Overhearing answer while taking admission exam
Fatwa No: 361597

  • Fatwa Date:2-1-2018 - Rabee' Al-Aakhir 15, 1439
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Question

Is it permissible for me to continue my studies?
Assalaamu alaykum. In my medical admission test, I gave one MCQ (multiple choice question) question's answer by hearing it from others. I did not ask anyone to tell me the answer. What happened is that others were cheating by discussing the answer, and I heard the answer intentionally. I gave all the other answers all by myself. Is this considered cheating? I got one mark for that answer. Even one mark is very important for getting admitted. It is possible that if I got one mark less, I could not have studied in medical school and another person could have studied there in my place. However, it is also true that I did not cheat to give other answers, and the halal actions outweigh the one haram action, as I had answered all other questions honestly. I was admitted into a medical college because of that test, and I am in my fourth year now. I had given two professional examinations. I have to give two more professional examinations to complete my study. I am also confused after reading Islamweb's fatwa No. 115236. Is this fatwa applicable in my situation? If it is, then that will cause enormous distress for me. My question is: is it permissible to continue my studies? Did I spoil another person's rights?

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, the Lord of the worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah and that Muhammad, sallallahu ʻalayhi wa sallam, is His slave and Messenger.

What you did was not cheating, because the one who overhears the answer without seeking it is not a cheater. Shaykh Ibn ʻUthaymeen  may  Allaah  have  mercy  upon  him when asked a similar situation, said, “This falls under the category of unsolicited help. There is no harm in writing down this answer, even if he did not know it before overhearing it; he is allowed to write it because he neither tried to cheat nor actually cheated.

Hence, you bear no sin for what you mentioned, and it does not affect the validity of your studies or your future work, so ignore your doubts and obsessive thoughts about this matter. What we mentioned in fatwa 115236 does not apply to your case; rather, these are only obsessive whisperings that must be ignored. You should embrace your life and your studies and seek refuge with Allah from the devil whenever such thoughts occur to you.

Allah knows best.

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