If the time of paying Zakah (obligatory

Q: I established a shop in the city of Biljurashi and opened it for business on (Part No. 9; Page No. 399) 26/11/1406 A.H. At the beginning of Dhul-Qa`dah, 1407A.H, I made an inventory of the shop to pay Zakah. I made the inventory based on the wholesale price, not the retail price; as I thought that the goods would be valued based on the price I had paid for them. Later on, a Muslim brother (may Allah reward him) corrected me and said that the amount of Zakah payable on my goods should be calculated on the basis of the retail price at the time the Zakah was due.Calculating Zakah on the basis of the wholesale price of the items took more than two months, because there were around four thousand items in the shop. It then took me around three months to calculate the Zakah on the basis of the retail price. In other words, I am around five months late in paying my Zakah to those who have a right to it. Also, I have still debts to wholesalers for the items on which Zakah is due, and I have another personal debt, which is not related to my business. I hope you answer the following questions, and may Allah reward you:Q 1: What is the ruling on delaying Zakah for all that time, and what should I do about it? It is worth mentioning that the items upon which Zakah was due up to 26/11/1406 A.H. were known and the Zakah was then calculated on its wholesale price.Q 2: I paid some Zakah money during that time to those who had a right to it, before I knew the whole amount of Zakah, with the intention of deducting that portion from my total amount of Zakah. What is the ruling on this? (Part No. 9; Page No. 400) Q 3: I deducted the debts I have to pay on my goods from the total amount of money that Zakah was due on, and then paid the Zakah on the remaining total. Is that the Islamic ruling or was Zakah due on the total amount? When I talked to some of my creditors about this, they told me that they regarded the money I owe them as part of their assets upon which they had paid Zakah. Likewise, I paid Zakah on the money I had lent to other people.What is the ruling on the debt that is not related to my business? Should I also deduct the value of this debt from the total amount that I am due to pay Zakah on or should I deal with it as a separate and independent matter? It is worth mentioning that if I did not have this business it would probably have been repaid.Q 4: In our neighborhood, there are poor and needy people and beggars. As for the poor people, we know them and they own property and agricultural lands, yet they do not make use of them, sell them, or invest in them to end their poverty. Are they still considered as being poor and should we give them Zakah? As for the needy people, they are few and not known unless we exert a lot of effort to find them. Should we give them Zakah? It is worth mentioning that some of them refuse to take Zakah, even though they need it. As for the beggars, we are not sure if they are in real need, but they are satisfied when given five or ten riyals. Should we still give them Zakah?If we were to choose between giving Zakah to the Afghani Mujahidin (those striving/fighting in the Cause of Allah), the Palestinians, Sanabil Al-Khayr projects, or to charitable societies, which of these has a right to Zakah? Should we give Zakah to one of them or (Part No. 9; Page No. 401) divide the Zakah among them? Do the three categories mentioned in this question, namely, the poor, the needy, and the beggars, have a right to Zakah? It should be noted that they live in our country. We need your advice. May Allah reward you!

A: Firstly, there is no harm in this delay of paying Zakah, given that the second year of Zakah started on 26/11/1406 A.H. Secondly, the portion of Zakah that you paid to those who had a right to it with the intention for it to be Zakah, before you calculated the total value of your Zakah, is regarded as part of Zakah. Thirdly, debts related to the shop and personal debts of the owner of the shop do not exempt you from the obligation of paying Zakah upon the money you own. Thus, you should pay the Zakah upon your wealth without deducting your debts. Fourthly, Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) has explained the eight categories to which Zakah can be given, namely, the poor, the needy, those employed to collect Zakah, Al-Mu'allafatu Qulubuhum (those whose hearts are inclined to Islam), for purchasing the freedom of captives, those in debt for personal need or for reconciling disputes among people, those fighting in the Cause of Allah, and the wayfarers. Allah (Exalted be He) says: As-Sadaqât (here it means Zakât) are only for the Fuqarâ’ (poor), and the Masâkin (needy) and those employed to collect (the funds) (Part No. 9; Page No. 402) May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.