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Assalam o Alaikum,

I have a question regarding Zakah calculation from my salary accounts. I receive monthly salary directly to my bank account from which I do my expenditures. Since I started working, my bank balance has kept growing from that of previous year and never went below Allhamdulilah. By now I have 3 accounts with balance with rough estimations:

Bank Account 1: ~9000$ (Static from a long time)

Bank Account 2: ~24000$ (Active till December 2019)

Bank Account 3: ~5000$ (Active from January 2020)

The method I used till last year was, I would check the balance of previous year, and based on that I would pay Zakah. But I had confusion on the salary that I received a month later after the calculation date of last year. By the current year it would be a month short from a full year according to my calculation and I didn't include it. And by next year it would be almost 2 years passed to pay Zakah on that amount.

Then I watched/read many lectures where most scholars suggested that it is easy to pay Zakah on the lump sum amount that you have by the time of paying Zakah. Which arises another question, if I received a salary last month, I would include that in current Zakah calculation and by next year I would pay double Zakah on it.

Also, for previous year, I had only Account 1 and 2. Account 1 calculation came out correct because the amount didn't change, but for Account 2 I paid partial amount from the wrong calculation and got confused, and that Zakah is also pending.

Please guide me on how should I calculate my Zakah for current year, what should I do for last year pending Zakah, and for all previous years where I might and could have had wrong calculations? I have been paying Zakah for about 3 years now.

Jazakallah!

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It sounds to me like you already know how to calculate zakat.

Zakat is due on whatever balances you have maintained for a year or longer at the time of payment, as long as you have reached the nisab. Your first concern, that whatever salary you received a month later wouldn't be zakated for another two years is true, but that's fine.

For example, let's say you pay your zakat annually, at Ramadan. Your scenario would play out something like this:

  • RAM 1439: $5000 (untouched for at least one year: zakatable)
  • SHA 1439: $6000 ($1000 salary received: not zakatable until SHA 1440)
  • RAM 1440: $6000 (only $5000 zakatable)
  • SHA 1440: $7000 ($1000 salary received: $6000 zakatable)
  • RAM 1441: $7000 (only $6000 zakatable, now including SHA 1439 salary)

This is normal: The $1000 salary you received in SHA 1439 IS NOT DUE when you pay zakat in RAM 1440. I know of no evidence obligating or even suggesting that zakat should be paid more than once a year, so there's no reason to believe that the $1000 salary received in SHA 1439 is due until RAM 1441.

The reason many scholars suggest to pay on whatever lump sum you have at the time of paying instead of tracking things annually is only because it's easier: Paying zakat on whatever money you have at the time, as long as it's done regularly, will inevitably cover whatever zakat you owe. You may end up paying more, but giving money to charity above and beyond the obligatory zakat is hardly a bad thing: Anything extra would be considered sadaqah. It's easy to see why many people would prefer this over the hassle of calculating things precisely, and for those without substantial savings the difference is rather negligible.

If you do feel like taking this easier path, but overthink it to the point of making it more complicated, you're kinda missing the point.

As to your second concern, if you find that you've underpaid your zakat in any given year, just pay the difference when you realize the mistake. There's no reason to make it complicated: This is a debt that you still owe to Allah, so pay off your debt.

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