Eid ul Fitr and Zakat ul Fitr

By Prof. Ziauddin Ahmad


Eid-ul-Fitr is a day of thanksgiving and jubilation as it signifies the successful completion of the sacred month of Ramadan.

This festival marks the completion of an act of duty and devotion. It teaches us the lesson that real happiness arises from performing one’s duty and making sacrifices for a noble objective.

Fasting is one of the most significant pillars of Islam. The practice of fasting sublimates the inner self of man and inculcates discernment of the pangs and hardships which the poor and needy face. This feeling is awakened in all those, whether rich or poor, young or old, who observe fasting. It is the loftiest achievement of moral exercises which is celebrated with the greatest zest and verve on the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

All kinds of spiritual adorations during the sacred month of Ramadan are in celebration of the revelation of the last and perfect message of Allah to humanity, for the limitless and vast favour on mankind in the shape of the Glorious Qur’an and its implication in the dedication and devotion in the month of Ramadan to which the Divine Book had led. Says the Qur’an: Allah has revealed to you the Book and Wisdom and taught you what you did not know before. Allah’s goodness to you has been great indeed.” (4:113)

There are multiple results of fasting (Siyam) in the shape of vigorous duties, moral and spiritual self-discipline and austerity. This reward equips man to swim in the roughest seas of life. It is in this concept that the Qur’an has clearly expressed the act of fasting as a blessing and not a calamity. Allah desires your well being, not your discomfort. He desires you to fast the whole of the month so that you may magnify Him for giving you His guidance, and that you may give thanks.

It is with this spirit of thanksgiving that Eid-ul-Fitr is observed all over the world by Muslim Ummah by offering prayers to Allah, and rejoicing and festivity on the accomplishment of an act of dedication and submission to the Almighty. The Muslim Ummah meditates and pays obeisance to their Lord in congregation, displaying the real spirit of brotherhood, equality and fraternity through the prayers and through the zest of meeting and embracing the Muslim brothers.

On this happy occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, we should pray to Allah to bless the Muslim Ummah.

We should not forget those who are afflicted with poverty, ignorance, disease and other misfortunes. Charity i.e. the Saddqaha-e-Fitr is obligatory at the end of the fasting month i.e. Ramadan and should be compulsorily paid to the needy by every Muslim of means. The real happiness of Eid lies in sharing our happiness with others. Payment of fitrah to the poor and needy is obligatory. It has to be paid before Eid prayers.

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Significance of Ed-ul-Fitr

The Muslims celebrate Ed-ul-Fitr on the first of the lunar month of Shawwal. This religious festival, in fact is an expression of thanks-giving to Allah the Almighty for His grace in enabling His faithful servants to observe the fasting month of Ramadan, besides the daily Tarawih Prayers, recitation of the Qur’an and works of charity.

Prescribed Works on Ed-ul-Fitr

The following eleven things have been prescribed to be done on Ed-ul-Fitr;
1. To rise early in the morning.
2. To brush the teeth.
3. To have bath for Eid after the Fajr Prayer.
4. To put on the best available dress.
5. To use perfume.
6. To arrange for one’s personal adornment and decoration.
7. To give away ‘Eid Charity (Zaka-ul-Fitr) before departure for the Eid ground.
8. To eat something sweet before going for the ‘Eid Prayer.
9. To reach the ‘Eid ground as early as possible.
10. To walk to the ‘Eid ground by one way and return by the other; however, there is no harm if one rides back home.
11. To pronounce the following Takbir on the way in a low voice.

Alla-u Akbar, Allah-u Akbar
Allah is greatest Allah is greatest

La-Ilaha ill-Allah
There is no God but Allah

wa-Allah-u Akbar, Allah-u Akbar
and Allah is greatest Allah is greatest

wa-lillah-il-hamd
and all praise is for Allah.

Regulations Relating to ‘Eid Prayer

1. If a person misses the ‘Eid prayer, he cannot offer it individually, for the ‘Eid prayer is conditioned upon congregation. Similarly, if the prayer of a person who joined in the congregation is invalidated due to some reason, he cannot offer it later as a missed prayer, nor is it incumbent upon him to do so. However, a few persons who have missed the prayer can get together and offer it if they so desire.

