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my question is weather pictures are haram in islam

i know drawing eyes is haram but if i use a camera and took pictures with that be considered as haram

please can you varifiy weather i am allowed to take pictures or not


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh

During the time of the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم there existed various ways of producing a picture; e.g. carving, painting, tracing, drawing, etc. The Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم prohibited all these different types of pictures. In other words, the Prophet صلى الله عليه و سلم declared that pictures are prohibited and not the means of taking the photo.

The ruling of picture-making does not change by the changing of the tool with which the picture is produced.
The invention of a camera merely marks yet another method of taking a photo. In order to understand this further it is essential that you understand the definition of a photograph.


The Oxford Dictionary defines the term ‘photograph’ thus, “a picture taken by means of the chemical action of light on a sensitive film.”


The American heritage dictionary has defined it as “An image, especially a positive print, recorded by a camera and reproduced on a photosensitive surface.”


The Websters revised unabridged dictionary, “A picture or likeness obtained by photography.”


These citations prove that a photograph is a picture (and not a mere reflection). Therefore, they will fall in the ambit of the explicit prohibition which is found in numerous authentic Ahadith.

And Allah knows best


Ml. Ismail Moosa,

Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah


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Is it permissible to take photos and videos on holidays etc?




In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
At the outset, one must know that Islam forbids making pictures of animate beings (i.e. humans and animals). Severe punishments have been mentioned in the ahaadith for making pictures (of animate beings). Consider the following ahaadith:

Abdullah Ibn Masood (Radiyallaahu Anhu) narrates that the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) said, “The people who will receive the worst punishment in the sight of Allah will be those who make pictures.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Aisha (Radiyallaahu Anha) narrates that once the Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) entered (her house) while there was a curtain with pictures in the house. (Upon seeing it) his face changed and he removed the curtain. He then said, “The people who will receive the worst punishment on the day of judgement will be those who make these pictures.” (Bukhari)

Ibn Abbas (Radiyallaahu Anhu) narrates that he heard Messenger (sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam) saying, “Everyone who makes pictures will be in Hellfire. A creature will be created for every picture that he made. It (the creature) will then punish him in Hellfire.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Based on the above, it is not permissible to make pictures of animate beings.

Regarding taking photos with a camera and taking videos with a camcorder, it is not permissible to do so according to the majority of the scholars, as both of these acts fall under making pictures.

Some scholars, however, deem it permissible to take photos with a digital camera provided that the photo is not printed on paper and also to take videos with a camcorder. According to these scholars, capturing an image on a digital camera and capturing video on a camcorder do not fall under making pictures, as these machines do not make/record images, they merely record digital bytes of data (in the case of digital camera) and electronic video signal (in the case of camcorder). Similarly, images and video displayed on a screen do not fall under the definition of pictures as envisaged in the ahaadith according to these scholars. However, printing the digital image on paper is not permissible even according to these scholars, as doing so falls under making pictures.

From the two views, the first view (i.e. that it is not permissible to take photos and to capture videos regardless of whether a digital camera/camcorder is used or a non-digital camera/camcorder and regardless of whether the image is printed on paper or merely displayed on screen) is the more precautionary view, especially considering the severe punishment mentioned in the ahaadith. It is also the view of the majority of the scholars of the Indo-Pak subcontinent.

The discussion above is in regards to taking pictures and videos of animate beings (humans and animals). As for taking pictures and videos of inanimate objects (such as trees, mountains, buildings, cars, etc.), it is permissible.
And Allah knows best.

Mufti Faizal Riza

Darul Ifta Australia
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Nasihah (Advice): Animate Pictures
Rasoolullah Sallallahu Alaihi Wasallam said: The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or animate pictures. (Bukhari)
Q. In a Muslim house can the walls be decorated with pictures of near and dear ones? Is it a fact that the Firishtaas hesitate to enter the houses that have pictures all around? And is it absolutely prohibited in Islam to hung photos as decorative pieces? Please suggest and explain.
Now a days most of the houses are decorated with photos, arts & pictures.
 (Question published as received)
A. It is not permissible to decorate the walls of a house with animate pictures.
However, it is permissible to decorate the walls of a house with inanimate pictures.
Allah Knows Best
Mufti Ismaeel Bassa
Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Fatwa Department

