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Selling university textbooks

Q: A common business practice amongst university students is to buy and sell their used textbooks amongst each other (as buying brand new textbooks from the publisher is extremely expensive).

1. Students, along with selling their textbooks, sell the notes that they made and the lecture slides (pdf version) for that module (subject) as part of one ‘package’. Our question is regarding the permissibility of selling the lecture slides – which the lecturer uploads online during the course of the semester – as some naive first year students are unaware that they will be getting them for free over the course of the semester.

2. A lot of textbooks come in an ebook (pdf) format which the publisher sells online (also expensive). It is possible to find a ‘pirated’ copy of the ebook on the internet and download it. Students also sell these as well at a cheaper price.

2.1 Is this permissible?

2.2 If permissible (2.1), will one get thawaab if one distributes it to students for free instead of selling it to them?



1. Yes you can sell it.

2.1. Yes.

2.2. If the notes don’t contain anything haraam or of a doubtful nature it is permissible.

And Allah Ta’ala (الله تعالى) knows best.


Answered by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

This answer was collected from MuftiOnline.co.za, where the questions have been answered by Mufti Zakaria Makada (Hafizahullah), who is currently a senior lecturer in the science of Hadith and Fiqh at Madrasah Ta’leemuddeen, Isipingo Beach, South Africa.

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