Evidence for Zakat-ul-fitr
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
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Your answer to this question is not satisfactory! It is only based on what unauthorised third parties heard. Where is the evidence from the holy Qur'an and especially about US$ 2.50? Awaiting to hear from you
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Evidence for Zakat-ul-fitr
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is no one (no idol, no person, no grave, no prophet, no imam, no dai, nobody!) worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
My beloved brother, the payment of zakat-ul-fitr is not a commandment of the Holy Quran, but a command and practice of the Messenger of Allah (saws).
Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 2.579 Narrated by Ibn Umar
Allah's Apostle (saws) enjoined the payment of one Sa' of dates or one Sa' of barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the 'Id prayer.
Al-Bukhari and Muslim relate from Ibn 'Umar that he said: "The Prophet(saws) enjoined the payment of one sa' of dates or one sa' of barley as zakat ul-fitr on every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave."
Al-Baihaqi and ad-Daraqutni relate from Ibn 'Umar who said: "The Messenger of Allah (saws) enjoined the zakat ul-fitr, and also said: 'Free them (the poor) from want on this day.'"
The required amount of zakat ul-fitr is one sa' of wheat, barley, raisins, dry cottage cheese (aqit), rice, corn, or similar items considered as basic foods (qut). Abu Hanifah made it permissible to set aside, as a zakat ul-fitr, an equivalent value and also said that if the payer pays in wheat, one-half of a sa' would be sufficient. Abu Sa'id al-Khudri reported: "We used to give on behalf of every child, old person, freeman, and slave during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (saws), one sa' of food, or one sa' of dried cottage cheese, or one sa' of barley, or one sa' of dates, or one sa' of raisins as zakat ul-fitr. Abu Sa'id contended: "I would continue to give as I used to give, namely, one sa' as long as I live." This is related by most hadith narrators. At-Tirmidhi remarks: "Some of the scholars gave one sa' from every charitable item [which is accepted as a sound practice]." Ash-Shaf'i and Ishaq sustain this view but some other scholars gave one sa' from every charitable item except wheat, of which only half a sa' would be sufficient. This is the saying of Sufyan, Ibn al-Mubarak, and the scholars of Kufah.
One Saa' is equal to four (4) Mudd, and one (1) Mudd is equal to the amount held by cupping the two hands together. It is a measure by volume not by weight. As the amount would differ if we compare the value of one saa' of dates to one saa' of barley for example. Since a saa' of barley is approximately $2.00, while a saa' of dates ranges -according to quality from $1.50 - $60.00!; the scholars are unanimous in their opinion that the minimum amount per person as zakat-ul-fitr in this day and age is about $2.50.
If is preferable (and some scholars say mandatory) to give the zakat-ul-fitr as food to the poor and needy of the society. But if one is not able to personally give out the food as zakat-ul-fitr, it is permissible to give the equivalent amount to an organization who collects the zakat-ul-fitr; and they in turn will purchase the food on your behalf and give it to the poor and needy.
Brother, the $2.50 is only an equivalent amount for the cost of one saa of barley, dates, or any other staple food which was distributed in the times of the Prophet (saws) and the tradition was followed by the believers. Our intention in mentioning the approximate amount was only to give guidance of what is the minimum requirement. If one wills to give more than that as zakat-ul-fitr, then, Insha Allah, it will be a source of attaining better reward from Allah Subhanah.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your Brother in Islam,