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My job entails installing and using pirated software. Is my income Halal?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org
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Assalamualaikum,

 

i work as lab assistant in engineering college in department of Computer Science.

My job role deals with both hardware and software functioning of system.

The problem is am given both pirated as well as open source software from college to install on system.

i already tried convincing but some other faculty they insists on pirated.

Now is my income halal or do i have to look for a new job..

 

Jazakallah khair

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful. 

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

In the modern day, there is much importance attached to certain intangible items as they fetch a value in the market. `Consumers pay to install software that will be of tremendous benefit to them.

The maker and designer of the software receives money for his hard earned work. The software or program is therefore owned and treated in the same way as any other tangible item in the market. The ownership of an intangible item is known as “intellectual property.” Intellectual Property (IP) refers to the protection of creations of the mind, which have both a moral and a commercial value.[1]

Using pirated versions of the original software or programs is known as ‘copyright infringement’. Copyright infringement is the use or production of copyright-protected material without the permission of the copyright holder. Copyright infringement means that the rights afforded to the copyright holder, such as the exclusive use of a work for a set period of time, are being breached by a third party. [2]

The purpose of the law of copyright is to protect the inventor from losing his benefits. Any act that causes harm to an individual is impermissible in Islam. By engaging in piracy, one is stealing from the maker and designer of the intangible product. Piracy throws water over the time and efforts of the designer as the one engaging in piracy is able to access valuable and protected software for free, hence robbing the designer of his potential income.

The person who creates a copy or duplicate of the original software is sinful for having stolen the right of someone else.

Allah Ta’ala says:

وَلَا تَأْكُلُوا أَمْوَالَكُم بَيْنَكُم بِالْبَاطِلِ وَتُدْلُوا بِهَا إِلَى الْحُكَّامِ لِتَأْكُلُوا فَرِيقًا مِّنْ أَمْوَالِ النَّاسِ بِالْإِثْمِ وَأَنتُمْ تَعْلَمُونَ

Translation: And do not consume one another’s wealth unjustly(in any illegal way, e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving), or send it [in bribery] to the rulers in order that [they might aid] you [to] consume a portion of the wealth of the people in sin, while you know [it is unlawful]. [al-Baqarah 2:188] 

The person who then uses this copy will be aiding in the wrong. However, his action will not be deemed to be as grave and offensive as the action of the one who actually created the duplicate of the original software, as he is not publicly distributing the software and he is not earning money from it.

Brother, you have fulfilled your responsibility in advising the company against the use of protected software. If the company insists on continuing with the protected software, the burden is on them and not on you. Your income will be Halal.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mohamed Ebrahim bin Ismail Abdullah 

Student – Darul Iftaa 

Pietermaritzburg, South Africa 

Checked and Approved by, 

Mufti Ebrahim Desai. 

 

08-02-1441| 07-10-2019 

 


[1] [1] www.esa.int/About_Us/Law_at_ESA/Intellectual_Property_Rights/What_is_intellectual_property

 

[2] https://www.investopedia.com/terms/c/copyright-infringement.asp

  

فتاوى قاسمية ج 23 ص 185 مكتبة اشرفية

 

 

 

 

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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