The month-long fast of The Month of Ramadan is over and 1st Shawwal is Eid Day. It is a day of joy, bonding, helping one another and spreading happiness all over the globe: “…Alladhi ja’altahu lil Musilimina ‘Eida”. However, the purpose of ‘Eid is deeper than mere celebrations and relaxation. Lexically, Eid in Arabic is derived from awd i.e. to return or recur. Thus, in the past when an afflicted community found relief and erstwhile prosperity and comfort returned, that occasion was called ‘eid. In Al-Islam, after the month long fast and at the end of Hajj the human soul returns to its pristine state of cleanliness and purity; hence the celebrations of ‘Eid al-Fitr and Eid al-Hajj.
In the Qur’an, the word ‘eid is used in the episode describing the disciples of Nabi Isa AS. “When the disciples (hawariyyin) of Nabi Isa AS said to him: ‘Is your Lord able to send down to us a banquet from the heavens?’ Nabi Isa AS told them not to make such demands,” if they were real believers” (5:112). The disciples insisted on their demand for heavenly victual and said such illumined food from the heavens would restore their light of faith and confirm the veracity of Nabi Isa AS’ mission (5:113). Nabi Isa AS reassured of their genuine desire to believe beseeched ALLAH SWT to send down the banquet so that it would become ‘eid for the first and the last of them. It would be a sign from Him (a miracle) and sustenance for He is the best of providers (5:114). Nabi Isa AS called this day of the banquet ‘eid for it was a day of success, cleansing and return to the state of having faith in ALLAH SWT. Traditions suggest that this was a Sunday; hence the Christian reverence for Sunday.

Imam Ali AS has defined ‘eid as any day that is free of rebellion against ALLAH SWT. He is quoted saying “‘Eid is for those whose fasts have been accepted and whose salaat are worthy of reckoning and every day when one does not commit a sin it is ‘eid” (Nahjul Balaghah, maxim 427). ‘Eid al-Fitr, therefore, is the day of success attained in the Month of Ramadhaan; fasting, revelation of The Qur’an, and Laylatul Qadr etc. being some of those successes.

The revelation of The Qur’an in this Month was a great success in that amidst the surrounding darkness of the Jahiliyah period, this Book brought the light of ethical behavior, kindness and end of cruelty of burying female children alive. It erased the blot of tribalism and replaced it with the unity of a single ummah. The Bani Israel squandered the blessing of the prophets from Ishak AS’ progeny and The Almighty SWT in His infinite wisdom turned over prophethood to the progeny of Ismail AS and the scene shifted from Mount Sinai to Mount Abu Qubeis, and Syrian greenery was abandoned in favor of the arid Hijaz for the new mission.

This new achievement merited thanksgiving of ‘Eid ul Fitr. Imam Ali AS in one of his sermons showed how ‘Eid is to be celebrated. He gave one formula to be used always: “Remember ALLAH and He will remember you.” The Imam AS explained that one adhering to the commandments of ALLAH SWT is protected by Him. So, the Imam AS told his audience to give the fitra of the individuals and their dependants. The Imam AS continued his khutba reminding the congregation of the obligations they have towards ALLAH SWT (Ibadaat). Then he admonished them to refrain from making allegations, to shun evil deeds, to abandon drinking, to stop shortchanging, to eschew false testimony and to stop running away from the battlefield.

In this khutba, Imam Ali AS pithily outlined those strengths of obedience to ALLAH SWT that enhance the great civilization of Al-Islam and those weaknesses that destroy individual and collective dignity. On practical level, Imam Ali AS, as the Caliph of the Muslims celebrated ‘eid not in a luxurious mansion surrounded by sumptuous meal; rather, as one of his companions observed, in a hovel, shivering in the cold with only harira (the food eaten by the poorest people) as his nourishment. The Imam AS led by example.

