Last Updated: 2011/07/21
Summary of question
What is the Islamic law about cheating in exams given that the opposite side is consenting?
What is the Islamic law about cheating in exams given that the opposite side is consenting?
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Detailed Answer

It appears from the answers given by the jurists that there is no difference among the jurisprudents about the prohibition of cheating? As stated by "Manual of Islamic Laws for Students" in response to the foregoing question, the grand jurists have unanimously and explicably considered cheating as impermissible.[1]

It has also been stated in the same book that if the opposite side consents and allows him to copy what he has jotted in his paper, "the ruling will be the same and it will still be forbidden according to all jurists".[2] In other words, the Islamic law concerning cheating will not differ and it will not become permissible even if the opposite side consents to it.

In this regard, we have sent an email to the offices of some of the grand jurists to which they have replied. The question and answers furnished by the grand jurists are as under:

"Question: If a student gets through an exam by way of cheating and he goes up to the next level using the benefits, what is the Islamic law about using those benefits?

Grand Ayatollah Khamenei: It is haram to cheat but if one has the necessary expertise and skill for a job for which he has been employed, and if it is in accord with the rules of employment, there would be no problem in the employment and the salary which he receives.

Grand Ayatollah Fazel Lankarani: There is problem in it; as per the Islamic law, he cannot use those benefits.

Grand Ayatollah Bahjat: He must make up for that subject.

Grand Ayatollah Tabrizi: Cheating is a practical lie and it is not permissible. If a person cheats and then gets a job which does not require expertise and he will work like others, there would be no problem. In case, the job requires skill and he lacks it, it is not permissible for him to take charge.

Grand Ayatollah Saafi Gulpaigani: Cheating is not allowed in any matter.

Grand Ayatollah Makarem Shirazi: If he has done cheating in one or two subjects, although he has committed an unlawful act but the scientific document as well as his continuation of education and employment with it would be free of any objection.

Grand Ayatollah Sistani: Although cheating is not allowed, there is no objection to him using the benefits."[3]

It should be noted that cheating is based on a number of unlawful actions:

1. Cheating is against the examination law and it is not permissible to offend the law.

2. Cheating is based on a lie, because the student submits the paper in his own name. Apparently, the information should be that of his own while it is not so.

3. The consent of the opposite side is of no value. In fact, the person who consents to the cheating can be counted as an accessory or a partner in crime.


[1] - Manual of Islamic Laws for Students (Resala-e Danishjuyee), issue No.539.

[2] - Ibid, question 543.

[3] - Current Legal Issues according to Religious Authorities, vol.3, pg.211.

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