Question: I have had wealth in my possession for five years – and during that time it has increased (sometimes) and decreased. This year, I spoke to one of the brothers regarding Zakat on one’s wealth. He said that for any amount of wealth that a person possesses a person must pay Zakat, even if he was saving it for a wedding or to buy a home. So, our noble Shaikh, is Zakat to be paid by me for all the years that I missed even though I did not know it was obligatory for me to do so? Or should I just pay for this year alone as this was the year I came to know that Zakat is obligatory upon me?
Answer: Upon you is to pay Zakat (due on your wealth) for all the years that have passed; your ignorance of it does not remove from you its obligation. That is because the obligation of Zakat is an affair known in the Religion by necessity. Its ruling is not hidden from the Muslims. Zakat is the third pillar from the (five) pillars of Islam. So it is obligatory for you to pay it with haste for all the years that you have missed, alongside repentance (tawbah) to Allah for delaying the payment. May Allah forgive us and forgive you, and all the Muslims – and Allah is the one who grants success.
Source: Majmoo’ Fatāwa wa Maqalāt Ibn Bāz 14/239, dated 24/9/1418 AH.