This report outlines the price of wheat in Newham (London) during Ramadan, 1439 (July, 2018) and the subsequent recommendation for the rate of sadaqat al-fitr and fidyah.

The recommended minimum price for sadaqat al-fitr and fidyah in Newham is £2.54. This is based on the retail price for 2.32 kilograms of wheat. It should not be lower than £1.65.

The price is specific to Newham which is often cheaper than other London Boroughs due to a couple of large warehouses.1 If one wants to pay higher, it is their prerogative.

If one were calculating the price of wheat using the median price, they would pay £3.23 for 2 kg and £3.73 for 2.5kg. This seems more in line with the prices stated in the Mosque in the Greater London area.

One may give sadaqat al-fitr anytime during Ramadan and if eligible must pay before Eid Salah. The ruling and recommendation are in accordance to the Hanafi fiqh. People following other approaches should consult their respective scholars.

Rationale

The ahnaf allow for the payment of sadaqat al-fitr in cash.2 This value must be calculated from the retail price of wheat, barley, dates or raisins available in the giver’s locality without incurring an added cost. Hence, bulk or stock market pricing will not suffice unless its value is higher than the local price.

In England, wheat is used as the chosen measure as it is often the cheapest. The ahnaf state that half a sa’ be given for wheat or its value in price.  In principle, the pricing may be done using the derivative of wheat such as flour or cereal so long as it is not cheaper than raw wheat. For a detail discussion, read ‘The standard for pricing sadaqat al-fitr‘ by the erudite shaykh, Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi (may Allah Almighty protect him and raise his rank).

Research by notable muftiyan have suggested differing weights which form the volume of half a sa’; 1.575, 1.590, 1.636, 1.64 and 2.32 kilograms. The majority of scholars opt between 1.5 and 1.7 kg. This is a barley-based measure. Accordingly,  half a sa’ is a volume which can be filled with 1.7 kg of husked barley. Some, citing caution, have chosen 2.32 kg of wheat based on the finding of the Late Mufti A’zam Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi (may Allah have mercy upon him). Mufti Umar Faruq Lawharwi recommends 1.75 kilograms of wheat for sadaqat al-fitr . There is, of course, no restriction in giving more.

Based on the current research, 1.75 kg is a reasonable and objective recommendation which is also relatively cautious.

The reason for opting to choose the higher than 1.6 kg is because barley is denser than wheat. In recent tests, we found the difference to be around 30 to 35 percent. For instance, a container which can hold 1.6kg of husk barley should be able to hold up to 2.1kg of wheat. Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi put the factor closer to 20 percent which is in keeping with Mufti Umar Faruq ‘s suggestion. Hence, when measuring wheat it may be better to use the weight given by Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhyanwi which is 2.32 kg. This is reasonably cautious and in the matter of charity, the Shariah gives that which benefits the poor preference. However, if one chooses to pay with the lower measure it will be permissible.

Currently, the price of wheat flour cannot be used as a measure as it is significantly cheaper than whole wheat in London. One can purchase 1.5kg of wheat flour from Tesco3 for 55p compared to whole wheat, the retail price of which is stated in the table below.

Bulgar wheat if it is the same price or higher than whole wheat, it can be used. However, if it is lower then it may not be used. Generally Bulgar Wheat is more expensive4 except in one or two places.

It is not necessary for the poor to actually buy the wheat but it should be possible for them to buy the wheat if they so chose.

Retail price

I visited most of the groceries in Romford Road, Barking Road, High Street North, High Street South, Plashet Grove, Plashet Road, Katherine Road, Green Street, Upton Lane, and Woodgrange Road. These major roads intersect the electoral wards in Newham which have a significant Muslim population.

I have noted only the price of whole wheat. Note! In some places, whole wheat packaging may be named differently. In Romanian, wheat is ‘gau’.

