What is given as Zakaat ul-Fitr

Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (radi Allahu anhu) said: “At the time of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) we used to give one saa’ of food, or one saa’ of dates, or one saa’ of barley, or one saa’ of raisins.”

[Sahih al-Bukhari and Muslim]

A”saa’” in modern weights is equivalent to approximately three kilograms. This is the estimation of Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy upon him), who reckoned the weight of zakaat ul-fitr as being approximately three kilograms.

Commentary:

We benefit from the above Hadith that the Messenger of Allah (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) enjoined zakaat ul-fitr on the Muslims as one saa’ of food, dates or one saa’ of barley or one saa’ of raisins and He (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) commanded that it be given before the people went out to the (Eid) prayer as we discussed in our previous Hadith.

Some of the scholars have interpreted “food” (ta’aam) in above the Hadith as referring to wheat; others interpreted it as meaning the staple food of the country, whatever it is, whether it is wheat, corn, pearl millet or whatever. This is the correct view, because zakaah is a help from the rich to the poor, and the Muslim does not have to help with anything other than the staple food of his country.

For example rice is the staple food of many countries and it is a good and valuable food. So there is nothing wrong with giving rice as zakaat ul-fitr.

What must be given is a saa’ of any kind of staple food, i.e., a saa’ of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam), which is four complete scoops as scooped up with two hands, according to al-Qaamoos etc. In modern weights this is equivalent to approximately three kilograms. This is the estimation of Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy upon him), who reckoned the weight of zakaat ul-fitr as being approximately three kilograms.

Regarding giving the value of Zakaat ul-Fitr as money to the poor and needy, Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy upon him) said, “It is not permissible to pay the value in money, according to the majority of scholars; this view has the stronger evidence. Rather it must be given in the form of food, as the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) andHis companions (radi Allahu anhum) did. This is also the view of the majority of the ummah (nation).
We ask Allah to help us and all the Muslims to understand His religion properly and adhere to it steadfastly, and to guide us, for He is the Most Generous, Most Kind.”

And Allah knows best!

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