وَتَجِبُ اَلْفِطْرَةُ عَلَى كُلِّ مُسْلِمٍ إِذَا كَانَتْ فَاضِلَةً عَنْ نَفَقَةٍ وَاجِبَةٍ يَوْمَ اَلْعِيدِ وَلَيْلَتَهُ وَحَوَائِجَ أَصْلِيَّةٍ, فَيُخْرِجُ عَنْ نَفْسِهِ وَمُسْلِمٍ يَمُونُهُ, وَتُسَنُّ عَنْ جَنِينٍ
Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory for every Muslim when the amount of this zakat is in excess of his necessary expenses for the day and night of Eid and basic needs like food, house etc. One pays it for himself and any Muslim he supports financially which includes his wife, children, and at times parents and other relatives. It is recommended to pay it for an unborn children if the child is born before Maghrib of the night before Eid. If the child is born after that then Zakat al-Fitr is not obligatory but recommended upon them.
وَتَجِبُ بِغُرُوبِ اَلشَّمْسِ لَيْلَةَ اَلْفِطْرِ,
وَتَجُوزُ قَبْلَهُ بِيَوْمَيْنِ فَقَطْ,
وَيَوْمَهُ قَبْلَ اَلصَّلَاةِ أَفْضَلُ,
وَتُكْرَهُ فِي بَاقِيهِ, وَيَحْرُمُ تَأْخِيرُهَا عَنْهُ,
وَتُقْضَى وُجُوبًا, وَهِيَ صَاعٌ مِنْ بُرٍّ أَوْ شَعِيرٍ أَوْ سَوِيقِهِمَا أَوْ دَقِيقِهِمَا, أَوْ تَمْرٍ, أَوْ زَبِيبٍ, أَوْ أَقِطٍ, وَالْأَفْضَلُ تَمْرٌ فَزَبِيبٌ فَبُرٌّ فَأَنْفَعُ, فَإِنْ عَدِمَتْ أَجْزَأَ كُلُّ حَبٍّ يُقْتَات ُ وَيَجُوزُ إِعْطَاءُ جَمَاعَةٍ مَا يَلْزَمُ اَلْوَاحِدَ وَعَكْسُهُ
It becomes obligatory with the setting of the sun at the night of Eid al-Fitr (after Maghrib of the night before). Anyone who dies before this, zakat al-fitr is not compulsory on them. But if they pass away after Maghrib, then zakat is obligatory upon them.
It is permissible to pay it a maximum of two days in advance. This is under the assumption that one is giving it directly. But if you have someone as a representative who will be giving it on your behalf then it needs to be given to them earlier so that it reaches and is distributed on time. It cannot be given too early or too late. If it is given too early, then it has to be given again and the previous one is invalid.
Paying it on the day of Eid al-Fitr before the prayer is better, and paying it during the rest of the day after the salah is makruh. Zakat al-Fitr given after salah as per the Hanabila is valid but disliked. It is haram to delay paying it beyond the day of Eid (Maghrib). It is obligatory to make it up. Why? Because the objective is that the people get it on the day of Eid and it is a relief and a source of happiness for them.
The amount is 1 sa’ (2.062 kilograms) of wheat or barley, their porridge or flour; dried dates or raisins; or cottage cheese.
Dates are best; then raisins, then wheat, and then that which is most beneficial. In the absence of the aforementioned, any stored grain suffices. The Hanabila calculate 1 Sa’ to be equivalent to 2.04 kilograms.
The Hanabila are very strict in terms of what can be given in terms of zakat al-fitr and strict adherely to that which is specified in the hadith as this was a strong position held by Imam Ahmad رحمه الله. The Hanabila don’t look at the food of the people as is the famous norm today, but rather the availability of the mentioned items to the person. If these are not available, only then the person resorts to giving that which the people of that area generally consume.
A second opinion in the madhab, held by Imam Ibn Aqeel رحمه الله and others states that one can pay the zakat al-fitr based on whatever the people consume.
Narrated Abu Saeed al-Khudri رضى الله عنه: We used to give one Sa’ of meal or one Sa’ of barley or one Sa’ of dates, or one Sa’ of cottage cheese or one Sa’ of Raisins (dried grapes) as Zakat-ul-Fitr. [Sahih al-Bukhari]
Giving money is not valid as per Imam Ahmad, Imam Ishaq Ibn Rahwayh رحمه الله, and majority of the Imams. Today, many of the Fiqh councils allow paying in the form of money as that is more beneficial to the people in sever need. Imam Yahya ibn Ma’in رحمه الله, a Hafidh of Hadith and a close contemporary of Imam Ahmad allowed zakat al-fitr to be given in the form of money. This opinion was also followed by Imam Sufyan ath-Thawri, Imam Abu Hanifa, Imam Muhammad Ibn Hassan, Qadhi Abu Yusuf and even Imam al-Bukhari. The methodology of Imam Bukhari in fiqh is very similar to that of Imam Ahmad.
