Should the food given as zakat al-fitr be given in a cooked or raw state? For example, should we weigh rice when it is cooked or when it is raw?
Praise be to Allah.
Zakat al-fitr should be given in the form of raw grains, not cooked, because of the hadith of Ibn ‘Umar (may Allah have mercy on him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) enjoined zakat al-fitr – one sa‘ of dates or one sa‘ of barley – on the Muslims, slave and free, male and female, young and old, and instructed that it should be given before going out to the prayer.
Narrated by al-Bukhari (1503) and Muslim (984).
Al-Bukhari (1510) narrated that Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri (may Allah be pleased with him) said: At the time of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), we used to give a sa‘ of food on the day of Fitr. Abu Sa’eed said: And our food was barley, raisins, aqit (dried yoghurt) and dates.
That which is measured in sa‘s is grains; as for cooked food, it is not measured or stored, so it is not acceptable as zakah.
It says in ar-Rawd al-Murbi‘, p. 215: What is required as zakat al-fitr is a sa‘ – or four mudds – of wheat or barley, or the flour or sawiq that is made from them, meaning the sawiq of wheat or barley, which is what is baked, then ground. The flour or sawiq is to be measured in the same manner as the grain. Or one sa‘ of dates, raisins or aqit, which is made of yoghurt, [may be given as zakat al-fitr], because of the words of Abu Sa‘id al-Khudri: We used to give zakat al-fitr, when the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) was among us, a sa‘ of food or a sa‘ of barley or a sa‘ of dates or a sa‘ of raisins or a sa‘ of dried yoghurt. Agreed upon.
The best is dates, then raisins, then wheat, then then barley, then wheat or barley flour, then wheat or barley sawiq, then dried yoghurt. If the five mentioned are not available, then any grain that is used as a staple food, or any fruit that is used as a staple food, is acceptable, such as corn, rice, lentils, or dried figs.
It is not acceptable to give spoiled food – such as that which is infested with worms, wet or so old that its taste has changed.
It is also not acceptable to give bread, because it cannot be measured or stored. End quote.
It is not permissible to give zakat al-fitr in the form of cooked rice; rather it must be given in the form of grains of uncooked rice.
And Allah knows best.