I Found Money, What Are the Legal Obligations?

22 September, 2020
Q Is it permissible to use money which is found off the ground if there is no one there, so you can't look for the owner?

Answer

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:

1- With regard to the found money, the Shariah considers the custom of each country as binding in such cases.

2- If you live in Canada, for example, you should take the money to your local police department for safekeeping.

3- You  cannot make use of the money. If they are pennies, then you should put it in a charity box.


In responding to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

The Shariah rule on money or valuables found on the ground is that one ought to publicize by placing notices or whatever methods are available for a whole year. Then keep it in trust, ready to hand it over to the owner when he or she arrives.

The rationale is that we do not appropriate what belongs to others, and we ought to deliver the trusts. Returning trusts to the rightful owners is one of the strict ordinances of Allah – reiterated in the Quran. Allah says: 


{Indeed, Allah commands you to render trusts to whom they are due and when you judge between people to judge with justice. Excellent is that which Allah instructs you. Indeed, Allah is ever Hearing and Seeing.} (An-Nisaa 4:58)

Having said this, since the issue of finding the rightful owners lest we become complicit, we ought to comply with the customs and standard practices or laws that apply to such matters in each country.

The Shariah considers the custom of each country as binding in such cases. It could vary from one country to another. So, as Muslims, we are bound by that. It could vary from country to country.

If you live in Canada and found the money anywhere in Canada, here is the advice of Seth Morris, an attorney for Berry Law Firm, who says:
“Regardless of whether the money is identifiable or not, the most advisable route is to take the money to your local police department for safekeeping while attempts are made to find the owner.”

So, you  are not allowed to  make use of the money. If they are pennies, then you should put it in a charity box. That is the best approach to take so that you clear your conscience.

I pray to Allah to keep us all safe from actions that taint our income with haram.

Almighty Allah knows best.

Source: www.askthescholar.com