Assalaamu alaykum. Thank you very much in advance. I have lost my job, and May 2017 is my last working month. I have been paying zakah during Ramadan each year without fail. In Ramadan 2017, as I lost my job, I do not have any cash in my hand or in my bank account to pay zakah in Ramadhan 2017. What is the solution for postponing the zakah to next year to pay it in 2018, Allah willing, if I get settled by then. Shall I pay zakah for two years then? I do own some gold. Moreover, I have a bank loan that has not yet been settled, and I need to pay with my whole final settlement money. Please advise.
All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad is His slave and Messenger.
If the gold that you have at hand reaches the Nisaab (the minimum amount liable for zakaah), which is about eighty-five grams of pure gold, then you have to pay zakaah on it. In principle, you pay the zakaah from its kind, which means from the gold itself. It is also permissible to pay cash money instead.
If you do not have cash to pay the zakaah of the gold and you do not want to pay the zakaah from the gold itself, then you should sell from it to the extent that you are obliged to pay zakaah of it and then give it out. However, it is not permissible to delay the zakaah after the year had passed (with this gold in your possession) except for an excuse.
As for the debt that you have, then there is a difference of opinion about deducting it from the money that you have to pay zakaah for. The majority of the scholars are of the view that you deduct it from your money that you have at hand, and then you pay the zakaah on whatever remains if it reaches the Nisaab.
In order to be on the safe side, it is better that you pay the zakaah on everything that you have at hand in order to avoid the difference of opinion. For more benefit, please refer to fatwas 116828 and 87557.
As for the settlement money, there is also a difference of opinion among the scholars about the obligation of paying zakaah on it. Some of them are of the opinion that you pay the zakaah on it for one year only (when you receive it); some of them are of the view that you pay zakaah on it when a whole lunar year elapses on it; and some of them are of the view that you pay the zakaah on the previous years as well, which is better in order to be on the safe side [because the settlement money is an amount that is accumulated from each month’s salary for many years]
Finally, we draw your attention to the fact that the zakaah must be paid when a whole lunar year elapses on the money [and not the Gregorian year], whether it is in the month of Ramadhaan or in any other month. So if you were used to pay the zakaah in advance in Ramadhaan, then this is permissible, but if a whole lunar year elapses on it but you delay it until the month of Ramadhaan comes to pay the zakaah, then it is not permissible. Rather, you have to hasten to pay the zakaah as soon as a whole lunar year elapses.
Allah knows best.
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