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) 

Council of Muslim Theologians
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Photography & Modern Challenges




Published by: Madrasah Taleemuddeen


The rapid progress of technology has provided mankind with many useful items and instruments and also created many challenges. Among the various “two-edged swords” that technology has dished out, which are in almost every person’s hands, are the cell-phone and the internet. While the benefits of these items are numerous, the misuse or abuse of the same has already resulted in havoc and devastation in many people’s lives. Therefore, everything that technology dishes out is not to be immediately grabbed with both hands. First its position in Shariah must be properly ascertained, whether it falls within the limits of permissibility or not. If it is permissible, what are its limits? Despite being permissible in principle, would its use affect other Shari’ objectives? All these aspects have to be carefully considered before any view can be expressed. In particular, the question of digital photography demands that the highest levels of caution be exercised in ascertaining its Shari’ position.

Hard copies are available from Madrasah Ta'leemuddeen


Photography and Modern Challenges_book revision 2.pdf




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Posting selfies



Is it halal to take pictures of my self on a phone and post them to social medias such as facebook and instagram?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.


The pictures of facebook and Instagram are digital. The ruling of digital pictures is a highly contested issue amongst highly respected ‘Ulama and academics. Many contend that digital pictures are not the same as regular photographical pictures while others are of the opinion that they are in the same ruling as regular pictures.[1]As such, we advise against the use of digital pictures.


Furthermore, irrespective of the academic debate referred to above, it is a well-known fact that pictures on social networks are a means of connecting and maintaining immoral relationship especially with the opposite gender.


Shari’ah has closed all doors to immorality. There are many verses of the Qur’an and Ahadith in support of that.[2] As such, posting pictures of oneself on social networks like facebook and Instagram is not permissible.


And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Zakariya Memon

Student Darul Iftaa

Chatham, Canada


Checked and Approved by,

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.



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Different Views on Photography/Videos


What do you think about Mufti Ibn Adam Al-Kawthari's fatwa about photography/videos? Mufti Taqi Usmani's view is also mentioned there:


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

1) Drawing/Painting Pictures of Humans and Animals

As it is common knowledge, there are countless Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) that strictly prohibit painting pictures of animate objects, for example:

Sayyiduna Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade the keeping of pictures at home and making them." (Sunan Tirmidhi, no: 1749)

Sayyiduna Abu Talha (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "Angels (of mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture." (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5609)

Due to these and many other similar narrations, most classical scholars are of the opinion that painting and drawing pictures of humans and animals is unlawful and sinful. They state that 'picture-making' (taswir) of human or animal life has been explicitly forbidden by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and as such it will be sinful. Only Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) is reported to have differed with this position of general prohibition.

In one of his narrations, Sayyiduna Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him), contrary to the other three Imams and most other Mujtahids, is reported to have stated that only those pictures are unlawful that are three-dimensional and have a body to them, such as statues and sculptures. A picture that does not have a body or shadow to it will not be unlawful although somewhat disliked, such as drawing a picture on a paper, cloth or on any other object. This is one of two positions narrated from Imam Malik, with his other position being similar to that of the vast majority of classical scholars.

The position of the vast majority of classical scholars is based on the fact that there is no distinction in the various Hadiths between a tangible and intangible picture. The Hadith indicating the permissibility of intangible and non-solid pictures refers to pictures of other than humans and animals. (See: al-Mugni, 7/7 & Takmila Fath al-Mulhim, 4/155)

Based on this, the reliable and mainstream opinion of the classical jurists is that picture-making is unlawful, whether by painting a picture on an object or making a sculpture. This is the position held by the three main Sunni Schools of Islamic law (i.e. Hanafi, Shafi'i & Hanbali) and also one of two positions related from Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him). It would be better if one referred to a Maliki Scholar to determine the relied upon (mufta bihi) position of that School. As such, one should avoid drawing/ painting pictures of humans and animals.

2) Photography

In view of the above-mentioned one position of Imam Malik, there is no question with regard to the permissibility of taking photographs, for according to that position, painting pictures of human or animal life on a paper or fabric is allowed, hence camera pictures would hold the same ruling.

However, in view of the mainstream and majority position of classical scholars, the question arises as to whether photos of humans and animals fall under the type of picture-making prohibited by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in numerous Hadiths. Camera photos were not in existence when classical scholars were discussing the issue of picture-making, hence one will not find an express ruling regarding photography in their works. As such, it was left to contemporary scholars to determine whether photos held the same ruling as that of painting and drawing pictures.

Contemporary scholars have differed on this issue:

a) The position of the overwhelming majority of Indo-Pak and some Arab scholars is that photographs of human or animal life are not permissible for the very same reasons that paintings of these are not permissible. They state that the ruling on picture-making does not change by changing the tool with which the picture is produced. Whether an image is produced by painting it or using a camera, as long as it is an image of a human or animal, it will remain unlawful (haram).This is the position of Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani and most of my other teachers. It is, without doubt, the more precautious and arguably stronger opinion.

b) The second position on the issue, held by most Arab Scholars (from all four Madhabs) and some from the Indian Subcontinent, is that there is a difference between photos and the prohibited picture-making (taswir). Shaykh Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti'i of Egypt, a 2oth Century scholar known for his knowledge and piety, wrote a whole treatise titled al-Jawab al-Shafi fi Ibahat Surat al-Photography in support of this view of permissibility. His basic understanding is that the reason behind the prohibition of painting pictures (in the words of the Hadith) is challenging Allah in His Creating of living creatures. In camera photos, however, one does not produce an image through one's own imagination; hence one is not challenging the Creating of Allah as such. It is merely a reflection of a living being already created by Allah Most High.

These are the two positions of contemporary scholars on the issue. There are great scholars of knowledge, wisdom and piety on both sides of the fence; hence, it would be wrong to criticize anyone for following any one of these positions. It is a matter of genuine and valid difference of opinion. It is not an issue where one may condemn another, and one must respect others' right to follow their conscience.

As you have asked about my personal stance, firstly I am by no means in a position of having a 'personal' opinion as such. I follow my teachers and learn from them. I have teachers in the UK and the Subcontinent who prohibit photos, but I also have teachers in the Arab world permitting them. The position which I follow is that of my teachers who prohibit taking photos, for that is a more precautious and safe position. However, I have complete respect for the position (and practice) of those who permit taking photos.

As such, my practice is that I do not willingly pose for a photo unless there is a genuine need like for a passport or something similar. If I am asked, I politely refuse. At the same time, if someone is taking photos and I am also in attendance going about my own business, I do not go out of my way to prevent him taking my photo. Thus, if you did come across a photo of mine, it is probably because I may have been present in a place where photos were being taken. The recent photo of mine you have referred to was taken in the same context. I had knowledge that photos were being taken and that I may appear in one, but I did not willingly pose for a photo. I hope that makes sense!

3) Live Broadcasting

Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) and many other scholars have declared that live broadcastings of images do not fall within the ambit of picture-making (taswir). A picture is something that is permanent and static, whilst the image broadcasted live is not permanent hence cannot be termed a picture. A live broadcast is in reality a reflection of the actual image, similar to seeing an image in a mirror.

Therefore, if an image of a human or animal is broadcasted live, then this does not fall into the unlawful picture-making. It will be permitted to broadcast something live or view a live programme, provided the content of the programme is lawful (halal). (Taqrir Tirmidhi, 2/351)

4) Video Recording

According to Shaykh Taqi Usmani, that which is recorded in a videotape or DVD is also not considered a picture. In a videotape, the particles of an image are gathered and then re-opened in the same order to view the image. This is the reason why it is not possible to see the picture in the rail of the tape without playing it. (ibid)

Therefore, if a permitted and Halal event, such as a lecture of a scholar, is played and viewed on a videotape or DVD, it will be permitted, Insha Allah.

Note that the above discussion does not in any way relate to watching Television. Watching TV and keeping it at home is another matter altogether, for which a separate answer is needed. The many harms and evils of keeping a TV at home are known to all. This answer only relates to the permissibility of viewing a Halal image through a live broadcast or a videotape/DVD.

