Coronavirus – Zakāt Al-Fitr – Shaykh Sulaymān Ar-Ruhaylī (Allāh preserve him)
1. According to the stronger opinion, Zakāt Al-Fitr cannot be given as money.
2. According to the stronger opinion, it is not permissible to give Zakāt Al-Fitr before its prescribed time which is two days before ʿĒīd up until the start of the ʿĒīd prayer.
3. It is better if a person himself gives Zakāt Al-Fitr (to those deserving of it). If the curfew is partial, he should give it during the allowed timings before ʿĒīd by a day or two.
4. If he is not able to give it during the times in which the curfew is lifted or because of a complete lockdown, then in this case he can call the poor person on the phone so that the poor person can authorise him to accept it (on his behalf). He should then accept it on his behalf during the prescribed time (a day or two before ʿĒīd up until the ʿĒīd prayer) with the intention that he is the poor person’s Wakīl (representative), and hold it for him until he can give it to him or get it to him when it is easy to do so.
5. It is permissible to authorise an official and trustworthy charitable organisation at any time to give Zakāt Al-Fitr on your behalf during the prescribed time (a day or two before ʿĒīd up until the ʿĒīd prayer).
6. When authorising, it is better to authorise an official and trustworthy organisation which will give the Zakāh in the country where the one who wishes to give the Zakāh resides. However, it is permissible to give the Zakāh in another country.
7. If a Muslim is not able to give Zakāt Al-Fitr in its prescribed time nor is he able to find someone trustworthy to do so on his behalf during the prescribed time, then Zakāt Al-Fitr remains an obligation upon him, and he is to give it when it becomes easy to do so, and this will be regarded as Zakāt Al-Fitr. That is to say, he has been excused as long as he has kept his duty to Allāh and feared Him as much as he could.
8. After seeking further clarification, the Shaykh also added that in the case that the congregational ʿĒid prayer is not held due to the current circumstances, Zakāt Al-Fitr must be given before a person performs the ʿĒid prayer at home. And if he does not see it permissible to perform the ʿĒid prayer at home, then he must give the Zakāh before the ʿĒid prayer time ends. [The ʿĒid prayer can be performed until Zawāl which is the time when the sun is at its peak or highest position].
Translator: Yasar A. Rahmān