Fatwas on `Eid and Zakat-ul-Fitr from IslamiCity

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Question:

Dear respected Imam. How much is Zakat Al-Fitr for each individual?

Answer:

Dear Br. As-Salamu Alaykum. Regarding your question, Zakatul Fitr is calculated in each country according to the cost of a meal and to the currency. In the United States, the equivalent of $5 dollars is more than enough. A 5-10 pound bag of rice for few dollars suffices. Usually, check with your local Islamic Center about the appropriate value. If you don't know someone who qualifies to receive the Zakatul Fitr, your Islamic Center also should help out. Thank you for asking and we hope to be able to serve you more efficiently in the future. And Allah knows best.


Question:

Is it true that we should pay Zakatul-Fitr in the place where we have sighted the moon of Shawwal? Many of us expatriates arrange for that Zakah to be paid in our home countries. One reason why we do that is because we cannot identify genuine beneficiaries of Zakah here. Back home, there are many poor and needy people. Is it acceptable if we send our Zakah to be paid to its beneficiaries back home?

Answer:

It is normal procedure to pay Zakah where one lives. If you are normally resident in this country, you should pay Zakah here. However, there are many cases where expatriates work in a well off country. It is difficult to find poor people who suffer from poverty. In such a situation, there is no harm in sending your Zakah to be paid in your home country, provided you are pretty certain that the poor of the place you live can be easily looked after. This is not a case which applies to Saudi Arabia and Gulf countries, but many Muslims living in Europe or America also do likewise.


Question:

Is it permissible to collect Zakatul-Fitr and pool it together so that the money collected maybe used for the purpose of financing the marriage of poor Muslim girls in our locality?

Answer:

Zakatul-Fitr is a charitable donation which is payable as a duty by every Muslim who has any amount of money over and above what he needs for the food which he and his family eat on the last day of Ramadan. If he has any amount in excess of that, then it is obligatory for him to pay Zakatul-Fitr which is a small amount of money estimated normally by a certain measure of the staple diet of the city or area in which he lives. Thus it maybe measured by flour, barley, corn, dates, rice, raisin, etc. It may be paid in cash if such produce is plentiful and widely available and if cash is more beneficial to the recipients, as it is nowadays in most Muslim countries. Every head of a Muslim family is required to pay Zakatul-Fitr for himself and his dependents including his wife and children whom he supports and also for either or both of his parents who are his dependents. It is also payable on behalf of every child, even one who is born a few minutes before the `Eid prayer on the first day of the month of Shawwal.

Some scholars are also of the opinion that it is payable for an unborn baby as long as the pregnancy is confirmed. The purpose of Zakatul-Fitr is to make the poor feel rich or at least self-sufficient on the day of `Eid which is a joyous occasion succeeding the month of fasting. The Prophet has impressed on his followers that they should make the poor feel in need of nothing on that day. 

Zakatul-Fitr is payable a few days before the end of Ramadan, with some scholars arguing that it may be paid at any time during Ramadan, while others insist that it is payable on the last day. In the light of the foregoing, you can see that the purpose of Zakatul-Fitr is different from that of getting Muslim girls married. This is a worthy cause, no doubt, since it enables the poor girls to have homes and families of their own. But, if you collect Zakatul-Fitr and establish a fund for the marriage of poor Muslim girls, you are actually depriving the community of achieving a goal for which Zakatul-Fitr has been made a duty, namely, that the poor should not feel in need on the day of `Eid. Moreover, Islamic marriage is not costly for the girls or her family. From the Islamic view-point, it is the bridegroom who must pay a dower to his wife, so that the marriage can go through.

Moreover, he has to provide her with a home and he must look after her. Social traditions in some parts of the Muslim world have, however, made marriage a difficult task for either of the two parties or both. Islam is not responsible for that. The community should change its traditions in order to bring them in line with Islamic teachings. We should not make Islamic legislation subservient to social traditions. If it is the tradition in a certain Muslim society that a girl should give her husband some articles of gold on her marriage, we should make it clear to that community that this is not part of an Islamic marriage. 

It is a social tradition, which has been most probably picked up from a non-Muslim community. We should try to change this tradition, not to institutionalize it by spending Zakatul-Fitr for a purpose which is not its own. Zakatul-Fitr is payable to the poor in the Muslim community. It is indeed the purpose of all Zakah to help the poor overcome the burden of poverty. The Prophet instructed his governor of Yemen that Zakah should be taken "from the rich among them and paid to the poor." This applies more strongly to Zakatul-Fitr which must be paid to poor Muslim people. Having said that I should add that when the Muslim community is affluent and poverty is virtually non-existent in it, Zakah maybe paid to the poor among the Christians and the Jews.

At the time of `Umar ibn `Abdel `Aziz, one of his governors wrote him that he could not find poor people to whom he should give Zakah. `Umar instructed him to pay it to poor Christians and Jews. When the governor said that he could not find any, `Umar suggested that he should buy Muslim slaves and set them free. If we have such a situation when the Muslim community is so affluent that there are no poor in its ranks, then we consider paying Zakatul-Fitr to non-Muslims.


