Al-Luqatah is an article found by a person other than the one who lost it. First of all, we would like to state that Islam shows much keenness on preserving property, for it’s the backbone of life and it’s always the bone of contention among disputants. So, with its noble teachings, Islam warns people from transgressing against each other’s rights or property.
Thus, we see, as regards the case at hand, that Islam is keen to protect and safeguard property even if it happens to be lost, for something lost by a person will most probably be found by others. So Islam interferes by urging the one who finds the lost property to, first of all, before being gripped by desire of possession, to think of who might be the owner of the property; he is urged to try his best to find out if the owner is reachable, for that enhances the spirit of mutual love and altruism that should exist among Muslims.
Shedding more light on this, we’d like to cite for you the following fatwa issued by Sheikh `Abdus-Sattaar Fathallah As-Sa`eed, professor of Qur’anic Exegesis at Al-Azhar University:
“If the money found amounts to about three dollars, then we have to do our best and try by all possible means to hand them or even make them reach their owners. This may be done by pasting advertisements in local newspapers, or at Churches, Mosques, local markets and other public places. This procedure should last for a complete year.
After the elapse of a complete year, one has the choice of whether to donate it to charitable purposes or to have it as his own but in this case he is required to pay out its value in charity out of his own money.”