Miscellaneous Fatwas Regarding Photography & Imagery

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Other Relevant Material

Television and Digital Images
(Mufti Emraan Vawda)

Refutation of Mufti Taqi Sahib on Digital Pictures of Animate Objects
(Maulana A S Desai)

Fatwas of the Akaabir of Deoband on Photography and Imagery
(Collated from Various Sources)

Photography – Seniors and “Hadhrats” Flouting the Shariah
(Mufti Saeed Ahmad Palanpuri)

FATWAS

Q. Today most products have pictures of animate objects, e.g. pictures in books, newspapers, magazines, food containers and a host of other articles. What are Muslims supposed to do with these articles coming into their homes?

A. We do not agree with the word “most”. In fact the majority or most of the articles entering our homes are devoid of pictures of animate objects. We can say that many articles have pictures. A Muslim by virtue of his lmaan and love for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) will strive to the utmost of his ability to eliminate all acts, practices and objects which Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallarn) detests and which Islam has categorically prohibited. The task of eliminating these un-Islamic and unlawful pictures on objects entering our homes is not insurmountable.

A Muslim conscious of the purpose of his presence here on this transitory earth will not find it difficult in the least bit to obliterate these Haraam pictures in the same way in which Jibraeel (alaihi salaam) informed Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to obliterate the pictures of animate objects. Once Jibraeel (alaihi salaam) refrained from entering the home of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) because on the screen in the house was a picture of a person. Jibraeel (alaihi salaam) asked Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to cut off the head of the picture so that it resembles a tree. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) complied and defaced the head of the picture.

And, this should be the practice of all Muslims. Educational books, etc. which you intend keeping should be subjected to this practice of ‘defacement’. Whilst reading these books, deface or erase the faces of the pictures in honour of Rasulullah’s detestation of these pictures. We undergo much difficulty and hardship in the acquisition of our worldly and temporary pursuits. How much difficulty and hardship are we prepared to undergo in an effort to establish our everlasting life of the Hereafter? From morning till night we are prepared to strive, toil and sweat for our daily bread for temporary material gains, but we find it most difficult to sacrifice a few minutes in an endeavour to obtain the everlasting Pleasure of Allah Ta`ala.

Besides books which we intend keeping, newspapers, food containers, etc. should be discarded and removed from the home once the purpose has been served. Newspapers with pictures of animate objects should not be left lying around the house, for Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wasallam) said that the Angels of Rahmat do not enter homes wherein these pictures of life are.

Islam has decreed pictures of animate objects to be a major sin. It is therefore imperative that we do everything in our power to obliterate this practice. And, if in the process of striving to eliminate these pictures from our homes we find difficulty, then know that we have in fact been created and sent onto earth to undergo a trial and to prepare ourselves for the Aakhirat. On earth the Muslim must not expect life to run smoothly to the satisfaction of his/her desires. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

‘The world is a prison for the Believer and a paradise for the unbeliever.’

Courage, determination and effort are required to stem the avalanche of un-Islamic practices encircling us. With sincerity and effort all difficulties will recede and practicing on the Sunnah will, Insha`Allah, become quite simple.
Close Answer

 

Q. What is the ruling on clothing with animate objects, especially baby clothing with animals and characters that are made in a cartoonlike fashion in that they do not resemble real animal/ human form. They do however, have a cartoonlike head, eyes, nose, mouth, etc. These days, it is getting difficult to find clothes/toys/gear without such figures. Also, gifts are often received with these figures on them...(question continued)

I was told that because clothing was not hung up, it is ok, as it is no longer displayed in a respectable/ worshippable manner. The evidence given to me was that Ayesha (r) made some cushions with a curtain that had figures on it. Cushions are for back support, or to sit on. Similarly, baby clothes get spit-up, and become dirty.

Also, what about stuffed animals/dolls for children? Did Ayesha (radhiyallahu anha) play with such things when she was a child?

Answer
It is not permissible to wear clothing on which appear pictures of animate objects even if the pictures are cartoon-like. There are two reasons for this prohibition: (1) Pictures of animate object (2) Emulation of the fashions/styles of the kuffaar.

The argument of it being difficult to find clothes without such pictures is baseless. Even if it is assumed to be difficult, it does not justify wearing or dressing children with such haraam garments. If a search is made, other clothes will be found to be free of such haraam pictures.

It is also haraam to buy toys with pictures of animate objects. If other toys are not available, then one should refrain from buying such toys. Alternatively, the pictures should be effaced from the toys. Gifts with pictures of animate objects should no be accepted. It is the duty of every Muslim to practice Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy Anil Munkar (to command righteousness and prohibit evil).

