By Ajape Sefiu A. 

Zakat and Zakat al-Fitr are both types of charitable giving in Islam, but they serve different purposes and have different rules for calculation and distribution.

However, understanding the differences between these two types of giving is important for Muslims who want to fulfill their religious obligations and make a positive impact on their communities.

In this piece, we will explore the key differences between both types of obligatory donations and why they are important in Islam.


Zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam and is an obligatory form of charity.

It is an annual payment made by Muslims who are able to meet the minimum threshold of wealth known as Nisab.

Zakat is calculated at 2.5% of one’s total wealth, including cash, gold, silver, and other assets, which have been held for at least one year.

The purpose of Zakat is to help those in need and promote social justice. It is typically given to the poor, the needy, and those who are eligible to receive it according to Islamic guidelines.


Zakat-Ul-Fitr is a specific form of charity given to the poor and needy at the end of Ramadan, the month of fasting in Islam.

It is a mandatory charitable donation made by every Muslim, regardless of wealth or status.

Zakat-Ul-Fitr is calculated at a rate of one sale of food per person, which is approximately 3 kg of food. It can be given in the form of cash, but it is traditionally and mostly given in the form of food.

The purpose of Zakat-Ul-Fitr is to ensure that everyone has enough to eat during the EID-EL-FITR celebration at the end of Ramadan.

Differences Between ZAKAT and ZAKAT-UL-FITR 

The main difference between Zakat and Zakat-Ul-Fitr is their timing and purpose.

Zakat is an annual obligation that is paid by Muslims who meet the wealth threshold.

Meanwhile, Zakat-Ul-Fitr is a charitable donation of food that Muslims are obligated to give to the poor and needy at the end of Ramadan.

It aims to ensure that everyone has enough food to celebrate Eid-Ul-Fitr – a day marking the end of the holy month of Ramadan.

Zakat is calculated as a percentage of one’s total wealth, while Zakat-Ul-Fitr is a fixed amount of food or cash per person.

Additionally, Zakat is given to those in need throughout the year, while Zakat-Ul-Fitr is specifically for the celebration of EID-EL-FITR.

However, It is important to know that Zakat-Ul-Fitr must be given to the poor and needy before Eid-Ul-Fitr prayer. It can be given two days to the end of Ramadan, or the day of Eid before prayer.

Any food given to the poor and needy after Eid-ul-Fitr prayer will only count as normal charity and not Zakat-Ul-Fitr.

In summary, while Zakat and Zakat-Ul-Fitr share some similarities in their purpose of charitable giving, they are distinct in their application and timing.