The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 1826

If a person finds a treasure trove on land that he has purchased from someone or on land over which he has disposal on account of renting it and suchlike, and if that treasure trove does not legally (sharʿan) belong to a Muslim or to a dhimmī, or if it does then it was such a long time ago that he is unable to ascertain whether or not there is an heir for it, in such a case, he can take the treasure trove for himself but he must pay khums on it. If he deems it rationally probable that the treasure belongs to the previous owner, then in case the previous owner had disposal over the land, the treasure trove, or its location as a result of owning the land, he must inform him. Thereafter, if the previous owner makes a claim over the treasure trove, he must hand it over to him; and if he does not make a claim over it, he must inform the person who owned the land before the previous owner and who had disposal over it, and so on with regard to all the previous owners who had such disposal. If none of them makes a claim over the treasure trove and the present owner does not know whether or not it once belonged to another Muslim or dhimmī, he can take it for himself but he must pay khums on it.