Dr. A is an independent researcher.
Dr. B and Dr. C are the editors in chief of different journals.
Dr. B negotiates with Dr. C that they will accept each other’s research papers by reviewing with their own known reviewers. But the policy of the journal does not match with activities of Dr. B and Dr. C.
According to the policy of the journal, none of the editors should communicate beforehand and discuss regarding the research article submission to their corresponding responsible journal. And reviewers should be unknown.
Now, Dr. B is asking Dr. A to write a research article and put their name together in the article and give it to him (Dr. B) and he (Dr. B) will manage the paper to be accepted by his own network (maybe through Dr. C). It is noted that Dr. B’s does not have the technical contribution in the research article (the article is written by Dr. A) rather he has connections with the different editor in chief of different journals.
The condition of this kind of collaboration (Proposed by Dr. B) is that the reward (money) for this research article will be divided by 50% between Dr. A and Dr. B.
The questions are as follows:
Is this income Halal for Dr. A?
Is this income Halal for Dr. B?
Assalāmu ʿalaykum waraḥmatullāhī wabrakātuh,
As per our understanding of this collaboration:
- Dr. A will conduct a valid research as per his expertise.
- Dr. B will put his name on the research paper as collaborating researcher, whereas in reality he has not put any research into the paper.
- Dr. B will use his influence to get accreditation from Dr. C or some other source, regardless of whether the paper fulfils the primary requirements or not.
- The rewards received will be divided between Dr. A and Dr. B.
If the above points are correct, then your answer is as follows:
Dr. A seems to be a genuine researcher.
If Dr. A entered into this collaboration under the understanding that the entire project is genuine, and not merely a ploy to receive grants/rewards, then Dr. A’s part of the rewards will be permissible and Ḥalāl for him.
However, if Dr. A knew that this whole ploy is an elaborate deceit from Dr. B to get clearance of the paper and get rewards, then his income will be tainted as being an accomplice to an act of deceit, and hence impermissible.
Dr. B has masterminded this ploy of deceit to get a paper published and get rewards of it. He will be sinful for his deceit, as well as orchestrating the fraudulent activity. He will also be sinful for jeopardizing the honor of dīn by his deceitful practice. All his income from this ploy will be impermissible for him. It is wājib for him that he must make Istighfār and tawbah. He must give away all such monies he has acquired in some charity as an expiation and seek Allah’s Maghfirah.
If Dr. C knowingly approves Dr. B’s paper without fulfilling his ethical and professional duty of an actual review, then he becomes an accomplice to the ploy of Dr. B as well. Although he may not benefit from the monetary rewards from the paper, but he will still be sinful for assisting in an open sin of a fraudulent behavior. He must also make istighfār and tawbah.
We are Muslims. We retain the honour of being upright and god-fearing in all of our affairs. This includes our monetary dealings as well as our social interactions. It is our moral, ethical and religious duty to remain steadfast in our social conduct, right by the legal injunctions and true in the light of Sharʿī dictates. Struggling to accomplish this goal promises us a place in akhirah next to Shuhadā’, the Siddiquīn and most of all the Prophets!
And Allāh Taʿālā Knows best,
Mufti Faisal al-Mahmudi
سنن الترمذي – شركة مكتبة ومطبعة مصطفى البابي الحلبي (3/ 507)
عن أبي سعيد، عن النبي صلى الله عليه وسلم، قال: «التاجر الصدوق الأمين مع النبيين، والصديقين، والشهداء