Rulings On Photography In Islam


Assalaamu Alaykum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatahu!

In The Name Of Allah, The Most Beneficent, The Most Merciful.

Praise Be To Allah, The Lord Of All The Worlds.

Please Note: If There Are Long Narrations (Hadiths) I Will Be Taking The Part Of That Hadith Which Goes With The Topic. And I Will Not Be Quoting The Hadith Numbers, Cause Many Hadith Numbers Do Not Tally. So I Will Be Quoting The Narrators, The Narration, The Name Of The Book, And If Possible The Chapter Also.

The Muslim Has To Respect All The Teachings Of Islam & Be Proud Of Its Teachings. On The Other Hand, He Should Be A Caller (Da’ee) To Guidance (i.e. Quran & Sunnah), By His Attitude More Than His Words; Specially When He Is Amongst The People. Righteousness Is A Honor By The Means Of Which The Muslim Raises His Status, His Appearance Shows How Practical He Is. Teachings Of Islam Are Not Something That Are Shameful That He Should Be Embarrassed To Show Openly & To Practice Them Openly. One Of The Important Teachings Of Islam Is “Invite Towards Good & Forbid Evil”. Satan Presents The Evil Actions In Such A Way That A Muslim Thinks It Is Permissible. One Of The Biggest Sin Is Making Images Whether It Be Two Dimensional Or Three Dimensional.  Insha Allah Through This Article I Will Be Explaining How Photography Is HARAAM In Islam & To What Extend It Is Permissible & Why.

Allah Says In The Quran; In Surah Al-Anaam 6:119

“He Has Explained To You In Details What Is Forbidden To You, Except Under Compulsion Of Necessity”.

The Basic Principle Concerning Making Of Pictures Of Any Animated Being i.e. Humans, Animals, Birds, Fish, Etc. Is HARAAM. Whether The Pictures Are Taken With The Machine (Digital Camera, Mobile, Etc.) Or Drawn By The Hand On Paper, Wall, Cloth, Etc.

Reported By Ibn Abbas (RA); That Prophet Muhammad (SAW) Said: “Whoever Makes An Image In This World; Will Be Commanded To Breathe The Soul Into It On The Day Of Resurrection, And He Will Not Be Able To Do That. Recorded By Imam Al-Bukhari In His Sahih & Also By Imam Muslim In His Sahih.

Reported By Muslim: We Were With Masruq At The House Of Yasar Ibn Numair. Masruq Saw Pictures On His Terrace & Said; I Heard Abdullah Saying That He Heard Prophet (SAW) Saying: “The People Who Receives Severest Punishment From Allah Will Be Picture Makers”. Recorded By Imam Bukhari In His Sahih, In The Book Of Dress.

Imam Muslim Narrated A Report By Muslim Bin Subaih In His Sahih In The Book Of Clothes & Decoration: “…. The Image-Maker Will Be In The Hell Fire. The Soul Will Be Breathed In Every Picture He Prepared & He Will Be Punished By It.”

There Are Numerous Narrations In Sahih Al-Bukhari Where Prophet Muhammad (SAW) Cursed The Image Makers.

Mujahid Ibn Jabr Prohibited Taking Pictures Of Fruit Baring Trees.

Al-Qaadi Says: Mujahid Ibn Jabr Is The Only One Who Says This.

It Was Narrated Said Bin Abu Al-Hasan: While I Was With Ibn Abbas (RA) A Man Came To Him & Said: “O Ibn Abbas, I’m A Man Who Earns A Living  From What His Hands Make & I Make These Images.” Ibn Abbas Replied: “I Will Not Tell Anything Except That I Heard From The Messenger Of Allah (SAW). I Heard Him Saying: “Whoever Makes An Image In This World; Will Be Commanded To Breathe The Soul Into It On The Day Of Resurrection, And He Will Not Be Able To Do That”. The Man Was Very Much Afraid & His Face Turned Yellow. Then Ibn Abbas Said: “Woe To You, If You Must Do That Than (Make Images Of) These Trees & Everything That Has No Soul.” Recorded By Imam Al-Bukhari In His Sahih In The Book Of Sales & Trade & Also By Imam Muslim In His Sahih.

This Proves That Taking Pictures Of Things Which Has No Soul In It Is Permissible.

One More Narration That Makes This Issue More Clear.

It Was Narrated By Abu Hurayrah (RA) That Jibreal (AS) Said To The Prophet (SAW) “Tell Someone To Cut Off The Head Of The Statue, So That It Will Be Like A Tree”. Narrated By Tirmidhi & Abu Dawood, Classed Sahih By Albani In Sahih Al-Targeeb.

Pictures For Memories

Shaykh Ibn Uthaymeen Was Asked About Taking Pictures For Memories?

He Replied: “It Is HARAAM To Take Pictures For Memories; Because Prophet Muhammad (SAW) Said: “The Angels Do Not Enter The House Which Has Pictures In It”. Narrated By Bukhari & Muslim. “And Whatever Angels Do Not Enter Has No Good In It”.

See: Fataawa Manaar Al-Islam.

Some scholars allow impermanent pictures which do not last, such as pictures stored in a computer’s memory which appear in the screen and then disappear. If the problem can be solved by storing the picture (in .jpeg, jpg, png, etc format, then sending it via the Internet, so the picture is not permanent), then this is permitted according to some scholars.

Children’s Toys

An Exception Has Been Made In The Case Of Children Toys Based On One Condition Based On This Hadith.

It Was Narrated By Abu Hurayrah (RA) That Jibreal (AS) Said To The Prophet (SAW) “Tell Someone To Cut Off The Head Of The Statue, So That It Will Be Like A Tree”. Narrated By Tirmidhi & Abu Dawood, Classed Sahih By Albani In Sahih Al-Targeeb.

And The Condition Is That It Should Not Have Eyes, Lips, Nose, Ears, Etc. Which Are The Parts Of A FACE.

The Toys In The Past Were Such. They Didn’t Had Facial Features.

Playing With Toys Is Not New To Islam. It Was Also Present At The Time Of Prophet Muhammad (SAW).

It Was Narrated By A’isha (RA): “I Use To Play With The Dolls In The Presence Of Prophet Muhammad (SAW). And I Had Friends (Girl Friends) Who Would Play With Me. When The Messenger Of Allah (SAW) Entered, They Would Hide Themselves & He Would Call Them To Come & Play With Me”. Recorded By Imam Muslim In His Sahih, In The Book Of Merits Of The Companions Of The Prophet (SAW), Under The Chapter Merits Of A’isha (RA). And Also In Sahih Al-Bukhari In The Kitab Al-Adab.

A’isha Reported: “The Messenger Of Allah Married Her When She Was Seven Years Old; & She Was Taken To The House As A Bride When She Was Nine Years Old & Her Dolls Were With Her & When He Died She Was Eighteen Years Old”. Recorded By Imam Muslim In His Sahih, In The Book Of Nikah.

Taking Picture For Someone Else

The One Who Takes Pictures, The One Who Tells Him To Do It, & The One Those Who Help Him Are All Guilty Of This Great Sin.

Allah Says In The Quran, In Surah Al-Maidah 5:2

“…But Do No Help One Another In Sin & Transgressions”.

Is Taking Pictures Regarded As SHIRK?

The Answer To This Question Is “NO”. Taking Pictures Cannot Be Regarded As SHIRK. But It’s One Of The Most Common Medium Of SHIRK. Images, Statues, Etc. Leads To SHIRK Or It Can Be Said That They Play A Very Important Role In The Contribution Of Committing SHIRK. Specially The Pictures Of Famous Scholars, Righteous People, Rulers, Etc. As You Might Be Knowing The Story Of The Ummah Of Nuh (AS) [Noah (PBUH)]. How Satan Misguided His People, The Medium Of Their Misguidance Were The Images & Statues.

It Was Narrated By Ibn Abbas (RA), Concerning The Verse In The Quran, In Surah Nuh 71:23

“And They Have Said: ‘You Shall Not Leave Your Gods, Nor Shall You Leave WADD, Nor SUWAA, Nor YAGHOOTH, Nor YA’OOQ, Nor NASR (These Are The Names Of Their Idols)”.

Ibn Abbas (RA) Said: “These Were The Names Of Righteous Men Among The People Of Nuh; When They Died, The Satan Inspired Their People To Set Up Stone Altars In The Places Where They Used To Sit & Call Them By Their. So They Did That, But They Were Not Worshipped Until Those People Died & Knowledge Was Lost, Then They Were Worshipped (By The Next Generation)”. Recorded By Imam Al-Bukhari In His Sahih, In The Book Tafsir Of Prophet (SAW).

Shaykh Dr. Khaalid al-Mushayqih (may Allah preserve him) was asked: I take pictures of my little children with the camera on my mobile phone for memories, but I read that pictures for memories are haraam according to sharee‘ah. Does this come under this shar‘i prohibition on image making, or is it okay to take pictures with the camera on the mobile phone? What is the evidence for this? I also read that pictures on computers and mobile phones are not regarded as “images”, because they are stored in memory and are not printed on paper, hence they do not prevent the angels from entering. If I open the picture on the mobile phone or computer, will that make the angels leave or not? I hope that you can reply in detail because this matter is very confusing. May Allah reward you with good.

He replied: Pictures that are on mobile phones or in computers, or that are video, do not come under the ruling on photographs because they are not fixed and do not last, unless they are extracted and printed. Based on that, there is nothing wrong with keeping them on the mobile phone so long as they do not include anything haraam. And Allah knows best.

Permissible Pictures Of Living Being

Shaykh Bin Uthaymeen Said: “If One Wants To Make These Kind Of Permissible Pictures For They Are Subject To Five Rulings, Which Depends On The Intention. If The Intention Is Something Forbidden, Then It Is Haraam. If He Intends Something Wajib, Then It Is Wajib. Sometimes Pictures May Be Essential, Especially Moving Pictures (Video). For Example, If We See Someone In The Act Of Committing A Crime Against A Person’s Right, Such As Attempt To Kill & So On, & We Cannot Prove It In Any Way But By Taking Pictures (Still Image Or Video), Then In This Case It Becomes Wajib, Especially In Cases Where Pictures May Decide The Case. The Means Are Subject To The Rulings On The Ends. If We Make These Pictures In Order To Prove The Identity Of A Person For Fear Someone Else May Be Accused Of The Crime, This Is Also Acceptable, Indeed It Is Essential. But If We Take These Pictures Just To  Enjoy Looking At Them, This Is Undoubtedly Haraam & Allah Knows The Best.” [See Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 2/197-199]

Shaykh Saleh Al-Munajjid Says: “Studios May Make Permissible & Forbidden Pictures. If Pictures Are Made Are Of Permissible Things, Such As Cars, Planes, Mountains & Others Inanimate Object, There Is Nothing Wrong With Selling Them & Making Images Of These Things Which People May Need & Which Are Inanimate. But Making Pictures Of Animate Beings Whether Humans, Animals, Birds, Etc Is Not Permissible Unless That Is For A Necessary Purpose, Such As Making Picture That People Need, Such As Identity Photos. The Same Applies To Passports & Certificates Which Can Only Be Issued With A Photo; Or Making Pictures Of Criminals So That They May Be Known & People May Be Warned Against Them & So On.

Allah Says In The Quran; In Surah Al-Anaam 6:119

“He Has Explained To You In Details What Is Forbidden To You, Except Under Compulsion Of Necessity”.

Shaykh Abdul Aziz Ibn Baaz Was Asked: Whats Is The Ruling On Videotaping Celebrations, Conferences & Seminars?

He Replied: If There Is The Hope That People May Benefit From The Videotaping Of The Party, Seminar Or Islamic Meeting In Which There Is The Call To Allah & It Is Believed That This Is Most Likely To Serve Purpose & That This Videotaping Will Be Good & Will Benefit The People, Then There Is Nothing Wrong With That Insha Allah. End Quote [See Fataawa Islamiyyah]

