What exactly is the problem? – Software carrying hidden sin and Shia Laws.
The problem is simple. In the Qur’an a number of cardinal and greater sins are defined. Specifically they pertain to the use of stolen property in computing systems as being Haraam.
As one of many examples in both Sunni and Shia faiths we want to illustrate the Shia greater sin 26 fraud issues. In this case the ones we are particularly concerned with are Greater Sins 21, 23, 24, 25, and their effects on the faithful per 26 as told in Shirazi writings.
Sin from software? how is that possible? – Simple – the software is or contains stolen IP. Executing those programs then is a sin as counterfeited work from those softwares execution.
The world today has a wealth of software, providing all types of services. Much of it also happens to be either stolen or improperly licensed making it impossible to properly create end-user licensing for it (aka EULA’s). The real question is to figure out how to steer clear of those stolen IP’s or to alternatively obtain some form of Absolution Letter to excuse unintended consequences for those forced to continue using those stolen properties under the terms of compliance with Greater Sin 26.
The reality we assert today is that much Open Source code is some of the worst for improperly licensed content. Further we assert as well that many commercial vendors have illegally used patent and copyright protected code in their designs and systems. Those actions taint the faithful when they run those programs.
This code itself is not a problem until it executes, where it turns the party running the program functionally into the Sinner.
So as you can see the sins of using a counterfeited software for running an Islamic Banking system or other would impact the entire customer account base as well making this a serious problem therein. Which brings us to Halal Software Certification Processes. Everyone is used to seeing a Halal Label on their food but they have not yet gotten to the point where they demand one on their software as well. They should.
Certain Software vendors are notorious for a number of IP ‘switcheroo’ type offerings which use complex Open Source and related materials which contain either improperly included material or patent protected material without authorization. Others improperly license those software IP’s under the wrong legal standards of National Jurisdictions.
This contaminates the software itself, and makes the party running those programs and online-services a party to those IP frauds as well. As such the devout and pure need to know their software meets the stringent Halal standards the rest of the components of their life do as well.
In response to the gravity of those frauds Generally speaking the Quran says:
The Quran tells us that theft is Haraam (forbidden) according to the Quran, Sunnah [sayings of Prophet Muhammad (may Allah exalt his mention)] and Ijmaa’ (scholarly consensus). We use Shia references to illustrate that here but there are many Sunni laws and proverbs about the unlawful use and gain-through-unlawful-use of stolen property. Software with unlicensed IP inside it is this exactly.
The twenty-third sin which is certainly a Greater one is stealing or thievery. Imam Riďa (a.s.) has included stealing among the Greater sins according to the tradition reported by Fazl Ibn Shazān. Amash says that Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) has related from the Holy Prophet (S) that he said, “A believer cannot commit fornication and a believer cannot steal.”1
Thus one who fornicates or steals is not a believer. Such a person is devoid of faith. Such a person lacks belief in Allah (S.w.T.) and the Day of Judgment.
And eat up not one another’s property unjustly (in any illegal way e.g. stealing, robbing, deceiving, etc.), nor give bribery to the rulers (judges before presenting your cases) that you may knowingly eat up a part of the property of others sinfully. (Quran 2:188)
Improperly licensed Software is just like wheat in the Quran
Software is the ‘controller of the work and framer for that work’ for a computer to do for its owner or master. That makes those programs a component of the work and the work product themselves.
To mix an inferior quality of wheat with one of a good quality or to adulterate pure ghee is also Harām. Shaykh Ansari says in his book Makasibul Muharrama, “The tradition prohibiting adulteration is Mutawatir.”
Shaykh Sadūq has recorded the prophetic tradition:
“One who sells adulterated goods to Muslims is not from us. He will be raised with the Jews on the Day of Qiyāma, because an adulterater is not a Muslim.”
The Holy Prophet (S) said, “One who gives us adulterated goods is not from us.”
