- Someone told me that the Fitr charity must be given in kind and not in cash. Is this the correct view or can one give the equivalent amount in cash?
- If the Fitr charity is to be paid in kind, does it only comprise grains or can it also be meat or some other eatables?
- What is the quantity or amount that should be given as Sadaqah al-Fitr?
I found the following ruling by Shaykh Saleh ibn Fawzan al-Fawzan
For question 1 in the query:
The Permissibility of Giving Money as Sadaqat’ul Fitr
It is not sufficient for a Muslim to give money which is equivalent to the value of the legally prescribed amount of staple food as Sadaqat’ul Fitr, and that is because it contradicts the Quran and the Sunnah of Messenger of Allah (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam). Know that money was present in the time of the Prophet (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and had it been sufficient to give money, he would have clarified this to his Ummah, therefore whoever gives a legal opinion to use money instead of grain for Sadaqat’ul Fitr, has given a legal opinion based on his own Ijtihaad (assessment), and he has wronged himself and sinned in his Ijtihaad. This giving of money instead of grain for Sadaqat’ul Fitr is a contradiction to the Sunnah, likewise the one that makes Ijtihaad in this affair cannot transmit a narration from the Prophet (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam), and none from his companions that money was used for Sadaqat’ul Fitr.
Imaam Ahmad (raheemahullah) said: “A Muslim is not to pay the poor money instead of the prescribed amount of staple food for Sadaqat’ul Fitr.” It was said to him, “Umar ibn Abdul Aziz used to accept money for Sadaqat’ul Fitr.” He (Imaam Ahmad) replied, “How could they adhere to the sayings of so-and-so, and ignore the hadeeth of the Prophet (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) stated in this regard. Ibn Umar said Allah’s Messenger (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) enjoined Sadaqat’ul Fitr to be paid with one Sa’a.”
For questions 2 & 3 in the query:
The types of foods that should be given as Sadaqat’ul Fitr
As for the type of foods that should be given and the permissibility for people using the staple food of their country, then there is a hadeeth related in the two Saheehs and other books of hadeeth stating that Allah’s Messenger (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) enjoined Sadaqat’ul Fitr to be paid with one Sa’a of dates, or one Sa’a of barley on every Muslim, free or slave, male or female, young or old. The five staple foods in the time of the Messenger of Allah (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) were: wheat, barley, dates, raisins, and cheese. Ibn Qayyim al Jawziyah (raheemullah) states these (the five food types) used to be the staple food in Madeenah, thus people living in a village or city were staple food differs from the above are to pay one Sa’a (approximately 3 kilograms) of their own staple food (as Sadaqat’ul Fitr). Thus, if their staple food is other than grain, such as milk, meat or fish, they are to give Sadaqat’ul Fitr thereof, whatever it may be. This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars, which is regarded as the correct one in this regard, and there are no other contrary opinions to be followed. This is because Sadaqat’ul Fitr is legally legislated to support the needy on the day of the Feast with the same staple food of the people in the same place where they live. Therefore, it is sufficient for the Muslim to give the needy flour as Sadaqat’ul Fitr, though it is not one of the five food types of the food mentioned in the hadeeth of the Prophet (sal-Allâhu ‘alayhi wa sallam) in this regard. Though bread and cooked food can be useful for the needed, and cost little to prepare for eating, grains are likely to be more useful to them since it can last for a longer time.