Is It Necessary to Specify If One Is Paying Zakat for Past, Current, or Future Years?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Mawlana Ilyas Patel


I paid zakat in advance for tens of thousands of pounds over many years to meet my brother’s requirements when he was a university student. My purpose at the moment of giving was to pay zakat.

However, I didn’t specify the year for which the zakat was given, and my purpose at the time of giving was that ‘this is my zakat which I owe from the past, or that which I presently owe, and if there is none currently owed, then it is zakat in preparation for the future.’

According to one of your recent answers, the year of zakat must be specified. I’m worried since I didn’t specify the year when I paid my zakat. Was the zakat I paid valid?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

I pray you are in good faith and health.

Your zakat has to be specified and intended so the money can be separate from the charity (sadaqa). In your case, you did specify your zakat but not the year. You will now jog your memory and look into your accounts to see how much Zakat you owed in the previous years or owe now to ensure you fulfilled your due Zakat liability for each year.

You should settle the zakat balance and the deficit that remains outstanding. If one has given more, the excess is considered a charity (sadaqa). However, in your case, when you gave it, you intended the excess to be advanced payment of future Zakat, which is also valid to do. [Ibn ‘Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]

Read the links below to gain a deeper understanding of the issue:
Zakat: A Comprehensive SeekersGuidance Reader
Is It Permissible to Give Zakat in Advance?

Why not begin your search for knowledge by signing up for a course on SeekersAcademy?

I pray this helps with your question.
[Mawlana] Ilyas Patel
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Mawlana Ilyas Patel is a traditionally-trained scholar who has studied in the UK, India, Pakistan, Syria, Jordan, and Turkey. He started his early education in the UK. He went on to complete the hifz of the Quran in India, then enrolled in an Islamic seminary in the UK, where he studied the secular and ‘Aalimiyya sciences. He then traveled to Karachi, Pakistan. He has been an Imam in Rep of Ireland for several years. He has taught hifz of the Quran, Tajwid, Fiqh, and many other Islamic sciences to children and adults onsite and online extensively in the UK and Ireland. He taught at a local Islamic seminary for 12 years in the UK, where he was a librarian and a teacher of Islamic sciences. He currently resides in the UK with his wife. His interest is a love of books and gardening.