Zaid bin Khalid al-Juhani relates that a person asked Allah’s Apostle (may Allah bless and greet him) about picking up stray articles, whereupon he said: “Make announcement about it for a year, and recognise well the strap and the bag (containing that); then spend that; and if its owner comes, make him the payment of that.” He (the enquirer) said: “Messenger of Allah, what about the lost goat?” He said: “Take it, for that is yours or for your brother, or for the wolf.” He (again) said, “(What about) the lost camel?” The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless and greet him) was enraged until his cheeks became red and then said: “You have nothing to do about that; it has feet and a leather bag (to quench its thirst) until its owner finds it.”
The term luqta means the thing which a person find abandoned or lying on the ground and takes it away for the purpose of preserving it, of course in the manner of a trust. In ordinary circumstances, it is meritorious to keep it under one’s custody if one happens to find it. According to some of the jurists, it becomes binding for a man, who finds a stray thing, to take it in his charge if it is liable to perish in case it is not preserved. As for the period of its preservation, it is one year but it can be extended to three years keeping in view the nature of the commodity. If the commodity is valuable and it is easy to preserve it then the period is longer otherwise it is short. Then the trustee should make regular advertisement of the fact that he has found a stray thing and its owner should come to him to take it. At the end of the period, if he deems expedient, he should make use of that in case he is insolvent, or give it as charity if he is solvent. If the finder discovers the owner, having bestowed it in alms or given it as charity, the owner has two options: he may approve of and confirm the charity, or if the owner chooses, he may claim it from the finder. But he can do so in case the finder is solvent enough to pay that back. It is laudable to secure and take care of stray goats and sheep, but not of oxen, horses and camels.