Allah SWT says in the Glorious Quran:
The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur’an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion.
So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey – then an equal number of other days.
Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful.
Dear brothers and sisters, we are reaching the end of this amazing month of blessing and reward insh’Allah and with it comes the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr.
And prior to that is a charity that Muslims are obliged to give and that is Zakah-al-Fitr also known as Fitrana amongst the Asians amongst us or Sadaqa al-Fitr.
The word Fitr comes from the word Iftar which we know is breaking of the fast and thus this name is given to a charity which is distributed at the end of the fasts of Ramadan.
So what is the purpose of this charity and why is is compulsory or wajib on each Muslim, male or female, young or old?
Well, the primary practical purpose of this is to provide those who fasted with a means of making up for their errors during the month of fasting. After all, this month is a challenge and none of us are perfect. Allah SWT therefore provides us with an ability to perfect ourselves over the course of the month by the act at the end of the month. SubhanAllah!
However, there is even a more significant practical purpose and in this we see the bond that this ummah is blessed with. By paying this charity, we are providing a means for the poor to celebrate the festival of Eid al-Fitr.
Throughout the year, we give khutbas on how as Muslims we shouldn’t celebrate Easter, Christmas and other non-Muslim festivals. Allah SWT has only made permissible for us to celebrate Eid and therefore with this charity nobody is left out of this festival.
This is mentioned in the following Hadith in which Ibn Abbas reported:
The Prophet SAWS made Zakah al-Fitr 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 the Salah will have it accepted as Zakah, while he who gives it after Salah has given Sadaqah.
Dear brothers and sisters, this brings us onto the final point on this important topic and that is the conditions on giving this particular charity.
We already know that it is obligatory. But how much do we give and when is it meant to be given?
Well, in answer to the first point. We go back to the time of the Prophet SAWS then it was calculated as one Sa’ of dried dates or barley. However, this isn’t literal and so in today’s age we have Zakat al-Fitr calculated for us by the local masjid.
Ours is £x.xx and we are collecting for it at the back of the masjid should you wish to pay.
Secondly, and more importantly, we want to be sure that we don’t miss the deadline for paying it. If one misses the time period without good reason, then he has sinned and cannot make it up.
So when to pay? This charity becomes obligatory from the sunset on the last day of the fasting until the beginning of Eid prayers. Anything paid after the prayer is considered a charity and not specifically this obligatory charity.
However, it can be paid prior to this time also as has been reported by many companions of the Prophet SAWS and so the collection is there at the back for those who dont want to miss the deadline.
Dear brothers and sisters, Alhamdullilah we were given the opportunity to taste Ramadan again this year. Let’s sign off in the best possible way and insh’Allah use it as a springboard for the year ahead.
May Allah SWT enable us to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr, may Allah SWT accept our Zakat-ul-Fitr, and May Allah SWT perfect our Ramadan with Zakat-ul-Fitr.