Zakat means growth (nam'a), blessings (barakah), or purification (taharah). Allah says, "Take alms of their wealth and make them pure and clean" (9:103).
There are two types of zakat. First, zakat on yourself (zakat al-fitr); and second, zakat on wealth (zakat al-mal).
When is zakat al-fitr paid? Most scholars believe that it is permissible to pay zakat al-fitr a day or two before id fitr. Al-Bukhari and Muslim reported from Ibn Umar reported that the Prophet Muhammed s.a.w ordered them to pay zakat al-fitr before the people went out to perform the `id prayer.
However, according to Imam al-Shafi’i and Imam Abu Hanifah, it is also permissible to pay zakat al-fitr even in the beginning of Ramadan. Scholars who supported this opinion explained that it is better for the needy. But, the most important, Prophet s.a.w said, "Make them satisfied on the day of fitr".