التصفية والتربية وفق منهج السلف الصالح

Taking pictures for memories and hanging them on the wall

Taking pictures for memories and hanging them on the wall

From Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah of Saudi Arabia (Committee of Major Scholars) 1/456-457

The basic principle concerning making pictures of any animate being, whether it is a human or any animal, is that it is haraam, whether the pictures are three-dimensional or are drawn on paper, cloth or walls, etc., or are photographs (taken with a camera, mobile), because of the reports in the saheeh ahaadeeth which state that that is not allowed, and threaten the one who does that with a painful torment, and because they may lead to shirk in the form of standing respectfully before them, humbling oneself before them, drawing close to them and venerating them in a manner that is only befitting for Allaah. They are also forbidden because this is a kind of trying to match the creation of Allaah, and because of the temptation inherent in some of them, such as pictures of actresses and naked women, and so-called beauty queens.

Among the ahaadeeth which state that this is haraam and that it is a major sin is the hadeeth of Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him), who said, “I heard the Messenger of Allaah sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam say: ‘Whoever makes an image in this world will be told to breathe the soul into it on the Day of Resurrection, and he will never be able to do that.’” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim). He [Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him)] also narrated that the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said: “Every image-maker will be in the Fire, and every image that he made will be made to appear to him and will torment him in Hell.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “If you must do that, then make trees and things that have no soul.” (Narrated by al-Bukhaari and Muslim).

The general meaning of the ahaadeeth is that it is absolutely forbidden to make images of anything that has a soul.

Imaam Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said, when he was asked about pictures: Making pictures for this purpose (memories) is haraam and is not permitted. That is because making pictures for memories is haraam, because the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam said, “The angels do not enter any house in which there is an image,” (narrated by al-Bukhaari, Bid’ al-Khalq, 2986), and whatever the angels do not enter had no goodness in it.  [Ibn Uthaymeen – Fataawa Manaar al-Islam, 3/759]

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: With regard to pictures made in the modern fashion, they fall into two categories:

The first category is those which have no tangible substance (and can only be seen by running them through a machine), as I was told is the case with pictures on video tapes. There is no ruling at all concerning these, and they do not come under the prohibition at all. Hence the scholars who forbid making pictures with cameras on paper (photographs) permitted this (video pictures), and said that there is nothing wrong with this. Then it was asked, is it permissible to film lectures which are given in the mosques? The (scholarly) view was that it is better not to do that, because it may disturb the worshippers and because they may film things that may not be appropriate, and so on.

The second category is fixed or still pictures on paper (photographs) …

But the matter needs further discussion if one wants to make these kind of permissible pictures. For they are subject to five rulings which depend on the intention. If the intention is something forbidden, then it is haraam. If he intends something waajib (obligatory), then it is waajib. Sometimes pictures may be essential, especially moving pictures. For example, if we see someone in the act of committing a crime against a person’s rights, such as an attempt to kill and so on, and we cannot prove it in any way but by taking pictures, then in this case taking pictures becomes waajib, 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 that 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… And Allaah knows best.” (See Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 2/197-199)

Imaam ‘Abdul-‘Azeez bin Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on videotaping celebrations, conferences and 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 Allaah, and it is believed that this is most likely to serve a good purpose and that this videotaping will be good and will benefit the people, then there is nothing wrong with that in sha Allaah. End quote from Fataawa Islamiyyah (4/367).

 

[Question.]A man has a studio in which there were cameras. He has learned that making pictures is haraam, so what should he do with them so that he will be safe from financial loss? If he sells them to a Muslim, will that not be helping to spread sin? What is the ruling on what he earned from that? Is it permissible for him to spend it on himself and his family?.

Imaam Ibn Baz answered by saying; This matter is subject to further discussion.

