2014 Eid-Ul-Fitr in pictures

Muslims in Afiaman, Abensu, Mayera, Adusah, Machie, etc all suburb of Pokuase today celebrated Eid-Ul-Fitr to mark the end of Ramadan.

The Muslim three-day Eid al-Fitr festival/celebration marks the end of 30 days of dawn-to-sunset fasting during the holy month of Ramadan., began today in parts of the world where sightings of the new moon were made. During Ramadan, the Islamic month of fasting, devout Muslims must abstain from food, drink, and sex from dawn until sunset. The fast, being one of the five pillars of Islam, is seen as a time for spiritual reflection, prayers, and charity.

After sunset, Muslims traditionally break the fast by drinking water or eating some odd number of date/fruits, performing the Maghrib prayer, and sitting down to Iftar, the main evening meal, where communities and families gather together.
Gathered here are images of Muslims in my area, the Ga/West observing Eid al-Fitr this year, as I tookpart myself.

Below are pictures of some of the celebrants



Historic Palestine, Maps of Israel and Palestine Historic Palestine

Historic Palestine

Map of Historic Palestine covering all of current-day Israel, the West Bank, and the Gaza Strip
Historic Palestine
source: Palestine Remembered
Historically, the land of Palestine was populated by a people known as the Palestinians. Palestinians have always been religiously diverse, with the Muslim majority maintaining friendly relations with their Christian, Jewish, and Druze brethren.

At the turn of the 20th Century, a new Jewish nationalist ideology called Zionism was developing. Zionism called for the creation of a Jewish homeland in Palestine.
During this time, increasing numbers of Jewish Europeans immigrated to Palestine, causing the Jewish population to grow from a tiny minority to 35% of the population.

Population of Historic Palestine

Non-Jewish Palestinians
Jewish Population

Source: McCarthy, Justin, The Population of Palestine, Columbia University Press: New York, 1990, pp. 10, 35.
 View map of Palestine from 1944.

UN Partition of Palestine

Map of UN Partition of Palestine - 55% for a Jewish state; 45% for a Palestinian state
Plan of Partition
source: UN
In 1947, the United Nations partitioned Historic Palestine, giving 55% to the Jewish population and 45% to the Palestinian population. The indigenous Palestinians rejected the division of the land on which they had lived and farmed for centuries.

At the time of partition, the Jewish population owned less than 6% of Palestine.

1948 Israel, West Bank, and Gaza Strip

Map of Israel, the West Bank, and Gaza following the 1948 war.
Israel, West Bank, and Gaza
source: Palestine Center
In 1948 Israel declared its “independence,” but chose not to name its borders (Israel may be the only nation in the world with undeclared borders). Following its founding war of 1947-49 Israel came into existence on 78 percent of Palestine, a percentage it has steadily increased in subsequent years, a process that continues today.

Refugees and Depopulated Villages

A map showing where refugees from different parts of historic Palestine ended up
Displaced Palestinian Refugees
source: Palestine Remembered
Map showing the locations of the hundreds of Palestinian villages that were depopulated during the 1948 war.
Depopulated Villages
source: Palestine Remembered
Between the time of partition and the declaration of Israel on 78% of historic Palestine in 1948, the newly formed Jewish state had depopulated (through massacres, expulsion orders, and fear tactics) over 400 villages and made refugees of at least 726,000 Palestinians (see U.N.).

As Moshe Dayan put it, “Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.”
Learn more about refugees.

1967 and Occupation

Map showing that in 1967 Israel occupied the final 22% of historic Palestine as well as a huge chunk of Egypt (known as the Sinai) and the Golan Heights in Syria.
Arab Land Occupied in 1967
source: PASSIA
In 1967, Israel occupied the remaining 22% of historic Palestine: the West Bank and Gaza (as well as large sections of Syria and Egypt). Since then Israel has transferred many of its citizens to Jewish “settlements,” (colonies, which are illegal according to the fourth Geneva Convention). Today 40% of the West Bank is off-limits to Palestinians, as they are not allowed to live in Israeli settlements, drive on Israeli-only roads connecting these settlements, or even live or travel through “security zones,” surrounding the settlements.

Learn more about life under occupation.

Annexation of Jerusalem

Map showing the annexation of an expanded version of East Jerusalem.
Annexation of East Jerusalem and Jerusalem-Area Settlements
source: UN
Following the 1967 war, Israel created what it calls “Greater Jerusalem.” It did this by expanding the borders of East Jerusalem to include surrounding areas of the West Bank where the Palestinian population was minimal. It annexed this new “Jerusalem,” and declared it to be it’s capitol.

Since 1967, Israel has established numerous illegal settlements in this “Greater Jerusalem,” thereby ensuring a Jewish majority in the city. While the municipal government encourages the construction of new Jewish homes in the city, Palestinian families (many of whom have lived in Jerusalem for centuries) are rarely able to acquire the permits necessary to build new homes and are only allowed to live in certain areas of the city due to systematic discrimination against non-Jewish citizens.
For more information on housing discrimination in Jerusalem, watch Jerusalem: An Occupation Set in Stone?

Israeli Settlements on Palestinian and Syrian Land

Map showing the many Israeli settlements that have been built on the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip and in the Syrian Golan Heights.
Israeli Settlements on the Palestinian West Bank and Gaza Strip and in the Syrian Golan Heights (as of 1996).
source: UN
Following the 1967 war, Israel began establishing numerous settlements, or illegal housing developments for Jewish Israelis only on stolen Palestinian land (colonies). There are now thousands of these settlements throughout the West Bank and Gaza, as well as numerous settlements in the Syrian Golan Heights.

