The standard for pricing sadaqat al-fitr

Translated by:

Abstract: The hanafiyyah allow sadaqat al-fitr to be given in price. The pricing are set using wheat, barley, dates or raisins. The price may be determined through derivatives such as wheat flour so long as it is equivalent or more than the price of wheat or else the price of wheat must be given. One may give more than the prescribed amount but cannot inflate the price to make others give more. Sadaqat al-fitr is half a sa’ for wheat according to the hanafiyyah. The weight in today’s scale varies; 1.575, 1.590, 1.636, 1.64 and 2.32 kilograms are suggested - Saif.

[Shaykh al-Hadith Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi (damat barakatuhum) writes,]

On what should the price be based?

Wheat is amongst the things which the prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) set as a standard for sadaqat al-fitr. That set amount is one sa’ according to the three Imams; Imam Malik, Imam Shafi’i and Imam Ahmad b. Hanbal (May Allah have mercy upon them all).1 Whereas, the set amount is half a sa’ according to Imam Abu Hanifa (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him).

في الهدندية (ص 191، ج 1) وإنما تجب صدقة الفطرمن أربعة أشياء: من الحنطة و الشعير و التمر و الزبيب كذا في خزانة المفتيين و شرح الطحاوي، و هي نصف صاع من بر أو صاع من شعير أو تمر. و دقيق الحنطة و الشعير و سويقهما مثلهما اهـ

It is stated in Fatawa Hindiyyah2

Sadaqat al-fitr must be paid3 from one of four things; wheat, barley, dates and raisins. This is stated in Khazanat al-Muftiyyin and Sharh Tahawi. It is half a sa’ for wheat, and one sa’ for barley and dates. The flour and cereal of wheat has the same ruling as the raw (the amount for sadaqah will also be half a sa’). The flour and cereal of barley is like raw barley (the amount for sadaqah will also be one sa’).

The people in England generally have flour made of wheat. Due the Muslims in England [commonly] being prosperous, [most] rather than giving wheat or wheat flour as sadaqat al-fitr opt to pay cash abroad especially to the subcontinent.

In terms of the price of wheat and wheat flour, there are three possible scenarios. These are as follows with the ruling.

  1. If the prices of half a sa’ of wheat flour and half a sa’ of wheat is the same, the ruling is clear. One may give sadaqat al-fitr with the price of wheat or with the price of wheat flour.

  2. If the price of half a sa’ of wheat flour is more than wheat, [there is a choice]. One may pay the price of wheat or one may pay the price of wheat flour; both are correct. However, in this case, it is better to pay the price of wheat flour as it is more beneficial for the poor (anfa’ lil fuqara’).

  3. If the price of half a sa’ of wheat flour is less than wheat, sadaqat al-fitr will not be fulfilled by paying the price of half a sa’ of wheat flour rather one must pay the price of half a sa’ of wheat.

في العلائية (نصف صاع) فاعل يجب (من بر أو دقيقه أو سويقه) اهـ . و في الشامية (قوله أو دقيقه أو سويقه) الأولي أن يراعي فيهما القدر و القيمة احتياطا و إن نص علي الدقيق في بعض الأخبار. (هداية). لأن في لإسناده سليمان بن أرقم و هو متروك الحديث، فوجب الإحتياط بأن يعطي نصف صاع دقيق بر أو صاع دقيق شعير يساويان نصف صاع بر و صاع شعير لا أقل من نصف يساوي نصف صاع أو أقل من صاع يساوي صاع شعير و لا نصف يساوي نصف صاع بر أو صاع لا يساوي صاع شعير. (فتح). و قوله فوجب الإحتياط مخالف لتعبير الهداية و الكافي بالأولي إلا أن يحمل أحدمها علي الآخر، تأمل. (رد المحتار علي الدر المختار، كوئته ص 82-83 ج 2) اهـ. . و نحوه في فتح القدير (ص 229 ج 2) و بحر الرائق (ص 254 ج 2). و في الفتاوي التاتارخانية (ص 420 ج 2) وإن أعطي نصف صاع دقيق أو سويق جيد، و ذلك لا يساوي نصف صاع حنطة وسط لا يجزيه و كان عليه تمام قيمة نصف صاع حنطة وسط اهـ . و في فتح القدير (ص 229 ج 2) حتي لو فرض نقصه كما قد يتفق في أيام البذر كان الواجب ما قلنا اهـ .

Similar to Fath al-Qadir4 and Bahr al-Ra’iq5, [Allamah Ibn Abidin Shami (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) writes] in Radd al-Muhtar6,

It is better (awla) that one considers the weight and price cautiously in these two (flour and cereal) despite there being textual evidence for flour. See Hidayah. The reason being the source (sanad) contains Sulayman b. Arqam who is matruk al-hadith (unreliable). Hence, it is necessary (wajib) to be cautious. Half a sa’ of wheat flour that is given should be equivalent to the price of half a sa’ of wheat and one sa’ of barley flour that is given should be equivalent to the price of one sa’ of barley. Less than half a sa’ of wheat flour which is equivalent in price to half a sa’ of wheat [and accordingly] less than one sa’ of barley flour which is equivalent in price to one sa’ of barley should not be given as a matter of caution. Similarly, half a sa’ of wheat flour which is less than the price of half a sa’ of wheat [and accordingly] one sa’ of barley flour which is less the price of one sa’ of barley should not be given as a matter of caution. See Fath. The statement of Shaykh Ibn Humam (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him), ‘فوجب الإحتياط’ (it is necessary), [seems to] conflict against the interpretation of ‘الأولي’ (better to refrain) in Hidaya and al-Kafi. Rather, one should be taken with the [meaning] of the other (viz. wujub should be taken to mean proven or awla should be taken to mean arjah bi tariq al-wujub).

It is stated in Fatawa Tatarkhaniyyah7

If one gave half a sa’ of high quality wheat flour or cereal and it is not equivalent to half a sa’ of wheat which is of medium quality (viz. bit better than poor and a bit lower than high), it is insufficient. They must make up the [remaining] price of medium quality wheat.

It should be noted that the reason al-Jami al-Saghir does not mention caution in regards to wheat flour and cereal is because usually the price of a sa’ of wheat flour did not exceed the price of wheat rather it often used to be higher. Shaykh Ibn Humam (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) expanding upon this writes,

Hence, if the price of half a sa’ of wheat flour is less that the price of wheat as it sometimes happens in seeding season, that which we have said will be compulsory (viz. it will be wajib to pay the price of half a sa’ of wheat).

[As is suggested], if in England the price of half a sa’ of wheat flour is less than half a sa’ of wheat, one must take out sadaqat al-fitr based on half a sa’ of wheat. If one takes out sadaqat al-fitr based on the price of wheat flour, sadaqat al-fitr will not be fulfilled. The outstanding amount will remain compulsory to pay. Consequently, the masjids should in the stated circumstance announce the price of sadaqat al-fitr using the price of wheat.

It should be clear, the price of that day will be consider in which sadaqat al-fitr is wajib to be paid - the day of Eid al-Fitr.

Can one inflate the price of Sadaqat al-Fitr?

قال العلامة أبوبكرالكاساني رحمه الله تعالي في بدائع الصانائع (ص 72 ج 2) و ذكر الإمام الهدي الشيخ أبو منصور الماتردي أن عشرة من الصحابة رضي الله عنهم منهم أبو بكر و عمر و عثمان وعلي رضي الله عنهم زووا عن رسول الله صلي الله علي وسلم في صدقة الفطر نصف صاع من بر. و احتج بروايتهم اهـ . و في بدائع الصنائع (ص 72 ج 2) و أما حديث أبي سعيد فليس فيه دليل الوجوب، بل هو حكاية عن فعله، فيدل علي الجواز و به نقول فيكون الواجب نصف صاع و ما زاد يكون تطوعا أهـ .