Studios may make permissible or forbidden pictures. If the pictures that are made are of permissible things, such as cars, planes, mountains and other inanimate objects, there is nothing wrong with selling them and making images of these things which people may need and which are inanimate. But making pictures of animate beings, whether humans, animals or birds, is not permissible unless that is for a necessary purpose, such as making pictures that people need, such as identity photos. The same applies to passports and certificates which can only be issued with a photo; or making pictures of criminals so that they may be known and people may be warned against them; and so on. Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity”   [al-An’aam 6:119] 

What is meant is that he should only use it for permissible things. If he sells it to people, there is nothing wrong with that, because it may be used for good purposes or bad. This is like a person selling a sword or knife etc., which may be used for good or for evil. The sin is on the one who uses it for evil purposes. But if the vendor knows that the one who buys the knife or sword will use it for evil purposes, then it is haraam to sell it to him. [Majmoo’ Fataawa wa Maqaalaat li’l-Shaykh Ibn Baaz, 6/379]

It is permissible to make pictures for essential purposes (Such as; Passport, Drivers licence, exposing and identifying criminals, spreading Islamic knowledge for Dawah etc). Are there some situations in which it is permissible to make pictures?

 

Praise be to Allaah. Making images and pictures of animate beings is completely forbidden at all times, except when there is an essential reason for doing so, such as a photo for a passport, or for identification documents, or to show pictures of suspects so that they will be recognized, or testing purposes, or when applying for a job, and other ways in which trickery may be prevented or security protected. In this case a concession is granted, only as much as is essential. [From Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah, 1/478.]

 

[Q] I have my own picture hanging, of my ankle and parents, what should I do with them. May Allah reward you.

Praise be to Allaah.  You have to hasten to remove these pictures at once, because it was reported that the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa sallam strongly forbade hanging pictures, and he commanded his great Companion ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib, “Do not leave any picture without blotting it out and do not leave any built-up grave without levelling it.” (Narrated by Muslim, 1/66).

Hanging up pictures of animate beings (humans, animals, birds) deprives the people of that house of a great blessing, which is the entrance of angels into that house. It was reported from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah be pleased with him) that the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa salaam said: “The angels do not enter a house in which there are statues or pictures.” (Narrated by Imaam Ahmad; see also Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1961).

You can replace them, if you wish, with pictures of inanimate objects, such as trees, mountains, oceans and other natural scenes, or  other drawings of inanimate objects, without being extravagant or wasteful.

As for the pictures which are hanging, you have to remove them and blot them out or burn them; do not keep them. It is worth noting that hanging up pictures of the dead is one of the things that renews grief and serves no useful purpose; it may even lead to some kind of veneration which goes against Tawheed. Let us not forget that the shirk committed by the people of Nooh (peace be upon him) started because they set up pictures and images of some righteous people who had lived among them. So be very careful. May Allaah help us and you to do all that pleases Him and earns His forgiveness. And Allaah knows best. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

 

What is the ruling on hanging up pictures of children inside the house?.

Praise be to Allaah. It is not permissible to hang up pictures at all, whether of children or adults (or animals and birds, anything that has a soul). That is because of the stern prohibition narrated from the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa salllam against keeping pictures and his command to ‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him): “Do not leave any image without erasing it or any raised grave without leveling it.” Narrated by Muslim, 1/66 

Hence pictures must be removed, erased or burned and not kept.

Hanging up pictures of animate beings inside houses or elsewhere deprives the people of that place of a great deal of good, which is the angels’ entering that house. It was narrated from Abu Sa’eed al-Khudri (may Allaah have mercy on him) that the Prophet sallallaahu alaihi wa salllam said: “The angels do not enter a house in which there are statues or images.” Narrated by Imam Ahmad; Saheeh al-Jaami’, 1961.

It is permissible to hang up pictures of inanimate things such as trees, mountains, seas and natural views, or other inanimate drawings, without being extravagant.

What is the ruling on keeping pictures on mobile phones?.

Praise be to Allaah. It is not permissible to keep pictures of animate beings for memories.

There is no sin on you if your sisters and aunts keep these pictures, but you have to explain the shar’i ruling to them and advise them to get rid of them. You should ask them for the pictures that they have of you, but if they refuse there is no sin on you.

