Someones possessions left at shop

Question and Answer:

Q. 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 dont. What must I do with the unclaimed items which comprise shoes, socks, hankies, facetowels, etc. Can I donate them to deserving people after a substantial amt of time has elapsed without the items being claimed? Please advise me.

(There may be grammatical and spelling errors in the above question. Questions are published as received)

A. 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, an extended period passes where 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 reimburse him and you will receive the reward for giving his item/items in Sadaqah.

(al-Fatawa al-Hindiyyah, Ahsanul Fatawa, Vol: 6, Pg: 390)

And Allah Knows Best

Fatwa Department
Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)

Council of Muslim Theologians
223 Alpine Road, Overport, Durban
Tel :  +27 (0) 31 2077099
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