Fitrah – Zakat al-Fitr – Fitrana – Sadaqat al-Fitr
What is Fitrah?
Fitrah is also often referred to as Sadaqat al-Fitr. The word Fitr means the same as Iftaar, “breaking a fast”, and it comes from the same root word as Futoor, meaning “breakfast”. Thus, in Islam, Fitrah is the name given to the charity that is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadan.
How is Fitrah calculated?
Firstly, zakat ul-Fitr is a sa’ of a staple food that is easily stored and considered standard for a country, such as wheat, barley, rice, or dates. In Australia, rice is considered standard and readily available.
Moreover, there are several opinions regarding what weight the sa’ equates to.
According to Dr. Ali Gomaa, the former Mufti of Egypt, the weight is 3.25kg. According to Dr. Wahba Zuhayli, it is 3.8kg. Please note that the above is according to the Hanafi madhhab. In the opinions of the other madhhabs, it is much less, around 2kg.
We have researched, and you can see the following prices from Woolworths and Coles for 1kg of rice. Please note that we consider the original price, not discounted or sale price.
Accordingly, if we take the price of $4.00 (price as of Ramadan 1444/2023) for rice and multiply this by 3.8kg, then we arrive at $15.20. However, this can be rounded down to $15.00.
MAA’s Fitrah amount is a recommended amount based on the price point mentioned above, however, this is not a hard-and-fast rule. If people wish to give more or less than this, then this is acceptable.
Please note that various reliable methodologies exist for calculating the value of zakat ul-fitr (fitrah), which can lead to a different figure.
What is the status accorded to Fitrah?
It is a duty that is compulsory on every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult, as long as he/she has the means to do so. The head of the household may pay the Fitrah on behalf of family members.
In reference to this, Abu Sa'eed al-Khudree said, "On behalf of our young and old, free men and slaves, we used to take out one sa’a of grain, cheese or raisins during Allah's Messenger's (SAW) lifetime". [Sahih Muslim 2:469 (2155)]
Bear in mind that Fitrah is only compulsory for a particular period of time. If one misses the time period without a good reason, he has sinned and cannot make up for it. This charity becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of the Eid prayer (that is, shortly after sunrise on the following day). However, it can be paid prior to the above-mentioned period, as many of the companions of the Prophet (SAW) used to pay Fitrah a couple of days before Eid.
What is the main purpose of Fitrah?
The main purpose of Fitrah is to provide those who fasted with the means of making up for their errors during the month of fasting, thereby purifying their Ramadan fast. Fitrah also provides the poor with a means by which they can celebrate with dignity the Eid-ul-Fitr festival that concludes at the end of Ramadan with the rest of the community.
Ibn Abbas reported, "The Prophet (SAW) made Fitrah compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before Eid prayer will have it accepted as Zakat, while he who gives it after the prayer has given Sadaqah." [Abu Dawood 2: 421 (1605)]
Hence, the goal of Fitrah is the spiritual development of the Believers. By making them give up some of their wealth, the believers are taught the higher moral characteristics of generosity, compassion (sympathy for the less fortunate), gratitude to God and righteousness. But, since Islam does not neglect human material needs, part of the goal of Fitrah is the welfare of the poorer members of society. Fitrah affects the circulation of wealth within society. Each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents and consider who in the community at large is in need of such charity. Thus, Fitrah contributes to developing “compassion with action” towards the needy. Bonds of love, brotherhood and sisterhood, across levels of society are thereby built.
Is it permissible to pay Fitrah in cash?
Nowadays, Muslims are generally allowed to pay in cash an equivalent value of “one sa’a” of Fitrah. Scholars opined that Fitrah can be paid in cash if it is better from the recipients' point of view. If one who gives Fitrah is relatively wealthy, it would also be better for him or her to pay more than the amount of a sa’a.
Who are the recipients of Fitrah?
The recipients (asnaf) of Fitrah are the same as those of Zakah. To read more about Zakah, click here.
- The Poor & The Needy – these people may have some wealth and funds but it is not enough to make up for the nisaab.
- The Destitute – People who have no wealth or funds. They are living their life on the very basics necessities of life.
- Zakat Collectors – People who collect Zakat as well as distribute it.
- Muslim Converts – This category was specifically designed to get new Muslim converts who were genuinely poor on their feet. It still exists to this day.
- People in Debt – People who are in debt but cannot pay it back are eligible for Zakat.
- Travellers – Muslims who are in the middle of their journey and out of money are eligible for zakat donations.