Fatwas on Anfal
Q 1034: Does the municipality have an exclusive right with respect to making use of river bed’s sand in the construction and development of the city and so on? In case of permissibility, if someone, other than the municipality, alleges to be the owner of a river bed, will his claim be considered?
A: It is permissible for the municipality to do so but it is not accepted from individuals to claim ownership of large, public riverbeds.
Q 1035: Is the priority right of nomads with respect to utilization of their pastures — each tribe with respect to its own pasture — terminated by their departure from that pasture with the intention of returning to it — given that this departure has been constantly occurring since tens of years ago?
A: The establishment of shar‘ī priority right for them with respect to the pasture of their livestock after their departure is problematic and it is better to observe caution in this case.
Q 1036: There is a village that faces a shortage of pastures and agricultural lands. This village used to provide its public expenses through the sale of pasture grasses. This has continued after the Islamic Revolution but now the authorities prevent such action. Considering that the residents of this village are economically poor and that the pasture has been abandoned (became bā’ir), does the consultative assembly of the village have the right to prevent the residents from selling pasture grasses to provide the public finances needed for the village?
A: the grasses of the public, natural pastures with no prior private property are not owned by anyone in particular and no one is allowed to sell them. But it is permissible for the person who is appointed by the government to administer the affairs of the village to take an amount of money for the public benefit of the village from those permitted to graze their livestock in these pastures.
Q 1037: Is it permissible for tribes to claim ownership of the summer and winter pastures where they have been frequently traveling to and fro for dozens of years?
A: The natural pastures that are not owned privately by anyone are considered as anfāl and public properties, thus, their affairs are decided by the Leader of Muslims and tribes' frequent travels to and fro do not make any ownership right for them.
Q 1038: When is it correct and when is it incorrect to buy and sell (tribal) pastures?
A: It is not correct in any case to sell and purchase pastures which are not owned by any person, rather considered as anfāl and public properties.
Q 1039: We are livestock owners and graze our herd in a forest. We have been practicing this job for more than fifty years and hold a legal document of ownership to this forest through inheritance. Besides, this forest is also an endowment for the Commander of the faithful Imam Ali, the Master of Martyrs Imam Ḥusayn, and Abulfaḍl al-Abbās (a.). In this forest livestock owners led a life of ease and comfort for many years and have residential houses, agricultural lands, and gardens. Recently, the foresters have decided to expel us from this forest and take it over. Do they have the right to do so or not?
A: The validity of endowment, as per Islamic law, depends upon the precedence of shar‘ī ownership — similarly transfer through inheritance depends on the testator’s shar‘ī ownership — and forests or pastures never owned by any individual, never cultivated and never constructed upon are not considered the private property of anyone. Thus, their endowment is not correct and they cannot be inherited. In any case, any portion of the forest that is developed in the form of a farm, home, and the like, and is owned in accordance with shar‘, its shar‘ī trustee has the right to make use of it if it is an endowment , and its owner if it is not an endowment. And the rest of the forests and pastures, which remain in a natural form, belong to anfāl and public properties and, according to law, their affairs are decided by the Islamic state.
Q 1040: Are livestock owners, who have permission to graze their livestock, allowed to enter private farms located next to the pastures in order to drink the farms’ water or give it to their livestock without owners’ permission?
A: The mere holding of permission to graze livestock in pastures next to private properties does not suffice to legitimize grazers’ trespass into others’ properties and usage of their water. They are not allowed to do so without the owner’s permission.
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