SADAQATUL FITR (FITRA)- What you need to know.
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 SADAQATUL FITR (FITRA)- What you need to know.

Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is also called Zakat-ul-Fitr or even plainly called Fitrah. It is a charity given by Muslims to their less fortunate brethren in Faith every year, towards the end of the month of Ramadaan. The benefit of this charity is mutual. For the giver it serves as a means to cleanse and purify his fasts of Ramadaan from any defects and flaws and for the recipient it allows him to share a little in the joys of Eidul fitr  when he can now afford to purchase items of food etc for the day of Eid which on normal days may not be possible on account of financial constraints.

Sadaqatul Fitr is an injunction of Deen and as such has governing laws. It is the intent of this article to shed light on this Sadaqah.

On whom is Sadaqat-ul-Fitr obligatory, and how much it is to be paid?

Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is obligatory on every Muslim be it a female, or a male, be it a free Muslim or a slave, be it a young Muslim or an old one; every Muslim has to pay Sadaqat-ul-Fitr, provided that the person falls under the *Nisaab i.e. criterion which makes Sadaqat-ul-Fitr due on him.

*Nisaab means the minimum amount of wealth a person has to have before Zakaat becomes obligatory on him. This amount can be obtained from the Jamiatul Ulama KZN.

It is narrated from Abdullaah Bin Umar Radiyallaahu anhu that Allah’s Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi wa sallam has made the payment of Sadaqat-ul-Fitr obligatory, either one Sa’ of barley or one Sa’ of dates (per head) on young and old people and on free men as on slaves.”(Bukhari).

The Nisaab which makes Sadaqat-ul-Fitr obligatory varies according to the different scholars. According to Imam Maalik, Imam Shaafi and Imam Ahmad, Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is due on any Muslim who has at home the food of the morning and evening. However, the view of Imam Abu Hanifah differs from these three; according to him Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is due from a person on whom Zakat is due, if he does not own wealth on which Zakat becomes due, then Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is not due from him.

The Amount of Sadaqatul Fitr

 This is also mentioned clearly in the hadeeth quoted above. The criterion for payment of Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is one Sa’ of barley or dates per head of a family member (including children, old, males, females, slaves etc.). 1 Sa’ is approximately equal to 3 kilograms. So, if a family consists of six members (for example), then 3 kilograms per head of dates or barley means eighteen (3 x 6 = 18) kilograms of dates or barley to be paid as Sadaqat-ul-Fitr. It can either be paid as this much weight of dates or barley, or an amount equivalent to the cost of this may be calculated and paid as Sadaqat-ul-Fitr.

The above converted to rands currently stands at R20.00 per person according to the Hanafi Mazhab. According to the Shaafi Mazhab the amount is R28.00 It should be understood that when it is said that it is obligatory even on children, then the head of the family is supposed to pay on their behalf.

When is Sadaqat-ul-Fitr to be paid?

Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is to be paid towards the end of Ramadaan. There are different narrations which tell us that companions of Allah’s Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi wa sallam used to pay it one or two days before the end of Ramadaan. It can also be paid till the morning of the day of Eid-ul-Fitr. However, in any case, it should be paid before one leaves his home for the Salat of Eid. Rasullullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi wa sallam was very particular about this, as is evident from the hadith given below:

Hadrat Abdullaah bin Umar Radiyallaahu anhu narrated that Allah’s Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi wa sallam would order paying Sadaqat-ul-Fitr before going to Salat on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.”(Bukhari)

The timings of payment of Sadaqat-ul-Fitr and their significance will be more clarified when we move on to next section of our discussion, Insha’Allah.

Significance of Sadaqat-ul-Fitr

Having discussed so much about the payment of Sadaqat-ul-Fitr and the obligation on every Muslim to do so, one may ask, why is it so important? Let us go through the following hadith:

Hadrat Abdullaah Bin Abbas Radiyallaahu anhu narrated that Allah’s Messenger Sallallaahu Alaihi wa sallam made obligatory Zakat-ul-Fitr for the one who fasts as a means of purifying him from vain talk and immoral deeds, and as a means of feeding the poor. Whoever gives it before the (Eid) prayer will have it counted as an accepted Sadaqah, and whoever gives it after the prayer will have it counted as a charity among charities.”(Sunan Abu Dawud).

It is such a comprehensive narration which answers all the questions about the significance of Sadaqat-ul-Fitr. It leads to purification of a Muslim, it leads to feeding of poor, and it leads to earning of Hasanaat for the payer. This narration also signifies the importance of the time of payment of Sadaqat-ul-Fitr.

SOME RULINGS ON SADAQATUL FITR
 

Sadaqatul Fitr (or fitrah) is waajib [compulsory] upon all Muslims male, female and children who on the Day of Eid-ul-Fitr are owners of the Nisaab of Zakaah.


Fitrah becomes waajib when the Day of Fitr dawns with the commencement of Fajr time. Therefore, if someone died before entry of Fajr on the Day of Eid, fitrah will not be paid out of his (the deceased’s) estate, since this fitrah is not waajib on him. And, if a child is born before the rising of Fajr, fitrah will be paid on his behalf. If the child is born after the entry of Fajr (on the Day of Eid) fitrah is not waajib on his behalf.


The father has to pay the fitrah on behalf of his under age children, i.e. those who have not attained the age of puberty.


It is not obligatory upon the husband to pay fitrah on behalf of his wife. If she is the owner of Nisaab, she shall have to pay her own fitrah.


If a minor is the owner of wealth to the amount of Nisaab, then payment of fitrah on behalf of the minor could be made from out of his (minor’s) wealth.


The fitrah should preferably be paid before the Eid Salaah as already explained.


It is not permissible to delay the payment of fitrah later than the Day of Eid. However, if it was not paid on the Day of Eid or before, the obligation remains and the fitrah will have to be paid even though it will now be not counted as Sadaqatul Fitr.


It is permissible to pay the fitrah in advance at any time during the month of Ramadaan. The fitrah could be paid even before Ramadaan.


Sadaqatul Fitr is waajib upon all those who fasted as well as those who did not fast for some reason or the other.
The fitrah can only be paid to “the poor” those who are eligible to accept Zakaah.


Fitrah cannot be utilised for any charitable purpose other than the poor. Therefore, if fitrah monies are accumulated and then spent on some other charitable cause, the fitrah obligation of the fitrah payers will not be discharged.


Rasulullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam said: “The fast remains suspended between Heaven and Earth until the fitrah is paid.”


This Hadeeth of Rasulullaah Sallallaahu Alaihi wasallam illustrates the importance of the fitrah and its direct bearing on the acceptance of our Saum [Fasting]. The Fast is only presented for acceptance by Allah Ta’ala when the obligation of fitrah is correctly discharged. The Muslim public should therefore be very scrupulous when effecting payment of the fitrah. If the fitrah is misused or wrongly distributed by the representatives of the public, the public will still be responsible for its (Fitrah’s) fulfilment.

 

Let us all realize the importance of this beautiful Sadaqah. Do not forget to pay it every year, and make it a habit to pay it within its prescribed time. Allah Ta’ala never lets anything which we spend in His way go in vain. Insha’Allah there shall be a great reward from Allah Ta’ala for this. Furthermore whilst many of us celebrate the day of Eid in ‘grand’ style it would be gratifying and heart-warming to know that we can be the reason for those less fortunate than us to also celebrate Eid in a way which would be ‘grand’ for them too.

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