Zakatul Fitre is obligatory on the capable Muslim, male or female, young or old.
The Prophet (PBUH) said in a part of Hadith narrated by al-Bukhari and Muslim:
فرض رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم زكاة الفطر في رمضان على كل نفس من المسلمين: حرِّ أو عبد، رجل أو امرأة، صغير أو كبير …
The Prophet (PBUH) made Zakatul Fitre an obligatory act in Ramadan on each Muslim, free or slave, man or woman, young or old …
Who has to offer Zakatul Fitre
Zakatul Fitre is mandatory on the Muslim who has an extra amount of food enough for him and his dependants for the duration of the night and day of Eidul Fitre. The capable Muslim has to offer Zakatul Fitre for each one of those who are financially dependant upon him, including the servants.
On the other hand, if the wife has separate financial ability, it is recommended that she offers her own Zakatul Fitre. The same would apply to parents and adult children, who live with the Muslim. The young orphans, if they have an inheritance, the guardian has to offer Zakatul Fitre, from their own wealth, on their behalf.
Purposes of Zakatul Fitre
1- Making up for any shortcomings or deficiencies in the Muslim’s fasting.
2- Provide assistance and help to the poor and needy Muslims.
3- Showing gratitude to Allah SWT for allowing the Muslim to perform the fast of the month of Ramadan.
Amount of Zakatul Fitre
The capable Muslim has to offer the measure of one sa’(صاع) from the food that is easily available in the country where he’s offering Zakatul Fitre. The amount of the measure of sa’ is equal to about three kilograms of food. It can be offered as dates, wheat, barley, rice, raisin, corn or similar basic items of dry food.
Most of the scholars had agreed that the amount of Zakatul Fitre has to be offered as food. Imam Abu-Hanifah, however, mentioned that it can be offered as money.
Time of offering Zakatul Fitre
Zakatul Fitre becomes due right after the sunset of the last day of the month of Ramadan (The night of Eidul Fitre). It has to be offered before the prayer of Eidul Fitre, otherwise, it’ll be considered as Sadaqah (charity). However, it can be offered one or two days before Eidul Fitre, according to the opinion of some scholars.
Recipients of Zakatul Fitre
Zakatul Fitre is to be offered mainly to poor and needy Muslims, in the country where the Muslim lives. Some scholars, however, mentioned that it can be offered in other countries where there’re more needy and poor Muslims. On the other hand, Zakatul Fitre can be given to non-Muslim needy, if this would achieve the interest of Islam and Muslims. This can be considered when the Muslim, for example, is living in a non-Muslim country.
Imam of Masjid Fatima, Woodside, NY