Therefore, it is necessary to kindly and respectfully inform people when they make such gifts that the gifts cannot be accepted because of the haraam pictures. Then let them get annoyed. The Muslim’s first allegiance is to Allah Ta’ala. We are commanded to cultivate His Pleasure, not the pleasure of people when such pleasure conflicts with Allah’s Pleasure and Law.

Regardless of the clothing being hung up or not being hung up. In all cases the pictures of animate objects are haraam. This hurmat (prohibition) is not conditioned with hanging up. Even if hidden in a draw, then too the pictures remain haraam. Whether the pictures are placed in a ‘worshippable’ manner or not, it makes no difference. The prohibition is unrestricted and general.

The explanation of Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anhaa) making cushions, is utterly fallacious. She was ordered to remove the curtain, efface the head of the picture, cut up the curtain and use it for cushions. This was done after destroying the picture/s. This solitary narration is not evidence or a basis for proclaiming the haraam pictures to be halaal. A mass of Ahaadith, practice of the Sahaabah, Taabieen and Tabe Taabieen exists on the prohibition. A solitary hadith of dubious meaning cannot be cited in negation of the fourteen century Law of the Shariah on which there is consensus of the Ummah.

Stuffed animals too are haraam. In fact, they are worse than pictures. The ‘dolls’ with which Hadhrat Aishah (radhiyallahu anha) played during her childhood, were merely pieces of cloth stuffed together without there being any face or human-like form like the manufactured dolls of today.
Close Answer

 

Q. Some people say that pictures were forbidden by the Holy Prophet (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) because of the preponderance of idolatry among the Arabs. Idolatry does not exist among Muslims, the prohibition thus falls away. What is the verdict of the Shariah?

A. What people say, especially unqualified people, is of no substance as far as the Rulings of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasalam) are concerned. There are several reasons for the prohibition of pictures of animate, objects, one of these being idolatry.

Did any of the Sahaabah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commit idolatry after the demise of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Did any of the Muslims of the Taabieen and Tabi-Taabieen periods lapse into idolatry? Is idolatry reminiscent of the early period of Islam following the demise of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)’? Were there vestiges of idolatry in the Sahaabah at the demise of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam)? Did any of the great Fuqahaa like lmaam Abu Hanifah, Imaam Maalik, lmaam Shafi, Imaam Hambal and the numerous others of the age lapse into idolatry?

Each and every Muslim will give the answer in the negative to all these questions. Idolatry — every vestige and trace of it — was eliminated during the very mission of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). No Muslim can ever conceive — even in his dreams — that these illustrious and valiant sons of Islam — the Sahaabah and their following — ever lapsed into idolatry after Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam).

Yet, despite the SUPREME REIGN, THE ABSOLUTE REIGN OF UNADULTERATED MONOTHEISM during and after the period of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), the Sahaabah and the Fuqahaa maintained rigidly that pictures of animated objects are Haraam. Anyone who claims to have Islamic knowledge and who professes to have respect for the Laws of Allah will not fail to discern this irrefutable fact in the Law Books of Islam.

Idolatry was eradicated by Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) from the midst of the Arabs, roots and branches, but Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) maintained the ban on pictures of animate objects. If the prohibition hinged on only the existence of idolatry and if its (true prohibitions) maintenance as a Law of Islam was dependant on the existence of idolatry, then Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam), himself would have lifted the ban once the elimination of idolatry from the Arabs was achieved.

And the history of the Arabs who embraced Islam at the hands of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) shows that they were the most diehard (or fanatical in the opinion of the modernist Muslim of today) enemies of idolatry. But, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) decreed that pictures of animate objects are forbidden for even the staunchest monotheist and for the fiercest fighter against idolatry.

The Shariah simply rejects as false and nonsensical the allegation that the ban on pictures of living organisms was applicable to the time of Islam’s glory to the holiest of holy times, viz., the age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) and the age of the Sahaabah and the immediate age following, and that in the evil and immoral times such as ours, the ban falls away. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said: ‘The best of ages is my age, then the age following them (the Sahaabah), then the age following them (the Tabieen) .’

