General rules dealing with laws in non-Muslim countries

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Shafaqna ( Shia International News Association) – Various governments lay down laws to govern the conduct of the lives of their citizens, at times they would order people to do something and at times prohibit them from doing some other things; they would limit and restrict certain activities, etc.

Among those laws are the laws concerning public utilities related to the daily lives of the people in a given geographical area; and violating or disobeying these laws could led to disarray and chaos.

It is not permissible for anyone to leave something on the public road that could cause harm to the pedestrians and others anywhere in Muslim and non-Muslim countries. It is not permissible for a Muslim to post bills or write or engage in other similar activities on the outer walls or billboards that are owned by others except after obtaining the permission of the owner. It is forbidden for a Muslim to betray the trust of someone who has entrusted him with an item or a deed, even if that person happens to be a non-Muslim.It is similarly obligatory upon a Muslim to safeguard the deposit that has been given to him and give it back in full.

Therefore, one who works as a cashier or accountant is not allowed to betray the employer and steal something that is under his control (1) (See the question-answer section below.) It is neither permissible to steal from the private as well as the public property of non-Muslims, nor vandalize it, even if that stealing or vandalizing does not tarnish the image of Islam and Muslims. Such an act is counted as perfidy and violation of the guarantee given to non-Muslims indirectly when one asked permission to enter or reside in that country. And it is forbidden to breach the trust and violate the guarantee in regard to every person irrespective of his religion, citizenship, and beliefs. (See the question-answer section below.)

It is not permissible to steal the property of non-Muslims when they enter Muslim countries. It is not permissible for a Muslim to receive wages and subsidy through illegal means, and other similar methods, for example, by giving false information to the authorities. It is permissible for a Muslim to purchase insurance policy from various insurance companies for insuring his life and property from fire, flood, theft, and other perils. The insurance agreement is considered binding and cannot be cancelled except with the consent of both parties.

It is not permissible for a Muslim to give false information to the insurance companies with the purpose of obtaining something that he is not entitled to just as he is not allowed to intentionally fake an accident like fire, for example, in order to gain something. Nor would the insurance benefits be lawful for him. (See the question-answer section below.)

At times the higher interests of the Muslims in non-Muslim countries demand that Muslims seek membership of political parties, enter parliaments, and representative assemblies. In such cases, it is permissible for Muslims to engage in such activities as much as is demanded by the interest [of the Muslim community] that must be identified by consulting the trustworthy experts. Under no circumstance is it permissible to cheat in school exams irrespective of the fact that cheating is done by mutual help among the students or by the passing of notes or by duping the inspector and other illegal methods that are against the [education] system.

 

Source: Ayatollah Sistani

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