The Noble Messenger of Allah ( Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:
“The fast remains suspended between Heaven and Earth until the fitrah is paid.”
Rasulullâh Sallallâhu ‘alayhi wasallam made charity of Fitr compulsory as a purification of fasts from useless talks and vile discourses and also as food to the poor. (Abû Dawûd)
From the Hadith above, we understand two things about the obligation of Sadaqatul Fitr:
(1) It is for the cleansing of fasts
(2) Allah Ta’ala uses those who have the means among us, as the means of His provision to the poor and destitute (so that they too, can share in the joyous Day of ‘Eid)
A Hadith of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam is explicit in the stipulation of an amount of grain, flour or dates that should be given as Sadaqatul Fitr
The modern equivalent of these measures are as follows as understood in the Ḥanafi Madhab
- Wheat: The classical amount is ½ Ṣāʿ, it is equivalent to approximately 1.75 Kilograms;
- Barley: The classical amount is 1 Ṣāʿ, it is equivalent to approximately 3.5 Kilograms;
- Raisins: The classical amount is 1 Ṣāʿ, it is equivalent to approximately 3.5 Kilograms;
- Dates: The classical amount is 1 Ṣāʿ, it is equivalent to approximately 3.5 Kilograms.
MASAA’IL CONCERNING SADAQATUL FITR:
- Sadaqatul fitr is waajib on the following persons:
- The person upon whom zakat is waajib,
- The person upon whom zakat is not waajib but who has wealth equal to the nisab of zakat over and above his basic needs. This is irrespective of whether the wealth is for the purposes of trade or not and irrespective of whether he had it in his possession for a full year or not. This sadaqah has to be given on or before the day of eid ul-fitr.
- A person has a massive house, very expensive clothing which does not have any gold or silver lace on it, he has a few servants, he has lots of furniture and other items but does not have any jewellery, and all these items are in use. Sadaqatul fitr is not waajib on such a person. Alternatively, he has certain items which are over and above his basic needs, some of his clothing has gold or silver lace on it, and he also has some jewellery. However, all these items do not reach the nisab of zakat. Sadaqatul fitr is also not waajib on such a person.
- A person owns two houses. He lives in one, and the other is either empty or given out on rent. This house is over and above his basic need. Therefore, if its value is equal to the nisab of zakat, sadaqatul fitr will be waajib on him. It is also not permissible to give zakat to such a person. However, if this person is dependent on this second house, it will be considered to be a basic necessity and sadaqatul fitr will not be waajib on him. It will be permissible for him to accept zakat and to give zakat to him as well. In short, sadaqatul fitr is not waajib on a person who is permitted to receive zakat and other waajib forms of sadaqah. As for the one who is not permitted to receive such charities, sadaqatul fitr will be waajib on him.
- A person has some wealth that is over and above his basic needs. However, he is also in debt. In such a case, his debts should be deducted from his wealth. If the balance of his wealth equals the nisab of zakat, sadaqatul fitr will be waajib on him. But if it falls short of the nisab, sadaqatul fitr will not be waajib.
- Sadaqatul fitr becomes waajib at the time of fajr on the day of eid ul-fitr. If a person passes away before the entry of fajr time, sadaqatul fitr will not be waajib on him nor will it be given from his wealth.
- It is best to give the sadaqatul fitr before going to the Eid -gah to a poor person. If it is not given before, there will be no harm in giving it after the eid salat. If it is to be given to an organisation, it is best to give it a few days in advance in order to feed the poor on Eid Day.
- If a person gives his sadaqatul fitr before the day of eid, i.e. in Ramadan, it will be fulfilled. It is not necessary to give it a second time
- If a person does not give his sadaqatul fitr on or before the day of eid, he will not be absolved from this duty. He will have to fulfil it at some time or the other.
- Sadaqatul fitr is waajib only on oneself and not on behalf of someone else: neither on one’s children, one’s parents, one’s husband nor anyone else.
- If a small child receives some wealth through inheritance or some other way, and this wealth equals the nisab, sadaqatul fitr should be given from this wealth of his. But if the child is born on the day of eid after the time of fajr sets in (dawn), sadaqatul fitr will not be waajib on him.
- Sadaqatul fitr is waajib on those who fast in Ramadan and also on those who missed out some fasts due to some reason or the other. There is no difference in ruling between the two.
- If a person wishes to give wheat, wheat flour or parched, grounded wheat as sadaqatul fitr, he should give approximately one and half to two kilos. It would be preferable to give a little more than this amount. But if he wishes to give barley or barley flour, he should give double this amount, i.e. between 3 to 4 kilos.
- If a person wishes to give any other dry grocery such as gram or rice, he should give an amount that equals the value of the amount of wheat or barley that has been mentioned above.
- It is best to give the value of the wheat or barley in cash instead of the actual wheat or barley.
- The sadaqatul fitr of one person could be given to one poor person or distributed among several poor persons.
- It is also permissible to give the sadaqatul fitr of several persons to one single poor person.
- Those who are entitled to receive zakat are also entitled to receive sadaqatul fitr.
- If the marriage of an immature girl is performed and she is sent to her husband’s house, sadaqatul fitr will be waajib on her if she is rich. But if she is poor, we will have to see if she is old enough to serve her husband and at the same time old enough to be in his company. If she is old enough for both these things, sadaqatul fitr will not be waajib on her, her husband nor her father. But if she is not capable to do both these things, sadaqatul fitr will be waajib on her father. If she is not sent to her husband’s house as yet, sadaqatul fitr will be waajib on her father irrespective of whether she is old enough to do both the above or not.
What is the status of Sadaqatul Fitr?
A. Sadaqatul Fitr is Waajib.
On whom is Sadaqatul Fitr compulsory?
A. Sadaqatul Fitr is Waajib on every Muslim who has the value of Nisaab on the day of Eid after subtracting debts.
I have minor children. Is Sadaqatul Fitr waajib upon them?
A. Yes, Sadaqatul Fitr will have to be discharged on their behalf by their guardian. If they have their own savings then it could be discharged from their money.
To whom can Sadaqatul Fitr be given?
A. Those poor Muslims who do not have Zakaat Nisaab and are considered poor.
When can Sadaqatul Fitr be discharged?
A. Sadaqatul Fitr can be discharged before the day of Eid.
What is the deadline for discharging Sadaqatul Fitr?
A. Sadaqatul Fitr should be discharged before the Eid Salaah. If one fails to do so it should be discharged as soon as possible.
Does Sadaqatul Fitr necessarily have to be discharged in cash?
A. No, one can give food etc. to the value of Sadaqatul Fitr.
What is the best method of discharging Sadaqatul Fitr i.e. should I give it to an organisation or individual?
A. It is preferable to pursue the needy and hand it to them personally. However it also permissible to hand it to an organisation provided the organisation discharges it timeously.
What is the position of my Sadaqatul Fitr if I handed it to an organisation that discharged it long after the prescribed time?
A. By giving your Sadaqatul Fitr to an organisation you have appointed them wakeel (representative) on your behalf to discharge your Fitrah. Your fitrah will only be discharged when the organisation distributes the money. Default from their side will be considered a default on your path.