Sadaqat-ul-Fitr, also called Zakat-ul-Fitr, is a Sadaqah which is given by Muslims to poor every year, towards the end of the month of Ramadan. There are some important aspects related to this Sadaqah, and today's post shall, Insha'Allah, try to explain about those aspects. Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is obligatory on every Muslim. Regardless of sex, 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 Nisab i.e. criterion which makes Sadaqat-ul-Fitr due on him.
"Narrated Ibn Umar (RA): Allah's Messenger (SAW) 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." - Hadith No. 1512, Book of Zakat, Sahih Bukhari, Vol.2
The Nisab which makes Sadaqat-ul-Fitr due on a person has been told different by different scholars. According to most of them, Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is due on any Muslim who has at home the food of the morning and evening. However, the view of some others differs from that above; according to them 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. One can follow either of these criteria; however I personally align more towards the latter.
Next thing to know is how much Sadqat-ul-Fitr is to be paid? This is also mentioned clearly in the hadith 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. 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.
Sadaqat-ul-Fitr is to be paid towards the end of Ramadan. There are different narrations which tell us that companions of Allah's Messenger (SAW) used to pay it one or two days before end of Ramadan. 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. Rasulullah (SAW) was very particular about this, as is evident from the hadith given below:
"Ibn Umar (RA) narrated that Allah's Messenger (PBUH) would order paying Sadaqat-ul-Fitr before going toSalat on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr." - Hadith No. 1509, Book of Zakat, Sahih Bukhari, Vol. 2; Hadith No. 677, Chapters on Zakat, Jami'-At-Tirmidhi, Vol. 2
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:
"Ibn Abbas (RA) narrated: Allah's Messenger (SAW) obligated 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." - Hadith No. 1609, Book of Zakat, Sunan Abu Dawud, Vol. 2
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.
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 prescribed time. Allah never lets anything which we spend in His way go in vain. Insha Allah there shall be a great reward from Allah for this act of Iman.
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