From the news desk

Small rise in fidya and fitrah for Ramadan

Muslims will see a nominal increase in Fidyah and Fitrah in Ramadan this year. The Muslim Judicial Council (MJC) made the announcement on Wednesday, with just ten days to the sacred month of fasting. In a statement, the MJC said fitrah will now cost R40, the value of 3 kilos of rice. Fidyah is earmarked at R10, equal to one kilogram of rice.

The objective of fitrah is to ensure that every Muslim is free from want on the auspicious day of Eid-ul-Fitr.

Fidyah is a daily compensation that must be paid by those unable to fast due to pregnancy or ill health. The MJC has recommended that pregnant or breastfeeding mothers pay fitrah in kind, rather than cash. Efforts should be made to pay it personally in the staple food and preferably earlier in the month of Ramadan as opposed to later.

The need for fitrah and fidyah in impoverished communities in Cape Town has been underscored by the current drought and rising inflation. The water shortage in the Cape has sharply increased the cost of basic food, making it difficult for many household to survive.

Research conducted by the Pietermaritzburg Agency for Community Social Action (Pacsa) shows food security is a major concern in South Africa. Pacsa regularly tracks the affordability of food and other essential household requirements for working class households, taking into account low wages, social grants and high levels of unemployment.

The Pacsa food basket of 36 basic foods showed a 10% increase or R198.96 over the past year to R2,068.35 in March 2017.

In light of the rising cost of living, ulema have stressed that the fitrah and fidyah amount is a “bare minimum” and those who can afford may increase the number according to their means. VOC

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