Shaykh Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) sums this up in one of his Fatawa:

"The images appearing on live programs or recorded programs on television are not the pictures in the strict sense envisaged in the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet (Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam) unless they are printed in a durable form on paper or on any other object. But the basic reason why Muslims are advised not to keep TV sets in their homes is that most of the programs broadcast on the TV channels contain impermissible elements." (Taken from the al-Balagh website, http://www.albalagh.net/qa/video_chips.shtml)

And Allah knows best

Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK




In the name of Allāh, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Assalāmu ῾alaykum wa Rahmatullāhi Wabarakātuh


We have studied the document in reference and, to an extent, agree with its contents. Prior to probing into the academic issues, it is of paramount importance to understand that the view of Mufti Taqi Uthmani Sahib (Madda Zilluhu) expressed in this document, are those driven by Taqwa and academic honesty. Though we may concur on some issues and differ on others, these are only our academic differences. We hold Hazrat Mufti Sahib in the highest esteem and in fact continue to implore Allah Ta’ala to keep his presence over us for a long time, Aameen.


Assessment On The Document:

With reference to point no. 3 & 4, discussing Live Broadcasting and Video Recording, we hold reservations on this. Mufti Taqi Uthmani Sahib (Madda Zilluhu) draws the analogy between a live broadcast and images contained on a videotape, etc. to be that similar of a mirror reflection. Mufti Sahib (Madda Zilluhu) states that since the pictures are a mere reflection and not captured and permanent, the broadcasting would be permissible, provided that the content is lawful.


Our View:

Yes, in a mirror reflection, the image is not permanent and is not captured, however, in the instance of a video tape and live broadcast, there exists “particles of an image” creating the potential of the broadcast being captured and printed; the broadcast could be printed to form a picture or photo resulting in it becoming Haram. Hence, due to this potential, especially in this age of technology, broadcasting and video conferencing will ultimately be considered as Taswir, and Haram. Hazrat Mufti Taqi Uthmani Sahib (Madda Zilluhu) is also of the opinion that a printed image is Taswīr.


Furthermore, this potential does not exist in the case of a mirror reflection. A mirror reflection does not contain particles, etc. creating the potential of it being captured and printed, hence, the analogy of the mirror reflection and live broadcasting and video recording would be an oversight and incorrect.


And Allāh Ta῾āla Knows Best

Wassalāmu ῾alaykum 


Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Dārul Iftā, Madrasah In῾āmiyyah

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The `Ulama's verdict on photography


Compiled by Jami’at al-‘Ulama Gauteng

Edited by Ibn Rashid Ahmad al-Qasmi


We have compiled the verdict of the leading and senior ‘ulama of contemporary times on the issue of photography in the Shari’ah.






1. Mufti Mahmud al-Hasan Gangohi


Question: Is there any difference between drawing pictures and photography? What does the Shari’ah say about keeping photos?


Answer: There is no difference whatever regarding the hukm (injunction) of both. Photography has absolutely the same ruling as drawing pictures. It is not permissible in the Shari’ah to keep pictures of animate objects. It is reported from Abu Talhah (Allah be pleased with him) that Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) said: “The angles do not enter a home in which there is a dog or pictures.” (Bukhari)


It is permissible to keep and take photos of inanimate objects, such as trees, etc.


The ‘ulama have stated that drawing pictures of animate objects is haram (prohibited) – vehemently haram – and it is among the major sins in view of its denunciation with this severe warning [from Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace)]: “The most severely punished people by Allah will be the picture-makers.” (Fath al-Bari)

(Fatawa Mahmudiyya, 5:90-1)



2. Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali al-Thanawi

Making and keeping of pictures – generally referred to as photos nowadays – both are haram. It is wajib (obligatory) to get rid off and efface them in view of the grave sin involved in this practice.

(Imdad al-Fatawa, 4:243)


Question: What do the ‘ulama of the din say in regard to the following ruling?


