Ruling on zakaat al-fitr and how much is to be paid
Is the hadeeth "The fast of Ramadaan will not be taken up [to
Allaah] until zakaat al-fitr is paid" saheeh?
If the fasting Muslim is in need and does not possess the threshold (nisaab) of zakaah, is he obliged to pay zakaat al-fitr because of the soundness of this hadeeth or other saheeh shar'i evidence that is proven in the Sunnah?.
A: Praise be to Allaah.
Sadaqat al-fitr is obligatory upon every Muslim who is self-supporting, if he has one saa' or more than he needs of food for himself and his family on the day and night of Eid.
The basis for that is the report narrated from Ibn 'Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: "The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) enjoined zakaat al-fitr, a saa' of dates, or a saa' of barley, upon all the Muslims, slave and free, male and female, young and old, and he commanded that it be paid before the people went out to pray." [Agreed upon; this version was narrated by al-Bukhaari].
And Abu Sa'eed al-Khudri narrated: "We used to pay zakaat al-fitr when the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) was alive, a saa' of food or a saa' of dates or a saa' of barley or a saa' of raisins or a saa' of dried yoghurt." [Agreed upon].
It is acceptable to give a saa' of the local staple food such as rice etc.
What is meant by a saa' here is the saa' of the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), which is four times the amount that may be held in the two hands of a man of average build. If a person does not pay zakaat al-fitr, he is sinning, and he has to make it up.
With regard to the hadeeth mentioned, we do not know whether it is saheeh or not.
We ask Allaah to give you strength and to make our words and deeds and yours righteous.
And Allaah is the Source if strength.
Standing Committee for Academic Research and Issuing Fatwas, 9/364