Ramadan is almost over but there is an act worship Muslims are urged to do in order to rectify their shortcomings during the holy month, it is called Zakat ul-Fitr.
Zakat ul-Fitr is also known as Sadaqat ul-Fitr.
The word Fitr means the same as Iftar which is breaking a fast. It is a form of charity which is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadan. Zakat al-Fitr is a duty on every Muslim to pay before offering Eid prayer. However, it can be paid earlier than that to enable the poor to provide their needs for the Eid day. The main aim of Zakat al-Fitr is to provide the poor with their needs and make them happy on the blessed day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
The intention of paying Zakat al-Fitr is to bring happiness to the poor on the day of Eid. And to do that we may pay it a little in advance as much as this is necessary to make it on time to the poor. Zakat al-Fitr is a seasonal payment that has a special time-related objective that is why it must stick to this time frame. Sadaqat ul-Fitr becomes obligatory from sunset on the last day of fasting and remains obligatory until the beginning of Salat ul-Eid.
Zakatul Fitr is done with staple foods that are common and consumable in a particular location. A Sa’ is used to measure the food and it is made up of four mudds(750ml bowl).
Zakat al-Fitr is an obligation which is due to the free or slave Muslim, male or female, young or adult. A man who is the head of a family pays for himself and for whomever he shelters, unless they have enough money of their own, to give out Zakat al-Fitr in Ramadan.
A person has to be a Muslim to be required to pay and give Zakat al-Fitr to anyone, Muslim or non-Muslim. It is stated in hadith in these words: “Prophet Muhammad (SAW) made it incumbent on all the slave or free Muslims, male or female, to pay one Sa’ of dates or barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr” (Bukhari).
The significant role played by Zakat in the circulation of wealth within the Islamic society is also played by the Sadaqat ul-Fitr. But in the case of Sadaqat ul-Fitr, each individual is required to calculate how much charity is due from himself and his dependents and go into the community in order to find those who deserve such charity.
So, we can say that Sadaqat ul-Fitr plays an important role in the development of the bonds of community. The rich are obliged to come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor which helps to build real bonds of brotherhood and love within the Islamic community. Ibn Abbas reported that: “The Prophet (SAW) made Zakat ul-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it before Salah will have it accepted as Zakat, while he who gives it after the Salah has given Sadaqat.” (Abu Dawud)
The amount of Zakat is the same for everyone regardless of their different income brackets.