Q 1: At the end of the blessed month of Ramadan 1416 A.H., I did not give Zakat-ul-Fitr (obligatory charity paid before the Festival of Breaking the Fast) that was due on me and my family, as I had work which distracted me from giving it. Actually, I have decided to give it along with this year’s. Is it permissible to do so?
A: Zakat-ul-Fitr becomes obligatory starting from sunset on the night preceding `Eid-ul-Fitr until before Salat-ul-`Eid (the Festival Prayer). Anyone who delays it beyond its due time without an excuse shall be considered sinful and should still make up for it. However, it will then be regarded as a sort of Sadaqah (voluntary charity) according to the Hadith reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father): Anyone who gives it out before Salat-ul-`Eid, it will be accepted as Zakah. If anyone gives it after Salat-ul-`Eid, it will be considered Sadaqah. (Related by Abu Dawud in his Sunan (v. 2, p. 262-263 Hadith no. 1609), Ibn Majah, Al-Daraqutnyand Al-Hakim have related this Hadith with a similar wording)
Therefore, Muslims should not make light of this duty or be too occupied to fulfill it; especially that it serves as purification for the fasting person from idle or bad talk and as a food gift for the needy.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.