By Ishola Balogun
It has been a reward-ing 29-day spiritual activity: a period of recompense, a period of closeness to Allah, a period of illumination by the Glorious Qur’an, a period of re-direction of destinies and possibilities, of charity, of divine blessings. It is indeed a memorable period.
Having passed through this spiritual exercise, we are no doubt a better being. It is time to celebrate, but an important part of the celebration is to express warm wishes to your neighbours and invite them for a meal. One could choose to celebrate it with the poor to make them happy.
At this junction, it is important to remember one of our cardinal responsibilities this month— Zakatul-Fitr. It is obligatory at this time we are bidding farewell to Ramadan. That is why the suffix fitr is attached to it— to commemorate the occasion of breaking the fast.
For the umpteenth time, a man has to pay on behalf of himself and his wife— even if she is wealthy on her own— and his children and parents, if they are poor, and his daughter, if she is married but the marriage has not yet been consummated.
If his son is rich, he does not have to give Zakatul-Fitr on his behalf. A man has to give Zakatul-Fitr on behalf of a divorced wife, whose divorce process (Talaaq) is not yet concluded (i.e., she is still in the ‘iddah of a first or second talaaq). But not in the case of one whose divorce is finalised.
A son does not have to give Zakatul-Fitr on behalf of a poor father’s wife, because he is not obliged to spend on her. A Muslim traveller is also enjoined to pay his Zakat where he spends the last two days of Ramadan. If a person dies before Maghrib, on the last day of Ramadan, Zakatul-Fitr would not be obligatory upon him even if he fasted all the other days of the month. But if a child is born after Maghrib, it would be obligatory to pay Zakatul-Fitr on his or her behalf.
It should be given on one of the foodstuffs which are commonly consumed in the society. The popular measurement of it is four handfuls on behalf of one person. If it has to be given in money, although this is not encouraged but the societal demands and circumstances sometimes call for it, it has to be well-calculated that the appropriate money equivalent is given in accordance with the existing price of the desired foodstuff in the market; and at the right time too, to meet the immediate need and purpose to which it was given. I have tried to explain this on this column a few days ago.
In essence, the rationale behind it is to make others happy during the festive period; it purifies the fasting Muslim from any shortcoming during the fast. And since every Muslim needs this, it is therefore obligatory on him whether rich or poor to pay Zakatul-Fitr.
The Prophet (SAW) said: “Make them (i.e. the poor and destitute) rich on the day of `Eid-ul-Fitri. The Qur’an says: “The Zakah are only for the Fuqaraaì (poor), and the Masaakeen (the needy) and those employed to collect (the funds); and for to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allah’s Cause, and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise” (Q9:60).
Before I end, I seek forgiveness over my inability to touch other areas you would have wished, as well as my inability to reply to all mails, text messages, calls and comments. May Allah forgive us all and accept this as an act of worshipping HIM. I also wish to remind us that we can keep the spirit of Ramadan alive every day for the next 11 months Insha Allah. On behalf of the Publisher, the Editor, and the Muslim community in Vanguard Media Limited, we wish you all Eid-il-Mubarak.
Prayer of the day
Allahuma ijhal siyyami fihi bil istijabah, ijhali li maa tar’dohu, Yaa Ilaahi, ga’sheeni bihi rahmatihi, war’zuqni fihi taofiqah, bihaqi sayyidinna Muhammadin, wa alihi, wa ashabihi ajmahin.
(O Allah, on this day, make my fasts worthy of acceptance, make it to be what pleases You. Our Lord, cover me with your mercy, grant me in it success and protection, for the sake of our leader, Muhammad, and his family and all his companions. Praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds.