Rules Guiding Zakatul-Fitr and The ‘Eed

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Zakatul-Fitr is an obligatory charity on every Muslim at the end of the month of Ramadan. Ibn ‘Umar said: “The Prophet enjoined the payment of one Saa’ (a volume measure corresponding approximately to the volume of 5 lb) of dates or one Saa’ of barley as Zakat al-Fitr on every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to purify the one who has fasted from any type of indecent act or speech he might have committed while fasting. It also helps the poor and the needy. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “The Messenger of Allah enjoined Zakat al-Fitr on the one who fasts to shield him from any indecent act or speech and for the purpose of providing food for the needy.” [Abu Daawood and Ibn Maajah]

The Amount of Zakatul-Fitr

As the first Hadeeth indicated, the amount of Zakatul-Fitr is one Saa’. Saa’ is a volume measure corresponding approximately to the volume of 5 lb of good wheat. The material of the Zakat can be either dates, barley, wheat, rice, corn or similar items considered as basic foods. Abu Sa’eed  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  himsaid: “We used to give for Zakatul-Fitr on behalf of every child, aged person, free man or slave during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah one Saa’ of food, or one Saa’ of dried yogurt, or one Saa’ of barley, or one Saa’ of dates, or one Saa’ of raisins.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

The Time for Zakatul-Fitr

Zakatul-Fitr has to be paid by the end of Ramadan. There are two times to pay Zakatul-Fitr. Either one or two days before ‘Eed as ‘Umar  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  themused to do, or the day of ‘Eed before the ‘Eed prayer. Ibn ‘Umar  may  Allah  be  pleased  with  themreported that the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )ordered them to pay Zakatul-Fitr before they go out to perform the ‘Eed Prayer. If Zakatul-Fitr is paid after the ‘Eed Prayer, it will only be considered as regular charity. The Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allah exalt his mention )said: “If one pays Zakat al-Fitr before the Salat, it is considered an accepted Zakat, if he pays it after the Salat, it is considered an ordinary charity.” [Abu Daawood]

Zakatul-Fitr is to be given to the same eight categories or people as in the other types of Zakat. Some scholars say that the poor and the needy are the most deserving ones since the Prophet said that it had “…the purpose of providing food for the needy.”

‘Eed al-Fitr

Playing, recreation, and eating on the day of ‘Eed:

These are permissible as long as they stay within the acceptable bounds of Islam. Anas said: “When the Prophet came to Al-Madeenah, they had two days for amusement. The Prophet has exchanged these days for two better days: the day of breaking the fast and the day of sacrifice.” [An-Nasaa’i and Ibn Hibbaan]

Taking women and children to the prayer area:

The Prophet used to take his wives and daughters to the two ‘Eeds. Umm Atiyah said: “We were ordered to go out with the single and menstruating women to the two ‘Eeds in order to witness the good and the supplications of the Muslims. The menstruating women though would stay away from the prayer area.” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

Going to the prayer area:

The Prophet used to go to the prayer area on foot. Jaabir narrated: “On the days of ‘Eed, the Prophet would go to the prayer area by one route and come back by another route.” [Al-Bukhari]

Eating before going to the prayer area:

Since ‘Eed al-Fitr is the day on which Muslims break their Ramadan fast, it is preferable to eat before going to the ‘Eed Prayer. It is a Sunnah of the Prophet to eat an odd number of dates before going to pray Salat al-‘Eed. Anas reported: “The Prophet would not go out on the day of ‘Eed al-Fitr without eating an odd number of dates.” [Al-Bukhari]

Preparation for ‘Eed Prayer:

It is preferred to make Ghusl (take a bath), wear one’s best clothes and, for men, to put perfume before going to Salat al-‘Eed. Ibn al-Qayyim  may  Allah  have  mercy  upon  himsaid: “The Prophet used to wear his best clothes for the ‘Eed prayers and he had clothes that he reserved for the two ‘Eeds and Jumu’ah.

Making Takbeer:

Takbeer starts from the night of ‘Eed’s eve until the Imam comes out to start the prayer. Allah Says (what means): {……Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah (i.e., say Takbeer) for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.} [Quran 2:185] The form of Takbeer is related by ‘Umar and Ibn Mas’ood: “Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La ilaaha illa Allah. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar wa lillaahil-hamd.

Congratulating each other:

It has been narrated that when the Prophet’s Companions met each other on the ‘Eed day, they would say to each other: “May Allah accept from us and from you.” [Ahmad]

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