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It is Permissible to Pay Zakaah in Advance, but with Conditions

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
I pay the Zakaah due on my money in every Ramadan. Is it permissible for me to pay a portion of that Zakaah in the month of Rajab ?

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds; and may His Peace and blessings be upon Prophet Mohammad and upon his family and righteous companions: It is permissible to give the Zakaah(obligatory charity) ahead of its time-before a lunar year had passed and Nissab was reached(The minimum amount liable for Zakaah); particularly, if it is done in the poor’s best interest. Ali(May Allah be pleased with him) reported that Al-Ab`bass sought the Prophet`s permission in giving the Zakaah due on him ahead of its time, and the Prophet(PBUH) allowed him to do that.”{Abu Dawood}. The following conditions are to be met for the payment of Zakaah ahead of its time to be valid: 1-The giver of the Zakaah must possess the Nissab upon giving it ahead of its time since it is impermissible otherwise. For example, if he had thirty sheep and hoped that some of them would give birth to become forty, it isn`t permissible for him to give one sheep in Zakaah based on what is to be(forty sheep). If he did so and later his sheep became forty, then the sheep he had given isn`t accounted for, and he is obliged to give another one once a year had lapsed over his forty sheep because one of the two reasons for the dueness of the Zakaah is the existence of Zakatable wealth, and in the former example it isn`t there, so it is like paying an oath expiation ahead of taking the oath itself. In case Nissab was in the giver`s possession, it is permissible for him to pay the Zakaah in advance and before a lunar year had lapsed over possessing it since Zakaah is obligatory for two reasons: Nissab and the passing of a lunar year, thus it is permissible to pay it ahead of its time if any of these conditions was met, which is the lunar year. It is like when he took an oath, then decided to break it, so he paid the expiation first, then he broke his oath. This way his expiation is acceptable for the Prophet(PBUH) said: “whenever you take an oath to do something and later you find that something else is better than the first, then do the better one and make expiation for your oath.”{Bukhari&Muslim}. Here, he made the expiation of his oath ahead of its time because one of its reasons was available, which is the oath. 2-Paying the Zakaah in advance is permissible for one year only, not two, because the second year hasn`t started yet. Here, it is paying the Zakaah ahead of its time while there is no Nissab. 3-The giver of this type of Zakaah must be eligible for the dueness of Zakaah till the end of the lunar year by being alive and possessing Nissab because if he had passed away before a lunar year lapsed, then what he gave in advance isn`t considered Zakaah. If the wealth for which he had paid Zakaah was damaged, or sold(and wasn`t for trading), then what he had paid isn`t considered Zakaah because it isn`t due on him, as regards that wealth ,because of damage, or not being in his possession. 4-The recipient of the Zakaah must be entitled to receive it at the end of the lunar year, so if he died, or became rich-he inherited, or was given a wealth-it isn`t considered Zakaah, but if he became rich by the Zakaah money given to him, then there is no harm in that and the Zakaah which the giver paid is considered valid since the aim behind the Zakaah given to a recipient is to make him rich, but if we considered the Zakaah invalid and took it back, he becomes poor and in need for the Zakaah{These conditions were copied from the book” Irshaad Al-Salikeen by Sheikh Noah Al-Qudat(May Allah have mercy on his soul)}. However, if the above conditions weren`t met, then what is paid is considered a voluntary charity for which the giver receives a reward from Allah, but it isn`t considered a Zakaah. Al-Rammli said: “ It is permissible to pay the Zakah of the lunar-year-wealth before the lapse of that year if Nissab was possessed because the Prophet(PBUH) permitted Al-Ab`bass to pay the Zakaah ahead of its time.{Narrated by Abu-Dawood and Al-Hakkim}, and because paying it in advance was due for two reasons, so it was permissible to pay it ahead of time like making an expiation ahead of breaking an oath. For the Zakaah given ahead of its time to be acceptable, the giver must remain eligible for paying it until the end of the lunar year, and the wealth must remain till the end of the lunar year as well. But, if he died, or the wealth was damaged, or got out of his possession-and wasn`t for trading-paying the Zakaah ahead isn`t acceptable. If the recipient died, or apostatized before the lapse of the lunar year, it isn`t considered Zakaah as he becomes ineligible to receive the Zakkah upon its due time. “{Nihayat Al-Mohtajj(3/141)}. It is worth mentioning that the first condition applies to in-kind Zakaah. As for the Zakahh of the items of merchandise, it is permissible to pay it before reaching Nissab which is accounted for at the end of the lunar year in this kind of Zakaah. Al-Shirbini said: “ It is permissible to pay the Zakaah due on the items of merchandise in advance because it is a condition that Nissab is due at the end of the lunar year.” {Moghni Al-Mohtajj(2/132)}. And Allah knows the best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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