Reference: Fataawa Zakaatul-Fitr – Page 9
Majmoo’ Fataawa Ibn ‘Uthaymeen – Volume 18, Page 265.
Question: [What is the ruling] regarding extracting the Zakaatul-Fitr during the first ten days of Ramadhaan?
Response: Zakaatul-Fitr has been linked to the fitr (i.e. the end of the fasting period) – that is the reason [for its legislation], and since the end of the fasting period of Ramadhaan is the reason behind it, then it is directly linked to it, and as such must not be extracted in advance. And because of this, the best time at which the Zakaatul-Fitr should be extracted is on the day of ‘Eed [al-Fitr] before the [‘Eed] prayer. However, it is permissible to extract it before [the day of] ‘Eed by a day or two, since that allows the giver and the receiver sufficient time. As for anything before then, then the preponderant opinion of the people of knowledge is that it is not permissible to do so; based upon this then there are [only] two permissible times [at which the Zakaatul-Fitr can be extracted]:
- The time period within which it is permissible to do so: before the [day of] ‘Eed by a day or two;
- The time period which it is best to do so: on the day of ‘Eed, before the [‘Eed] prayer.
As for delaying it until after the [‘Eed] prayer, then that is prohibited, and will not be rewarded as Zakaatul-Fitr; this is based upon the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas [radhi-yAllaahu ‘anhumaa]:
«And whoever fulfills it before the ‘Eed prayer, then it will be accepted as Zakaat[ul-Fitr], and whoever fulfills it after the [‘Eed] prayer, then it will be [accepted] as regular sadaqah», [and] this is the case unless someone is ignorant and unaware of the day of ‘Eed; for example, he may be out in the wilderness, and unaware until very late – or [a situation which is] similar to this. So in this case, there is no harm in fulfilling [the requirement of extracting the Zakaatul-Fitr] after the ‘Eed prayer, and [in shaa.-Allaah] it will be accepted from him as Zakaatul-Fitr.