Question # 456: I am enquiring about the permissibility to announce about an article lost by one of the Muslim brothers attending the salah. Is it allowed to make such announcements in a mosque?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: It is confirmed in a sahihhadith that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever hears a man announcing in the mosque about some objects which he has lost, let him tell him ‘May Allah not return it to you for the mosques are not built for that’.” (Muslim) Hence, it is not permissible to announce lost items in the mosque regardless whether it is a property, an animal or a human being for the general prohibition of announcing lost items in the mosque. However, some scholars  made an exception for announcing about a lost human being, but in principle, one should stick to the general ruling. Nevertheless, it is permissible to make announcements concerning lost items outside or at the door of the mosque, even if that is by posting a flyer on the outside wall.

Long Answer: It is confirmed in a sahih hadith that was reported by Ibn Maajah in his “Sunan” that ‘Amr Ibn Shu’ayb (رضي الله عنه) reported from his father from his grandfather (‘Amr Ibn Al-‘Aas) that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade announcing lost items in the mosque. Moreover, Abu Hurayrah (رضي الله عنه) narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “Whoever hears a man announcing in the mosque about some objects which he has lost, let him tell him ‘May Allah not return it to you for the mosques are not built for that’.” (Muslim)

In another hadith, it is narrated from Sulaymaan ibn Buraydah, from his father, that a man made a lost property announcement in the mosque, saying: Who has found the red camel? The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said: “May you not find it. The mosques were only built for that for which they were built.” (Muslim)

Many scholars  stated that the reason for which the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) forbade announcing lost items in the mosque is raising the voice. This reason applies to any lost item, be it a person, an animal or a property.

The Permanent Committee of Fatwa [answered]: “It is not permissible to announce lost items in the mosque regardless whether it is a property, an animal or a human being for the general prohibition of announcing lost items in the mosque.”

Defining the item and telling people about it is included in the meaning of announcing it. Ibn Qudamah when speaking about the definition of the lost property, he said: “One should not announce for it in the mosque because the mosque is not built for this purpose.”

However, some scholars  made an exception for announcing for a human being from the prohibition of announcing a lost item in the mosque, but in principle, one should stick to the general ruling unless there is something that specifies it.

[Nevertheless,] it is permissible to make announcements concerning worldly matters outside the mosque, even if that is by posting a flyer on the outside wall.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “If the announcement has to do with acts of worship, there is nothing wrong with that, because acts of worship are means of drawing closer to Allah, and the mosques were built for the worship of Allah, may He be glorified and exalted. But if it has to do with worldly matters, then it is not permissible…” (Sharh Manzoomah al-Qawaa‘id al-Fiqhiyyah)

Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allah have mercy on him) said concerning lost property announcements: “As for writing them on a piece of paper, if it is put up on the outside wall of the mosque, there is nothing wrong with it.” (Fataawa ash-Shaykh Ibn Baaz)

(The above reply is based on the following resources:

  • Islamweb.net, a web site belonging to the Ministry of Awqaf and Islamic Affairs in the State of Qatar
  • Various answers provided by Shaykh Muhammad Saalih al-Munajjid on similar topics)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam