Is it permissible to discharge Zakaat ul-Fitr in money? - with mention of the evidences
Zakaat ul-Fitr is NOT permissible except (to be paid) from FOOD.
And it is not allowed to discharge its value in money.
This is because the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم made it obligatory (to be discharged) from a saa' of dates or a saa' of barley. Abu Sa'eed Al-Khudri رضي الله عنه said: "We used to discharge it (Zakaat ul-Fitr) in the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم as a saa' of FOOD" [Sahih Bukhari]
Therefore, it is not lawful for anyone to discharge Zakaat ul-Fitr from money or clothing or household furnishings. Instead, that which is obligatory is to discharge it in what Allaah has made obligatory on the tongue of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم.
There is no consideration (weight) for the Istihsaan [viewing of something to be good, without basis from the legal sources of Qur'an and Sunnah] of those of the people who viewed the giving of money as a good thing. The Law (Shari'ah) does not follow (i.e. it is not secondary to) the opinions of people. No, it (the Law) is from Allaah سبحانه و تعالى, The Most Knowing, The Most Wise.
So, if that which has been made obligatory by the tongue of Muhammad صلى الله عليه وسلم is a saa' of food, then it is not permissible to bypass (skip over) that, no matter what our intellects make us to view as being good. Instead, it is a must that the human being question and suspect his intellect and views if it conflicts with, or contradicts, the law of Allaah.
Shaykh Ibn 'Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him)
Zakaatul-Fitr : Fatwa-Online.com
Important Comment :
This fatwaa is referring specifically to Zakaat ul-Fitr being discharged in the form of money to the poor people.
It does not address the issue of someone paying another person to buy food for him and distribute it as food. In this case, a person has distributed his Zakaat ul-Fitr in food, he just had someone else do it on his behalf, which is permissible.
This is so that we seperate the organizations or masjids which offer a service for Zakaat ul-Fitr:
(1) Some of them are distributing it as money to the poor people.
(2) Others are distributing the Zakaat as food to the poor people, but it is done AFTER the 'Eid prayer.
(3) And others are buying food for people and distributing it to the poor people before the 'Eed prayer on their behalf.
#3 is the only service that properly distributes the Zakaat ul-Fitr.
#1 and #2 are NOT considered Zakaat ul-Fitr, rather they would be counted as general charities.
Is the time for paying Zakaat al-Fitr from after the Eid prayer until the end of that day?
The time for paying Zakaat al-Fitr does not start after the Eid prayer, rather it starts at sunset on the last day of Ramadaan, which is the first night of the month of Shawwaal, and it ends with the Eid prayer.
Because the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم enjoined that it should be paid before the prayer, and because of the report of Ibn ‘Abbaas رضي الله عنه who said that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said: “Whoever pays it before the (Eid) prayer, it is accepted zakaah, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it is (ordinary) charity.”
It is permissible to pay it one or two days before that because of the report of Ibn ‘Umar رضي الله عنه who said: "The Messenger of Allaah صلى الله عليه وسلم enjoined Zakaat al-Fitr at the end of Ramadaan …" at the end of which he said: "And they used to give it one or two days before that. But the one who delays it until after the proper time is sinning, and he has to repent from delaying it and give it to the poor."
1 Saa' = 3 Litres :: 1 Mudd = 750ml
A prophetic mudd (1/4 saa') in modern volume measurements is 0.75L (or 750mL), which means that a saa' is three litres.
The chain of transmission for this prophetic measurement:
"This mudd was measured up to Sheikh Yahyaa al-Mudarris' mudd (may Allaah preserve him), which was measured up to the mudd of his shaykh al-'Allaamah Aboo Sa'eed Muhammad 'Abdullaah al-Laknawee (d.1400), which was measured up to his shaykh's mudd... and so on, all the way back to the mudd of Zayd ibn Thaabit رضي الله عنه that was in use in al-Andelus and elsewhere all the way to (at least) the 4th century..."
Al-'Allaamah al-Laknawee (may Allaah have Mercy on him) - a former teacher at the Haram in Makkah and at Daar al-Hadeeth, an Indian scholar grounded in Tawheed and firm against the people of desires - said about this mudd:
This is the mudd that the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم was speaking about when he prayed, "O Allaah! Put blessings in our saa' and our mudd!" This was collected by the two shaykhs (al-Bukhari and Muslim). Further, he صلى الله عليه وسلم used to make wudhoo' using this mudd, and he used to take a bath using a saa'.
[Source: An-Najm al-Baadee, Shaykh Yahyaa's biography (p.63)]
In one narration of the hadith in Sahih Muslim, the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم said when praying for Allaah to bless the mudd and the saa': "blessings upon blessings."
So whoever wants to give their Zakaat al-Fitr using this measurement - as it was prescribed - is free to do so. May Allaah bless the Muslims and accept their fasting and their Zakaat.
We generally give Zakaat al-Fitr in terms of dates, barley, rice, etc. which are measured in kilograms/pound. How do we convert these litres into kilograms/pounds?
And this litre to kilogram/pounds conversion would depend on the liquid, isn't it? Is there a chain of transmission for measurement of Saa' in terms of kilograms/pounds?
A way of keeping it simple, using the modern equivilent of a saa' (3L), is to measure out 0.75L of the food you intend to use in a large measuring cup, then use that same amount (whether you convert it to weight or not) a total of four times for each person's zakaat.
This works for any food type, and it eliminates the need for lengthy calculations and conversions that differ from one food type or another, especially since some kinds of rice -for example- are heavier than others. Its true! Even within one food type there are different kinds that have different densities and weights.
So if you want to give out rice, for example, measure 750ml of it in a measuring cup. If you want to give the zakaat in a sealed unopened container, then weigh the 750ml you measured and then multiply by four. That's the weight of one person's zakaat al-fitr, using that exact kind of food. Then multiply that by the number of people you are giving zakaat on behalf of.
Step 1: Determine the number of people you are giving zakaat al-fitr on behalf of.
A man has a wife and four children, and his parents have asked him to give out zakaat al-fitr for them too. So he needs to give out 8 units, or saa's, of food.
Step 2: Determine how much one saa' (3 litres) of the selected food item is.
The man in our example decides to use barley. He can either:
(a) Measure out 3 litres of barley in a large measuring pitcher, if he doesn't mind opening the container, and it will not be seen as unacceptable to the poor person.
(b) Measure out 750 ml of barley in a measuring cup. Weigh this amount. Multiply its weight by 4. This is one saa'. Let's say in this example 750ml of the selected barley weighed 400 grams. 400g x 4 = 1.6kg
Step 3: Multiply the measurement from step 2 by the number of people you are giving on behalf of (from step 1).
This is done one of two ways:
(a) 3 litres x 8 = 24 litres of barley as in this example (based on the original volume)
(b) 1.6kg x 8 = 12.8 kilograms in this example (coverted to weight)
I hope this walk-through helps.
The mudd is not simply a double-handful.
A mudd is an actual physical container (like a small bowl or pot, or a large cup), a standardized unit of measurement, one that was widely in use in the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم in the marketplaces and in their houses.
It is based on a double-handful - don't get confused - but the Companions used to buy and sell using the containers (the mudd and the saa'), not their own individual double-handfuls, and they used to give their Zakaat al-Fitr with these containers (the saa' and the mudd). The Prophet صلى الله عليه وسلم used to have Zayd ibn Thaabit رضي الله عنه measure out mudds and saa's of food using the standardized mudd and saa'.
So Allaah did not legislate that big-handed people have to give more Zakaat al-Fitr, and people with small hands give less. Rather there is a standardized measurement to be used, according to how it has been legislated.
Thus, it is known that it is incorrect to define the mudd referred to in the texts as simply anyone's double-handful, rather the mudd referred to was an actual container, which our scholars throughout history have busied themselves recording its size, shape, volume, and description.
And Allaah knows best.