Zakat al-fitr (Fitrana)
Zakat al-Fitr (fitrana) is charity given to the poor at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. Ehsaas Trust suggest that 8 USD/Person , 5 GBP/Person is given for each member of the household - including children, adults, servents etc - before the day of Eid.
The word Fitr means the same as Iftar, breaking a fast and it comes from the same root word as Futoor which means breakfast. This is a duty which is wajib (required) of every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult as long as he/she has the means to do so.
According to Islamic tradition (Sunnah), Ibn 'Umar said that Muhammad made Zakat al-Fitr compulsory on every slave, freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one Saa` of dried dates or one Saa` of barley. [Sahih Bukhari - Arabic/English, vol. 2, p. 339, no. 579] The head of the household may pay the required amount for the other members. Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree said:
On behalf of our young and old, free men and slaves, we used to take out during Allaah's Messenger's (upon whom be God's peace and blessings) lifetime one Sa` of grain, cheese or raisins". [Sahih Muslim - English transl. vol. 2, p. 469, no. 2155]
The significant role played by Zakat in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqat al-Fitr. However, in the case of Sadaqat al-Fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents and go into the community in order to find those who deserve such charity. Thus, Sadaqat al-Fitr plays a very important role in the development of the bonds of community. The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor. This contact between the various levels of society helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community and trains those who have, to be generous to those who do not have.
The main purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to provide the poor with a means with which they can celebrate the festival of breaking the fast (`Eid al-Fitr) along with the rest of the Muslims.
Every Muslim is required to pay Zakat al-Fitr at the conclusion of the month of Ramadan as a token of thankfulness to God for having enabled him or her to observe the obligatory fast. Its purpose is: As a levy on the fasting person. This is based on the hadith: The Prophet of Allah said, "The fasting of the month of fasting will be hanging between earth and heavens and it will not be raised up to the Divine Presence without paying the Zakat al-Fitr."
To purify those who fast from any indecent act or speech and to help the poor and needy. The latter view is based upon the hadith from Ibn `Abbas who related, “The Prophet of Allah enjoined Zakat al-Fitr on those who fast to shield them from any indecent act or speech, and for the purpose of providing food for the needy. It is accepted as Zakah for the one who pays it before the `Eid prayer, and it is sadaqah for the one who pays it after the prayer.” [Abu Dawood - Eng. transl. vol. 2, p. 421, no. 1605 - rated Sahih]
Zakat al-Fitr is only Wajib for a particular period of time. If one misses the time period without a good reason, he has sinned and can not make it up. This form of charity becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of `Eid Prayer (i.e. shortly after sunrise on the following day). However, it can be paid prior to the above mentioned period, as many of the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet) used to pay Sadaqah al-Fitr a couple days before the `Eid.
After the spread of Islam the jurists permitted its payment from the beginning and middle of Ramadan so as to ensure that the Zakat al-Fitr reached its beneficiaries on the day of `Eid. It is particularly emphasized that the distribution be before the `Eid prayers in order that the needy who receive are able to use the fitr to provide for their dependents on the day of `Eid.
Nafi` reported that the Prophet's companion Ibn 'Umar used to give it to those who would accept it and the people used to give it a day or two before the `Eid. [Bukhari - Arabic/English, Vol. 2, p.339, no. 579]
Ibn 'Umar reported that the Prophet ordered that it (Zakat al-Fitr) be given before people go to perform the (`Eid) prayers.
One who forgets to pay this Zakat al-Fitr on time should do so as soon as possible even though it will not be counted as Zakat al-Fitr.
The amount of Zakat is the same for everyone regardless of their different income brackets. The minimum amount is one sa` (four double handfuls ) of food, grain or dried fruit for each member of the family. This calculation is based on Ibn 'Umar's report that the Prophet made Zakat al-Fitr compulsory and payable by a sa` of dried dates or a sa` of barley.
The Companion of the Prophet, Abu Sa`eed al-Khudree 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] . According to the majority of Sunni scholars One Sa'a is approximately between 2.6 Kg to 3 Kg.
The distribution of Zakat al-Fitr is the same as that of Zakah, and is included within its broader sense. Those who may receive Zakat al-Fitr are the eight categories of recipients mentioned in Surat Al-Tawbah, [9: 60]. They include:
(1) the poor
(2) the needy,
(3) collectors of Zakah,
(4) reconciliation of hearts,
(5) freeing captives / slaves(fee al-Riqab),
(7) sadaqa in the Way of God's holy service (fee sabeel illah)
(8) the traveler.
Zakat al-Fitr must not go for building a mosque, or a school or for other things. It must go to the above-mentioned categories. The Zakat al-mal cannot be used for such things either.
Fidya is a donation that must be paid to feed the poor for not making up fasts missed in Ramadan on time. Ehsaas Trust suggest that 328 USD Full Month , 210 GBP Full Monthis paid for each fast missed, to feed the poor.
What is Fidya?
If one does not fast some days during Ramadan, it is obligatory to make up these missed fasts before the next Ramadan arrives, regardless of whether these fasts were missed with a valid excuse (e.g. menstruation, travel, sickness, etc.) or without a valid excuse. If one does not make them up before the next Ramadan, one is sinful and must pay a "mudd" (a volumetric measure defined below) of food to someone poor (faqeer) or short of money (miskeen) in addition to making up the missed fasts (I`anatu'l-Talibin, 2.242; Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, 3.445-446).
Imam Daraqutni and Imam Bayhaqi (Allah be pleased with them) have related the following hadith from the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace):
Whoever lives to meet Ramadan, does not fast because of an illness, then regains his health and does not make up [the missed fasts] until another Ramadan should fast [the Ramadan] that he has reached, then make up what he owes, and then feed someone short of money [miskeen] for every day [he missed].
Both Imam Daraqutni and Imam Bayhaqi (Allah be pleased with them) said this hadith was weak (da`if), but Imam Ramli has mentioned that it has been narrated with sound (sahih) chains of transmission as a statement of a companion (a mawquf hadith). All this is also strengthened by the fact that six companions gave this fatwa and no one objected to them (Hashiyat al-Sharqawi, 1.413).
What is the fidya that must be paid?
One must give one "mudd" of the main staple of one's area to either someone who is poor (faqeer) or short of money (miskeen) (those who are considered poor or short of money are defined in Reliance, h8.8, h8.11). A "mudd" is the amount one can hold in both hands when cupped together. It is estimated in the Reliance as 0.51 liters (Reliance, i1.33). The type of food one gives varies from place to place. One must pay whatever food is considered the main staple in the area where one lives. This could be wheat, barley, rice or something else (al-Minhaj al-Qawim + al-Hawashi al-Madaniyya, 2.194).
>One mudd needs to be given for every day of fasting that one delayed making up (al-Minhaj al-Qawim, 2.194).
Does the fidya accumulate from year to year?
Yes, it does. One must pay one mudd per day per year (I`anatu'l-Talibin, 2.242). For example, if a woman missed six fasts during Ramadan because of menstruation, and she did not make them up until after three more Ramadans had passed, she would have to pay 18 mudds (1 mudd per day per year * 6 days * 3 years = 18 mudd's).
Can I feed all the people on one day at a big feast?
Feeding (it`am) a poor person, as Imam Bajuri (Allah have mercy on him) explains in the section on expiating (kaffara) for fast days that one has invalidated, means giving him ownership (tamleek) of the food. It is not sufficient to cook the food and then invite him to one's house for lunch or dinner (Hashiyat al-Bajuri, 1.319). Rather, the poor person must be given possession of the food (e.g. a bag of wheat) and then he can do what he wants with it (e.g. eat it, sell it, give it away to someone else, give it back to you and ask you to cook it for him, etc.). As such, it would not be sufficient to invite the people to a feast. One would have to give them the actual staple food.
It is valid, however, to give everyone the food the same day. It suffices to give multiple mudd's to one person (so one could calculate everything one owes and give everything to one person). However, it is not acceptable to divide a single mudd between multiple people (Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, 3.446).
Q4. What qualifies as an excuse for not making up these days?
For example, if one never knew that it was obligatory to make up missed fasts before the next Ramadan despite being raised Muslim, does one still have make them up?
Just like missed prayers, there is no excuse for not making up the fast days. Obligatory fasts must be made up. They are a debt one owes to Allah, just like missed prayers.
There are, however, excuses for not paying the expiatory payment (fidya). The fuqaha mention that someone who was not aware that it was obligatory to make up missed fasts before the next Ramadan does not have to perform the expiation (fidya), even if he or she lives among scholars. Non-scholars (`awamm) are excused for being ignorant of minor, subtle points such as these even if they live in Muslim lands among scholars. If, however, one knew that it was obligatory to make up the fasts before the next Ramadan, but was not aware that one had to make an expiatory payment (fidya), one would not be considered excused (Tuhfat al-Muhtaj, 3.445).
Kaffara is the compensation that you should give if you deliberately miss or break a fast in the month of Ramadan without a valid reason.Ehsaas Trust suggest that 656 USD Full Month ,420 GBP Full Monthis paid for each fast missed, to feed the poor.
What is the Kaffarah that must be paid?
To keep one fast after another for sixty days CONTINUOUSLY.
However, if a person is unable to keep these 60 fasts for some valid reason e.g. continuous sickness, then one has the option of choosing from one of the following four:
1. Feed sixty poor people to their fill for two meals, or
2. Feed one poor person two meals a day for sixty days; or
3. Give 60 poor persons 3 1/2 Ibs. (approx. l.6kg of wheat or its value in cash or food grains)
4. Give to one poor person not less than 3 1/2 Ibs. of wheat, rice or food grains, etc. to its value or cash for sixty days.
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