Zakat

Where Should One Pay His/Her Zakatul-Fitr?

Where should one pay his zakatul-fitr (zakat fitrah)? Should it be paid at his place of residence (where he works) or his hometown?

Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Definition of Zakatul-Fitr

Zakatul-fitr is a compound word from zakat and fitrah. Fitrah means returning to the original state (refers Qamus al-Muhith and others). Imam al-Nawawi explained, the term fitrah used by fuqaha is a fact or reality in sya’riah according to the selected opinion of scholars, such as prayer and zakat.

Zakatul-fitr is an obligated charitable donation given after breaking of fast to celebrate Eid at the end of Ramadan [refers Haasyiah as-Syalabi Syarh al-Zailaie (1/306) and Nail al-Maarib (1/255)].

The Obligated Times for Zakat Fitrah

The scholars have differing opinions regarding this issue:

  • Mazhab Hanafi state the obligated times for zakatul-fitr starts on the sunrise of Eid. This is also one of the agreed opinion of mazhab Maliki.
  • The chosen opinion in of Imam al-Syafie’ and mazhab al-Hanbali state the obligation times of zakatul-fitr starts when the sun sets on the last day of Ramadan (the night of Eid). This is also the opinion of some Maliki scholars.

The Time When It is Obligated to Pay Zakat Fitrah

The scholars have differing opinions regarding this issue:

  • Majority Hanafi scholars hold the opinion that there is a broadness to zakatul-fitr.
  • According to al-Hasan bin Ziyad, a Hanafi scholar the time is localised to certain time such as the worship of qurban (sacrifice). Thus, whoever pay their zakat after the day of Eid, without valid reasons (according to sya’riah), then it is sinful. This is also the opinion of mazhab Maliki, Syafie and Hanbali.

Paying Zakat Before the Obligated Time

In this issue, the scholars have several opinions:

According to mazhab Maliki and Hanbali, it is permissible to hasten the payment up to two days before the time, according to the statement of the Prophet’s companion Ibn Umar (which means):

“People (the companion) used to give Sadaqat-ul-Fitr (even) a day or two before the Eid.”

The opinion from mazhab Syafie state that it is sunnah to pay zakatul-fitr before performing the sunnah Eid prayer and makruh (undesirable) to delay it until after the prayer.

Al-Hasan bin Ziyad hold the opinion that it is permissible to pay zakatul-fitr one or two year from the obligated time (this is a undesirable and isolated opinion).

Some Hanafi scholars state that zakatul-fitr can be hasten and be paid only during Ramadan. This is the chosen opinion in mazhab Hanafi and Syafie.

Where Should One Pay his Zakat Fitrah?

After analysing the above opinions, zakatul-fitr is obligated to be paid starting at the beginning of the obligated time of zakatul-fitr, which is on the night of Eid, until before the sunnah Eid prayer. However, looking at the reality we live in today, we are inclined towards the opinion of being cautious (ihtiyat), which in this context, we hasten our payment of zakatul-fitr to a day or two days earlier, in accordance to the practise of the companions of the Prophet.

Hence, if someone is still at his place of residence and has not went back to his hometown, it is prioritised for him to pay his zakatul-fitr in his residential area, for it is a certainty (tahqiq), while his journey back to his hometown is still a notion or presumption, which may not happen.

Furthermore, early payment will settle one’s responsibility properly to prevent any obstacles that could result in him missing the obligatory time for paying zakatul-fitr.

The Statement of Imam al-Nawawi in al-Majmu’

Imam Nawawi said (which means):

“If someone in is a time where zakat fitrah is an obligation (on him) in a certain state, while his property is in another state, then in which state should he pay his zakat fitrah?

[Imam Nawawi in al-Majmu’]

There are two opinions; one of the opinions is to pay his zakat at which the property is located.

The sound opinion from the two opinions is to pay the zakat at which where the owner is at. Among the scholars that agree with this opinion is the author of al-Tanbih Imam Asy-Syirazi, al-Jurjani in his book al-Tanhir, al-Ghazali, al-Baghawi, al-Rafi’e and others.”

Conclusion

This issue is regarding where someone is suppose to pay his zakat when he is in a certain state and his property is in another state. Thus, it should be paid at the location where one is located during the time it is obligated for him to pay zakatul-fitr, and he can hasten the payment up to two days before the obligated time in accordance with the practise of the companions of the Prophet.

May this explanation resolve this issue and let us focus our efforts in seeking Allah’s blessings and guidance in this blessed month of Ramadan.

Taken with slight changes from http://muftiwp.gov.my

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