x Abu Dhabi, UAESunday 21 January 2018

Fatwa forbids using illicit wi-fi link

Muftis say using wi-fi without permission, one of the classic moral dilemmas of our time, is wrong.

It is a classic moral dilemma of our times: if your neighbour installs a wireless internet connection and fails to protect it with a password, is it acceptable to use the service without telling them? This was one of the more unusual questions fielded recently by muftis at the General Authority for Islamic Affairs and Endowments, which this year expanded its fatwa centre to handle up to 1,000 queries every day - either by telephone or online.

It is not clear if this question came in via the internet - but, if it did, the man who posed it was left in no doubt about the rights and wrongs of wi-fi from an Islamic perspective. "Some people protect their wireless connection with a password, but others don't," said the questioner. "Is it all right to use such wireless connections, knowing that it will not result in them having to pay more, but they will end up with a weaker signal, less able to move large files?"

Absolutely not, replied the mufti. "We point out that many people who take it upon themselves to use someone else's internet connection without permission make up the excuse that, 'The owner did not put a password on it, so therefore he does not mind if people use it'. "But in reality, someone may not protect their wireless connection because they don't know how to, or they don't know that others can use it, or because they are neglectful or lazy. A Muslim's money or property is not for the taking unless there is explicit blessings from the owner."

Other Muslims who wanted to make sure they were not breaking religious rules included a man who raised the sensitive issue of sexual dysfunction and whether it was acceptable to resort to Viagra. "I got married and I have sexual dysfunction and the doctor suggested Viagra. I try very hard to satisfy my wife, and we now have two children. Am I a sinner for it, knowing that my wife and I love each other and she accepts me the way I am?"

The mufti said: "There is no problem with taking medicine to remedy a sexual dysfunction, as it is permitted to take medicine for ailment, as long as the medicine causes no other harm. In addition, there is no shame in your weakness to meet your wife's desire, as it is out of your hands." One woman wanted to know if it was acceptable to celebrate birthdays, "while keeping in mind that I always celebrate before or after the actual date so as not to act like non-Muslims". The mufti said the celebration was permissible if it did not contradict Islamic rules regarding things such as alcohol and the mixing of the sexes. "It is true that celebrating birthdays is not part of the Islamic tradition, but if the celebration meets the conditions mentioned, and did not break any Muslim rules, and had the intention of bringing happiness into the heart of a little one, then it is all right."