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Photographs of my late brother

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Askimam.org

While clearing my late Brother Zubair’s house, I came across some albums of photographs. These albums contained photographs of family members all the way from late 1970’s till around 1999. They had photographs of our late grandparents from both sides, both my late brothers, some uncles, aunts and also of a lot of other family members including ourselves when we were young. They were in his possession, but as far as I know all of them did not belong to him. Some might be belonging to my father, some may have been my mothers or some may be his.

The questions are as follows:

1.      What should I do with these photographs especially when I am not his heir and our father who was his Wali and heir is still alive?

2.      Should I inform or ask my father as if I ask him, he will most likely decide to take them and keep them.

3.      Should I inform or ask his widow and his children especially when the son was only 6 months old when he had passed away?

4.      If I have to destroy them, can I show my children and nephews/nieces the pictures of our late or alive members of our family they have not seen or met before I destroy them?

Answer

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

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

We advise you forward the photographs to your father and request him to adopt appropriate measures regarding the photographs.

Consider the following Ahadith,

عَنْ أَبِي طَلْحَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهُمْ، عَنِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، قَالَ: «لاَ تَدْخُلُ المَلاَئِكَةُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ وَلاَ صُورَةٌ»

Translation: “It is narrated from Abu Talha (Radhiyallahu Anhu) who said: Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wa Sallam) said: The angels do not enter that house in which there is dogs nor pictures”

صحيح البخاري (4/ 130)

حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو هُرَيْرَةَ، قَالَ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: ” أَتَانِي جِبْرِيلُ عَلَيْهِ السَّلَام، فَقَالَ لِي: أَتَيْتُكَ الْبَارِحَةَ فَلَمْ يَمْنَعْنِي أَنْ أَكُونَ دَخَلْتُ إِلَّا أَنَّهُ كَانَ عَلَى الْبَابِ تَمَاثِيلُ، وَكَانَ فِي الْبَيْتِ قِرَامُ سِتْرٍ فِيهِ تَمَاثِيلُ، وَكَانَ فِي الْبَيْتِ كَلْبٌ، فَمُرْ بِرَأْسِ التِّمْثَالِ الَّذِي فِي الْبَيْتِ يُقْطَعُ، فَيَصِيرُ كَهَيْئَةِ الشَّجَرَةِ، وَمُرْ بِالسِّتْرِ فَلْيُقْطَعْ، فَلْيُجْعَلْ مِنْهُ  وِسَادَتَيْنِ مَنْبُوذَتَيْنِ تُوطَآَنِ، وَمُرْ بِالْكَلْبِ فَلْيُخْرَجْ

 

Translation: The Messenger of Allah () said: Jibrail () came to me and said: I came to you last night and was prevented from entering simply because there were images at the door, for there was a decorated curtain with images on it in the house, and there was a dog in the house. So order the head of the image which is in the house to be cut off so that it resembles the form of a tree; order the curtain to be cut up and made into two cushions spread out on which people may tread; and order the dog to be removed.

سنن أبي داود (4/ 74)

Referring the matter to your father will save you from becoming a centre of fights and disputes.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Huzaifah Deedat

Student Darul Iftaa
Lusaka, Zambia

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

www.daruliftaa.net

This answer was collected from Askimam.org, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Ebrahim Desai from South Africa.

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