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 Judgment. It has been reported from the Holy Prophet (peace be upon Him), “whoever usurps one span of another’s land, seven layers of that land will be put round his neck like a yoke on the Day of Judgment”.
2554. If a person does not allow the people to benefit from a Masjid, 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 Masjid for himself and someone else does not allow him to use it.
2555. If a person has agreed to mortgage his property, it should remain with the mortgagee, so that if he is not able to pay his debt, creditor could recover it from the mortgage. Thus, before he pays his debt, forcefully takes back his mortgage from the creditor, he has usurped the right of the creditor.
2556. If a third person usurps the property which has been mortgaged to a person, the owner of the property as well as the mortgagee can demand from him the thing he has usurped. When the thing is returned from him, it becomes mortgaged again. And if that thing perishes and its substitute is taken, that substitute also becomes mortgaged like the original thing itself.
2557. If a person usurps a property, he should return it to its owner, and if it is lost he should compensate him for it.
2558. 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.
2559. 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 replace it.
2560. When two persons usurp a thing jointly, each one of them is responsible for the half of it, even if one of them alone might not have been able to usurp it.
2561. If a person mixes something usurped by him with another thing, for example, he mixes wheat usurped by him with barley, and if it is possible to separate them, he should separate them even if it may be very difficult to do so, and return the usurped thing to its owner.
2562. If a person usurps an earring and melts it, he should return it with the difference between the value before and after the melting. And if with the object of not paying the difference, he says that he is ready to make it like the original one, the owner is not obliged to accept the offer. Also, the owner, too, cannot compel him to make it like the original one.
2563. 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 labor.
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, then he will be responsible for the difference in the value.
2564. 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.
2565. 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.
2566. If the owner of the land agrees to the crops and trees to remain on his land, it is not necessary for the usurper of the land to pull them out. However, he should pay the rent of the land from the time he usurped it till the time the owner of the land agreed to the trees and crops to remain on it.
2567. If a thing usurped by a person perishes and if it is like a cow or a sheep, the price of each one of which differs on account of individual characteristics, the usurper should pay its price; and if its market value has undergone a change, he should pay the cost which was at the time it perished. And as per recommended precaution, he should pay its highest price from the time it was usurped till the time it perished.
2568. If the thing usurped by a person which has perished is like wheat and barley, whose prices do not differ due to individual specifications, he (the usurper) should pay a thing which is similar to the one usurped by him. However, the quality of that replacement should be the same as of the thing which has been usurped and has perished. For example, if he has usurped rice of superior quality, he should replace it with the same quality.
2569. If a person usurps something like a sheep and if it perishes, and if its market price has not changed but during the time it was with him it became fat, the usurper should pay the price of a fat sheep.
2570. If the thing usurped by a person is usurped from him by another person and it perishes, the owner of the thing can take its compensation from any one of them, or can demand a part of the compensation from each of them. And if he takes compensation for the thing from the first usurper, the first usurper can demand whatever he has given from the second usurper. But if he is compensated by the second usurper, that second usurper cannot demand what he has given, from the first usurper.
2571. 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 irrespective of the mode of transaction, agree on the seizure and disposal of the commodity and money, 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.
2572. If a person takes something from a seller so that he may see and check it, or may keep it with him for some time so that he may purchase it, if he likes it, and if that property perishes, he should pay compensation for it to its owner.