Zakat al Fitr is a charity given to the poor and needy people at the end of fasting in the Holy month of Ramadan.
The Arabic word ”Fitr” means the same as ”Iftar” breaking a fast and, it comes from the same root word as ”Futoor” which means breakfast.
Zakat al Fitr is obligatory on every adult Muslim whether male or female as long as he or she has the means to pay.
According to the Islamic law, ”Shariyah” Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) said:(NARRATED BY IBN E UMER, SAHIH BUKHARI, VOLUME 2, BOOK 25, NUMBER 580)
”Allah’s Apostle enjoined the payment of one Saa’ of dates or one Saa’ of barely as zakat-al-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it will be paid before the people went out to offer the Eid prayer.”
The head of household also can pay the amount on the behalf of rest of the family. The best and obligatory time to pay Zakat-al-Fitr is before the prayer of Eid-ul-Fitr. Eid-ul-Fitr was originated by the Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H). It is performed on the first of the month of Shawwal after finishing the period of fasting in Ramadan. The festival was initiated in Madina after the migration of Prophet Muhammad (P.B.U.H) from Mecca. He (S.A.W.S) found two specific days for Muslims in which they got a sensible way to entertain themselves.
These are the two major events that are gifted to Muslims Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-ul-Azha. An obligatory act of charity, money is paid to the poor and the needy known as Zakat-al-Fitr. Zakat-al-Fitr is only obliged for a particular time period. The time of Zakat-al-Fitr starts from the sunset of Ramadan and remains until the beginning of Eid prayer. The most authentic time is the last ”Ashra” of Ramadan. The whole month Muslims can pay to ensure that the Zakat al-Fitr reached its beneficiaries before the day of Eid so, that they took the part in Eid enjoyments. The amount of Zakat is the same for everyone without distinguishing their income. The minimum amount is one Saa’ (four double hands full) of food, grain, or dried fruit for each member of the family.
In ”Surat al Tawbah” those who may receive Zakat-al-Fitr are the eight categories mentioned in Verse (60) the included: 1. The poor
2. The needy
3. Collectors of Zakat
4. Reconciliation of hearts
5. Freeing captives\ Slaves
7. Those who participate in ”Jihad” in the way of Allah
8. The travelers Islam is a natural religion and its concepts of society are purely for the prosperity of human beings.
Zakat has belonged to the concept of Islamic social rules. It is a means of training Muslims on the virtues of generosity as much as it is a means of purification from greed. Being practicing this act Zakat-al-Fitr trained Muslims to give and spend for charitable purposes. It is also trained a person to spend on public interests and from his own wealth, he plays his role for the improvement of his society.
Zakat-al-Fitr is a way to stop men from the urge to transgress other people’s wealth and possessions. Zakat trains people to acquire divine characteristics. Zakat results with time with the emergence of charitable trusts all over the Muslim world. Trusts devoted not only to the help of humans but also the other creatures such as animals and plants. Zakat-al-Fitr is an expression of thankfulness to Allah Almighty which is deeply rooted in the consciousness of Muslims that it is common to say that one must give Zakat in thank for the grace of sight, hearing, health, knowledge, e.t.c.
The impact brought by Zakat on the economy has improved the living standard of society. The inequality and poverty problems reduced and helped to decrease. The crime rate and any other social evil that would harm society also get down. This is how a Zakat system makes a difference in society. Being a patriotic Pakistani and a true Muslim we should oblige the Zakat so, that we May discouraged the storage of the wealth among those who will hide their income and true financial condition from the state.