Question # 78: I have fixed the first week of Ramadan for paying Zakat. But supposing if I have some Zakatable asset as at this date which has not completed one year, should I still pay Zakat on this? If not, let’s say if the Zakatable asset completes one year some other time of the year (not in Ramadan), and by the time, its first week of Ramadan, I do not own that asset anymore. So am I required to pay on that asset, and if yes, when?
bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,
Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,
All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).
First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.
Shorter Answer: If the money/wealth reaches nisab, and one year has passed, i.e. a lunar (hijri) year from the date of such attainment, then zakah becomes due at that point in time. However, if one wants to pay its zakah in advance i.e., before the end of the lunar year (in your case in the first week of Ramadan), there is nothing wrong in it.
Long Answer: In order for zakah to be due on money, two conditions must be met:
- That it reaches the nisab (minimum threshold)
- That one year has passed since it reaches the nisab.
If the money is less than the nisab, then no zakah is due on it.
If it reaches the nisab, and one year has passed, i.e. a lunar (hijri) year… since the time when it reached the nisab, then zakah becomes due at that point. [Say, if the] …money …was acquired by different means, such as an inheritance or a gift, or it is the price of something that [was] sold, and so on, then a separate year should be counted for it, starting from the day when [this money was possessed]. [Therefore,] if one wants to pay its zakah… in advance, there is nothing wrong with that [i.e., before the end of the lunar year – in your case, when you usually pay Zakah (in the first week of Ramadan)].
The fatwa of the Standing Committee concerning this issue states:
“With regard to a person who owns money that reaches the nisab then acquires other money at different times which does not stem from the first amount of money, and is rather separate from it, such as the salary that is paid monthly to an employee, or an inheritance, gift or rent paid on property, etc., [then],
- If he insists on having all his rights and on not giving any charity to those who deserve it apart from what he is obliged to give, then he should make a schedule of his earnings and write down every amount and the date on which he took possession of it. Then he should pay zakah for each amount separately when one year has passed from the date on which he took possession of it.
- But if he wants an easier method, and wants to be more generous and give precedence to the poor and others who are entitled to zakah over himself, then he can pay zakah on all the money he possesses when one year has passed from the date when his wealth first reached the nisab. This will bring a greater reward and raise him higher in status; it is easier for him and is more generous towards the poor and needy and others who are entitled to zakah. Whatever extra amount he may pay will be regarded as a “down payment” [advance payment] on the zakah for any wealth for which one year has not yet passed.” (From Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah)
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “As for paying zakah before it is due, that is permissible according to the majority of scholars, such as Abu Hanifah, al-Shafi’i and Ahmad, and it is permissible to pay zakah in advance on livestock and gold and silver, and trade goods, if he owns the nisab (minimum threshold)” (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa)
(The above reply is based on various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on the topic)
Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.