2. There is neither Azan nor Iqamah for the ‘Eid Prayers.

3. Women and the men who cannot offer the ‘Eid Prayers due to some reason, should not offer any voluntary prayer before the ‘Eid prayer’.

1. The Ahl al-Hadith scholars maintain the view that women and children have been enjoined to attend the ‘Eid prayer, because the ‘Eid, like the Friday Prayer, is a special feature of Islam, and the holy Prophet (Pbuh) himself has exhorted the women to go to the ‘Eid ground.

Hadrat Umm’atiyyah has narrated; “The holy Prophet (Pbuh) commanded us that we should take un-married young girls and grown-up women, even the menstruating ones, along with us to the ‘Eid ground. The menstruating women, however, are not to attend the prayer, but should sit aside and keep on pronouncing the Takbir, and join only in the supplications. I asked, ‘O Prophet of Allah! what about those who do not have the over-garment to cover themselves up?” The holy Prophet (Pbuh) replied; The one having an over-garment should take her sister along with her.” (Bukhari, Muslim, Tirmizi)

4. If a person joins the ‘Eid prayer when the Imam has already pronounced the Takbirs and is reciting the Qur’an, he should pronounce the Takbirs after expressing intention for the prayer. If he joins in the Ruku position, he should pronounce the Takbirs, instead of the usual Tashibh, without raising the hands. If the Imam resumes the standing position before the late-comer has been able to pronounce the required number of Takbirs, he should also resume the standing position after the Imam; the remaining Takbirs are excused.

5. If Imam forgets to pronounce the additional Takbirs and remembers this in the Ruku position, he should pronounce them even in that position instead of resuming the standing position for the purpose; but even if he resumes the standing position, the prayer will not be invalidated.

6. It is undesirable to say a voluntary prayer in the ‘Eid ground or elsewhere before or after the ‘Eid prayer’.

7. If a person has missed the ‘Eid Prayer, he should not say it later as a missed prayer, because the ‘Eid prayer cannot be said later individually.

8. Jurists have agreed that the ‘Eid prayer may be held at more than one place in the city. The people who cannot go out to the ‘Eid ground may offer the prayer in the city according to their convenience.

9. The recitation in the ‘Eid prayer is to be audible.

The Imam should preferably recite Surahs al-A’ala (87) and Al-Ghashiyah (88) or Surahs Qaf (50) and Al-Qamar (54) as was the practice of the holy Prophet (Pbuh) himself.

Regulation Concerning the Eid Sermon

1. The ‘Eid Sermon is Sunnat in nature, but listening to it is wajib (obligatory) for the audience.

2. The sermon should be delivered after the prayer, Hadrat Abu Sa’id says; “The holy Prophet (Pbuh) would first of all offer the Fitr or Adha Prayer; then he would stand up facing the people who kept on sitting in their rows and he would instruct them in religion. Then if he had to send out an army or had to give a special command to the people, he would do so. After this he would return home”. (Bukahri, Muslim)

”I accompanied the Holy Prophet (Pbuh) to the ‘Eid ground. He led the prayer and then gave the sermon. Then he approached the gathering of the women and gave them religious instructions and urged them to practise charity.” (Bukhari)

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Zakat -ul- Fitr

  • Zakat -ul -Fitr is a type of Sadaqah which must be paid by every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave, at the end of the Month of Fasting (Ramadan).

  • The purpose of Zakat -ul- Fitr is to purify one who fasts from any indecent act or speech and to help the poor and needy.

  • Zakat ul Fitr is incumbent on every free Muslim who possesses one Sa of dates or barley which is not needed as a basic food for himself or his family for the duration of one day and night. Every free Muslim must pay Zakat ul Fitr for himself, his wife, children, and servants. (One Sa’ equals approximately three kilograms).

  • The required amount of Zakat ul Fitr is one Sa’ of wheat, rice or corn or similar items considered as basic foods.

  • Abu Hanifah made it permissible to set aside, as a Zakat ul Fitr, an equivalent value and also said that if the payer pays in wheat, one half of a Sa’ would be sufficient.

