Only poor, needy are eligible for Zakat-al-Fitr — Cleric

An Abuja-based Islamic Cleric, Shiekh Yahya Al-Yolawi has enjoined Muslims to give Zakat-al-Fitr (arms) only to the needy and poor in line with the teaching of Prophet Muhammad.

Al-Yolawi, who is the Chief Imam of Area 10 Garki Mosque, gave the advice while delivering Jumma’at Sermon entitled, “Last 10 Days of Ramadan and Eid Preparations,” on Friday in Abuja.

He explained that Zakat al Fitr was an obligatory charity mandated upon every Muslim at the end of the month of Ramadan.

According to the cleric, Prophet Muhammad enjoins 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 and slave.

He said that the purpose of Zakat al-Fitr was to purify the one who has fasted from any type of indecent act or speech he might have committed while observing the fasting.

Al-Yolawi said that zakat also helps the poor and the needy who were the direct beneficiaries.

“The amount of Zakat al-fitr as indicated by Prophet Muhammad is a volume measure corresponding approximately to the volume of 5lb 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.”

The cleric said that zakat al-Fitr was expected to be given by the end of Ramadan either one or two days before Eid or the day of Eid before the Eid prayer.

“Ibn `Umar reported that the Prophet, 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 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.”

Al-Yolawi also admonished Muslims to increase charity and devotion during the last 10 days of Ramadan, stressing that the last 10 days of Ramadan are very special days in the life of every Muslim.

The cleric also urged muslims to strive to seek out the night of destiny that was hidden in one of the last 10 nights of Ramadan, particularly in the odd numbered nights.

He said that witnessing that night in worship was better than 1000 months or 83 years and six months of worship.

According to him, there is a consensus among Islamic scholars that last 10 days of Ramadan are the most blessed days in the blessed month of Ramadan in which the Glorious Quran was revealed.

“Scholars says although the Prophet’s sins has been forgiven, he used to devote himself even more in worship during these last 10 days, hoping to come closer to Allah.

“Aisha, the wife of Prophet Muhammad, said with the start of the last 10 days of Ramadan, the Prophet used to tighten his waist belt and used to pray all the night, and used to keep his family awake for the prayers.

“For Muslims, the last 10 days should be a period to perfect one’s fast and avoid anything that may break it. It is a time to give more charity and to settle disputes and forgive one another.

“It is also a time for soul searching, evaluating one’s life, supplicating, and asking for forgiveness. This should be done sincerely because if Allah accepts one’s supplications, the reward is the expiation of one’s sins.

“Therefore, it is a time for us to reactivate ourselves in the last 10 blessed days of Ramadan. We must not miss this great opportunity otherwise we will regret it forever.” (NAN)

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