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BISMILLAHIR RAHMANIR RAHEEM
Certainly, all the gratitude is due to Allah, the Lord and the Sustainer of the Universe, who raised the ferment without pillars in its stand and stretched out the ground as though a bed. We seek His refuge from the evil of our own actions. Indeed! There is none to worship except Allah and our Beloved Muhammad is His Messenger. May the peace and Blessings of Allah be enshrouded unto Him, his household and Companions, which will endure until the Day of certainty, Amin
Zakatul-Fitr is an obligation of our Beloved Muhammad ﷺ. In his lifetime, he will make sure that each an every one among his Sahaba has given out his Zakatul-Fitr before attending the Eid-ul-Fitr prayers. Considering how important and relevant it is to Muslims and a reason for the acceptance of their Fasting, the Prophet of Allah peace be upon him never expected that a Muslim will go through the Fasting period without giving out his Zakatul-Fitr.
However, there is a lot we don’t understand about Zakatul-Fitr, it’s motive and the bounties it carries. Allah grants us understanding as we go through this research and education, Amin.
THE REASON BEHIND THE INTRODUCTION OF ZAKATUL-FITR
The Prophet ﷺ lived his entire life with a greater sense of care and empathy for the less privileged. How would it have sounded if we wake up the first day of Shawwal; which is definitely the Eid-ul-Fitr day and only to find out that four or five houses in our neighborhood are celebrating the Eid-ul-Fitr in the nothingness of meal? Not even a plate of food to feel happy about. The day of Eid(happiness) would have beared its name ironical. Of course, many families would have been living in sadness and un delight glee. Subhanallah!
Hence, Zakatul-Fitr was introduced to help the poor and needy who are living in a crippling legacy of poverty to also get something to feed themselves and those under their care. This will help them live with happiness and elation for at least the Day of Eid.
THE OBLIGATION OF ZAKATUL-FITR
Zakatul-Fitr is undoubtedly an obligation, ordained on us by our Beloved Muhammad ﷺ. The obligation is enshrouded unto every Muslim; male and female, young and grown, free and slave. As in the report of Abdullahi Ibn Umar may Allah be pleased with him. He said: ” the Messenger of Allah obligated Zakatul-Fitr, Sâ’an(a measuring bowl which weighs about 3kg quantity of food) of Tamr(dates) or Sâ’an of Sha’er(flour) on slaves and sons, males and females, young and old among Muslims, and he ordered that it should be given before going for Eid-Salat.”
Also in another narration, he said: “Verily, the Messenger ﷺ has obligated Zakatul-Fitr, Sâ’an of dates or Sâ’an of flour on to every son or slave, male or female among Muslims.”
With these, we get to appreciate that Zakatul-Fitr is an obligation to every Muslim, whether he did Fast or not. The obligation goes to encompass even the newborn baby of a family. But does it mean the baby is going to remove for himself? Not at all! The responsibility is hanged unto the neck of his parents or guardians. Allah grants us understanding.
THE BEST TIME TO GIVE OUT ZAKATUL-FITR
Scholars have had diverse views on the exact time or day to give Zakatul-Fitr. Some scholars are of the view that Zakatul-Fitr should be given three days before the Eid and others said a day or two before Eid. Making reference to the Hadith which said: “Abdullahi Ibn Umar and others used to give Zakatul-Fitr a day or two before Eid.” 
Despite the divergent opinions of scholars, there is no single school of taught which says you should give out Zakatul-Fitr after the Eid. Otherwise, the motive behind the obligation would seize to bear its picture. It’s to enable the poor striking destitute to get and feed on something before they go for Eid-Salat; because that is the Day of Fitr(breakfast). Hence,a person breaking his Fast should have something to feed on at least.
It’s reported from same Abdullahi Ibn Umar may Allah be pleased with him,he said: “the Messenger of Allah SAW ordered that Zakatul-Fitr should be given before people leave for Eid-Salat.” 
THE PROCEDURE FOR GIVING ZAKATUL-FITR
Zakatul-Fitr is though an obligation to every Muslim, but the obligation goes further to mount on others based on the responsibility that exist on such an individual. Which is to say: every guardian is supposed to give the Zakatul-Fitr per the number of heads under his/her care. A father is responsible for giving Zakatul-Fitr per the number of children and wives that lives under his care. A brother who plays the role of a father should also give on behalf of the siblings under his care. And the likes.
In giving out the Zakatul-Fitr, you count the number of people under your care and measure the food quantity per the heads counted, using the measuring tool mentioned earlier; the Sâ’an or any other measuring container that will contain like it(a three-kilogram measure of food quantity). Which means; if you are giving for three people, you will measure 3 bowls plus you(1 more bowl) which will be four, in that order.
WHAT EXACTLY SHOULD YOU GIVE?
It is most preferable you give out the food that is most used in your locality on Eid Day. Ranging from the Prophetic dates and flour, rice, maize, millet, and the likes. Do not give out something that is not mostly or even used in your locality as the person given that would just be wondering what he will do with it.
In some parts of Middle-East where dates and flour are mostly used,it is preferable you give it(the dates or flour). Also in most places in Africa; rice and maize are used,hence you give it as such and based on your capability.
You are at liberty to give Zakatul-Fitr using farm reserved and or freshly bought food. You are only cautioned not to give spoiled and unwanted food. Let’s have our ears keenly attuned to the saying of Allah in the Qur’an: “by no means shall you attain Allah’s Reward unless you spend(in Allah’s Cause) of that you love;and whatever of good you spend, Allah knows it well.”