Posted by: Dawud Israel | March 16, 2008

Shaykh Khalid Yasin on Copyright Infringement

I have previously discussed copyright issues but I need to make clear that this was merely a discussion exploring the other side of this argument.

It is clear that the correct position is to respect copyrights and intellectual property. If you are serious about Islam you would follow such a thing.

This is a recent video where Shaykh Khalid Yasin (who has converted crowds of Muslims, on video) discusses how copyright infringement has damaged his Dawah work. Take a moment to listen and show others this.

Subhana kallahumma wa bihamdika ash-haduana la illaha illa ant astaghfiruka wa atubu ilayk, Ameen.


Responses

  1. This is so weird I just made a post today about this where I used Shaykh Khalid Yasin to back up my argument against copyright, here at:

    http://www.project-abraham.org/portal.php

    I want to make some comments about this. With my humble opinion, I think it is completely wrong to sell the work of other people for a profit, even if the proceeds go to a Masjid. Shaykh Khalid’s selling alcohol, and then making a masjid is a good analogy.

    However, again in my humble opinion, I don’t think one should ever stop another person from learning, and say – “Hey wait, have you paid the fare.” I feel like I’m walking on a slippery slope here, because I really like Shaykh Khalid Yasin, but this knowledge that scholars and speakers talk about in their lectures, are not founded by them. This knowledge comes from Allah. This knowledge comes from the Quran and books written by the first scholars of Islam, who didn’t charge anyone anything for their work.

    As for not forcing Islamic scholars to get other jobs, well in fact Prophet David a.s. was the King and the Prophet of his time, yet he only made his living because he manufactured swords, and sold them. He never relied on the money of others.

    The first Khalifas of the Ottoman empire used to make money off of the small hats or “topee’s”, that they would sow, and made their living off of that.

    Shaykh Khalid Yasin basically says that this is weakening our Ummah because the Islamic Scholars are not being paid enough, and in turn the scholars of Islam are lessening. Well, does an aspiring scholar have the intention to charge people a fare because they want to learn how to be closer to Allah?

    By the way, Shaykh Khalid Yasin also recommends photocopying Hisnul Muslim in his Dawah series, if you don’t have the money. I remember him clearly saying that “there is nothing but dua in there, there’s no copyright on that!” That’s really the first time I made an argumentative opinion about copyright, its ironic that I am now defending it against the same person who first inspired it to me. Maybe I misunderstood?

    Anyways, I believe also it is important to support these organizations, however it should not be obligatory, and these scholars should not expect to make a living off of these lectures and speeches because people should have the right to access this knowledge for free.

    When you go for Friday prayer, is there a turbaned bouncer you have to pay to get in, because the Imam doesn’t copyright his knowledge, does he?

    You can listen to a completely different viepoint from Shaykh Feiz at
    http://www.project-abraham.org/copyright-in-islam-how-do-you-copyright-knowledge-t210.html
    Its only a 4minute lecture, and a different opinion, that I think is worth listening to.

  2. You can see this matter further discussed briefly by Shaykh Feiz and Shaykh Sulayman Ibn Nasir Al-‘Ulwan here at:

    http://kalamullah.com/copyright.html

    I think you’ll notice that although Shaykh Sulayman has valid points, he just looks at the proofs that make copyright right/wrong. However, Shaykh Feiz looks at the bigger picture and shows how the system of copyright will affect Dawah, and the knowledge of Islam.

  3. I know what you are saying Usman and it’s a difficult dividing line. Photocopying hisnul Muslim is really no different than photocopying the Quran (most of the duaas come from the Quran) but again I know what you mean.

    The main reason why copyright infringement is an issue is that the money is needed to continue dawah efforts. Consider how few the scholars are today, how many are imprisoned, silenced or bribed and I think the value of their work really comes to light.

    The simple fact is would you rather have Khalid Yasin bring people into Islam in the awesome way that he does or not?

    They aren’t very strict either with this and do negotiate with other dawah groups. Money is simply a means to an end.

  4. I say that we SHOULD support our scholars and leaders as much as we can, and we should buy their DVDs or other products as much as we can. However, if one cannot afford the given prices, or cannot find where to buy products where the revenue actually goes towards the scholar, then nobody has the right to stop them from downloading. Nobody has the right to stop them from learning about Islam.

    And sometimes these prices are ridiculous, they are WAY more then necessary.

    In other words, I don’t think it is right for scholars to put copyrights and say “You must purchase this product, you must pay first”. I understand that they need support, but they should ask for donations, instead of putting up copyrights, because most people are not scared of those copyrights anyway. And they should expect that the majority of the Ummah really doesn’t have the money to pay for every bit of knowledge that he/she has learned.

