Question: Is it an authentic Hadith that says: “The Sawm (Fasting) of Ramadan is not raised (to Allah) until Zakat-ul-Fitr (obligatory charity paid before the Festival of Breaking the Fast) is paid”? Is Zakat-ul-Fitr obligatory on a fasting Muslim who is needy and does not have the Nisab (the minimum amount on which Zakah is due) based on the authenticity of the previous Hadith or other Islamic textual evidence authentically reported from the Prophet (peace be upon him)?
Answer: Zakat-ul-Fitr is obligatory on every Muslim who should be self-supporting if he has one Sa‘ (1 Sa‘ = 2.172 kg) or more in excess of his and his family’s need on the day and night of ‘Eid-ul-Fitr (the Festival of Breaking the Fast). This is based on the Hadith authentically reported on the authority of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah be pleased with them both) who said: The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) enjoined the payment of one Sa‘ of dates or one Sa‘ of barley as Zakat-ul-Fitr on every Muslim slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people go out to offer ‘Eid Prayer.
(Related by both Al-Bukhari and Muslim and the wording is that of Al-Bukhari)
Moreover, Abu Sa‘id Al-Khudry (may Allah be pleased with him) is reported to have said: We used to pay Zakat-ul-Fitr as one Sa‘ of food, or one Sa‘ of dried dates, or one Sa‘ of barley, or one Sa‘ of raisins, or one Sa‘ of curd during the lifetime of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). (Related by both Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
It will also suffice to discharge the obligation by giving a Sa‘ of the local staple food such as rice and the like. Sa‘ here means the Sa‘ of the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him), which is four handfuls scooped up with the two hands of an average built man. Accordingly, a person who does not pay Zakat-ul-Fitr is sinful and has to make up for it. With regard to the Hadith you have mentioned, we know nothing to the effect of its authenticity.
We ask Allah to guide you and to make our words and deeds and yours righteous.
May Allah grant us success! May blessings and peace be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family and Companions!