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Is it permissible for me to write software that can also be used for haram purposes?

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

Is it permissible to write software that can be used generically and therefore be used for both halal and haram purposes? For example, I would like to work for a company that develops software that they sell to clients that includes banks and legal professions. Is it lawful to work for such a company because as far as I know they don’t write bespoke software, just generic software which can be used by any industry.

Answer

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

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

Your job description is permissible as the software you are developing is permissible and can be used for a permissible cause. [1]

In principle, you are not responsible for what an individual does with a product that you design or manufacture as he is an independent agent who has a choice of both correctly using or misusing the purchased item in terms of Shariah. [2] Therefore, the sin of misuse lies upon the independent agent only and not on the manufacturer or designer. For example if one manufactures brown sugar it could be bought by a bakery to sweeten cakes and it could also be bought by a brewery to brew beer. In this situation brown sugar can be used for both a permissible purpose and an impermissible purpose hence, the sin of misuse lies solely upon the misuser and not the manufacturer. 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Ismail Dawoodjee

Student Darul Iftaa
Zambia

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

www.daruliftaa.net 

[1] اسلام اور جديد معاشى مسائل ج4 ص17 ادارة اسلاميات

فقهى مقالات ج3 ص100 م ا ببلشرز

فتاوى دار العلوم زكريا ج5 ص88 زمزم

و الحاصل أن جواز البيع يدور مع حل الانتفاع ص69 ج5 سعيد

قال: “ومن كسر لمسلم بربطا أو طبلا أو مزمارا أو دفا أو أراق له سكرا أو منصفا فهو ضامن، وبيع هذه الأشياء جائز” وهذا عند أبي حنيفة. وقال أبو يوسف ومحمد: لا يضمن ولا يجوز بيعها. وقيل الاختلاف في الدف والطبل الذي يضرب للهو. فأما طبل الغزاة والدف الذي يباح ضربه في العرس يضمن بالإتلاف من غير خلاف. وقيل الفتوى في الضمان على قولهما(الهداية ج6 ص524 ادارة القران )

[2] (قوله وحمل خمر ذمي) قال الزيلعي: وهذا عنده وقالا هو مكروه ” لأنه – عليه الصلاة والسلام – «لعن في الخمر عشرة وعد منها حاملها» وله أن الإجارة على الحمل وهو ليس بمعصية، ولا سبب لها وإنما تحصل المعصية بفعل فاعل مختار، وليس الشرب من ضرورات الحمل، لأن حملها قد يكون للإراقة أو للتخليل، فصار كما إذا استأجره لعصر العنب أو قطعه والحديث محمول على الحمل المقرون بقصد المعصية اهـ(رد المحتار ج6 ص391 سعيد)

http://www.bespokesoftwaredevelopmentltd.co.uk/what-is-bespoke-software.asp

http://www.teach-ict.com/glossary/G/genericsoftware.htm

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

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