COPYRIGHT IN THE LIGHT OF THE SHARI’AH

[By Hazrat Maulana Ahmad Sadeq Desai]

Copyright is a kuffaar concept of ‘property’ belonging to a kuffaar-originated class of ‘property’ which they term ‘Intellectual Property’. It is firstly a ‘right’ spawned by the legal systems of the kuffaar. This legal right has then been elevated to what they term ‘intellectual property’ which is a figment of the imagination of the kaafir’s mind. Initially it is a right – an abstract right to control or benefit monetarily from the work a man has authored. In simple terms it is a right which the kuffaar legal system confers to a person who writes a book or an article. This intangible, abstract, untouchable – not physical – idea in the mind of a man is defined in the queer and unnatural concept of intellectual property as an entity which has the status of material or tangible or physical property, like bread and butter. As such, this imagined right undergoes a mental metamorphosis in the imagination of those who had spawned this concept.

In this mental metamorphosis, the right undergoes a transformation and becomes just like tangible property. This mental figment is then termed copyright which in this western capitalist concept of greed is the subject of trade – buying and selling – in exactly the same way as a loaf of bread is traded in

In simpler terms, the concept of copyright is a legal right which kuffaar give to a man who writes a book. It is purely a pecuniary right or a right to make money by preventing others from exercising their lawful Shar’i right. The author of a book legally registers his right – copyright. This right now allows him to sell his right to others. He has the right to prevent others from selling books which they have printed with their own effort, enterprise and capital. Copyright prevents others from reprinting and disseminating a book which belongs to them. They purchased the book. The book is their property exclusively. Yet the copyright law prevents them from publishing the book on the basis of it having been authored by someone else who has registered the right of preventing others from dissemination of Kitaabul Imaan, Kitaabut Tahaarat, Kitaabus Salaat, Kitaabus Saum, Kitaabuz Zakaat, Kitaabul Hajj and the countless other kitaabs comprising the Masaa-il which Hadhrat Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) delivered from Allah Azza Wa Jal to Muhammadur Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) within the Divine Capsule called the Qur’aan revealed for the guidance of Allah’s Makhlooq (Creation).

A man writes a book called Kitaabus Salaat, for example. He gleans and cribs all the information from the illustrious Works of the Aimmah- e-Mujtahideen who never copyrighted their wonderful Books of Knowledge. He puts this divine information in the English language. Then he goes to the kuffaar authorities to register his ‘legal’ right to prevent other Muballigheen and traders from disseminating Kitaabus Salaat to the Ummah to whom Allah Ta’ala had sent Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to deliver the Ahkaam of Salaat. This Harees (Glutton –slave of money) impelled by his inordinate pecuniary craving constitutes an effective impediment in the dissemination of that Ilm which the Ambiyaa (alayhimus salaam) came to deliver free for the salvation of Allah’s creatures.

A man purchases a book. It belongs to him. He reads it and finds it beneficial for the Imaan of Muslims. He wishes to print it and distribute it free or at low cost if he is a philanthropist, or for making money if he is a trader only, or at a nominal price to Allah’s servants for their everlasting Deeni benefit and success if he has the Deen at heart. But, the author being a servant of dollars enlists the aid of the kuffaar court to prevent the printing and dissemination of the book consisting of Allah’s Ahkaam. In this dastardly action he is motivated solely by pecuniary lust. There is absolutely no other motivation for this haraam action which forms a barrier between Allah’s Deen and His servants.

The issue of copyright in the light of the Shariah is extremely straightforward and simple. It is a miserable kuffaar concept which has absolutely no validity in the Shariah. It is not maal (tangible or physical commodity) which could be tradable in terms of the laws of Islam. Dealing in this imagined ‘right’ is baatil—null, void and haraam. The Shariah does not recognize this concept. In fact, it is not a right in terms of the Shariah. Just as it is haraam to prevent a man from reading a book which he has bought, so is it haraam to prevent him from copying the book by whatever means he chooses. Just as it is haraam to prevent a man from selling a book which he has bought, so too is it haraam to prevent him from printing the book which belongs to him regardless of who the author is.

Although this issue is simple, not requiring any academic discussion to dispose of its baatil, some modern-day scholars who have embraced liberalism, which is the product of abandonment of the sacred Waajib law of Taqleed, have introduced unnecessary complications of deception by their presentation of arguments with a Shar’i hue, but devoid of Shar’i substance. Their fallacious interpretations and citation of certain ahkaam out of context to accord validity to copyright –that it is a Shar’i right which is a valid subject of trade- have resulted in creating confusion in the minds of people not well-versed with the intricacies of the principles and rules of the Shariah. There has, therefore, developed the need for this refutation to dispel the haze of deception which the liberalists have created with their spurious arguments.

We shall now, Insha’Allah, examine their arguments in the light of the Shariah.

DON’T SELL ALLAH’S LAWS

“They have sold the laws of Allah for a miserable price, thereby preventing (others) from His Path. Indeed, vile is what they are perpetrating.” (Surah Taubah, aayat 9)

CONTENTS

THE ARGUMENTS OF THE LIBERALS

Second and Third argument

4th, 5th, 6th, 7th argument

Rest of arguments

More arguments

To be updated with much more…..