BY ISHOLA BALOGUN
It has been a rewarding 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 chose to celebrate it with the poor to make them happy.
Remember your Zakatul-Fitr, 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 is 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 Facing The Kaaba 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.
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.