If he finds a pen on the desk and does not know who its owner is, what should he do with it?

I found a pen laying on the desk if i take it, is it haraam.

Praise be to Allaah.

If an employee or student finds a pen or tool on his desk that does not belong to the company he is working for, then it probably belongs to one of his friends or clients, so he has to tell them about it and give it back to its owner. If no one recognises it, or there are no other employees except him, then it is lost property, which is subject to further discussion:

If it is of little value it is permissible to take it and make use of it, and he does not have to announce it, such as if the pen is not worth more than 50 riyals or so.

If the lost property is of considerable value in people’s eyes, then he has to announce it for a year before keeping it.

For the rulings on lost property, please see the answer to question number 5049.

And Allaah knows best. Continue reading

If a person find buried treasure in the ground what should he do?

I heard that if a person finds wealth or treasure buried in the grounds of a house that he has bought, he has to give one fifth of it in charity. How correct is this?.

Praise be to Allaah.

Firstly:

If this wealth or treasure has markings on it which indicate that it was buried during the Jaahiliyyah, i.e. before Islam, whether it was the wealth of the Romans or the Persians or anyone else, then in this case one fifth of it (khums) must be given in charity, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: “On rikaaz (buried treasure) the khums (one fifth) must be paid.”

Narrated by al-Bukhaari, no. 1499.

Shaykh al-Islam [Ibn Taymiyah] said: They [the scholars] are agreed that the khums must be paid on buried treasure, as is proven in the saheeh hadeeth from the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him). The rikaaz (buried treasure) concerning which there is no doubt is that which was buried during the Jaahiliyyah; it is treasure that is buried in the ground.

End quote from Majmoo‘ al-Fataawa, 29/376  Continue reading

He found a watch in Makkah and he picked it up and left

When I went for Hajj, I found a watch in a washroom in Makkah. I forget and took it, then I went to Mina, ‘Arafah and Muzdalifah. Then someone told me that there are places where found items may be handed in, but I wasn’t able to reach them. What should I do with the watch?

Praise be to Allaah.

You have to send it to the court in Makkah and tell them that you found it on such-and-such a day in such-and-such a place.  Continue reading

A young child picked up a piece of gold that had been lost

We were at the sea-side and my son brought me something shiny that turned out to be a piece of gold. What should we do with it?

Praise be to Allaah.

If a young child or a person who is insane finds something that has been lost, and picks it up, then his guardian should take on the responsibility of identifying its owner in his place. The guardian should take it because they are not qualified to be entrusted with it or to take care of it. If he leaves it in their hands and it gets damaged, he will be held responsible because he neglected it. If the guardian (of the child or insane person) announced it and tried to identify the owner, and nobody comes forward to claim it, then it belongs to the child or insane person, as is the case of the adult or sane person [who finds lost property]. For more details on the rulings pertaining to lost property see Question # 5049. Continue reading

Rulings on lost property (al-luqtah)

My question is: What is the ruling on finding money on the street, is one allowed to keep it?

Praise be to Allaah.

This question has to do with al-luqtah, which is one of the categories of Islamic jurisprudence or fiqh. Al-luqtah is property that has gone missing from its owner. This pure religion teaches that property is to be protected and preserved, and that the property of the Muslim is sacred and is to be protected. This includes al-luqtah or lost property.

If property goes missing from its owner, it has to be one of the following three scenarios:

The first scenario: it is something to which most people would not attach much value, such as a whip, or a loaf of bread, or some fruit, or a stick. In these cases, the person who finds the property may keep it and use it without having to announce it, because of the report narrated by Jaabir, who said: “The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) made exceptions in the case of a stick or a whip or a rope that a man picks up.” (Reported by Abu Dawood). Continue reading

Lost property in the Haram (the sanctuary in Makkah)

One of the children picked up a lost watch in the Haram in Makkah, and has kept it with him until now, a period of more than four years. What should he do with it? Should he take it back to the Haram, or give its value in charity to one of the poor after checking what it is worth with a watch-seller? May Allaah reward you with the best reward.

Praise be to Allaah.

In the case of property lost in the Haram, it is not permissible for anyone to take it except the one who identifies it (the owner), because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Anything that is dropped there is not permissible for anyone except the owner who identifies it.” (Agreed upon)

The person mentioned has to return the property in question to the Supreme Court in Makkah to that they can hand it over to the committee responsible for property lost in the Haram. Thus he will free himself from blame, so long as he also repents to Allaah for his shortcomings if he did not announce the lost property in the past. And Allaah is the source of strength. Continue reading

He found a sheep in the desert – what should he do with it?

I found a lost sheep in the wilderness – what should I do with it, especially since if I keep it until I find its owner I will have to pay for its food and I may not find its owner.

Praise be to Allaah.

If a person finds a lost sheep, then he should take it and do whatever is best, whether that is eating it and estimating its value, or selling it and keeping the money, or keeping it for the prescribed period of time whilst trying to find its owner. Leaving it and not taking it exposes it to destruction. Then if its owner comes along, the person can either return it or pay him its value or the price he got for selling it. If the owner does not show up, then it belongs to the one who found it. Continue reading

He found some money whilst travelling

A good man was travelling and he found an amount of cash on the road, but could not find the owner. He is asking what he should do with it.

Praise be to Allaah.

He has to make announcements about it in the places where people gather in the cities or towns at either end of the route where he found the money, and elsewhere (for example, he can put announcements in gas stations and police stations along the route), and wherever he thinks the owner may live. If a year goes by without him finding the owner, the money becomes his and he can keep it until he finds the owner, or he can give it in charity on his behalf. If he finds the owner after that, he should tell him what he did. If the owner accepts that he gave it in charity, that is fine, but if he objects then the finder should compensate him, and then he (the finder) will have the reward for giving charity. Or the finder can keep it with the rest of his money and give it back to the owner when he finds him. Continue reading

He found an amount of cash in the Haram (in Makkah)

We went for Hajj and whilst we were in the Haram, I found a wallet containing a sizeable amount of money. What should I do with it, especially since my time in Makkah is limited?

Praise be to Allaah.

The scholars differed with regard to lost property found in the Haram: is it like lost property found elsewhere, which the finder may keep after announcing it and looking for its owner for one year, or can it never become the property of another? Some scholars said that the finder can keep it because of the general meaning of the hadeeth; others said that he cannot keep it, and the search to identify the owner should continue indefinitely, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said concerning Makkah, “It is not permissible for anyone to keep lost property found there except the one who claims it by identifying it properly.” Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allaah have mercy on him) favoured the latter opinion, and said: “He should not keep it at all, because that is forbidden, and it should be announced indefinitely in a search to identify the owner.” This is the apparent meaning of the report which says it is forbidden. Continue reading

Lost property should be announced for one full year

I found some lost gold and sold it, and gave the money in charity. My intention if I find the owner and he does not like what I did is to give him the value of the gold, because I found it in the middle of a big city. Is there any sin on me for what I did?

Praise be to Allaah.

What you and anyone else who finds valuable lost property should do is to announce it for one full year in the places where people gather, two or three times each month. If it is identified by the owner, then hand it over to him, otherwise the finder can keep it after one year, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) gave instructions to this effect. An exception is made in the case of lost property found in Al-Haramayn (Makkah and Madeenah) – the finder cannot keep it, and it should be announced indefinitely until its owner is found, or the finder can hand it over to the authorities in charge of the Haramayn so that they can keep it for the owner, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said concerning Makkah, “Property lost in Makkah is not permissible for anyone except its owner.” And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “I have made Madeenah sacred just as Ibraaheem made Makkah sacred.” The authenticity of the Hadeeth is agreed upon. Continue reading