Zakatul Fitr completes the charitable spirit of Ramadan

May 31, 2018

Samar Yahya

Every year, people prepare for the holy month of reward and anticipate the immense rewards to be gained in this month. Ramadan is not only about fasting; the fourth pillar of Islam, but during this month believers strive to do a host of good deeds, gathering with the family, helping others, giving to the poor, and all other ways of giving and cooperation.

The holy month of Ramadan is extremely significant since the Holy Qur’an was first revealed in this month, and it has a night in it that is better than a thousand months.

{Oh you who believe! Fasting is prescribed to you as it was prescribed to those before you, that you may learn piety and righteousness.} (Chapter 2: Verse183)

Fasting during Ramadan creates in a Muslim sympathy with the poor people. During Ramadan people express this sympathy by giving out food during iftar meals and we can see excellent examples of social cooperation and unity during Ramadan.

From the moment the new moon is seen, the whole Muslim world enters into the spiritual discipline of fasting. Sympathy and care among Muslims is increased.

Ramadan is a time of meditation, reflection and self-reformation, allowing people to renew and purify their faith. The acts of giving food to those in need continue until the last day of Ramadan and is made compulsory at the end of the fasting month when Zakat ul Fitr is to be distributed.

Zakat ul Fitr is one kind of Zakat, which is the third pillar of Islam, requiring Muslims to give to the needy and poor.

Zakat ul Fitr was ordered by Allah upon the believers in the second year after the migration of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) to Madinah. It was the same year that fasting the month of Ramadan was also commanded, and that makes paying Zakat ul Fitr just as important as fasting in Ramadan.

Zakat ul Fitr is an obligation on every Muslim who was able to fast the holy month of Ramadan, on male or female, young or adult. A father or a husband or the head of the family pays for himself and for whomever he is in charge of, unless they are independent and have enough money of their own, to give out Zakat ul Fitr. If a woman is the head of the family, she must pay on her own behalf and for her dependants.

Ibn Al-Qayyim concluded that the Prophet, (peace be upon him), prescribed Zakat ul Fitr as one Saa` (a measurement: four double handfuls) of dates, barley, raisins or dry cottage cheese. These were the main staple foods in Madinah. As for people of other territories, what they should pay is one saa’ of their staple grain, such as corn, rice, etc. But if their main staple food is other than grain, then they should pay one saa` of that particular food. This is the opinion of the majority of scholars and is the preferred point of view, since it achieves the purpose of fulfilling the needs of the poor on the day of Eid with the staple food of their region.

Zakat ul Fitr aims to make every Muslim feel the happiness of Eid day, by giving to the poor and needy we make them celebrate Eid ul-Fitr happily. It is for the spreading of care and happiness among everyone, particularly the poor and needy, during the day of Eid.

Prophet Muhammad, (peace be upon him), said, “Fulfill their need on this day (i.e., the day of Eid)”

Zakat ul Fitr is to be paid and distributed a day or two days before Eid ul-Fitr. It has to be given out before the Eid prayers. This is because failure to give it out before Eid prayers invalidates the reward of giving Zakat ul Fitr.

The majority of Islamic scholars have stated that Zakat ul Fitr should be given from at least the essential food of the people or its money equivalence at the country where it is given.

Every Muslim is required to pay Zakat ul Fitr at the conclusion of the month of Ramadan as a token of thankfulness to Allah for having enabled him to fast the holy month of Ramadan.

It also purifies one’s soul from such shortcomings as the adoration of wealth and is a way to prevent ourselves from being miserly.

May 31, 2018
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