Eid Al Fitr holidays
Muslims around the world have to pay Zakat Al Fitr- an essential charity paid at the end of Ramadan to help the needy. Image Credit: Shutterstock

Dubai: Besides shopping and cooking for Eid Al Fitr, the Islamic festival celebrated at the end of Ramadan, Muslims in the UAE and around the world have to tick an essential box – paying Zakat Al Fitr.

What does Zakat Al Fitr mean?

The religious duty loosely translates as “alms of ending [the fast]”, referring to charity to be given at the end of the fasting month of Ramadan. It should be paid anytime during Ramadan before Eid Al Fitr prayers.

How much has to be given?

The charity that is to be given is around 3kg of the staple food – the commonly consumed basic food – used in the country, such as rice or dates in the UAE.

However, most worshippers nowadays pay cash equal to the price of the 3kg of the foodstuff, which charities use to buy the foodstuff and distribute it to the needy.

For this year, the UAE Fatwa Council has issued a fatwa (religious ruling) unifying the value of Zakat Al Fitr at Dh25 per person.

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Who must pay?

Any Muslim, young or old, rich or poor, who has surplus food over and above his or her daily need, must pay Zakat Al Fitr. The amount is paid on behalf of the breadwinner and each dependent member of the family. So, for example, a working man who has a wife and child must pay Dh25 on his own behalf, another Dh25 on his wife’s behalf, and another Dh25 on his child’s behalf – a total of Dh75.

Why is it given out?

Paying Zakat Al Fitr serves two purposes: it ensures the needy do not go hungry on a day when people are rejoicing for Eid and it serves as an atonement for sins committed while fasting.

When should it be paid?

Zakat Al Fitr must be paid before the Eid prayer. Typically, Muslims pay it a day or two before Eid.

This year, with Eid Al Fitr likely to fall on May 2 (or possibly May 1) in the UAE, is advisable to pay Zakat Al Fitr by April 30.

How can I pay it?

Zakat Al Fitr can be given directly to a needy person, or it can paid registered organisations in the UAE.

It can even be paid online through:

1. DubaiNow

2. Zakat Fund

3. Emirates Red Crescent

4. Beit Al Khair

5. Sharjah Charity International

6. International Charity Organisation

7. Fujairah Welfare Association