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A little information on Fasting, Zakat & Zakat-ul-Fitr (Fitrana)

I have discussed the followings in this essay:
Fasting:

  • Logic/Reason of fasting
  • Who can islamically leave/miss the fasting?
  • What kind of Illness?
  • Difference between Fidya & Kaffara
  • What kind of Journey?
  • Elderly People: Who are hardly able to do it
  • The actions invalidate the fast
  • Punishment for not keeping fasts/breaking fast deliberately.

Zakat

  • Nisab (threshold)?
  • Zakat Percentage?
  • Few important questions

Zakat aI-Fitr (Fitrana)

  • Fasting:
  • Logic/Reason of Fasting?

As Quran said: (2:A183): “O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous “
So, answer is, we do fast for becoming righteous because controlling your desires increases your emaan.  None other reason is valid infront of Allah swt.

  • Who can islamically leave/miss fasting?

Quran itself answered this next verse: (2:A184):  “[Fasting for] a limited number of days. So whoever among you is ill or on a journey [during them] - then an equal number of days [are to be made up]. And upon those who are hardly able to do it - a ransom [as substitute] of feeding a poor person [each day]. And whoever volunteers excess - it is better for him. But to fast is best for you, if you only knew”
In next verse Allah swt emphasizes more on the importance of the Ramadan and described who can miss/leave the fasting.
(2:A185): “The month of Ramadan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion. So whoever sights [the new moon of] the month, let him fast it; and whoever is ill or on a journey - then an equal number of other days [are to be made up]. Allah intends for you ease and does not intend for you hardship and [wants] for you to complete the period and to glorify Allah for that [to] which He has guided you; and perhaps you will be grateful”
Let’s analyse these verses in the light of hadith because the explanation of the Quran only can be found in the hadiths, that’s why Quran is incomplete without hadith & sunnah of prophet Muhammad saw. In above mentioned versed there are three exceptions which are the followings:

  • Illness
  • Journey
  • Elderly People: Who are hardly able to do it
  • What kind of illness?

Illness can be temporary or permanent. In case of Temporary illness,   (which can be any, fever, severe headache, operations, menstruation, taking temporary medication, any illness which can be worse due to fast etc) which you can recover from later on. In that case NO Fidya (compensation) will be given, the fasts were missed in that period will be completed later on after recovery as explained in above verse A184 & A185.
In case of Permanent illness (paralysis, cancers, any permanent medication which need to be taken on specific time for saving life/good health, any other permanent illness which can be worse due to fast etc), in that case making up fasts later on will be unreasonable and Fidya (compensation) will be paid in that scenario which is feeding one poor person for every missed fast as explained in verse A184. Fidya is about 1.5kg rice, wheat, dates etc for daily meal, which is £4 now a days.     

 

Difference between Fidya & Kaffara
Fidya:
Sometime there is confusion in the term of Fidya (compensation) and Kaffara (atonement). Fidya is paid when you have legal reason to miss/leave/break the fast. Fidya is about 1.5kg rice, wheat, dates etc for daily meal, which is £4 now a days.    
Kaffara:
Kaffara is the compensation that you should give if you deliberately miss or break a fast in the month of Ramadan without a valid reason. To atone for the missed/broken fast, someone must fast continuously for 60 days for each missing/breaking fast, and if he/she is not able to do that due to valid reasons (illness) than he/she has to feed 60 poor people at a rate of £4 per day per person. This amounts to £240 Kaffara for each missed/broken fast now a days.

  • What kind of Journey?

In Islam you are considered a traveller when you travel more than 48 miles or 80km. The view of Abu ‘Abd-Allaah [i.e., Imam Ahmad] a distance of less than sixteen Farsakhs (Arabic term for measuring distance), and a farsakh is three miles, so the distance is 48 miles (80 km). This was the estimation of Ibn ‘Abbaas. He said: From ‘Usfaan to Makkah, or from al-Taa’if to Makkah, or from Jeddah to Makkah. Based on this, the distance at which you are considered a traveller is the distance of two days’ travel aiming directly for that dsetination. This is the view of Ibn ‘Abbaas and Ibn ‘Umar, and the view of Maalik, al-Layth and al-Shaafa’i. 
So, If you are travelling to 48 miles (80km), you will be considered as a traveller in Islam and you will also shorten the prayer which will be only Two rakah for every prayer and you have also option to leave the fast but it must be made up later which is itself compensation for it.

  • Elderly People: Who are hardly able to do it

There comes the third group according to verse A184 mentioned above, those are absolutely unable to fast such as elderly people. The Fidya for them will be same as mentioned above feeding one poor person for each fast.  But according to Imam Shafi, they are not liable to pay Fidya because of their old age, but all others schools of thought are agree that they have to pay Fidya if they can afford it.

  • The actions invalidate the fast

Which breaks the fast when we take it inside our body; in them there are 4 things:

  • Eating & drinking
  • Anything that falls in the same category as eating and drinking
  • Taking medicines or pills or injections which are in the form of nourishment or somewhat similar to eating and drinking including blood transfusion.
  • Somewhat similar to kidney dialysis, where the blood is taken out, its purified and some nutrients supplied to it and put back

That which comes out of the body; there are 6 things in them:

  • Sexual Intercourse
  • Masturbation
  • Post natal bleeding
  • Deliberate vomiting
  • Letting out blood somewhat similar to cupping or something similar to that.
  • Punishment for not keeping fasts/breaking fast deliberately.

