Question 18: Is it permissible for the committees of Zakaah (obligatory charity) to buy the items to be given as Zakaat-ul-Fitr (obligatory charity paid before the Festival of Breaking the Fast) on the first day of the month of Ramadaan and distribute it to the poor at the end of the month, given that the donors have not yet made the intention of giving Zakaah? So, is it permissible to give it before making the intention to do so?
Answer: The time of giving Zakaat-ul-Fitr is after seeing the crescent of the month of Shawwaal until before Salaat-ul-`Eed (the Festival Prayer). However, it is permissible to give it one or two days before seeing the crescent but no more. The Zakaah payer should give it to its deserving recipients on his or her behalf and on behalf of those he or she provides for. One can also authorize an honest person to give it on their behalf at the due time, for it is an obligation that one must fulfill. So, one is not permitted to make light of it or depend on organizations that do not pay due attention to it… read more here.