I have failed to pay zakat in previous years. How do I make up for it?
January 6, 2015
Q: How do I pay it on wealth past gone; which I don’t know how much the total I accumulated was and how long I had it for. I always spent the money as soon as i got it, it never lasted more than a month in my hand and i never put it in my account. How would i pay zakat on that?
الجواب حامدا ومصليا ومسلما ومنه الصدق والصواب
A: When one is unsure as to when one qualified to be liable for zakat and how much wealth one had on the passing of one lunar year and then subsequently to that, one should attempt to make an accurate an estimation as is possible. Once one has done this one should use this as the basis of calculating zakat.
Zakat is not paid on how much one has accumulated over the year. Rather, it is paid on how much one has on the day one is liable to pay. E.g. if one has earned £20,000 over the year but one has only £1,000 on the day zakat falls due then zakat will be paid on only the £1,000 and not the £20,000. In your case you need to determine when you first reached the nisab level and then how much zakatable assets you had after the passage of one year. If this amount is still above the nisab then zakat is payable, otherwise not.