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Academic Theft!

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#1 [Permalink] Posted on 17th February 2015 09:24


In the spirit of sharing knowledge, many people at some time or the other end up forwarding an email, re-sharing a post or re-tweeting what they received from others whilst omitting the initial source of that valuable piece of knowledge. This is ethically incorrect and can be termed as a form of disloyalty and treachery!

When we share knowledge, its best to state the source, so that the quotation carries with it its full weight. Acting like “we know it all” is not becoming of any honest muslim. It’s actually tantamount to using divine knowledge to inflate our own personalities. How sad.



Furthermore, if this unfortunate trend doesn’t stop, a time will come when the credibility of every statement will be questioned…



Statements of the Scholars

The ‘Ulama of the past have stressed this repeatedly. They’ve even issued harsh warnings to those who failed in this regard.

1. Sufyan Thawri (rahimahullah) said:

نسبة الفائدة إلى مفيدها من الصدق في العلم وشكره، والسكوت عن ذلك من الكذب في العلم وكفره.

Attributing a unique point in knowledge to its source is a token of appreciation and a sign of being sincere, whilst failing to do so is a form of ingratitude and a sign of insincerity.

(Al-Jawahir wad Durar, vol.1 pg.125)



2. Hafidh ibn ‘Abdil Barr (rahimahullah) writes:

يقال: إن من بركة العلم أن تضيف الشيء إلى قائله.

It is said: “Ascribing knowledge to its source will bring blessing (barakah) in your knowledge”

(Jami’u Bayanil ‘ilmi wa fadlihi, vol.1 pg.89)



3. Imam Nawawi (rahimahullah) – while commenting on the hadith: Religion is good counsel- said:

ومن النصيحة: أن تُضاف الفائدة التي تستغرب إلى قائلها، فمن فعل ذلك بورك له في علمه وحاله، ومن أوهم ذلك وأوهم فيما يأخذه من كلام غيره أنه له: فهو جدير أن لا يُنتَفَعُ بعلمه، ولا يبارك له في حاله. ولم يزل أهل العلم والفضل على إضافة الفوائد إلى قائليها. نسأل الله تعالى التوفيق لذلك دائمًا.

“…Part of good council (nasihah) is the attribution of a rare point to its source. Whoever does so will be blessed (receive barakah) in his knowledge and other affairs. Those who give the impression of other people’s work being their own will almost certainly not be blessed and their knowledge will not be of benefit to others. It has always been the habit of the people of knowledge and virtue to attribute things to their source. We ask Allah to allow us to always do so.”

(Bustanul ‘Arifeen, pg.28)

The above three quotes have been extracted from “Dirasatul Kashif” of my most Honourable Teacher, Shaykh Muhammad ‘Awwamah (may Allah protect him) pg.321.



4. ‘Allamah Suyuti (rahimahullah) said:

لأن بركة العلم عزو الأقوال إلى قائلها، ولأن ذلك من أداء الأمانة وتجنب الخيانة، ومن أكبر أسباب الانتفاع

“…the blessing of knowledge lies in its attribution to its source. This is part of being faithful rather than being the opposite. It is also one of the best ways of attaining benefit.”

(See Qimatuz Zaman of Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattah (rahimahullah) pg.15)



5. Shaykh ‘Abdul Fattah (rahimahullah) says: “Indeed I have taken it upon myself in every single book of mine; small or big, to ascribe every line, nay every word to its source by citing the book, volume and page number. I did this so in academic honesty and to create reliance on the quotation.” (Qimatuz Zaman, pg.19)



Warning in the Hadith

Personally, I’ve always viewed one who “steals” knowledge (by not citing his source) as a culprit of the following Hadith:

المتشبع بما لم يعط كلابس ثوبي زور

“One who acts like he has what he doesn’t is covered in lies from head to toe”

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith:5219)

These are stern words on a delicate issue.

Conclusion

Imam Shafi’i (rahimahullah) put it beautifully:

الحر مَن راعى وِدادَ لحظة وانتمى لمن أفاده لفظة

(قيمة الزمن، ص:16)

I will not translate this as it can only be appreciated in its original language.

All of the above applies whenever we adapt any piece of knowledge; be it in lectures, newsletters, magazines, websites or even on social meadia.

Citing the original source of your point is undoubtedly closer to ikhlas (sincerity) and a way of gratitude to the one who introduced you to it. On many occasions, it actually adds credibility to the statement.

Lets “give due where it’s due” by quoting our source each time and being free of “academic theft”.

At the end of the day, we all have to answer in the court of Allah.

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#2 [Permalink] Posted on 17th February 2015 12:25
Very True, I think it also goes for people plagiarising from Islamic blogs without giving a link or reference.

