What is the ruling on one who forgets to pay zakat al-fitr and does not remember until after the Eid prayer?
There is no sin on him because he is excused for his forgetfulness, but he has to pay it when he remembers it.
Abd al-‘Azeez ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) in Majmoo‘ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, was asked about someone who forgot to pay zakat al-fitr on time, and he replied:
“There is no doubt that the Sunnah is to pay zakat al-fitr before the Eid prayer, as enjoined by the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon), but there is nothing wrong with what you did; paying it after the prayer is acceptable, praise be to Allah. Even though it says in the hadith that it is ordinary charity, that does not necessarily mean that it is not valid and was not done appropriately. So we hope that it will be acceptable and be regarded as proper zakat, because you did not delay it deliberately; rather you delayed it because you forgot, and Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says in His Book (meaning): “Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or make a mistake…” [Al-Quran, al-Baqarah (2): 286]. And it is proven that the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says: I will do that.” So He has answered the prayer of His believing slave not to punish them if they forget or fall into error.”
Also, Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him), in Fataawa Noor ‘ala al-Darb, said:
“Whoever pays it (zakat al-fitr) before the prayer, it is valid zakat, and whoever pays it after the prayer, it is ordinary charity”– unless the individual is excused, such as if he forgot to pay it and did not remember it until after the prayer, or he had intended to give it to the one who usually gives it on his behalf, then after that he found out that his deputy had not paid it, so he pays it himself, or if he found out that it was Eid too late, then he pays it after the prayer. If there is an excuse, there is nothing wrong with giving it after the prayer and in that case it is acceptable, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said concerning prayer: “Whoever sleeps and misses a prayer or forgets it, let him pray it when he remembers it.” If this is the case with regard to prayer, which is the greatest of time-specific duties, then it is more appropriate in other cases.”
There is also a view that said; anyone who forgets to pay zakat al-fitr is considered a sinner. However, this is not true, because Allah, may He be glorified and exalted, says in His Book (meaning):
“God does not burden any soul beyond its capacity. To its credit is what it earns, and against it is what it commits. “Our Lord, do not condemn us if we forget or make a mistake. Our Lord, do not burden us as You have burdened those before us. Our Lord, do not burden us with more than we have strength to bear; and pardon us, and forgive us, and have mercy on us. You are our Lord and Master, so help us against the disbelieving people.” [Al-Quran, al-Baqarah (2): 286].
What I believe is Wrong is that, one who remembered and aware of the need to pay zakat al-fitr before Eid prayer, but deliberately missed it in time required. What’s more, in today situations, various forms of reminder have been shown in several places in the mass media, provision of online payment facilities, or the presence of zakat collector (Ameel) in various places especially in Malaysia and other Islamic countries.