Furthermore, the assertion that idolatry does not exist now among Muslims, is false. Grave-worshipping, Peer-worshipping, worshipping pictures of one’s peer (spiritual mentor), worshipping pictures of lmaam Hasan, Imaam Husain and Hadhrat Ali, etc. are acts of Kufr and Shirk committed by a large number of Muslims in the world today. And, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) predicted that even the Arabs will once again lapse into idolatry worshipping idols. The Shariah’s verdict of prohibition is sacrosanct and cannot be contested by one who has true knowledge of Islam.
Close Answer

 

Q. Pictures of animate objects are not permissible. What is the ruling regarding photographs for book of life purposes?

A. Even the pictures taken for this purpose are un-lslamic. However, the Shariah makes concessions where the need arises. Since we have no choice in the matter, the Shariah rules that those who have their photos taken for such compulsory (made compulsory by the State) purposes will not be committing sin.

 

Q. Why is it that only the Ulama of India and Pakistan condemn television as Haraam?

A. Your claim is baseless. Have you taken a survey of the opinions of the Ulama of the world or are you merely gorging out what you have swallowed from the platter of the modern ‘mujtahids’?

 

Q. Are educational films permissible in Islam?

A. All types of films portraying animate objects (human beings and animals) are Haraam. The “educational” value of a film cannot cancel any Law of Islam which is based on Divine Revelation. Allah Ta`ala is well aware of the things which are of value and harm to his creatures. Muslims should not attempt to circumvent the Divine Decrees of the Shariah by presenting imaginary advantages based on human reasoning. Whatever advantages believed to exist in so-called “educational” films, could be procured from other sources more beneficial than films and legal in Islam. The harms in a film will always outweigh the benefits, hence these films will be unlawful in Islam.

 

Q. Please explain briefly your reasons or saying that religious films are un-Islamic?

A. The issues of The Majlis in which you have seen articles to this effect contained the reasons for the Islamic prohibition of films which are wrongly described as ‘religious’ films. Nevertheless, we enumerate here, in brief, the reasons for this prohibition:

(a) Pictures of animate objects are Haraam according to the Shariah.

(b) The Deen of Islam is subjected to mockery by depicting it (Islam) on screens of amusement and entertainment.

(c) Music which accompanies films is Haraam.

(d) Intermingling of sexes takes place in cinema houses.

(e) Immoral actors and actresses portray roles of holy and sacred personages.

(f) Squandering of money on Haraam entertainment.

(g) Attribution of lies and falsehood to the sacred persons of Islam on the screens of amusement.

(h) Opening a gateway of propaganda for the enemies of Islam to abuse, misrepresent, distort and mock the Deen of Allah.
Close Answer

 

Q. Is it sufficient to efface only the eyes of a picture to make it permissible?

A. Effacing only the eyes is not sufficient. The entire head should be effaced or covered up or cut off. Jibraeel (alayhis salaam) ordered that the head of the picture on the screen be cut off.

 

Q. Some people make thikr while viewing television. Is this correct?

A. It is like making thikr while relieving oneself in the toilet. In fact, it is worse than making thikr in the toilet because when answering the call of nature one does not commit haraam, but when viewing television, one indulges in a kabeerah sin.

 

Q. In Muslim countries we find even senior Ulama having their photos taken. They appear on television and their pictures are printed in newspapers. Does the Shariah allow such scope for pictures? Some people argue that when even Ulama have their photos taken, then it proves that this practice is not sinful.What are your comments?

A. Allah’s Law is the Shariah, not the haraam actions of some ulama. Even if we have to assume that senior Ulama indulge in photography, it does not detract from the prohibition of the Shariah. The evil of learned men is not proof or grounds for anything other than their own weaknesses and sins. The Qur’aan and the Sunnah are the Shariah, not what they do in Muslim countries if such perpetrations are in conflict with Allah’s Deen. You don’t need to be brilliant to comprehend this simple fact.

 

Q. Digital cameras are now superseding regular cameras. The digital cameras take pictures but transfer the image to the computer screen where it can be viewed or saved onto a hard disk or burnt onto CD-ROM. Are such pictures permissible?

A. Pictures of animate objects are haraam regardless of the method of production. There is a variety of ways of producing pictures. The methods of production are not haraam. The end product will be haraam if the Shariah prohibits it. If the end product of this computer method or any other method still to be invented, is a picture of an animate object, then it will be haraam. Pictures of people and animals are haraam whether the pictures are drawn with a pen, a brush, produced by regular camers, digital cameras or any other method whatsoever.

 

Q. I request that The Majlis research and publish its findings on the computer games in which the youth indulge in today. The evil, satanic and immoral sexual content is extremely explicit.