Settlements are one of the major blockages to a peaceful and just resolution to Israel’s conflict with the Palestinians and other Arabs. The “roadmap” to peace calls on Israel to dismantle these settlements and to return the land to the rightful owners. Unfortunately, Israel continues to expand existing settlements and to build new ones.
Israeli settlers, who are known for their Jewish fundamentalism and desire to take the rest of Palestine (and perhaps even parts of other Arab lands) for Israel, usually carry large guns. They travel on specially built “bypass roads,” that now crisscross the West Bank and Gaza Strip. Palestinians are not allowed to use these roads.
Learn more about Settlements.


What is the background of Jewish settlements in Palestinian Arab areas?

The land of Palestine has always been populated with religiously diverse people with Muslims maintaining a majority and having cordial relations with all the minorities. The 20th century brought a new Jewish ideology, Zionism, which called for a Zionist homeland in Palestine. With the rise of Zionism, a large number of Jewish populations started immigrating to Palestine from all over Europe, increasing the minority of Jews to 35% of the Palestinian population.

In 1947, United Nations did a historic partition in which it divided Palestine into 55% of Jews and 45% of Arab population whereas Jewish population came up to only 6% of the population. In 1948, Israel declared that it is an ‘independent’ state; however, it did not define its borders and preferred to remain a nation with undefined borders. A war followed its declaration of independence from 1947 to 1949 and Israel was created on the 78% of Palestinian land. This percentage steadily increased in later years and continues to the present day.

During the time of declaring independence and partitioning, Israel took over this 78% percent of land by depopulating more than 400 villages through spreading fear, expulsion order and massacres. Around 726,000 refugees came out of these depopulated areas. According to Moshe Dayan:
“Jewish villages were built in the place of Arab villages. You do not even know the names of these Arab villages, and I do not blame you because geography books no longer exist, not only do the books not exist, the Arab villages are not there either.”

Gradually, Israel took over the remaining 22% of Palestine, including the historic West Bank and Gaza Strip. These areas also included large sections captured from Syria and Egypt. Israel has transferred much of its population in the settlements established there, colonies which were declared illegal by the fourth Geneva Convention. At present, 40% of the West Bank is inaccessible by the Palestinians as they are not allowed to reside in that area or to pass on the Israel-only roads. Moreover, they are also not allowed to travel through the security zones surrounding these settlements.
The result of 1967 war was the establishment of what Jews called the “Greater Jerusalem” which it expanded by including the surrounding areas of the West Bank where there was less Palestinian population. They made this “new” Jerusalem their capital. Since then, Israel has established many illegal settlements in “Greater Jerusalem”, forming a Jewish majority. Although municipal government encourages establishing new households in Jerusalem, they do not allow Palestinian families to build new homes or to live in certain areas altogether due to the discrimination shown towards non-Jewish citizens.

Establishment of numerous Israeli settlements followed the 1967 war where Jews built their colonies illegally on Palestinian lands. These settlements have grown to thousands throughout the West Bank and Gaza and even in the Syrian Golan Heights. And it is due to these settlements that no just solution can be reached for the Arab-Israel conflict. Roadmap to peace regards these settlements as major blockages in peace process and calls for Israel to dismantle these settlements; however, the situation is growing worse instead of improving.


How To Avoid Contracting The Ebola Virus

What you should know:

Ebola virus and Marburg virus are related viruses that cause hemorrhagic fevers — illnesses marked by severe bleeding (hemorrhage), organ failure and, in many cases, death. Both Ebola virus and Marburg virus are native to Africa, so far its only in Africa where sporadic outbreaks have occurred for decades but until recently has gained high records in many African countries. The most recent Ebola outbreak has already killed 632 people in Guinea, Liberia and Sierra Leone since February.

Ebola virus live in animal hosts, and humans can contract the viruses from infected animals. Ebola virus has been found in African monkeys, pigs, chimps and other nonhuman primates. After the initial transmission, the viruses can spread from person to person through contact with body fluids or contaminated needles.

The Ebola virus is a notoriously deadly virus, it causes fearsome symptoms, the most prominent being high fever and massive internal bleeding.

Signs and Symptoms:

Signs and symptoms typically begin abruptly within 5 to 10 days of infection. Early signs and symptoms include:
  Severe headache
  Joint and muscle aches
  Sore throat

Over time, symptoms become increasingly severe and may include:

  •    Nausea and vomiting
  •    Diarrhea (may be bloody)
  •    Red eyes
  •    Raised rash
  •   Chest pain and cough
  •   Stomach pain
  •   Severe weight loss
  •   Bleeding from the nose, mouth, rectum, eyes and ears


Ebola virus has been found in African monkeys,fruit bats, chimps and other nonhuman primates. A milder strain of Ebola has been discovered in monkeys and pigs in the Philippines.

Transmission from animals to humans

The virus can be transmitted to humans by exposure to an infected animal’s bodily fluids. Examples include:

  • Blood. Butchering or eating infected animals can spread the viruses. Scientists who have operated on infected animals as part of their research have also contracted the virus.
  • Waste products. Tourists in certain African caves and some underground mine workers have been infected with the Marburg virus, possibly through contact with the feces or urine of infected bats.

