ZAKAT UL-FITR: So Why the Importance?

Figure 1A: Zakat ul-Fitr packs prepared by brother and myself this year that went to 11 people and a homeless shelter. Whenever I am asked, “So why do you do it?” I just show them this picture and the rest is put to bed. This is and not some quaint Sunnah, but a rite and a right, infact a compulsory action that must be completed to compensate our fasting and wealth.

Today, Ramadan 27, 1438, we were able to complete the purchase of the food for Zakat ul-Fitr and then distribute it. Ramadan has been amazing, hot, sticky, damp, soaking wet, long in du`aa and short in shortcomings.

This has been such an amazing month and this was unbelievable. Just being alive and able to give Zakah is such a treasure and blessing.

So what’s the big deal?

Zakat ul-Fitr is a purification for the wealth and the fasting and any other shortcomings that were brought about in the month (for the fasting) and the year (for the wealth).

So for those who have savings over the year from Ramadan to Ramadan that has not decreased – in the form of gold and silver (not jewellery) or taken from wealth through commerce – this requires purification, an expiation (Ar. kaffarah).

Those who will fast this month of Ramadan that is to commemorate the Revelation of the Qur’an, they will need to purify any mistakes made in fasting. Remember that mistakes in fasting in Ramadan also require an expiation or compensation.

We serve a Holy (Ar. Quddus) and Righteous (Ar. Barr) Lord and He has given us the means to carry out the worship in the way that is pleasing to Him. When we fall short, He accepts our efforts if they are accompanied with sincerity and accompanied with the conditions he requires.

Zakat ul-Fitr is just one example of this point.

The Rights of Others – Now Picture This…

When examining the eight categories mentioned by the marja` people in the last post, we can see that one area may have all eight, another some of them but there will always be one category.

There is always someone getting out of jail, who was a prisoner, who is a widow, who is travelling, who is burdened with debt, who is a warrior headed out to the theatre of war (Ar. jihad), who is destitute (Ar. faqir), who is needy (Ar. miskin) and who has come to the Religion or is inclined and is a potential ally and deserves help.

These are all people who have their rights. What would have happened if people who are unabashed enemies to Islam today were given Zakat ul-Fitr along with the other seven categories.

Even if they never became Muslim, they would perhaps have developed a different understanding of Muslims as a group of people, no matter where they resided.

The Future

Zakat ul-Fitr, as I mentioned above, is purification for us. No matter what… we all have shortcomings, days when we were not at our best, groceries that possessed that one item that we were “sure” of but in reality had some doubt and may have went back to a doubtful or impermissible matter.

Zakat ul-Fitr given in food is not only the best option, it is crucial and the only option to bring together the weak and indigent in this Ummah and gain nearness to Allah and be purified simultaneously.

This is the best way. Anything else is income tax.

Until next time,

 

Al-Hajj Abu Ja`far Al-Hanbali

 

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