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Assalamualaikum ustaz, I want to ask regarding the ruling of money found on sidewalks. Is it permissible for us to take and use it if the amount is small such as RM 10?


Waalaikumussalam. Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.

Definition of Al-Luqatah

Before we discuss this issue further, lost property is described in Arabic as al-Luqatah. Dr Wahbah Zuhaili explains the meaning of al-Luqatah as: “Lost property of someone which is found by another person.” (Al-Fiqh Al-Islam wa Adillatuhu: 6/4856)

While Syeikh Mustafa Bugha in his book stated: “Al-Luqatah according to syarak is any valuable property of which its owner is unknown.” (Fiqh Al-Manhaji Ala Mazhab Imam Syafie: 7/69)

Types of Al-Luqatah

Syeikh Mustafa Bugha calssified al-Luqatah into two:

  • Al-Luqatah from animals or found farm animals or pets which is valuable according to syarak. Scholars further divide the animal category into those that can survive on their own such as camels and those that cannot, such as calf. For detailed information, refer to the article: AL-KAFI #627: HUKUM MEMELIHARA LEMBU YANG TIDAK DIKETAHUI PEMILIKNYA (THE RULING OF REARING COWS OF WHICH THEIR OWNERS ARE UNKNOWN)
  • According to Syeikh Mustafa Bugha it is permissible to take Al-Luqatah which is not from animals and keep it, of which it may be an obligation or otherwise. In regards to al-Luqatah which is not animals, it was once asked of it to the Prophet PBUH and this is recorded in a hadith from Zaid bin Khalid:

عن زَيْدَ بْنَ خَالِدٍ الْجُهَنِيَّ،صَاحِبَ رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ سُئِلَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم عَنِ اللُّقَطَةِ الذَّهَبِ أَوِ الْوَرِقِ فَقَالَ ‏"‏ اعْرِفْ وِكَاءَهَا وَعِفَاصَهَا ثُمَّ عَرِّفْهَا سَنَةً فَإِنْ لَمْ تَعْرِفْ فَاسْتَنْفِقْهَا وَلْتَكُنْ وَدِيعَةً عِنْدَكَ فَإِنْ جَاءَ طَالِبُهَا يَوْمًا مِنَ الدَّهْرِ فَأَدِّهَا إِلَيْهِ ‏"‏

“Zaid b. Khalid al-Juhani, the Companion of Allah's Messenger (), said that Allah's Messenger () was asked about the picking up of stray gold or silver, whereupon he said: Recognise well the strap and the bag (containing) that and then make an announcement regarding that for one year, but if none recognises it, then spend that and it would be a trust with you; and if someone comes one day to make demand of that, then pay that to him.”

Sahih Muslim (1722)

The Rulings and Situations of Taking Al-Luqatah

The scholars have differing opinion regarding the ruling of taking al-Luqatah. According to madhab al-Syafie and Hanafi, it is permissible for us to take it for it is an obligation for us to take care of our brother’s property. While, in madhab Maliki and Hanbali, this is prohibited. (Refer Al-Fiqh Al-Islam wa Adillatuhu: 6/4857). Regarding this matter, Syeikh Mustafa Bugha set the following guidelines:

  1. It is sunnah for a trustworthy person who is able to take care of it to take it if he fears that the found property will get lost.
  2. It is permissible for a trustworthy person who is able to take care of it to take it if he thinks that the found property will not get lost again.
  3. It is an obligation for a trustworthy person who is able to take care of it to take it if he is certain that it will get lost again if he did not take it, for it is an obligation to take care of the property of Muslims.
  4. Makruh (undesirable) for someone who feels that he could not be responsible for it in the future.
  5. Prohibited for an irresponsible person to take it and not take care of it.

(Fiqh Manhaji Ala Mazhab Imam Syafie: 7/71)

Announcement and Return of Al-Luqatah

It is an obligation to announce al-Luqatah of great value. This is in accordance with the above hadith of the Prophet PBUH from Zaid bin Khalid that commanded us to “make an announcement regarding that for one year,”. Syeikh Wahbah Zuhaili wrote in his book specifying the ways of making the announcement:

المناداة عليها، أو الإعلان عنها حيث وجدها، وفي المجتمعات العامة كالأسواق وأبواب المساجد، والمقاهي

The announcement of it (al-Luqatah property) is made by announcing or advertising it in the place where it is found and in places where people assemble and congregate such as in the markets, mosques and restaurants. (Al-Fiqh Al-Islam wa Adillatuhu: 6/4863). If it is unclaimed, then it should be handed to the authorities to ensure it is safe and it will then be decided by a qadhi or judge to be processed and used for the benefit of the public or handed over to the Baitulmal.

While, for things which are not of people’s interest and easily be spoiled like a cane, a whip, a rope and etcetera, there is no need of any announcement as mentioned by the Prophet PBUH, narrated by Jabir bin Abdullah:

قَالَ رَخَّصَ لَنَا رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فِي الْعَصَا وَالسَّوْطِ وَالْحَبْلِ وَأَشْبَاهِهِ يَلْتَقِطُهُ الرَّجُلُ يَنْتَفِعُ بِهِ

The Messenger of Allah () gave us licence to use (for our purpose) a stick, a rope, a whip and things of that type which a man picked up; he may benefit from them.

Sunan Abi Dawud 1717

The same goes for things found while being less in value although they still of people’s interest, like small amount of money. Then, it is advisable to announce it as long as one feels that the owner will not seek for it anymore as stated by Imam al-Syaukani in his book where Saiyidina Ali RA met the Prophet PBUH asking for a way to handle one lost dinar of other’s that he found. Then, the Prophet PBUH asked him to announce it for three times. If no one claims it, then it is of benefit of Saiyidina Ali RA. (Refer: Nail al-Authar, chapter al-Luqatah: 363)


Based on the question asked, we can conclude here that:

  • One must have a will to keep and return the money found if it is being claimed.
  • Make an announcement to the people around the area where the money is found as long as it is assumed that the owner will not search for it anymore. Probably be for a period of 3 days or less depending on the value of the stuff.
  • If during the period, no one comes to claim the item, then it is permissible to use it and one should be willing to pay it back if is claimed later on.

Preferably, the lost money is advertised through social media like Facebook and WhatsApp. If it is not claimed afterwards, then the money may be donated to the masjid or the orphanage. However, if the amount is big and is very valuable, it is obligatory to announce it for one year or may also be handed to the Federal Territories Islamic Religious Council (or known as MAIWP) or any authorities in-charge in managing property and wealth.