Transmission from person to person

Infected people typically don’t become contagious until they develop symptoms. Family members are often infected as they care for sick relatives or prepare the dead for burial.
Medical personnel can be infected if they don’t use protective gear such as surgical masks and latex gloves. Medical centers in Africa are often so poor that they must reuse needles and syringes. Some of the worst Ebola epidemics have occurred because contaminated injection equipment wasn’t sterilized between uses.
There’s no evidence that Ebola virus or Marburg virus can be spread via insect bites.

Be your own guard and report any strange symptoms to your nearest Health Centre.

The possibility of contracting Ebola virus is extremely low unless you’ve had direct contact with the body fluids of an infected person or animal.
If you think that you or a family member may have been exposed to one of the viruses, call your doctor or go to the nearest emergency room immediately. If you’re not referred to an infectious disease specialist, ask to see one.

If you’re traveling or working abroad, be more cautious and do not near areas marked as Ebola virus zone. Report any strange feelings or symptoms like feelings at your nearest health facility and be sure to elaborate properly to your doctor or hospital about your symptoms before your visit so that precautions can be taken to prevent transmission of the virus to others.

Tests and diagnosis

Ebola hemorrhagic fever is difficult to diagnose because many of the early signs and symptoms resemble those of other infectious diseases, such as typhoid and malaria. But if doctors suspect that you have been exposed to Ebola virus or Marburg virus, they use laboratory tests that can identify the viruses within a few days.
Most people with Ebola or Marburg hemorrhagic fever have high concentrations of the virus in their blood. Blood tests known as enzyme-linked immunosorbent assay (ELISA) and reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction (PCR) can detect specific genes or the virus or antibodies to them.

Treatments and drugs

No antiviral medications have proved effective in treating Ebola virus or Marburg virus infection. As a result, treatment consists of supportive hospital care. This includes providing fluids, maintaining adequate blood pressure, replacing blood loss and treating any other infections that develop.

Ebola Virus in Ghana, Possible ?

The American who was suspected to be carrying the Ebola virus at the Nyaho Clinic in Accra is reported dead after blood testing on him revealed signs of the disease were glaring, whiles Nurses who were treating him have been placed under close monitoring for any symptoms.

The said American, name withheld, died yesterday afternoon while under surveillance at the infirmary.
He arrived from Guinea on Sunday and reported at the clinic for medical attention.

As a result, Ghana’s Health Ministry is currently having a crunch meeting with stakeholders on the matter after they earlier disputed the American was carrying the virus even before adequate tests could be done.
The said meeting is supposed to strategize on how to contain the deadly Ebola virus, should it break out in the country.

There have been some deaths of several cases reported in Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia by the close of June 30, this year.
The initial tests run on the American, now deceased, according to the source, was inconclusive because the officials used the wrong reagent.

The sources, who are medical practitioners, told media houses “the test should have taken Noguchi not more than five hours.”

The Public Relations Officer of the Health Ministry, Tony Goodman told the media that his outfit had requested for some reagents from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology to further help with the investigations.

Signals are that the blood samples could also be flown to Atlanta in the United States for further testing.

Early on, Head of Disease Surveillance at the Ghana Health Service, Dr. Badu Sarkodie told the media that  more work would be done later on the sample before a substantive conclusion could be determined.

On this health threat, the World Health Organization has held a two-day conference in Ghana`s capital Accra to address the Ebola virus outbreak in West Africa.
The conference sought to improve cooperation and communication between the Three most hard hit countries, and all West African countries, to improve their health departments in order to contain the outbreaks.

“The governments are required to mobilize relevant sectors, community, religious and political leaders to improve awareness, psycho-social support and understanding of the Ebola situation,” said Francis Kasolo, WHO Africa director for disease prevention and control, in this Reuters news article.

Among other improvements to deal with the outbreaks, the countries hope to access better diagnostic technologies and health care resources, while improving disease surveillance and health communication throughout the region.

– Sultan Nuhu Mohammed

Ghana Heath Service
Online Ghanaian Media Houses 

What to do before, during, and after Eid Al-Fitr

Shawwal is the first of the three months named Ashhur al-Hajj (the months of hajj). Although the major acts of hajj are normally performed on the first ten days of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah, yet the whole period starting from the first of Shawwal up to the 10th of Dhu ‘l-Hijjah is held to be the period of hajj because some acts of hajj can be performed any time during this period. For example, the tawaf al-qudum followed by the sa’i of hajj, although impermissible before Shawwal can be performed any day after Shawwal begins. Similarly, an ‘umrah performed before Shawwal cannot be treated as an ‘umrah of tamattu‘ while an ‘umrah performed in Shawwal can be affiliated with the hajj, making it a hajj of tamattu‘. Moreover, the ihram of hajj is considered undesirable before Shawwal. For these reasons, amongst others, the three months that follow Ramadan have been named the “months of hajj” and the month of Shawwal has the distinction of being the first of these months.

‘Id al-Fitr
The second meritorious aspect of Shawwal is that it has been chosen by Allah Almighty for the celebration of ‘Id al-Fitr, one of the only two annual festivals recognized by the Shari’ah. This joyous day is intended by the Shari’ah to serve as a sign of gratitude by the Muslims on the accomplishment of Ramadan and as an immediate reward by Allah for those who spent the month of Ramadan in fasting and performing other forms of ritual worship.

Interestingly enough, instead of commemorating an event from the past, the Shari’ah has prescribed the first of Shawwal as an annual festival for the Muslims on an occasion when they themselves have accomplished and completed a momentous form of worship. This approach reminds the Muslims that they should not rely only on the accomplishments of their ancestors. Rather, they should themselves perform meritorious acts to please their Creator.

