The Nature of Property, Its Valuation and Intellectual Property Rights in Islamic Law
Dr. Samia Maqbool Niazi

The importance of intellectual property in the modern world goes far beyond the protection of the creations of the mind. It affects virtually all aspects of economic and cultural life.”2 This is the collective wisdom of mankind, as reflected in their fundamental documents. Intellectual property is vital for the development and well being of the Muslim Ummah. This form of property may be considered essential today even for our traditional heritage, at the core of which lies Islamic law and Islamic knowledge. The World Intellectual Property Organisation notes: “The use of existing and new intellectual property approaches alone will not resolve the challenges confronting traditional communities today, which will need to draw on a range of legal and practical tools to strengthen respect for the customary laws that protect their traditional knowledge.”3 In short, the Muslim world must participate fully in the field of intellectual property to ensure its progress and development. All this may be true, yet Muslim scholars who have to justify the use of intellectual property from the perspective of the Islamic shar+’ah are not taking the matter seriously. There have been very few attempts to understand, analyse and validate the intellectual property system. The few attempts that have been made have been inadequate; indeed, superficial. Verdicts have been issued, but without even understanding fully what intellectual property means and how it is to be dealt with. The complexity and uniqueness of this form of property is ignored in such verdicts. In this study, the major aim is to highlight for the Muslim scholars and the Muslims scientists and thinkers where the current state of our analysis for validating intellectual property stands. A few serious, though far from adequate, attempts have been made to understand the problem and give a response. These attempts are recorded here, but before that the nature of intellectual property, and the questions it raises for Muslim scholars, has been briefly presented. It is to be hoped that the study will help in understanding the magnitude of the problem, the huge scholarly efforts that are required to assimilate the new development into the fold of Islam, and finally the moral duty to undertake ijtihad in this field. Such ijtihad must come from the scholars who lead the Muslim world today. It is their responsibility and this study is addressed to them mostly in the form of questions that need to be resolved.

Full Text: PDF     DOI: 10.15640/jisc.v4n1a9