ShopPriceQuantity£ per KG
Toor Store (Green Street)£1.49500g£2.98
Toor Store (Green Street)£2.491500g£1.66
Swathi Cash & Carry (High St North)£1.791500g£1.20
Swathi Cash & carry (High Street North)£0.79500g£1.58
Smart Shoppers (Katherine Road)£0.99500g£1.98
Seelans Superstores (High St North)£1.991500g£1.33
Seelans Superstores (High St North)£0.89500g£1.78
Sakthi Cash & Carry (High St North)£0.89500g£1.58
Roman Express (Barking Road)£1.391000g£1.39
Mina Store (Romford Road)£1.652000g£0.83
Mina Store (Green Street)£1.652000g£0.83
Mas Bazar (Katherine Road)£1.20500g£2.40
Madina Store (Romford Road)£2.491500g£1.66
Madina Store (Romford Road)£0.79500g£1.58
Kapadokya Food Centre (Romford Road)£1.391000g£1.39
Himalaya Food Store (Katherine Road)£1.00500g£2.00
Hammer Pound Plus (Barking Road)£2.001000g£1.00
Hammer Pound Plus (Barking Road)£1.00500g£1.00
Bereket (Woodgrange Road)£1.691000g£1.69
Barakat (Green Street)£2.791500g£1.86
Barakat (Green Street)£0.99500g£1.98
Ali Cash and Carry (High St North)£1.751500g£1.17
E7 Food Centre (Upton Lane)£1.591000g£1.59
International Food Centre (Romford Road)£1.391000g£1.39
International Food Centre (Romford Road)£0.89500g£1.78
Selva (High Street North)£1.991000g£1.99
Selva (High Street North)£0.99500g£1.98

I have not found any place in the borough where they sell wheat loosely. Rather they are sold in packages of 500g, 1000g, 1500g and 2000g.

So irrespective if one chose the measure 1.575, 1.590, 1.636, 1.64 or 1.75 kg, to actually enable purchase, one will have to give either 1.5kg or 2kg as the exact amount is not available locally. In consideration of the poor, I chose to round upwards.

The cheapest I was able to purchase 2kg was £1.65.

The cheapest I was able to purchase 2.5kg was £2.54

Mina Store sells 2kg for £1.65 and Madina Store sell 500g for £0.79. Both within a short walking distance. This is the cheapest I found. The stores in High Street North and Romford Road (Manor Park) have the best prices.

As a way of comparison. The average price for whole wheat is stated as £1.60 per kilogram of wheat. However, this is extrapolated and is not available in practice. The median is a better measure of average.

  1. The median price of 1.5kg bag of wheat is £2.24. The cheapest being £1.75 in Ali Casand Carry.
  2. The median price of 1kg bag of wheat is £1.49. The cheapest being £1.39 in Kapadokya and International FoE.
  3. The median price of 500g bag of whole wheat is £0.99. The cheapest being £0.79 in Swathi Cash and Carry.

I have chosen not to extrapolate the price. Also, I have not looked at Bulk prices. I have highlighted the reason previously.5

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Muhammad Saifur Rahman Nawhami
22 Ramadan 1439
07 June 2018

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Further Reading

Lawharwi, Mft. Umar Faruq. (2015). The standard for pricing sadaqat al-fitr. (Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman, Trans.). Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 4. Available at http://uloom.com/dibaj/article/150716502

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2012). The economic classes in Islam. Islamic Studies Bulletin (DIBAJ), Issue 1. Available at http://uloom.com/dibaj/article/120811501

Nawhami, Muhammad Saifur Rahman. (2017). The price of wheat in Newham, London – Ramadan, 1438 (2017). Nawhami Bulletin. Available at http://nawhami.com/the-price-of-wheat-in-newham-london-ramadan-1438-ah-2017-ce-170621501

Cite: 180607501

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  1. £2.54 coincides with the price stated by Ummah Welfare Trust. See Ummah Welfare Trust. (2018) Sadaqatul Fitr. .http://www.uwt.org/site/project_details.asp?id=138 (Accessed: 6 June 2018)
  2. This may not be allowed in the other schools of fiqh. Please seek advice from the qualified scholars respectively if you don’t adhere to the Hanafi school.
  3. Tesco (2018) Available at: https://www.tesco.com/groceries/en-GB/products/254917828 (accessed 06 June 2018)
  4. This I found in my observation. Also the big retailers sell bulgar wheat who are generally the cheapest. Also See mymoneysupermaket (2018). Available at http://www.mysupermarket.co.uk/lidl-price-comparison/Rice_Pulses_And_Grain/Tesco_Bulgur_Wheat_500g.html (accessed: 6 June 2018)
  5. See Nawhami, MSR. (2017) ‘The price of wheat in Newham, London – Ramadan, 1438 (2017)’. Nawhami Bulletin. Available at: http://nawhami.com/the-price-of-wheat-in-newham-london-ramadan-1438-ah-2017-ce-170621501/