Zayd is an ‘alim. He avers that it is haram to make or keep at home a hand-drawn picture, i.e. with a pen. ‘But,’ he says, ‘It is not haram to take a photo and keep it at home.’ The proof he adduces is that a photo is the reflection of a mirror. People generally do look at mirrors.


Answer: Zayd ’s averment is absolutely erroneous. He has drawn a false analogy. In a mirror the reflection does not remain. After the object in front of it moves, the reflection goes away. This is unlike a photo, as is palpably clear. Further, it is a mechanical production and hence it is [i.e. its ruling is] precisely the same as a hand-drawn picture.

(Imdad al-Fatawa, 4:253-4)



3. ‘Allamah Zafar Ahmad ‘Uthmani

The following fatwa appears in the 4th volume of Imdad al-Ahkam:


The hurmat (prohibition) of pictures is established by mutawatir ahadith  and there is ijma’ (consensus) of the Ummah on this.

…By changing the name of something haram, it does not become halal (permitted). It appears in the hadith: “People of my Ummah will change the name of liquor and drink it. They will have parties in which they will play musical instruments and sing. Allah will cause the ground to swallow them up. Some of them will be transformed into apes and swine.”


Thus, just as calling interest ‘benefit’, bribery ‘service-charge’, liquor ‘brandy’, ‘spirits’, etc., gambling ‘insurance’ and ‘lottery’ and singing ‘gramophone’ does not make these things halal, similarly calling picture-making ‘photography’ and ‘reflection’ does not make it [picture-making] halal.


… If the methodology and means of production of a haram act changes, it will still remain haram when its reality and the reason for prohibition are still found. For instance, a new method of murder is devised such as electrocuting to death; or a new method of extracting liquor is found, such as the mechanical process of distilling liquor nowadays which was non-existent in former times; or a new form of gambling is contrived, such as the variety of insurance policies and lotteries devised which were previously unheard of; or new ways of fornication are practised, as in vogue in Europe in these times; then this will not render the haram act to be halal.


Thus, since forming pictures [of animate objects] is haram, then whatever new method of it is invented, it will be haaam. The hurmat will not disappear by altering the name or altering the method of production. And the reason for this is that the cause of the hurmat of pictures, viz. it being a stepping stone to shirk (polytheism), is found here [with the new method of production] as well.


Furthermore, in it [photography] is tashabbuh (imitation) of the kuffar (disbelievers). This is not the way of Muslims.


… It is claimed that photography is in fact a process of reflection; like a reflection is cast on a mirror or water. The response to this [preposterous claim] is that the major difference between the two is that the reflection on a mirror, etc. is not durable, whereas the reflection obtained on a photo is preserved with the aid of technical materials. Thus, it is a reflection as long as it is not preserved with technical materials. But once it is preserved and made durable, in whichever way, then it becomes a picture.


… Then everyone knows that the purpose in taking photos and having one’s photo taken is the same as the purpose of drawing pictures. The voluntary act of the photographer and the one photographed is the determinant here just as in drawing pictures. Therefore, both are equal in prohibition.


Differentiating between the two is just as bad as differentiating between liquor manually extracted and distilled liquor mechanically extracted.


Thus, both the photographer and the one who allows himself to be photographed are guilty of haram, guilty of a major sin and in the light of some ahadith they are mal’un (accursed) and fasiq (transgressors). It is makruh tahrimi (prohibitively disliked) to follow them in salah.

To keep such photos at home or in one’s possession is a clear-cut sin and it is haram.


Endorsing this fatwa, Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali al-Thanawi (Allah have mercy on him) declares; “This is nothing but the haqq (truth). And in departing from the haqq there is nothing but dhalal (deviation).”

(Imdad al-Ahkam, 4:382-4)



4. Mawlana ‘Abd al-Karim Gumthalwi

To make pictures is not permissible, irrespective of the picture being on clothes, or utensils, or on the wall – on anything – and irrespective of the picture being small or large. (Radd al-Muhtar, 1:677)


…To make pictures is not permissible at all; neither for honouring, nor for dishonouring; neither small, nor large and no matter on what surface it may be. All forms are impermissible.


Furthermore, there is no difference between a photo and a hand-drawn picture in view of the purpose in acquiring a picture being fulfilled in both ways.


