Question 20: At the end of the blessed month of Ramadaan 1416 A.H., I did not give Zakaat-ul-Fitr (obligatory charity paid before the Festival of Breaking the Fast) that was due on me and my family, as I had work which distracted me from giving it. Actually, I have decided to give it along with this year’s. Is it permissible to do so?
Answer: Zakaat-ul-Fitr becomes obligatory starting from sunset on the night preceding `Eed-ul-Fitr until before Salaat-ul-`Eed (the Festival Prayer). Anyone who delays it beyond its due time without an excuse shall be considered sinful and should still make up for it. However, it will then be regarded as a sort of Sadaqah (voluntary charity) according to the Hadeeth reported on the authority of Ibn `Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father): Anyone who gives it out before Salaat-ul-`Eed, it will be accepted as Zakaah. If anyone gives it after Salaat-ul-`Eed, it will be considered Sadaqah. (Related by ‘Aboo Daawood in his Sunan (v. 2, p. 262-263 Hadeeth no. 1609), Ibn Maajah, Al-Daaraqootnee and Al-Haakim have related this Hadeeth with a similar wording)... read more here.