Muslims all over the world will distribute at least $15 billion at the end of the month of fasting under the obligation of Zakat-ul-Fitr.
So let's examine what is Zaka-ul-Fitr.
It is a fixed amount of money every Muslim including the unborn babied (conceived) has to pay before the end of the Eid prayers, that marks the end of the month of fasting.
Ibn Umar reported that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) prescribed the payment of Zakat-ul-Fitr of Ramadan for people, for every freeman, or slave, male and female among the Muslims-one saa of dried dates, or one saa of barley. (Sahih Muslim, Book 12, Hadith 16)
One saa of barley or dried dates is between 2.5 kg to 3 kg. In the US, the cost of 3 kg of barley is 11 dollars for regular and about $35.00 for organic. The cost of dried dates is about $15.00 for regular and $35 or more for organic.
It is obligatory upon every Muslim to pay Zakat-ul Fitr before the end of the Eid prayers. Even though some scholars say that it can be paid before the end of the Eid day.
Most masajid and Islamic Centers calculate the amount of zakat ul Fitr to be between $12 to $15.00
Implied in this obligation is the assertion that Zakat-ul-Fitr is to be distributed before the Eid Prayer. Usually, in Islamic Centers and masajid in the US, this does not happen. The amount of money collected during the Eid prayers for Zakat ul Fitr is counted after the prayers, deposited and then distributed. Often, this might take days and weeks before it is distributed.
Zakat-ul-Fitr is different than Zakat ul Mal in terms of payment and time of payment. It is the same for all, and no one is exempt from it, and it has to be paid and distributed before Eid prayers.
In order to follow the Sunnah of the prophet for this obligatory payment
The Prophet of Allah said, "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."
It is also paid to purify those who fast from any indecent act or speech and to help the poor and needy.
It is paid to the same categories of people and institutions as mentioned in Surat Al-Tawbah, [9: 60] for the regular zakat on accumulated wealth. They include:
1. the poor
2. the needy,
3. collectors of Zakah,
4. reconciliation of hearts,
5. freeing from bondage
7. in a cause of God
8. the traveler.
Under the present system of collection, the Zakat-ul-Fitr cannot be disbursed instantly at least in the US and other Western Countries. In order to distribute it before Eid, Muslims need to bring about change in the collection of Zakat-ul-Fitr
1. Every Institution should have special collection boxes and account for Zakat-ul-Fitr
2. The institution should mark a deadline for this collection.
3. They should calculate and deposit the collection instantly and distribute it before the Eid prayers either to individuals or institutions.
4. They should advertise in advance so that the qualified people can apply.
5. The whole process should be transparent, and the privacy of the recipient should be preserved.