Book of Lost Property

The Sahih Collection of al-Bukhari

by Imam Bukhari
Translated by: Ustadha Aisha Bewley

Chapter 48. Book of Lost Property

I: When the owner of a lost object describes the thing, it is given to him

2294. It is related that Ubayy ibn Ka'b said, "I found a purse with a hundred dinars and went to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace. He said, 'Publicise for a year.' I publicised it for a year and did not did anyone who recognised it. Then I went to him and he said, 'Publicise it for a year.' I publicised it for a year and did not find anyone. Then I went to him a third time. He said, 'Note the details its container and string and count them in case its owner comes. Otherwise, use them.' I used them."

[Shu'ba said,] "I met him [Salama] latter in Makka and he said, 'I do not know whether it was three years or one year.'"

II: Lost camels

2295. Zayd ibn Khalid al-Juhani related, saying, "A bedouin came to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and asked him about finding a lost article. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Publicise it for a year. Then note the details of its container and secure it and publicise it for a year. If someone comes and describes it, give it to him, If not, then make use of it' Then he said, 'Messenger of Allah, what about a lost sheep?' He said, 'It is for you, your brother or the wolf.' He said, 'What about the lost camel?' and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, face became red. He said, 'It has nothing to do with you. It has its feet and its water and it will find water and graze from the trees.'"

III: Lost sheep

2296. Zayd ibn Khalid al-Juhani related, saying, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, was asked him about finding a lost article." He claimed that he said, "Note its string and container and then publicise it for a year." Yazid said, "If it is not recognised, then the one who has it can use it, and it is a trust in his keeping." Yahya said, "I do not know whether this is in the hadith of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, or whether it is something from Yazid. Then he said, "What do you think about a lost sheep?" The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Take it. It is for you, your brother or the wolf." Yazid said, "They are also publicised." Then he said,"What do you think about the lost camel?" and he said, "Leave it. It has its feet and its water and it will find water and graze from the trees until its owner finds it."

IV: When the owner of a lost object is not found after a year, it belongs to the one who found it

2297. Zayd ibn Khalid related: "A man came to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace,and asked him about finding a lost article. The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Note its container and string and then publicise it for a year. If its owner comes, give it to him, If not, then do what you like with it' He said, 'What about a lost sheep?" He said, "It is for you, your brother or the wolf." He said, 'What about the lost camel?" and he said, "It has nothing to do with you. It has its feet and its water and it will find water and graze from the trees until its owner finds it.'" (Muwatta, Book 36, 46)

V: When someone finds a piece of wood or a whip or the like in the sea

2298. It is related from Abu Hurayra from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, that a man of the tribe of Israel - and the hadith [procedes until, "[The man who had lent it] went out looking for for a ship that might bring him his money and there was a piece of wood. He took it as a firewood for his family. When he sawed it up, he found the money and the paper." [see 1427]

VI: When someone finds a date on the road

2299. It is related that Anas said, "The Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, passed by a fallen date and said, 'If it was not for the fact that it might have been sadaqa, I would have eaten it.'"

Another isnad from Anas.

2300. It is related from Abu Hurayra that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Sometimes when I return home to my family, I may find a date fallen on my bed. I pick it up to eat it and then I fear that it might be sadaqa, so I throw it away."

VII: How a lost object is announced to the people of Makka

2301. It is related from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "No dropped thing should picked up in it except by someone who announces that he has done so."

It is related from Ibn 'Abbas that the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "No dropped thing should picked up in it except by someone who announces it."

It is related from Ibn 'Abbas that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "Its trees should not be cut down nor its game chased and it is not lawful to pick up dropped things unless the person announces it and its thorn bushes may not be uprooted." Ibn 'Abbas said, "Messenger of Allah, except for the idhkhir herb." He said, "Except for the idhkhir herb."

