Zakathul Fitr and Eid

Sadaqat Al-Fitr

Sadaqat Al-Fitr (or Zakaat Al-Fitr) is prescribed by the Sharee‘ah based on the general indication of the texts of the Quran and the Sunnah, as well as by scholarly consensus. Allaah The Almighty Says (what means): {He has certainly succeeded who purifies himself. And mentions the Name of his Lord and prays.} [Quran 87:14-15]

The Commander of the Believers, ‘Umar ibn ‘Abdul-Azeez  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him would command the Muslims to give Sadaqat Al-Fitr and recite the abovementioned verse. As for theSunnah, Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him said, "The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordained Zakaat Al-Fitr to be given as one Saa‘ (handful) of dates or barley for every slave and free Muslim, male or female, young or old. He ordered it to be given out before the Muslims go to the ‘Eed Prayer." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim]
The scholars have unanimously agreed on the obligation of Zakaat Al-Fitr, which has two stipulations:

1- Its amount (one Saa’) should be over and above one’s own need and the need of his dependants for the day and night of ‘Eed.
2- It should be given upon (and not before) the arrival of its due time, which is sunset of the last day of Ramadhaan.

Zakaat Al-Fitr is an individual obligation upon every Muslim who can afford it. It was ordained, along with fasting, in the second year after Hijrah (prophetic emigration). The recipients of Sadaqat Al-Fitr are the same recipients of general Zakaah, based on what Allaah The Almighty Says (which means): {Zakaah expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy…} [Quran 9:60]

The amount to be given of Sadaqat Al-Fitr is a single Saa‘ for each Muslim, but it can be less than one Saa‘ if the Muslim does not find any more than that. Sadaqat Al-Fitris obligatory upon every Muslim individually, and the Muslim is not obligated to give it on behalf of others according to the preponderant opinion of scholars. However, one can give it on behalf of those under his care with their consent. An exception to this ruling is the slave, for whom Sadaqat Al-Fitr is, of course, an obligation, but in his case it is alright for his master to pay on his behalf. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "There is no charity to be paid on the slave (i.e. for owning him) except Sadaqat Al-Fitr." [Muslim]

It is recommended that the Muslim gives Sadaqat Al-Fitr on behalf of the fetus if it becomes four months old as ‘Uthmaan  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him did so, and he was one of the four Rightly-Guided Caliphs regarding whom we are ordered to follow their practices.

It is permissible to give Zakaat Al-Fitr early but only by a maximum of two days before ‘Eed as this was authentically reported from Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him: In a Hadeeth, it was said, "Ibn ‘Umar gave Sadaqat Al-Fitr for those who would accept it, and they used to receive it one or two days before ‘Eed Al-Fitr." [Al-Bukhaari] However, it is preferable to give it before the ‘Eed Prayer due to the Hadeeth which was narrated on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  him where it was mentioned that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, ordered Sadaqat Al-Fitr to be distributed before Muslims go out for the ‘Eed Prayer. It is not permissible to delay it until after the ‘Eed Prayer, and if it is, it would not be valid. The Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: "Whoever introduces something to our affairs (i.e. religion) which does not belong to it, it will be rejected."

Therefore, the time for giving Zakaat Al-Fitr can be one of three:

1- Permissible: which is two days before ‘Eed Al-Fitr
2- Recommended: which is the morning of the day of ‘Eed before the Prayer
3- Prohibited: which is after the ‘Eed Prayer, when it would not be valid

It is permissible for the Muslim to authorize someone to give it on his behalf. Also, there is no sin on him who delays giving it for a valid reason and therefore gives it late.Sadaqat Al-Fitr can be given out of the common staple-food of the country, and according to the majority of scholars it is not permissible to give the monetary value of the Sadaqat Al-Fitr. The Muslim may give one person many Saa‘s or one Saa‘ for many people.

Finally, it is preferable for the Muslim to give it personally so that he would be sure of delivering it to its due recipients on time.

