Fitrana: Charity before sunrise
I gave the pledge of allegiance to the Prophet for offering prayer perfectly, giving Zakat and giving good advice to every Muslim.(Sahih Bukhari, Chapter 24, 484)
Fitrana, also called as Fitrah or Fitra or Zakat al Fitr, is the obligatory charity that Muslims have to give after the sighting of the Eid moon. Sadaqat al-Fitr is a duty which is wajib (required) of every Muslim, whether male or female, minor or adult as long as they have the means to do so. According to Islamic tradition (Sunnah), Ibn ‘Umar said that the Islamic Prophet Muhammad made Zakat al-Fitr compulsory on every slave, freeman, male, female, young and old among the Muslims; one Saa` of dried dates or one Saa` of barley. The head of the household may pay the required amount for the other members.
Without giving this, their Eid is not complete. It is to remind people that Eid is more about others and less about us. Muslims give Fitrana before Eid to ensure that others around them are in the position to celebrate Eid with them. One cannot be happy celebrating while his neighbour goes hungry.
Ideally, the Fitrana is to be given after sighting the moon for the beginning of month of Shawwal that marks the end of the month of Ramadan. Eid is on the 1st of Shawwal. The Fitrana is to be paid before you pray the Eid prayer but since it isn’t possible to find poor and needy in only a few hours between sunset and dawn, Muslims give Fitrana from the 27th of Ramadan. After giving Fitrana muslims offer Eid prayers i.e. Salat al-Eid and celebrate the festival by breaking the fast, organising feasts and exchanging gifts. Admits the celebration of holy festival of Eid we often forget the essence of it: kindness and charity.