Office Of Grand Ayatollah Sayyed M.S.Al-Hakeem


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Lost Property
Q [1]  If a person finds something lost, can he donate it as charity on behalf of its owner immediately? If the owner is later found is he entitled to claim it back?
If the value of the found lost property is less than the value of a sharia-defined dirham, i.e. approximately the value of 2.975 grams of silver, then he is permitted to take ownership of it or to give it as charity on behalf of its owner without the need to announce it.
If its value is more than the mentioned amount, one must make an announcement for a year. After the year ends, the finder has a choice of keeping it safe for the owner until he is found, or giving it as charity on behalf of the owner, or taking ownership of it.
If one does not have any hope in finding the owner, then it is not obligatory to make an announcement for a year, but he cannot take ownership of it and he must donate it as charity on behalf of the owner.
Q [2]  If a man finds anything, does he need to pick it?
It is not obligatory to pick it up. In fact, it is disliked.
Q [3]  In school, when students lose their own labcoats, usually the teachers keep hold of them and let other students use them, until the student who lost the labcoat initially comes back and reclaims it. Sometimes the lost labcoat, if it has been unclaimed for a long time, will be given to another student. Can the student take it? If it is returned to the school, but in a condition worse than it was when it was given to him, what is the duty of the student?
You do not have to do anything, and if it is given to you, you can take it.
Q [4]  A few days ago I was cleaning my terrace where I found a bag in which there were several pieces of paper and threads, which imply magic. What should I do with it?
One should look for its owner and give it to him. With despair of finding the owner, one should give it as a charity on the owner’s behalf. If the papers have the name(s) of Allah written on them, one should dispose of them by placing them in a river or the like. You should not be afraid of its effect and depend on Almighty Allah, and recite Ayatul Kursi as it is known that it is beneficial in such cases.
Q [5]  If I declare the amount of abandoned money that I have found, how can I be sure that liars do not claim it, even through false oaths? What if two people swore that it was their money?
One is supposed to declare the found money – or any lost property – in a general way. The person who claims that the money is his should present specific details, e.g. the exact amount, in such a way that the finder is confident that the claimant is the real owner of the found money.

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