    I can say for myself, If I had to pay for every Islamic product I have ever downloaded from the internet, I would be in debt, and my learning would slow down to a halt. And as far as dawah goes, if everybody actually respected copyright, then the massive amounts of Islamic material on the internet would also be halted, and therefore dawah would also be halted.

    The mass amounts of videos of Shaykh Khalid Yasin even, are actually known more because they have been spread around throughout the internet. In fact the first time I even heard of him was on Islamic Torrents.

    But like I said, we should support them, but it shouldn’t be obliged on a person who wants to learn. And the revenue shouldn’t be expected in the first place, because the majority of the ummah even the English speaking ones, are immigrants, who are just trying to establish themselves in their new countries.

  5. I will point out again I have been on BOTH sides of this discussion. I know brothers who spread Islamic knowledge by infringing on copyrights and yet others who respected copyrights and also succeeded.

    This is going to be pretty scathing and aggressive…

    1) Find me a fatwa that permits you to steal from your neighbour.

    2) Find me a masjid that was built for free

    3) Find me a Quran that fell out of the sky and was given to you free with absolutely no one paying for it.

    4) Find me a shaykh who did NOTHING to earn his Ilm

    Whether it is time or money there is a price to pay for everything.
    Stop and think who is paying for your eating and drinking?

    In the real world you cannot expect to run free. Even practicing Islam–Allah sends trials upon you so that you can value His Deen and better yourself.

    If people are willing to NOT pay for Islam with their efforts, blood and time than by what virtue do they call themselves Muslim?

    In the end it comes down to it: If you want to see Shaykhs like Khalid Yasin converting crowds of people with this unique dawah–than SUPPORT him. If you want to rob him, than rob him–but know that Allah is now holding you accountable for violating the rights of the Scholar, the Inheritors of the Prophets.

  6. For the record the Traditional Muslims out there have done a better job of respecting their shuyookhs copyrights. You will find that most of their material is hidden away. It seems this is a bigger problem with the Salafi crowd.

  7. I understand and respect your opinion, and even partly agree with it. This is an issue that I am constantly battling myself with.

    I agree to support these shaykhs, in any way we can. That does include buying their lectures. However, can you honestly speak for every single person out there who wants to learn, and say that the price that is sometimes asked is reasonable? Is it even affordable?

    There are other ways to support our leaders, and our Ummah, but I just don’t think that one should have to pay an immediate fee for knowledge.

    As for stealing, Is learning something from a scholar who has derived his/her knowledge from the Quran and Sunnah for free considered stealing? I don’t think you could compare actual knowledge to something material in stealing. In that case the entire system of learning on the internet no matter what it is would be considered stealing, because you have access to libraries of knowledge and information for free. Information that many have sacrificed their time, sweat, and blood for.

    Your right, nothing material-based is free. If you want a masjid, you DO have to pay for it. Thats just the way of the world. However do you pay an actual currency-based fee to the Imam for listening to his lecture? Did the sahabi’s pay an actual currency-based fee towards our Prophet (pbuh), every time he gave a sermon. Do you think he would be happy with the prices people are asking for this knowledge?

    Just look at this webiste here: http://www.zikrcast.com/Distance_Learning/class_detail.php?CID=89
    They are asking $40 for a single Islamic course. Honestly, how many people do you know are able to pay 40$ for one course that can be taught in 2 days. It adds up after you want to expand your knowledge. I know for sure that there are madrassas in the world who would never dream to ask for that much. And if you really thought about all the expenses that go into recording an audio file, and uploading it to your site, would you really
    come out with 40 bucks a pop. Come ON!

    No! There are other ways to contribute to Islam, without paying a currency, and in fact supporting our leaders by buying their lectures IS one of them. But no one can expect for people to pay a price EVERY time for a bit of knowledge they have earned. In that case you should pay 10 dollars for every Jumuah khutbah you have heard, thats what 520 dollars a year. On top of that pay another 10 dollars for every single Islamic lecture you have ever heard. While we are at it we should banish all people from ever reading a book inside of a masjid, that they didn’t personally pay for.

    This system of “paying for knowledge” is similar to health care in America. Somebody might need a heart transplant, but if they can’t afford it, is it just right to let them die? Same concept with the learning of Islamic knowledge (which is more important than any heart transplant), if a person can’t afford to pay a required price to learn to be a better person, to become closer to Allah, should he/she just go find somewhere where he can afford to go? Shaytan will find him a real nice place for FREE, trust me on that one.

    I think the way we should support our leaders should be more like the Canadian health care system, (sorry for the bad analogy). Everyone pays what they can collectively, and no matter how poor or rich a single person is, everybody gets taken care of. I think this is the fairest, and therefore most Islamic way.

