Q: I have relatives who were not on the straight path and ignorant about Islam and now I want to help them to do their zakaat, so I have a number of questions.
1. How do we calculate a date for Zakaat? They’re both above the Nisaab. Do we calculate via picking a new date or by estimating when they last went above the threshold for zakaat?
2. How should the zakaat of the past years be calculated? From what starting point?
3. If one has a debt, but has money that is above the threshold amount, must he pay zakaat? But if the debt is paid then he will be below zakaat, will he be obligated to pay zakaat still if he doesn’t pay the debt for a year?
4. How is Zakaatul Fitr paid and is it Fardh?
5. Is zakaat due on inheritance?
1. If they cannot determine the exact date then they should use their discretion to estimate the point that they became saaihb-e-nisaab and one lunar year had passed over that nisaab that will make them responsible for paying zakaat.
2. One should calculate the amount of wealth that was in one’s possession at the end of each lunar from the time one became saahib-e-nisaab. After deducting the first year’s due amount one will then calculate what was the total amount of zakaatable wealth at the end of the second year and so forth.
3. Zakaat is not compulsory.
4. It is wajib to be paid any time in Ramadhaan or on the day of Eid.
5. Zakaat will only be compulsory after the estate has been winded and distributed.
And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.
Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)
This answer was collected from MuftiOnline.co.za, where the questions have been answered by Mufti Zakaria Makada (Hafizahullah), who is currently a senior lecturer in the science of Hadith and Fiqh at Madrasah Ta’leemuddeen, Isipingo Beach, South Africa.