The specified amount for Sadaqat al-fitr is fixed and textually proven. According to the hanafiyyah, it is half a sa’ for wheat or wheat flour. Allamah Abu Bakr Kasani8 (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) writes,

Imam al-Huda al-Shaykh Abu Mansur al-Maturidi (may Allah have mercy upon him) mentions, ‘Ten noble sahabah (may Allah almighty be pleased with them) which includes Hadrats Abu Bakr, Umar, Usman and Ali (may Allah be pleased with them) report that the prophet of Allah (peace be upon him) gave half a sa’ of wheat.’ He uses their narrations as evidence.

The shariah does not prohibit, if a person, of their own free will and want, chooses to pay more than the sadaqat al-fitr as an optional action to benefit the poor and needy in consideration of the high prices [of living]. Hence, in the kutub sittah (sihah sittah), it is reported regarding Hadrat Abu Sa’id al-Khudri (may Allah almighty be pleased with him) that he used to give one sa’ in sadaqat al-fitr. The hanafiyyah say that he used to give one sa’ in other than wheat namely dates and barley. Even if one assumes it to have been wheat, it would be considered the personal practice of Hadrat Abu Sa’id Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) which shows that it is permissible to pay one sa’ wheat; half a sa’ wheat is the wajib and the excess is nafl. Allamah Abu Bakr Kasani (may Allah have mercy upon him) alluded to this in Badai'9.

Other than compulsory amount from the assets of the rich and wealthy, the ahadith, declaring optional sadaqah as the right of the poor and needy, has encouraged it. In consideration of the high costs nowadays, a rich person may give additional optional sadaqah on top of the actual amount for sadaqat al-fitr to benefit the poor.

However, [the shariah does not allow that] a masjid committee or any other institute, in the name of sadaqat al-fitr, add on the actual amount of the sadaqat al-fitr, and then declaring this additional amount optional sadaqah collect extra money from the people; this is not allowed.

By adding in this manner, people may assume that the entire amount is sadaqat al-fitr even though the entire amount is not sadaqat al-fitr. To hide the reality from the people and deceivingly take money even if it is for the benefit of the poor is not permissible.

If people are informed that the actual sadaqat al-fitr is this much and the remainder is optional sadaqah, there is a problem in this. Optional (nafl) acts of worship are not mandatory; if somebody wishes to give, they should and however much they please and if somebody does not want to give, there is no issue in that. Whereas, to fix an extra amount on top of the actual amount (such as instead of £2 fixing £2.50 or £3) is tantamount to necessitating an optional amount on every individual which is against the principle of the shariah.

Hence, in accordance to the specified calculation of the shariah, whatever the amount is deemed for sadaqat al-fitr, that [amount] should in the timetables and notice boards. Encourage optional sadaqah without fixing an amount for it.

How much is half a sa’ in modern weights?

How much is half a sa’ in modern weights? There are various views. A few positions are stated below:

  1. The former grand mufti of Gujrat (India), Hadrat Mawlana Mufti Sayyid Abdur Rahim Sahib Lajpuri (may Allah almighty have mercy him) declares it to be 1.575 kilograms10.

    Hadrat Mufti Lajpuri wrote the stated amount for half a sa’ using the mithqal calculation to be 135 tola. The old 1 tola is 11.664 grams. Correspondingly, 135 tola is 1574.640 grams. The Mufti of Jamia Qasimiyyah (Shahi Muradabad, UP, India), Hadrat Mufti Shabbir Ahmad Sahib (may Allah almighty extend his blessings), has opted for this view. The former lead mufti of Darul Uloom Deoband (India), Hadrat Mufti Nizam al-Din (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) and the former lead mufti of madrasah Mazahirul Uloom (Saharanpur, India), Hadrat Mufti Yahya Sahib (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) have concurred and approved of Hadrat Mufti Shabbir Sahib’s fatwa.11 Hadrat Mufti Abdur Rahim sahib Lajpuri rounded up and stated 1.575 kilograms.

