I have bought a car last year for US$ 24,960 using an islamic finance offer with 0% interest payable in 48 months ( US$ 520 x 48 months ). Will the US$ 18,720 ( US$ 520 x 36 months ) balance as of this year, be considered as debt which I should deduct from my assets when calculating zakat ?
Wealth that is being saved for some purpose is subject to zakat if it reaches the nisaab and one full lunar year has passed, whether it is gold, silver or cash, because of the general meaning of the evidence which indicates that zakat is obligatory on that which reaches the nisaab and one full lunar year has passed, with no exceptions.
Take, [O, Muhammad], from their wealth a charity by which you purify them and cause them increase, and invoke [ Allah 's blessings] upon them. Indeed, your invocations are reassurance for them. And Allah is Hearing and Knowing.
In Sahih Muslim:
Abu Huraira reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:
Charity does not in any way decrease the wealth and the servant who forgives, Allah adds to his respect and the one who shows humility, Allah elevates him in the estimation (of the people).
Hence, you have to pay zakat on the money that has been saved. As for the money which you gave as a down payment to buy the car, you do not have to pay zakat on it because it is no longer in your possession since you gave it to the seller.