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Copyrights / Steal from Non-Muslims

Question 608: I am interested in this ruling saying parade video games are permissible to download. Would you be able to comment on what differentiates this from other forms of theft? Here in Australia there was an advertising campaign where they showed downloading pirated movies alongside other forms of theft. “You wouldn’t steal a car”, “You wouldn’t steal a wallet”, “Piracy is stealing”, read the captions. I have my own answer to this but am interested in one from a religious perspective.

Answer 608: Usurpation and forcible acquisition of the property of non-Muslims in non-Muslim countries is not permissible, if they are not at war with Muslims. And even if they are at war with Muslims it is still better that Muslims not do that, according to Ayatollahs Makarim, Khamenei, Fadhil Lankarani and Bahjat (ra).

It is neither permissible to steal from the private as well as the public property of non-Muslims, nor vandalize it, even if that stealing or vandalizing does not tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims. Such an act is counted as perfidy and violation of the guarantee given to non-Muslims indirectly when one asked permission to enter or reside in that country. And it is forbidden to breach the trust and violate the guarantee in regard to every person irrespective of his religion, citizenship, and beliefs.[1] But, regarding pirate video games or other software from non-Muslim companies in non-Muslim countries that don’t have any contract with Islamic countries for observing the mutual rights, our maraja’ say: You are allowed to download such products without their permission. Also, if there is a link by which everyone except our Islamic nations whom such companies made an order to stop us from downloading there would be no problem to download such products.[2]

Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: Copyrights must be respected; it is not permissible to copy a software product, if it is against the law. His Excellency also says about using cracked software: If someone else has cracked the software, you can use it.[3]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Rules concerning Pirate Video Games from companies, answer 001.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Dealing with laws in non-Muslim countries » General Rules.

[2] . Ayatollah Khamenei, Ajwabat al-Istiftaat, rules concerning Copy Right. Adopted from answer 001.

[3] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules regarding Copyrights.

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Mixing between men and women at Fitness Centers in College

Question 595: 1. To stay healthy is it alright to participate in a college class where women and men are exercising together, playing a sport (i.e. basketball, soccer, volleyball) ? All the Fitness Centers in College are male/female mixed and expensive, you have to travel very far to participate with other Muslim brothers to exercise in a halal way, and cannot afford equipment of your own. What should you do to prevent disease, laziness, and lethargy in this case.

Answer 595: Firstly, these sports you named are not necessary for a person to exercise. Secondly, in order that you want to stay healthy and prevent disease and laziness you can do other sports like walking. But, if those females participated in such sports have at least observed Islamic hijab in some cases and you are also completely sure that you don’t engage in a forbidden act and this doesn’t harms your beliefs and commitment to the faith (which is what normally happens) nor entails any harãm act you would be allowed to participate in such sports.

According to Sayyid Sistani (ha), one must refrain from going to such places where people go about half-naked is if it entails a harãm act. Based on obligatory precaution, one must refrain from going to such places, even if it does not entail a harãm act like looking with lust and the like.[1]

[1] . For more information, please refer to: The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Youth’s issues » General Rules.

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Permissibility of using products with animal ingredients we don’t know if they are ritually impure

Question 104: I have a question regarding lotions and other beauty products with animal ingredients. I know that if these products have haram ingredients, they are impermissible to use, however, what if we do not know? I emailed some of the companies from which I bought products and several of them said that they use plant ingredients whenever possible. This suggests that they may use animal ingredients at times. Because we are uncertain, are these products permissible to use? JazakAllah Khair

Answer 104: A well-known religious law says: “Everything is ritually pure for you unless you come to know that it is ritually impure.” This law declares everything to be pure unless one becomes sure a particular item has become impure. And as long as you are not sure that it has become ritually impure (najis), it is to be considered pure and you can apply all the rules of purity to it without any hesitation or doubt.[1]

Therefore, as you are not sure that such products have been extracted from those animals that are ceremonially unclean or those halal animals that have not been slaughtered canonically (Islamically) nor a lot of changes made on them to be considered as Istihala (chemical transformation)[2], they would be treated as halal. There is no need to be examined from which types of animal they have been extracted.[3]

Note: If a chemical change occurs in the original ingredients during the process of manufacturing such products, it is clean and there is no problem at all in using it, even if the original ingredient may have been pork or meat of an animal which has not been slaughtered according to Islamic laws.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Q&A about Najasat.

[2] . If a najis thing undergoes such a change, that it assumes the category of a Pak thing it becomes Pak; for example, if a najis wood burns and is reduced to ashes, or a dog falls in a salt-marsh and transforms into salt, it becomes Pak. But a thing do es not become Pak if its essence or category does not change; like, if wheat is ground into flour, or is used for baking bread, it does not become Pak; The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), rules regarding Mutahhirat, Transformation (Istihala).

[3] . A similar question was sent to the office of grand Ayatollahs: Khamenei, Sistani, Makarem Shirazi, Noori Hamadani, Safi Golpayegani (may Allah grant them long life).

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Rules concerning Pirate Video Games from companies

Question 001:  Is it halal to Pirate Video Games from companies whose countries of origin impose embargoes toward your nation and ban your nation’s IP addresses?

Answer 001: If there is a link by which everyone (except nations whom such companies made an order to stop them from downloading) is allowed to download such products you are able to download it.

It is noteworthy to say that those countries such as the US and Israel that don’t have any contract with Islamic countries for observing the mutual rights, their ownership right concerning scientific and cultural works are not valid. As a result, there is no problem to Pirate Video Games and use such products (E.g. film, music, book, software and Pirate Video Games) without their permission.
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