In prescribing the methods to celebrate this happy day, Islam has adopted another unique approach. The festivals of other religions or nations normally comprise of solely acts of rejoicing and enjoyment. The whole day of celebration is normally spent in dancing, singing and play.

In contrast, Islam has prescribed a simple yet graceful way to observe the joyous day. First, it is mandatory on all wealthy Muslims to start their day by paying sadaqat al-fitr to the poor of their community, so that they, too, may enjoy the day along with others and not be concerned about earning their livelihood on at least this one day of happiness.

After paying the sadaqat al-fitr, the Muslims are required to proceed to an open place where they can offer the ‘Id prayer collectively. In this way, they are expected to present themselves before their Creator and offer two raka‘ahs of this special type of prayer which allows them to receive blessings from Allah and commence their celebration with divine blessings.

After the salat also, they are expected to rejoice in a responsible manner, without violating the limits prescribed for them or indulging in any acts prohibited by Allah. Keeping this point in view, we will now discuss specific rules prescribed for observing the day of ‘Id al-Fitr.

The Night Preceding ‘Id al-Fitr
It was the practice of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, that he would not sleep on the night preceding the day of ‘Id al-Fitr. This night has been named in a hadith as the Night of Reward (Laylat al-Ja’izah). Allah Almighty bestows his rewards on those who have spent the month of Ramadan abiding by the dictates of the Shari’ah and all their prayers in this night are accepted.

Therefore, it is desirable to perform nafl prayers on this night. The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, is reported to have said:
Whoever stands up (in worship) on the nights preceding the two ‘Ids expecting rewards from his Lord, his heart will not die when the other hearts will die. (Ibn Majah)
To benefit from this opportunity, one should perform as much worship on this night as possible and pray for all one’s needs and desires.

Before Going to ‘Id Prayer
The following acts are prescribed as sunnah at the beginning of the day of ‘Id-ul-Fitr before proceeding to the ‘Id prayer:
1. To wake up early in the morning.
2. To clean one’s teeth with a miswak or a brush.
3. To take a bath.
4. To put on one’s best available clothing.
5. To wear perfume.
6. To eat sweet food, preferably dates, before the ‘Id prayer.
7. To recite the following takbir in the low voice while going to the ‘Id prayer:
Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar La Ilaha Illa Allah Wa Allahu Akbar Allahu Akbar Wa Lillahi al-Hamd.

Sadaqat al-Fitr
Sadaqat al-fitr is an obligation for every Muslim, male or female, who owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent, either in the form of money, ornaments, stock-in-trade, or in the form of some goods or commodities beyond one’s normal needs. Every person who owns such an amount has to pay sadaqat al-fitr, not only on behalf of himself but also on behalf of his minor children.

The prescribed amount of sadaqat al-fitr is 1.75 kgs of wheat or its value in money. This amount is prescribed for paying sadaqat al-fitr for one person only. If a person has children who are dependents, the same amount has to be paid on behalf of each one of them separately. The following points must be remembered concerning the payment of sadaqat al-fitr:

1. Sadaqat al-fitr obligatory upon each adult male or female separately, and the relevant adult person himself is responsible to pay it. The husband is not required to pay sadaqat al-fitr on behalf of his wife nor is the wife required to pay it on behalf of her husband. Similarly, a father is not bound to pay sadaqat al-fitr on behalf of his adult children or vice-versa. However, if the head of the family, by his own free will, wishes to pay sadaqat al-fitr for each one of the members of his family, he should seek their authorization for that purpose. In this case the sadaqat al-fitr paid by him will be valid on their behalf.

If he did not pay the sadaqat al-fitr on behalf of any of the members of his family, he will not be responsible for it. Rather, it is the duty of every adult member of the family to discharge his own obligation or to request the head of the family to pay it on his or her behalf.

2. It is a sunnah that the sadaqat al-fitr be paid before performing the ‘Id prayer. It can also be paid before the ‘Id day, but it is not advisable to delay it up to the performance of the ‘Id prayer. However, if a person has failed to pay it on its proper time he should pay it as soon as possible whereby the obligation will stand discharged.

3. The sadaqat al-fitr is not necessary on behalf of a child who was born after the break of dawn on the day of ‘Id, nor is it necessary to pay sadaqat al-fitr on behalf of a person who dies before the dawn of the ‘Id day.

4. Sadaqat al-fitr should be paid only to a person who is entitled to receive zakat.
The ‘Id Prayer
The second obligatory act on ‘Id day is to perform the ‘Id prayer. Some rules in this respect are mentioned hereunder:
1. The ‘Id prayer is wajib (obligatory) on every male Muslim.
2. The ‘Id prayer can be performed any time between the sunrise and when the sun reaches its zenith (beginning of the zuhr prayer time).
3. It is preferable that the ‘Id prayer is performed at an open field and not in a masjid. However, if, it is difficult for any reason to perform it in an open field, it can also be performed in a large masjid.
4. It is not advisable to hold the ‘Id prayer in every masjid. Rather, it is preferable that the people from several small masjids get together to either perform it in an open field or, in its absence, in a big masjid which can accommodate a large number of people.
5. No nafl salat can be performed before the ‘Id prayer, neither in one’s home nor at the place of ‘Id prayer. Similarly, nafl prayer cannot be performed after the ‘Id prayer at the same place. However, it can be performed after one comes back to his home.
6. The ‘Id prayer has neither an adhan nor an iqamah.

