Giving Out the Value Instead of Food in Expiation
Fatwa No: 390283

  • Fatwa Date:20-1-2019 - Jumaadaa Al-Oula 14, 1440
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Question

Asalamo aleikoum. I have many oaths to pay but the problem is that I do not know exactly the price for each poor. I live in Algeria and I do not have a family that I feed as Im not married so how can I know the price for each poor. I know that the best thing is to give it as food and not cash but there is an imam who takes the job of feeding peopl so you give him the money and he will feed the poor that why I ask about the price. Some said me 1000 Algerian dinars (10 poor) other between 1500 and 2000 dinars (10 poor) and other said me around 3000 dinars at least (10 poor) which is a lot of money , specially if I have a lot of oaths to pay. Please scholars tell me how can I know the price for 10 poor or for one poor and then I multiple the price per 10. Barak Allahu fikoum

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The amount of feeding a single poor person in expiation for breaking an oath is one Mudd, according to the view of the majority of the scholars. This is approximately equals 750 grams of rice, or the corresponding staple food of the country. However, some jurists are of the view that the amount of feeding is two Mudds of the staple food of the country and not one Mudd. Two Mudds equal approximately 1.5 kg.

The Fiqh Encyclopedia reads:

The Maaliki, Shaafi'i and Hanbali Schools are of the view that it is a condition (for a person) to give every poor person one Mudd from the staple food of the country. It is not permissible to give out the value of food pursuant to the verse that reads (what means): {So its expiation is the feeding of ten needy people from the average of that which you feed your [own] families…} [Quran 5:89] [..] Nonetheless, the Hanafi School holds the opinion that it is a condition to give each poor person two Mudds, i.e. half a Saa’ of wheat, or one Saa’ of dates or barley, or its equivalent value in the form of money or tradeable items, because the purpose is to fulfill the need, and this can be achieved by the value.” [End of quote]

We don't see any harm on you in acting according to either of the two views, but acting according to the first view in giving out food instead of the value is safer. However, if you want to give out the value (of the food) instead of the food itself based on the Hanafi School’s view, then you should give out an amount of money that is equivalent of two Mudds and not one Mudd, as this is what is sufficient according to them.

For more benefit, please refer to Fataawa 356647, 363859, 281335, 332884, and 105269.

Allah knows best.

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