Does Islam Promote Squatter’s Rights?

Question: In Islam, is it valid to take other people’s property who do not use their property?


Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh,

Dear questioner,

Thank you for your important question.

In Islam, there is no concept of squatter’s rights: one cannot simply live on someone’s uninhabited property and then take the property for oneself. “Rights,” as the legal principle reads, “are not lost with the passage of time (al-taqadum).”

That said, if it is unquestionably clear from the context and the custom of the land that the owner does not mind that one stays on their property, and it is unquestionably clear that the owner does not want the land, then one may take property as one’s own by taking the normal steps that denote ownership. This could be by changing the locks, building, putting up fencing, or registering the property in one’s name.

I pray this helps.

[Ustadh] Farid Dingle

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Ustadh Farid Dingle has completed extensive years of study in the sciences of the Arabic language and the various Islamic Sciences. During his studies, he also earned a CIFE Certificate in Islamic Finance. Over the years he has developed a masterful ability to craft lessons that help non-Arabic speakers gain a deep understanding of the language. He currently teaches courses in the Arabic Language.