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Photos and Videos

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Albalagh.net

Photos and Videos

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Q.) I have always heard that taking photos and having the photos taken using a camera is not allowed in Islam. The Hadith (Allahu Alam) which is quoted more or less means that sketching pictures of a living object (most commonly a human being) is prohibited in Islam. This hadith is about sketching pictures with a person’s hand.

What is the ruling for using a camera for doing this? Is it the same? If yes, please enlighten us according to Qur’an, Sunnah and Fiqh.

What if the photos of children only are taken (when they are mehram for all) and anyone can see their photos. According to one opinion, photography is prohibited because there is a possibility that a non-mehram can see that picture. Is it prohibited for all to take and see the photos regardless of being mehram or non-mehram?

What is the ruling according to Fiqh about movie making? It is a common practice now to relay Salat from Makkah Mukarammah during Ramadan in which Imam-e-Kaaba and the Namazis are shown during the prayers. As another example, our ulema and religious people also present various programs on television (TV) during Ramadan or otherwise, and have their movie made. Our religious scholars are always reluctant and avoid to have their photos taken, but isn’t getting the programs recorded for TV the same as having the photos taken? [Talib Hidaya]

A.) Picture frames and photographs of animate objects are not permissible to display. Frames having pictures of inanimate objects e.g. trees, mountains, etc. are permissible.

  • Sayyidna Abu Talha, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that Nabi, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, “Angels (of mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture.” (Mishkat vol. 2 p.385)
  • Abdullah ibn Masood, Radi-Allahu anhu, narrates that Rasulullah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, said, “The people with the most severe punishment by Allah will be the picture makers.” (Ibid).
  • Sayyidna Ibn Abbas (RA) narrates, “I heard the messenger of Allah saying, ‘Every picture-maker will be in the fire. A life will be created for every picture the picture-maker made, and he will be tortured in Hell.'”
  • If you have to make pictures (says Ibn Abbaas) then make a picture of a tree or such things which are inanimate.’ (Bukhari and Muslim)

However, if the frames are of inanimate objects but containing verses of the Noble Qur’an, Hadith and names of Allah Taala then extreme caution must be taken where these frames are hung. If hung at home in the lounge or sitting room then due respect should be shown by not using vulgar language or smoking there. And Allah Taala Knows Best.

This answer was collected from Albalagh.net, which is an Islamic site with Q&A and articles authored by many world renowned scholars from the Muslim world. Many of Mufti Taqi Uthmani’s fatawa in English are found exclusively on this site.

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