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Uncertain if items in my possession belong to someone else

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Seekersguidance.org

Uncertain if items in my possession belong to someone else

Question: We used to have an open library for Muslims next to our mosque as children, and the library is still there, though not really running as it used to. I am 20 years old now, and I realized I used to have this book, and I have no idea if it belonged to the library or if it was given to me. I also have 2 poetry books without a library stamp on them, nor do I know where they came from since I was a child, I don’t know if we borrowed them or it was bought for us. Should I speak to the library management, and if I can’t find the books, do I give the monetary value or buy books similar to them?

Answer:

Assalamu alaykum,

Thank you for your question. If you have something that you have found in your house from your childhood, you are not responsible for confirming whether it belongs to you or not. Any property whose ownership is doubtful would be your parent’s responsibility and not yours.

That being said, if you are uncomfortable with keeping these books, you can give them to that library or donate their value back to the library. No good deed will ever go unrewarded with Allah.

Please see these links for more details:
https://seekersguidance.org/tag/childhood/
https://seekersguidance.org/answers/general-counsel/asking-forgiveness-for-childhood-wrongs/

[Ustadha] Shazia Ahmad

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadha Shazia Ahmad lived in Damascus, Syria, for two years, where she studied aqidah, fiqh, tajweed, Tafseer, and Arabic. She then attended the University of Texas at Austin, where she completed her Master’s in Arabic. Afterward, she moved to Amman, Jordan, where she studied fiqh, Arabic, and other sciences. She recently moved back to Mississauga, Canada, where she lives with her family.

This answer was collected from Seekersguidance.org. It’s an online learning platform overseen by Sheikh Faraz Rabbani. All courses are free. They also have in-person classes in Canada.

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