Understanding The True Meaning Of Zakatul Fitr

What Is Zakatul Fitr? Linguistically, the Arabic word Zakah simply means charity.

But semantically, it means the spiritual purification of wealth in one’s possession which some other people are not endowed with.

In Islam, there are two types of Zakah. One is called Zakatul Mal (meaning charity paid on possessed wealth), the other is Zakatul Fitr (meaning feasting charity).

The one is a whole pillar of Islam while the other is an attribute of another pillar of Islam called  Ramadan fast.

As for Zaatul Fitr which is an organ of Ramadan fast, its payment is obligatory on all Muslims (adult or minor, male or female).

This Zakah is called Zakatul Fitr (feasting charity) to facilitate a festive mood for the poor once in the society.

Zakatul Fitr can be doled out in grains or in cash. Although the preference is for grains, nevertheless, if you give grains  to a wretched person who cannot afford any amount of money to turn it into an edible meal how will grains alone be useful for him?

This is why some jurisprudential Islamic scholars thought of applying the principle of Qiyas (analogical deduction to it) and it is not illegal in Islam.

To say that Zakatul Fitr must be paid only in grains is to be extreme especially when the recipients of such charity may be forced to sell the grains given to them for cash.

The Prophetically recommended measure of grains to be given as charity is called Muddu and each person must give four of it out in terms of valid grains.

Zakatul Fitr must be given out either on the eve of ‘Idul Fitr or before observing Salatul Fitr on ‘Id day.
Completing Ramadan fast without paying Zakatul Fitr is a spiritual question mark which a Muslim must be ready to grapple with before Allah. Ramadan Karim!


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