Secondly: With regard to pictures on mobile phones, computers and videos, these do not come under the same ruling as photographs, because they are not tangible, unless they are printed. Based on that, there is nothing wrong with keeping them on the mobile phone, so long as they do not include anything haraam, such as if they are pictures of women.

I have a shop for women’s clothing. On the packages of the under cloth there are semi naked pictures of women. If I remove these covers, the buyers may think that it is old goods. What should I do? If I make the faces black this will not benefit, as the rest of the body is uncovered! My shop is for Islamic wear. There is a section for under wears which is good for is a religious sister comes she will find all she needs. I mean women who wear niqab in particular, so that they do not have to go to a mixed place to buy such things. There is a good religious sister working for me, she is in charge of this section, I do not sell anything there as I am, Alhamdulillah, religious man.

 

Praise be to Allaah. The pictures that are found on the packaging, cartons and boxes for these clothes are things that are not sought in and of themselves, rather they are connected to the permissible goods, so there is nothing wrong with leaving them alone, but if it is possible to remove them or erase them without any damage, that is preferable.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on pictures that are found on packaging and in magazines and newspapers?  

He replied: With regard to pictures that are found on packaging and in magazines and newspapers, whatever it is possible to avoid should be left alone; whatever cannot be avoided, if the picture is not what is sought, then it seems that the prohibition is lifted, based on the shar’i principle, “and [Allaah] has not laid upon you in religion any hardship” [al-Hajj 22:78]. And hardship dictates leniency. But keeping away from it is better. End quote from Majmoo’ Fataawa al-Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (2/260).

And he (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: The fourth category: Keeping pictures that one has no desire for, but they come along with something else, like those which are found in magazines and newspapers that the person does not buy for the sake of the pictures, rather he wants what is in those magazines and newspapers, such as news, scientific research and so on. It seems that there is nothing wrong with this, because the images in them are not what is sought. But if it is possible to erase them without any hardship or difficulty, that is better. End quote from Sharh Kitaab al-Tawheed, Baab Ma Ja’a fi’l-Musawwireen.

What we advise you to do is several things:

  1. Some of these images a printed on a piece of paper that is separate from the box; if it is possible to remove this, even if it means re-wrapping the clothes, then that is better.
  2. If the pictures are small, and they can all be erased without harming the product, then do that.
  3. If it is not possible to do all of that, then you can use stickers on the outside to cover the pictures, or the most provocative parts of them, so that the purchaser will know that it has been covered deliberately – because it is offensive – and that there is nothing wrong with the item, and the one who does not buy it will not see the picture or he will miss seeing the picture if he wants to.

And Allaah knows best.

 

I have a question regarding pictures -Are pictures that are manafactured through means such as video, computers etc.
(i.e. they come on and off the screen) permissible? Can you please verify this with proof and evidence?

 

Praise be to Allaah. The ruling on a thing depends on the way in which it is perceived. It is essential to know how the picture-making you refer to is done. The author of Risaalat Ahkaam al-Tasweer (The ruling on picture-making) said:

  1. Movie pictures or pictures on a cinema film:

This is a method which transmits moving pictures with sound for a limited time span, showing all the events that happened within this time frame. The picture which is shown by the film on the screen is the shadow or reflection of that thing, not its real essence, after it has been recorded on the film. It says in al-Sharee’ah al-Islamiyyah wa’l-Funoon (Islamic sharee’ah and the Arts) that the cinema is called [in Arabic] akhyaliyyah [from khayaal, meaning shadow or dim reflection], “because it shows the shadows of things, not their real essence.”

2 – TV pictures

This is a method which transmits pictures and sounds at the same time via an electrical impulse. This is the result of the effect of light from the object whose picture is being taken being reflected on a mica sheet which is covered with a vast number of tiny particles made of photosensitive material, manufactured from silver oxide and caesium, of which the particles are separated from one another and isolated electrically.

