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The word Fitr means the same as Iftar, breaking a fast and it comes from the same root word as Futur which means breakfast. Thus, Islamically, Zakat ul-Fitr is the name given to charity which is distributed at the end of the fast of Ramadhan.
Ibn Abbas reported,
“The Prophet sallallahu ‘alayhi wa sallam made Zakat ul-Fitr compulsory so that those who fasted may be purified of their idle deeds and shameful talk (committed during Ramadhan) and so that the poor may be fed. Whoever gives it beforeSalah will have it accepted as Zakat, while he who gives it after the Salah has given Sadaqat.”
[Collected by Abu Dawud – Eng. trans. vol. 2, p. 421, no. 1605 – rated Sahih by Shaykh Nasir al-Albani]
Narrated Nafi’: Ibn ‘Umar said,
“The Prophet made incumbent on every male or female, free man or slave, the payment of one Sa’ of dates or barley as Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (or said Sadaqa-Ramadan).” The people then substituted half Sa’ of wheat for that. Ibn ‘Umar used to give dates (as Sadaqat-ulFitr). Once there was scarcity of dates in Medina and Ibn ‘Umar gave barley. ‘And Ibn ‘Umar used to give Sadaqat-ul-Fitr for every young and old person. He even used to give on behalf of my children. Ibn ‘Umar used to give Sadaqatul-Fitr to those who had been officially appointed for its collection. People used to give Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (even) a day or two before the ‘Id.
– Sahih Bukhari Volume 2, Book 25, Number 587