Sadaqat ul-Fitr by @smugdisguise
Salaam alaikum Warahamatulahi Wabarakatuh, this is a guest post by Sister Saffiyah. Its discusses a vital part of Ramadan and i really hope it serves its intended purpose. You can follow Sister Saffiyah on twitter @smugdisguise and Instagram.
The blessed month of Ramadan is rounding up and we already are in the tail end of the holy month, may Almighty Allah (SWT) accept our duahs and Ibadah. Many of us are already preparing for the Eid celebration; and as we make these plans and preparations for Eid-ul-Fitr, we should also remember the less privileged in our ummah. The ones who wish to be able to make such preperations but cannot. Sadaqat ul-fitr has been prescribed and it acts as a bridge between the social gaps.
Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and it is the payment made annually under Islamic law on certain kinds of property which is used for charitable and religious purposes. Sadaqat ul-fitr is one of the many forms of Zakat and it is given to the less privileged at the end of the obligatory fast of Ramadan. The word Fitr is coined from Iftar which roughly translates to breaking fast. Sadaqat ul-fitr plays a vital role of creating bonds of brotherhood between members of the ummah as it brings a connection between the rich and the poor, and it also trains the wealthy to be generous to those in need.
Sadaqat ul-fitr is Fard (obligatory) on every Muslim at the conclusion of the obligatory Ramadan fast, whether married or single, young or old, male or female, slave or freeman (Sahih Bukhari). It was also narrated by Ibn 'Umar that, the Prophet (SAW) has made Sadaqat ul-Fitr obligatory on the young and old people, and on free men as well as on slaves, (and it was) either one Sa'a of barley or one Sa'a of dates. According to some scholars, one sa’a is equivalent to about 2.5kg to 3kg or about 5 pounds. (Allah knows best). The head of a house hold or senior member of the household may pay the required amount for the other members of the household. (Sahih Muslim)
“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
Sadaqat ul-Fitr is to be performed at a particular period of time, and if one misses to perform it within the prescribed time frame, it cannot be made up for. This form of charity becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of Eid Prayer (shortly after sunrise on the following day). However, it can be paid prior to the above mentioned period, as it was reported that many of the Sahabah (companions of the Prophet) used to pay Sadaqah ul-Fitr a couple days before the Eid. Some scholars supported its payment from the beginning and middle of Ramadan so as to ensure that it reaches its beneficiaries on or before the day of Eid. It is particularly emphasized that the distribution should be before the Eid prayers in order that the needy who receive it are able to use the fitr to provide for their dependents on the day of Eid.
It is accepted as Sadaqah ul-Fitr for the one who pays it before the Eid prayer, and as sadaqah for the one who pays it after the prayer. However, one who forgets to pay his or her Sadaqat ul-Fitr on time should do so as soon as possible even though it will not be counted as Sadaqat ul-Fitr.
The amount payable for this charity is the same for everyone regardless of their incomes. The minimum amount is one sa`a (four double handfuls) of non-perishable food items, such as grains, for each member of the family.
Abu Said Al-Khudri was also reported to have narrated thus, “In the life-time of Allah's Apostle, we used to give one Sa' of food (edible things) as Sadaqat-ul-Fit’r (to the poor). Our food used to be either of barley, raisins (dried grapes), cottage cheese or dates.”
Some scholars are of the opinion that cash equivalent (of the food weight) may be given as is done in modern day and coordinated by many Islamic charity organizations if food collection and distribution is not available in a particular country. However, according to Sunnah, the noble Prophet (SAW) prescribed the use of non-perishable staple food, not cash. It should be noted that non-perishable food items like flour, wheat, rice, barley and corn may all be used, and that usage varies according to local diet. In Nigeria, we would find out that rice is usually the preference.
Surah Al-Tawbah states those to whom the receipents of Sadaqat ul-Fitr should be,
"Zakah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [zakah] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveler - an obligation [imposed] by Allah . And Allah is Knowing and Wise" - [Q9:60].
It should be noted that the blessings and spiritual benefits of any form of Zakat cannot be over emphasized. A quick look at Surah At-Tawbah avail us so much details on this.
As we get ready for Eid, let’s remember the ummah in our duahs, May Allah shield us from oppressors and May Allah accept all our acts of Ibadah and unite us all in Jannah. Ameen.
Eid Mubaraq in advance.