Zakat fitrah is an obligation for every Muslim. It is one of the pillars of Islam. The word ‘zakat fitrah’ consists of ‘zakat’ and ‘fitrah’. Each word has its own meaning and reference.
Learn the meaning of Zakat Fitrah, an obligatory charity in Islam paid at the end of Ramadan. Discover the requirements, types, measurements, and timing of payment, as well as the niyyah and distribution process for the 8 categories of Zakat Fitrah recipients
The Meaning of Zakat Fitrah
Zakat, etymologically, means to increase or grow (an-Namaa), and can also be interpreted as blessings (barakah), many good deeds (katsir al-khair), and purification (tathhir). However, in the context of Islamic law, zakat is the term used for a specific type of wealth that is taken out from a specific source of wealth, with a specific purpose and method, and given to a specific group of people.
Fitrah refers to the state of humans when they were first created or khilqah, as mentioned in Surah Ar-Rum verse 30 of the Quran: “So direct your face toward the religion, inclining to truth. [Adhere to] the fitrah of Allah upon which He has created [all] people.”
Zakat Fitrah is also known as the zakat of fasting or zakat that is obligatory upon breaking the fast during Ramadan. It is also referred to as the zakat of the body (zakat badan) as it functions to purify oneself. According to Islamic jurisprudence (fiqh), zakat Fitrah is the compulsory zakat that every capable Muslim must pay, by fulfilling the prescribed conditions.
Waqi’ bin Jarah stated that zakat Fitrah for fasting during Ramadan is similar to sujud sahwi in prayer, as it can make up for any shortcomings in fasting, just as sujud sahwi makes up for any shortcomings in prayer. This is strengthened by the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) which states that “zakat Fitrah can purify the fasting person from useless actions and offensive speech.”
Likewise, the hadith of Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) states that “Ramadan fasting is suspended between heaven and earth and will not be accepted by Allah except with zakat Fitrah.” Abu Bakar Syata’ explains that the meaning of “not accepted” is that the reward of fasting in Ramadan is dependent on the person who is fasting, whether he or she pays zakat Fitrah or not.
However, this does not mean that fasting without paying zakat Fitrah will not be accepted by Allah. It means that if someone who is fasting during Ramadan does not pay zakat Fitrah, their fasting is still valid but not perfect.
Obligations and Requirements of Zakat Fitrah
As a Muslim, it is obligatory to pay Zakat Fitrah, which is a form of charity given during the month of Ramadan to help the less fortunate. The amount of Zakat Fitrah that should be given is 1 sha’ or 4 mud of food that is typically used as a staple food in the region. This is based on the Hadith of Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, in which he mentioned that during the time of the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him), they used to give one sha’ of food, dates, barley, or raisins.
In the Shafi’i school of thought, the type of Zakat Fitrah that should be given is food, not money equivalent to the value of the food. Moreover, the food should be of the same type and not a mixture of different kinds. If there are different types of staple foods in a particular area, one can choose to give the dominant type of food as Zakat Fitrah. If someone is in a region that does not have a staple food, they should give Zakat Fitrah with the staple food of the nearest area.
According to Imam Ar-Rafi’i, one sha’ is equivalent to 693 1/3 dirham, which is approximately 2.75 kilograms of food when converted to grams. Meanwhile, according to Imam an-Nawawi, one sha’ is equal to 685 5/7 dirham, which is approximately 2.176 kilograms of food when converted to grams. In Indonesia, the general practice is to give 2.5 kilograms of food as Zakat Fitrah, based on the fatwa of the Indonesian Council of Ulama (Majelis Ulama Indonesia) in 2003. This decision may have been made to find a middle ground among the different opinions of scholars regarding the measurement of Zakat Fitrah.
In conclusion, paying Zakat Fitrah is a religious obligation for Muslims, and it should be given in the form of staple food, not money. The amount of Zakat Fitrah is 1 sha’ or 4 mud, and the type of food given should be of the same kind. It is essential to follow the guidance of Islamic scholars in determining the appropriate amount and type of food to give as Zakat Fitrah.
