The Significance of Sadaqatul-Fitr/Zakatul-Fitr In Islam, By Murtadha Gusau
…the goal of Sadaqatul-Fitr is the spiritual development of the believers. By making them give up some of their wealth, the believers are taught the higher moral characteristics of generosity, compassion (sympathy for the unfortunate), gratitude to Allah and the righteousness. But, since Islam does not neglect man’s material need, part of the goal of Zakatul-Fitr is the economic well-being of the poorer members of society.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
Verily, all praise is for Allah, we seek His help and His forgiveness. We seek refuge with Allah from the evil of our own souls [and from our bad deeds]. Whomsoever Allah guides will never be led astray, and whomsoever Allah leaves astray, no one can guide. I bear witness that there is no god but Allah, (alone and without any partner) and I bear witness that Muhammad is His servant and Messenger.
“O you who believe! Fear Allah as He should be feared, and die not except in a state of Islam (as Muslims) with complete submission to Allah.” [Ali Imran, 3:102]
“O mankind! Be dutiful to your Lord, Who created you from a single person, and from him He created his wife, and from them both He created many men and women, and fear Allah through Whom you demand your mutual (rights), and (do not cut the relations of) the wombs (kinship). Surely, Allah is Ever an All-Watcher over you.” [Al-Nisa, 4:1]
“O you who believe! Keep your duty to Allah and fear Him, and speak (always) the truth). He will direct you to do righteous good deeds and will forgive you your sins. And whosoever obeys Allah and His Messenger (Peace be upon him) he has indeed achieved a great achievement (i.e. he will be saved from the Hellfire and made to enter Paradise.” [Al-Ahzab, 33:70-71]
Respected servants of Allah! Zakatul-Fitr is often referred to as Sadaqatul-Fitr. The word ‘fitr’ means the same as ‘iftar’, breaking a fast, and it comes from the same root word as ‘futur’ which means breakfast. Thus, Islamically, Zakatul-Fitr is the name given to charity which is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadan.
Dear brothers and sisters! Sadaqatul-Fitr is a duty that is Wajib (compulsory) on every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult, as long as he/she has the means to do so. The proof that this form of charity is compulsory can be found in the Sunnah (Hadith), whereby Ibn Umar reported that:
“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) made Zakatul-Fitr compulsory on every servant, freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one Sa’i of dried dates or one Sa’i of barely.” [Collected by Bukhari and Muslim].
Scholars say any type of food that is common in a particular region can be given for fitr, (e.g. rice, corn, millet, wheat, flour, ground beef, or milk in the United States etc).
The head of the household may pay the required amount for the other members. Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri said:
“On behalf of our young and old, free men and slaves, we used to take out during Allah’s Messenger’s (Peace be upon him) lifetime one Sa’i of grain, cheese or raisins.” [Collected by Muslim]
Respected believers! The significant role played by Zakah in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqatul-Fitr. However, in the case of Sadaqatul-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, Sadaqatul-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.
And the main purpose of Zakatul-Fitr is to provide those who fasted with the means of making up for their errors during the month of fasting. Zakatul-Fitr also provides the poor with a means with which they can celebrate the festival of breaking the fast (Eid-ul-Fitr) along with the rest of the Muslims.
Ibn Abbas reported that:
“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) made Zakatul-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before Salah (Eid Prayer) will have it accepted as Zakah, while he who gives it after the Salah has given Sadaqat.” [Collected by Abu Dawud – rated Sahih by Shaykh Muhammad Nasiruddeen al-Albani]
Hence, the goal of Sadaqatul-Fitr is the spiritual development of the believers. By making them give up some of their wealth, the believers are taught the higher moral characteristics of generosity, compassion (sympathy for the unfortunate), gratitude to Allah and the righteousness. But, since Islam does not neglect man’s material need, part of the goal of Zakatul-Fitr is the economic well-being of the poorer members of society.
Not giving money for Zakatul-Fitr is as Sunnah at-Turkiyyah (an action, the abandonment of which is a Prophetic Sunnah). Money existed and was prevalent in the Prophet’s time but he did not nor did the Companions or Tabi’in (followers of the Companions) use any money for Zakatul-Fitr.
Dear brothers and sisters! Zakatul-Fitr is only Wajib (Compulsory) 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 Salatul-Eid (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 Sadaqatul-Fitr a couple days before the Eid.
Ibn Umar reported that:
“The Prophet (Peace be upon him) order that it (Zakatul-Fitr) be given before people go to make the Salah (of Eid).”
Nafi’u transmitted that:
“Ibn Umar used to pay Zakatul-fitr a day or two before the Eid prayer.” [Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud]
Whoever pays Zakatul-fitr after the Eid prayer will not get the blessings of it because it will be rendered as just regular Sadaqah. [Abu Dawud]
And Ibn Abbas reported that the Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever gives it before the Salah (Prayer) will have it accepted as Zakah, while he who gives it after the Salah (will not, for it will only be considered as) ordinary charity.”
Therefore, one who forgets to pay this Zakatul-Fitr on time should do so as soon as possible even though it will not be counted as Zakatul-Fitr.
My beloved people! The amount of Zakatul-Fitr to be paid is the same for everyone, regardless of their different income brackets. The minimum amount is one Sa’i (two 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 (Peace be upon him) made Zakatul-Fitr compulsory and payable by a Sa’i of dried dates or a Sa’i of barley.”
And the Sahabi, Abu Sa’id al-Khudri said:
“In the Prophet’s time, we used to give it (Zakatul-Fitr) as a Sa’i of food, dried dates, barley, raisins or dried cheese.” [Collected by Al-Bukhari]
Items other than food, such as money, clothes, furniture, etc. cannot be given as Zakatul-Fitr (according to the opinion of majority scholars) because it is contrary to what the Prophet commanded and what Allah wants. The Prophet (Peace be upon him) said:
“Whoever introduces anything in this matter (religion) of ours will have it rejected.” [Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawud]
And paying Zakatul-Fitr is an act of worship, and through the Qur’an and authentic Sunnah all acts of worship are described. Therefore, to add, subtract, or alter any act of worship is a bid’ah. Thus, paying Zakatul-Fitr by other than food is a bid’ah and every bid’ah eventually leads to the fire. [Abu Dawud]
Not giving money for Zakatul-Fitr is as Sunnah at-Turkiyyah (an action, the abandonment of which is a Prophetic Sunnah). Money existed and was prevalent in the Prophet’s time but he did not nor did the Companions or Tabi’in (followers of the Companions) use any money for Zakatul-Fitr. For sure the Prophet (Peace be upon him) was, is, and always will be the best of worshippers and the Companions and Tabi’in are the best of generations in understanding and practicing Islam. [See Al-Qur’an 4:115 and 3:110 and Bukhari, Abu Dawud]
So if he (Peace be upon him) and they (Companions and Tabi’in) did not use money for Sadaqatul-Fitr why should any one else?
Lastly I pray, O Allah, You have created our souls and it is for You to take them in death. Their death and their life is for You. If You cause them to live then preserve and protect them and if You cause them to die then forgive them. O Allah, we ask You for physical well-being.
May Allah enable us to reap the Ramadan benefits. Ameen!
The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah the Almighty. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.
Murtadha Muhammad Gusau is the Chief Imam of Nagazi-Uvete Jumu’ah and the late Alhaji Abdur-Rahman Okene’s Mosques, Okene, Kogi State, Nigeria. He can be reached via: email@example.com or +2348038289761.
This Jumu’ah Khutbah (Friday Sermon) was prepared for delivery today Friday, Ramadan 26, 1440 AH (May 31, 2019).