The notion some people entertain of an idol/bust being impermissible whilst a picture on paper, etc. being permissible is erroneous.


Question: What is the Shar’i ruling in regard to one who legalizes pictures?

Answer: He is a fasiq.

(Imdad al-Ahkam, 4:372-3)



5. Mufti Muhmmad Shafi’

Making pictures is absolutely haram in the Shari’ah of Islam, irrespective of it being with the pen, or in the form of photos, or through the printing press. This is the case of an animate object’s picture. A hadith reported by ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) states: “The worst punished people on the Day of Qiyamah will be those who seek to create like Allah.” (Bukhari, Muslim)


Some reports have the words ‘the picture-makers’, as is documented by Bukhari and Muslim from ‘Abd Allah bin Mas’ud (Allah be pleased with him) and Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him).


Another hadith states: “I heard Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) saying: ‘Allah declares: Who is more unjust than the one who ventures to create like Me?” (Bukhari, Muslim)


One hadith states: “It will be said to them: ‘Bring life to what you have created!’”


In other words, in castigation it will be said to the picture-makers: put life into your pictures.’


From these narrations and other similar ahadith it is conclusively proven that the institution of picture-making is absolutely haram. There is no exception reported of any kind [in regard to the manner of producing the picture of the animate object].”

(Fatawa Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, Imdad al-Muftin, 2:991-2)


We learn from the declarations of hadith narrations and from the texts of the general books of the Hanafiyyah that an incomplete picture – where there is no head – does not retain the hukm of a [haraam] picture. Rather, it, [the incomplete picture] falls into the category of designs and engravings. On this basis, permission for its usage [the headless picture] is generally mentioned in clear terms in all the books of the [Hanafi] madhab. This, apparently, evinces that taking such pictures has the same ruling as picture-making of designs and plants in general. In other words, just as that is permissible, similarly this [taking pictures of animate objects with their heads cut off] should also be permissible.


… Some of the words of the hadith of Jibra’il (Alaihis Salaam) as reported by Abu Hurairah (Allah be pleased with him) and documented by Abu Dawud, Nasai and Tirmidhi are: “Instruct that the heads be cut off from the pictures at home. In this manner they will resemble trees [i.e. inanimate objects].”

In the exceptionally authoritative and popular Hanafi fiqh work, Al-Badai’ al-Sanai’ the following appears: “…by virtue of cutting [the head] it does not remain a portrait. It falls into the category of designs. Proof for this [permissibility] is the narration of the head of a bird being effaced from the shield of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace).”


Also discussing this issue Bahr al-Raqa’iq states: “… or with the head cut, i.e. irrespective of this being its original form or it had a head and was subsequently effaced.”

(Jawahir al-Fiqh, 3:227-8)



6. Mufti ‘Aziz al-Rahman

“Taking pictures of oneself and taking pictures of others by means of modern photography is just as haram and impermissible as having and making hand-drawn pictures are prohibited and haram. And keeping it in one’s possession is just as haram as keeping hand-drawn pictures.


The one who has his picture taken through photography and the photographer are liable and deserving of the punishment and warning mentioned in the ahadith in relation to picture-drawers.”


After quoting a few ahadith and the relevant text from an authoritative book of fiqh on the prohibition of drawing pictures and all types of pictures of animate objects being haram, Mufti ‘Aziz al-Rahman concludes:


“Thus, in view of the institution of picture-making being unconditionally haram, the perpetrator of such a crime is a fasiq, it is haram to appoint him as imam [for salah] and salah behind him is makruh tahrimi.”

(Fatawa Dar al-‘Ulum Deoband, ‘Aziz al-Fatawa, 2:742-3)



7. Mufti Rashid Ahmad Ludhianwi

To take a picture of oneself is haram in the unanimous verdict of the Ummah. In contrast to the masses, it is more despicable and evil for an ‘alim or Mufti to take a picture of himself, for several reasons. First, Divine accountability on the ‘ulama, the intelligent and seniors is more harsh. Second, transgression by the ‘ulama emboldens the masses to transgress. Third, hypocrisy by the ‘ulama will lead to the masses believing that this sin is permissible.


