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DOHA: With the sighting of the crescent moon the month-long fast of Ramadan will be over, and on the first day of Shawwal (tomorrow), ‘Eid Al Fitr’ will be celebrated in Qatar and other parts of the world.
People of other faiths, especially those with limited interaction with Muslims know little about Eid Al Fitr. They know that Muslims on the day wear new clothes, offer special prayers and eat sweets. But the day has much more significance for them which is rarely talked about.
Before celebrating Eid Al Fitr, Muslims, who have the means to do so, are required to give Zakat Al Fitr (charity) one Saa` of food (about QR15) for each member of the family at the end of the fasting to the poor.
The main purpose of Zakat Al Fitr is to provide the poor with the means with which they can also celebrate the festival along with the rest of the Muslims.
This can be called a levy on the fasting person from Allah based on the Hadith of the Prophet (PBUH): “The fasting of the month of fasting will be hanging between earth and heavens and it will not be raised up to the Divine Presence without paying the Zakat Al Fitr.”
Apart from helping the poor and the needy, this is also a prescribed way to atone for inadvertent indecent act or speech during the fasting month. By paying Zakat Al Fitr, Muslims thank Allah for having enabled them to observe the obligatory fast during the holy month.
According to Muslims’ belief, Ramadan is the month of Allah in which many significant events took place, including the beginning of the revelation of the Holy Quran to Prophet Muhammad (PBUH). The Muslims, during the holy month of Ramadan, thank Allah for the Holy Book and all that He has given to Mankind such as food, water, air, sun and all the other living and non-living things, by abstaining from food, drink, smoking and sexual activities from dawn to dusk and devote themselves to prayer.