Tuesday, March 15, 2005

Questions regarding business dealings

Question: There is a conflict about Linux operating system. SCO company about 1,5 years ago accused Linux creators in using stolen code. Linux creators reject all accusements. But by now it's still not clear who is right from them. Maybe only in several years the court will tell its opinion. SCO demands fees to be paid by users. But Linux was free for all years of its existance. What should we do? May we use Linux without paying any fees to SCO?

Answer: There is no such thing as copyright in Islam. If you bought a book or a disk with software, then they are yours to deal with as you please. This is because one cannot sell something based on a condition that restricts the buyers use of the good. Abu Hanifah related that the prophet forbade "selling with conditions", i.e. conditions that are not a required part of a sale, such as handing over the goods. Moreover, knowledge and ideas are not properties that can be owned, because they cannot be stored or kept like goods after having been released. Copyright laws is a breech of the overwhelming scholarly consensus on their invalidity prior to colonization, a part of westernization, a result of reckless greed, and signifies an abandonment of relying on Allah for one's provision. It is a result of going by the conclusions of the limited human mind instead of the wise laws of the Creator, who knows everything.

Question: I've read "conditions of sale transactions" written by you. We have an internet-shop. Is it permissible to sell goods which we do not own at the moment of sale? I.e. a buyer order goods, then pays us. Part of this money goes to producer which sells us goods, and then goods go to customer. A producer practically always has all goods which a customer wants to buy.

Answer: You cannot sell something that you do not have unless you receive full, physical payment up front and the goods are fully described to the last detail and the delivery date excactly defined. This is also unless the buyer and seller are in non-muslim countries, and only one of the parties is a muslim, and the muslim is the one benefitting from this.

Question: what should be done, if the company got money and profit from transactions written in my last question? (buyer is content and thanks a company for its work).

Answer: The transaction should be cancelled. The goods and the money of corrupt transactions should be returned.

Question: Is it permissible to write on the site "Sale contract" where it is said that it's possible that company has not goods at that moment. And money which are paid by customers will be immediately returned in case of fail. And the moment of sale is set at the moment of delivering goods to client, but not at the moment of paying any money to company.

Answer: No, as you are still selling what you don't own. The sale takes place at payment time, whether you state it or not.