Worldly punishment has been described above under the catergory of Kaffara, where someone deliberately misses or breaks a fast in the month of Ramadan without a valid reason, he/she has to keep 60 fasts in a row for each missing/breaking fast, it must be continuously and if he/she is not able to do that due to valid reasons (illness) than he/she has to feed 60 poor people at a rate of £4 per day per person. This amount is £240 Kaffara for each missed/broken fast.
It can clearly be seen how severe is to miss/break the fast deliberately, where 60 fasts will have to be kept for missing/breaking one fast intentionally or £240 will be paid for each missing/breaking fast.   
In Sahee Bukhari & Sahee Muslim, Imam Al-Bukhaari  and Imam Muslim narrated that Ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Islam is built on five (pillars): the testimony that there is no god but Allaah and Muhammad is the Messenger of Allaah; establishing prayer; paying zakaah; Hajj; and fasting Ramadaan.”
Whoever does not fast has abandoned one of the pillars of Islam, and is committing a grave major sin.
Abu Ya’la narrated in his Musnad from Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The bonds of Islam and the bases of religion are three, on which Islam was founded. Whoever gives up one of them becomes a kaafir (rejecter): 1.the testimony that there is no god but Allaah & Muhammad is the messenger of Allah, 2. the prescribed prayers and 3. fasting Ramadaan.”
A saheeh report which warns against not fasting was narrated by Ibn Khuzaymah (1986) and Ibn Hibbaan (7491) from Abu Umaamah al-Baahili who said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Whilst I was sleeping two men came to me and took my by the arm and brought me to a cragged mountain. They said, ‘Climb up.’ I said, ‘I cannot.’ They said, ‘We will make it easy for you.’ So I climbed up until I was at the top of the mountain. Then I heard loud voices. I said, ‘What are these voices?’ They said, ‘This is the howling of the people of Hell.” Then I was taken until I saw people hanging by their hamstrings, with the sides of their mouths torn and blood pouring from their mouths.’ I said, ‘Who are these?’ He said, ‘These are people who broke their fast before it was time.’” Classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Saheeh Mawaarid al-Zam’aan, no. 1509.
This is the punishment of those who fasted then broke the fast deliberately before the time for breaking the fast came, so who about those who do not fast at all? We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound in this world and in the Hereafter.

 

 

  • Zakat

To be liable for zakat, one's wealth must amount to more than a threshold figure, termed the "Nisab (threshold)". To determine the nisab, there two measures: either gold or silver. Also wealth should be in your possession for whole one year, than you will be liable for Zakat
Gold: The nisab by the gold standard is 3 ounces of gold (87.48 grammes) or its cash equivalent. This is approximately £2388 (gold rate on17/07/2013), but will vary with the current market value of gold.
OR
Silver: The nisab by the silver standard is 21 ounces of silver (612.36 grammes) or its equivalent in cash. This is approximately £257 (Silver rate on17/07/2013).
Zakat percentage = 2.5%
Few important Questions

  • Should I use the Gold or Silver nisab?: There are arguments for using either nisab value - many scholars say that it is better to use the silver nisab since it will increase the amount of charity distributed, others say that the gold nisab is closer to the nisab in use at the time of the blessed Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace). However, if your assets consist entirely of gold, you must use the gold nisab, and similarly, if they consist entirely of silver then the silver nisab must be used.
  • When does the zakat year begin?:  The zakat year begins on the date on which you were first in possessions of wealth above the nisab. This will be your seed date, whenever it comes around you will have to calculate zakat, irrespective of any fluctuations in the amount of wealth in your possession. The only situation in which your seed date will change is if you were to become totally bankrupt and lose all your assets and belongings. In this situation, your new seed date will begin when you are once again in possession of wealth above the nisab. If you are not sure of your seed date, then estimate it to the best of your ability. But the best month to give zakat is ramadhan to ramadhan, as it increases your rewards and easy to remember.
  • My wealth decreased below the nisab for a few months during the year, do I still have to pay zakat?: As long as you are in possession of wealth above the Nisab threshold at the beginning and end of the zakat year, zakat will be payable, even if your wealth dipped below the nisab for most of the year.
  • I have more money than the nisab, but I need it for my living expenses, do I still have to pay zakat?: If a person possesses wealth exceeding the nisab threshold, but has to pay rent, purchase food, clothing, etc., for himself and his dependants, then these costs may be deducted from one's wealth. If after deducting these costs, his remaining wealth is less than the nisab then no zakat is payable.

NOTE: zakat does not apply on your basic necessity, for example, your own house you are living in, which is basic necessity to survive. Similarly anything like, a car you are using, your house furniture etc which are your basic necessity. But anything extra will fall under the catergory of savings, for example, if you have another house other than your own house, than the value of that house will be added into your savings, similarly if you have another car other than your own one, it will also be included in to your savings because now it is luxury/additional not necessity.  But obviously if you have extra car for your wife and she is using it for household activities than obviously it will be necessity not additional. 

  • Zakat aI-Fitr (Fitrana)

It is compulsory to pay Fitrana before the Eid-ul-Fitr (which comes in the end of Ramadan) prayer, every adult Muslim who possesses food in excess of his needs and those of his family must pay Zakat al Fitr. If the person is a breadwinner, he should also pay Zakat al Fitr for his dependants such as his wife, children, dependent relatives or servants.
Zakat al Fitr can be paid a few days before the end of Ramadan. It is preferable to pay it before Eid day so that the poor can enjoy the Eid.
The minimum amount due is the equivalent of about 2 Kg of flour, wheat, barley or rice from each person in the household, including the head of the household and each dependant, even if the dependant does not live in the same house. £4.00 per head is a safe estimate for the UK. Those who are entitled to receive Zakat al Fitr are the same as those entitled to receive general Zaka
t.

 
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