1. I want to know when exactly should the zakat be paid? Does it have to be paid out in the month of Ramadan, or can it be paid one month before Ramadan? And if it has to be paid in Ramadan, when exactly, in the beginning or in the end? For this coming Ramadan, inshallah, my husband sent money to India on the first of Shaban. Is it valid to do that, or does he have to send anymore later in the month of Ramadan?
2. All my husband’s friends are hindu. I want to know what does Islam say about feeding hindus (or any other non-muslims) in the same dinnerware that we household memebers use. And what about visiting their houses and eating from their dinnerware?
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh
1. In principle, zakat is due at the end of one lunar year. The beginning of the lunar year for zakat purposes will be from the time an individual becomes a saaheb-nisaab (bearer of minimum or more zakatable wealth). Therefore, the zakat due on an individual will differ according to his personal financial situation. As a principle, zakat is not due on every rich individual in Ramadaan. See the following explanation: Ahmed became rich (saaheb-nisaab) in Muharram. Nine months later, in Ramadaan, zakat is not due on him. Zakat will be due at the end of the twelfth lunar month, being Zil-Hajj. If Mohammad wants to discharge his zakat in Ramadaan, he may do so.
2. Feeding is an act of great virtue and reward. One may feed anyone, Muslim or non-Muslims with ones own resources. Caution should be taken that feeding non-Muslims should not be due to a close or bosom relationship with non-Muslims. That should not be taken as a Muslim cannot deal or be of help and assistance to non-Muslims. To deal with non-Muslims in permissible. To help and assist non-Muslims is an act of virtue and reward.
And Allah knows best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah