Tuesday, 30 May 2017

Can there be some instances where giving zakatul Fitr be allowed in cash?

Shaykh Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn al-Siddique al-Ghumari al-Hassani in his book "Tahkeeq al-`Amal Fi Ikhraaj Zakaatul-Fitr bil-Maal" proves how Zakaat ul-Fitr can be given in the form of money using 32 incidents from ahadeeth, athar and fiqhi usool maxims . 

Among the things he says using a variety of reports is that 

1) The purpose of zakaat ul-Fitr (at the end of ramadan) is to 

(i) clean us from the sins and fahaasha we committed during our fasts [Sunan Abi Dawood 1609 via Ibn `Abbas] 

(ii) To prevent the poor from begging

(iii) as a source of food for the poor  [Ref: Sunan ibn Majah 1828]

Muhaddith Ahmad Shakir (rahimahullah), in his comments on Al-Muhalla by Ibn Hazm (rahimahullah) who sticks literally to just two items, dates and barley, says:

“This Zakat is obligated to let the poor people avoid begging door to door on `Eid day while the rich people enjoy their wealth within their houses. Let everyone think sincerely; is he going to relieve the poor from going around begging if he gives one of them a Sa' of dates or  barley in a (developed) city like Cairo in these days? What will a poor person  do with it except go  around looking here and there to find someone who will buy it, even at a cheap price, in order to buy for himself and his children the food they can eat.”

[Ref: Muhalla 6:120-127 with the comments of shaykh ahmad shakir r.h] 

Ibn Taymiyya adopted a middle course by saying:

“To give the price (i.e. money) without a need or a preferable advantage is not allowed.”

This means that it is allowed where there is a need or advantage.

As for the three Imams, Malik, Al-Shaf`ee and Ahmad, they do not allow giving money either in Zakat al-Fitr or in Zakat in general because the Prophet (sallalahu `alayhi wa sallam) mentioned specific things to be given in Zakat. 

So some sahaaba changed/modified the weights such as replacing one sa` of dates which the sahaba used to give during the prophet's time with two mudd of wheat.  [Ref: Saheeh Muslim and Sunan Ibn Majah 1829 wherein Mu`awiyah r.a and others modified the weight/quantity . This can also been seen in the two works titled Sharh Mushkilul Athar 9/27 (3408) and تمام المنة في التعليق على فقه السنة ص: 387]۔] . This is also reported via `Umar (r.a) and other sahaaba who when became rich and saw the people becoming rich wished that people increased their sa`a amounts with replacing certain food with another (richer) food types (such as dry fruits of our time). 


Given in the above, the position of the scholars who restrict zakaat ul-Fitr to food only is vast and safer. And sometimes in our times very beneficial for example say we were to give approx 2000 INR from a family of 5 as zakaat ul-fitr. This 2000 INR if spent on purchasing food for the poor would actually fill his monthly requirement of ration. This way the food would actually be more beneficial than the money. 

 But in some cases or regions the food happens to be very expensive and not sufficient say 600 RS for a person , then in this case some scholars suggest giving money here is better as Imam Yahya ibn Ma`een rahimahullah said that there is no harm in doing so if it serves an advantage : 

ليس به بأسا أن يعطي زكاة رمضان فَصُّهُ 

Imam yahya's own student reports that Imam yahya said there was no harm in giving zakatul fitr in money

[Ref: Tareekh Yahya ibn Ma`een, 2765 and 2326 in Volume , can be downloaded from : http://ia700404.us.archive.org/1/items/waq5680/03_5682.pdf, ، رواية الدوري]

 حدثنا أبو أسامة ، عن زهير ، قال : سمعت أبا إسحاق يقول : أدركتهم وهم يعطون في صدقة رمضان ، الدراهم بقيمة الطعام.