    You know, I am honestly questioning myself if I was “stealing” when I was listening to all of those lectures online, when I was trying to better myself. I thought how would I answer Allah SWT on the Day of Judgement. But then I thought, how are the people who have chosen the life of a scholar, to teach and to spread Islam, are going to answer why they asked for money first from people who wanted to learn Islam.

  8. LOL

    Not all scholars ask for money. In fact, some have a policy to NEVER ask.

    I think what it really comes down to is:

    How much are YOU willing to spend in the cause of Allah?

    The more you are willing to spend–the more deserving you are of Allah’s pleasure.

  9. Anyways, I am not comfortable with not paying for something that Shaykh Khalid Yasin himself wanted me to pay for. So I’ll try to repay him, and all of the other Scholars whose lectures I have downloaded, even though it will probably take me the next 5 years. And thats no joke.

    I went on to his website, and realized that if people actually bought his stuff, he WOULD have alot more impact in terms of Dawah, as he would have more resources to do so. But personally (and maybe If I was a lecture giving scholar, I would have a different opinion) I think I would feel like I was doing something wrong, by selling Islamic knowledge.

    However if it takes paying probably the equivalent of thousands of dollars, which includes libraries of Imam Anwar Awlaki material, libraries of Zakir Naik, Ahmed Deedat, Shaylh Khalid Yasin, Dr. Hesham Al-Wadadi, to clear my conscience thatn I guess I have no choice.

  10. Paying is one term to use…

    Charity is another–and you know what I’m referring to Usman

    *wink*

  11. Im a little dimwitted, and I’m not good at hints, so please tell me what you’re referring to.

    🙂

  12. Salam,
    brothers i think that if someone can pay for lectures by imams then they should pay. i personally think that if people are asking for money and they are doing something which is good for the ummah, then if you can give them money you should give as much as you can, as long as you can and as many times as you can.

    however if you cannot pay than you should get Islamic knowledge for free.

  13. forgot to say that the price should be reasonable for the lectures!!

  14. khalid yasin is right in what he is saying. At one point khalid yasin is emphasizing that there are people who are copying lectures by khalid yasin on DVD’s and selling them and keeping money for themselves. they must ask for khalid yasin’s permission because this is khalid yasin’s right to get that money.

    Bukhari :: Book 7 :: Volume 71 :: Hadith 633
    Narrated Ibn ‘Abbas:

    Some of the companions of the Prophet passed by some people staying at a place where there was water, and one of those people had been stung by a scorpion. A man from those staying near the water, came and said to the companions of the Prophet, “Is there anyone among you who can do Ruqya as near the water there is a person who has been stung by a scorpion.” So one of the Prophet’s companions went to him and recited Surat-al-Fatiha for a sheep as his fees. The patient got cured and the man brought the sheep to his companions who disliked that and said, “You have taken wages for reciting Allah’s Book.” When they arrived at Medina, they said, ‘ O Allah’s Apostle! (This person) has taken wages for reciting Allah’s Book” On that Allah’s Apostle said, “You are most entitled to take wages for doing a Ruqya with Allah’s Book.”

    Bukhari :: Book 7 :: Volume 71 :: Hadith 632
    Narrated Abu Said Al-Khudri:

    Some of the companions of the Prophet came across a tribe amongst the tribes of the Arabs, and that tribe did not entertain them. While they were in that state, the chief of that tribe was bitten by a snake (or stung by a scorpion). They said, (to the companions of the Prophet ), “Have you got any medicine with you or anybody who can treat with Ruqya?” The Prophet’s companions said, “You refuse to entertain us, so we will not treat (your chief) unless you pay us for it.” So they agreed to pay them a flock of sheep. One of them (the Prophet’s companions) started reciting Surat-al-Fatiha and gathering his saliva and spitting it (at the snake-bite). The patient got cured and his people presented the sheep to them, but they said, “We will not take it unless we ask the Prophet (whether it is lawful).” When they asked him, he smiled and said, “How do you know that Surat-al-Fatiha is a Ruqya? Take it (flock of sheep) and assign a share for me.”

  15. This is an OLD discussion,

    These hadith have been quoted before in this argument for charging money for ilm – however, there’s a lack of consideration for context.

    Ruqya is not Islamic knowledge, and this charging was done exclusively to non-muslims in both hadith, and who in one hadith were previously disrespectful to the Sahaba radhiAllahu Anhum and did not entertain them – or provide for them what they needed.

    That specific context has nothing to do with charging money for ilm or islamic knowledge.

    It’s been a while since I made the last few comments, so my perspective has softened – everything costs money, including education – even Islamic education.

