Q: I have a Zakat amount which I feel is best to give to a poor person on a monthly basis rather than giving it in one payment. Is that permissible?
A: The general rule according to the 4 schools of jurisprudence, is that the Zakat payment should not be delayed unless the payer has a valid reason to do so. The main reason to spread Zakat out in this way, is because the payer cannot afford to pay in a lump sum. Otherwise, it is not encouraged to pay in instalments because we think it will benefit the recipient.
The Shafi’s and Hanbalis also added that one can delay the Zakat payment in order to give it to one who is more entitled to it from his relatives, neighbours or to one who is in great need.
If a person fears that the recipient will end up spending the Zakat received in an irresponsible manner, then one should discuss with the recipient first and have them agree to receive the Zakat in instalments according to their needs. Once agreed, an agent of the recipient can be designated to receive all the Zakat payment on behalf of their recipient. Then the agent will distribute it to the recipient on an instalment basis. In this way, the Zakat payment would not have been delayed.
As an example: Zaynab needs to pay £500 of Zakat to Umar. Instead of giving him £500 in instalments, and thus delaying the payment, Zaynab will give the full £500 to Faraz who is an agent collecting Zakat on behalf of Umar. From the moment the Zakat is given to Faraz, Zaynab would have discharged her Zakat liability completely. Faraz will then distribute this amount to Umar according to his need.
Another solution would be to pay the Zakat in advance through instalments. See the link below:
Paying Zakat in advance
And Allah knows best!
Mufti Billal Omarjee