Sadaqat Al Fitr is an obligatory charity for every Muslim, male or female, who owns 613.35 grams of silver or its equivalent, either in the form of money, ornaments, stock-in-trade, or in the form of some goods or commodities beyond one’s normal needs.
Every person who owns such an amount has to pay Sadaqat Al Fitr not only on behalf of himself but also on behalf of his minor children.
The prescribed amount is 1.75 kgs of wheat or its value in money.
This amount is prescribed for one person only. If a person has minor children, the same amount has to be paid on behalf of each one of them separately.
The following points must be remembered:
Sadaqat Al Fitr is obligated on each adult male or female separately and the relevant adult himself is responsible for its payment. The husband is not required to pay on behalf of his wife nor is the wife supposed to pay on behalf of her husband.
Similarly, a father is not bound to pay on behalf of his adult children or vice-versa.
However, if the head of the family, by his own free will, wishes to pay Sadaqat Al Fitr for each one of the members of his family, he should seek their authorisation for that purpose.
In this case, the payment made will be valid on their behalf.
If he did not pay the Sadaqat Al Fitr on behalf of any of the members of his family, he will not be responsible. Rather, it is the duty of every adult member of the family to discharge his own obligation or to request the head of the family to pay it on his or her behalf.
It is a ‘Sunnah’ (practice) that Sadaqat Al Fitr is paid before performing the ‘Eid’ prayer.
It can also be paid before the Eid day but it is not advisable to delay until the performance of Eid prayer. However, if a person has failed to pay on its proper time, he should pay it as soon as possible, whereupon the obligation will stand discharged.
Payment is not necessary on behalf of a child born after the break of dawn on the Eid day nor is it necessary to pay on behalf of a person who dies before the dawn of the Eid day.
Sadaqat Al Fitr should be paid only to a person who is entitled to receive ‘Zakat.’