Provision of lost and found objects in Islam
A lot of lost things are found in the market or on the way. Many people are confused about what to do with the collected object. Therefore, it is very important for everyone to know what Islam has instructed in this regard.
Definition of lost and found objects
In Islamic terminology, ‘lost and found objects’ refers to property or objects that have been lost from their owner, and retrieved by someone else. Or an object that a person sees lying down and picks it up and takes it as a deposit.
The Prophet (SAW) said about things that are lost and found, “If any one of you picks up something that has been lost from its owner, let him have two just witnesses. Then he should not hide it and not make any change in that object. If the owner of the object is then found, he is entitled to it. And if the owner is not found, then that is the property of Allah, He gives it to whom He wills.”
Types of lost and found objects
There are basically four types of lost and found objects.
1. Any object found without ownership. Such as money, gold, silver, or commodities.
2. Lost or recovered human beings. Someone has left him somewhere for fear of being raised or for being a suspicious child. Whoever finds such a human being, his responsibility will be to nurture him.
3. Lost quadrupeds. Such as camels, cows, goats, etc.
4. Lost food items. Which can be picked up on the street or anywhere.
Rescuers are responsible for found objects
A person who retrieves the lost property of another person and keeps it in his deposit for the purpose of returning it to the owner, the rescuer will be given the following responsibilities:
1. It is the duty of the rescuer to declare within a reasonable time to deliver the lost and found object to the real owner.
2. It is also the duty of the rescuer to take proper care of the items received. However, the rescuer cannot be held responsible for any damage to the product even after proper care has been taken.
3. The item will be kept as a deposit with the rescuer on the condition that the rescuer will keep it and withdraw it to return to the owner.
4. If the value of the found item is small, the rescuer will announce in a few days the search for the owner. On the other hand, if the price of the item is higher, it will be declared for one year. And if the owner cannot be found, he will donate the object in the name of the owner.
5. The rescuer should never use the object for his own needs. However, if he is helpless, then he can use it in the way prescribed by the Shari’ah.
6. The rescuer should never mix a found object with a similar object owned by him.
7. If the rescuer spends his own money on the maintenance of the object without a court order, he will be considered a volunteer.
8. It is the rescuer’s responsibility to return the item at a reasonable cost after finding the real owner.
9. If the rescuer gets any increase or gains from the collected object, it should also be paid to the real owner.
10. If the owner is found after selling the collected items, the remaining amount will have to be paid to the real owner except his own debt.
Some more provisions for lost objects
If the value of the found item is less than ten dirhams, the rescuer will declare for a few days (here a few days means as many days as the court deems fit). Or as many days as the rescuer thinks are sufficient according to his conscience.
Conversely, if the value of the found item is more than ten dirhams, a declaration must be made for one year. However, the announcement must be made in a place where it can be assumed that the announcement will reach the owner. Especially, it is better to announce where the object was found. Because usually after losing property, the owner of the property starts looking for the path where he lost it.
Also in public gatherings such as markets, mosque doors; An announcement can be made at all times when the worshipers leave the mosque. However, it is not lawful to declare things lost inside the mosque. Because the mosque is made for worship; Not for the declaration of lost objects. And if an object is found in a desert or in a vast field, it must be declared in a nearby locality.
If the lost object is of such a nature that the owner will not look for it, it should be left behind. It is valid to benefit from it without declaring it again.