  • Most scholars believe that it is permissible to pay Zakat ul Fitr a day or two before Eid. According to Abu Hanifah, it is permissible to pay it even before Ramadan. Ash-Shafi holds that it is permissible to do so at the beginning of Ramadan. Malik and Ahmad maintain that it is permissible to pay it only one or two days in advance.

  • The founders of the four accepted Islamic legal schools agree that Zakat ul Fitr is not nullified simply by not paying it on its due date. In such a case, it becomes a debt on the one who is responsible for it until it is paid. They also agree that it is not permissible to delay it until the day of Eid.

  • The distribution of Zakat ul Fitr is the same as that of Zakat that is, it has to be distributed to the eight groups of beneficiaries mentioned in the ayah. (At Taubah : 60)

  • Az-Zuhri, Abu Hanifah, Muhammad, and Ibn Subrumah make it permissible to give Zakat ul Fitr to a dhimmi. Allah, the Exalted One says: “Allah allows you to show kindness and deal justly with those who did not war against you on account of religion and did not drive you out of your homes. Lo! Allah loves those who are just.” (at Mumtahanah :8)


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    Things permissible to break Fast / Fidyah / Wasiyyat

    Things which make Permissible the Breaking of Saum (Fasting)

    Breaking Saum becomes permissible only in case of a real need, emergency or danger. When a fast is broken on account of a valid reason Qadha of the fast is obligatory. In such cases only Qadha is necessary, not Kaffarah.

    The following are valid reasons which make permissible the breaking of Saum (fast)

    1. Sudden sickness which endangers one’s life or which will cause great deterioration of the health if the fast is not broken.

    2. When it becomes necessary to take medicine due to having been bitten by a poisonous animal.

    3. Extreme thirst which endangers one’s life.

    4. A pregnant woman having genuine fear for either her own safety or the safety of the child she is bearing, may break the fast.

    5. A woman fearing for the life of the baby she is breast-feeding may break the fast. If her milk dries up as a result of the fast and the baby is dependant on breast-feeding, breaking the Saum is permissible.

    6. A Nafl fast may be broken to honour one’s guests. Qadha of the fast has to be made.

    Fidyah

    Fidyah is the compensation which has to be paid for the Saum which has not been executed on account of permanent disability, etc.

    1. The Fidyah amount for each compulsory fast not kept is the same as Sadaqah Fitr, viz. 3-kg wheat or its cash equivalent or feeding a Miskeen (poor person) two full meals for a day.

    2. Unlike Kaffarah, it is permissible to distribute the Fidyah amount among several masakeen (poor persons).

    3. Fidyah (as well as Kaffarah) monies/food can be given to only such Muslims who are allowed to accept Zakat.

    4. If by the time maut (death) approaches, one has not yet paid the Fidyah, it will be waajib to make a wasiyyat (bequest) for the Fidyah to be paid.

    5. A person who is allowed to pay Fidyah for undischarged Saum, on recovering his health after having paid the Fidyah, is obliged to fast the number of days he had missed. The Fidyah thus paid will become a Nafl charity.

    Wasiyyat

    Wasiyyat is a bequest which a person has to make with regard to undischarged Saum.

    1. If by the time of the approach of maut (death) a person has not executed his obligation of Qadha Saum or Fidyah, it will be wajib (obligatory) on him/her to make a wasiyyat, declaring that Fidyah for the undischarged Saum obligation be paid on his/her behalf.

    2. Once the mayyit (deceased) has made a wasiyyat, it will be waajib on the executors/heirs of the mayyit’s estate to pay the Fidyah from the estate of the deceased, i.e. from one third of the estate.

    3. If the Fidyah amount exceeds one third of the estate, payment of the excess from the mayyit’s estate is not permissible. However, if all the adult heirs willingly consent to the payment of the full Fidyah (i.e. including the excess), it will be permissible. The consent of minors is not valid, hence the excess (i.e. more than one third the value of the estate) cannot be paid from the shares of the minor heirs.

