Buying stolen goods – Does the Shariah permit this?
Question:If something is being sold and in all probabilities that article is a stolen decent, then is it right to purchase that article according to the Shariah? If we have already bought it, then what does the Shariah say about it?
Answer: If it is highly probable that the article which we want to buy is a stolen good or else gained by force, then purchasing it is not right according to the Shariah. The Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam)has given a stern warning about it:
Translation: Hadhrat Abu Hurairah (May Allah be well pleased with him) relates that the Holy Prophet (Sallallahu alaihi wa sallam) said: If any person buys a stolen good knowing it for what it is, that person is a partner in the ignominy and sin. (Shu’abul Imaan, Hadith No. 5258)
However, if in the market both kinds of goods are present – those which have been gained through lawful methods and those which have been gained through unlawful methods, and the goods gained through lawful methods are greater in number. Now, if a buyer is not sure about the good that he or she is buying whether it has been gained through lawful means or unlawful ones, then to ease matters the Shariah permits the buying of such a good. (Majma’ Ul Anhur..)
If a stolen good has been bought, then it is necessary to return it to its owner. If the owner cannot be ascertained, then giving it away in charity is necessary. Personal use is not permissible. As mentioned in Radd Ul Muhtaar, Vol. 5, Pg. No. 273)
And Allah Most High knows best.
Mufti Hafidh Syed Ziauddin Naqshbandi Qadri
[Professor, Islamic Law, Jamia Nizamia,
Founder-Director, Abul Hasanaat Islamic Research Center]