The Fallen Lost Thing (Hadith No. 91)
‘Luqta’ is a fallen lost thing. This Hadith tells us the ruling about it.
Narrated Zaid bin Khalid Al-Juhani:
A man asked the Prophet about the picking up of a “Luqta” (fallen lost thing). The Prophet replied, “Recognize and remember its tying material and its container, and make public announcement (about it) for one year, then utilize it but give it to its owner if he comes.” Then the person asked about the lost camel. On that, the Prophet got angry and his cheeks or his face became red and he said, “You have no concern with it as it has its water container, and its feet and it will reach water, and eat (the leaves) of trees till its owner finds it.” The man then asked about the lost sheep. The Prophet replied, “It is either for you, for your brother (another person) or for the wolf.”
If you find a Luqta on a pathway or around, you can pick it up (if you want the responsibility). Then keep it for one year. During that year, if the owner comes to you and claims it, make sure it’s his (get clues) and give it to him. If he still doesn’t come after one year, you can use the thing, whatever it was (money/watch/any other belonging). And later on, if the owner comes, you have to return it to him. If you’ve used it, compensate with something similar/equal in value. Even if the owner comes after 50 years. Luqta is a trust. You have to be honest about it.
Lesson: think hard before deciding to pick up a fallen lost thing that doesn’t belong to you. :)