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    Questions Regarding Tarawih Prayers

    By Maulana Ruknuddin

    Q. What about praying Tarawih sitting, without excuse?
    A. It is Makrooh. (Darrul Mukhtar)

    Q. How many are the Rak’ats of Tarawih?
    A. Twenty Rak’ats with five resting, each resting consists of four Rak’ats with two Salams. (Aalamgiri, Durrul Mukhtar)

    Q. What about sitting (resting) after each four Raka’ts?
    A. It is Mus’tahab (appreciable). (Darrul Mukhtar)

    Q. What should not we while sitting after each four Rak’ats?
    A. The devotee is at liberty either to keep quiet or to recite Tasbih or the Holy Qur’an, or pray Nafl prayers. (Aalamgiri, Durrul Mukhtar)

    Q. What about completing the Holy Qur’an in Tarawih?
    A. Completing it once is Sunnah, twice is better and completing it thrice is the best. (Darrul Mukhtar)

    Q. If people are lazy, is it proper to abandon the practice of completing the Qur’an in Tarawih?
    A. It is not proper to abandon completing one Qur’an in Tarawih on account of people’s laziness. There are a little more than six thousand verses in the Qur’an; and if the month is of thirty days, the total number of Rak’ats is six hundred. At this rate, it comes to ten verses per Rak’at which is not much. (Shami)

    Q. What about the Hafiz who receives wages for reciting the Holy Qur’an in Tarawih?
    A. It is not permissible to receive wages for reciting the Holy Qur’an. It should be recited for the sake of merit. It is however, permissible to agree to a particular amount of money for punctuality and transport. This has been suggested by the jurists of recent times.

    Q.What about performing the Tarawih prayer twice in the same Mosque?
    A. It is Makrooh. (Aalamgiri)

    Q. What about an Imam leading the Tarawih prayer completely at two different places?
    A. It is not proper. (Aalamgiri).

    Q. What about two Imams leading the same Tarawih?
    A. It is preferable that one single Imam leads the whole of Tarawih, but if two Immas divide it between themselves, it is Mus’tahab that each Imam leads the complete Tarawih (set of four Rakats). (Aalamgiri)

    Q.Is it permissible that the Isha and Witr prayers are led by one Imam and Tarawih is led by another Imam?
    A. It is permissible. Hadrat Umar (R.A) used to lead the prayers of Isha himself, while he would ask Hadrat Ubai bin Kaab to lead the Tarawih prayer.

    Q. If two Rak’ats of Tarawih become spoiled on account of error in recitation etc, should the same portion of the Qur’an be recited again?
    A. Yes, it should be recited once again, so that the Qur’an is completed in Tarawih correctly. (Aalamgiri)

    Q. At such places where there is no Hafiz available for completing the Qur’an which of the chapters should be recited in Tarawih?
    A. It is preferable to recite from to the last chapter . It is helpful in remembering the number of Rak’ats as well as easy to recite. (Aalamgiri)

    Q. If the Imam leads the Tarawih prayer sitting without excuse while the members of the congregation keep standing, is their prayer valid?
    A. It is valid. (Aalmgiri)

    Q. The Imam forgets to sit in Quadah of the Tarawih prayer and remembers it when he has stood for the third Rak’ah, what should he do now?
    A. If he remembers it before he performs Sajdah of the third Rakah he should return to the Quadah of the second Rak’ah and after necessary recitation complete the prayer with Salam. If he remembers it after performing Sajdah of the Third Rak’ah, he should continue and add another Rak’ah to it, his prayer is not spoiled, and these four Rak’ats would be equal to two Rak’ats. Such cases often take place, hence it is most necessary to remember the solution. (Aalamgiri)

    Q. If the Imam sits in Quadah after the second Rakah of Tarawih and then, forgetfully, stands for the third Raka’ah, what should he do in this case?
    A. In this case, he should add one more Rak’ah to his three Rak’ats. These four Raka’ats will be treated as four Rak’ats, not as two as in the previous case. (Aalmgiri)

    Q. The tenth month of the year is Shawwal. Please explain the merits of the month and its special prayers?
    A. It is mentioned in books of the Hadith that on the first night of Shawwal, whose morning is the Day of Eid, several thousand angels decend on earth and proclaim, ‘O servants of Allah, there is good news for you, God has pardoned you as you have fasted during Ramadan. If you also fast six days in Shawwal, you will get a magnificent palace in heaven, the like of which none will get except he who acts like you.

    Yet another Hadith says: “Whoever fasts six days during Shawwal, will get the merit of fasting the whole year.(Courtesy Minaret)








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