Some of the Rulings
By Ayatullah al Uzama Sayyid Ali al
Husaini al Seestani
Usurpation means that a person unjustly
seizes the property or right of another person. This is one of the major
sins and one who commits it will be subjected to severe chastisement on
the Day of Judgement.
* If a person does not allow the people to benefit from a mosque, a
school, a bridge and other places which have been constructed for the
use of the public, he usurps their right. Similar is the case of a
person who reserves a place in the mosque for himself and does not allow
any other person to use it. And also one who drives that person out from
that place commits a sin.
If a person usurps a property, he should return it to its owner, and if
it is lost he should compensate him for it.
If some benefit accrues from a thing which has been usurped, for
example, if a lamb is born of a sheep which has been usurped, it belongs
to the owner. Moreover, if, for example, a person has usurped a house,
he should pay its rent even if he does not occupy it.
* If a person usurps something belonging to a child or an insane person,
he should return it to his guardian, and if it has been lost he should
* If a person changes a usurped thing into something better than before,
for example, if he makes an earring from the gold usurped by him, and
the owner asks him to give it to him in the same (i.e. changed) form, he
should give it to him in that form. He cannot claim any charges from the
owner for his labour. Similarly, he has no right to give him the thing
in its original form without his permission, and if he gives the thing
in its original form without his permission, or changes it into another
shape, it is not known whether he will be responsible for the difference
in the value.
If a person changes the thing usurped by him in such way that it becomes
better than its original form, but its owner asks him to change it back
to its original condition, it will be obligatory on him to do so. And if
due to the change, its value decreases, he should pay the difference in
the value to the owner. Therefore, if he makes an earring from the gold
usurped by him and its owner asks him to change it back to its original
shape, and if after melting it, its value becomes less than what is
originally was before making the earring, he should pay the difference.
If a person usurps a piece of land and cultivates or plants trees on it,
the crop and the trees and their fruits are his own property, and if the
owner of the land is not agreeable to the crops and the trees remaining
on his land, the person who has usurped the land, should pull them out
immediately even if he may suffer loss for that. Also, he should pay
rent to the owner of the land for the period the crop and the trees
remained on his land, and should also make up for the damage done to the
land, like, he should fill up the holes from which the trees are pulled
out. And if the value of land decreases because of that, he should
compensate. Moreover, he cannot compel the owner of the land to sell it
or lease it out to him, nor can the owner of the land compel him to sell
the trees or crops to him.
If one of the conditions of transaction is not present at the time of
sale; for example, if a thing which should be purchased and sold by
weight is sold without being weighed, the contract is void. And if the
seller and the buyer accept the deal irrespective of the mode of
transaction, there is no harm in it. Otherwise, the things taken by them
from each other will be treated as usurped property and should be
returned to each other. And if the property of each of them perishes
while in the custody of the other, he should pay compensation for it
regardless of whether or not he knows that the transaction was void.
* If a person takes some thing from a seller so that he may see and
check it, or may keep it with him for sometime so that he may purchase
it, if he likes it, and if that property perishes, he should pay
compensation for it to its owner.