2302. It is related that Abu Hurayra said, "When Allah let his Messenger, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, conquer Makka, he stood up among the people and praised and glorified Allah and then said, 'Allah saved Makka from the Elephant, but Allah gave the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and the believers power over it. It was not lawful to anyone before me and it was only lawful for me for one hour of one day. It.will not be lawful for anyone after me. Its game is not to be chased and its thorns are not to be uprooted nor any fallen things picked up in it except by someone who announces it. If someone is killed, then there is a choice between taking blood money or allowing the people of the murdered man to take retaliation.' Al-'Abbas said, 'Except for the idhkhir-herb which we use for our graves and homes!' The Messenger of Allah,may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Except for the idhkhir-herb.' Abu Shah, a man from Yemen stood up and said, 'Write this for me, Messenger of Allah!' The Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, 'Write it for Abu Shah.'"

I [Al-Walid ibn Muslim] asked al-Awza'i, "What did he mean by 'Write it for me, Messenger of Allah'?" He answered, "This speech which he heard from the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace."

VIII: No one's animal may be milked without his permission

2303. It is related from 'Abdullah ibn 'Umar that the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said, "No one's animal may be milked without his permission. Would one of you like for someone to come to his storehouse and then break his container and take away his food? The udders of people's animals contain their food, so no one's animal should be milked except with his permission." (Muwatta, Book 54, 17)

IX: When the owner of lost property comes after a year, it is returned to him because it is a trust with the person who found it

2304. It is related from Zayd ibn Khalid al-Juhani that a man asked the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, said the lost object that is found. He said, "Publicise it for a year and then learn its container and string. Then make use of it. If its owner comes, return it to him." They said, "Messenger of Allah, what about the lost sheep?" He said, "Take it. It is for you, your brother or the wolf.' He said, 'What about the lost camel?' and the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, became so angry that his cheeks became red - or his face became red. He said, 'It has nothing to do with you. It has its feet and its water until its owner finds it."

X: Does one take lost property that is found and not leave it to spoil or until someone who does not deserve it takes it?

2305. It is related that Suwayd ibn Ghafala was heard to say, "I was with Salman ibn Rabi'a and Zayd ibn Suhan on an expedition when I found a whip. He said to me, 'Drop it,' and I said, 'No. If I find its owner, [I will give it to him,] otherwise I will use it.' When we went on hajj, I passed by Madina and asked Ubayy ibn Ka'b. He said, 'In the time of the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, I found a purse containing a hundred dinars. I brought it to the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and he said, 'Publicise for a year.' I publicised it for a year and then I went to him and he said, 'Publicise it for a year.' I publicised it for a year and then went to him. He said, 'Publicise it for a year,' and I publicised it for a year and then went to him a fourth time. He said, 'Note the details its contents, container and string. If its owner comes, give it to him. Otherwise, use them.'"

Salama related this and said, "I met him later in Makka and he said, 'I do not know whether it was three years or one year.'"

XI: The one who announces the found object and does not give it to the Sultan

2306. It is related from Zayd ibn Khalid that a bedouin asked the Prophet, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, about a lost object that is found and he said, "Publicise it for a year. If someone comes and describes its container and string to you, give it to him, If not, then make use of it." Then he asked him about the lost camel and the Prophet's face changed colour. He said, "It has nothing to do with you. It has its water and its feet and it will find water and graze from the trees. Leave it until its owner comes." He asked him about a lost sheep. He said, "It is for you, your brother or the wolf."

2307. It is related that Abu Bakr said, "While I was going, there was a shepherd driving his sheep. I asked, 'Whose servant are you?' He mentioned a man of Quraysh and named him. I knew him. I said, 'Do your sheep have any milk?' He said, 'Yes.' I said, 'Will you milk for me?' He said, 'Yes.' Then I commanded him and he hobbled one of his sheep. Then I commanded him to clean the dust from the teats and then I told him to clean his hands. (He said, 'Like that,') and clapped his hands together. He milked a little milk. I put it in a small pot for the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and put a rag over its mouth. I poured water over the milk until its bottom was cold. Then I went to the Messenger of Allah, may Allah bless him and grant him peace, and said, 'Drink, Messenger of Allah.' He drank so that I was pleased."