Benefitting from trees planted on sides of public roads
Fatwa No: 97260

  • Fatwa Date:24-6-2007 - Jumaadaa Al-Aakhir 9, 1428
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Question

how far is it true that a piece of land that has not been used for more than 3 years may be taken by one who will develop it? what are the conditions attached to it? people who live in urban areas do not have enough land for gardening. One has to sometimes resort to planting by the side of the road!. Some times the local authority plant trees to provide shade & beauty. But sometimes it is left barren such that the nearby field or playground borders,etc which technically belongs to the local authority. I would like to know if whether one has the sole rights to the fruits or does it belong to the general public if one plant a fruit tree? What about if the tree grows by itself? does it make any difference if he takes full care or part care in the health & developement of the tree?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allaah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allaah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

 

With regard to your first question, please refer to Fatwa 96770.

As regards the second question, the answer will be in the following two points:

1) The ruling of planting trees on both sides of the road so that the person who planted them would benefit from them.

2) If a person maintains the trees which grew by themselves or which the municipality planted alongside both sides of the road, would he be the only person to benefit from them or would these trees be a public property? 

In regard to the first point, the predominant opinion is that of the Hanafi School of jurisprudence which permits planting trees on both sides of the road if this does not harm the pedestrians and does not prevent them from passing, and if this harms them or prevents them from passing, then it is not permissible to plant trees as the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, said: ''There should be no harm nor reciprocal harm''. [Maalik]

Therefore, if one plants trees and this does not harm the Muslims, then it is him only who may benefit from its fruits, and its fruits will not be a public property. However, if any of the pedestrians have a need to eat from them, then he may eat from it but not pick from it to take home.

As regards the second matter, the trees which harm people and narrow the road; it is an obligation on the Muslim ruler or whoever acts on his behalf to remove them.

With regard to the trees which do not harm or which benefit people, then the trees which grew by themselves or which the municipality planted and which did not need any care or service from anyone, then any Muslim could benefit by eating from its fruits and carry them away, as these are permissible to take. However, the trees which needed care, then whoever takes care of them may benefit from it according to the effort he exerted, and the remaining could be shared among other Muslims. 

Allaah Knows best.

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