Types, Measurements, and Time of Payment
Zakat Fitrah is an obligation for Muslims, which requires them to give 1 sha’ or 4 muds of food that serves as a staple food in their region. Among the Hadiths that explain the amount of Zakat Fitrah that should be given are:
“Abu Sa’id Al-Khudri, may Allah be pleased with him, said: “At the time of the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, we used to give one Sa’ of food, or one Sa’ of dates, or one Sa’ of barley, or one Sa’ of raisins as Zakat Fitrah.” (Narrated by Bukhari)
The meaning of the above Hadith is that the Prophet SAW meant one sha’ by the term “banyaknya fitrah,” where sha’ is a term for measurement or weight in Arabic.
In the Shafi’i school of thought, Zakat Fitrah must be given in the form of staple food, not as the equivalent value of the food in money, and it must be of the same type, not a mixture. If Zakat Fitrah is obligatory on someone, then he or she must give 1 sha’ of staple food. If there are several staple foods in a region or country, then one can give Zakat Fitrah with the most dominant staple food. If someone is in a region without staple food, then he or she should give Zakat Fitrah with the nearest staple food from that region.
If rice is the staple food in a particular region or country, then zakat fitrah should be given in the form of rice. This is in line with the practice of the majority of Muslims in those regions, including countries such as China, India, Vietnam, Bangladesh, Indonesia, Philippines, Thailand, Myanmar, and Japan, where rice is a staple food for many people.
According to Imam Ar-Rafi’i, 1 sha’ is equivalent to (693 1/3 dirham). If converted to grams, it is equal to 2.751 kg. Meanwhile, according to Imam An-Nawawi, 1 sha’ is equivalent to (685 5/7 dirham). If converted to grams, it is approximately 2.176 kg or less than 2.5 kg. In general, the Indonesian community gives 2.5 kg of Zakat Fitrah, as stated in the 2003 fatwa (religious ruling) by the Indonesian Ulama Council (MUI). This decision seeks a middle ground among various opinions that exist among scholars regarding the measurement of Zakat Fitrah.
It is mandatory to pay Zakat Fitrah before the end of Ramadan. However, it is also permissible to give it before Eid al-Fitr prayers, so that the poor and needy can use it during the Eid celebration. It is recommended to pay Zakat Fitrah earlier to avoid any obstacles or delays in distribution.
The Timing of Zakat Fitrah
Timming, Waqt or Waktu is important and is divided into five categories.
The first category is known as “Waktu Jawaz” and begins at the start of Ramadan until the beginning of Shawwal. During this time, it is not permissible to give Zakat Fitrah.
The second category is known as “Waktu Wajib” and begins at the sunset of the last day of Ramadan until the first day of Shawwal. Zakat Fitrah must be given during this time.
The third category is known as “Waktu Sunnat” and is the time between dawn and the Eid al-Fitr prayer. It is recommended to give Zakat Fitrah during this time.
The fourth category is known as “Waktu Makruh” and is the time after the Eid al-Fitr prayer until sunset on the first day of Shawwal. It is discouraged to give Zakat Fitrah during this time without a valid excuse. If there is a valid excuse, such as waiting for a relative or neighbor to receive the Zakat Fitrah, it is permissible.
The fifth category is known as “Waktu Haram” and is the time after sunset on the first day of Shawwal until the night of the second day of Shawwal. It is forbidden to give Zakat Fitrah during this time. If someone fails to give Zakat Fitrah during the prescribed time without a valid excuse, it becomes obligatory to give it as soon as possible.
Zakat Fitrah Distribution
Zakat is classified as a mandatory act of worship that must be carried out immediately (‘ala al-faur), as evidenced by the presence of zakatable assets (tamakun) and eligible recipients of zakat. The obligation of a Muslim to give zakat immediately (‘ala al-faur) implies that delaying the payment of zakat fitrah is considered haram. If one delays or postpones the payment of zakat after it becomes possible to give, then they have committed a sin and must make up for it (dhoman) if the zakat property is damaged. However, if there is an excuse for the delay, such as waiting for relatives, neighbors, or those in greater need, then the person is not considered at fault, but still obligated to make up for the delay (dhoman).
