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Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Ruling on writing research and essays and selling them to students

Question: What is the ruling on selling research taken from the Internet to students who need it to submit to their teachers, but who do not know how to use the Internet properly or do not have access to it?

Read the answer from Sh. Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid and Sh. Ibn ‘Uthaymeen here.

This is a really important issue that is plaguing the Muslim community. Doing another person's schoolwork is wrong. It does not matter if it is for a failing relative, child, friend, or classmate in need. The proper way to help such people is to help them help themselves. Teach them how to use the Internet, or invite them to use it at your home, but don't use it for them. Show them how to find information in books, but don't find and summarize it for them. Offer feedback on their writing, but don't write for them. Encourage such people, motivate them, and even tutor them when possible or necessary. But don't cross that red line that has you doing the actual work.

Another (related) issue is the proliferation of comapnies and websites that pay you to write term papers and essays. This is unethical and helps students cheat, receiving grades and degrees that they do not deserve.

A lot of us went through school with no one to help us out. It wasn't always easy, and somtimes our grades were not the best. If we fell behind or did not understand the material, we knew that we had to find ways of improving - dedicating more time to our studies and seeking out feedback from professors and others.

There is a certain type of person who does not understand the concept of hard work in school. This person feels entitled to pass a course while never opening a book, never taking notes in class, and never staying up at night to study or meet a deadline. He pays people to do his work for him, thinking that money can solve the problem. In fact, he puts himself into greater complications when he cannot understand the material he uses to cheat. He often can't explain it to the teacher or professor, and he will still have trouble passing his exams when he hasn't done the relevant coursework. If he had, from the start, simply put his time and effort into doing the required work, that would have been a far better investment of time and energy, don't you think?

If you encouter such people, do not be an enabler. Explain the value of a degree and the hard work that goes into it. Stand firm, and you will gain their respect. And, finally, I hope all brothers and sisters in faith will stay away from those companies (term paper mills) that pay people to cheat. They don't call it cheating - but you can be sure this is what they are doing. Not only that, but they have been known to cheat many a writer out of their pay as well.

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This blog is maintained by Amel Abdullah, a freelance writer, editor, and Arabic to English translator.