Obligation to pay Zakat is not restricted to Ramadan

Sheikh ‘Abdul-‘Aziz ibn ‘Abdullah Al Al-Sheikh

Question: When does Zakat become obligatory? When should it be paid and who are its deserving recipients?


Answer: Zakat on wealth becomes obligatory if a Muslim possesses the Nisab (the minimum amount on which Zakat is due) and it is kept in possession for a Hawl (one lunar year calculated from the time a property reaches the minimum amount upon which Zakat is due), provided that the owner is a free person. The amount of Nisab for gold is twenty Mithqal (1 Mithqal = 4.25 grams) which is equal to approximately 92 gm. while the Nisab for silver is 200 Dirhams which is equal to 56 Saudi Riyals. If a person possesses the Nisab and kept it for a full lunar year, Zakat becomes due on it, which is one quarter of one tenth. For example, the Zakat of 100 Riyals is 2.5 Riyals and for 1000 Riyals it is 25 Riyals, and so on.

The due time for Zakat payment depends on the time when the person possesses the Nisab; if a person owns the Nisab in the month of Muharram, for example, Zakat becomes obligatory the following Muharram. It is worthy to mention here that the obligation of paying Zakat is not confined to the month of Ramadan, but some Muslims prefer to pay their Zakat in Ramadan seeking the doubled reward in this month. However, if Zakat becomes due at any other time than Ramadan, it is obligatory to pay it and not to delay it until Ramadan. If one hastens to pay Zakat in advance before the completion of a year in order to pay it in Ramadan, there is nothing wrong with this, In sha’a-Allah.

As for the deserving recipients of Zakat, they are those specified in the Saying of Allah (may He be Exalted): Surah At-Tawbah, 9: 60 As-Sadaqat (here it means Zakat) are only for the Fuqara’ (poor), and Al-Masakin (the needy), and those employed to collect (the funds); and to attract the hearts of those who have been inclined (towards Islam); and to free the captives; and for those in debt; and for Allâh’s Cause (i.e. for Mujahidûn - those fighting in a holy battle), and for the wayfarer (a traveller who is cut off from everything); a duty imposed by Allah. And Allah is All-Knower, All-Wise. 


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