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What is Zakat ul Fitr?

Muslims all over the world would distribute at least $15 billion at the end of the month of fasting under the obligation of Zakat ul Fitr

What is Zakat ul Fitr?

It is a certain amount of money every Muslim including the unborn babied (conceived) has to pay before the end of the Eid prayers, that mark the end of the month of fasting.

Ibn Umar reported that Allah's Messenger (way peace be upon him) prescribed the payment of Zakat-ul-Fitr of Ramadan for people, for every freeman, or slave, male and female among the Muslims-one sa' of dried dates, or one sa' of barley. (Sahih Muslim, Book 12, Hadith 16)

It is obligatory upon every Muslim to pay zakat ul Fitr before the end of the Eid prayers. Even though some scholars say that it can be paid before the end of the Eid day.

One sa of barley or dried dates comprise between 2.5 kg to 3 kg. In the US, the cost of 3 kg of barley is 11 dollar for regular and about $35.00 for organic. The cost of dried dates is about $15.00 for regular and $35 or more for organic

Most masajid and Islamic Centers calculate the amount of zakat ul Fitr to be between $12 to $15.00

Implied in this obligation is the assertion that Zakat ul Fitr is to be distributed before the Eid Prayer. Usually, in Islamic Centers and masajid in the US, this does not happen. The amount of money collected during the Eid prayers for Zakat ul Fitr is counted after the prayers, deposited and then distributed. Often, might take days and weeks before it is distributed.

Zakat ul Fitr is different than Zakat ul Mal in terms of payment and time of payment. It is the same for all and no one exempt from it and it has be paid and distributed before Eid prayers.

In order to follow the Sunnah of the prophet for this obligatory payment

The Prophet of Allah said, "The fasting of the month of fasting will be hanging between earth and heavens and it will not be raised up to the Divine Presence without paying the Zakat al-Fitr."

It is also paid To purify those who fast from any indecent act or speech and to help the poor and needy.

It is paid to the same categories of people and institutions as mentioned Surat Al-Tawbah, [9: 60]. They include:

  1. the poor

  2. the needy,

  3. collectors of Zakah,

  4. reconciliation of hearts,

  5. freeing from bondage

  6. debtors

  7. in a cause of God

  8. the traveler.

Under the present system of collection, the Zakat ul Fitr cannot be disbursed instantly at least in the US and other Western Countries. In order to distribute it before Eid, Muslims need to bring about change in the collection of Zakat ul Fitr

  1. Every Institution should have special collection boxes and account for Zakat ul Fitr

  2. The institution should mark a deadline for this collection.

  3. They should calculate and deposit the collection instantly and distribute it before the Eid prayers either to individuals or institutions.

  4. They should advertise in advance so that the qualified people can apply.

  5. The whole process should be transparent and the privacy of the recipient should be preserved.

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