Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Question: Would it be wrong for me to use someone else’s wireless internet connection without telling them? It is easy to connect to someone else’s wireless internet with wireless laptops (if it’s not locked). I don’t think this affects them in any way, but would it still be wrong to use it?
Answer: In the name of Allah, Most Merciful.
Walaikum assalam wa rahmatullah,
I pray that this finds you well, and in the best of health and spirits. May Allah grant you all good
and success in this life and the next.
The legal basis in the Shariah is that one cannot use another’s property without their permission.
This permission can be explicit or implicit. In most countries, there is no such implicit permission for strangers to use private internet connections. Rather, it is often against the law and generally considered unethical to do so, as studies show.
When there is no explicit permission to use another’s property, a Muslim is religiously-bound to exercise caution because it is another’s property and it is not permitted to take their property without explicit or clear implicit permission.
[See al-Bahr al-Ra’iq, 8.209 from Abu al-Layth al-Samarqandi‘s `Uyun al-Masai’l; al-Fatawa alHindiyya, 2.290 from al-Muhit; Ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar, 4.285 (`Ilmiyya ed.) from Sharh alWahbaniyya and al-Khaniyya]
The basis of this issue are the words of the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace), “A Muslim’s property is not permitted to take without their permission.” [Related by Ahmad, and others]
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And Allah alone gives success.