Copying and selling second hand books.

Q. In Bangladesh we find medical books that are photocopies of the original and are sold openly. Now I don’t know whether it is ok in shariah to buy such books? Also if I have bought can I sell them? Bangladesh government is doing nothing about it and even some government funded libraries are having these photocopied books which are pirated. So I want to know if I have bought them and is it allowed for me to sell these books as second hand books to my juniors? Now what should I do with my old books which I don’t need, according to shariah?

A. There is no harm if you sell your second hand books to your juniors. The fact that you have paid for them means that there is a cost which is attached. Hence, you can cover the cost or part of it by selling it to others.

In this situation there is no issue about piracy, since it is a matter of the sale of used books which you did not photocopy.

As for piracy, it is not permissible to do so, on items which belong to other people without their permission. If they have not given permission, then it will not be permissible.

However, in these cases, there will be no harm if you photocopy a few pages for valid reasons. All these are accepted and allowed. However, to photocopy an entire book and then sell it to make a profit will not be allowed.

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Waseem Khan