The Usool of the Imams of Hadith is generally in line with the Usool of Imam Ahmad
Sheikh Ibrahim Nuhu حفظه الله mentions the benefit of giving food for Zakat al-Fitr instead of money:
“Either the person eats it and satisfies the hunger or sells it to make a profit. When he wants to sell it he’ll have to make an effort for it and this will teach him about business. If you just give money, they’ll spend it and beg again. This is a way how the Sunnah indirectly teaches the people to both meet their needs and also learn how to sustain themselves.”
It is permissible to give a group what is required of an individual, and the opposite. A Sa’ can be given to more than one person and it is also permissible to give the zakat of many people to one person. Imam al-Mardawi رحمه الله says in al-Insaf, Sheikh Marʿi al-Karmi رحمه الله, Sheikh Mansur al-Buhuti رحمه الله in al-Muntaha and al-Iqna state that it is better not to give less than a Sa’.
What’s the point of giving a family 1 Sa’? The Prophet of Allah ﷺ commanded to give 1 Sa’ as long as it was given and then the people can do what they want with it. However, every person should be given a minimum of 1 Sa’ as the objective is for the people to have a respectable meal.
بَيَانُ إِخْرَاجِ اَلزَّكَاةِ وَأَهْلِهَا
وَيَجِبُ إِخْرَاجُ زَكَاةٍ عَلَى اَلْفَوْرِ مَعَ إِمْكَانِهِ,
وَيُخْرِجُ وَلِيُّ صَغِيرٍ وَمَجْنُونٍ عَنْهُمَا, وَشُرِطَ لَهُ نِيَّةٌ
It is obligatory to pay the zakat immediately, the moment it becomes possible and the hawl is complete. It cannot be delayed and dragged to further months.
The guardian (wali) of a minor or someone who is insane pays it for them on their behalf. It is the money and not the person that matters. It is obligatory upon the wali to pay the zakat on behalf of those under his care. The intention from a responsible individual is a condition when giving the zakat.
وَحَرُمَ نَقْلُهَا إِلَى مَسَافَةِ قَصْرٍ
إِنْ وُجِدَ أَهْلُهَا, فَإِنْ كَانَ فِي بَلَدٍ وَمَالُهُ فِي آخَرَ أَخْرَجَ زَكَاةَ اَلْمَالِ فِي بَلَدِ اَلْمَالِ
وَفِطْرَتَهُ وَفِطْرَةً لَزِمَتْهُ فِي بَلَدِ نَفْسِهِ, وَيَجُوزُ تَعْجِيلُهَا لِحَوْلَيْنِ فَقَطْ
It is prohibited to transport the zakat beyond the distance for shortening prayers if eligible recipients exist within the land where the zakatable wealth is located. If he does it anyway, it suffices. If the immediate area is sufficed, then it is sent in need to the closest area. This teaches us that Zakat is a community oriented thing. If you want to help others from outside, then do so from your sadaqah.
If the person is in one land and his wealth in another, zakat (Zakat al-Maal) on the wealth is extracted in the land where the wealth is located. The persons Zakat al-Fitr (also known as Zakat al-Badan (Zakat of the Body)) is to be paid for himself and whomever he must cover, and this is extracted in his own land.
It is permissible to pay zakat a maximum of two years in advance on the condition that one has met the nisab. Giving zakat unless it meets the nisab is invalid. In Sharh al-Muntaha it says that paying the zakat earlier is not recommended and is best to pay when its time arrives.
وَلَا تُدْفَعُ إِلَّا إِلَى اَلْأَصْنَافِ اَلثَّمَانِيَةِ وَهُمْ : الْفُقَرَاء وَالْمَسَاكِيْنَ وَالعَامِلُنَ عَلَيْهَا وَالمُوُْلَفَةُ قُلُوْبهُمْ وًفيِ الرِّقَابِ وَالغَارِمُوْنَ وَفيِ سَبِيلٍِ اللهِ وَابْنُ السَّبِيْل
وَيَجُوْزُ الاِقْتِصَارُ عَلَىْ وَاحِدٍ مٍنْ صنْفٍ وَالأَفْضَلُ تَعْمِيْمُهُمْ وَالتَّسْوِيَةُ بَيْنَهُمْ
Zakat is not given except to the eight categories Allah Most High mentioned in the Quran:
إِنَّمَا الصَّدَقَاتُ لِلْفُقَرَاءِ وَالْمَسَاكِينِ وَالْعَامِلِينَ عَلَيْهَا وَالْمُؤَلَّفَةِ قُلُوبُهُمْ وَفِي الرِّقَابِ وَالْغَارِمِينَ وَفِي سَبِيلِ اللَّهِ وَابْنِ السَّبِيلِ فَرِيضَةً مِّنَ اللَّهِ وَاللَّهُ عَلِيمٌ حَكِيمٌ
Zakat 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. [Surah at-Taubah , Ayah 60]
It is not permissible to divert them to something else, like building masajid, bridges, burying the dead, patching holes in levees, making an endowment of Qurans, or the like. If zakat can be given to any good cause or charity, then what was the point of Allah specifying these categories explicitly in the Quran.