  2. Hadrat mawlana Khalid Sayfullah Rahmani Sahib (may Allah almighty increase his blessings), the shaykh al-hadith of Darul Uloom Sabil al-Salam (Haydrabad, India), contacted some expert mathematicians and merchant goldsmiths regarding this. The determined the amount to be 1589.7 grams. Hadrat Mawlana Khalid Sayfullah Sahib rounded up and stated it to be 1590 grams.12

  3. Half a sa’ using the mudd according to the research the first dean of education at Darul Uloom Deoband (India), Hadrat Mawlana Ya’qub Nanautwi (may Allah have mercy upon him), is 140 tola and 3 masha. The grand mufti of Pakistan, Hadrat Mawlana Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ Sahib (may Allah almighty have mercy upon him) considers this method to be more cautious in determining half a sa’ than using dirham and mithqal.13 In modern weights it is 1635.876 grams.

  4. The lead Mufti of Darul Uloom Kantaria and Shaykh al-Hadith of Jamia Uloomul Quran Jambusar (Gujrat, India), Hadrat Mufti Isma’il Sahib Barkodrawi calculates half a sa’ to be 1640 grams.14

  5. The assistant Mufti of Jamiah Islamia Ta’leemud Deen Dabel (Gujrat, India), Hadrat Mufti Abbas Bismillah (may Allah have mercy upon him), mentions 1.662 kilograms.15

  6. The Grand Mufti Hadrat Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludyanwi (may Allah have mercy upon him) wrote a separate article on the issue of sa’ entitled Bast al-Ba’ li Tahqiq al-Sa’ which is included in Ahsan al-Fatawa16. At the end the author says that if sadaqat al-fitr is given with wheat or wheat flour, according to the vetch weight 2.32 kilos must be given. However, if price is being given, one is also allowed to give the price of 2.25 kilograms of wheat. Although, it is better to give the price for 2.32 kilograms.17

It should be clear that in this matter no calculation can be deemed as definite and considered the final word. The detailed discussion is available in Ahsan al-Fatawa18. Hence, one may act upon any of the mentioned weights, however, it is cautious to opt for the higher calculation.

Allah knows best.

Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi

Inglistan me sadaqah fitr ki miqdar
In Fiqhi Jawahir. 1429. v. 4 p. 68-77
Kosamba, India; Jamia Abu Hurayrah.

---------------------------------------
Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami (Translator)
29 Ramadan 1436
16 July 2015

Editor’s note: this is a translation of an urdu fatwa by Shaykh al-Hadith Hadrat Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi which was published in his book Jawahir Fiqh entitled Inglistan me sadaqah fitr ki miqdar.. Whilst the author addresses England in particular, the stated principles are more broadly applicable. The question has been omitted and minor edits have been made to make it accessible for general readership]

  • 1. Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuhu p. 2045 v. 3
  • 2. p. 191 v. 1
  • 3. Meaning these four are stated in the sources if one wanted give according to the fixed weight.
  • 4. p. 229 v. 2
  • 5. p. 254 v. 2
  • 6. p. 82-83 v. 2
  • 7. p. 420 v. 2
  • 8. Bada’i al-Sana’i p. 72 v. 2
  • 9. ibid
  • 10. Fatawa Rahimiyyah p. 173 v. 5
  • 11. Idah al-Masa’il p. 98-101
  • 12. Kitab al-Fatawa p. 360, 362 v. 3
  • 13. Jawahir al-Fiqh p. 425 v. 1
  • 14. As stated in the question [originally posed by Mawlana Musa Karmadi who was personally informed by Mufti Barkordawi]
  • 15. Fatawa Singrah (in Gujrati) p.301, 303 v. 3
  • 16. p. 385-416 v. 4
  • 17. p. 416 v. 4
  • 18. p. 386, 387 v. 4
Cite: 

Lawharwi, Mft. Umar Faruq. (2015). The standard for pricing sadaqat al-fitr (Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman, Trans.). Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 4. Available at http://uloom.com/dibaj/article/150716502

Status: 
In review