A. What is there to research in zina—adultery and fornication? Every Muslim who indulges in fornication is fully aware that it is not permissible to even look at a ghair mahram woman. There cannot be a Muslim on earth who happens to be spiritually rotting in these filthy, noxious and stercoraceous computer ‘games’ who does not know that this moral muck and filth are haraam. Any person who recites the Kalimah and indulges in this type of najaasat with the idea that it is permissible, is in fact not a Muslim. If he/she was born a Muslim, he/she leaves the fold of Islam the moment he/she believes that this type of zina is lawful.

Furthermore, the type of research you have suggested entails us sitting in front of the computer ruining our eyes, mind and heart watching the very filth which you are condemning. This issue does not require any research. It requires Amr Bil Ma’roof Nahy anil Munkar. The Ulama, Imaams and parents have to constantly admonish their flocks on this evil. There is a tremendous lack of parental ta’leem and tarbiyat, as well as an almost total abdication of the Waajib obligation of Prohibiting evil by the Ulama in this age.
Close Answer

 

Q. Please explain the difference between TV and Computer pictures.

A. There is no difference whatsoever regarding the prohibition of pictures of animate objects whether the pictures are made by the TV method or the computer method, the digital camera, or any other method existing and still to be invented. All pictures of animate objects regardless of the method and instruments of production are haraam.

 

Q. Are computer games permissible if no animate images are involved?

A. Regardless of there being no images of animate objects, all ‘lahw’ (sport/play/amusement) of the kuffaar type is baatil (haraam) according to Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). All types of games such as carim, ludu, dominos, etc, including computer games, fall within the scope of the prohibition of lahw. Computer games are addictive, especially for children. The one evil leads to another. Children addicted to wasting hours on the shaitaani games will end up viewing the filth of computer pornography.

The Shariah prohibits all stepping stones of evil. The ultimate consequence of these games is zina because indulgence in computer pornography is a logical and a necessary effect of the addiction of computer games even if in the beginning only such games are indulged in in which there are no animate images. Shaitaan is a sly teacher. He only touches one’s finger in the beginning. The next time he will hold the finger for a brief moment. Then progressively he will increase his hold until he ultimately swallows a person into his belly of evil.

Just look at the evil of these so-called ‘Islamic’ radio stations and channels. They initially proclaimed that Islam was their aim. In the beginning the issue was only the female’s voice which the same mob running the station had believed to be Satr and haraam to exposure. But now look from what evil to which evil they have degenerated. Soon you will see them presenting ‘elaborate’ justification for television which is already on the cards of the miscreant ulama-e-soo’.

For their basis they have started to cite the silliest of arguments as ‘daleel’ for the permissibility of haraam television. Their stupid ‘daleel’ is that the Pakistani ulama are appearing on television. In this time when people are rejecting the Taqleed of the Sahaabah, those who are not Ulama but hoodwink the public into believing that they are Ulama, want us to make taqleed of misguided, worldly ulama of Pakistan as if Wahi has descended on them.

Have they no better argument, than to cite ‘Pakistani’ Ulama? There is no principle in the Shariah which advocates taqleed of the haraam actions of Pakistani Ulama or of Arab Ulama or of whatever haraam takes place in Makkah and Madina.
Close Answer

 

Q. What's the ruling on digital pictures of animate objects?

A. The ban o­n pictures of animate objects (people and animals) is unequivocally stated with great emphasis in many highly authentic Ahaadith. The authenticity of these Ahaadith has never been questioned by anyone, not even the deviant learned men who propagate the permissibility of pictures. These deviates make their best endeavors to interpret away the prohibition. But all their interpretations are baseless and no Muslim of intelligence who is not intoxicated by his nafs will find sense in the interpretations to legalize the prohibition of pictures of animate objects.

The desperate old and worn-out argument for legalizing pictures produced by the photography method was the laughable contention that the photo-picture is a reflection of the object and not a picture of the object. Any person having some intelligence can understand that a photograph is NOT a reflection. It is a permanent picture notwithstanding the use made of the principle of reflection in the production of the picture.

Just as drawing with a pen or brush is a method which produces a picture, so too is the camera a method or a way of producing a picture. As long as the object remains in front of the mirror, its reflection will be there. As soon as the object is removed, the reflection too disappears. If a picture is drawn of an object reflected in the mirror, the drawn image will not be a reflection.

Thus, the picture which was drawn by viewing a reflection in the mirror will remain a picture. It will not be said that it is not a picture, but is a reflection because it was drawn by viewing at the reflection in the mirror. But a picture for its sustainment is not indeed of the permanent presence of the object whose picture it is. The argument is absolutely ludicrous. In fact, it is technically and Islamically bizarre.