This kind of image-making using machines is very similar to the image on a movie film, but in TV pictures, the images are changed to electronic signals, then to electromagnetic waves, which are then either sent via antennas to be picked up by the receiving apparatus in TV sets, within the range that the signal can reach, or they are sent to be stored in the form of magnetic changes on plastic tapes that have been plated with the appropriate magnetic substance that can store these waves.  In order to show what has been recorded on these tapes after these waves have been stored, it has to pass through a machine which transforms it once more into electronic signals then sends it to a screen in the form of electrical signals, so that it appears as a picture, but only after a complex operation. The TV set is the equipment which receives the electrical waves and gathers them, then transmits them in a regulated manner in the form of a picture with complete features.

There is another kind which is considered to be similar to this kind of image-making. This is something similar to the telephone which is used in some industrially-advanced countries, which transmits both the voice and the image of the speaker, so both parties can see one another on the screen of the device on which they are talking.  Similarly, there are cameras which are installed at the doors of houses. This system picks up the voice and image of the person who is coming to the house and transmits it to a screen inside the house, so that whoever is inside the house can see it clearly. And similarly there is equipment which is used to watch out for criminals stealing and so on in banks, stores, etc.

These kinds of equipment are considered to be of one kind, but are used for a variety of purposes, whereby the camera covers the area which is to be watched over, and it transmits the images to a screen like a TV, where the image appears clearly. New things are appearing all the time, and we do not know what will appear in the future. If this indicates anything, it indicates the mind-boggling expansion of the use of machines to make images of both kinds, both still and moving, in many areas, including manufacturing, war, security, education, medicine, social, etc. [Ahkaam al-Tasweer by Ahmad ibn ‘Ali Waasil, p. 65-67 ]

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen said: With regard to pictures made in the modern fashion, they fall into two categories:

The first category is those which have no tangible substance (and can only be seen by running them through a machine), as I was told is the case with pictures on video tapes. There is no ruling at all concerning these, and they do not come under the prohibition at all. Hence the scholars who forbid making pictures with cameras on paper (photographs) permitted this (video pictures), and said that there is nothing wrong with this. Then it was asked, is it permissible to film lectures which are given in the mosques? The (scholarly) view was that it is better not to do that, because it may disturb the worshippers and because they may film things that may not be appropriate, and so on.

The second category is fixed or still pictures on paper (photographs) …

But the matter needs further discussion if one wants to make these kind of permissible pictures. For they are subject to five rulings which depend on the intention. If the intention is something forbidden, then it is haraam. If he intends something waajib (obligatory), then it is waajib. Sometimes pictures may be essential, especially moving pictures. For example, if we see someone in the act of committing a crime against a person’s rights, such as an attempt to kill and so on, and we cannot prove it in any way but by taking pictures, then in this case taking pictures becomes waajib, 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 that 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… And Allaah knows best.” (See Al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 2/197-199)

Is the taking of photographs allowed,(I know drawing pictures of living things is not allowed -but what about taking photograph’s of people etc.), can you supply me with some evidence please.

 

 

Photography (tasweer) means the taking of pictures of living, animate moving beings, like people, animals, birds, etc. The ruling is that it is forbidden on the basis of a number of reports, such as the following:

‘Abdullaah ibn Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Those who will be most severely punished by Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 10/382).

Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah, may He be exalted, says: ‘Who does more wrong than the one who tries to create something like My creation? Let him create a grain of wheat or a kernel of corn.'” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see Fath al-Baari, 10/385).

‘Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: “Shall I not send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent me? Do not leave any built-up tomb without levelling it, and do not leave any picture in any house without erasing it.” (Reported by Muslim and al-Nisaa’i; this is the version narrated by al-Nisaa’i).

Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Every image-maker will be in the Fire, and for every image that he made a soul will be created for him, which will be punished in the Fire.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “If you must do that, make pictures of trees and other inanimate objects.” (Reported by Muslim, 3/1871)

These ahaadeeth indicate that pictures of animate beings are haraam, whether they are humans or other creatures, whether they are three-dimensional or two-dimensional, whether they are printed, drawn, etched, engraved, carved, cast in moulds, etc. These ahaadeeth include all of these types of pictures.

