Property Rights in Islam Under Islamic law, own

 
 
 
 
Under Islamic law, ownership rights originate from the concept of stewardship of property according to God's will (Bashir 75). This concept is based on the Islamic belief that God owns all property and men are merely trustees or custodians. Thus, traditionally, in Islam, when a State gave land to its subjects, it gave only the right to use the land and not full ownership. However, men are enabled to act for the care of the property and nothing in Islamic law prohibits the use of this property to generate wealth and other capitalistic aims (See Bashir 75). Today, these Islamic beliefs continue to guide legislative land codes in Arabic Muslim countries although, as the case of Saudi Arabia will demonstrate, some governments have adapted their land ownership schemes to have greater control over the country's political economy and to encourage increased agricultural production.

As it relates to land, the Islamic belief that man serves Allah when he makes use of property translates into the judicial law that property can be acquired under Islamic law through developing and using land that has been unclaimed by anyone (Bashir 75). Generally, under Islamic tenure systems, land is classified into four main categories: mulk (individual ownership with full rights); miri (state owned land to which individuals may gain use rights); waqf (religious foundation owned land "stopped for God"); and musha (collective or tribal owned land) (Payne n.p.). Malaysia's National Land Code (

     
 
 
 
    

 

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