I found a sum of money somewhere and asked people there about it but it was not theirs

Question:

I found a sum of money somewhere and asked people there about it but it was not theirs. Is it permissible to use this money?

Answer:

It is required of you to announce it in places where people usually gather and where you may find its owner for one year. If nobody comes, you should write the description of this money and the type of case in which the money was found, if it was inside a case, and then you can spend this money. If its owner comes, even after a long time, and gives its description, you should pay it to him. You may pay this money in charity and if its owner comes, you should inform him of that. If he is not satisfied, you should give him the money and the charity is counted for you. However, if the money is little, it is not obligatory to announce it. In addition, if you picked it up from Al-Haram-ul-Makky (all areas within the Sacred Sanctuary of Makkah) it must be paid to the authority concerned.

May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

  • Date: Muharram 11, 1442 AH
  • Source: Fatawa Al-Lajnah Ad-Da'imah no. 14893-8
  • Muftis: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz , Shaykh Abdul-Razzaq al-Afify , Shaykh Abdullah ibn Ghudayyan