How is Sadaqatul Fitr determined?
“Allah Ta’ala has made obligatory upon you the Sadaqatul Fitr as a means of cleansing your fasts from idle and lewd talk and in order that it provides food for the poor and destitute.” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
From the Hadith above, we learn two things about the obligation of Sadaqatul Fitr:
(1) It is for the cleansing of fasts, and;
(2) The Almighty uses those who have the means among us, as the conduit of His provision to the poor and destitute (so that they too, can share in the joys of the Day of ‘Eid)
A Hadith of Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam is explicit in the stipulation of an amount of grain, flour or dates that should be given as Sadaqatul Fitr.
Tha’labah ibn Su’ayr radhiyallahu ‘anhu reports that Rasulullah sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam stood up to address us and during which, he ordered us to pay Sadaqatul Fitr in the form of one Saa’ of dates or one Saa’ of barley on behalf of each individual; or alternatively, one Saa’ of wheat or wheat-flour on behalf of every two individuals (i.e. half a Saa’ of wheat on behalf of each individual). (Sunan Abu Dawud)
(Note: One Saa’ of wheat is equivalent to 3.2569 kg and half Saa’ is equivalent to 1.62845 kg)
Jurists [Fuqaha] generally agree on the principle that an injunction in Shari‘ah, in the form of an explicit text [Mansūs] of the Qur‘an and/or Hadith, must be adhered to. In this case, the stipulated minimum amount cannot be altered by some discretion or form of logic. It is for this reason that this minimum amount of Sadaqatul Fitr must be preserved.
It is important to emphasise that the Sadaqatul Fitr amount stipulated from Ahaadith is a minimum one, hence, does not stop anyone from voluntarily giving more. As such, the excess will be regarded as optional charity, which will in-sha-Allah, earn great reward.
When Ramadan approaches, every year, the Jamiatul Ulama South Africa conducts a survey of retail prices from various outlets across the inland provinces. Wheat flour is the commodity of choice because it is commonly used in our community. An average price is then calculated by comparing prices.
The final figure arrived yearly is an amount one would safely use to purchase one-and-a-three-quarter of a kilogram of cake or bread flour.
It is necessary that when personally discharging Sadaqatul Fitr to an eligible beneficiary, the amount should be given at a time that is as close to the end of Ramadan as possible, but before Eid. This will help in ensuring that the amount is spent by the beneficiary for Eid celebrations.
May Allah Ta’ala give us all the ability of understanding our Deen, practise thereupon and accept our Siyaam, Zakaah, Sadaqatul Fitr and all our ‘Ibaadāh. Ameen.