Another important act of worship that is associated with the Ramadan fast is Zakat al-Fitr. Zakat al-Fitr is the charity to be given to the poor at the end of the Ramadan fast. According to some reports, its observance is considered a condition for the acceptance of Ramadan fast and it is a security against untimely death.
Zakat al-Fitr is made compulsory on every adult, conscious, and neither poor nor a slave. It should be given on his own behalf as well as on behalf of all those who are his dependents. It is on this basis that the heads of the family must give Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of himself, wife, children and other dependents members of the family.
On whom is Zakat al-Fitr become Compulsory?
According to the verdict of the Islamic Jurists, paying Zakat al-Fitr is not compulsory on a needy who cannot meet up his own expenses. However, someone who has 3 Kg of wheat, rice, etc. or its price, it is permissible (mustahabb) for him to pay it as Zakat al-Fitr. And if he has some dependent (s) in his family, he may circulate the same among his family with the intention of Zakat al-Fitr and it is preferable that the last member give it to an individual that does not belong to the same family.
Time of Zakat al-Fitr
When sighting of the new moon of the month of Shawwal is established, one can separate the Zakat al-Fitr. If the person offers the Eid prayer, it is an obligatory caution that he pay it before Eid prayer. Anyhow, a person, who does not perform the Eid prayer, has time until ‘noon’ of Eid day.
Items for Zakat al-Fitr
Zakat al-Fitr is given from the wheat, barely, date, rice, or any staple food of a region. It is not necessary to pay it from the mostly consumed food. The equivalent price of such food items can also be given in cash as well.
For him and each dependent, a person should pay a Sa’a (approximately 3 Kg) of food consumed by people (like wheat, barley, date, currant, rice, corn, etc.) or their price to a needy person. That is, for every member of a family, 3 Kg or its equivalents should be paid. For instance, for a family of family of 3 members, 9 Kg of the food stuff shall be paid.
Recipients of Zakat al-Fitr
Zakat al-Fitr is also spent on those whose Zakat is spent upon. There are eight categories of the recipients of the Zakat al-Fitr:
1. Poor: Those who do not have enough for their basic needs.
2. Destitute: Those who become weaker or who are under hardship of insolvency.
3. Zakat collectors
4. Those who need special attention and kind treatment in order to win their hearts
5. Freeing human beings from bondage.
6. Those unable to pay their debts.
7. Spending in the cause of Allah.
8. Travellers who run out of money and the handicapped.
It is not compulsory to give all the Zakat al-Fitr should to only a person. It can be shared among poor persons. However, based on recommended precaution, a poor person should not be given less than 3 Kg or its equivalents. There is no harm if more than that is given to him.
It is Mustahab that while giving Zakat al-Fitr; one should give preference to one’s poor relatives and neighbours.
It is not necessary that the receiver of Zakat al-Fitr be ‘ādil (just). Anyhow, it is an obligatory caution not to pay Zakat al-Fitr to a person who openly commits major sins.
O Allah! If we are still liable to a sin that You have not yet forgiven, or You want to punish us for it, or to retaliate upon us because of it, I beseech You in Your Noble Names that before this month elapses, (please) do forgive us of it, O the most Merciful of the merciful ones.
O Allah! You have assisted us to accomplish our fasting and every other acts of worship in this month, please, do accept all that from us with the most excellent of Your approvals.
O Allah! Do make this month of Ramadan the best and the greatest month we have ever witnessed since we were born, in terms of protection of our religion, redemption of ourselves, fulfilment of our needs, perfection of Your graces on us, keeping evils away from us, and dressing us with well-being.
O Allah! Include us among those who out of Your mercy have witnessed the night of Majesty (Laylat al-Qadr) and make it for us to be better than one thousand months.
O Allah! Never make this month of Ramadan the last one in our lifetime; rather, let us witness the coming one in the best of manners and situations. Include us among those who will see next months of Ramadan and make us to realize its value, enjoy the most expansive graces, and attain the best our hopes. Verily, You are the Hearer of prayers, O Allah, (please) respond to our prayers.