Imam Al-Ridha AS said that ‘Eid was a day of unity. Hence, it was a day to give thanks and reaffirm faith in His favors and praise Him. ‘Eid day is the first day when eating and drinking is once again permitted during daylight hours. So, for the seekers of Truth, ‘Eid day is the first day of the year. Imam Al-Baqir AS in the qunoot of the salaatul ‘eid beseeches ALLAH SWT that he sought that which ALLAH SWT’s goodly souls wished to acquire from Him and protection from those matters that the goodly souls wished to be protected from. Imam Al-Baqir AS also reminded us of the sadness that accompanies the ‘eid day, the sadness of the usurpation of the rights of the Ahlul Bayt AS and the violation of human rights.

The Imam of our Time, Imam Al-Asr AFS has captured this sadness in the Du’a Nudbah (Supplication of Lamentation) that is recommended to be recited on ‘Eid. The message of ‘Eid Al-Fitr is that no Muslim remains hungry on this day. It is a day that the rich and the poor enjoy happiness of the day, as the haves give the Fitrah to the have-nots. The fitra ensures acceptance of the fast as Imam Al-Sadiq AS has explained that fasts remain suspended between the earth and the heavens until fitra is executed. The emphasis on fitra is so much that a family capable of giving just one person’s fitra can rotate that self-same fitra among every member of that family and fulfill this obligation. Indeed, a poor man receiving charity too should pay fitra from the sadaqaat he receives. Thus, the rejoicing on the day of ‘eid is to obey ALLAH SWT and serve humanity, the twin purport of Al-Islam that The Prophet SAWW defined for the Bedouin of Arabia.

The Sermon on the Eid ul Fitr Day from Imam Ali Amir al-Mu’minin
( Peace Be Upon Him)
All praise is due to Allah Who created the heavens and the earth and made the darkness and the light; yet, those who disbelieve set up equals with their Lord. We set up no partner with Allah nor do we betake ourselves any guardian save Him. All praise is due to Allah whose is what is in the heavens and what is in the earth. To Him is due all praise in the hereafter; and He is the Wise, the Aware. He knows that which goes down into the earth and that which comes out of it, and that which comes down from the heaven and that which goes up to it; and He is the Merciful, the Forgiving. Thus is Allah; there is no god save Him. To Him is the eventual coming. All praise is due to Allah Who withholds the heaven from falling on the earth except with His permission. Most surely, Allah is Compassionate, Merciful to men. O Allah, (please) have mercy upon us through Your mercy and cover us totally with Your forgiveness. Most surely, You are the All-high, the All-great. All praise be to Allah; there is no despair of His mercy, there is no existence without His bounties, there is no despondency from His endowment with rest, and there is none to disdain serving Him.

By His Word, the Seven Skies rose, the plane lands settled, the firm mountains became steady, the fertilizing winds blew, the clouds moved in the atmosphere of the heavens, and the oceans were established on their boundaries. He is the god of all these and He is All-prevalent. Those claiming mightiness humiliate themselves before Him. Those claiming pride diminish themselves before Him. All the worlds are subservient to him willingly and unwillingly. We praise Him just as He has praised Himself and in the quantity of praise that He deserves. We seek His help, forgiveness, and guidance; and we bear witness that there is no god save Allah; One and Only and having no partner. He knows whatever is hidden by inner selves and whatever is concealed under oceans. No darkness can screen against Him. No unseen thing can hide itself against Him. There falls not a leaf nor a grain in the darkness but He knows it; there is no god save Him, nor anything green nor dry but it is all in a clear book.

He knows what the doers do, which course they are taking, and to which direction they are turning. We seek from Allah the true guidance. We also bear witness that Muhammad is His servant, prophet, messenger to His creatures, and trustee on His revelations; and that he has conveyed perfectly the messages of his Lord, striven for the sake of Allah against those who swerved from Him and those who set up equals with him; and that he served Allah until death came upon him. May Allah send peace and blessings upon him and upon his Household. I advise you (all) to be pious to Allah Whose bounties never cease, Whose mercy never runs out, with Whom the servants can never dispense, and Whose favours can never be recompensed by any deed. It is He Who has prompted piety, egged on abstinence from worldly pleasures, warned against acts of disobedience (to Him),brought almightiness to Himself through eternal existence, and humiliated His creatures by death and extinction. Death is thus the end of all created beings, the course taken by all the worlds, and it is marked on the foreheads of all the living ones.

