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Last Updated: 2012/02/15
Summary of question
Is it permissible to steal from internet websites?
Is it permissible to steal internet commodities or software from websites which belong to our enemies who have imposed sanctions on us?
Concise answer

Since you want the Islamic law about the question in your email, we deemed it necessary to forward the same question to the offices of some of the living prominent jurists. The answers which we have received from them are as under:

Office of Grand Ayatollah Sistani (may Allah grant him long life):

It is not permissible to steal no matter what the manner of stealing. [1]

Office of Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi (may Allah grant him long life):

Considering that such actions damage the reputation and image of believing Muslims, it is necessary to avoid doing so. [2]

Office of Grand Ayatollah Saafi Gulpaigani (may Allah grant him long life):

Given the supposition made in your question, it is permissible to use the said commodities and software. God knows best.

Answer given by Ayatollah Mahdi Hadavi Tehrani (may Allah grant him long life):

1. Ownership of intellectual property such as computer software is legal and permissible according to Islam. It is therefore necessary to respect an intellectual property in the same way as we respect a material property.

2. If the owner of an intellectual or material property is non-Muslim and in case he is a protected non-Muslim (Ahl-e Zimma) or a Mu'ahid who has entered a contract with the Islamic country or whose country has signed a contract and the Islamic state, it is mandatory to respect his ownership.

3. Every act that damages the image of Islam and Muslims in the sight of others is forbidden.

For further information in this regard, vide:

Index: "Stealing from Non-Muslims", question No. 396 (site: 412) .

Index: "Buying Copyrighted Software", question 1410 (site: 1430)

Index: "Copyright", question 2540 (site: 2675)

[1] - Written Istifta from the office of His Eminence

[2] - Written Istifta from the office of His Eminence

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