Q&A (Fatwa)

#1007: On The Earliest Time The Zakaatu Al-Fitr Can Be Given

“Assalaamu alaykum, Ustadh. A sister asked: In case of zakatul fitir how do we give it out cos of this lockdown. Can we give it out tomorrow cos most of the people we intend to give are far away from us?”


Wa Alaykum Salam Warahmatullah Wabarakaatuh.

Know, may Allah illumine my heart and yours, that there is little difference among the Fuqahaa regarding the earliest time that the Zakaatu Al-Fitr is to be given out.

The position of Maalik and Ahmad bn Hanbal rahimahumullaah is that it may be given a day or two before the Day of Id.

These number of days is also stretched to the third day before Id according to Maalik, depending on the needs and the conditions of the people.

They evidenced their position on the Statement of Abdullah bn Umar that the Companions would give their Zakaatu Al-Fitr a day, two days, or three days (according to Naafi the Mawla of Ibn Umar) before the Day of Id.

The position favored by Ash-Shaafi’i and Abu Hanifah is that it may be given right from the beginning of the month of Ramadaan. And this position is weak as it has not relied upon any strong evidence from the practice of the Companions radiyallahu anhum.

Rather, they based their position on the sound logic that the Zakaatu Al-Fitr is a payment arrived at by virtue of the Fast. It therefore follows that once the Fast has begin, there is no hindrance from the giving of it especially if that is what is most convenient for the giver and the one who is given.

The third position is that held by some of the Hanafis that it may be paid anytime in the year.

Their logic in this stretch is that the Zakaatu Al-Fitr is like any other Zakaat that happens yearly. And there is no doubt that this position has been stretched beyond the breaking point.

The most sound position on this matter, and Allah knows best is that favored by Maalik rahimahullah, and it is that that is backed by the deed of the Companions and which is logical for the essence for which the Zakaat was ordained: to give food to the poor and present them an opportunity to partake in the Ceremony of Id. This is clear.

But recall that if it requires that the Zakaatu Al-Fitr be given off much earlier than the 3rd day to Id, there is nothing wrong in the doing of that provided it is a necessity for it to arrive at its rightful beneficiaries. This is the scenerio you depicted in the Question here.

As for the time it becomes obligatory, it becomes obligatory from the setting of the sun on Maghrib on the last Day of Ramadan and its giving expires from the observance of Salaat Al-Id on the Day of Id.

Then know that the best time to give it is the Day of Id itself, early morning, in order to help the Poor and avail him the opportunity to celebrate with the food that has been given to him. And Allah knows best.

Lastly, know, may Allah forgive myself and you, that Imam Abu Daawud As-Sijistaani and Haakimu An-Naysaaburi rahimahumullaah recorded from Abdullah bn ‘Abbas radiyallahu anhuma that he said:

فرض رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم زكاة الفطر: طهرة للصائم من اللغو، وطعمة للمساكين، فمن أداها قبل الصلاة فهي زكاة مقبولة، ومن أداها بعد الصلاة فهي صدقة من الصدقات.

“The Messenger of Allah salallahu alayhi wasallam made Zakaatu Al-Fitr obligatory to serve as a purification for the Fasting person from the foul words (and other blemishes on his fast), and a feeding of the Masaakin. Whosoever then gives it before Salaatu Al-Id, then it is an acceptable Zakaat and whosoever gives it after the Salaat then it is merely an ordinary Sadaqah among other Sadaqaat”.

Thus, whatever happens, ensure that your Zakaatu Al-Fitr reaches the needy before the Salaat of Id.

Barakallahu fikum.
Jazakumullahu Khayran.

Abū Asim

27th Ramadān, 1441AH.

📚 IslamNode


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