Paying zakat, a charitable tax in Islam, was made obligatory in the second year after Hijrah of Prophet Mohammed (pbuh) to Madina. The term zakat is an Arabic word, meaning “to purify” or “to grow.” Hence, it is a patent statement for those who are reluctant in paying zakat, that the tax paid in the way of Islam would be returned multiple times over by Allah, and shall purify wealth. Payment of zakat is one of the five pillars of Islam, and has some rules and regulations to be looked upon before any payment is made.
The Nisab of zakat is the minimum value of per year annual income, specifically 2.5% of a personal earning, excluding possessions such as furniture or clothes.
What is the right time to pay zakat? Some Muslims consider paying zakat on the incorrect day or time can make the payment illegal or worthless, and the alms must be given all over again. The issue was put forward in ijma and the solution came soon afterwards. Muslims consider the month of Ramadan as the best possible time to pay their alms, for the month is to develop a feeling of humanity and brotherhood among Muslims, and come closer to Allah Almighty, in any aspect possible. Nonetheless, Muslims get confused regarding the exact day to give zakat. Hopefully the article below would solve some of the questions of whoever carry the same issue.
Scholars say that zakat-ul-fitr can be paid one or two days before or after Eid-ul-Fitr, while some have the opinion that zakat shall be paid at any day during the month, on the condition that it must not get delayed after the celebration of Eid-ul-Fitr. Therefore, zakat can be paid on the first day of Ramadan or on the 30th. However, to tackle the issue into more detailed explanation, the scholars listed five permissible timings:
Zakat is allowed to be paid one or two days before Eid-ul-Fitr.
Zakat is allowed to be paid on any day from the middle of Ramadan till the end of the month.
Zakat is allowed to be paid on any day possible from the first day of Ramadan till the end of the month (or until Eid-ul-Fitr)
Zakat is allowed to be paid on any day from the start of a new year in general
Zakat is not allowed to be paid just before the day of Eid-ul-Fitr.
Islam made payment of zakat obligatory on all Muslims to feel the needs of the poor, or to make their day of Eid a happy one. Islam abhors hoarding of money and being too materialistic. Zakat serves many purposes; keeping the soul of Muslim pleasant and saving him from burying himself in a temporary homeland.
Hence, though scholars and narrators of hadiths may have put forward a suitable time and day for payment of zakat as seen from the time of Prophet (pbuh), it must be kept in mind that the needs of a poor does not confine to a single month only. Zakat should be paid with a sincere heart and mind, regardless of how and when. The only thing nagging a Muslim’s mind must be the difficulties a poor fellow Muslim suffers, and the alms must be paid for the love of Allah and His Creation. Pay zakat whenever you feel like helping a poor and serving a portion of the huge amount you are blessed with; even if it is after a day of Eid-ul-Fitr!
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