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Stands >2006 Stands >The Stand of  24 Jamada I 1427H /June 20, 2006 A.D.


 

Islam and intellectual property

Sayyed Fadlullah: The Lebanese, and the officials in particular, especially after the recent developments in Lebanon should put Israel at the top of their political concerns and stands. They should deal with it as a strategic enemy, and not to continue to draw policies on the basis of personal or sectarian interests

Asked in his weekly seminar the following question: How does Islam view the so-called intellectual property?

The Religious Authority, Sayyed Muhammad Hussein Fadlullah, said

Since its advent Islam laid special emphasis on the value of the intellect. It has urged man to think and contemplate in the movement of the universe. It also appreciated highly the value of all actions that result from deep thinking, when compared by emotional reactions.

The value of thinking is not only significant on the level of its practical results, but also on the level of Allah's reward as a form of worshipping. Certain traditions state that thinking for one hour is better then a year of worshipping. The Holy Quran urged the believers to think of the universe and of what Allah has created.

It says: Those who remember Allah standing and sitting and lying on their sides and reflect on the creation of the heavens and the earth: Our Lord! Thou hast not created this in vain.

The act of thinking would then be applied in practice to enrich humanity with the researches that ensure its progress on all levels. Islam, therefore, has always viewed with appreciation the scientists and the innovators in all fields of human and natural sciences, since anything that serves man and lessens his sufferings and pains is an act of worship, and represents one of the major goals of religion.

Thus, it is necessary to protect the scientists and the creators, and provide suitable conditions for them to produce which include:

Firstly: creating an environment of intellectual freedom void of social, psychological political and economic barriers.

Secondly: providing them a decent living that decreases the phenomenon of brain drainage.

Thirdly: honoring them while they are alive and not after their death.

Fourthly: protecting their effort from robbery and misuse by activating relevant laws that protect international property which we believe to be legitimate from our jurisprudence point of view legitimate.

We consider that Islam protects man's intellectual rights just as it protects his other rights. Both the body and the mind produce a legal property that we cannot deny violate or deal with without the consent of the owner.

The issue of intellectual property should be studied both by jurisprudence and by the civil laws to set out the laws that protect it.

On my part, I believe that it is permissible to benefit on the personal level from what the other produces while benefiting on a commercial level is not lawful because one would be investing with the money and the commodities of others, which violates their rights of property.

But if dealing with the produce of others without their permission is a theft, what should we then say about the violations against our nation that has to do not only with usurping our wealth, but also with occupying our lands and killing our people in cold blood Ė especially in Palestine.

The Western successive administrations keep on emphasizing the necessity of protecting their intellectual property. But we are a nation that a great part of its lands has been taken by force. And although international resolutions have affirmed some of our rights especially in Palestine the world laughs at Israel's massacres in Palestine, and sets, at the same time, the ground for settling the Palestinians outside their country and pressurizes those who are in Palestine to accept Olmertís plan that paves the way for the loss of Jerusalem and undermines any chance to build a viable state.

We, in Lebanon, have to watch carefully everything that is going on around us. We have not to separate between the American Israeli plan of settling Palestinians in Lebanon and our views regarding the Palestinian arms.

They are promising a big reward if such an option is adopted and that Lebanonís economy will improve in case the pressure against the arms of the Resistance yields positive results.

That is why we have to keep our eyes on the Israeli plan and set counter plans to face them. We ought to admit that Israel benefited a lot form the internal Lebanese divisions, at a time many people have ruled out any Israeli involvement in what happened in Lebanon lately.

The Lebanese, and the officials in particular, especially after the recent developments in Lebanon should put Israel at the top of their political concerns and stands. They should deal with it as a strategic enemy, and not to continue to draw policies on the basis of personal or sectarian interests.