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What should I do with customers goods forgotten at my shop?


Question:

I have a shop and customers sometimes forget to take their parcels kept in the parcel counter. Most times they do not return to claim their parcels probably because they have forgotten which shop they left it at. I keep the parcels for months and years in a storeroom on the off chance that they will return to claim it but most times they don’t. What must I do with the unclaimed items which comprise shoes, socks, hankies, face towels, etc. Can I donate them to deserving people after a substantial amt of time has elapsed without the items being claimed? Please advise me.

 

Answer:

An effort should be made to locate the owners of these parcels or at least, a public notice should be put up announcing that these parcels have been left at your store with the hope that the owners will take note of this and redeem their belongings.

After taking these steps, if such a period passes that you lose hope in the owner retrieving his belongings, you may give these items in charity and you will not be answerable. However, if the owner does return one day he reserves the right to:

a) Allow his possessions to go in Sadaqah

b) Claim back the value of his items

 

If the owner allows his item/items to go in Sadaqah, he will be rewarded for it.

If the owner claims the value of his item/items back, you will be obligated to pay him and you will receive the reward for giving his item/items in Sadaqah.

(al-Hidayah, Vol: 2, Pg: 448, Darul Fikr, Ahsanul Fatawa, Vol: 6, Pg: 390)

 

ففإن جاء صاحبها وإلا تصدق بها إيصالا للحق إلى المستحق وهو واجب بقدر الإمكان وذلك بإصال عينها عند الظفر بصاحبها ويصال العوض وهو الصواب على اعتبار إجازة التصدق بها وإن شاء أمسكها رجاء الظفر بصاحبها قال : فإن جاء صاحبها يعني بعدا تصدق بها فهو بالخيار إن شاء أمضى الصدقة وله ثوابها لأن التصديق وإن صحل بإذن الشرع لم يحصل بإذنه فيتوقف على إجازته والملك يثبت للقفير قبل الإجازة فلا يتوقف على قيام المحل بخلاف بيع الفضولي لثبوته بعد الإجازة فيه وإن شاء ضمن الملتقط لأنه سلم ماله إلى غيره بغير إذنه إلا أنه بإباحة من جهة الشرع وهذا لا ينافي الضمان حقا للعبد كما في تناول ال الغير حالة المخمصة وإن شاء ضمن المسكين إذا هلك في يده لأنه قبض ماله بغير إذنه وإن كان قائما أخذه لأنه وجد عين ماله

 

 

And Allah Knows Best

 

Mufti Suhail Tarmahomed

 

Checked and Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) Fatwa Department

 

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