A man selling what he does not own and then repenting and failing to find the buyers
Q 1: I took hold of some land and then sold it. I think that this piece of land is not
the property of anyone whether municipal boards or anyone else.
It is impossible to find some of those to whom I sold this land because I do not know their names or addresses. What is the ruling in this regard?
I have previously issued a Fatwa, no. 2885 in 3/12/1400 A.H. that points out that selling this land is not permissible and invalid because you do not possess this land. Moreover, you are not asked to sell this land on behalf of another person nor does the person who possesses it agree on your sale. Therefore, this sale is invalid. You have to repay the price to those who bought this land from you regardless of the amount paid. If you can not reach the person to whom you have sold the land, then you have to give the price as charity to the poor or spend it in charitable projects as building and maintaining Masjids (mosques) intending that the reward of this charity is for the owner of this money. (Part No. 13; Page No. 240) If you do so, you will acquit yourself of this sin.
May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.