It cannot be defeated by the running away of the fugitive. When it befalls, it captures the people of lustful desires, demolishes all pleasures, moves away all bounties, and cuts off all delights. This world is an abode upon which Allah has decided extinction and upon whose inhabitants He has decided banishment. Nevertheless, most of them intend to survive forever and to consolidate its construction. It is yet sweet and fresh. It has been speeded up for that who desires for it and it has confused the heart of him who looks on it. In it, the wealthy are tiring up the weak and the afraid and fearful are trying to include it wholly. So, try to leave it—may Allah have mercy upon you—carrying the best of what is with you. Do not seek more than the little of it. Do not ask it for more than sufficiency. Satisfy yourself with the little amount of it. Do not strain your eyes after that through which the luxurious have been given enjoyment. Rather, belittle it, do not stick to it, and be vigilant against it.

Beware of throwing yourselves into enjoyment, diversion, and joking, because these things lead to inattention and deception. Verily, the world has been confusing, has turned away, expired, and bid farewell. While the Hereafter has been imminent, has approached, overlooked, and declared arrival. Verily, the racetrack is this day and the race will be tomorrow. Verily, the prize of the winner will be Paradise while the losers’ will be Hellfire. Is there now any one to repent from his sins before the day of his death? Is there now any one to work for himself before the day of misery and neediness? May Allah include you and us with those who fear Him and hope for His reward. Behold! This day has been made feast for you by Allah Who has also made you celebrate it. So, remember Allah, He will remember you; and pray Him, He will respond to you. Defray your fast breaking poor-rate, for this is the tradition of Your Prophet and it is a duty made obligatory by your Lord.

Each and every individual must thus defray it on behalf of himself and all of his dependants; male and female, little and old, and free and slave. For each individual, a Ya` (a measure) of wheat,a Ya` of dates,or a Ya` of barley should be defrayed. Obey Allah in what He has deemed obligatory upon you and ordered you to do, such as performing of the prayers, defrayment of the poor-rate, going on pilgrimage to the (Holy) House, observance of fasting in the month of Ramadan, enjoining the right, forbidding the wrong, and acting nicely towards your women and those possessed by your right hands (i.e. servants).Obey Allah with regard to what He has prohibited you to do, such as accusing a free woman falsely, committing acts of indecency, drinking intoxicants, diminishing the measures, giving short weights in scales, swearing falsely, and absconding from battles. May Allah safeguard you and us through piety and may He decide the Hereafter to be better for you and us than the worldly life. Certainly, the most excellent discourse and the most eloquent preachment for the pious is the Book of Allah the Almighty and All-wise. I seek protection of Allah against Satan the accursed.“In the Name of Allah; the All-beneficent, the All-merciful. Say: He, Allah, is One. Allah is He on Whom all depend. He begets not, nor is He begotten. And none is like Him.”

FAQ on Zakatul Fitrah
(According to Fataawa of Ayatullah Sayyid Ali al-Husayni Seestani)

Q. What is Zakatul Fitrah?
A: It is religious tax/alms (zakat) paid on the day when Muslims break the fasting period at the end of the month of Ramadhan. This alms is known as Zakat al-Fitrah.

Q. What do the Qur’an and Hadith say about Fitrah?
A: Imams (a) say that the verses: Indeed whosoever purifies himself shall achieve success, and glorifies the Name of his Lord and prays (87:14 & 15) refer to giving of Fitrah and saying prayers on Eid al-Fitr. Imam Ja`far as- Sadiq (a) said: for your fast to be accepted, give zakât.

Q. When does Fitrah become wajib?
A. Payment of Fitrah becomes obligatory after sunset on the eve of Eid al- Fitr. The Fitrah should be kept aside and paid on Eid al-Fitr before Eid prayers or before midday for those who cannot say their Eid prayers. It is necessary to have obligatory intention (niyyah) of giving Fitrah for God’s pleasure only.

