Is Taking Sand From Government Property for Cat Litter Permissible?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra

Question

I wanted to ask you if it’s permissible to use government-owned spare sand as cat litter? I take it for a day or two and then drop it back on the adjacent side of the owner’s place since the watchman told me to do so (he doesn’t restrict taking it either).

Answer

In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate

Whether you can use government-owned (or public) property for personal use would depend on the law of the land you are in. The permission of a watchman or another citizen’s speculation is not sufficient to permit this because they are not necessarily in positions of authority or knowledge that can be followed.

ِAllah Most High says, “O you who believe! Obey Allah, and obey the Messenger and those in authority from among yourselves…” [Quran, 4:59]

If local laws allow citizens to take sand from government property for personal use (and then allow one to dump unhygienic used cat litter back into government-owned spaces), what you asked would be Islamically permissible as long as it does not cause harm to other beings or the environment.

However, if this is illegal according to the law of the land, then it will be impermissible according to the Sacred Law as well because we are ordered to obey the laws of the land we live in. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al Muhtar]

If you are unsure, it is religiously and legally precautious to refrain until you have found out from a reliable source.
Obeying the Law of the Land in the West – SeekersGuidance

Wassalam,

[Shaykh] Abdullah Anik Misra

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat 

Shaykh Abdullah Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the SeekersGuidance The Global Islamic Seminary. Currently, He resides in the Greater Toronto Area with his wife and children. His personal interests include Indian history, comparative religion, English singing, and poetry.