Preparing for Eid and sharing happiness through Zakatul Fitr
The charity given to the poor is not only meant to make the poor happy but to also make them feel less concerned about their not having while other people rejoice.
The very last part of Ramadan is observed with activities towards Eid (festival) which is celebrated on the first of Shawwal. (the tenth month after Ramadan)
Allah has chosen this day for the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr to serve as a gratitude for the completion of Ramadan fast and to rewards His servants who spent the whole month fasting, obeying his commandments and engaging in other forms of Ibaadat.
Part of the preparation for the celebration of the end of Ramadan is Zakatul Fitr. (Charity that is given to mark the end of Ramadan)
This charity is only payable at the end of Ramadan, unlike the annual zakat (charity) that is incumbent on all wealthy Muslims to be paid to the poor and the needy after the person's wealth has attained the value of Nissab (Minimum amount)
Zakatul-Fitr can be given with money and its purpose is to make sure nobody is hungry or sad on Eid day.
The person paying must pay on behalf of his dependants, such as wife, children, house help, etc while the dependants are exempted.
In countries like Nigeria, Zakatul Fitr is done with staple foods that are common and consumable in a particular location. Rice, beans garri, millets etc can be used for Zakatul Fitr.
This form of charity is a modest and graceful way to celebrate the end of Ramadan as Allah makes it mandatory on all Muslims to begin the celebration with charity by paying Zakatul Fitr to the poor in the neighbourhood.
This is to ensure that everyone both rich and the poor are happy on the festival day. The Zakat or charity given to the poor on this day is not only meant to make the poor happy but to also put food on their table and make them feel less concerned about their havelessnes while other people in the community are happily celebrating the end of Ramadan.
This is the reason the charity has to be paid before the commencement of the celebration. He who wants to pay Zakatul Fitr is expected to start giving from Fajr (dawn) before he leaves home for Eid prayer.
However, after the prayer, we are enjoined to celebrate responsibly without violating or transcending the boundaries of Allah. It is haram to indulge in acts prohibited by Allah all in the name of celebrating Eid-ul-Fitr.
Zakatul-Fitr if done rightly will not only mark the end of Ramadan but also lessen the suffering of the poor in our community. Let us give as much as we have to make others happy.
Allah never disappoints those who give.
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