Chapter two: Recipients of Zakat Money
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
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.
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
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.
should be paid?
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
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.
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.