Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch
Can I keep a book that I took from the mosque?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate
The basis with the property of others is that any use or taking of possession is prohibited without permission or a legally sound transaction. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
Allah Most High says, “O believers! Do not devour one another’s wealth illegally, but rather trade by mutual consent. And do not kill ˹each other or˺ yourselves. Surely Allah is ever Merciful to you.” [Qur’an; 4:29]
Permission can only be given by the rightful owner of the item. It is likely that a book in the mosque be an endowment (waqf), in which case the owner is Allah Most High, and it is impermissible to take the item or use it in any way other than what it is intended for. [Maydani, al-Lubab fi Sharh al-Kitab]
If the item is not an endowment, one can only take the object or use it in any way with permission or by rightful acquisition of the item through a legally sound transaction of some sort. [Ibid.]
Legally Sound Transactions
If you have reached out to the owner of the book and agreed to purchase the book, however, no price was stipulated – this still does not constitute a sound transaction. You still do not have ownership of the item and cannot use it in such a case. [Ibid.]
Proceeding, you must either return the item or rectify the sale by stipulating and agreeing on a price. Once a price is agreed upon, you can take possession/ownership of the book, and as for the payment, it can be given at any agreed-upon time, and you are in possession of the book and can use it in the meantime. [Ibid.]
Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York, where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and several texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.