How to Perform the‘Id Prayer
The ‘Id prayer consists of two raka‘ahs that are performed like any other prayer with the exception of the addition of six takbirs, three of them in the beginning of the first raka‘ah and three of them just before ruku‘ in the second raka‘ah.
The detailed method of performing the ‘Id prayer is as follows:
The imam begins the prayer without adhan or iqamah. He will begin the prayer by reciting the takbir tahrimah (Allahu Akbar). One then raises their hands up to the ears, reciting the takbir. After a brief pause, one will recite the thana’ (subhanak Allahumma…). After the completion of the thana’, the imam will recite takbir (Allahu Akbar) three times and after reciting each takbir (Allahu Akbar) in a low voice, one brings their hands down and leaves them. After the third takbir, one then sets them at the level of the navel as in the normal prayer.

After these three takbirs, the imam will recite the Qur’an which one listens to quietly. The rest of the raka‘ah will be performed in the normal fashion.
After rising for the second raka‘ah, the imam will begin the recitations from the Qur’an during which one remains quiet. When the imam finishes his recitation, he will recite three takbirs once again, but this time before bowing down for ruku‘. At each takbir one will raise their hands up to the ears, and after saying “Allahu Akbar” bring them down and leave them earthwards.

After these three takbirs have been called and completed, the imam will perform another takbir for bowing down into the ruku‘ position. At this takbir one will not raise their hands, but simply bow down for ruku‘ saying, “Allahu Akbar”. The rest of the salat will be performed in its usual manner.

Khutbah: The ‘Id al-Fitr Sermon
Khutbah is a sunnah for ‘Id salat and is delivered afterwards, unlike the salat of Jumu‘ah where it is fard and is delivered before the salat. However, listening to the khutbah of ‘Id salat is wajib (necessary) and must be observed in perfect silence.
It is a sunnah for the imam to begin the first khutbah by reciting takbirs nine times and seven times in the second khutbah.

Note: The method of ‘Id prayer described above is according to the Hanafi school of Muslim jurisprudence. Other jurists, like Imam Shafi‘i, prescribe slightly different methods. They perform takbir twelve times before beginning the Qur’anic recitations in both raka‘ahs. This method is also permissible. If the imam, being Shafi‘i, follows this method, one may also follow him as both methods are based on the practice of the Prophet, upon him blessings and peace.

Six Fasts in the Month of Shawwal
It is commendable to keep six fasts in the month of Shawwal. The Prophet, upon him blessings and peace, stated:
Whoever completes fasts of Ramadan then adds to them the fast of six days in the month of Shawwal, it will carry the reward of fasting for the whole year. (Muslim)

This hadith describes a tremendous reward for the six fasts of this month. Muslims should, therefore, take this opportunity to acquire such an enormous remuneration from Allah. It is more preferable to start these fasts from the 2nd of Shawwal and keep fasting up to the 7th. However, if they are kept on other days, it is hoped that the requirement of the above hadith will also be fulfilled.

By: Mufti Muhammad Taqi Usmani (edited by Bilal Ali)
Source: IlmGate

Zakatul al-Fitr made simple

Zakat is a central part of the Deen al-Haqq, Islam. It is often coupled with Salah in the Qur’an and as such should not be thought of as charity but as a tax on wealth which must be paid by all whose wealth is over the Nisab.
As this sacred month draws to a close and Eid approaches we could do worse than to think about Zakatul Fitr or Sadaqatul-Fitr  as it is sometimes called. Here are some points to understand and remember about the Fiqh of Sadaqatul-Fitr.

What is Sadaqatul-Fitr?

Sadaqatul-Fitr, also called Zakatul-Fitr, is a charitable duty associated with the month of Ramadan and in particular Eid al-Fitr. It is a duty on every Muslim who possesses wealth in excess of his basic needs at the time of Fajr on the day of Eid al-Fitr.
To pay Sadaqatul-Fitr one simply gives the required amount to a deserving recipient or a trusted third party to give on one’s behalf. It is preferred and more appropriate to give it directly to a poor person while on one’s way to the Eid prayer.

A duty

When we say Sadaqatul-Fitr is a duty, we mean it is wajib such that a Muslim who neglects to pay it despite being obligated to do so would be sinful.

Basic Needs

When we speak of basic needs we refer to a legal class or type of wealth. We should remember that wealth doesn’t just refer to money but any possession of value. “Basic needs” refers to any possessions of value that are needed for a normal life.
So wealth considered basic needs would include things like:

  • One’s house
  • One’s car
  • One’s clothing & furniture

The value of these things does not matter, they are considered basic needs as long as they are for one’s use.

Beyond Basic Needs

Yet if one has an excess of these possessions (such as if a family has two cars but only uses one and the other is a showpiece), then if the excess (such as the extra car) is valued more than the nisab of Zakat then Sadaqatul-Fitr would be wajib on the owner of the car.
A rare stamp collection or an art collection are other examples of wealth beyond one’s basic needs.
If the value of excess wealth is more than the nisab of Zakat (the value of approximately 87.48g of gold) and one owns this wealth at Fajr on Eid al-Fitr day then Sadaqatul-Fitr is wajib.

Who Do I Pay For?

Oneself and Small Children

One pays Sadaqatul-Fitr on behalf of oneself and each of one’s children who have not yet become legally adult (which occurs at puberty).
One is not required to pay Sadaqatul-Fitr for one’s spouse. Each spouse is responsible for their own Sadaqatul-Fitr. Yet if one spouse pays on behalf of another it is valid.
One is only obliged to pay on behalf of the children one has at the time of Fajr on the day of Eid al-Fitr.
If a child is born after fajr on the day of Eid then one is not obliged to pay on behalf of that child though there is no harm in doing so.

How Much Do I Pay?

Wheat or wheat flour may be given or barley, barley flour, dates, or raisins:

  • If wheat or wheat flour is given then one gives 2kg of the flour/grain.
  • If barley, barley flour, dates, or raisins is given then one gives 4kg of the flour/grain/fruit.

May I Give Money Instead?

Yes, one may give one’s sadaqa in money. One has the option to:

  • Give the monetary equivalent of 2kg of wheat or wheat flour or the monetary equivalent of 4kg of barley, barley flour, dates, or raisins.
  • or give the monetary equivalent of 4kg of any other grain.

Money or Food

As mentioned, one may give one’s sadaqa in money or the actual grain/food whichever is better for the poor.
In situations of famine or a shortage of the actual foodstuff then it is better to give the foodstuff but under normal circumstances money is better.

Who Do I Pay it To?

Sadaqa is for the Poor

Sadaqatul-Fitr may only be given to the poor. Unlike Zakat, it may be given to poor Muslims as well as poor non-Muslims.
A poor person is one who does not possess wealth in excess of his basic needs that exceeds the value of the nisab of Zakat (approximately 87.48g of gold).
Remember: Basic Needs
Basic needs includes things like:

  • One’s house
  • One’s car
  • One’s clothing & furniture

If apart from these types of things an individual does not possess wealth valued more than approximately 87.48g of gold then that individual is poor.
Because of the nature of basic needs, it should be noted that it is possible for someone to own a house, a car, furniture and clothing and still be poor.
One does not need to “investigate” to determine whether an individual is poor or not. If the individual seems to be poor (such as a beggar), or one is familiar with their financial circumstances and is reasonably sure that they are poor then one may give one’s sadaqa.

Give Willingly

When we give Sadaqatul-Fitr or any other charity it should be given willingly and happily and we should consider that the poor are helping us by accepting from our wealth. We should give with the objective of not being attached to possessions, seeking the pleasure of Allah, Most High, asking for His acceptance.

His Acceptance

We ask Allah, Most High, to accept from us all that we have put forward in this noble month and to make us among those drawn closer to Him, Most High.
by Qays Arthur
Source: MuslimVillage.com

Rules of Zakatul Fitr

The rules of Sadaqat/Zakat al-Fitr

The great Hanafi faqih (jurist) Imam Ibn al-Humam mentions: “Sadaqat al-Fitr is compulsory upon every free Muslim.” (Sharh Fath al-Qadir, 2:285)
The Evidence
All the scholars base their opinion on the following ahadith:
‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) enjoined the payment of one sa’ of dates or one sa’ of barley as Zakat al-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 the ‘Id prayer.” (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:409)
‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Abbas (Allah be pleased with him) narrates, “The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) declared the payment of Sadaqat al-Fitr as obligatory; it purifies the fasting person from any indecent act or speech, and is a source of feeding the poor. If one pays Sadaqat al-Fitr before the salah (i.e. the ‘Id prayer), it is considered an accepted charity, if he pays it after the salah, it is considered an ordinary charity.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, p. 263)
There are many similar narrations establishing the same ruling.
The Pre-Requisites of Sadaqat al-Fitr Being Compulsory

  1. Islam: According to the four schools of thought (madhahib), being a Muslim is a pre-requisite. (Sharh Fath al-Qadir, 2:286)
  2. Free (not being enslaved): All the scholars agree that a slave will not be obliged to dispense of Sadaqat al-Fitr. (Ibid.)
  3. Possessing the quantum (nisab) for Sadaqat al-Fitr: This condition is deduced from the hadith: “Sadaqat isn’t compulsory except for he who is well-off.” (Musnad Ahmad, 10:7)

What is meant by quantum (nisab) is: that threshold of wealth one must have for Sadaqat al-Fitr to be compulsory. If somebody possesses less than that amount, he will not be obliged to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr.
The Hanafi madhhab is solitary in specifying a set quantum. According to the Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali madhahib, one who possesses surplus provisions for the night and day of ‘Id for himself and his dependants, will be obliged to discharge Sadaqat al-Fitr. (Mawahib al-Jalil, 3:257;Mughni al-Muhtaj, 1:594; al-Mughni, 4:301)
The specifying of a quantum is based upon the fact that in many places, Sadaqat al-Fitr has been termed as Zakat al-Fitr. For example, the narration of ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar in Sahih al-Bukhari has the wording Zakat al-Fitr. Also, the report of Abu Sa’id al-Khudri in Sahih Muslimbears the same terminology. Hence, by way of analogy and the alluded meaning (isharah an-nass), we can conclude that Sadaqat al-Fitr enjoys the same threshold and quantum as that of Zakat.
In principle, there are three types of quanta (nisab) in the Hanafi madhhab, each quantum results in different rulings.