Note: It has been learnt through reliable sources that legally it is not lawful to take someone else’s photo without permission. Therefore, if someone’s photo was taken whilst being unaware then it is an incumbent duty upon him to threaten the criminal with legal action and in this way he [the criminal] should be forced to destroy the photo. If he does not destroy it, it will be fardh (obligatory) in the Shari’ah to take legal action. This duty has stronger emphasis on the ‘ulama. To be lax in this regard is haram. May Allah protect everyone.”

(Ahsan al-Fatawa, 8:191)



8. Mawlana Muhammad Yusuf Ludhianwi

Question: Just today you wrote in response to a question that pictures are haram and you cited Mufti Muhammad Shaf’. What I would like to ask is that if pictures are haram then together with our country, several Islamic countries have pictures on their currency notes. We keep these pictorial notes in our pockets when reading salah. Is our salah accepted?


Leading ‘ulama of our country are affiliated to political parties. Regularly interviews with them are featured in newspapers and magazines. Included are photos of them. But no ‘alim has stopped the papers or magazines from publishing his photo.


During the days of Hajj, the Hajj rituals are broadcast on television. Is this also incorrect? Is the viewer sinful? This is but a reflection. Like this there are innumerable things which you as well are aware of.


Answer: A fundamental error has been committed in the question. There are two things. One is the Law of Allah and the second is practice on His Law. I explain the Law of the Shari’ah. I do not discuss the level of compliance to that Law and the level of incompliance. Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) declared pictures to be haram and he cursed the makers of pictures. Now, even if we assume for a moment that the whole world is acting in conflict with this declaration, the Shar’i declaration will not turn out to be a mistake. On the contrary, the violators of the declaration are sinners.


Those who print pictures on notes; those who print photos in newspapers; those who produce Hajj films; are their statements and actions proof against the declaration handed down by Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace)? If not [as is obvious], then it is meaningless to cite them.


Understand well that be it the president of Pakistan, the king of Saudi Arabia, any eminent politician, ‘ulama or mashayikh, all are all mere Ummatis. Their views and actions are not rubber stamps in the Shari’ah. They cannot be cited to scuttle the declaration of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace). If they remain Ummatis and comply to the declaration of Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace), they will receive thawab (reward) by Allah. And if they do not, they will be brought in the court of Allah as criminals. Then it is left to Allah. He may forgive them or he may sentence them. Be that as it may, violation of the law by a criminal does not itself, in any way, weaken the law. We are guilty of a grave error in giving the name of this person and that person when faced with the Law of Allah.


Salah does not become fasid (invalid) if there happens to be notes with pictures in one’s pocket. Without a pressing necessity it is not permissible to take one’s picture. Production and viewing of Hajj films are also not permissible.

(Ap ke masa’il or unka hal, 10:309-10)



9. Mufti Sayyid ‘Abd al-Rahim Lajpuri

In the absence of necessity and legal compulsion – a valid Shar’i reason – it is not permissible to take photos and nor to have one’s photo taken. It is sinful. If one has taken a photo it should be destroyed, tawbah (repentance) and istighfar should be made. Seek forgiveness from Allah.


There is no Shar’i concession to take photos for the purpose of remembrance or to send home or to show the prospective bride and bridegroom. If someone needs to see [the bride] he should go and see. Besides the sin of pictures in this [sending photos for marriage purposes] there are other evils attached to it.

(Fatawa Rahimiyya, 6:271)]



10. Mufti Kifayat Allah al-Dihlawi

After a visit to Egypt by the Jami’at al-‘Ulama al-Hind (India) in connection with the plight of the oppressed Palestinians, when preparing to leave, a number of Egyptian ‘ulama and dignitaries came to see the delegation of Jami’at al-‘Ulama al-Hind off. The dignitaries requested for a photo to be taken but Mufti Kifayat Allah emphatically refused and declared it haram. In view of certain Egyptian scholars having issued a fatwa of permissibility of photography, a discussion ensued. A brief recording of the discussion appears in Biography of Mufti Kifayatullah (‘Abd al-Rashid Ahmad Arshad) as follows:


‘Ulama of Egypt: The impermissibility only applies to those pictures which are made by the work of the human hand. In photography, no such thing is needed. It is simply a reflection of the picture.


Mufti Kifayat Allah: So how does this “reflection” become transferred from the lens to the paper?


‘Ulama of Egypt: It requires much [technical] work.


Mufti Kifayat Allah: What is the difference between “human handiwork” and “much work”?


‘Ulama of Egypt: Yes, they are the same thing.


Mufti Kifayat Allah: Hence, their ruling is the same [photography is just as haram as drawing pictures with the hand].


The response of Mufti Kifayat Allah left the Egyptian ‘ulama present speechless and very impressed.

(Biography of Mufti Kifayatullah, p. 25-6)



11. Shaykh al-Islam Mawlana Husain Ahmad Madani

“I never ever had my photo taken knowingly and voluntarily. That takes place when I am unaware, and I do not consider it permissible. Those who do that [take other peoples’ pictures] are responsible for their actions.”

(Ma’arif wa Haqa’iq, 380)


On certain websites photos of the Madani family and the Jami’at al-‘Ulama al-Hind are screened in an attempt to mislead the unwary public into believing that our ‘ulama view photography to be permissible. The vehement stance of our akabir (senior) ‘ulama as is evident from Mawlana Madani’s and Mufti Kifayat Allah’s statements reproduced above suffices to convince even a layman that the founders and stalwarts of Jami’at al-‘Ulama al-Hind were absolutely against the evil abomination of photography. And why should they not be when Allah’s Messenger (Allah bless him and grant him peace) warned of dire consequences for those who make and take pictures?



12. Mufti Shu’ayb ‘Alam

Our investigation concludes that images formed through digital technology [digital pictures] should be called pictures. The reasons are mentioned hereunder:

  1. The objective of the Shari’ah is to ban the preservation of pictures of animate objects. This is the basis and rationale [of the prohibition]. The long history of mankind tells us that this [making pictures] spawns fitnah. In the digital system the abomination of preserving a picture is found.
  2. The essence of picture-making is to copy and display the original. In the history of mankind various ways have been used to achieve this purpose. Of those methods the digital system is the most advanced and superior method. The methodology has progressed. The tools have taken different forms. The pattern has changed. But the basic reality and central aim is the same, viz. ‘production of a portrait of the original’.
  3. The difference between the olden method and the modern method is confined to the medium of preservation. The essence and reality of picture-making are common to both. When our seniors declared images made via olden methods to be pictures, then images produced through modern methods will also be declared to be pictures. The reason for this is that the reality is jointly found in both. Thus both will share the same ruling [of prohibition].

(Bayyinat, Ramadan/Shawwal 1429 H)


The venerable Mufti Shu’ayb of Jami’ah al-‘Ulum al-Islamiyya (Binnori Town, Karachi) gives a further seven reasons for the prohibition of digital pictures. The fatwa of Mufti Shu’ayb ‘Alam is endorsed by leading ‘ulama and muftis of Pakistan. A detailed treatise on the subject has also been prepared.



13. Mawlana ‘Abd al-Kalam Azad

Mawlana ‘Abd al-Kalam Azad who published his newspaper al-Hilal for years with pictures was guided to the haqq and confessing his error stated unambiguously:

“It is not permissible to have photos taken nor keeping photos and publishing photos. It was a grave error on my part to have my photos taken and to publish al-Hilal with photos. I have repented from that error. My former errors should be concealed [his photos should not be publicised]. They should not be re-published.”


The above candid confession of Mawlana ‘Abd al-Kalam Azad is recorded in Mufti Muhammad Shafi’s treatise al-Taswir li Ahkamit al-Taswir. This detailed treatise and his other treatise on the subject titled Kashf  al-Sijaf al-Wajhi Photograph have to be incumbently studied by all especially our ‘ulama so as to educate themselves on the nature and gravity of photography, thus saving themselves and the Ummah from the wrath of Allah.


The teachers and akabir of our ‘ulama have categorically declared the institution of photography to be haram. The argument is thus sealed. And our duty is simply to deliver the clear message.


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