Imam Abu Ishaaq (as-sab`iy) said that he saw/found them [1] giving food's equivalent amount in money as zakatul fitr in ramadan

[Ref: Musannaf ibn abi shaibah, . سلفية: 3/ 174, isnad is muttasil, صحیح علی شرط الشیخین وابواسحاق روی امرا شاھدہ فلاعبرۃ بتدلیسہ واختلاطہ ۔وحدیثہ من طریق زھیر اخرجہ مسلم.  ]

[1] sahaba and taba`een both (two best generations) 

ابن أبي شيبة قال: حدثنا وكيع عن سفيان عن هشام عن الحسن قال لابأس أن تعطى الدراهم في صدقة الفطر

Imam ibn abi shaybah said narrated by wakee` from sufyan from hisham from hasan (al basri the senior great taba`ee) that there is no issue in giving ramadan's zakat (ul fitr) in daraahim (singular: dirham i.e. cash) 

[Ref: Musannaf ibn abi shaibah تاب الزكاة [ج7/67]

Imam ibn Abi shaybah rahimahullah also entitled an entire chapter in his Musannaf as 

مصنّف بن أبي شيبة كِتَابُ الزَّكَاةِ  فِي إِعْطَاءِ الدَّرَاهِمِ فِي زَكَاةِ الْفِطْرِ

Chapter of giving money as zakatul fitr 

The first Mujaddid Of Islam who has been interpreted to be in accordance to the prophetic hadeeth " after every 100 years Allah sends someone to revive the deen" - the unanimously agreed upon fifth rightly guided caliph of Islam `Umar ibn `Abdul `Azeez commanded to his governors in Basra and elsewhere to collect zakatul fitr from the people in terms of food items or its equivalent in money

10195 حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو أُسَامَةَ ، عَنِ ابْنِ عَوْنٍ ، قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ كِتَابَ عُمَرَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ يُقْرَأُ إِلَى عَدِيٍّ بِالْبَصْرَةِ يُؤْخَذُ مِنْ أَهْلِ الدِّيوَانِ مِنْ أَعْطِيَّاتِهِمْ ، عَنْ كُلِّ إِنْسَانٍ نِصْفُ دِرْهَمٍ

commanded to his governors in Basra and elsewhere to collect zakatul fitr from the people in terms of food items or its equivalent in money

[Ref: Musannaf ibn abi shaibah, chain is authentic as declared by Imam ibn hazm (who was strictly against the cash view btw) in his Muhalla (4/252), this was also reported by ابن بن زنجويه فی الأموال لابن زنجويه . (1268) ] 

Please note that `Umar ibn abdul aziz had instructed this as an EMPIRE-WIDE command covering Millions if not more Muslims and no one from among the scholars or otherwise opposed him. Also those who did study the biography of `Umar ibn `Abdul aziz r.h know that he used to always consult the scholars before passing any religious or even military judgements. So such a large scale command throughout the mighty Islamic empire will not be done without consideration by the 5th rightly guided caliph

10196 حَدَّثَنَا وَكِيعٌ ، عَنْ قُرَّةَ ، قَالَ : جَاءَنَا كِتَابُ عُمَرَ بْنِ عَبْدِ الْعَزِيزِ فِي صَدَقَةِ الْفِطْرِ نِصْفُ صَاعٍ عَنْ كُلِّ إِنْسَانٍ أَوْ قِيمَتُهُ نِصْفُ دِرْهَمٍ

10198 حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو أُسَامَةَ ، عَنْ زُهَيْرٍ ، قَالَ : سَمِعْتُ أَبَا إِسْحَاقَ ، يَقُولُ : أَدْرَكْتُهُمْ وَهُمْ يُعْطُونَ فِي صَدَقَةِ رَمَضَانَ الدَّرَاهِمَ بِقِيمَةِ الطَّعَامِ

and from Imam `Ata 

10199 حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرٍ عَنْ عُمَرَ ، عَنِ ابْنِ جُرَيْجٍ ، عَنْ عَطَاءٍ ، أَنَّهُ كَرِهَ أَنْ يُعْطِيَ فِي صَدَقَةِ الْفِطْرِ وَرِقًا

Among the scholars after the era of taba`een , there were still many scholars who held the view that made it permissible to give zakatul fitr in cash such as 

1) Imam nu`man ibn thabit aka Abu Haneefa rahimahullah (D. 150 A.h.) [Ref: Sunan ad-daraqutni 2/150, isnad saheeh] 

2) Imam yahya ibn ma`een rahimahullah (see quote in above pages)

3) Imam امام ابن زنجويه (D. 251 A.H) said :

 قَالَ أَبُو بَكْرٍ: قَالَ حُمَيْدٌ: الْقِيمَةُ تُجْزِي فِي الطَّعَامِ إِنْ شَاءَ اللَّهُ، وَالطَّعَامُ أَفْضَلُ