Etiquette of 'Eed

'Eeds or Festivals are moments of celebration common to all nations. The festivals of non-believing nations are associated with worldly matters such as the birth of a nation or its decline, the appointment or crowning of a ruler, his marriage, or the beginning of a season like spring, and so on. As to Muslims, their festivals ('Eeds) are associated with their religious rituals. They have only two festivals or 'Eeds: 'Eed Al-Fitr (Celebration of the end of Ramadhaan) and 'Eed Al-Adha (festival of sacrifice).

When the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) came to Madeenah and found the people celebrating two days he,allallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, said: “What are these occasions”? They said: “We used to celebrate them in Jaahiliyya (before the coming of Islam)”. He, allallaahu 'alayhi wa sallam, then said : “Allaah has replaced them for you with the two better days (i.e. 'Eed Al Fitr and 'Eed Al-Adha)”. These two festivals which Allaah prescribed to the Muslims are part of the rituals of Islam which should be commemorated and the purposes of which should be understood.

Rules Pertaining to 'Eed:

1. It is forbidden to fast on the day of both 'Eeds, as it is understood from the hadeeth narrated by Abee Sa’eed that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) forbade the fasting of the two 'Eeds.

2. It is recommended that both men and women observe 'Eed prayer in an open field as is clear in the Hadeeth narrated by Um Atiya, may Allaah be please with her, who said: “We used to be ordered to come out on the day of 'Eed and even to bring the virgin girls from their houses and menstruating women so that they might stand behind the men and say Takbir along with them and hope for the blessings of that day for purification from sins”. Since menstruating women as well as those who are virgin are commanded to observe 'Eed prayer, there is no doubt that the men, old and young are even strongly commanded to observe it.

3. 'Eed prayer should be performed before the khutba of 'Eed as is confirmed in the hadeeth narrated by Ibn Amr, Abee Sa’eed, and Ibn Abbas  may  Allaah  be  pleased  with  them.

4. It is recommended that the Imaam makes Takbeer (Allaahu Akbar) during the prayer, seven times in the first Raka’at and five in the second. This has been confirmed by the companions of the Salaf (our righteous predecessors).

5. It is recommended that the Imaam recites in the first Raka’at Soorah Al-A'alaa (chapter 87) and Soorah Al-'Ghaashiah (chapter 88) in the second. Other reports also show that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) used to recite Soorah Qaaf (chapter 50) and Soorah Al-Qamar (chapter 54) as is confirmed in Saheeh Muslim.

6. There is no Sunnah prayer either before or after 'Eed prayer as Ibn Abbas, may Allaah, be pleased with him, narrated that whenever the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) went for 'Eed prayer, he used to pray two Raka’at (of 'Eed) but nothing before or after them.

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I’tikaaf in Ramadan

I’tikaaf means staying in the mosque for a specific purpose, which is to worship Allah. It is prescribed in Islam and is mustahabb (recommended) according to the consensus of the scholars. Imam Ahmad said, as was narrated from him by Abu Daawood: “I have not heard from any of the scholars that it is anything other than Sunnah.”
Az-Zuhri said: “How strange the Muslims are! They have given up I’tikaaf, despite the fact that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, never abandoned this practice from the time he came to Madinah until his death.”

The benefits of I’tikaaf

There are many hidden benefits in the acts of worship and much wisdom behind them. The basis of all deeds is the heart, as the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, said: “In the body there is an organ which if it is sound, the entire body will be sound, and if it is corrupt, the entire body will be corrupt. That organ is the heart.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

What corrupts the heart most is distractions and preoccupations – such as food, drink, sex, talking too much, sleeping too much and socializing too much, and other distractions – which divert people from turning to Allah and cause the heart to be unfocused and unable to concentrate on worshipping Allah. So Allah has prescribed acts of worship, such as fasting, to protect the heart from the negative effects of these distractions. Fasting deprives a person of food and drink and sex during the day, and this denial of excessive enjoyments is reflected in the heart, which gains more strength for seeking Allah and frees it from the chains of these distractions which take a person from thinking of the Hereafter by occupying him with worldly concerns.

