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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