Calculating and paying Zakat during the Covid-19 Lock-down
Zakat is the obligatory payment made by the haves to the haves not in society. It is different from tax one pays on their income in that Zakat is paid on the net wealth a person owns at their Zakat payment date. Zakat is one of the foundations of Islam and without it Islam cannot be fulfilled by a person. It is the right of the poor in society.
There have been a number of questions that have been posted which relate to Zakat during the covid-19 lock-down.
1. During the lock down it is difficult to calculate and distribute zakat. Would it be permitted to delay the distribution if I cannot do it now?
Yes, you can delay the distribution if you cannot disburse it to the needy now due to the lockdown or the recipients not owning a bank account. However, all avenues should be exhausted before thinking of delaying the payment. There will be no sin upon the person, Insha’Allah.
You would need to calculate your Zakat on your Zakat due date and set that aside and distribute it when the lockdown is lifted.
2. Can I pay zakat in advance?
Yes you may. The Hanafi/Hanbali and other schools permit the payment of Zakat in advance of up to two years. As there are many here in the UK and abroad in great need, discharging this duty will allow a safety net for the many who are in extreme difficulty.
At your Zakat due date calculate your Zakat and pay for the next two years. However, after one lunar year has passed, you would need to calculate your zakat and if your Zakat amount for that year was more you would need to pay the difference.
3. Can I pay Zakatul Fitr now?
Yes, you may pay your Zakatul Fitr now so that it reaches the poor and needy for Eid. In fact, it is recommended to do so.
4. Can I pay fidya with my Zakat money?
You pay Fidya as a compensation for not been able to fast. Your Zakat is a different obligation.
5. Can I pay my Zakat to someone who is poor and cannot must and wants to pay Fidya?
Although those who are poor who do not possess wealth are not required and cannot pay fidya, you are allowed of course to pay your Zakat to them.
6. Do I calculate Fidya in the country of residence or the country I will pay in?
You should calculate or measure in the context of the country you reside in. So for example, if you live in the UK and feeding a person would cost £5-10 min you should pay that. Not in the currency exchange rate of another country.
May Allah accept our worship during this blessed month.
Sheikh A. Hasan (Zakat Specialist)