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 (The actual monetary value of zakat-ul-fitr is not finite; rather, it is determined by the food item to be purchased (e.g. flour, rice, meat, etc.), which will differ in quantity according to the prophetic measurement and subsequently in value. Accordingly, $10.00 is the median value determined by this masjid for the purchase of food items on your behalf and on behalf of members of your family. Those who wish to err on the side of generosity are welcome to give more.

Ibn `Umar reported that Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) made sadaqat-ul-fitr [another term for zakat-ul-fitr] obligatory, (and it was), either one sa'a3 of barley or one sa'a3 of dates (and its payment was obligatory) on young and old people, and on free men as well as on slaves (who were Muslim). Sahih al-Bukhari and Sahih Muslim


The linguistic meaning of zakat is purification. Islamically, the term refers to the mandatory alms by which one purifies one’s wealth. Fitr is from the same trilateral root as iftar, meaning to break one’s fast. Hence, zakat-ul-fitr is mandatory charity marking the end of one’s fast to serve as a purification for any shortcomings or transgressions incurred while fasting. Abdullah ibn Abbas reported that the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) prescribed zakat-ul-fitr as a purification of one’s fasting from vain and obscene speech and as a means of feeding the poor. Anyone who pays it before the (Eid) prayer will have it accepted as zakat [ul-fitr] while anyone who gives it thereafter has given normal charity. Sunan Abu Dawud

Every adult Muslim who is deemed head of the household and who has sufficient food for himself/herself and his/her family for a day should pay zakat ul-fitr for himself/herself and all his/her Muslim dependents, regardless of whether they fasted. Zakat ul-fitr should also be paid for the child born or the person who died before fajr (dawn) on the day of Eid. It should not be distributed for non-Muslim relatives or dependents.

At the time of the Prophet (saw), calculation of zakat ul-fitr was made in terms of volume. It is one sa’a3 [approximately 14 cups of food] for each person. It cannot be emphasized enough that the prophetic measurement is one of volume, not weight, meaning that though the volume of two items may be the same, their respective weights can, and often will, be different (e.g. one sa’a3 of macaroni will not weigh as much as one sa’a3 of rice though the volume for each will be the same [i.e. 14 cups]). We do not deem it a condition that the food be storable for it to permissible to give; it simply must be a normal, staple item eaten in most American households. For example, 14 cups of raw uncooked oats, uncooked macaroni or pasta, uncooked rice, raw ground beef or chicken (though it should be frozen or freezable), uncooked beans, canned fish (e.g. tuna and salmon) are all acceptable. They may be mixed and matched if an individual is required to give for more than himself, as long as they are preserved in sa’a3 units (e.g. 14 cups of rice, 14 cups of ground beef, and 14 cups of macaroni can be given by someone who is required to distribute zakat-al-fitr for himself and 2 dependents). Condiments and flavor enhancers that are usually found in kitchens but do not constitute food should be avoided (e.g. cooking oils, butter, milk, salt, pepper, seasonings, sugar, etc.) and should not be calculated as a part of the zakat ul-fitr. 

As reported in the aforementioned narration of Ibn Abbas, zakat ul-fitr must be paid before the Eid prayer. In a narration reported by Ibn Umar collected in Sahih Bukhari, it mentions that the companions were accustomed to giving zakat-ul-fitr one or two days prior to Eid day. Allowances for earlier than one or two days are questionable and should be avoided.

Zakat ul-fitr should be paid directly to the Muslim needy and poor. Islamically, a needy individual is defined as one whose expenses exceed his/her income. If you know an individual or family deserving of zakat-ul-fitr and can get the food, not money, to the individual, this is the preferred means of distribution. If, however, you choose to use UMM Masjid as your agent for distribution, we will collect money via online payment at the website or via money placed in demarcated envelopes inside of the masjid atop the normal sadaqah boxes. We require $10.00 per family member. With this money, we will buy supermarket food vouchers that eligible families and individuals can use to buy food at their convenience.


Regardless of how you choose to fulfill your zakat-ul-fitr requirement, it is of grave importance that you ensure that your zakat reaches the recipient or agent in the time frame allotted Islamically: prior to the Eid prayer.


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