Connection not found: Dubai issues fatwa against stealing WiFi

Connection not found: Dubai issues fatwa against stealing WiFi
2 min read
11 Apr, 2016
Dubai's religious authorities have confirmed that it is not permitted to steal your neighbour's WiFi.
Ripping off your neighbour's internet is a no-no in Islam, the clerics ruled [Getty]
The ping. The little cross over the icon in the taskbar. The confusing message that the network is connected but with no internet access. You know what's wrong. Your WiFi's gone down. And those Instagram selfies aren't going to post themselves.

In case you were in any doubt about whether or not it's OK to piggyback on your neighbour's signal and were unsure over the moral authority to which you should turn for advice, Dubai's got you covered - even when your router hasn't.

The emirate's top religious authorities have got together and issued a new fatwa, stating that stealing WiFi from your neighbour "would not be proper Islamic conduct".

Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department said it was not permissible for people to use that which belonged to others without payment or without their prior permission. 

It was made available online on Monday in the "modern fatwas" section of the department's website as a response to a question asked by an anonymous reader.

The edict says: "There is nothing wrong in using the line if your neighbors allow you to do so, but if they'd don't allow you, you may not use it."

Although "borrowing" neighbours' WiFi may seem harmless enough to those morally depraved enough to consider it, the fatwa pointed out that it could slow down the service for paying internet users. 

In the past, Dubai internet service providers have provided free WiFi on the city's metro during the holy month of Ramadan, which may have offered a legal lifeline for those who have been ripping off other people's internet connections. 

The fatwa reflects others issued by other regional clerics in recent years.

Dubai's Islamic Affairs and Charitable Activities Department answers a variety of online questions. They range from prayers and religious matters to modern issues including cosmetic surgeries and downloading movies.

They have previously issued fatwas prohibiting the use of office stationary for personal needs.  

According to the department's Grand Mufti, infringement of copyrights of computer programmes, trademarks and patents is also haram ["forbidden"] as per Islamic Sharia.  

Losing some of your youthful vibrancy? The department has even issued a fatwa banning the covering of grey hair with black hair dye. But hiding grey with other shades is totally fine, the clerics ruled.