Assalamu‘alaikum SS Datuk Mufti. I eat RM5/kg rice. Does that mean I have to pay my zakat fitrah according to the rice I eat? However, the government has set the zakat fitrah as RM7. How much should I pay for my zakat fitrah?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
Zakat fitrah is an annual obligation for every Muslim. From Ibn Umar R.Anhuma, he said:
فَرَضَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ زَكَاةَ الفِطْرِ صَاعًا مِنْ تَمْرٍ، أَوْ صَاعًا مِنْ شَعِيرٍ عَلَى العَبْدِ وَالحُرِّ، وَالذَّكَرِ وَالأُنْثَى، وَالصَّغِيرِ وَالكَبِيرِ مِنَ المُسْلِمِينَ، وَأَمَرَ بِهَا أَنْ تُؤَدَّى قَبْلَ خُرُوجِ النَّاسِ إِلَى الصَّلاَةِ
“The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) enjoined the payment of one sa” of dates or one sa' of barley as Zakat-ul-fitr on every Muslim, slave or free, male or female, young or old, and he ordered that it be paid before the people went out to offer the 'Id prayer.’”
Sahih al-Bukhari (1503)
According to scholars of mazhab Syafi’e, the sound opinion regarding the amount payable for zakat fitrah is in accordance with غالب قوت البلد (the staple food for the majority of the citizen). Refer al-Majmu` Syarh al-Muhazzab by Imam al-Nawawi (6/132).
In the fatwa gazetted in Federal Territories issued on 9th June 1994, the Mufti of Federal Territories has agreed on the following:
- Setting the amount payable for zakat fitrah starting from the year 1994 depends on the average price for the rice available on the market.
- Agreed that the average price of all the rice available as the basis of setting the price of 1 kilogram of rice.
During the 57th Muzakarah of Fatwa Committee of National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia on 10th June 2003, it has been decided that the amount for zakat fitrah in Peninsular Malaysia depends on the price of local Super Tempatan ‘A’ Grade rice from BERNAS, according to one Baghdad’s sa’, which is equivalent to 2.60 kg.
The price of zakat fitrah for Sabah and Sarawak depends on the current local rice price decided by BERNAS, according to the price of Vietnam White rice in Sarawak for one Baghdad’s sa’ which is approximately 2.70kg.
Approaching Ramadhan, Sharia’h Council or States’ Fatwa Council will decide the price of rice to be considered as zakat fitrah according to the province, type or grade of rice eaten by the society. Then, the price will be decided, taking into consideration the amount of one sa’ of the rice which is approximately 2.60 kg. 
The 99th Federal Territories of Islamic Legal Consultative Committee Meeting on November 30, 2016 at Dewan Syura Perdana, has discussed the "Proposal for Zakat Fitrah Rate Determination in Federal Territory of Kuala Lumpur, Putrajaya and Labuan for the Year 1438H / 2017M". The meeting considered and reviewed this proposal and noted the following:
- Zakat fitrah is zakat badaniah which was sanctioned on the second hijrah and is an obligation for every Muslim before the Eid prayer.
- The Islamic Legal Consultative Committee for Federal Territories decided that zakat fitrah is payable using rice or the equivalent value in cash. This decision is in line with the fatwa issued by Fatwa Committee of the National Council for Islamic Religious Affairs Malaysia, where zakat fitrah is payable with rice or cash.
- The amount for zakat fitrah for the year 2017 is decided according to the following factors:
- - The type of food used to determine the price of the zakat because it is the staple food of Malaysia. According to the research conducted by BERNAS, Beras Super Special Tempatan 5% is the rice eaten by the majority of Malaysians compared to the rice of other grades.
- - The price of 1 kilogram of Beras Super Special Tempatan 5% is RM2.60 multiplied with 2.70 kg which equals to RM7.02. Thus, the total amount is rounded off to RM7.00.
The committee discussed this matter and decided the rate of zakat fitrah for the year 1438H or 2017M for the Federal Territories of Kualal Lumpur, Putrajaya, and Labuan which is RM7.00.
Thus, it is clear that the rate for zakat fitrah is not solely in accordance with the type of food of an individual. Consequently, it is in accordance with the average price of rice for a state.
 1 sa’ according to the syarak or the calculation in Baghdad is 4 mud, which is equivalent to 5 1/3 ratal or 4 handfuls. The weight is 7585 dirham or 2.57 liter or 2176 g. This is the opinion of Imam al-Syafie, the Hijaz jurists and the companions determine it as 1 1/3 ratal Iraqi. While for mazhab Hanafi and the jurists of Iraq, one sa’ is 8 ratal with 1 mud equivalent to 2 ratal, or 3800 g for one sa’. Another famous opinion states that one sa’ is equivalent to 2751 g. Wallahua’lam. Refer al-Fiqh al-Islami wa Adillatuh(1/142) by Syeikh Wahbah al-Zuhaili Rahimahullah.