Is it permissible to discharge Zakaatul-Fitr from meat?

Question: Is it permissible to discharge Zakaatul-Fitr from meat? Some of the desert dwellers don’t have food to distribute for Zakaatul-Fitr, so is it permissible for them to slaughter some of their animals and distribute it to the poor?
*Please appropriately reference this fatwa to:, thankyou!*
Answer: This is not correct, because the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) made it obligatory to give one saa’ of food, while meat is measured by weight (not by volume). Ibn ‘Umar (radhi-yallaahu ‘anhumaa) said: “The Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) made obligatory the Zakaatul-Fitr as a saa’ of dates or a saa’ of barley…”(Bukhaaree 2:579). And Abu Sa’eed al-Khudree (radhi-yallaahu ‘anhu) said: “We used to discharge it (Zakaatul-Fitr) in the lifetime of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) as a saa’ of food, and our food was dates, and barley, and raisins and cottage cheese “(Bukhaaree 2:582). For this reason, the strongest opinion of the sayings of the scholars is that Zakaatul-Fitr is not fulfilled by paying (distributing of) money, nor clothing, nor furnishings (furniture). There is no weight to the sayings of those who say that Zakaatul-Fitr is fulfilled by payment of money; this being so because as long as we have in front of us a text of the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) then there is no opinion (in the matter) after his, nor accepting as good what the intellect considers good while negating the Law (the Qur’aan and Sunnah). Allaah (subhaanahu wa-ta’aala) will not ask us about the opinion of so and so on the day of Resurrection. He will only question us about the saying of the Messenger (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) as in His (Allaah’s (subhaanahu wa-ta’aala)) saying: }And ( remember) the Day (Allaah) will call to them and say: what answer gave you to the Messengers? { [Soorah al-Qasaas, Aayah 65]. Just imagine yourself standing before Allaah on the day of Resurrection while it had been made obligatory on you to fulfill the payment of Zakaatul-Fitr from Food. Will it be possible, if you are asked on the day of Resurrection: How did you answer the Messenger of Allaah [sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam] in reference to the obligation of this charity? Will it be possible for you to defend yourself and say: By Allaah! this is the opinion of so and so, and this is the opinion of such and such? The answer: No! and even if you said that, it would not benefit you (at all). The truth, without doubt, is that Zakaatul-Fitr is not accepted except from FOOD; and any food which is the staple food of the country fulfills this obligation. If you see the opinions of the scholars in this issue, you will see that they are on two extremes and one in the middle. One (extreme) side says: Pay it (Zakaatul-Fitr) from food or pay it from cash (money). The other (extreme) side says: Don’t pay it from money, and don’t pay it from food except five types only, that is : wheat, dates, barley, raisins, cottage cheese. These two opinions are the extreme opposite of each other. As for the middle opinion, it says : Pay it (Zakaatul-Fitr) from every food which the people are fed from, and not from that which the people are not fed from. So, pay it from wheat, dates, rice, pearl millets (dukhn), corn – and whatever is similar to that, – even to the extent if we accepted the idea that there is a place where the staple food of the people is meat, then we would pay it from meat. Based on this, it becomes clear that what the questioner mentioned about the people of the desert giving meat in place of (a saa’ of those staple items which are normally given as) Zakaatul-Fitr, does not fulfill the obligation of Zakaatul-Fitr.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen

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