The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 1835

If lawful property is mixed with unlawful property and the quantity of the unlawful property is known, and if a person knows that the owner can only be one of a group of people but he does not know which one, then in such a case, he must inform all of them. After that, in the event that one of them says it belongs to him and the others say it is not theirs or they confirm that it belongs to him, the person must give it to him. However, if two or more persons say it belongs to them, in the event that the dispute is not resolved by way of settlement and suchlike, they must refer to a fully qualified jurist to settle the dispute. If all of them claim they did not know or are not prepared to settle, then what is apparent (ẓāhir)13 is that ownership of the property must be determined by drawing lots (qurʿah); and as an obligatory precaution, the lots must be drawn by a fully qualified jurist or his representative (wakīl).

13 For practical purposes in jurisprudential rulings, expressing an ‘apparent’ ruling equates to giving a fatwa.