Question:

Can you please tell me what this `Eid is about? I mean the history of it, what and why you celebrate this `Eid?

Answer:

Dear R. As-Salamu alaykum. THE SIGNIFICANCE OF `EID - Anas (ra), a companion of prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) reported that when the Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) migrated from Makkah to Madinah, the people of Madinah used to have two festivals. On those two days they had carnivals and festivity. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) asked the Ansar (the Muslims of Madinah) about it. They replied that before Islam they used to have carnivals on those two joyous days. The Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) told them: 'Instead of those two days, Allah has appointed two other days which are better, the days of `Eid-al-Fitr and `Eid-al-Adha.' (Hadith)

`EID-AL-FITR is celebrated on the first day of Shawwal, at the completion of Ramadan. Shawwal is the 10th month of the Islamic calendar. The `Eid-al-Fitr is a very joyous day; it is a true Thanksgiving Day for the believing men and women. On this day Muslims show their real joy for the health, strength and the opportunities of life, which Allah has given to them to fulfill their obligation of fasting and other good deeds during the blessed month of Ramadan.

`EID-AL-ADHA is celebrated on the tenth day of Zul-hijjah, the 12th and the last month of the Islamic calendar. It is also very joyous day; it is a feast of self-sacrifice, commitment and obedience to Allah. It commemorates the great act of obedience to Allah by the Prophet Ibrahim (as) in showing his willingness to sacrifice his son Isma`il (as). Allah accepted his sacrifice and replaced Prophet Isma`il (as) with a lamb.

Although Hajj has no relation with the `Eid-al-Adha, but the five days long rituals of Hajj are also done during this month culminating on 9th of Dhul Hijjah. Many rituals of Hajj are enactment of the struggle of the family Ibrahim (as) specially his second wife Hajirah (as) and her son Prophet Isma`il (as).


Question:

I wanted to know what the significance of the `Eid was. Why is it celebrated? I am referring to both the `Eid that signifies the end of Ramadan, and the `Eid that was just recently celebrated. Thank you for your time.

Answer:

As-Salamu Alaykum. Each nation and religion has its special days and occasions which it celebrates. When Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) came to Madinah, the local Muslims had two days which they celebrated. So, when he inquired about them, the people replied that they used to celebrate these days in Jahiliyah time (pre- Islamic Time). Afterwards, he told them that Allah Almighty had replaced these two days with two better holidays: the Adha and Fitr. These two occasions were considered better because of their religious significance.

`Eid ul Fitr reminds the Muslims of the importance of eating, sharing food, and giving it to the poor after having fasted and endured hardship throughout the whole month of Ramadan. It also brings mental joy for having completed a pillar of Islam.

As to `Eidul Adha, it comes during the happy season of the pilgrimage period, to thank God for sending a lamb for prophet Abraham (pbuh) to slaughter instead of his son Isma`il (pbuh). This important occasion commemorates how true believers are willing to offer everything from their wealth to their life in obedience to God. Thank you for asking and God knows best.


Question:

Sallamu Allakum. How is it possible to have two `Eid al-Fitr dates, when there is only one moon. This is a very distressing and would appreciate an answer to ease my discomfort on this topic?

Answer:

Dear Br. H. As-Salamu Alaykum. During the early times of Islam, it was not uncommon to have separate villages celebrate `Eid at different dates because the sighting of the moon was not obvious to all of them and there were no fast means of communication between them. Hence, during the early times, this was not a problem.

However, in our days, you are correct, it is unfortunate that some Muslims are still divided and are not making full use of scientific and communication methods to unify their `Eid. We all hope that this will change in the future and actually, there are actually some signs that the Muslims are going towards the right direction.

Also, please note that since the world is divided into several times zones, and since there are areas that get separated by 24 hours simply by crossing the international time zone, it would be only natural that the `Eid falls on different calendar days between different countries, and this would have nothing to do with disunity among the Muslims, but simply it becomes a matter of a country’s geographical location. This is why there is what we call the International Lunar Date that takes such difference into consideration. For a good explanation about this topic, please visit: http://www.ummah.org.uk/ildl/. 

Thank you for asking and God knows best.


Question:

If you cannot pray Salat al-Fitr on time, do you have to make it up the next day?

Answer:

Dear Br. M.Y.: As-Salamu Aalaykum. According to Imam Shafi`i, yes, it is permissible to perform it later as (Qada’) at any time either alone or within a Jama`ah because it is a Nafilah (optional/extra/supererogatory) and all prayers of this kind can be made up. Thank you for asking and God knows best.


Question:

Is it ok if I skip the `EID Salah?

Answer:

Dear Br. A.Z.: As-Salamu Alaykum. The prayers of two Muslim `Eids or holidays are Sunnah according to the three schools of thought (Maliki, Hanbali, and Shafi`i).

As to the fourth one, the Hanafi school, it is considered a duty (wajib) and everyone that is required to perform the Friday prayer is also required to perform the `Eid prayer. Therefore you may take either opinions.

However, to abandon a Sunnah which constitute a symbol of Islam on purpose is not a good manner for a Muslim especially in the absence of an acceptable reason such as illness. Thank you for asking and God knows best.








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