What is Zakat ul Fitr?
What is Zakat ul Fitr and what are its rulings and how is it different from Zakat ul Mal? Can Zakat ul Fitr be given to any needy person including non-Muslims?
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
Zakah of al Fitr is a special kind of Zakah; it is per person like a toll on persons. It is obligatory of the head of the family (one who spends on it) for the purpose of making the poor happy on the day of Eid. Because it is a Zakah per person, it has a given amount determined by the Shari`ah.
The amount of it is the price of "Sa` " of wheat or date or barley, etc. that is of the main item of food stuff of the society. If you live in America we take the wheat and the Sa` is about 5 pounds (2.27 kg). The price of it in America these days is about 5-6 US$ per each family member including babies and grandparents if they live with you. It must be paid to needy Muslims not non-Muslims because it is related to the occasion of Eid.