By: Mufti Faraz ibn Adam
The great Hanafi faqih (jurist) Imam Ibn al-Humam mentions: “Sadaqat al-Fitr is compulsory upon every free Muslim.” (Sharh Fath al-Qadir, 2:285)
All the scholars base their opinion on the following ahadith:
‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) enjoined the payment of one sa’ of dates or one sa’ of barley as Zakat al-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the ‘Id prayer.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:409)
‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) declared the payment of Sadaqat al-Fitr as obligatory; it purifies the fasting person from any indecent act or speech, and is a source of feeding the poor. If one pays Sadaqat al-Fitr before the salah (i.e. the ‘Id prayer), it is considered an accepted charity, if he pays it after the salah, it is considered an ordinary charity.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, p. 263)
There are many similar narrations establishing the same ruling.
The Pre-Requisites of Sadaqat al-Fitr Being Compulsory
- Islam: According to the four schools of thought (madhahib), being a Muslim is a pre-requisite. (Sharh Fath al-Qadir, 2:286)
- Free (not being enslaved): All the scholars agree that a slave will not be obliged to dispense of Sadaqat al-Fitr. (Ibid.)
- Possessing the quantum (nisab) for Sadaqat al-Fitr: This condition is deduced from the hadith: “Sadaqat isn’t compulsory except for he who is well-off.” (Musnad Ahmad, 10:7)
What is meant by quantum (nisab) is: that threshold of wealth one must have for Sadaqat al-Fitr to be compulsory. If somebody possesses less than that amount, he will not be obliged to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr.
The Hanafi madhhab is solitary in specifying a set quantum. According to the Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali madhahib, one who possesses surplus provisions for the night and day of ‘Id for himself and his dependants, will be obliged to discharge Sadaqat al-Fitr. (Mawahib al-Jalil, 3:257;Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1:594; al-Mughni, 4:301)
The specifying of a quantum is based upon the fact that in many places, Sadaqat al-Fitr has been termed as Zakat al-Fitr. For example, the narration of ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar in Sahih al-Bukhari has the wording Zakat al-Fitr. Also, the report of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri in Sahih Muslimbears the same terminology. Hence, by way of analogy and the alluded meaning (isharah an-nass), we can conclude that Sadaqat al-Fitr enjoys the same threshold and quantum as that of Zakat.
In principle, there are three types of quanta (nisab) in the Hanafi madhhab, each quantum results in different rulings.
- That which obligates Zakat: to possess assets of a productive nature equivalent to the value of 612.36 g of silver.
In this quantum, it is a requirement that the wealth one possesses has the capacity to grow and develop (numuw). Zakat is only compulsory in that asset which is of a productive nature; the asset has the capacity to increase. For example, in the animals which are regarded as zakatable, namely camels, cows and sheep, they grow and increase in reality by reproduction. These assets in reality are of a productive nature, it is witnessed by the eye. Hence, Zakat is obligatory on them. Another form of assets being of a productive nature is innately (hukman); in such assets, the actual asset doesn’t multiply or increase, but it inherently possesses the characteristic of being productive; they have the potential to result in a profitable return. Thus, gold and silver fall under this category, likewise cash.
- The second type of quantum is to possess any asset beyond ones necessities equivalent to the value of 612.36 g of silver. One who has this will be liable for the following rulings:
- Sadaqat al-Fitr becomes compulsory
- The receiving of Zakat is impermissible
- Animal sacrifice (udhiyyah) becomes compulsory
- The financial maintenance of one’s family becomes obligatory
For this quantum, it isn’t necessary to possess wealth which is of a productive nature, nor is it necessary to be trading in a commodity. Likewise it isn’t a condition to possess these commodities for a full lunar year, unlike the first quantum. Whoever possesses this quantum will not be obliged to discharge Zakat, however, he will have to dispense of Sadaqat al-Fitr.
- The final quantum is to be in possession of one day’s provision. According to some, it is to possess 50 dirhams (153.09 g of silver). This quantum results in:
- The impermissiblity of begging
- The permissibility of receiving Zakat
In addition, the possessor of this quantum will not be obliged to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr, nor will he have to perform animal sacrifice in the days of Hajj. (Ashraf al-Hidayah, 3:161)
In short, according to the Hanafi madhhab, for Sadaqat al-Fitr to be obligatory, one must possess any asset surplus of one’s basic needs which are equivalent to the value of 612.36 g of silver.
Who Has to Pay
According to the four schools of fiqh, one will have to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr on behalf of himself and his minor dependants when the above conditions are met.
Imam al-Haskafi mentions that a Muslim who meets all the above criteria is required to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr for himself and on behalf of his minor children who do not possess the required quantum. The same ruling applies for those suffering from dementia. (al-Durr al-Mukhtar, p.140)
If one’s children who haven’t reached the age of puberty possess the quantum, it will be permissible for their guardian to dispense of Sadaqat al-Fitr from their wealth. (Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, 1:211)