Just as fasting is a shield which protects the heart from the influences of physical excessive indulgence in food, drink and sex, so I’tikaaf offers an immense hidden benefit, which is protection from the effects of excessive socialising. For people may take socialising to extremes, until it has a similar effect on a person to the effects of over-eating.

I’tikaaf also offers protection from the evil consequences of talking too much, because a person usually does I’tikaaf on his own, turning to Allah by praying Qiyaam al-Layl, reading Qur’an, making Dhikr, reciting du’aa, and so on.

It also offers protection from sleeping too much, because when a person makes I’tikaaf in the mosque, he devotes his time to drawing closer to Allah by doing different kinds of acts of worship; he does not stay in the mosque to sleep.

Undoubtedly a person’s success in freeing himself from socialising, talking and sleeping too much will help him to make his heart turn towards Allah, and will protect him from the opposite.

The connection between fasting and I’tikaaf

No doubt when a person has all the means of purifying his heart by keeping away from all the things that can distract him from worship, this will be more effective in helping him to turn towards Allah with devotion and humility. Hence the Salaf regarded it as mustahabb to combine fasting and I’tikaaf. Imam Ibn al-Qayyim, may Allah have mercy upon him, said: “It was not reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, ever did I’tikaaf when he was not fasting. Indeed, ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, said: ‘There is no I’tikaaf except with fasting.’” [Abu Daawood]
Allah did not mention I’tikaaf except in conjunction with fasting, and the Messenger of Allah, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, did not do I’tikaaf except in conjunction with fasting.

The view that fasting is a condition of I’tikaaf was narrated from Ibn ‘Umar and Ibn ‘Abbas. It was also the view of Malik, al-Awza’i and Abu Haneefah, and different opinions were narrated from Ahmad and Al-Shaafi’ee.

With regard to the words of Ibn al-Qayyim, “It was not reported that the Prophet ever did I’tikaaf when he was not fasting”, there is some room for debate. It was reported that the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, did I’tikaaf in Shawwaal (Al-Bukhari and Muslim), but it was not proven that he was fasting on these days when he did I’tikaaf.

The most correct view is that fasting is mustahabb (recommended) for the one who does I’tikaaf, but it is not a condition of his I’tikaaf being valid.

Supplication on the Night of Al-Qadr

In a hadith on the authority of ‘Aa’ishah, may Allah be pleased with her, she said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allaah, if I know which night is the Night of Al-Qadr, what should I say on that night?’ He said: ‘Say: ‘Allaahumma innaka ‘afuwwun tuhibbu al-‘afwa fa’fu ‘anni (O Allah, You are Ever Pardoning and You love pardoning, so pardon me!)’” [At-Tirmithi]

In another narration, she said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah, if I witness the Night of Al-Qadr, what should I say?’ He said: ‘Say: ‘O Allah, You are Ever Pardoning and you love pardoning, so pardon me.’’” [Ibn Maajah]

Benefits and rulings:

First: The virtue of the Night of Al-Qadr and the keenness of ‘Aa’ishah, the Mother of the Believers, to witness it, offer voluntary prayers in it and supplicate to Allah in it.

Second: The keenness of the Companions to ask about matters that benefit them.

Third: The virtue of supplication on the Night of Al-Qadr and the fact that it is most likely to be answered.

Fourth: A recommendation to supplicate to Allah by the succinct words of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, and not to burden oneself with supplications that are rhyming or those whose meanings are not known.

Fifth: The supplication mentioned in the hadith is one of the most beneficial and all-inclusive supplications because it combines between the good of the worldly life and the Hereafter. For if Allah pardons His slaves in the worldly life, He will remove punishment from them and bestow favor upon them. If He pardons them in the Hereafter, He will save them from Hell and admit them to Paradise.

Sixth: Ascribing the attribute of love to Allah in a way that befits His Majesty and that He The Almighty loves forgiveness.

Seventh: The virtue of pardoning people because Allah The Almighty loves pardoning and those who pardon others.

Eighth: The advice of the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam, to his Ummah(nation) and teaching them what benefits them.