and favors, nor is it the signof acceptance of one’s actions, rather this is opposition to favorsand absence of thankfulness.

These are from signs of one’s deeds not being accepted – and Allah’srefuge is sought – forone who truly fasts rejoices on the occasion of `eid, praises his Lord for helping him complete the fast, and remains fearful that Allah maynot accept his fasting, just as the Salaf would continue asking foracceptance of their actions in Ramadan for six months after it.

From signs that one’s deeds are accepted is that he or she hasimproved in his or her obedience to Allah `azza wa jall. “And rememberwhen your Lord proclaimed, ‘If you are grateful, I will surelyincrease you [in favor]…” [Ibrahim, 7] Increase you in good, faith andrighteous actions. So if the servant is truly thankful to his Lord,you will see him guided to more obedience and distanced fromsinfulness. Thankfulness is leaving sins, as the early Muslims said.“And worship your Lord until there comes you to the certainty [i.e.death].” [al-Hijr, 99]

The Muslim must continuously be in the state of obedience of Allah,firm upon His Sharee`ah, steadfast upon His Deen, so that he or she isnot of those who worship Allah only during one month or only in oneplace. Rather, the believer knows that the Lord of Ramadan is also theLord of other months, and that He is the Lord of all times and places,so he is steadfast upon the Sharee`ah of Allah until he meets Himwhile He is pleased with him. Allah ta`ala said, “So remain on a rightcourse as you have been commanded, [you] and those who have turnedback with you [to Allah].” [Hud, 112] And, “So take a straight courseto Him and seek His forgiveness.” [Fussilat, 6] And the Prophet,sallallahu `alayhi wa sallam, said, “Say ‘I believe in Allah’, then besteadfast.” [Muslim]

— If the fasting in Ramadan has ended, then there remains voluntaryfasting, such as fasting six days in Shawwal, on Mondays andThursdays, the three days in the middle of the month, the days of`Aashoora and `Arafat, and others.

— If standing in prayer at night during Ramadan has ended, then thereremains voluntary night prayer throughout the year. “They used tosleep but little of the night.” [Adh-Dhaariyaat, 17]

— If the charity in Ramadan and zakat ul-fitr have ended, then thereis the obligatory Zakat, and also there are many other open doors tocharity, voluntary actions and jihad.

— Reading of the Qur’an and contemplating it is not only for Ramadan,rather it is for all times.

Righteous actions are for all times and all places, so strive, O mybrother and sister, and beware of laziness. And remember that it isnot allowed for us to leave the obligatory actions or delay them, suchas the five daily prayers on time, in congregation etc.

And do not fall into forbidden actions, such as forbidden sayings,food and drinks, or by looking at or listening to what is forbidden.

Be steadfast and upright upon the Deen of Allah at all times, for youdo not know when you’ll meet the Angel of Death. Beware of him takingyou while you are in a state of sin. “O Allah, Who turns the hearts,keep our hearts steadfast upon Your Deen.”

I ask Allah to accept from us and you our fasting, our prayers andother righteous actions, that our condition after Ramadan be a betterone, that the state of our Ummah improves, that we are granted honourand that we truly turn to our Lord…Ameen

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