Ruling on Using Unoriginal Software

Answered according to Shafi'i Fiqh by Darul Iftaa Jordan
Is it permissible to use unoriginal software although the original is produced by international companies and could be bought directly from them via the internet ?

All perfect praise be to Allah. Blessings and peace be upon Prophet Mohammad:

Software is of two types: Software with no reserved rights and its owners allow its copying; therefore, it is permissible to copy this type and use its original as well as unoriginal copies. The other type is the one that has reserved rights and a registered trademark which was produced by some companies for commercial purposes, so they kept it for themselves. Therefore, it is neither permissible to copy this type, nor sell it.

Moreover, it is impermissible to use unoriginal copies while the original are available because these are classified under what is called “ Rights of Intellectual Property “, and Islamic Law preserves them to whom they belong. Therefore, any transgression against them is considered a form of theft, cheating, and wrongfully eating up people`s wealth and rights. Islam considered preserving these rights as an obligation that emanates from belief in Almighty Allah and the sense of responsibility towards protecting the rights and wealth of people. Prophet Mohammad{PBUH} said: “Your blood, your property and your honour are inviolable. “{Bukhari&Muslim}. He also added: “ There should be neither harm nor reciprocal harm .”{Ibn Majah}.

The Academy of Islamic Fiqh issued its decision during its fifth conference held in Kuwait, Jumada Al-Oula(1309 A.H), and it read as follows: “ Commercial names, titles, trademarks, authorships and inventions are rights to whom they belong. In present norms, they enjoy a considerable financial value, and they are considerably protected under Islamic Law against any transgression. “ And Allah knows best.

This answer was collected from the official government Iftaa Department of Jordan.

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