We have explained the Islamic ban of pictures, including photopictures, in our booklet, Photography, Picture-Making and Islam. The booklet is available from us.

Whenever a new method of making pictures is discovered, the modernistmen of ‘learning’ make their abortive attempts to legalize pictures. The most recent method invented is digital photography. Some Ulama have fallen into the trap of the modernist deviates and have proclaimed digital pictography to be permissible. These Ulama have viewed the issue very superficially. They have deliberately made a superficial and a defective research of the digital method to comply with their nafsaani desires to make haraam pictures halaal. But there is absolutely no validity in their arguments.

There are a variety of ways and methods of producing pictures. The Shariah does not attack the method of picture production. It attacks and bans the product of the method, namely, the picture of animate objects. Regardless of the method employed to produce a picture, if it is a picture of a person or animal, it is haraam. It will remain haraam — a major sin— irrespective of the method of its production. By whatever existing methods or future new methods which maybe still be invented pictures are made, they will always remain haraam if the pictures are of animate objects.

The latest method is the digital o­ne. Some Ulama have subtly attempted to legalize haraam pictures by introducing the baseless argument —that pictures made by the digital method are not pictures. Even non-Muslims mock at the absurdity of this stupid argument. Those who claim that pictures produced by the digital method are not pictures should revert to the experts who have invented this method. Ask their opinion regarding the technical issues and see if they say that digital pictures are not pictures.

Muslims should not allow themselves to be misled by the absurd arguments proffered to legalize what Allah Ta’ala has made haraam. Sin has two dimensions. The o­ne dimension renders the perpetrator a faasiq, and the other dimension makes him a murtadd (renegade). It expels him from the fold of Islam. As long as the sinner understands and believes that the sin he commits is haraam, he remains a Muslim and is described a faasiq. But when he becomes so flagrant and shameless in the perpetration of the haraam act that he declares the permissibility of the prohibition, then he leaves the fold of Islam. He has thus become a murtadd. May Allah Ta’ala save us from such calamities. Digital pictures are just as haraam as pictures drawn with the pen, brush, or any other method, past, present and future.

Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said that among the worst punished persons o­n the Day of Qiyaamah will be the picture-makers, including those who employ digital pictography. The Hadith places picture-makers in the same category as those who had murdered Ambiya and their own parents.’
Close Answer

 

Q. I read o­n a billboard in Durban: 'Islamic TV to be launched soon in South Africa.' Please comment.

A. This is not news. It is old hat. At the time when so-called Islamic radio stations were launched in the name of Islam in South Africa, we predicted that these radio stations are the forerunners for haraam television. The radio station is the stepping stone for this institution of vice and immorality. It was a forgone conclusion that the men of the dunya masquerading as men of the Deen would soon set into motion the process of establishing television ‘islam’. Just as intoxication is a necessary effect of liquor consumption, so too is Shaitaani Television a necessary corollary of Shaitaani Radios.

The evil of passing off haraam acts and institutions as ‘Islamic’ has been extended to other avenues as well. Alcohol is passed off as halaal by the deceptive appellation of ’medical alcohol’, ethanol, etc. Haraam riba is offered to the community deceptively and is called ’Islamic’ takaful, for example, or some other Islamically sounding terminology.

100% haraam meat is proclaimed ‘halaal’ by deceptively branding it to be the zabeehah (slaughtered animals) of the Ahl-e-Kitaab. Haraam animal gelatine is made ‘halaal’ by baselessly claiming that the Shar’I process of Tabdeelul Maahiyah (Total transformation of Nature) has occurred. In this manner the men of the dunya are guilty of subverting the Shariah and ruining the morals and Imaan of the masses in exactly the same way as the Ulama of the Yahood and Nasaara had perpetrated.

Brother, you will still live to see worse things than television being branded ’Islamic’ by the marauders of Imaan. The time is not far when conscious Muslims will lament: The bowels of the earth are better than its surface. For the safety of Imaan, the grave will be better than living o­n earth.

Those who can aver that the vice of television is ‘Islamic’ are capable of proclaiming swine flesh to be halaal/tayyib. May Allah Ta’ala have mercy o­n us and protect our Akhlaaq and Imaan.
Close Answer

 

Q. Is it permissible to keep the stuffed heads of animals such as buck in the home?

A. It is haraam to keep such images. The Angels of Rahmat do not enter such a home. It is a kabeerah (major) sin to keep such images.

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