Picking up Luqatah of Al-Haram

Q: I found a watch valued at 35 riyals in Mina during the days of Hajj. I did not know that the Luqatah (a lost item found by someone else) in Al-Haram (all areas within the Sacred Sanctuary of Makkah) is not permissible to take except for someone who will publicize it. Then, I found out the ruling when I returned home. What is the ruling in this case?

A: It is impermissible to take the Luqatah in Al-Haram except for somebody who will publicize it by calling for it until he finds its owner and gives it to him. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said, regarding Makkah: And picking up its Luqatah is impermissible except for someone who will make a public announcement about it. Thus, it was impermissible for you to take the watch you found in Mina and keep silent about it. You should repent to Allah for that and send the watch to the president of the High Court in Makkah informing him of the truth. You should give him a copy of this Fatwa to take the necessary action regarding it, in accordance with the instructions of the court with regard to objects found in Al-Haram. May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.