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Does food given as kaffara need to cooked?

Question:

What do the scholars and experts of shariah say regarding the food given as a kaffara? Does the food need to be cooked or uncooked?

Answer:

All perfect praise is for Allah ﷻ, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah ﷻ, and that Prophet Muhammad ﷺ is His Messenger.

The majority of the Fuqaha have made it a condition to make the poor person the owner of the food which has been given as a kaffara. Simply giving permission or access to the food is not sufficient. However, according to the ahnaf, if the poor are invited to eat the food in the morning and evening, and they have clear access to the food, then this will fulfil the condition of making them owners.

The evidence for this is that the word It’aam (feeding), linguistically means making it possible for someone to have access to the food. As we find in the Holy Qur’an: “…the same food as you would typically feed your family.” (Surah al-Maida: 89) Family members are given permission and accessibility to the food; they are not literally made the owners of the food.

The food given as kaffara can be cooked or uncooked. However, it is preferred to give dry uncooked food.

And Allah ﷻ knows best.

This fatwa is written by Dr. Hafiz Muhammad Munir Al-Azhari