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Yahya related to me from Malik from Nafi that Abdullah ibn Umar would always pay the zakat al-fitr in dates, except once, when he paid it in barley.
وَحَدَّثَنِي عَنْ مَالِكٍ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، أَنَّ عَبْدَ اللَّهِ بْنَ عُمَرَ، كَانَ لاَ يُخْرِجُ فِي زَكَاةِ الْفِطْرِ إِلاَّ التَّمْرَ إِلاَّ مَرَّةً وَاحِدَةً فَإِنَّهُ أَخْرَجَ شَعِيرًا ‏.‏

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References

• Muwatta Imam Malik, Book of Zakat, Hadith 55