Is Zakaat payable on lost and stolen wealth?
Q. If a person did not pay Zakaat on lost or stolen wealth, is he liable to pay Zakaat on the lost and stolen wealth? If the wealth was not lost or stolen, it was spent after Zakaat on that wealth become compulsory on him, does he still have to pay its Zakaat? Is there any difference between the two of them?
A. In principle, Zakaat does not remain compulsory on wealth that was lost and stolen after Zakaat had become compulsory upon it (Halaak). However, Zakaat remains compulsory upon wealth that was used or spent (Istihlaak) after Zakaat became compulsory upon it.
The difference is that in the case of wealth being lost or stolen, there remained no means of benefiting from it, thus Zakaat does not remain compulsory upon it. Whereas, in the case of wealth being used or spent after Zakaat became compulsory upon it, a person had the means of benefiting from it and hence, Zakaat remains compulsory. (Shaami 2/361)
Note: One should discharge his/her Zakaat timeously and not use the excuse of wealth being lost or stolen without valid grounds to avoid the discharging of Zakaat. In fact, to delay the discharging of Zakaat without a valid reason is sinful.
Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa