Wa `alaykum As-Salamu waRahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
Answering your question, the Fatwa Center at Islam Q & A, states:
Zakat al-Fitr is obligatory upon every Muslim who is obliged to spend on himself, if he has surplus to his and his dependents’ needs for the day and night of Eid; he must give one sa` of food, because of the report narrated by Ibn `Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) enjoined Zakat al-Fitr at the end of Ramadan upon the people, a sa` of dates or a sa` of barley, to be given on behalf of everyone, free or slave, male or female, among the Muslims. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
With regard to delaying Zakat al-Fitr until after the day of `Eid, Ibn Ruslan said: That is haram according to consensus, because it is an obligatory zakah. So, it must be a sin to delay it, as is the case with delaying prayer until the time for it ends. (Nayl al-Awtar 4/218)
The one who has not given it must give it for past years, and also repent and pray for forgiveness, because it is the right of the poor and needy, so it cannot be waived; rather it must be given to them. The four schools of thought are agreed on this.
If people delay Zakat al-Fitr until after the day of `Eid al-Fitr, it is not waived and they must give it… even if a long time has passed since it was due … (Al-Jawharah al-Nayyirah 1/135)
It is haram to delay Zakat al-Fitr until after the day of `Eid, unless there is a valid excuse, such as not having access to one’s wealth, or there not being any people who are entitled to it, because that leads to missing out on the purpose for which it was ordained, which is to make them independent of any need to ask of people on the day of the celebration. If a person delays it with no excuse, he is sinning and must make it up. (Mughni al-Muhtaj, 2/122)
The obligation of Zakat al-Fitr is not waived by death or anything else once it has become obligatory; there is no scholarly difference of opinion (concerning this) as far as I know. (Al-Insaf, 3/177)
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.