Fatawa >Zakat


Chapter two: Recipients of Zakat Money (part 3)

Zakatual Fitra

It is an amount that is payable for every soul on the first day of Shawwal, i.e. Eidul Fitur. It may be called zakatun nufus (purification of soul) as opposed to zakatual amwaal (purification of property). (This type of poll tax) has a number of rules as follows:

Who should pay it?

59. It is obligatory on every mukallaf who can fulfill the following requirements:

i. and ii. Adulthood and Reason, in that it is neither obligatory on minors nor those who are insane, unless the latter's illness is intermittent and the due time for payment of this zakat coincides with the mukallafs improved state of health.

iii. The mukallaf should be well-to-do, in that it is not obligatory on the poor and the needy, who cannot afford to provide for themselves for a whole year, or a part thereof. However, it is mustahab to pay it, even if there was enough money for only one person. In such a case, what can one do is for all members of the family to take turns in taking receipt of it, once the last one gets hold of it, he should pay it to others, as a matter of obligatory precaution.

If there are minors or insane persons in the family, the guardian should be the last one to receive the money, and then pay it as zakatul fitra on behalf of such persons. This is done to prevent any payment from their assets to others by way of sadaqah, while are still in need of it.

60. These conditions have to be fulfilled prior to the time designated for setting zakatul fitra aside, which is between the sunset of the eve of the first of Shawwal and its midday (zawaal). However, as a matter of obligatory precaution, zakat for oneself and their family be set aside, even if the requirements are met by sunset or after it, i.e. until before midday of the first of Shawwal.

The provider for people such as the unbeliever who turns Muslim, the newly born, and the newlywed is not required to pay zakatul fitr for them, should they be part of his household after sunset. Likewise, they are not required to pay for themselves, even if they can afford it. The exception being that the wife, who used to pay for her provisions from her own money before her marriage and can afford to pay zakatul fitra should do so.

Whom are required to pay zakatual fitra on their behalf ?

61. once the requirements be fulfilled, the mukaalaf should pay it for himself to start with. He is also responsible for paying it for his dependents, be they his immediate family or the others. These are:

i. His dependents, i.e. wife, children, and parents.

ii. Other members or his extended family, who are usually maintained by him, such as brothers and sisters. Only paying for their provisions is not a sufficient reason for including them; they have to be counted as members of his family. Should this be the case, whether they were present or absent on the eve of the Eid is immaterial.

iii. The servants among his household, i.e. living in the midst of the family. That is, paid servants who live outside are not included, unless they spend the night of on the eve of Eid as guests.

iv. Guests of any hue, who stay overnight, provided they arrive at his place before sighting of the moon of Shawwal. However, it should, as a matter of obligatory precaution, suffice for the qualification of "guest" that the person arrives after sunset.

The most important criterion of "guest" is that they should stay overnight, even if they do not eat or drink at this expense. So, those guests who are invited for, say, a dinner without staying at his place overnight should not be included for the purpose of paying zakatul fitra by the mukallaf.

62. For "dependency" to be recognized complete, it is not necessary that the person be entirely dependent on his provider. Accordingly, even if the expenditure of the dependent is partially met by the provider, the latter should pay any due zakatual fitra tax.

63. Should the provider (al mu'eel) be poor and perchance one or more among his family or guests afford paying the zakat fitra, they should pay it for themselves, provided that they fulfill the criteria of obligation.

64. If the provider deliberately withholds the payment of zakat fitra, due on his dependents, or forgets to pay it, it is not obligatory on those dependents to pay it themselves. However, as a matter of voluntary precaution, it should not be waived if the non-payment by the provider was due to an oversight or this sort of reasons.

65. There may be more than one person jointly providing for the other members of the family, such as sons supporting their parents. It is obligatory therefore that amount of zkatual fitra is shared among them. Should anyone be unable to pay, the share of the other member, who can afford the payment, is not waived. The well-to-do cannot be made to bear the share of the non-solvent. Should all be unable to pay, all should be excused.

How much should be paid?

Zakatul fitra should be of that which can be eaten, such as wheat and its derivatives, i.e. flour and bulgur, barley, dates, rains, milk and other dairy products, rice, and maze.

The amount of zakatul fitra can be paid in money. Due care should be given to the amount of zakatual fitra when it is set aside and actually paid, so too should be the case in the country of origin, not the country of the mukallaf.

The measure that should be paid for every soul is approximately three kilos. However, when paid it has to be of the same produce, i.e. you cannot pay for any soul a kilo and half of, say, wheat and its equivalent of dates. It should therefore that the provider can pay in different kinds of the prescribed produce, so long as it is of the same kind for that particular soul. For example, rice for his father, wheat for his wife, dates for his son and so on.

When should it be paid?

It is permissible to take the initiative to pay it during the days of Ramadhan or on Eid eve. However, in such a case it should, as a matter of voluntary precaution, be paid with the intention of being debt to be offset by way of zakatual fitra on the morning of Eid.

If it is not paid during the month of Ramadhan, the alternative is to pay it or set it aside from dawn break of Eid day till shortly before Eid prayer, as a matter of obligatory precaution, for those who perform the prayer. Those who could not perform it, the deadline for paying it is extended till before midday. It is not obligatory to make the actual payment to the recipient; it suffices to set it aside for days if need be in order to deliver it to the recipient, so long as the delay can be justified.

Failing that, i.e. the deadline expired before the payment/setting the amount aside was made, it should be paid by way of qurbal mutlaqah; that is, without taking into account that it has become obligatory on him.

66. Where the mukallaf is inclined to set aside the amount to zakatul fitra, such should physically take place, in that it is not sufficient to make niyyah to set it aside as a common share within the property.

Likewise, the mukallaf cannot earmark it as a share in other people's property, as a matter of obligatory precaution; it should be set aside in kind; once it is set aside, it should not be tampered with.

67. As a matter of obligatory precaution, it is not permissible to transfer zakat fitra outside the mukallaf country of domicile, although this is allowed in zakat on property, as we have already explained.

However, it is permissible to transfer it to another country, should there be no eligible people in the country of origin; it is also permissible to pay it in the country the mukallaf has moved to after it has become due on him in his first country of abode.

Since paying zakat to the just jurist is more preferable, as a matter of ihtiyat, it is permissible to send it to him, although there may be eligible people in the country of the mukallaf.

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