Question:

My wife recently stumbled upon a sealed envelope containing a few hundred Dollars in her purse. She can’t seem to recall where this money came from and for what purpose this was sealed in the envelope.

It is possible that my father may have give this money to my wife as gift or perhaps to give our sadaqah. Other than that, nobody has “claimed” this amount so far either.

In this situation, would it be permissible for my wife to regard this money as her own and use it for whatever purpose she likes? Would this be ok in the situation where, let’s just say, this money was intended for Sadaqah originally but neither of us can recall now?

If not, then please advise what should be done with this.

Answer:

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

In principle, any money that is found in one’s possession is one’s own property, unless there is reason for this ownership to be contested in someone else’ favour.

Since, the money has been found in your wife’s possession, the Asl (base standing) of the ownership of that money is that of your wife. Now, to establish that money as a right or property of someone else, we need reasonable assurance (Ghalaba Dhan).

From your question I judge that neither you, nor your wife has this certainty . Hence the ruling of this money is that it belongs to your wife.

However, since you have a slight doubt, you can try to your best ability to find out what was the intent of this money. Since you or your wife both cannot recall, I suggest you ask your father, if he had given the money. If even he does not know, then rest the matter and use the money based of the apparent conditions.

In future, should it become apparent that the money did not belong to you rather was intended to be for something else, then do not hesitate to dispense the money from your own pocket towards that avenue.

May Allah increase lot of barakah in your wealth and Imaan, Ameen

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi
www.fatwa.ca

Checked and concurred by,

Mufti Faraz al-Mahmudi
www.darulfiqh.com