Many years back I purchased an item from person A, Who in turn purchased it from person B. However person B had in fact taken the article from her father’s business and sold it to person A (without person B’S father’s permission)who then sold it to me. I would like to know whether the item in my possession is a stolen item or not. I do not know whether person B had kept the income derived for herself or not. furthermore. I had enquired from person A who knows Person B ( I do not know person B) if he can’t get in touch with person B, he told me that it would not be possible to trace Person B.What should I do in this regard, please advise.( I had disposed of the item last year, the item being a gas lighter)
2. With regards to Q1, Person B had taken something from her father’s business and sold it to person A without person B’s father’s permission, however I have been advised by mother that if person B’s father comes to know,it might lead to family problems and may be myself being accused of theft etc.Kindly advise what should be done.The item is one which was sold in person B’s father’s business.
If you are sure that the item had been stolen by person B, then the item in your possession is stolen. Person B’s father is still the owner and is entitled to its return. The actual item should be returned to him. If you do not have the actual item in your possession, then its value may be given instead.
If the owner cannot be contacted, then the value of the item should be given in charity to the poor and needy intending the reward of the owner. It is not necessary that you identify yourself when returning the item or its value to the owner. You may remain anonymous. (Fataawa Mahmoodiyah vol.14 pg.414)
and Allah Ta’ala Knows Best
Mufti Ebrahim Desai