Understanding Zakat Payments: Paying Ahead of Time & the Importance of Timeliness
As one of the five pillars of Islam, Zakat is a mandatory form of charity for every eligible Muslim. It is an essential aspect of our faith, and its proper distribution plays a significant role in supporting those in need within our communities. However, certain circumstances may prompt questions regarding the flexibility of Zakat payments, such as whether it is permissible to advance or delay these contributions. In this article, we will explore the Islamic perspective on this topic, providing guidance and context for those considering adjusting their Zakat payment schedule.
The Importance of Paying Zakat on Time
Paying Zakat on time is of great importance in Islam. The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said, “Give Zakat without delay, for it stands in the way of calamity.” (Tirmidhi).
This hadith emphasizes the significance of paying Zakat in a timely manner, as it serves as a means of protection and support for those in need. Failing to fulfill this obligation can result in hardship for those who rely on these funds and may deprive us of the blessings associated with Zakat.
Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) also said, “Whoever is made wealthy by Allah and does not pay the Zakat of his wealth, then on the Day of Resurrection his wealth will be made like a baldheaded poisonous male snake with two black spots over the eyes. The snake will encircle his neck and bite his cheeks and say, ‘I am your wealth, I am your treasure.’ ” Then the Prophet (ﷺ) recited the holy verses:– ‘Let not those who withhold . . .’ (to the end of the verse). (3.180).
Advancing Zakat Payments: Supporting the Ummah in Times of Urgency
Islamic teachings allow for the advancement of Zakat payments in cases where there is an urgent need or greater benefit for the recipients. This flexibility stems from the understanding that Zakat serves as a means of support and protection for the most vulnerable members of society. When situations arise that require immediate assistance, advancing your Zakat can provide much-needed relief and stability for those struggling.
The Shafi’i, Hanafi, and Hanbali schools of thought all permit the payment of Zakat in advance. However, the Maliki school and a few other scholars, who are in the minority, disallow it, with two exceptions: (1) when there is a pressing need to aid people facing hardship, necessitating the early collection of Zakat for timely distribution before the end of the Zakat year; and (2) when the timetable of Zakat collectors establishes the collection time close to its due date.
The Prophet (ﷺ) mentioned that he owed Ibn ‘Abbas the Zakat amount for that year “and another equal amount too” (Muslim). As explained by commentators, the Prophet had collected two years of Zakat in advance from Ibn ‘Abbas for the benefit of the Muslim community (Shawkani).
Some Muslims take the opportunity to pay Zakat ahead of time as there is a pressing need in the ummah, such as the catastrophic Türkiye and Syria earthquakes, and choose to do so in Ramadan for more rewards.
The Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ) said,
“The best of charities is that which is given in Ramadan.”(Tirmidhi)
By advancing your Zakat payment to coincide with Ramadan, you may benefit from the multiplied rewards associated with this blessed month.
Islamic Relief and Zakat
Islamic Relief is dedicated to providing aid and assistance to vulnerable communities worldwide. By contributing your Zakat through our organisation, you can be confident that your donation will make a lasting impact on the lives of those who need it most.
Our teams across the globe take extra care to ensure that any Zakat received has maximum impact and is used in the most efficient way possible to reduce suffering and poverty.
We are serious about Zakat, because we are accountable to you, all those who have a right to receive it, and – most importantly – to Allah.
Our Zakat fund is shari’ah compliant. As with everything we do, we strive to be both purposeful and true. We are working closely with qualified scholars to ensure that our Zakat policy is in strict accordance with what Allah has ruled. Your obligatory Zakat is an Amanah (trust), and when you entrust us to distribute it carefully and correctly, we take that trust seriously.
Our distributions around the world are carefully designed to harness the power of Zakat: we want to not only help vulnerable people today, but also to help them escape poverty for good. Our rigorous governance makes sure that, from the moment you donate to the moment it is handed over to those who have a right to receive it, your Zakat is in safe hands, distributed only to those who are eligible under the eight categories stipulated in the Qur’an.
With your Zakat, we can bring relief and hope to people in desperate need.
Don’t forget to use our Zakat Calculator today to calculate Zakat.
Ramadan is the perfect time to give zakat
The holy month of Ramadan is the perfect opportunity to use the Power of Zakat. It is a time for us to pause and reflect, leave behind bad habits and replace them with good ones, increase our acts of worship and good deeds, and practice self-discipline – all for the sake of Allah SWT.