Wa `alaykum as-salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
2- Muslims should never buy a stolen property when knowing that it is stolen. It is not the right of the seller or the buyer to make a deal regarding a stolen item knowingly.
In his response to your question, Prof. Dr. Monzer Kahf, Professor of Islamic Finance and Economics at Qatar Faculty of Islamic Studies, states:
A stolen property remains under the ownership of its true owner. This means that the seller has no right to sell and the buyer can’t, knowingly, buy a stolen item, because he or she is buying a thing not from its true owner. So, it is prohibited to do either of these actions.
Besides, the true owner has full and undisputed right to take his or her property from any hand possessing it, without any compensation (in fact, even with a potentiality of charging the stealer of a criminal act), regardless of whether the person from whom the item is taken had paid for it or not and regardless of whether the latter knew it was stolen or not.
If the holder of a stolen item innocently paid for it, he or she may resort to a legal action against the recipient of his or her money, but certainly not against the true owner. By the way, the same is also in common laws in virtually all countries to the best of my knowledge.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.