Clarifying the Rulings of Sadaqat’ul Fitr
By the Noble Shaykh Saleh ibn Fawzan al-Fawzan
Translated by AbuAbdulMalik
All praise is due to Allah who by His Favour has completed Righteousness, and Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad who was the first of the predecessors to guide towards good. And Peace and Blessings be upon his progeny and his Companions, and whomsoever hold on to his Sunnah until the Day of Resurrection. Know that Allah (subhaanahua wa ta a’laa) has made Sadaqat’ul Fitr the seal of Fasting and we praise Him (Allah) for giving us this perfect realization. We ask Allah to accept from us and to make us from those who are protected from the Fire in the end. (Ameen)
The Obligation of Giving Sadaqat’ul Fitr
O Muslims, Allah (subhaanahua wa ta a’laa) has set for you at the end of this great Month religious acts of worship that would increase you all in closeness to Him (subhaanahua wa ta a’laa). For Allah has set for you Sadaqat’ul Fitr as a purification for those who fasted from vain speech and sins. The Messenger of Allah (sal-Allâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) has made it compulsory upon the young and old, the male and female, the liberated slave and the servant. Sadaqat’ul Fitr is a purification for the body, food given to the poor, and comfort to the needy. The Muslim man is required to give Sadaqat’ul Fitr on behalf of himself, as well as those who are under his care such as his wife, children, family, etc. It is upon him to give Sadaqat’ul Fitr for each one of them, and it is even recommended that an individual fulfills it for his unborn child.
The Place of Giving Sadaqat’ul Fitr
The place which one gives his Sadaqat’ul Fitr is the city in which he resides, and where he completed the whole Month. In addition, if the people on behalf of whom he fulfils the Sadaqat’ul Fitr is from a different city (from which he resides) then it becomes permissible for him to give it on behalf of them, along with his own Sadaqat’ul Fitr in the city where he lives. It is also permissible for him to give it on behalf of him and them in their city (where they reside).
The Time of Giving Sadaqat’ul Fitr
The time for giving Sadaqat’ul Fitr begins from the setting of the sun on the night of Eid (i.e., when the new moon is sighted on the night before), and it continues until the Eid Salaah (on the next day), and it is permissible to distribute it one or two days before Eid. The evidence for this is the hadeeth collected in Sahah al-Bukharee on the authority of Ibn Umar (radhi-yAllâhu 'anhu) that the Companions used to give Sadaqat’ul Fitr one or two days before the Feast (meaning the Eid Prayer). The delaying of giving Sadaqat’ul Fitr until before the Salaah on the morning of Eid is better, and if one does not fulfill this obligation before the Eid Salaah without a valid excuse, then he has sinned. It then becomes an obligation upon him to fulfill giving Sadaqat’ul Fitr throughout the rest of the day. And if he does not fulfill the obligation of Sadaqat’ul Fitr on the day of Eid, then he must make up for it after the day of Eid. This is based on the hadeeth collected by Abu Dawood and Ibn Majah on the authority of ibn Abbaas that the Messenger of Allah (sal-Allâhu 'alayhi wa sallam) said:
“If anyone pays it (Sadaqat’ul Fitr) before the feast prayer, it will be accepted as zakaah, and if anyone pays it after the prayer, it will be considered a charity like other charities.”
Therefore this clearly means that Sadaqat’ul Fitr must be given in its correct time in order to receive its reward.
The times for giving Sadaqat’ul Fitr can be separated into four:
- Permissible: this means one or two days before Eid;
- The best time: this is between the setting of the sun on the night of Eid until before the Salaah;
- A time that will suffice, but with a sin: this is the time after the Salaah until the end of the day;
- The expiation time: this time is after the day of Eid.
The one who has the right to Sadaqat’ul Fitr
The one that has a right to Sadaqat’ul Fitr is the one who has a right to Zakaatul Mal (i.e. the wealth from the compulsory Zakaat), from the poor and needy and similar to them. Therefore it must be given at its due time to the due recipients entitled to receive Zakaah, or to his Wakeel (i.e. his representative). It is not acceptable to give it to a person who is not a Wakeel (representative) of the one who has the right upon it.