    I get that, and maybe I’m just crazy, but it feels like the deen is being commercialized. I don’t like using names, but Al-Maghrib is one of the examples that comes to mind. We have amazing Islamic scholars doing amazing work, but there work becomes reduced to a product that is marketed and advertised.

    The deen seems to have become a very profitable business field.

    There are many Al Maghrib students who have spent thousands of dollars for the accumulation of the double-weekend seminars they attended. And of course discoveru marketing is aimed at them, as to how their Shaykh can “discover their lives” by paying ONLY 2000 for a weekend of “inspiration”. That 2000 consists of a regurgitation of Anthony Robbins mixed with islamic terminology. I can do that at the local library!!!

    Money puts a boundary on learning, and these seminars are now more exclusive to people who can afford them – and if you actually spend time in your masjid you’ll see that the majority of Muslims are trying to make ends meet – the majority are immigrants.

    The almaghribies will call me a hater – but i’m anything but. I love al maghrib because I know if they didn’t exist, thousands of muslims would not be as focused on the deen – it’s just that some things bother me that i’ve already mentioned.

    Conclusion: can’t hate on scholars who charge money, but at the same time, can’t help but have more respect for the scholars who feel that the fact their students have gotten closer to the deen, and closer to Allah is more than sufficient for them – and asking for money isn’t something they’d dream of.

    copyrights – not really liking it, but I think like mentioned earlier, scholars who use them like Shaykh Khalid Yasin are lenient anyways – and btw – Shaykh Khalid Yasin charges ABSOLUTELY reasonable prices.

  16. Sadly the people who sell the Islamic cd / dvd sell
    them at unrealistically high prices. They are almost always Bengalis and have a monopolly in
    this field. What we need are more Islamic shops
    selling such things at competative prices.
    Why should any muslim have to spend £10-12 for a childrens, cartoon dvd or a Shaykh Khalid Yaseen dvd for that matter. Hollywood/Bollywood/Lollywood dvd are even cheaper. and i am sure their budget is much more that any Shaykh sitting in front of a microphone.
    Incedently i do not watch or buy any of the before mentioned films. Any way, i would respect the little knowledge that he has and people who do not have any deep understanding do listen to him, MashAllah.
    If people are genuninely interested in gaining Islamic knowledge, they could always buy a good
    book or an audio cd/lecture, these are cheaper options.
    Allah (swt) is ordering the Muslims to convey even a single verse of the Qur’an if thats all that a person knows, it does not say that it sould be at a price. The Qur’an also states that Islamic knowledge should not be withheld/hidden from the people otherwise such people will be dealt with! Any one claiming to be a Da’yee should not be concerned about money. One must have faith in Allah that he will provide people such as Shaykh Khalid Yaseen with money.
    Some times, Muslims desire to follow the regulation of the Kafirs, only because they see the financial benefits, otherwise the same Shayks advise the ordinary Muslims that they must not follow the ways of the Kufars.
    Such hupocrates will never suceed in what they do.
    Look at famous speakers such as Maulana Tariq Jamil, he is world famous, his lectures are very
    iman and knowledge building but yet they are free to record. He has never placed ant restrictions on his work. The same applies to the great Shaykh Ahmad Deedat, he only spent in the way of Allah, he encouraged people to propogate his work, freely. I am sure that even Shaykh Khalid Yaseen must have benefited from his work.
    At a time when Islamic values are being erroded, Islamic knowledge needs to be brought before the general Muslim public, at a minimal cost.
    May Allah (swt) guide all of mand kind/Jinn kind-Ameen!
    ws

  17. COPYRIGHT BY SHEIKH FEIZ http://whyyislam.blogspot.com/2010/03/copyright.html

  18. There’s only 1 Problem “Niyya” as our Beloved Prophet (SAW) says “Innamal A’maalu bin Niyyat” These Shuyookh who spread the word of Allah needs to ask them self first b4 they give dawah “Why am i giving dawa?and what do i want to achieve from it?” if its to get rewards from Allah then there’s no problem if some1 copy it that is Swadaqatun Jaariya. The problem we have with these copyright issue is some Scholars make it as means of life i mean they give dawah 2 full fill there financial needs.Don’t get confused here there’s a difference between teaching and preaching, now teaching u can charge there’s no problem about that but preaching spreading the world of Allah u don’t. In the Qur’an n hadith so many times we are told to remind other “Fadhakkir”. Okay u say how these production will continue if these ppl don’t buy these CD/DVD thats lack of Tawheed, that production doesn’t continue bcoz ppl buy CD/DVD, it continue bcoz Allah want it, whether u buy it or not it will continue until he decide it n that’s what these Shuyookh needs to put it in there mind. In conclusion All Prophets had work to do beside Teaching/spreading the word of Allah, good examples for these Shuyookh 2 follow.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

Categories

%d bloggers like this: