Question # 2: Can zakaat ul-fitr be given in a place or country different than the one we reside in? Can it be given by my family back in my home country?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: Zakat ul-fitr is to be distributed in the city where it is due, whether the payer’s holdings are there or not because zakat ul-fitr is associated with the person unlike zakah, which is associated with the holdings. However, if there are no poor people in the area, then it is permissible to send it outside the country.
- The scholars support the view that as for zakat ul-fitr, it is to be distributed in the city where it is due, whether the payer’s holdings are there or not. This is because zakat ul-fitr is associated with the person unlike zakah, which is associated with the holdings. (‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq).
The scholars also stated that zakat ul-fitr is to be paid in the place where a person is on the night before Eid. Ibn Qudaamah said in al-Mughni: As for zakat ul-fitr, it is to be paid in the land where the person from whom it is due is present, whether his wealth is there or not.
[However,] if there are no poor people in the area, or those who will take it do not really need it and will not eat it, but will instead sell it at half price, and it is difficult to find poor and needy people who will eat it, then it is permissible to send it outside the country. It is [also] permissible to give the price (of zakat ul-fitr) at the beginning of the month to an agent who will buy (zakat ul-fitr) and deliver it to deserving people at the time when it should be paid, which is the night before Eid or two days before that. (Al-Fataawa al-Jibreeniyyah fi’l-A’maal al-Da’wiyyah li Fadeelat al-Shaykh ‘Abd-Allah ibn Jibreen)
[The Islamic Affairs & Charitable Activities Department provides a list of Associations / Foundations Charities licensed in Dubai that accept zakah/sadaqah for onward distribution. Please follow the link: https://www.iacad.gov.ae/en/Pages/default.aspx
- Narrated Ibn ‘Umar (رضي الله عنه) that Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) made it the payment of one Sa’ of dates or one Sa’ of barley as Zakat ul-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 ‘Eid. (One Sa’ = 3 kilograms approximately) (Sahih Bukhari). The scholars say that Zakat ul-fitr is obligatory for every Muslim, and he is required to pay for himself and his wife even if she has money of her own and his children and parents, if they are poor. Allah’s Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said “Give Zakat ul-Fitr on behalf of whomever you support.” (Daraqutni and Al-Bayhaqi)
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: If the child is well off, then his maintenance and his zakat ul-fitr should come from his wealth and not from his father or grandfather. This was the view of Abu Haneefah, Muhammad, Ahmad, and Ishaaq. (al-Majmoo’)
So, if a Muslim person is self-supporting, zakat ul-fitr is obligatory upon him for himself and his dependent family members (including parents, if they are dependent on him) and he cannot ask his family (parents) to pay for him, whether they are with him or in his home country.
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.