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Zakaat Calculation Date Unknown

Question

It has become a trend for most people to discharge their Zakaat at the beginning of Ramadaan. It is an every year routine. For some people, it has been like this for 10/20 years on end. People say that they cannot remember when exactly Zakaat became compulsory upon them and hence, they do not have a set date. How can this be solved? A person at times, does not know when he became baaligh. And he knows that at least for the last 20 years Zakaat had always been compulsory upon him. But there is no way that he can attach an English or Islamic date as to exactly when he was Saahib e Nisaab from. This then means that if he continues to calculate from Ramadaan, there is great chance that all calculations… for years… would be incorrect?

Someone suggested that maybe such a person should uncondionaly gift all his wealth to his wife(with the hope that), she then will gift it back to him, and then that would become his exact date?  What is the correct thing to do?

In principle, Zakat is compulsory on a free, adult Muslim who possesses the Nissab (the minimum amount of wealth in one’s possession in term of gold, silver, merchandise etc.) during a complete lunar year, over and above his basic needs and after deducting his debts.

If a person does not remember the date when he became owner of the Nissab for the first time, then he should ponder, apply his mind and estimate the date to the best of his ability to find out when he became Sahib-e-Nisaab. After one lunar year had passed over that Nisaab, the person will be responsible for paying Zakaat. In the case when a person (in spite of pondering and applying his mind) is not able to do such estimation, then a specific Islamic date should be chosen and adhered to annually. Thereafter, that date (for example, the beginning of Ramadhan in your case) will be considered the day on which you became the owner of the Nissab (after a complete lunar year has passed).  If you know for sure that at least for the last 20 years Zakaat was incumbent upon you (and was not paid), then after estimating/adhering to your date, you should calculate the amount of your Zakaatable assets that were in your possession on that date at the end of each lunar year in the past . After deducting the first year’s due amount you will then calculate what was the total amount of the Zakatable assets at the end of the second lunar year and so forth, until completing the calculation for the past missing years on which Zakaat was not paid but was obligatory upon you.

Checked and Approved By:

Mufti Muhammed Saeed Motara Saheb D.B.

References

وشرط وجوب أدائها حولان الحول على النصاب الأصلي وأما المستفاد في أثناء الحول فيضم إلى مجانسه ويزكي بتمام الحول الأصلي قوله: “حولان الحول” وهو في ملكه أي وثمنية المال كالدراهم والدنانير أو السوم أو نية التجارة في العروض  – حاشية الطحطاوي على مراقي الفلاح، ١/ ٧١٤ – ٧١٥

اگر صاحب نصاب بننے کی قمری تاریخ یاد نہ رہے تو غور و فکر کے بعد جس تاریخ کا ظن غالب ہو وہ متعین ہو گی، اگر کسی تاریخ کا بہی ظن غالب نہ ہو تو خود کوئی قمری تاریخ متعین کر لیں – مسائل رفعت قاسمی، ج5، ص53

(احسن الفتاوی،ج4، ص265)

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