zakat ul-fitr in cash

30 May 2019 Ref-No#: 1830

Aa salamu alaykum i have a question separate in two part.

1. Is it correct to claim these narration for paying the zakat al fitr in cash according to the hanafi madhaab and those who follow them in this masala:

The jurist Abu Ja’far (RA) who has an opposing opinion, said, “It is better to pay the cash equivalent of zakat because this is closer to benefitting the poor since it will allow them to purchase their immediate needs. The reason for specifying wheat and barley at the time of the Prophet was because they were used as a medium of exchange in al-Medina. But here where currency is the medium of exchange, it is preferable to pay the cash equivalent of zakat.”

This is likewise the opinion of a group from among the successors and scholars reckoned to be among them, including:

– Al-Hasan al-Basri. He was reported to have said, “There is no objection to paying zakat ul-fitr in dirhams.”

– Abu Ishaq al-Suba’i: Zuhair reported that he heard Abu Ishaq say, “I was present at the time of the Companions and they paid the cash value of zakat ul-fitr.”

– ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz: Waqi’ narrated through Qura who said, “We received a letter from ‘Umar Ibn ‘Abdul-‘Aziz concerning zakat ul-fitr. It said, ‘Half a sa` for each person or its equivalent of half a dirham.’ ”

These non-prophetic traditions were reported by Imam Abu Bakr Ibn Abu Shayba in Al-Mussanaf (vol. 2, p. 398).

2. I’m transferring you a question unfortunately well known in France and other countries where some bizarre groups in this kind of behavior so-called is the opinion of salaf:

“An organization operates in extremely poor areas with numerous needs. These include a need for food, clothes and money to satisfy the daily requirements of the poor. At the beginning of every Ramadan, the organization faces the problem of whether to pay zakat ul-fitr in cash or grain since a group of youth insist on the impermissibility of paying it in other than grain. They even attack those in charge of the organization and demand that they purchase grains with all the money in the zakat ul-fitr fund. What is the ruling for paying zakat ul-fitr in cash?”

Answer

Wa’alaykum as Salam wa rahamatullahi wa barakatuhu,

When merchandise is easily available in the marketplace, it is better to give cash, rather than items. When it is difficult to get items at a shop, then only will it be permissible to give the Sadaqah al-Fitr in kind.

The Hanafi Madhab is clear on this, and you have cited many evidences from the pious predecessors.

References

(ودفع القيمة) أي الدراهم (أفضل من دفع العين على المذهب) المفتى به جوهرة وبحر عن الظهيرية وهذا في السعة، أما في الشدة فدفع العين أفضل كما لا يخفى (الدر المختار – 2/ 366)

ويجوز دفع القيمة وهي أفضل عند وجدان ما يحتاجه لأنها أسرع لقضاء حاجة الفقير وإن كان زمن شدة فالحنطة والشعير وما يؤكل أفضل من الدراهم  (مراقي الفلاح شرح نور الإيضاح- ص: 273)