The 8 are:
- The Needy:
- The Poor
- Zakat Workers
- Leaders whose hearts are being softened
- Those held as captives or slaves
- Those fighting in the Path of Allah
As per the Hanabila, the needy is one who is extremely poor to such an extent that he has less than half of what he needs. The poor is one who finds at-least half of what he needs but not that which he needs to suffice himself.
The zakat workers are to be given a salary from the zakat itself. The Hanabila require that this is to be done under the supervision of the State. But if the state is not in place, then it can be done by a strong and reputable organisation on behalf of the Muslims. They should only take that which is sufficient for covering the expenses. The scope of abuse is very high and needs to be controlled strongly.
Those whose hearts are to be softened includes those Muslims with weak Iman (New-Muslims and similar) and non Muslims who can benefit the Muslims and potentially accept Islam or to prevent them from harming the Muslims. Giving to the people of weak Iman eases their difficulties, and makes them feel part of the Muslim community. They don’t necessarily have to be poor, but financially not doing well and struggling also counts. This is a very important category that needs to be taken care of.
The category of debtors especially highlights helping such a person who went into debt because of acting as a guarantor between two parties, paying to facilitate good or resolving community needs. This also includes those who are looking to get married. Imam Mansur al-Buhuti رحمه الله, an authority in the Hanbali madhab says that if one is incapable of getting married, then it is permissible to take from zakat money to facilitate their marriage. Some of the later Hanabila disagreed with this. From this we see that Zakat is acting as a solution to so many community problems. But then we have Muslims spending zakat money to buy toilets instead of their sadaqah, building a masjid right beside another masjid etc.
The category of those fighting in the path of Allah does not include personnel who are getting the salary from the State. This is explicitly for physical jihad and not just any good thing. Imam Ahmad رحمه الله did allow zakat to be taken for facilitating Hajj and Umrah (once).
وَتُسَنُّ إِلَىْ مَنْ لَا تَلْزَمُهُ مُؤْنَتُهُ مَنْ أَقَارِبِهِ وَلَا تَدْفَعُ لِبَنِي هَاشِمٍ وَمَوَالِيْهِم، وَلَا لِأَصْلٍ وَفَرْعٍ وَعَبْدٍ وَكَافِرٍ فَإِنْ دَفَعَهَاَ لَمِنْ ظَنَّهُ أَهْلًا فَلًمْ يَكُنْ أَوْ بِالْعَكْسِ لَمْ تُجْزِعْهُ إِلَّا لِغَنِيٍّ ظَنَّهُ فَقِيْرًا
It is recommended to give one’s zakat to one’s relatives whom one is not required to support. Ex: Cousin. This is provided one is near your location as per the Hanabila.
It is not given to Bani Hashim and their freed slave (mawalihim); an ancestor or descendant; a slave; or a non Muslim except for a leader whose heart is to be softened.
There is no zakat on one’s wife, children or parents as one is financially responsible for them. It can be given to ones siblings etc.
If the zakat was given to someone who was thought to be eligible but in reality was not, or the opposite; then it does not suffice unless given to someone affluent who was thought to be needy. If someone has done that which is reasonable to find out if a person is needy, then that is enough. Because finances are a difficult and sensitive topic to go into with many people. The Hanabila state that a person is given zakat such that it suffices for him and his dependents for a year.
وَصَدَقَةُ التَّطَوُّعِ بِافَاضِلِ عَنْ كِفَايَتِهِ وَكِفَايَتِهِ مَنْ يَمُوْنُهُ سُنَّةٌ مُؤَكَدَةٌ وَفِيْ رَمَضَانَ وَزَمَنٍ وَمَكَانٍ فَاضِلٍ وَوَقْتٍ وَحَاجَةٍ أَفْضَلُ
Giving sadaqah aka voluntary charity is a strongly recommended Sunnah. It is on the condition that it is given from whatever exceeds that which suffices one and one’s dependents.
It is superior during Ramadan, in meritorious times and places, and during times of need.
Based on the Hanbali primer, Akhsar Al-Mukhtasarat authored by Ibn Balban al-Hanbali as taught by Sheikh Zahed Fettah حفظه الله