Posted on 04/01/2012 by __socrates

“Using by force; usurpation.”
Ghasb, in its literal sense, means the forcibly taking a thing from another. In the language of the law it signifies the taking of the property of another which is valuable and sacred, without the consent of the proprietor, in such a manner as to destroy the proprietor’s possession of it, whence it is that usurpation is established by exacting service from the slave of another, or by putting a burden upon the quadruped of another, but not by sitting upon the carpet of another the possession of the proprietor is not destroyed. It is to be observed that if any person knowingly and wilfully usurp the property of another, he is held in law to be an offender, and becomes responsible for a compensation. If, on the contrary, he should not have made the usurpation knowingly and wilfully (as where a person destroys property on the supposition of its belonging to himself, and it afterwards proves the right of another), he is in that case also liable for a compensation, because a compensation is the right of men; but he is not an offender, as his erroneous offence is cancelled. (Hidayah, vol iii p 522.)

Based on Hughes, Dictionary of Islam