Question: Is it permissible to discharge Zakaatul-Fitr in money? – with mention of the evidences
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Answer: Zakaatul-Fitr is not permissible except (to be paid) from FOOD. And it is not allowed to discharge its value in money. This is because the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) made it obligatory (to be discharged) from a saa’ of dates or a saa’ of barley. Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudree [radhiyallaahu ‘anhu] said: “We used to discharge it (Zakaatul-Fitr) in the time of the Prophet [sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam] as a saa’ of FOOD…)”.( Bukhaaree 2:582) Therefore, it is not lawful for anyone to discharge Zakaatul-Fitr from money (dirhams) or clothing or household furnishings. Instead, that which is obligatory is to discharge it in what Allaah has made obligatory on the tongue of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam). There is no consideration (weight) for the Istihsaan [viewing of something to be good, without basis from the legal sources of Qur’aan and Sunnah] of those of the people who viewed the giving of money as a good thing. The Law (Sharee’ah) does not follow (i.e. it is not secondary to) the opinions of people. No, it (the Law) is from the One Who is Wise, Knowing -Allaah (subhaanahu wa-ta’aala) – The Mighty, The Glorious, The Most Knowing, The Most Wise. So, if that which has been made obligatory by the tongue of Muhammad r is a saa’ of food, then it is not permissible to bypass (skip over) that, no matter what our intellects make us to view as being good. Instead, it is a must that the human being question and suspect his intellect and views if it conflicts with, or contradicts, the law of Allaah.
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen fatwaonline.com