Shaykh Saleh Al-Munajjid Says: “There Is Nothing Wrong In Taking Pictures That Serve A Purpose, Indeed They Are Necessary. There Is Nothing Wrong If The Picture Taken At The Scene Of The Accident Include People Who Are Not Involved. But If The Pictures Are Taken By Someone Using His Own Camera In Order To Keep The Picture For Himself, Then This Is Not Allowed. It Is Haraam Not In & Of Itself, But Because Of The Purpose, Which Is To Keep The Pictures For Himself With No Need To Do So. [Liqa’ Al-Baab Al-Maftooh By Ibn ‘Uthaymeen]

From The Above Saying Of Ulemas I Can Conclude That A Picture Which Serves A Good Purpose Is Permissible. And You People Can See The Example Of It On Internet, Whether It Be A Social Networking Sites Or Blogs Or Websites. The Best Example I Can Give Of My Own Website & Blogs And

Video Shooting & Capturing Images On Occasions

One Of The Most Evil Act That Is Practiced In The Parties Or Celebrations Is Making Images & Videos Of Women. These Women Are Not Even Dressed Up Properly, Some Women Wears Seductive Dress, Some Wears Mini Skirts, Etc. These Women Causes FITNA In The Parties & Also On Internet If Any Of Them Uploads The Picture Or Video. How Shameless Is The Person (Husband, Dad, Brother) Who Allows To Take Video Or Image Of His Wife, Mother & Sister. And This Is The Way Of The Non-Believers, They In Each And Every Party Mixing Of Men & Women, They Serve Alcohol, There Are Prostitutes, You Find Many People Taking Pictures & Making Videos Too. This Reminds Me Of A Hadith Narrated By Imam Al-Bukhari In His Sahih & Imam Muslim In His Sahih:

It Was Narrated From Abu Sa’eed Al-Khudri (RA) That The Prophet (SAW) Said: “You Will Certainly Follow The Ways Of Those Who Came Before You Hand Span By Hand Span, Cubit By Cubit, To The Extent That If They Entered The Hole Of A Lizard, You Will Enter It Too.” We Said: “O Messenger Of Allaah (SAW), (Do You Mean) The Jews & The Christians?” He Said: “Who Else?”

Even A Common Person Who Has The Very Basic Knowledge Of Islam, Will Surely Say That This Is HARAAM. And A Person With A Bit Of Ghairah Will Not Allow Such Kind Of Activities. Whoever Seeks To Earn The Pleasure Of Allah Even Though That Makes People Angry, Allah Will Be Pleased With Him & Will Make The People Pleased With Him.

Some Well Known Sahih Ahadith On Image Making

  1. Angels Do Not Enter The House In Which There Is A Dog Or An Image.
  2. The Messenger Of Allah (SAW) Cursed The Image Maker.
  3. The Image Maker Will Be Punished By His Own Images.
  4. The Image Maker Should Breathe The Soul Into His Image On The Day Of Judgement Which Is Impossible.
  5. Image Making Is The Way Of The Jews & Christians. They Make Images Of Prophets (AS), Jibreal (AS), Etc.

A Very Common Argument To Make Imaging Halaal

Some People Argues By Saying, If Making Images Is HARAAM Then Looking Into A Mirror Should Also Be HARAAM. If Looking Into Mirror Is HALAAL Then Making Images Is Also HALAAL.

The Answer To This Argument Is:

If A Man Stands In Front Of A Mirror, The Image Is Not Permanent. It Disappears When The Man Moves Away From The Mirror. But The Image Captured By Camera Or By Hand Is Permanent & Also Cause Temptation. Any Person With A Common Sense Can Understand.

The Evidence That Came From The Prophet (SAW) Is Not That Of Mirror But He Specifically Said About In Images On Cushions, Walls, Statues, Etc. As Reported By Imam Al-Bukhari & Imam Muslim In Their Sahih.

My Final Conclusion: –
Photography Is Allowed In ISLAM As Long As You Do Not Capture Haraam Objects, People, Etc. As It Is Not A Permanent Image It Is Same As Mirror. Whether You Take Pictures With Pocket Camera, SLR, Mobile, iPod, Etc. It Is Haraam When U Print The Living Thing And Kept It In An Album. [This Is The Opinion Of One Group Of Scholars And I Agree With Them]

The Other Group Regard Photography Completely HARAAM.

So Now It’s On Us Whose Opinion You Want To Follow.

Allah Knows The Best


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