In a building, there were some personal belonging left by someone more than a year back.
Mu' meneen Brothers and Sisters,
As Salaam Aleikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. (May Allah's Peace, Mercy and Blessings be upon all of you)
One of our brothers/sisters has asked this question:
Asalam wa Alaikum Brother,
In a building, there were some personal belonging left by someone more than a year back. I came and saw and inquired the whole building and tried to find out to whom it belonged. Even gave a notice stating anything left outside the flat and inthe staircase will be taken away, since I am incharge of that building. But no one came forward to claim the goods since I waited for more than one week after giving the notice. The day i took them, very next morning the owner shows up and says it belonged to him. The owner of the goods never lived in that building and never ever bothered to show up before only that the watchman at the time he left the goods was his friend. Please let me know, If i keep the goods or give it to someone else and refuse to return, Am I doing a sin?
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Return lost and found goods
In the name of Allah, We praise Him, seek His help and ask for His forgiveness. Whoever Allah guides none can misguide, and whoever He allows to fall astray, none can guide them aright. We bear witness that there is none worthy of worship but Allah Alone, and we bear witness that Muhammad (saws) is His slave-servant and the seal of His Messengers.
Al-Muwatta Hadith Hadith 36.46
The Judgement on Lost Property
Malik related to from Rabia ibn Abi Abd ar-Rahman that Zayd ibn Khalid al-Juhani said, "A man came to the Messenger of Allah (saws) and asked him about (the things one) finds. He (saws) said, 'Memorize the characteristics of the object found, then publicize it for a year. If the owner comes, give it to him.
It would be illegal and immoral in Islam for a believer, who sincerely fears Allah and the Last Day, to keep and use for himself the money or valuables one finds or does not lawfully belong to him. If one finds some money or anything of value on the streets which does not belong to him, he must report the find to the relevant legal authorities who will safeguard it until the actual owner is found. To take or consume the valuables one finds for oneself would be tantamount to theft in the Sight of Shariah.
If one finds money or anything valuable which does not belong to him, and is unable to report or deposit it with the legal authorities for any reason, he must try his best to locate its original owner and return his property to him. If the believer is unable to locate the owner even after trying his best for a considerable amount of time, he may spend what he has found in charity with the intention that Allah Subhanah credit the reward of the charity to the original owner.
But under absolutely no circumstances should one strive to consume or utilize the valuables one finds for oneself.
Your Question: The day i took them, very next morning the owner shows up and says it belonged to him. The owner of the goods never lived in that building and never ever bothered to show up before only that the watchman at the time he left the goods was his friend. Please let me know, If i keep the goods or give it to someone else and refuse to return, Am I doing a sin?
Beloved brother in Islam, if you are convinced that the person who is claiming the goods is indeed the rightful owner of those belongings, it would only be akin to piety and righteousness that the goods be returned back to the owner.
Under absolutely no circumstances can you keep the goods for yourself, or give them to someone of your choice.especially when the real owner has been located and is claiming his right on the goods.
If you were to keep the goods for yourself knowing fully well that they rightfully belong to someone else, it would indeed be a grave sin and akin to theft in the Sight of Allah Subhanah.
Whatever written of Truth and benefit is only due to Allahs Assistance and Guidance, and whatever of error is of me alone. Allah Alone Knows Best and He is the Only Source of Strength.
Your brother and well wisher in Islam,