The Status of Unused Land

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Fatwa ID: 04718 

Answered by: Alimah Nasima Umm Hamza




Assalamu Alaikum. May I ask you about the classification of land status nowadays in Islam (Hanafi)?

Nowadays, in modern developing countries, are owners intentionally abandoned land, never claimed land, the original owner’s left over land, previously owned and abandoned lands all similar in status to the Mawat?


In The Name Of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful





Mawat is a barren or uncultivated land.


Land can only be considered to be Mawat (unused) when it:

i- has no owner

ii- it is owned but the owner is not known

iii- it is far away from inhabited. (If it is close to an inhabited land, it cannot be Mawat.)


For a Mawat piece of land to be taken over and cultivated, it must be done with the permission of the Imam – the leader of the Muslim Ummah.[1]


Therefore, in our time where there is no Imam for the Muslims, it will be necessary to find out the legal status of the land according to the country and seek permission from its government in order to take over that land.



Only Allah knows best

Answered by Alimah Nasima Umm Hamza

Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah

Darul Ifta Birmingham




[1] Mukhtasar Al-Qudoori, Tahir Mahmood Kiani Edition, 359-360


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