Answered by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
I am freelancing, using articles from other websites, translating them into another language, and earning money. Does this practice comply with Islamic principles?
Until now, we have been earning money through the aforementioned work. Is the money we have earned considered halal or haram? Can we use this money?
I hope you’re doing well, insha’Allah.
Allah Most High calls us to uphold the rights of others, respect the laws of the lands we live in, and to act in upright ways.
Allah Most High commands:
“And be true to every promise, for verily you will be called to account for every promise which you have made.” [Quran, 17:34]
As such, translating others’ work–which would inevitably by their intellectual property and copyrighted–requires their permission. [Usmani, Fiqh al-Buyu‘; Zuhayli, al-Mu‘amalat al-Maliyya al-Mu‘asira]
Translating and publishing their work without permission would not be permitted nor proper.
See related answers:
- Does Copyright Law Violate Islamic Ownership Rights By Denying the Right to Freely Pass on Or Sell Your Property?
- Is it Permissible to Download Books of Great Scholars from the Internet?
As for previous earnings, they would be permitted, as the work you are doing (translating) is itself permissible. But do give some money in charity; repent; and commit to more wholesome ways.
And Allah is the giver of success and facilitation.
[Shaykh] Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Faraz Rabbani spent ten years studying with some of the leading scholars of recent times, first in Damascus and then in Amman, Jordan. His teachers include the foremost theologian of recent times in Damascus, the late Shaykh Adib al-Kallas (may Allah have mercy on him), and his student Shaykh Hassan al-Hindi, one of the leading Hanafi fuqaha of the present age. He returned to Canada in 2007, where he founded SeekersGuidance to meet the urgent need to spread Islamic knowledge–both online and on the ground–in a reliable, relevant, inspiring, and accessible manner. He is the author of “Absolute Essentials of Islam: Faith, Prayer, and the Path of Salvation According to the Hanafi School (White Thread Press, 2004).” Since 2011, the Royal Islamic Strategic Studies Center has named Shaykh Faraz one of the 500 most influential Muslims.