Giving Zakaah in advance.

Question

Assalamu alaikum, I have a question that I would like some guidance please. Can a pensioner give Zakat in advance, in the following situation: the annual Zakat for the pensioner is approximately $7500.00, annually on a diminishing basis, as the only source of income is pension and one’s life savings. The pensioner wants to assist a poor person, in contributing to building a house for him and his family, by giving them $50, 000.00. This will be about seven years of future payments of Zakat. The house is needed now as the family has no place to live. Can this be done with the intention of Zakat?  Jazak Allah khair for your assistance

Answer

بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم

Yes, it is permissible for a person to pay his Zakah in advance, whether it be for a year or for several years, provided that he possesses the Nisaab.

A person usually has an idea of how much Zakat he will pay yearly. However, when a person’s Zakat anniversary arrives, one should check whether the amount paid offsets the total amount due. If there is a deficiency, one must make up difference. If the amount paid in advance is more than what is due, the extra will be forwarded/ advanced to the upcoming year or years. 

Example: If a person, after possessing the Nisaab, paid Zakah in advance of $1,000, thereafter, at the end of his Zakatable Year (anniversary), his net Zakatable assets (after deducting liabilities) amounts to $40,000, the amount of Zakah due will be $1,000 which he advanced earlier in the year and thus he will not have to pay anything further. 

If however, at the end of his Zakatable year, the value of the net Zakatable assets were $44,000 the amount of Zakah due will be $1,100 and thus he will have to pay an $100 extra. Also, if at the end of the Zakatable year, the net Zakatable assets amount to $36,000, the amount of Zakah due will be $900. The extra $100 that was advanced will be for the following Zakatable year.

NB: At the end of the Zakatable year, the advanced Zakah will not be counted as a liability nor as a Zakatable asset.

If a person, after having advanced the payment of his Zakah, falls short of the Nisaab at the end of his Zakatable year, the money advanced will not be regarded as Zakah, not for that particular year nor for the upcoming years (if he were to possess the Nisaab). The amount advanced will be regarded as optional charity.

Example: A person possessing the value of the Nisaab (or more) advances his payment of Zakah anticipating that at the end of his Zakatable year his net Zakatable assets will be approximately $100,0000. He advances $2,500. If however, at the end of his Zakatable year, his Net Zakatable assets fall below the Nisaab, the advanced amount ($2,500) will be regarded as optional charity and not Zakah. Similarly, if he were to possess the Nisaab once again, the $2,500 will not be regarded as advanced Zakah and would thus the amount due would have to be paid again.

With regards to your specific case, if you normally pay Zakah amounting to $7,500 yearly, it means that your Net Zakatable Assets at the end of your Zakatable year is approximately $300,000. Therefore, if you advance $50,000 in Zakah it will be valid and would be considered as Zakah paid for approximately seven years.  

As stated above, despite having paid your Zakah in advance, you must determine the exact amount of Zakah due at the end of each of your Zakatable year as the net Zakatable assets are variable. 

If at the end of your upcoming Zakatable year, your net assets amount to $250,000 because of having advanced $50,000, the Zakah due will now be $6,250 (and not $7,500). Therefore, you would have advanced after the second year (Zakatable year), $50,000 minus ($7,500+6,250), which amounts to $36,250.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Kaleem Muhammad

Darul Iftaa, Jaamia Madinatul Uloom (Trinidad)

www.fatwa-tt.com /www.jaamia.net