We were walking to the Masjidil Haram that night. Everywhere people walked into the same direction. We then stopped at a small post near Zamzam Tower. There stood a small post looks like a mushroom that many people lined up. Indian, Pakistani, Egyptian, Indonesian etc; All come to pay the zakat fithri. We do not submit staples like rice or wheat; Just hand over 20 Saudi real in exchange for a proof of zakat payment.
Zakat fithri or fithrah is a charity due to the allowance to eat after the end of Ramadan. It was required in year 2 of Hijrah at the same time of the obigation to fast in Ramadan.
The purpose of this charity is to sanctify the fasting person while feeding the poor, as narrated from Abdullah ibn Abbas,
و عن ابن عباس رضي الله عنهما قال: فرض رسل الله صلى الله عليه و سلم زكاة الفطر طهرة لصاءم من اللغو و الرفث و طعمة للمساكين, فمن أداها قبل الصلاة فهي زكاة مقبولة, و من أداها بعد الصلاة فهي صدقة من الصدقات. رواه أبو داود وابن ماجح, و صحه “Narated by Abdullah ibnu Abbas radhiyallahu anhu, he said: The Messenger of Allah peace be upon him obliged zakat fithrah to cleanse the fasting from the vanity and the dirty words and feed the poor. Whoever performs zakat fitrah before id prayer then the zakat will be received by Allah. And whoever performs it after the id prayer then it becomes alms. “(Narrated by Abu Dawud and Ibn Majah) judged as shahih (valid) by Al-Hakim.
It is possible in our own country to pay zakat fitri at dawn before id prayer; As for Makkah is difficult. Even to get into the Grand Mosque we have to start moving since midnight. If you walk in the road after dawn then you will find out severa thousands of people have been sitting on the highway along one kilometer or more. For those who late even more, then get ready to pray on the hill.
Specifically the foods that can be used to pay Zakat fitri are dates, wheat, dry grapes, or cheese. However, other staple foods such as rice can be used as long as the dosage is appropriate, Allah know best. Abu Said Al-Khudri told us about the way companions pay zakat fithrah,
وَ عَن أَبِي سَعِدٍ الخُدْرِيِّ رَضِيَ اللهُ عَنهُ قَالَ: كُنَّا نُعْطِيْهَا فِي زَمَانِ النَّبِيِّ صلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَ سَلَّمَ صَاعًا مِن طَعَامٍ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِن تَمْرٍ، أَو صَاعًا مِن شَعِيْرٍ، أَو صَاعًا مِن زَبِيْبٍ. مُتَّفَقٌ عَلَيْهِ. زَفِي رِوَايَةٍ: أَو صَاعاً مِن أَقِطَ.
“Narated by Abu Said Al-Khudi radhiyallahu anhu, he said: We pay zakat fithrah at the time of the Prophet peace upon him one sha ‘(equivalent to 2.75 liters) of food, one sha’ of dates, one sha’ of wheat, and one sha’ of dried grape. ” (HR Muttafaq alaihi/ the hadith’ scholars agreed that this hadith are narated by Imam Al-Bukhair and Imam Muslim from the same companion). In one history, “or one sha of ‘cheese.”
 Sunan Abu Dawud (no. 1609). Refer to Kitab Syarah Bulughul Maram chapter Zakat Fithri.
 Bukhari (1508) and Muslim (985)
 Bukhari (1506)