Assalamualaikum! May you please clarify my doubts. Thank you in advance.
1) What is the aurah for a Hanafi woman? Is covering up including a head scarf enough or a niqab is a must? Or niqab is just a sunnat?
2) I understand that our beloved Rasul (s.a.w) has forbidden us on photo making. However, I do know that idol worshipping was prevailent in those days. Hence, I am wondering if now it is permissible to take digital photographs of my children and keep it in my PC so that I can keep track of their development over time. Definetely every parent will gloat over their children’s development and cannot remember their development over time unless there is something to fall back on. Definitely, there is no idol worshiping or displaying of the photos anywhere in the house. We will strictly keep it in the PC. Is it possible with such an intention to take photographs since intention is very important in Islam and my soul intention is just to see through the growth of my children.
Please help me in my doubts. Your help is much appreciated!
In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatoh
1. At the outset, we would like to state that there is a difference between Awrah and Niqab/Hijab. Awrah are those parts of the body that are to be concealed at all times whilst Niqab refers to a veil used to cover the face in certain instances. However, the ruling of both (Awrah and Niqab) is the same i.e. it is obligatory to conceal them (awrah at all times and the face in certain instances).
Your question relates to Niqab and hence we answer as follows:
It is obligatory on women to wear Niqab (conceal their faces) when leaving their homes (for a valid Shar’ee need) or in the presence of strange men. This is the view of the Hanafi Fuqahaa (Jurists) as well as the Fuqahaa of the other schools of Fiqh, as indicated to by Allamah Kauthari and Mufti Muhammad Shafi’ (Rahimahumallah).
(Hijab Al-Marah al-Muslima, pg 11, Dar Al-Haramain / Ahkam Al-Quran of Al- Thanwi, vol 3, pg 471, Idara Al-Quran)
However, it will be permissible for women to reveal their faces to Mahrams (men with whom marriage is Haram) as long as there is no fear of Fitnah (evil). If there exist a fear of fitnah, it will not be permissible to do so.
There rulings of the Hanafi Fuqahaa regarding Niqab being obligatory are many. We will suffice on mentioning one such ruling. It is stated in Majma’ Al-Anhur that “in our times, it is not wajib, rather fardh (compulsory) for (young) women to conceal their faces because of the many evils” (vol 1, pg 81, Dar Ihya Al-Turath)
وفي المنتقى تمنع الشابة عن كشف وجهها لئلا يؤدي إلى الفتنة وفي زماننا المنع واجب بل فرض لغلبة الفساد (مجمع الأنهر)
2. Your understanding that photo making is prohibited in Islam is correct. However, it is important to note that its prohibition is not conditioned to the fear of idolatry. If this was really the reason of its prohibition, then Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) would have being exempted from its prohibition as idolatry was unimaginable from him. However, it is evident from Hadith that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) was also ordered to destroy pictures that were in his home. He was prohibited from photo making as well as storing animate pictures, despite idolatry being unimaginable from a personality of his calibre. This was also his teaching to the Sahaba and his ummah (followers).
Abu Huraira (Radiyallaahuanhu) reports that Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said: “Jibraeel (Alayhis salaam) came to me and said: I came to you last night, but the only thing that prevented me from entering was the presence of pictures on the door, pictures inside the home on the curtains and a dog inside the home. Therefore, order the head of the picture on the door to be cut so that it will resemble a tree. And order that the curtain be cut into two pieces strewn on the floor to be trampled over, and order the dog to be removed”. (Tirmidhi # 2806, Dar Ihya Al-Turath)
Hence, the fear of idolatry is not the primary reason for photo making being prohibited. Rather, it is a general prohibition to all Muslims, whether the fear of idolatry exists or not.
Although your intention to store these pictures in your PC is to admire the growth of your children and not to display or worship them, the very act of taking their pictures is an act which is prohibited in Islam. There are many Ahadith in this regard. Abdullah bin Mas’ood has heard Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) saying: “Indeed the people to be inflicted with the severest of punishment on the day of Qiyamah will be the picture makers” (Sahih Bukhari # 5606, Dar Ibn Katheer)
Surely, the Sahaba (Radiyallaahu anhum) would have also desired to draw pictures depicting the noble countenance of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) as you desire to do for your children. However, it was their fear of Allah Ta’ala and spirit to adhere to every teaching of Rasulullah (Sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) that stopped them from doing so. Therefore, we advice that you take courage, follow the way of our illustrious Sahaba and do away with this evil practice of photo making.
And Allah knows best
Ml. Talha Desai,
Student Darul Iftaa
Checked and Approved by:
Muhammed Zakariyya Desai,
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In’aamiyyah