What is Sadaqah al-Fitr (Fitrah)?

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What is Sadaqah al-Fitr (Fitrah)? Frequently Asked Questions About Fitrah…
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Dear Brother / Sister,

What is sadaqah al-fitr?

For whom is it wajib to pay fitrah?

When is it necessary to pay fitrah?

Who needs to give fitrah?

How is fitrah paid?

What is the amount of fitrah?

Is there a difference between the amount of wealth that necessitates fitrah and zakah?

What is sadaqah al-fitr?

Sadaqah al-fitr is a sadaqah that is wajib to be given by every Muslim who is alive at the end of the month of Ramadan and who has at least nisab amount of money or goods apart from his fundamental needs. It is also called fitrah.

Sadaqah al-fitr (fitrah) means sadaqah given by man as gratitude in order to gain rewards.

Fitrah is a means of the acceptance of fasting by Allah and salvation from the agonies of death and torture in the grave. It helps the poor to meet their needs and be happy on the day of eid. From this point of view, fitrah is a humane charity and civilized duty.

For whom is it wajib to pay fitrah?

The necessary conditions for paying fitrah are as follows: to be a Muslim, to be a free person (not a slave), to have nisab amount of money or goods apart from his fundamental needs. It is not necessary to be sane and to have reached the age of puberty for fitrah. The fitrahs of the rich mentally ill people and children need to be given by their guardians.   

If a person's goods of nisab amount are destroyed after fitrah becomes wajib for him, it is necessary for him to pay fitrah.

When is it necessary to pay fitrah?

Fitrah becomes wajib on the first day of eid al-fitr beginning from the dawn. The mustahab way of giving fitrah is to give it after dawn and before leaving the eid prayer. However, there is no drawback to giving fitrah a few days or even months before eid. Thus, it helps the poor to meet their needs for eid beforehand. It is necessary to pay the fitrahs that have not been paid on time as soon as possible.  

This is the view of Imam Abu Hanifa. According to the other three imams, fitrah becomes wajib on the last day of Ramadan after the sun sets. It is not permissible to pay it after the eid prayer.

It is not wajib for a person who dies or who becomes poor before the dawn on the first day of eid al-fitr to pay fitrah. It is wajib to pay fitrah for a rich person who dies after dawn. It is paid from his inheritance.

If the money or goods of nisab amount are destroyed after fitrah becomes wajib and before fitrah is paid, it is necessary to pay fitrah. 

Who needs to give fitrah?

A Muslim who has nisab amount needs to give fitrah for himself, his children who are poor and his servant. According to Abu Hanifa, the fitrahs of rich children are paid from the children's money. According to Imam Muhammad, it is given by their father.

The fitrah of a child who has reached the age of puberty but who is not sane is given by his father. Fitrah is not paid for a child who has not been born yet.

A person does not have to pay fitrah for his father, mother, grandfather and grandmother even if they live together with him. The same thing is valid for the relatives. A grandfather does not have to pay fitrah for the poor children of his son whether their father is alive or not. 

A person does not have to pay fitrah for his wife and his child who has reached the age of puberty and who is sane. For, such people are responsible people and can manage their own affairs. However, it is permissible for the husband or father to pay their fitrah by taking permission from them. However, what is essential for everybody is to pay their own fitrah. 

According to Imam Shafii, even if a woman is rich, her fitrah is paid by her husband. It is necessary for a person to have niyyah (intention) for fitrah just like zakah. It has to be given to the poor and become the property of the poor. It is not necessary to say that what you give is fitrah.  

A person cannot give fitrah to his wife/her husband or to his/her child or father/mother. For instance, a woman cannot give fitrah to her husband, father or son who is poor.

How is fitrah paid?

A person can give his fitrah to a poor person but a fitrah cannot be divided in order to be given to more than one person. A few people can gather their fitrahs and give them to one poor person.

A few people can gather their fitrahs and give them to a few poor in a mixed way. They do not have to give each fitrah separately. However, it is regarded better to give them separately.

A person should give his fitrah to one of the poor people of the area where he lives. It is makruh to send fitrah to other places.  

What is the amount of fitrah?

Fitrah is given based on 4 food items mainly:  

1 - Wheat or wheat flour. The amount of wheat that is wajib to give is half sa' (520 dirhams: 1667 gr.)

2 - Barley or barley flour. The amount of barley that is wajib to give is one sa' (1040 dirhams: 3333 gr.)

3 - All kinds of raisin. The amount of raisin that is wajib to give is one sa' (3333 gr.)

4 - Dry dates. The amount of dates that is wajib to give is 1 sa' (3333 gr.)

Fitrah can be given based on one of these four food items. Fitrah can be given in kind as dates, wheat, grapes or their equivalent as money. It is better to pay their equivalent as money.

When a person pays fitrah, he can pay it based on one of these four items considering his wealth. For instance, a person who is very rich needs to pay his fitrah based on dates because the one with the highest price among the four items is dates. What is appropriate for his wealth is to pay fitrah based on dates. The item on which fitrah to be paid is based varies in accordance with the degree of wealth. The religious authorities declare the equivalent of these 4 items every year in the month of Ramadan. It is possible to pay fitrah based on those amounts.

Is there a difference between the amount of wealth that necessitates fitrah and zakah?

Yes, there is. The rich person who is to pay zakah needs to own the nisab amount of money or property for one year but there is no such condition for fitrah. If a person has the nisab amount of money or property on the last day when fitrah can be given, it becomes wajib for him to pay fitrah. 

Today, the amount of zakah is usually based on gold for zakah. It is better for the amount of fitrah to be based on silver. This is the reason why fitrah is paid for more people than zakah.

A person who cannot perform fasting due to old age or an illness in Ramadan is not exempted from paying fitrah. He has to fulfill this wajib deed. 

Fitrah can be given to the non-Muslims living in the Islamic countries but it cannot be given to the non-Muslims living in the non-Muslim countries.

The decree of fitrah is owning it. Fitrah is not regarded to have been paid before the poor obtains it.

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