The World Federation One Stop Fiqh

Ruling 2586

If after a person has announced for one year the owner is not found, and the finder safeguards the property for the owner but it is destroyed nonetheless, in the event that he was not negligent in safeguarding it and did not transgress – i.e. he was not excessive – he is not responsible (ḍāmin). However, if he has given it to the poor as alms on behalf of the owner [and afterwards the owner is found], the owner can choose to consent to the act of charity or claim for the item to be replaced; if he chooses the latter, the reward for the act of charity will belong to the person who gave the alms.