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Islamic Q and A ( 28 May 2019, NewAgeIslam.Com)

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How, When, Whom and Why To Pay Fast-Breaking Charity (Sadqa-E-Fitr)?

By Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi, New Age Islam

27 May 2019

Sadqa-e-Fitr is compulsory (Wajib) on every free Muslim who owns an amount equal to the Nisab in excess of what is necessary for the satisfaction of the primary necessities of life (Haajah Asliyyah). According to Hanafis, three conditions are stipulated; the giver must (1) be free, (2) be a Muslim and (3) own a Nisab. The obligation is due to the words of the Prophet (peace be upon him), “Pay for each free person and slave, minor or major, one-half Sa’ of wheat or one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barely” (Sunan Abu Dawud, vol.2, p.406)

It is reported by Abdullah Ibn Umar that the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) enjoined the payment of one Sa' of dates or one Sa' of barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the 'Eid prayer. (Bukhari and Muslim)

It is narrated that Abdullah ibn Abbas said at the end of Ramadan, “Pay Sadaqa for your fasts, for this Sadqa has been stipulated by the Messenger of Allah, which is one Sa' of dates or one Sa' of barley or half Sa’ of wheat” (Abu Dawud and Nasai)

It is reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) sent a person into the neighbourhoods of Makkah and said “Announce that the Sadaqa-e-Fitr is waajib (compulsory). (Tirmidhi)

It is reported from Ibn Abbas that the Prophet (peace be upon him) stipulated the Zakat ul  Fitr so that the fasts may be purified from shameless and vulgar utterances and so that the needy (Miskeen) may be fed. (Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Haakim)

It is reported from Hazrat Anas that the Messenger of Allah said, “The fasts of a servant remains suspended between the skies and the earth until he does not discharge the Sadqa-e-Fitr. (Dailami, Ibn Asaakir)

With the afore-mentioned narrations, Sadqa-e-Fitr according to Hanafis becomes compulsory (Wajib) and not a definitive obligation (Farz) due to absence of definitive evidence (Dalil Qati’i). Imam Shafei and Imam Hanbal consider it Farz like Zakat, whereas Imam Malik believes this act to be Sunnah Mu’akkadah.

Sadqa-e-Fitr is compulsory on every Free Muslim who owns the Nisab that is in excess of the primary necessities of life (Hajah Asliyyah). There is no condition of sanity (aqil), puberty (Baaligh) and productive wealth (Maal Al Naami). (Durre Mukhtar vol.2 p.99)

It is compulsory upon a father to pay the Fitra on behalf of his children as well, if the minors themselves do not own the Nisab. However, if the minors own the Nisab, the fitra should be paid up from their wealth.

Fasting is not conditional for the Fitra to become compulsory. If a person did not fast due to some valid reasons, such as travelling, illness or old-age, it is still compulsory for him to pay it. (Raddul Muhtar vol 2. P.101)

A Muslim is not obliged to pay the Fitra on behalf of his wife, due to inadequate authority and liability of burden, for he does not have authority over her beyond the rights of Nikah. He also does not bear her burden, except in the case of prescribed matters like medical treatment. Similarly he is not liable for the Fitra of his children who have attained the age of majority even if he is responsible for their provisions and they are still part of their family, due to lack of legal authority. However, if he does pay it on behalf of his children and of his wife, without a request on their part, it will be counted valid on the basis of Istihsan due to the confirmation of permission in practice. (Hidaya, chapter Sadqa tul Fitr /Durre Mukhtar vol. 2, p.10

If the wife paid the Fitrah of her husband without his authority, it will not be deemed valid. (Alamgiri, vol.1, pg.193; Raddul Muhtar, vol.2, pg.102/103, etc.)

One is not obliged to pay the Fitrah on behalf of his mother, father, paternal grandfather, paternal grandmother, and his Na-Baaligh brothers and for that of his other relatives; and he cannot pay it without their authority. [Alamgiri, vol.1, pg.193]

When To Pay Sadqa-e-Fitr?