He repeated this sentence thrice then said, “And Allah will remove barakat from the livelihood of the Muslim brothers. (Allah) will destroy his economy and leave him upon his own condition.
Defrauding in Islam is like selling-short
The Holy Prophet (S) said, “One who gives us adulterated goods is not from us.”
He repeated this sentence thrice then said,
“And Allah will remove barakat from the livelihood of the Muslim brothers. (Allah) will destroy his economy and leave him upon his own condition.”1
An edifying incident is mentioned on page 309 of the book Dārus Salām by Aqae Iraqui: The respected Aqae Abdul Husain Khawansari has related to me the following incident: “An honest perfume seller of Karbala had fallen sick. He tried the treatment of every doctor in the town but it was of no use. He spent all his property for his treatment but he was not cured. One day I went to pay him a visit. I saw him perturbed. He was instructing his son to sell off the household items. He was saying, ‘Sell off everything! I do not want anything. Either I will die or be cured!’ I asked him, ‘What do you mean?’ He sighed and answered, ‘At the beginning of my career I was not so rich. During that time an epidemic fever broke out in Karbala. The doctors prescribed lime juice as its cure. Since the disease was widespread there was a great demand for limejuice.
I began to adulterate limejuice by mixing yoghurt in it. I sold it at a very high rate. Gradually the stocks of limejuice with the other shopkeeper were finished. They began to direct their customers to me. Soon the stock of limejuice in my shop was also sold out. Now I began to sell only yoghurt by adding colour and a sour material to it. I sold this concoction as limejuice. My coffers became full and I continued to amass wealth. Today I find that all this property is of no use to me. My disease is incurable. So I wish to get rid of all the things that I obtained in this Harām manner, in the hope that after doing this, I may be cured.’ Not much time had elapsed after this incident when the perfume seller departed from this world. He was definitely indebted to those whom he had sold the adulterated limejuice.”
Hazrat Imam Muhammad Baqir (a.s.) says:
“One day the Holy Prophet (S) was passing through the bazār of Madinah. He (S) told a wheat seller, ‘Your wheat is of a good quality.’ Then he put his hands inside the pile and found inferior quality of wheat below He said, ‘I see that you have gathered the provisions of Khayanat and adulteration.’”2
Allamah Hilli says that a man asked Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.), “If a person has two types of goods one is of a superior and expensive quality and the other is of inferior and cheap quality, can he mix these two and sell at a special rate?”
Imam (a.s.) replied,
“It is not correct for him to sell the adulterated goods to Muslims. However (there is no harm) if he informs them (of the adulteration).”
This continues further with the Non-fulfillment sin – the 26th:
Non-fulfillment of another’s right, without a valid excuse is the twenty-sixth greater sin. If a person who has some right upon someone and demands his right but the one on whom the obligation rests does not fulfill the right, even though he is capable of it, then this person has committed a greater sin. Non-fulfillment of rights as a greater sin is according to Nass (Holy Qur’an and hadith). The frequently quoted tradition of Amash from Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) and the hadith of Imam Riďa (a.s.) as narrated by Fazl ibn Shazān also include it in he list of greater sins.
Hazrat Imam Ja’far as-Sadiq (a.s.) says:
“One who does not fulfill the rights of a believer (and does not repay what he owes to him), on the Day of Judgement, Allah will make him stand for five hundred years and blood or sweat will ooze through his body. An announcer from Allah will announce, ‘This is the oppressor who had not fulfilled the right of Allah.’ Then after being admonished for another forty days it will be ordered for him to be thrown into the fire (those who admonish him will be either believers or prophets).
An explanation of this hadith by Allamah Majlisi states that if the sinner’s oppression is not of a very serious nature, sweat will flow from his body and if his oppression is of a serious nature, blood will seep out of him.
So as you can see the sins of using a counterfeited software for running an Islamic Banking system or other would impact the entire customer account base as well making this a serious problem therein. For more information, email us at SoftwareWithoutSin@ProtonMail.COM!