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• L-R: Founder Motif Islamic Foundation, Alhaji Mohammed Taofeek Elebute, founder AbdulAzeez Islamic Foundation, Alhaji Abdulateef AbdulAzeez, Alhaji Musibau Bolarinwa and Aare Musulumi of Oke Ogun, Oyo State, Alhaji Ganiyu Alaka at the 17th Annual AbdulAzeez Islamic Foundation Ramadan lecture in Lagos recently.

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Zakat al Fitr is an obligatory charity on every Muslim at the end of the month of Ramadan. Ibn `Umar said: 'The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, enjoined the payment of one Sa`a of dates or one Sa`a of barley as Zakat al-Fitr on every Muslim, young and old, male and female, free and slave.' (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

The purpose of Zakat al-Fitr is to purify the one who has fasted from any type of indecent act or speech he might have committed while fasting. It also helps the poor and the needy. Ibn Abbas said: 'The Messenger of Allah, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, enjoined Zakat al-Fitr on the one who fasts to shield him from any indecent act or speech and for the purpose of providing food for the needy.' (Related by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah.)

The Amount of Zakat al-Fitr
As the first hadeeth indicated, the amount of Zakat al-Fitr is one Sa`a. Sa`a is a volume measure corresponding approximately to the volume of 5 lb of good wheat. The material of the Zakat can be either dates, barley, wheat, rice, corn or similar items considered as basic foods. Abu Saeed said: 'We used to give for Zakat al-Fitr on behalf of every child, aged person, free man or slave during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, one Sa`a of food, or one Sa`a of dried yogurt, or one Sa`a of barley, or one Sa`a of dates, or one Sa`a of raisins.' (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim.)

The Time for Zakat al-Fitr
Zakat al-Fitr has to be paid by the end of Ramadhan. There are two times to pay Zakat al-Fitr. Either one or two days before Eid as `Umar used to do, or the day of Eid before the Eid prayer. Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, ordered them to pay Zakat al-Fitr before they go out to perform the Eid prayer. If Zakat al-Fitr is paid after the Eid prayer, it will only be considered as regular charity. The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, said: 'If one pays Zakat al-Fitr before the Salat, it is considered an accepted Zakat, if he pays it after the Salat, it is considered an ordinary charity.

Playing, recreation, and eating on the day of Eid:
These are permissible as long as they stay within the acceptable bounds of Islam. Anas said: When the Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, came to Madinah, they had two days for amusement. The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, has exchanged these days for two better days: the day of breaking the fast and the day of sacrifice. (Related by An-Nasa`e and Ibn Hibban)

Taking women and children to the prayer area:
The Prophet sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, used to take his wives and daughters to the two Eids. Umm Atiyah said: 'We were ordered to go out with the single and menstruating women to the two Eids in order to witness the good and the supplications of the Muslims. The menstruating women though would stay away from the prayer area.' (Related by al-Bukhari and Muslim)

Going to the prayer area:
The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, used to go to the prayer area by walking. Jaber narrated: 'On the days of Eid, the Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, would go to the prayer area by one route and come back by another route.' (Related by al-Bukhari)

Eating before going to the prayer area:
Since Eid al-Fitr is the day on which Muslims break their Ramadhan fast, it is preferable to eat before going to the Eid prayer. It is a Sunnah of the Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, to eat an odd number of dates before going to pray Salat al-Eid. Anas reported: 'The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, would not go out on the day of Eid al-Fitr without eating an odd number of dates.'(Related by al-Bukhari.)

Preparation for Eid prayer:
It is preferred to make Ghusl (take a bath), wear one`s best clothes and, for men, to put perfume before going to Salat al-Eid. Ibn Al-Qayyim said: 'The Prophet, sallaallahu `alayhe wa sallam, used to wear his best clothes for the Eid prayers and he had clothes that he reserved for the two Eids and Jumu`ah.'

Making Takbeer:
Takbeer starts from the night of Eid`s eve until the Imam comes to start the prayer. Allah says (Qur'an 2 :185): 'You should complete the prescribed period and then you should glorify Allah (i.e., say Takbeer) for having guided you so that you may be grateful to Him.' The form of takbeer is related by `Umar and Ibn Mas`ud: 'Allahu Akbar, Allahu Akbar, La illaha illallah. Allahu Akbar. Allahu Akbar wa lillahil-hamd.'

Congratulating one another:
It has been narrated that when the Prophet`s companions met one another on the Eid day, they would say to each other: 'May Allah accept from us and from you.' (Related by Ahmad.)