Is it permissible to buy somebody’s legal documents which represent ownership of a house without that person knowing?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.
Everyone is expected to abide my morality and ethics whether it is expressly mentioned or not. In whichever profession one advances in, he is expected to uphold morals and ethics. Advocacy demands morality and integrity all the more. People with real concerns and problems place their problems in the care of an advocate so he can resolve their issue legally. You are entrusted to provide a service for your client.
Islam teaches us to be considerate of others and examine a situation from the next person’s perspective. The Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam said,
“None of you can truly believe until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself.”[i]
How would you feel if you were in her shoes and somebody took away your rightful property from under your nose? If you had placed your trust in someone and they deceived you, how would that make you feel? Thus, on ethical grounds, it is dishonourable and wrong to even consider such an act.
When examining this from a Shar῾ī perspective, we find that the Prophet salallahu alaihi wasallam said,
“The one who cheats (or deceives) us is not one of us.” [ii]
Hence exploiting the situation and taking advantage of the unawareness of the lady will be a form of deception. It will not be permissible to buy her property in such a scenario. She had faith and trust in you to appoint you to establish her right; not to take her right away. You should inform her of the reality that her name is in the Annexure II. Once she is fully aware of reality, and she becomes the owner of the property and acquires possession, then you may bid for her property.
And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best
Mufti Faraz ibn Adam al-Mahmudi
[i]وفي صحيح البخاري
عَنْ أَنَسٍ عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «لاَ يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ، حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ» (رقم الحديث 13)
[ii] وفي صحيح مسلم
عَنْ أَبِي هُرَيْرَةَ: أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: «مَنْ حَمَلَ عَلَيْنَا السِّلَاحَ فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا، وَمَنْ غَشَّنَا فَلَيْسَ مِنَّا» (رقم الحديث 101)