Charity is among the most noble deeds in Islam. In fact, all Muslims celebrate Eid by donating clothes, food, and money to those less fortunate. It is obligatory for Muslims to do charity before or on the day of Eid. This mandatory charity is referred to as fitrah or Zakat Al Fitr. There are numerous rules regarding when to pay, who all are eligible to pay, and how much one has to pay as fitrah. One will have to pay a minimum amount of fitrah set per Islamic rules.
What is Fitrah in Ramadan
Ramadan Fitrah is a mandatory act of charity carried out at the end of the holy month of Ramadan by all the Muslims that have the means to do so. It stems from the word zakat, the third pillar of Islam, which refers to the act of giving charity with mindful intention.
Purpose of Fitrah
All Muslims are obliged to pay fitrah at the end of Ramadan. People do so to show gratitude to Allah for giving them the will, strength, and patience to get through the month of fasting. Fitrah serves as a levy on the individual fasting person.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) once said:
“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”.
The main purpose of paying fitrah is to provide all the poor and needy Muslims with the means of celebrating the joyous occasion of Eid ul-Fitr with the rest of the community. Fitrah allows those suffering from poverty to share Eid ul-Fitr’s merriment, joy, and delight with their families. The prophet (PBUH) reportedly said:
“Gratify [the poor] on this day”.
Additionally, it aims to cleanse a Muslim’s month-long fast from all the adulterations and impurities they have accumulated during their fasting days.
When to pay Fitra on Eid ul Fitr
Fitarh in Ramadan is obligatory for all Muslims and must be paid during a particular duration of time to be considered valid. Missing the deadline of fitrah without a justifiable reason is a sin and must be made up for as soon as possible. Fitrah must be paid between the sunset of the last day of fasting and the starting of Eid prayers, which are performed soon after sunrise the next day. However, it can also be paid before this time, like many of the prophet’s companions who paid fitrah a couple of days before Eid-ul-Fitr.
In the current times, paying Fitra online during the beginning or middle of Ramadan is a widely accepted practice. This ensures that the charity reaches its beneficiaries before the day of Eid. It is believed that the charity should be carried out prior to the Eid prayers. This makes sure that the poor and the needy who receive fitrah can use it to provide for their children and families on the day of the Eid celebration. The prophet’s revered companion Ibn’ Umar used to give fitrah to the needy a day or two before Eid-ul-Fitr. Ibn’ Umar said that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) ordered that the donation should be given before Muslims leave to perform the Eid prayers.
Who has to Pay Fitrah
Paying fitrah is a universal obligation for all Muslims around the globe. This means that anyone who follows Islam is liable for the fitrah payment. Abu Hurayrah once said:
“It is due on every Muslim, free or bondsman, male or female, young or old, poor or rich”.
Regardless of their marital status, Muslim women are obligated to pay fitrah from their own wealth. According to some legal schools, husbands must make the payment on behalf of their wives. In conclusion, the payment still must be paid for each individual. In the case of children, they are required to pay fitrah out of their own holdings if they possess any wealth. Otherwise, their guardians, often their fathers, must pay it on their behalf.
Only those who do not possess enough food, shelter, clothing, or other basic essentials to last them for the day of Eid are exempted from paying fitrah. Even those in debt are not exempted unless their debt is due on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr, and paying it will leave them in a state where they won’t have enough to meet their basic needs.
How Much is Fitrah
It is obligatory for all Muslims to pay at least one sa’a of grain, food, or dried fruit. A sa’a is a unit of measurement used at the time of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). One sa’a is equivalent to 3.28 liters or nearly 2.8 kg of wheat, 2.73 kg of rice, 2.4 kg of barley, or 2.7kg of dates. In today’s time, one can also choose to pay cash amounting to the equivalent value of one sa’a. Those who are above average in terms of wealth should try to pay more fitrah than the minimum required amount of one sa’a.
Difference Between Zakat and Fitrah
It is an Islamic duty for all Muslims to pay zakat and fitrah if they have the means to do so. Both zakat (also called zakat-al-mal) and fitrah (also called zakat-al fitr) refer to obligatory acts of charity. They serve as a means of worship and purification. They provide Muslims with a means to show their gratitude to Allah for everything they are blessed with and show compassion for those in need. The difference between zakat and fitrah lies in who is eligible to pay when the charity is due and the amount that needs to be given.
Zakat refers to a Muslim’s saved wealth and is means to purify their earnings. Everyone who has accumulated a certain amount of savings over the course of a year is obligated to pay zakat at any time during the year. On the other hand, fitrah is obligatory for anyone who is capable of making the payment, which is defined as anyone who has enough to eat for one day and night. It is typically a lesser amount than zakat and must be paid before the Eid prayers are performed to mark the end of Ramadan.
Charity is a big part of Islam, and all Muslims are taught to be generous and compassionate towards those who aren’t blessed with great fortune. The Muslim community becomes even more charitable during the month of Ramadan. They are obligated to pay fitrah to those in need before the Eid prayers begin. Making donation is a great way to ensure that everyone gets to share the delights and joys of the festival of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Can one pay more than the minimum required fitrah?
Yes, if one is able, he/she can pay as much as they want. In fact, Muslims are encouraged to do as much charity as possible to gain greater rewards and blessings.
Who can receive fitrah?
Poor Muslims are the legitimate recipients of the donation.
Can one pay fitrah after Eid prayers?
It needs to be paid before the Eid prayers begin. If paid later, the charity will be treated as sadaqah and the reward will be lesser.
Is it mandatory for everyone to pay Fitrah?
Yes, all Muslims who are able to do so are obligated to make the donation.
Can one pay fitrah in the form of money?
Yes, it is permissible for Muslims to make the donation in the form of money as long as it is done on time and meets the requirement of the minimum amount to be paid.