It is permissible to give cash in place of food (as zakatul fitr) but giving food is better (afdhal)

[Ref: الأموال لابن زنجويه  3/1269, 2457 shamela] 

Imam Ahmad shakir al-misri rahimahullah (in Muhalla ibn hazm page 132); Hafidh zubair `ali zai (rahimahullah) has also deemed it permissible and quoted many aslaaf in his support (Fatawa `Ilmiyyah 2/165] 

4) The 4th Hijri giant of his time, Imam Abu Ja`far (D. 362 A.H) who is a faqeeh in every right and his personality is among the few on which every muslim fraction agrees/venerates upon, and unfortunately today only those whom you hear on youtube or via some scholar in some random book are considered as worthy scholars . Nevertheless, the Imam proving his faqahat, May Allah have mercy on him said: 

أداء القيمة أفضل؛ لأنه أقرب إلى منفعة الفقير فإنه يشتري به للحال ما يحتاج إليه، والتنصيص على الحنطة والشعير كان؛ لأن البياعات في ذلك الوقت بالمدينة يكون بها فأما في ديارنا البياعات تجرى بالنقود، وهي أعز الأموال فالأداء منها أفضل

To give cash (as zakatul fitr) is better because this is the most beneficial for the faqeer because he can then purchase whatever he likes and needs [1] there and then [2] and (the context, wisdom and implication) in the prophetic hadeeth that mention wheat and other food items was so because back then in (the city of) Madinah these food items were (primarily) used as currency (i.e. barter system) whereas today in our cities we indulge in trade via currency and this (i.e. cash/money) is also the most precious commodity (for man) so it is better to give from it (i.e. cash)

[Ref: al-mabsoot lil-sarkhasi 3/107]

[1] because many times the poor person you are donating wheat or rice probably already has enough of that in his house and to dump more on him is wasting both the resources and opportunity. 

[2] back then, to buy good and deliver them by transport was time consuming. Even today in many developing nations such as India, Asia, people have to buy huge amounts of food, load them on the truck, incur the logistics, transport and other costs only to deliver a few sa`a/kilos of food to the masakeen. 

Those who deny or have the audacity to not follow these aslaaf or deem their fatawa as wrong because some modern shaykh living today or last decade rahimahumallah said so should read this : 

Imam sam`ani (a well known personality to students of knowledge who actually learn and not merely mug up online) died 562 A.H said :

كان إماما فاضلا ۔۔۔ حدث بالحديث

he is an Imaam and faadhil (no apt english trans) and has narrated (many) narrations of hadeeth 

[Ref: الأنساب للسمعاني، ت المعلمي: 13/ 432]

Imam dhahabi (D. 748 A.H) said: 

كان من براعته في الفقه يقال له أبو حنيفة الصغير توفي ببخارى وكان شيخ تلك الديار في زمانه

His superiority or excellency in the skill of Fiqh (understanding islamic texts and deductions) was such that he was addressed as "Junior Abu Haneefa" [1] He died in the city of Bukhaara and was a shaykh in his province (equal to size of atleast 2 modern countries today) of his era 

[Ref: العبر في خبر من غبر 2/ 334]

[1] Imam abu haneefa was well known in the field of deductions , analogy and hadeeth applications. 

Imam dhahabi elsewhere said :

من يضرب به المثل۔۔۔أخذ عنه أئمة

he was such that examples were given of him that Big imams used to study from abu ja`far (r.h)

[Ref: Siyar `alam 16/131]


There are thus 2 views mainly regarding zakatul fitr

1) to give the exact food items mentioned in the hadeeth in the exact measurement - this is mostly followed by dhahiris, some extreme salafis 

2) that giving food or money both are allowed in either quantity more or less up to you. But should not be less than the minimum nisb mentioned in the zakatul fitr related ahadeeth - this is followed by many Muslims of different madhahib and many salafis as well. And honestly this is the best opinion in my personal view because today in some developed countries like kuwait, qatar, singapore etc. people may be financially poor yet amply satisfied with ration in their homes so giving cash to them is a better option. But in developing countries like India, etc still giving food such as milk, kishmish (dry fruits) , etc. is better for zakatul fitr. 

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