Is it permissible in Islam to sell information or knowledge? Will there be any difference in Islamic ruling if the information or knowledge is presented as a book or software? Assume that someone gather information from various sources and then sell the information as a service. What is Islamic ruling regarding this? What about a teacher who is paid a salary for providing his teaching?
It should be remembered at the outset that nothing can be termed as prohibited in the Islamic Shari`ah, unless its prohibition is expressly mentioned in the Qur’an or the Sunnah of the Prophet (pbuh) or the act is such, which clearly violates an established moral or ethical standard.
Keeping the above principle in perspective, it may safely be stated that selling information and knowledge (whether in the shape of a book, a software or a lecture), as it is not expressly prohibited by either the Qur’an or the Sunnah, cannot be termed as prohibited in the Shari`ah. Nevertheless, if such a sale of information and knowledge violates any established moral or ethical principle, it can then come within the scope of transactions prohibited by the Shari`ah.
22nd June 2000