Subject : Ruling on Using Social Media Accounts After the Death of their Owners
Fatwa Number : 3599
Date : 25-02-2021
Classified : Miscellaneous Fatwas
Fatwa Type : Search Fatawaa

Question :

 I noticed that the accounts of my deceased friends are being used or taken by their heirs. Is it an invasion of privacy? And is possessing them by the heirs considered legal from Sharia's perspective?

The Answer :


All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of The Worlds, and may His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad and upon all of his family and companions.

The impermissibility of impersonation is a moral, legal and a principle of Sharia; thusly, impersonation the of the deceased or having conversations with others on his behalf is impermissible since person’s speech or action are to be attributed to him not to others, as is one of the basics in terms of accountability, because Allah, The Exalted, said (What means) :” That no laden one shall bear another’s load,(38)And that man hath only that for which he maketh effort, (39)And that his effort will be seen, (40). [An-Najm] in addition, He said (What means) :” Evey soul is pledge for its own deeds. “ [Al-Muddaththir/38].

What should be observed here that this issue is referred to the Website private policy at the death of their clients; on one hand, if it permits the transfer of the latter’s accounts management to others, then there is no harm in it according to Sharia so long as deceased’s impersonation isn’t involved, nor it(Deceased’s account) is given exclusively to one of the heirs (especially if this would cause damage to others), the adherence of all teachings of Sharia while managing it, public morals and attiquitties are observed in addition to announcing account's owner death and the transference matter to the new owner.

On the other hand, if their policy doesn’t permit ownership transfer, then fraud for the purpose of having the account after the death of its owner is impermissible.

It worth noting that a person should distinguish between the rulings of social media accounts and financial ones that have a value, copyright or patent rights with incomes  or might be benefitted from financially through their content. Accordingly, the trade name is one of the rights protected by Sharia, and has a material value according to contemporary jurisprudence.

On its part, the International Islamic Fiqh Academy has issued resolution No.(43, 5/5) as regards incorporeal rights, and it states:

“First: Trade name, corporate name, trade mark, authorship and invention are rights to whom they belong and-in modern custom-they are of considerable material value from which money is generated. In light of Sharia, these rights are considerable. Therefore, any transgression against them is impermissible.”

In conclusion, humans have their own considerable personalities during their lifetime as well after death and this right is protected by both, Sharia and the basic law. Further, adhering to it is a moral commitment out of  person’s responsibility towards others; since in principle, none is permitted to use or have the deceased’s account whether it was a social media account or any other account nor to violate this right save in a certain and regulated circumstances without transgressing the issued principle and  so long as no damage is inflicted upon others. And Allah knows best.



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