The types of foods that should be given as Sadaqat’ul Fitr
As for the type of foods that should be given and the permissibility for people using the staple food of their country, then there is a hadeeth related in the two Saheehs and other books of hadeeth stating that Allah’s Messenger (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) enjoined Sadaqat’ul Fitr to be paid with one Sa’a of dates, or one Sa’a of barley on every Muslim, free or slave, male or female, young or old. The five staple foods in the time of the Messenger of Allah (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) were: wheat, barley, dates, raisins, and cheese. Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyah (raheemullah) states these (the five food types) used to be the staple food in Madeenah, thus people living in a village or city were staple food differs from the above are to pay one Sa’a (approximately 3 kilograms) of their own staple food (as Sadaqat’ul Fitr). Thus, if their staple food is other than grain, such as milk, meat or fish, they are to give Sadaqat’ul Fitr thereof, whatever it may be. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars, which is regarded as the correct one in this regard, and there are no other contrary opinions to be followed. This is because Sadaqat’ul Fitr is legally legislated to support the needy on the day of the Feast with the same staple food of the people in the same place where they live. Therefore, it is sufficient for the Muslim to give the needy flour as Sadaqat’ul Fitr, though it is not one of the five food types of the food mentioned in the hadeeth of the Prophet (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in this regard. Though bread and cooked food can be useful for the needed, and cost little to prepare for eating, grains are likely to be more useful to them since it can last for a longer time.
The Permissibility of Giving Money as Sadaqat’ul Fitr
It is not sufficient for a Muslim to give money which is equivalent to the value of the legally prescribed amount of staple food as Sadaqat’ul Fitr, and that is because it contradicts the Quran and the Sunnah of Messenger of Allah (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Know that money was present in the time of the Prophet (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and had it been sufficient to give money, he would have clarified this to his Ummah, therefore whoever gives a legal opinion to use money instead of grain for Sadaqat’ul Fitr, has given a legal opinion based on his own Ijtihaad (assessment), and he has wronged himself and sinned in his Ijtihaad. This giving of money instead of grain for Sadaqat’ul Fitr is a contradiction to the Sunnah, likewise the one that makes Ijtihaad in this affair cannot transmit a narration from the Prophet (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and none from his companions that money was used for Sadaqat’ul Fitr.
Imaam Ahmad (raheemahullah) said: “A Muslim is not to pay the poor money instead of the prescribed amount of staple food for Sadaqat’ul Fitr.” It was said to him, “Umar ibn Abdul Aziz used to accept money for Sadaqat’ul Fitr.” He (Imaam Ahmad) replied, “How could they adhere to the sayings of so-and-so, and ignore the hadeeth of the Prophet (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stated in this regard. Ibn Umar said Allah’s Messenger (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) enjoined Sadaqat’ul Fitr to be paid with one Sa’a.”
From the Acts of Worship on the Day of Eid
O Muslims, and from that which Allah (subhaanahua wa ta a’laa) has set for you as an act of worship at the completion of this month is the Takbeer (the saying of AllahuAkbar, AllahuAkbar, Laillahaillah, waAllahuAkbar AllahuAkbar, waLillahilhamd), and this begins from the setting of the sun from the night of Eid (ie. sighting of the new moon of Shawwal), and continues up until the Eid Salaah.
Allah (subhaanahua wa ta a’laa) says in Surah al-Baqarah, ayah 185:
“(He wants that you) must complete the same number (of days), and that you must magnify Allâh [i.e. to say Takbîr (Allâhu Akbar: Allâh is the Most Great)] for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.”
And from that which Allah has set for you as an act of worship at the end of this month is the Eid Salaah, and this is the greatest form of remembering Allah, the Most High (i.e., Salaah), for Allah says in Surah Al-A’laa, Ayaahs 14-15:
“Indeed whosoever purifies himself (by avoiding polytheism and accepting Islâmic Monotheism) shall achieve success, And remembers (glorifies) the Name of his Lord (worships none but Allâh), and prays (the five compulsory prayers and Nawâfil – additional prayers)”
Some of the Scholars say about these verses that they refer to Sadaqat’ul Fitr and Salaatul Eid, and the Best Knowledge is with Allah. May Peace and Blessings be upon our Prophet (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), his progeny and Companions.