Importance of Zakat al-Fitr in 2023
11 April 2023
Zakat al-Fitr is rooted in one of the five pillars of Islam, Alms or Zakat.
It’s a small donation that makes a big impact and has a two-fold purpose: purifying your fasts and allowing those who cannot support themselves to share in the joy of the blessed day of Eid with their Muslim brothers and sisters. When you donate your Zakat al-Fitr through IMANA, your donation’s impact is on a global scale.
What Is Zakat al-Fitr?
“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.”
Zakat al-Fitr, or the Zakat of Fast-Breaking combines two words: Zakat (alms or charity) and Fitr (breaking of the fast). It is obligatory alms that must be paid by all Muslims (who have more food than they need) by the end of the holy month of Ramadan to allow the poor to join in the day’s festivities.
What Types of Donations Are Made During Ramadan?
Zakat and Zakat al-Fitr are two of the most important types of donations made during Ramadan, and it’s common for people to confuse the two.
“Zakah is for the poor and the needy, and those employed to administer the (funds); for those whose hearts have been (recently) reconciled (to the truth); for those in bondage and in debt; in the cause of Allah; and for the wayfarer; (thus it is) ordained by Allah, and Allah is full of knowledge and wisdom.” (Quran 9:30)
Zakat (almsgiving) is paid by Muslims who hold the nisab amount (equivalent to 3 ounces or 87.48 grams of gold) for one lunar year. It amounts to 2.5% of all net savings and is a vital part of the Muslim social welfare system.
It can be paid any time of the year, although many Muslims prefer to give it during Ramadan when the reward for every good deed is multiplied by 70.
Zakat al-Fitr, sometimes referred to as “Sadaqat ul Fitr,” is levied on everyone, regardless of age, gender, or financial status.
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) describes Zakat al-Fitr “[at the close of Ramadan] as the measure of one sa‘ (4 double-handfuls) of dates or one sa‘ of barley.” In the modern world, however, fitra is calculated based on the current price of staple food or the cost of one meal, so it tends to increase over time.
Apart from these donations, volunteering in the community and sadaqah are other ways to prepare for Ramadan. They’re also considered voluntary giving to those in need. Sadaqah can be given on behalf of another person, even those who have passed away.
Who Should Make Donations?
Zakat al-Fitr is to be given by “every Muslim, free or bondsman, male or female, young or old, poor or rich” (Bukhari) because it falls on the person, not the person’s holdings.
As a result, even poor people who are eligible for Zakat are required to pay Zakat al-Fitr. The only exception is individuals who do not have food on the day of Eid and do not have shelter, clothing, and other essentials.
What about people in debt?
People with debts are obligated to pay Zakat al-Fitr. However, if they have to pay off their debt on the day of Eid and it leaves them with no money for food (and basic essentials) for the day, they will be considered exempt from paying the obligatory Zakat al-Fitr.
The head of the household can pay for the Fitrana of his wife, children, and other members of the family, although one must do it themselves if they are able. Some conditions dictate that the wali (guardian) must account for it on behalf of minors.
Uthman ibn ‘Affan (RA) also encouraged “fathers to pay it for their babies unborn.”
Why Are the Donations Made?
The Messenger of Allah (pbuh) ordained Fitrana to purify the fasting person from indecent words or actions while providing food for the needy.
It marks one of the two most important celebrations in a Muslim’s life: Eid al Fitr, which signifies the completion of Ramadan in the ninth month of the Islamic calendar. It ensures that the poor have the food resources to celebrate the Eid prayer, thank their Lord, and share the day’s joy with their families.
It also acts as a token of gratitude to God for enabling us to fast during Ramadan.
Who Benefits From the Donations?
All Muslim scholars agree with the Prophet’s statement (pbuh) to “gratify” the poor.
This makes the first two categories (the poor and the needy) specified for Zakat a priority, making them legitimate recipients of Zakat al-Fitr.
While you can give your entire Zakat to the poor, most scholars are against the practice of dividing a single payment among many recipients because it defeats the purpose. When the amount is too small, poor people who are struggling to feed themselves and their families will not be able to enjoy a good meal on Eid.
When Should You Make the Donation?
The payment for Zakat al-Fitr is called “fitrah.” Most remit it on the 27th night which is widely considered the Laylat-ul-Qadr as it is said to be “better than a thousand months.”
However, there are no hard and fast rules regarding payment. It can be paid anytime during the holy month of Ramadan. At the latest, it can be given “before going to the Eid prayer” (Al-Bukhari), after which it will be considered “mere Sadaqah for the one who gives it after the prayer” (Abu Dawud).
Zakat al Fitr in the USA .Can I Make Donations in other countries?
Yes, you can make donations to the poor even in other countries like the USA where there might not be needy people where you reside. Just make sure to time your Zakat al-Fitr in the USA right as it has to reach the recipients on the day of Eid.
Can IMANA Help Me With My Donation?
Yes. When you entrust IMANA with your fitra, you create a world of difference. We use the Zakat al-Fitr honestly and ethically to support poor and vulnerable Muslims around the globe so you can make a bigger impact.