Zakat al-Fitrah FAQ (According to Fatawa
of Ayatullah Sayyid Al-Sistani)
Q. What is Zakat al-
A: It is religious tax/
alms (Zakat) paid on
the day when
Muslims break the fasting period at the end
of the month of Ramadan. This alms is
known as Zakat al-Fitrah.
Q. What do the Qur'an and Hadith say
A: Imams (as) say that the verses: Indeed
whosoever purifies himself shall achieve
success, and glorifies the Name of his Lord
and prays (87:14 & 15) refer to giving of
Fitrah and saying prayers on Eid al-Fitr.
Hazrat Imam Jafar-e-Sadiq (A.S.) said: for
your fast to be accepted, give zakat.
Q. When does Fitrah become wajib
A. Payment of Fitrah becomes obligatory
after sunset on the eve of Eid al-Fitr. The
Fitrah should be kept aside and paid on Eid
al-Fitr before Eid prayers or before midday
for those who cannot say their Eid prayers.
It is necessary to have obligatory intention
(Niyyah) of giving Fitrah for God's pleasure
Q. What happens if someone forgets or
does not give Fitrah on time?
A. If one does not give out or set aside the
Fitrah within the due time, he should give
the Fitrah later, on the basis of precaution,
without making the niyyah of adaa or
qadhaa but only Qurbatan Ilallah.
Q. Can we give Fitrah in advance?
A. Giving Fitrah before the eve of Eid al-Fitr
is not permissible. However, if you wish to
send Fitrah earlier so that it reaches the
needy on time, then you can send it as a
temporary loan to the needy and then
change your intention from loan to Fitrah
on the eve of Eid al-Fitr.
Q. To whom is Fitrah obligatroy?
A. Paying Fitrah is obligatory on every
Muslim who is mature (baligh), sane,
financially able, and conscious on the eve
of Eid al-Fitr. Fitrah should also be paid on
behalf of all dependents (e.g. wife,
children) whom one supports financially.
Q. When is a host required to pay Fitrah for
A. If a person invites another person to his
house on the eve of Eid al-Fitr and if the
guest is present at the host's place at the
time of the sunset then it is obligatory for
the host to pay Fitrah for his guest.
Q. What happens if the guest arrives after
the sunset on Eid night?
A. In this case the guest will pay his/her
own Fitrah and it is not obligatory on the
host to pay Fitrah for the guest.
Q. What happens if a guest comes
uninvited and is present at the time of the
sunset on the eve of Eid al-Fitr?
A. Ayatullah Sayyid Al-Sistani says that the
host should still pay the Fitrah as an
obligatory precaution. However, Marhum
Ayatullah Sayyid al-Khui was of the opinion
that is recommended for the host to pay
Fitrah of an uninvited guest.
Q. How much should we pay for Fitrah?
A. Fitrah for a person is given on a weight
of three kilograms (one sa'a) on any food
commodity like wheat, barley, rice, millet,
raisins or dates. Ayatullah Sayyid Al-Sistani
is of the opinion that the item that is not a
staple food in your town should not be
given in Fitrah. Say, for example, if milletis
not a staple in Vancouver then Vancouver
Mumineen should not pay Fitrah on millet.
Q. Can we give cash value of any
commodity mentioned above?
A. Yes, cash value in lieu of any foodstuff
mentioned can be given as Fitrah. Thus, if a
kilo of rice costs $2.00, the cash value of
Fitrah on rice per person would be $6.00.
We recommend, Fitrah on basmati rice to
be Canadian Dollars 7.00 for residents of
Canada and US Dollars 6.00 for US
residents. (Please check prices for other
items in your areas.)
Q. Whom should we give the Fitrah to?
A. It is given to the needy who are unable
to meet their own or their dependants
annual living expenses, nor do they have
the means to do so through earning.
Ayatullah Sayyid Al-Sistani says that the
needy who is given the fitrah must be a
Shiah Ithna Ashari.
Q. Who should not be given the Fitrah?
A. A needy who: consumes alcohol, does
not say his daily prayers (salat), commits
sins openly, or he who is known to use the
Fitrah in sinful way.
Q. Are there any additional rules that we
need to be aware of?
A. Following are some important rules:
(i) Fitrah should not be sent outside the
town one resides in, if there are deserving
Mumineen in that town.
(ii) Fitrah from a non-Sayyid cannot be
given to a needy Sayyid; the reverse is
(iii) A needy should be given at least one
(iv) Amongst the needy, relatives should be
preferred over others when giving Fitrah,
next in line are neighbors and then the
GRATEFULNESS to ALLAH (SWT):
Islam commands us to be GRATEFUL to
ALLAH (SWT) by using His favours in proper
manners. We should share ALLAH's favours
on us, with others. Allah can provide them
(needy ones) better than what He has given
to us, but He wants to test us: Is the loveof
Allah more in our hearts or the love of
Sadaqah al-Fitr (voluntary charity) is a very
important part of Fasting in Ramadan. One
very important aspect of fasting is that we
become aware of how poor people feel.
Poverty is a cause of many problems.
Many of our ministers do not know what
starvation is like, and they have other
interests. How would they try to solve this
Al Hamdulillah, Islam has really solved the
big problem of Slavery. And Insha Allah,
Poverty will be solved.