Here are the conditions for obligation:
BEING A MUSLIM
To be under the obligation of sadaqa al-fitr, one needs to be a Muslim. According to the Shafii School, however, a non-Muslim also needs to pay sadaqa al-fitr for those Muslims of kindred living under his care.
POSSESSING WEALTH EQUIVALENT TO (AT LEAST) NISAB
As it is in zakat, to become eligible for sadaqa al-fitr, one needs to possess, apart from the basic necessities, wealth equivalent to nisab, an amount equal to 85 grams of gold or 595 grams of silver. Unlike zakat, the possessed wealth does not need to be of increasing nature and a full year does not need to elapse. The Shafii, Hanbali and Maliki Schools contend that nisab is not a pre-requisite for sadaqa al-fitr; in fact, every Muslim possessing the basic necessities as well as the sustenance to see him through the night of Eid is compelled to perform sadaqa al-fitr. A person having become obliged with sadaqa al-fitr does not become free of this obligation upon losing his wealth or having it drop below nisab. However, if one dies owing sadaqa al-fitr, this debt need not to be extracted out of his will, though it is better for the beneficiaries to offer it voluntarily.
AHLIYAH (THE RIGHT TO DISPOSE ON PROPERTY OR WEALTH)
Sadaqa al-fitr does not necessitate one to be an aqil baligh (i.e. sane adult). Leading Hanafi jurists, Abu Hanifa and Abu Yusuf, main tain that the sadaqa al-fitr needs to be given even from the wealth owned by a juvenile or a person who is mentally ill; moreover, a father must give sadaqa al-fitr from the possessions of his wealthy child.
GUARDIANSHIP AND RESPONSIBILITY OF SUPERVISION
For one to be compelled with the fulfillment of sadaqa al-fitr on behalf of others, these others must be under guardianship as people whom one is obliged to take care of. A Muslim, wealthy enough to be eligible for sadaqa al-fitr must also offer it for the children and the mentally ill who lack financial resources and are living in his custody, or under his care. Additionally, grandchildren whose father has passed away must also be paid sadaqa al-fitr for. In conjunction, however, one is not required to pay sadaqa al-fitr for parents, children who have become adults, the wife, brothers and sisters even if they are living under one’s care, owing to the fact that they are not technically under his guardianship. Anyhow, one is more than welcome to voluntarily offer fitr for them. However, the majority of scholars, except for the Hanafi, advise that one is required to offer sadaqa al-fitr for his Muslim parents and wife living under his care, if in possession of the minimum wealth.
The performance of sadaqa al-fitr becomes necessary, according to the Hanafi School, on the first day of Ramadan Eid, with the break of dawn, as sadaqa al-fitr is a charity attached with this specific moment in time. Accordingly, if one dies or becomes poor before the dawn of the first day of the Eid, he is no longer compelled with its performance, although offering it is necessary for those who are born or have become Muslim before the dawn of the day. Sadaqa al-fitr is not necessary for a baby born after dawn, or for one who has embraced Islam after dawn for that matter. Other Islamic jurisprudential schools hold the view that sadaqa al-fitr becomes necessary with the sunset of the final day of Ramadan.
Senturk, Omer Faruk. “Charity in Islam” Tughra Books Press. January 2007.
- December 16, 2013
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