In giving zakat fitrah, there are two requirements that must be fulfilled:
Intention in the heart, preferably accompanied by uttering it aloud. Regarding the intention in zakat, it is valid without using the word “fardhu” (obligatory) because zakat is already considered fardhu. This is different from the act of worship of prayer, where using the word “fardhu” is necessary. However, it is preferable to use the word “fardhu” when making the intention for zakat.
Zakat can be given by oneself, through a representative, or through the Imam (amil). Giving zakat to the Imam (amil) is better than giving it to a representative, as if there is any mismanagement or mishandling of the zakat by the Imam, it is better to give it oneself or through a representative. On the other hand, giving zakat oneself is better than through a representative.
According to the majority opinion, the intention of the one who appoints a representative is sufficient for the zakat given through the representative. However, it is preferable for the representative to also have the intention when giving the zakat unless the intention for giving the zakat and appointing a representative are delegated to the representative. As for giving zakat through the Imam (amil), the intention can be made at the time of giving the zakat to the Imam, even if the Imam does not have the intention at the time of giving it to the eligible recipient.
An-Nawawi in his book al-Majmu’ explains that the practice of obligatory acts of worship that are related to Allah (haqqullah) should not be delegated except for the payment of zakat, performance of hajj, and slaughtering of qurban. Regarding the payment or distribution of zakat to eligible recipients, the one who gives zakat (muzaki) can do it themselves or delegate it through a representative (Imam/amil). Delegating the giving of zakat is permitted because zakat is similar to the payment of debt to those who are eligible to support their needs.
Furthermore, regarding the obligation of giving zakat fitrah that can be done by someone else, whether it is done by the person responsible for nafaqah (providing support) or a representative who has been authorized by the giver of zakat, there are several types of intention that can be made when giving zakat
Niyyah of Zakat Fitrah
It is the duty of every Muslim who has sufficient means to give a certain amount of Zakat fitrah to the ‘Mustahiq’. In order to perform zakat fitrah properly, it is important to have the correct intention or niyyah.
There are several types of zakat fitrah intentions that a person may have. The first type of intention is for oneself, where the giver intends to perform zakat fitrah deeds on his own behalf. The correct [removed]in the heart) for this intention is, “I intend to issue zakat fitrah on myself, fardhu because of Allah Ta’ala.”
Another type of intention is for someone who is responsible for other people’s living expenses, such as a husband who pays zakat fitrah on behalf of his wife, children and other dependents. In this case, the giver can carry out the intention without asking permission from the person who is given zakat fitrah. Givers may also provide food to be used for zakat fitrah and their own intentions. The correct expression for this intention is, “I intend to pay zakat fitrah on my son/daughter (name), Fardhu because of Allah Ta’ala,” or “I intend to pay zakat fitrah on my wife, fardhu because Allah Ta’ala.” ‘ala” ‘ala.”
It is also possible to make intentions for oneself and for all those who depend on their breadwinners. In this case, the appropriate expression for this purpose is, “I intend to pay zakat on myself and for all those for whom I am obligated to provide a living to them according to shari’ah, fardhu because of Allah Ta’ala.”
Finally, it is also possible to create intents for other people represented by the giver, such as proxies. In this case, the appropriate expression for this purpose is, “I intend to issue zakat fitrah on…. (mention the person’s name), fardhu because of Allah Ta’ala.”
In short, the intention of zakat fitrah is fardlu (obligatory) that must be considered. The right intention when zakat fitrah becomes part of determining the legitimacy of zakat itself. The giver (Muzakki) should make sure to use the right words for their particular intention and make the intention sincere for the sake of Allah Ta’ala.
The Recipients of Zakat Fitrah
The recipients of zakat, known as mustahiq, are those who are eligible to receive zakat according to Islamic law. In the Shafi’i school of thought, zakat must be given to all eligible recipients equally, provided that the number of recipients is limited and the zakat funds are sufficient. If this is not possible, it is permissible to distribute zakat to at least three recipients from each eligible category. If there are no eligible recipients in a particular category, zakat may be given to eligible recipients from other categories.