Q. What happens if someone forgets or does not give Fitrah on time?
A. If one does not give out or set aside the Fitrah within the due time, he should give the Fitrah later, on the basis of precaution, without making the niyyah of adaa or qadhaa but only Qurbatan Ilallah.

Q. Can we give Fitrah in advance?
A. Giving Fitrah before the eve of Eid al-Fitr is not permissible. However, if you wish to send Fitrah earlier so that it reaches the needy on time, then you can send it as a temporary loan to the needy and then change your intention from loan to Fitrah on the eve of Eid al-Fitr.

Q. To whom is Fitrah obligatory?
A. Paying Fitrah is obligatory on every Muslim who is mature (baligh), sane, financially able, and conscious on the eve of Eid al-Fitr. Fitrah should also be paid on behalf of all dependents (e.g. wife, children) whom one supports financially.

Q. When is a host required to pay Fitrah for his guest?
A. If a person invites another person to his house on the eve of Eid al-Fitr and if the guest is present at the host’s place at the time of the sunset then it is obligatory for the host to pay Fitrah for his guest.

Q. What happens if the guest arrives after the sunset on Eid night?
A. In this case the guest will pay his/her own Fitrah and it is not obligatory on the host to pay Fitrah for the guest.

Q. What happens if a guest comes uninvited and is present at the time of the sunset on the eve of Eid al-Fitr?
A. Ayatullah Sayyid As-Sistani says that the host should still pay the Fitrah as an obligatory precaution. However, Marhum Ayatullah Sayyid al-Khui was of the opinion that is recommended for the host to pay Fitrah of an uninvited guest.

Q. How much should we pay for Fitrah?
A. Fitrah for a person is given on a weight of three kilograms (one sa`a) on any food commodity like wheat, barley, rice, millet, raisins or dates. Ayatullah Seestani is of the opinion that the item that is not a staple food in your town should not be given in Fitrah. Say, for example, if millet is not a staple in Vancouver then Vancouver mumineen should not pay Fitrah on millet.

Q. Can we give cash value of any commodity mentioned above?
A. Yes, cash value in lieu of any foodstuff mentioned can be given as Fitrah. Thus, if a kilo of rice costs $2.00, the cash value of Fitrah on rice per person would be $6.00. We recommend, Fitrah on basmati rice to be Canadian Dollars 7.00 for residents of Canada and US Dollars 6.00 for US residents. (Please check prices for other items in your areas.)

Q. Whom should we give the Fitrah to?
A. It is given to the needy who are unable to meet their own or their dependants annual living expenses, nor do they have the means to do so through earning. Ayatullah As-Seestani says that the needy who is given the fitrah must be a Shi`ah Ithna `Ashari.

Q. Who should not be given the Fitrah?
A. A needy who: consumes alcohol, does not say his daily prayers (salat), commits sins openly, or he who is known to use the Fitrah in sinful way.

Q. Are there any additional rules that we need to be aware of?
A. Following are some important rules: (i) Fitrah should not be sent outside the town one resides in, if there are deserving mumineen in that town. (ii) Fitrah from a non-Sayyid cannot be given to a needy Sayyid; the reverse is permissible. (iii) A needy should be given at least one Fitrah (iv) Amongst the needy, relatives should be preferred over others when giving Fitrah, next in line are neighbors and then the learned.

ZAKAT – E – FITRA
(The numbered rulings are according to the Fatawa of Ayatullah Al-Udhma Seyyid Ali Al-Husaini Seestani, Dama Dhilluhu).

(The rulings in brackets are according to the Fatawa ofAyatullah Al-Udhma Seyyid Abulqassim Al-Khui, Ridhwanullahi Alayhi)

1) Payment of Fitra becomes Wajib (obligatory) after sunset on the eve of Eid- ul-Fitr on a person who is:

i.Baligh (attained puberty),

ii.Aqil (sane),

iii.and is not needy, not indigent

iv.not unconscious

for all dependants wherever and whoever they are irrespective of age & belief.

