Scholars urge Zakat al Fitr, a way to financial equality

Muscat: Zakat al Fitr, a forum of charity that is highly encouraged in the holy month of Ramadhan is a unique way in Islam towards helping the poor celebrate the Eid al Fitr at par with the rich in the society.

Religious scholars urge everyone to take part in the national Zakat al Fitr drive through the Oman Charitable Organisation (OCO) portal which streamlines all charity initiatives in the country.

According to Islamic tradition (Sunnah), the Prophet Muhammad (peace and be upon him) made Zakat al Fitr compulsorly be given to every slave, freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one Saaof dried dates or one Saa of barley.

Ibn Abbas who related the hadith to this effect has said, “The Prophet of Allah enjoined Zakat al Fitr on those who fast to shield them from any indecent act or speech from the believer during the holy month, and for the purpose of providing food for the needy.

Another dimension of the Zakat al Fitr js that for every Muslim, it is mandatory to pay Zakat al Fitr at the conclusion of the holy month of Ramadhan as a token of gratitude to Allah Almighty for having enabled him or her to observe the obligatory fast.

It should be paid by the head of the family and the required amount on each member in the family and on other dependents must be paid before the Eid prayers. However, it will be considered general charity if it is paid after the prayer.

Mutawalli Saeedi, an Islamic scholar and Imam of Masjid Al Ameen told the Observer that the Arabic word ‘Fitr’ means the same as iftar, which is breaking a fast, and it comes from the same root word as Futoo which doesn’t mean breakfast and that Zakat al Fitr is a great action of every Muslim just as the ‘Zakat al Mal’.

“Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) made it obligatory on all the slave or free Muslims, male or female, to pay one Sa’ of dates or barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr”, Mutawalli said.

When it is calculated in Omani rials, according to thr Ministry of Religious Endowments (Awqaf), the Fitr Zakat payable on each member in the family is RO 1.200, or RO 1.300.

“A simple act of supplying rice and other essentials to a needy family has a greater role to play”, says Hatim Abdussalam, a religious scholar.

Those who are considered to be rich will come in direct contact with the poor, and the poor are put in contact with the extremely poor and this kind of networking between all members of the Society from different stratas is looked at as a perfect medium of building kinship.