Thursday, August 8, 2013
Zakat Al Fitr Alms giving, Charity
Allah (SWT) says in the Quran-e-Majid that one who gives "Zakat"
and remembers Him will get salvation. Here, Zakat means "Fitra"
and remembrance of God means the recitation of the following
Takbir on the night and morning of Eid al-Fitr.
"Allaaho Akbar, Allaaho Akbar, Laa ilaaha illallaah wallaaho
Akbar, Allaaho Akbar, Wa lillaahil hamd. Alhamdulillah alaa
maa hadaanaa walahu Shukr alaa maa aulana."
The meaning of the above is: "Allah is Great, Allah is Great there is
no one worthy of prayer but Allah, and Allah is Great; Allah is Great,
all praise be to Allah, it is He Who guides."
Zakat al-Fitr is a small amount that Muslims are obliged to pay as
charity at the end of Ramadan. Zakat al-Fitr is often referred to
as Sadaqah al-Fitr (voluntary charity). The word Fitr means the
same as Iftaar, breaking a fast and it comes from the same root word
as Futoor which means breakfast. Thus, Islamically, Zakat al-Fitr is the
name given to charity which is distributed at the end of the fast of
Fitr is compulsory on those who can afford it, and it is a sin not to
Hazrat Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S.) has said that fasts do not attain
perfection without Fitr just as Namaz is not accepted without invoking
the blessings of Allah on Mohammad (S.A.W.) and his Aaal (A.S.) in
Tashahhud. Hazrat Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S.) used to instruct his
accountant to take out Fitr for each individual including slaves and
servants male and female of his household without exception, as,
he feared that one whose Fitr was not taken out might die within
Fitr is dependent on the major item of food consumed by a person
during the year. These may be rice, wheat, barley, dates, etc.
In weight Fitr should be three Kilograms per person. It is also permissible
to pay cash to the value of three Kilograms food grains.
It is obligatory on the head of the family to give Fitr of all persons
(including servants of both sexes of any cast or creed) that take food in
If a guest Muslim or non-Muslim arrives at one's house before the night
of Eid al-Fitr and dines with his host, it is incumbent on the latter to
give the former's Fitr. If the guest arrives after sunset of the night of
Fitr is not obligatory even if he dines with his host. Even when the
guest arriving before sunset does not dine, Fitr is obligatory on the host.
In this it is better if both the host and the guest give Fitr.
If one's wife is at her parent's on the night of Eid al-Fitr, her parents
should take out her Fitr.
Fitr should be given to deserving Momins who do not have enough income
for the maintenance of their families for the whole year.
Fitr cannot be given to one's dependants. But, it is better to give it to
non-dependant deserving relatives. Next in order of preference are
deserving neighbors and then any other deserving pious persons.
Fitr from Syeds can be given to Syeds or non-Syeds. Fitr from non-Syeds
cannot be given to Syeds.
If deserving persons are not really available, Fitr should be sent to
places where such persons are found, or the amount should be sent
to a Mujtahid who would do the needful in distributing the same.
It is not essential that the recipient of Fitr is an "Aadil" (just), but it
is necessary to ensure that it is not given to anyone likely to use it
in acts of sin, e.g. drinking liquor, gambling, etc.
Although it is permissible to send Fitr to any place it is preferable
if it is distributed to a deserving person locally.
The time for giving Fitr is from the night of Eid al-Fitr (Ramadan Eid)
up to the noon (Zohr) of Eid al-Fitr. If this is not possible for some
reason the amount of Fitr should be set apart from his other monies
and disbursed when deserving person is available or it may be sent
to a Mujtahid for required distribution.
It is stated that Fitr ought to be given to pious persons and not
those who indulge in sin.
And now that the Holy Month of Glory (Ramadan) has departed and
Eid is over, let us look back to the lessons it has taught us, and let us
pray to God that the things we observed the recitation of the Holy Quran,
the saying of Prayers (Namaz) regularly, the charity which we did,
the poor that we fed, the good manners and self-restraint that we
observed, should be with us in our everyday lives and these are the
very ACTS that take us nearer to Allah.
And Allah has said, "Therefore remember Me, I will remember you,
and be thankful to Me, and do not be ungrateful to Me."
(2:152 Holy Quran )
"If ye are grateful, I will add more (favors) unto you; But if ye show
ingratitude, truly My punishment is terrible indeed."
(14:7 Holy Quran )
And to those who have been indifferent and have wished that there was
no such thing as this month of Ramadan and who on sighting the New Moon
had a dejected face, should remember this Ayat of the Holy Quran.
"Call on Me; I will answer your (Prayer): but those who are too arrogant
to serve Me will surely find themselves in Hell - in humiliation!"
(40:60 Holy Quran)
But can ye not see, O men, the mighty workers of God in the heavens and
the earth? The dark-some splendor of the night with the stars, and the
daylight splendor of the sun? How the earth with its spacious expanse and
its mountains, yields moisture and pasture, and feeds and sustains men and
cattle, through God's Providence?
AH! Transgress not all bounds and earn not the fire of punishment, but fear
God and His Judgment, and prepare for the Garden of Perpetual Bliss.
ZAKAT AL-FITR and ZAKAT (ZAKAH) are different: (Alms giving, Charity)
Over the centuries, it has become a practice among the Muslims to offer
their Zakat (Zakah) in the month of Ramadan. This is generally done to
increase one's blessings. However, we should remember that Zakat
(Zakah) becomes due, one year after a person's wealth reaches the
value of Nisab (minimum amount) for a type of item (Gold, Silver,
Savings, etc) and according to most scholars, his wealth has to remain
above that Nisab level throughout the course of the year.
So it is impossible for the whole Ummah to have reached the obligation
of paying Zakat (Zakah), at the onset of Ramadan. We should be clear in
our minds that Zakat (Zakah) is not tied in with the month of Ramadan.
An individual can bring forward his Zakat (Zakah) due date (notice: not
push back), in order to take advantage of the multifold blessings of
Ramadan. In fact, to make it easy on the recipients whose needs have
to be met, one might chose Ramadan for the extra Sadaqa he gives out.
Finally, Zakat (Zakah) is not simply the calculation of your dues on your
Gold and Silver ornaments. Its scope and implication is wide-ranging.
As such, it requires us to be diligent and aware of various details relating
to our context and various forms of wealth. At the minimum,
a learned scholar should be consulted.
Imam Jafer As-Sadiq (as) said: "Allah shall ward off 70 kinds of Calamities
from one who gives Charity in the month of Ramadan."