NOTE 1: If a person spends money on someone which is sufficient for his maintenance, that is not enough to consider him as one of his dependants. Dependants are required to be under his care for their livelihood.

NOTE 2: If a person is a dependant of two people, his Fitra is obligatory on both by being divided between them.

2) For the purpose of Fitra, dependants include guests who are present at the host’s house at the time of sunset on the eve of Eid-ul-Fitr. However, if a guest comes without the consent of the host, his Fitra becomes Wajib upon the host on the basis of Ehtiyat Wajib (obligatory precaution). This ruling also applies to a person who is forcibly made to maintain another person. But if he invites a person for Iftar on the night of Eid, he is not one of his dependants and his Fitra is not obligatory on the person who invited him.

(Ehtiyat Mustahab to pay for uninvited guest or one forcibly maintained.)

3) On the basis of obligatory precaution (Ehtiyat Wajib), one should not give Fitra from that food which is not staple in his place (town or city), even if it be wheat, barley, dates or raisins. In other words, the article of Fitra should be the common food of the people of the town normally eaten by them, even if it is not the only thing that they eat. This is regardless of whether it is from the four categories (wheat, barley, dates and raisins) or from other than them such as rice and maize.

(Staple food has not been made a condition).

4) Fitra is given to a needy person who, according to the Shari’a is a Faqeer, that is, a person who is not able to meet his living expenses for himself and for his dependants for one whole year, nor does he possess the means to earn a livelihood for himself and his dependants.

It is Ehtiyat Wajib that Fitra is given to a Faqeer who is a Shia Ithna- Asheri.
NOTE 1: The Faqeer to whom Fitra is given need not necessarily be Adil, but it is Ehtiyat Wajib that Fitra should not be given to a person who drinks liquor, or one who does not perform his daily Salaat or one who commits sins openly or one who will use the Fitra in a sinful way.

NOTE 2: The essential factor is the value at the time of the payment, not at the time of the obligation, and the country in which Fitra is paid, not the country of the person on whom the obligation is due.

(Ehtiyat Mustahab to give to a Shia Ithna-Asheri Faqeer.)

5) A non-Seyyid cannot give Fitra to a Seyyid even if he maintains a Seyyid and pays his Fitra.

6) It is Ehtiyat Mustahab (recommended precaution) that a Faqeer be given a minimum of one full Fitra. More can be given to one person also.

(Ehtiyat Wajib to give a minimum of one full Fitra to a person).

7) If a servant is employed and the employer agrees to maintain him/her fully, then the servant’s Fitra becomes Wajib upon the employer. But if the agreement is the payment of salary only, then his/her Fitra is not Wajib upon the employer.

8) If the price of one type of grain is double of the other, one cannot give half the measure of the better grain nor its cash value as Fitra.

9) It is recommended to give preference to one’s relatives when giving Fitra, then to the neighbors and then Ahlul Ilm (people of learning). Preference, however, can be given to another category of people if there is a good reason to do so.

10) For those who pray Salatul Eid, it is Ehtiyat Wajib to give the Fitra before the Eid prayers and for those not praying Salatul Eid the time extends up to before Dhuhr. If Fitra is set aside but not distributed by Dhuhr, then whenever it is disbursed, the Niyyah (intention) of Fitra should be made. If one does not give out or set aside the Fitra within the due time, he should give the Fitra later, on the basis of precaution, without making the Niyyah of Adaa or Qadhaa but only Qurbatan Ilallah.

11) An item set aside for Fitra cannot be used or substituted by another item.

12) On the basis of Ehtiyat Wajib, Fitra should not be sent outside the town one resides in if there are deserving people in that town. If one does so and the Fitra gets spoiled or lost then it must be given again.

13) Fitra cannot be given before the month of Ramadhan and it is better not to give it during the month of Ramadhan. However, if a loan was given to a person who deserves to receive Fitra, then when the Fitra becomes due that amount can be set off against the Fitra.

14) If Fitra is given from a thing which is inferior or defective, it will not be sufficient.

Source: hussainimission.com


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