Saudi writer Aid al Qarni, was sued for Plagiarism by a female writer he was ordered to pay compensation and his book "Do Not Despair" has been banned by the Saudi authorities. Many people might not know but in Aid al Qarnis famous book "Dont Be Sad" many of the stories and parables he has used have been plagiarised from the late American author Dale Carnegies excellent book called "How to Stop Worrying and Start Living" which was written in the 1940's Carnegie is better known for his other book "How to Win Friends and Influence People." The reason I know this is because I purchased Dale Carnegies work several years before I came across "Dont Be Sad". After reading of all the hype for the "Dont Be Sad" book on the internet I decided to purchase it and Lo, and Behold alot of stories were taken directly from Carnegies work along with other American self Help writers who's works were written in the first half of the last century.

Saudi Writer Wins Plagiarism Case Against Prominent Cleric



By: Mariam Abdallah
Published Wednesday, February 8, 2012
A young female Saudi writer sued a prominent cleric for stealing her work and won, despite a campaign of defamation against her.

Saudi female author Salwa Aededan won her lawsuit against prominent cleric Sheikh Ayad al-Qarni.

Aededan had accused al-Qarni of infringing on her intellectual property rights and claimed that sections of his book La Tayass (Do not Despair) were stolen from her own book, Hakaza Hazamo al-Yais (This is How They Defeated Desperation).

Aededan refused an offer to compromise give he is the “cleric, sheikh, doctor, poet, and author,” who initially denied the accusation and tried repeatedly to defame her.

The cleric had used his religious standing and media exposure to rally a group of dedicated students and followers against Aededan. These followers promptly used online forums and social media websites to attack the young author.

The case took almost one year to complete, during which al-Qarni repeatedly denied plagiarizing Aededan’s book.

Al-Qarni, a pioneer of the Islamic Awakening movement, held a book signing event at the Riyadh International Book Exhibition 2011 to promote his book.

He first responded to Aededan’s claims by tweeting the Quranic verse “O ye who believe! If a wicked person comes to you with any news, ascertain the truth,” prompting many of his supporters to flood the social media sites.

They launched pages and posted videos defending him while attacking Aededan, accusing her of seeking notoriety by standing up to a prominent cleric.

The cleric had used his religious standing and media exposure to rally a group of dedicated students and followers against Aededan.The case was resolved on January 24, when the Saudi culture ministry fined al-Qarni 30,000 Saudi riyals (US$8,000) and compensated Aededan with a sum of 300,000 Saudi riyals (US$80,000).
The court decided also to withdraw al-Qarni’s books from bookstores, ban its circulation, and blacklist it.

The Saudi cleric defended his position by claiming that the renowned theologian “Ibn Taymiyyah himself copied pages of his books from other scholars without mentioning a source or reference.”

Al-Qarni, who is also the author of Ishkor Housadak (Thank Those Who Envy You), tried to showcase himself as a forgiving cleric.

He cited several examples of great authors and poets copying each other or building on each other’s work, and recounted his own history of “serving science.” He even asked his supporters not to assault Aededan.

Al-Qarni’s statement was too little, too late. Aededan had already suffered from a wave of online abuse.

The young writer was portrayed as a criminal by al-Qarni’s supporters and by some media organizations for having dared to violate the sanctity of the prominent cleric’s standing.

The abuse increased after her protest in front of the culture ministry, when she called on the courts to issue a decision.

Aededan also published a letter addressing al-Qarni, saying: “Isn’t it ironic that a society which is outraged when women show an inch of their hair says nothing when a great scholar like Ibn Taymiyyah is defamed?”

Though the case is officially closed, it still generates a great deal of debate between al-Qarni’s opponents and his supporters, who still believe in his innocence.

After the trial, many recalled the statements of Samir Faraj, who claimed he was going to file a complaint against the Saudi cleric.

The Egyptian poet claimed al-Qarni had stolen his book Shuara Katalhom Shirahom (Poets Killed by Their Poems), and published it under a similar name Kasaid Katalat Ashabaha (Poems That Murdered Their Writers).

Faraj claimed that he had discovered the theft six years ago but did not know how to get his rights back.

He was encouraged by Aededan’s victory to bring his own complaint before the Saudi courts, yet another blow to the plagiarizing sheikh’s reputation.

Article taken from the English language site of Al Akhabar

This article is an edited translation from the Arabic Edition.
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#3 [Permalink] Posted on 17th February 2015 13:25
it is very frustrating and disheartening, I've found peices of work I've done, repeated on other blogs or printed with the name or source removed, giving the impression that it's someone else's work, it came to a point where I just stopped writing all together. Even published work I found edited and signed off as someone else's work. Very deceiving.
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#4 [Permalink] Posted on 17th February 2015 13:45
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#5 [Permalink] Posted on 24th August 2021 11:45
Not exactly related to this thread but bumping it at the same time

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