  1. That which obligates Zakat: to possess assets of a productive nature equivalent to the value of 612.36 g of silver.
    In this quantum, it is a requirement that the wealth one possesses has the capacity to grow and develop (numuw). Zakat is only compulsory in that asset which is of a productive nature; the asset has the capacity to increase. For example, in the animals which are regarded as zakatable, namely camels, cows and sheep, they grow and increase in reality by reproduction. These assets in reality are of a productive nature, it is witnessed by the eye. Hence, Zakat is obligatory on them. Another form of assets being of a productive nature is innately (hukman); in such assets, the actual asset doesn’t multiply or increase, but it inherently possesses the characteristic of being productive; they have the potential to result in a profitable return. Thus, gold and silver fall under this category, likewise cash.
  2. The second type of quantum is to possess any asset beyond ones necessities equivalent to the value of 612.36 g of silver. One who has this will be liable for the following rulings:
    1. Sadaqat al-Fitr becomes compulsory
    2. The receiving of Zakat is impermissible
    3. Animal sacrifice (udhiyyah) becomes compulsory
    4. The financial maintenance of one’s family becomes obligatory

    For this quantum, it isn’t necessary to possess wealth which is of a productive nature, nor is it necessary to be trading in a commodity. Likewise it isn’t a condition to possess these commodities for a full lunar year, unlike the first quantum. Whoever possesses this quantum will not be obliged to discharge Zakat, however, he will have to dispense of Sadaqat al-Fitr.

  3. The final quantum is to be in possession of one day’s provision. According to some, it is to possess 50 dirhams (153.09 g of silver). This quantum results in:
    1. The impermissiblity of begging
    2. The permissibility of receiving Zakat

    In addition, the possessor of this quantum will not be obliged to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr, nor will he have to perform animal sacrifice in the days of Hajj. (Ashraf al-Hidayah, 3:161)

In short, according to the Hanafi madhhab, for Sadaqat al-Fitr to be obligatory, one must possess any asset surplus of one’s basic needs which are equivalent to the value of 612.36 g of silver.
Who Has to Pay
According to the four schools of fiqh, one will have to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr on behalf of himself and his minor dependants when the above conditions are met.
Imam al-Haskafi mentions that a Muslim who meets all the above criteria is required to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr for himself and on behalf of his minor children who do not possess the required quantum. The same ruling applies for those suffering from dementia. (al-Durr al-Mukhtar, p.140)
If one’s children who haven’t reached the age of puberty possess the quantum, it will be permissible for their guardian to dispense of Sadaqat al-Fitr from their wealth. (Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, 1:211)
A husband will not be responsible to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr on behalf of his wife, nor his mature children. The reason being is that Sadaqat al-Fitr is compulsory on behalf of those whom you have complete guardianship (wilayah) and complete financial maintenance. So as the man has complete guardianship over his minor children and he is totally responsible for all their maintenance, he will be obliged to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr on their behalf. However, a man doesn’t have complete guardianship over his wife nor is he responsible for every form of maintenance. As for guardianship and custody, a husband only has custody over his wife in terms of marriage related rights. Likewise, a husband is duty bound to financially maintain his wife in relation to the usual expenditure, clothing, food and shelter. A husband will not be required to pay for anything beyond that.
Similarly, a man doesn’t hold complete guardianship over his mature children; they are regarded as adults. Plus, the father isn’t obliged to maintain these children financially. Thus, the two elements inducing the obligation of Sadaqat al-Fitr are deficient, so Sadaqat al-Fitr will not be compulsory on the husband on behalf of his wife, nor the father on behalf of his children.
Having said this, it will be permissible for a husband to discharge of Sadaqat al-Fitr on behalf of his wife. Equally a father can pay on behalf of his mature children. (Sharh Fath al-Qadir, 2:289-290)
A woman who has the quantum will be obliged to pay the Sadaqat al-Fitr herself, irrespective whether she is married or not. (Imdad al-Fatawa, 2:110)
Mature children who are in possession of the quantum will also be responsible to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr for themselves.
A point worthy of mentioning here is that a male isn’t responsible to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr on behalf of his parents, minor siblings or his relatives. However, if he did dispense of Sadaqat al-Fitr on their behalf, it will be permissible. (al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu, 2:903)
In conclusion, every male and female is responsible to give Sadaqat al-Fitr when they are eligible to do so.
What to Give
Islam is way of life which can be practised in all eras and all locations. Many injunctions are based on simple and common articles. For example, the calendar is based on the sighting of the moon, salah is centred on the positioning of the sun, fasting is founded on dawn and dusk, the sentence of an adulterer is executed by stoning. Likewise, the valuation of many monetary advancements within the Islamic code of law, revolve around simple grain and cereal widely available in the markets.
Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (Allah be pleased with him) said, “We would give Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of every minor and adult, the free and enslaved in the era of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) one sa’ of foodstuff or one sa’ of cheese or one sa’ of barley or one sa’of dates or one sa’ of raisins. (Sahih Muslim, 2:106)
‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar (Allah be pleased with him) reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) instructed us to give Sadaqat al-Fitr of one sa’ of dates or one sa’of barley. ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar mentions that the Sahabah later gave two mud (½ sa’) of wheat in place of dates and barley. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:411)
Shaykh Bashar Bakri Arrabi in his annotation of the great Hanafi work al-Lubab states one sa’equates to 3.2 kg. This is supported by various other texts and commentaries. Thus, ½ sa’ is equivalent to 1.632 kg. (al-Lubab fi ‘l-Sharh al-Kitab, p.169)
Based on the aforementioned ahadith, Imam al-Kasani mentions one should give:

  1. sa’ of barley or
  2. sa’ of dates or
  3. ½ sa’ of wheat or
  4. 1 sa’ raisins

(Bada’i al-Sana’i, 2:540)
Imam Ibn al-Humam has mentioned that for everything besides wheat one should give 1 sa’and for wheat he should give ½ sa’. He endorsed that this view is shared by Mu’awiyah, Ta’us, Sa’id Ibn Musayyab, Ibn Zubayr, Sa’id Ibn Jubayr and many other prominent individuals. (Sharh Fath al-Qadir, 2:228)
It is permissible to give the value of the above in cash, instead of the actual grain. However, according to Imam Muhammad al-Shaybani, only the value of wheat should be considered (not the value of barley or dates). (Radd al-Muhtar, 3:322)
By virtue of the inferred meaning (dalalah an-nass), the scholars have pointed out that the goal of Sadaqat al-Fitr is to enrich the poor and suffice their need. This enriching and sufficing is easily done with cash and other commodities. Thus, it will be permissible to give anything which has a value to it. Again, one will give whatever values to 1.6 kg of wheat. (al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu, 2:909-910; Bada’i al-Sana’i, 2:543)
So, it is permissible to give the authentically narrated items in their respected quantities or to give the value of 1.6 kg of wheat.
When calculating the price of wheat, one will consider the price and value of the area they dwell in.
Ibn Nujaym al-Misri states “Commodities will be evaluated in the city or areas there are in.” (al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 2:400)

The Time of Dispensing Sadaqat al-Fitr
The dispensing of Sadaqat al-Fitr becomes compulsory upon an individual with the break of dawn on the day of ‘Id [al-Fitr, the 1st of Shawwal]. (Bada’i al-Sana’i, 2:544)
It is recommended to pay the Sadaqat al-Fitr before attending the place where ‘Id salah will be performed. (Sharh Fath al-Qadir, 2:305)
It is permissible to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr prior to the day of ‘Id. ‘Abd Allah Ibn ‘Umar said, “People used to give Sadaqat al-Fitr a day or two before the ‘Id. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 1:411)
In today’s climate, it is better and preferable to pay the Sadaqat al-Fitr many days in advance. The whole idea of Sadaqat al-Fitr is to benefit and suffice the poor on the day of ‘Id. Discharging of it prior to the ‘Id salah in the masjid or musallah, as it is common practice in the west, defeats the purpose and objective of Sadaqat al-Fitr.  Hence, once should ideally pay the Sadaqah in adequate time so it can reach those who are worthy of it in due time. (Kitab al-Fatawa, 3:362)
If somebody failed to pay Sadaqat al-Fitr prior to the ‘Id salah, it will be permissible to discharge of it afterwards. Although to delay it is discouraged and disliked. (Nur al-Idah, p.162)
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “If one pays Sadaqat al-Fitr before thesalah, it is considered an accepted charity, if he pays it after the salah, it is considered an ordinary charity.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, p. 263)
There is dispute amongst the classical scholars with regards to exactly how many days in advance can Sadaqat al-Fitr be paid. The preferred view is that it will be permissible to pay even before the onset of Ramadan. However, to discharge of it in the month of Ramadan is the most preferred course of action, as all the scholars agree to this. (Kitab al-Fatawa, 3:363)
The Recipients of Sadaqat al-Fitr
The scholars are unanimous that the recipients of Sadaqat al-Fitr are identical to that of Zakat. This is based on the following verse:
“Zakat expenditures are only for the poor and for the needy and for those employed to collect [Zakat] and for bringing hearts together [for Islam] and for freeing captives [or slaves] and for those in debt and for the cause of Allah and for the [stranded] traveller – an obligation [imposed] by Allah. And Allah is Knowing and Wise.” (Surat al-Tawbah v. 60)
The verse contains eight types of people:

  1. Poor (fuqara’): They are those people who do not own in excess of their personal needs any type of wealth that is equal to the value of nisab (612.36 g of silver).
  2. Needy (masakin): According to some scholars, they are those whose economic status is worse than the poor (fuqara’). The difference is a technical difference, but the principle is that neither of them possess in excess of their personal needs any type of wealth that is equal to the value of nisab.
  3. Zakat collectors (‘amilin alayha): This refers to those individuals commissioned by the head of the Islamic government to collect Zakat. This isn’t applicable today.
  4. Those whose hearts are being reconciled (mu’allafah al-qulub): This was an avenue to dispense your Zakat in during the early days of Islam. The Zakat money would be given to three types of people:
    1. Those disbelievers from whom it was perceived that by giving this donation, they would embrace Islam.
    2. To the leaders of the disbelievers in order to save the believers from their evil.
    3. To those who have just accepted Islam. This payment would be made to elevate their spirits.

    According to the Hanafi scholars, this avenue is now abrogated. (Sharh Fath al-Qadir, 2:265)

  5. Emancipating slaves (fi ‘l-riqab): Zakat money can be used to purchase a slave from his master in order to set him free. Again, this is inapplicable.
  6. Debtors (al-gharimin): This is regarding a person who despite having assets at his disposal, he is overwhelmed with debt and the debt exceeds the value of his assets.
  7. Those in the cause of Allah (fi sabil Allah): According to the majority of scholars, this refers to and is restricted to only those people who are engaged in Jihad (military struggle).
  8. Travellers (ibn al-sabil): This refers to those travellers who are in a desperate situation and have no access to their personal money. Money nowadays can be wired across the globe in a matter of minutes, hence, one who has the ability to receive his money, will not be allowed to take Zakat or Sadaqat al-Fitr.

Currently, only the poor, needy, debtor, the Mujahidin and the travellers are eligible to receiving Zakat and Sadaqat al-Fitr.
By: Mufti Faraz ibn Adam