A Muslim should pay Sadqa-e-Fitr on the Day of Eid after the true dawn (Subh e Sadiq) appears. It is recommended to pay the Fitrah on the day of Eid before going towards the place of Eid prayer, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) used to pay it prior to moving towards the place of prayer (Hidaya). If he has not paid it in the stipulated period, he should pay it now as he has his entire life to pay it and this will be regarded as ‘on time’ (Ada) and not Qaza, though it is Sunnah to do so before the Eid prayer. (Durre Mukhtar)

Whom to Pay Fitrah?

The recipients of Sadaqa e Fitr are the same as those of Zakah. In other words, you may give Fitrah to those to whom you may give Zakah, and you are not permitted to give Fitrah to those, to whom you are not permitted to give Zakaat, with the exception of an ‘Aamil’ (Zakaat Collector appointed by the Islamic Ruler), because he is permitted to accept Zakaat, but not Fitrah. (Durre- Mukhtar, Raddul Muhtar, vol.1, pg.108/ Bahare Shariat p.148)

The categories of recipients who deserve to receive the Fitrah, as mentioned in Surah Tawbah (9:60) include the poor (Faqir), the needy or indigent (Miskeen), reconciliation of hearts, freeing captives/slaves, debtors, in the way of Allah (fi Sabilillah) and the traveller. As for the Zakah collectors mentioned in this verse, they deserve to accept Zakah but not Fitrah, as mentioned above.  

Sadqa-e-Fitr is offered out of four substances: (1) wheat (Genhu), (2) barely (Jau) (3) dried dates (Khujur) and (4) raisins (Kishmish). In the case of wheat, the amount due is one half Sa’ per person. In the case of barely, dried dates and raisins, one full Sa’ is due per person.

According to the in-depth research, the weight of one Sa’ equates to the weight of 351 rupees and half a Sa’ equates to the weight of 175 rupees (Fatawa Razviyya, Ala Hazrat). According to Mufti Jalaluddin Amjadi, Quantity of one Sa’ in today’s measurement is approximately 4.94 kilograms and half a Sa’ is 2.47 kilograms (Anwar-e-Shariat). There are differences regarding the exact measurement; however this view can be taken as preferable. Thus any one of the following substances can be given as Fitrah;

(1)      Dried dates: one Sa’ = 4.94 kg

(2)      Barely: one Sa’ = 4.94 kg

(3)      Raisins: one Sa’ = 4.94 kg

(4)      Wheat: one half one Sa’ = 2.47 kg

It is also permissible to calculate the amount of Sadaq-e-Fitr due based on the substance’s value and to offer its value in money instead. In fact this is considered preferable because it is of more benefit to the poor. It is permissible to pay Sadaq-e-Fitr due on behalf of a group to a single needy person or to pay it due on behalf of a single person to a number of needy people.

Purpose of Sadqa-e-Fitr

There are two basic purposes behind paying Sadqa-e-Fitr. (1) It should be paid as a levy on the fasting person. This is based on the Hadith in which the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) is reported to have said, “The fasts of a servant remain suspended between the skies and the earth until he does not discharge the Sadaqa-e-Fitr” (Dailami, Ibn Asaakir). (2) The second basic purpose is to meet the needs of the poor so that they can celebrate Eid al-Fitr with others. The Prophet (peace be upon him) is reported to have stipulated the Zakat ul Fitr so that the fasts may be purified from shameless and vulgar utterances and so that the needy (Miskeen) may be fed. (Abu Dawud, Ibn Majah, Haakim)

A very important point to note here is that if one has ability to pay the amount of dried dates or raisins, it is better for him to pay the same, instead of paying quantity or amount of wheat which is cheaper and not more beneficial for the poor and needy people. While planning to pay any type of Sadaqa, one should adopt the means which can be more helpful and beneficial for the needy people, as the main objective of Sadqa-e-Fitr in the words of a Hadith is “to liberate the needy from the humiliation of begging and walking around on this day [Eid al-Fitr)”. 

A regular Columnist with, Ghulam Ghaus Siddiqi Dehlvi is an Alim and Fazil (Classical Islamic scholar), with a Sufi-Sunni background and English-Arabic-Urdu Translator. He has also done B.A (Hons.) in Arabic, M.A. in Arabic and M.A in English from JMI, New Delhi. He is Interested in Islamic Sciences; Theology, Jurisprudence, Tafsir, Hadith and Islamic mysticism (Tasawwuf).


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