Zakat al-Fitr is a kind of charity (sadaqah) that is obligatory at the time of breaking the fast of Ramadan. The word zakaat is connected by idaafah (genitive structure in Arabic grammar) to fitr because the occasion of breaking the fast is the reason why this zakaat becomes obligatory.
Reasons for zakaat al-fitr and what Islam says about it Ibn âAbbaas said: âThe Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made zakaat al-fitr obligatory as a means of purifying the fasting person from idle talk and foul language, and to feed the poor. Whoever pays it before the prayer, it is an accepted zakaat, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it is just a kind of charity (sadaqah).â (Reported by Abu Dawood, 1371. Al-Nawawi said: Abu Dawood reported it from Ibn âAbbaas with a hasan isnaad).
âPurifyingâ means purifying the soul of the one who has fasted Ramadaan. With regard to the word âfoul languageâ, Ibn al-Atheer said: â âFoul languageâ refers to obscene speech. âFeeding [the poor]â refers to food that is edible. âWhoever pays it before the prayerâ means before Salaat al-âEid. âIt is an accepted zakaatâ â here zakaat means sadaqat al-fitr. âJust a kind of charityâ means a kind of charity that could be given at any time.â (âAwn al-Maâbood Sharh Abi Dawood).