According to Ibn Hajar, as quoted by Abu Bakar Syatha, it is permissible in the Hanafi, Hanbali, and Maliki schools of thought to give zakat to only one eligible category. This opinion has also been endorsed by some Shafi’i scholars. This approach may be followed in modern times, as it may be difficult to distribute zakat equally among all eligible recipients. In such cases, following the opinion of these scholars in terms of transferring or distributing zakat, known as naqluzzakat or taqlid, is allowed.
The eligible categories for zakat recipients include the poor, the needy, those in debt, those who work in administering zakat, those whose hearts are to be reconciled (i.e. new converts to Islam or those who have a negative view of Islam), those who are slaves or in bondage, those who are stranded travelers, and those fighting for the cause of Allah. It is important to note that zakat should be given with sincerity and compassion, and that it should not be used for personal gain or to harm others.
8 Category Of Zakat Fitrah Recipients
Zakat al-Fitr is intended to support those in need and there are eight categories of eligible recipients (Tsamaniyah Ashnaf). These include:
- Al-Fuqara’ – the poor and destitute
- Al-Masakin – the needy
- Amil – the zakat collectors or administrators
- Mu’allafatul Qulub – those whose hearts are to be reconciled to Islam, such as new Muslims and non-Muslims who are sympathetic to the Muslim community
- Ar-Riqab – those in bondage or slavery, including those who are held captive as prisoners of war
- Al-Gharimin – those who are in debt and unable to pay off their debts
- Fi Sabilillah – in the cause of Allah, such as for charitable projects, building mosques or schools, or other forms of public welfare
- Ibnus-Sabil – the wayfarer, who are stranded on traveling and are in need of assistance.
In Islam, zakat is a form of obligatory charity given to those in need. There are eight categories of people who are eligible to receive zakat.
The first category is Fuqara’ (faqir), which refers to individuals who do not possess any wealth or means of livelihood, or those who have a job but cannot meet their basic needs. The second category is Masakin (miskin), which includes individuals who have some wealth or income but are unable to support themselves.
The third category is Amilin (amil), which includes individuals who are employed by the government or Islamic authorities to collect and distribute zakat. They do not receive any compensation for their services.
The fourth category is Mu’allaf, which is divided into four subcategories. The first is new converts to Islam who are still struggling financially. The second is new converts who are influential in their community and could help others to convert to Islam. The third is those who defend the Muslim community against non-Muslim aggressors. The fourth is those who defend the Muslim community against those who refuse to pay zakat.
The fifth category is Riqab (budak Mukatab), which includes slaves who have been promised freedom upon paying a certain sum of money to their master.
The sixth category is Gharimin, which is divided into three subcategories. The first is individuals who have incurred debt in order to reconcile two disputing parties. The second is individuals who have incurred debt for permissible purposes, such as for personal or family needs. The third is individuals who have incurred debt to help pay off someone else’s debt.
The seventh category is Sabilillah, which includes individuals who fight in the way of Allah and do not receive any compensation. They are entitled to receive zakat to support themselves and their families during their travels and stays away from home. If they do not end up fighting, they must return the zakat they received, as well as any excess funds.
The eighth and final category is Ibnu Sabil, which includes travelers who are passing through an area where zakat is collected, provided that their journey is not for sinful purposes or against the teachings of Islam.
Zakat Fitrah, also known as Zakat al-Fitr, is an obligatory charity that Muslims must pay at the end of the month of Ramadan before the Eid prayers. It is the amount of food given to eight groups of Zakat recipients. Zakat Fitrah functions as a purification for the soul of the fasting person as well as a means to help the less fortunate.
The amount of Zakat Fitrah is equivalent to one Saa’ (between 2.4 to 3 kg) of staple foods in the area, such as wheat, rice, or dates. It is important to note that this amount is per person and is paid on behalf of oneself and dependents, such as children or elderly family members.
Zakat Fitrah can be distributed directly to the needy and poor or through organizations that specifically collect and distribute Zakat. It is recommended to distribute Zakat Fitrah locally or to surrounding communities that meet the requirements.
In addition to its spiritual benefits, Zakat Fitrah also has practical benefits for society. By providing food to those in need, it helps reduce hunger and poverty and strengthens bonds between community members