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Is It Permissible to Pay Zakat Al-Fitr In Cash During Coronavirus Pandemic?

11 May, 2021
Q What's the ruling of paying Zakat al-Fitr in cash to those in need during the crisis of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting economic downturn?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful. 

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.


In this fatwa:

It is permissible to pay Zakat al-Fitr in cash during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting economic shutdown if that is more beneficial to the recipient.


In responding to the question, the Assembly of Muslim Jurists in America’s Resident Fatwa Committee states:

It is permissible to pay Zakat al-Fitr in cash during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and resulting economic shutdown if that is more beneficial to the recipient. There is no doubt that people’s need of money is greater than that of food during the current economic situation.

Giving Zakat al-Fitr in cash is a view which dates back to the early generations as has been narrated by Abu Ishaq al-Suba`i, one of the most knowledgeable of those who succeeded the Companions. He said, “I came in contact with them giving Zakah in cash instead of food.”

Imam Al-Bukhari included a chapter in his Sahih entitled “Zakah Paid in Kind,” in which Tawus related that Mu`adh (may Allah be pleased with him) said to the people of Yemen, “Bring me charity in kind: clothing instead of barley and grain. It will be easier for you and better for the Prophet’s Companions in Madinah.”

This proves the permissibility of distributing (Zakah) based on its value. This was also applied by the rightly-guided caliph Umar ibn Abd al-Azeez, because he would instruct his governors to collect it in cash.

This is also the view of the Hanafis; and it was the opinion of Ibn Taymiyyah, of the Hanbalis, so long as it is more beneficial for the needy.

Additionally, we see no problem with distributing Zakat al-Fitr early—at the beginning of Ramadan–based on need, and because the reason for Zakah is present: that reason is fasting, which was mentioned by Ash-Shafi`i and his followers.

📚 Read Also: Can Zakat Al-Fitr Be Paid Early to Help COVID-19 Victims?

However, delaying the payment of Zakat al-Fitr to just before Eid by a day or two is more in line with the Sunnah, according to the narration reported by al-Bukhari on the authority of Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them), who said, “They would give it before the Fitr by a day or two,” and in another narration reported in al-Muwatta, “…by two or three days.”

We ask Allah to grant everyone success and to remove hardship and the pandemic. We also ask that He pardon and grant wellbeing.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Source: www.amjaonline.org