The Muslim should submit to the teachings of Islam and not argue with them by saying, “But I am not worshipping them or prostrating to them!” If we think about just one aspect of the evil caused by the prevalence of photographs and pictures in our times, we will understand something of the wisdom behind this prohibition: that aspect is the great corruption caused by the provoking of physical desires and subsequent spread of immorality caused by these pictures.

The Muslim should not keep any pictures of animate beings in his house, because they will prevent the angels from entering. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or pictures.” (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 10/380).

But nowadays, unfortunately, one can even find in some Muslim homes statues of gods worshipped by the kuffaar (such as Buddha etc.) which they keep on the basis that they are antiques or decorative pieces. These things are more strictly prohibited than others, just as pictures which are hung up are worse than pictures which are not hung up, for how easily they can lead to glorification, and cause grief or be a source of boasting! We cannot say that these pictures are kept for memory’s sake, because true memories of a Muslim relative or friend reside in the heart, and we remember them by praying for mercy and forgiveness for them.

Taking pictures with a camera involves human actions such as focusing, pressing the shutter, developing, printing, and so on. We cannot call it anything other than “picture-making” or tasweer, which is the expression used by all Arabic-speakers to describe this action.

In the book Al-I’laam bi naqd kitaab al-halaal wa’l-haraam, the author says: “Photography is even more of an imitation of the creation of Allaah than pictures which are engraved or drawn, so it is even more deserving of being prohibited… There is nothing that could exclude photography from the general meaning of the reports.” (p. 42, see also Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/355).

Among the scholars who have discussed the issue of photography is Shaykh Naasir al-Deen al-Albaani, who said: “Some of them differentiate between hand-drawn pictures and photographic images by claiming that the latter are not products of human effort, and that no more is involved than the mere capturing of the image. This is what they claim. The tremendous energy invested the one who invented this machine that can do in few seconds what otherwise could not be done in hours does not count as human effort, according to these people! Pointing the camera, focusing it, and taking the picture, preceded by installation of the film and followed by developing and whatever else that I may not know about… none of this is the result of human effort, according to them!

Some of them explain how this photography is done, and summarize that no less than eleven different actions are involved in the making of a picture. In spite of all this, they say that this picture is not the result of human action! Can it be permissible to hang up a picture of a man, for example, if it is produced by photography, but not if it is drawn by hand?

Those who say that photography is permitted have “frozen” the meaning of the word “tasweer,” restriciting it only to the meaning known at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and not adding the meaning of photography, which is “tasweer” or “picture-making” in every sense – linguistic, legal, and in its harmful effects, and as is clear from the definition mentioned above. Years ago, I said to one of them, By the same token, you could allow idols which have not been carved but have been made by pressing a button on some machine that turns out idols by the dozen. What do you say to that?”
(Aadaab al-Zafaaf by al-Albaani, p. 38)

It is also worth quoting the opinion of some contemporary scholars who allow the taking of photographs but say that the pictures should not be kept: “The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or pictures.” (See al-Sharh al-Mumti’, 2/198).

There are many bad things involved in the making of pictures. Besides the element of imitating the creation of Allaah – which is an accusation denied by many of those who make pictures – reality bears witness to the great extent of immorality and provocation of desires caused by the prevalence of pictures and picture-making nowadays. We must remove or blot out every picture, except when it is too difficult to do so, like the pictures which are overwhelmingly prevalent in food packaging, or pictures used in encyclopaedias and reference books. We should remove what we can, and be careful about any provocative pictures that may be found.

“So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can…” [al-Taghaabun 64:16 – interpretation of the meaning]

Photographs which are essential are permitted – such as those required for identity documents, or for identifying or pursuing criminals [e.g. “wanted” posters and the like – translator’s note], or for educational purposes which cannot be achieved otherwise. The principle in sharee’ah is that we should not exaggerate about what is necessary.

We ask Allaah to accept our repentance and have mercy on us, and to forgive our excesses, for He is the All-Hearing Who answers prayers. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.

 

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