I would like to know if taking pictures using a camera is haraam… I know that drawing, sketching, carving (living things) is haram, but with a camera, i feel we’re just pressing the button and not actually MAKING/drawing the pic..is that still classified as haram..??
In the name of Allah, the most Beneficent, the most Merciful.
Contemporary scholars have differed on the issue of camera photos whether they come under the prohibition of picture making (tasweer) or not. The majority of the Indian subcontinent and some Arab scholars are of the view that photographs of living things are impermissible. There reason being that the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam declared picture making unlawful and not the means of producing the picture. Even during the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam’s time there existed various ways of producing images like carving, drawing, painting etc but the Prophet of Allah Sallallahu Alahi Wasalam never referred to the method of image production but directly banned picture making. (Photography, Picture making & Islam p.20)
This view is the most precautious view.
I will take this opportunity and mention a few things in regards to the camera.
The Readers Digest Great Encyclopaedic Dictionary defines the camera as follows:
“Apparatus for taking photographs, consisting essentially of a box holding at one end a plate or film which is sensitised so as to retain the image protected through a lens at the other.”
The Encyclopaedia International states; “Photographic film is a light sensitive material used in a camera to record the image being photographed. In the presence of light, the form of electromagnetic radiation most commonly used to expose film-a chemical change takes place to produce an invisible image bought into view by developing…”
The Home University Encyclopaedia says; “The camera in which the image is impressed on the sensitive surface is a light-tight box in which the plate is fixed in such a position that the image of the object to be photographed is projected on to it by a lens or pinhole…”
The following points are deduced from the afore going discussion:
1. The camera is not a mere image viewing device like the mirror
2. All cameras are picture-recording devices.
3. Experts and scientists are agreed on the fact that the camera produces pictures and not reflections.
4. Image through the camera lens is retained on the film, which is sensitised. The image thus retained is not a temporary phenomenon like a reflection but is a permanent picture.
5. Final emergence of photo picture is not dependent upon the presence of the object whereas the image in the mirror is dependant upon the presence of the object for its existence.
6. Various materials and chemicals are used in order to produce the final result on the photograph. From this we can understand that the image on the photo paper is a picture, which has been produced by chemical means. (Photography, Picture making & Islam p.12-p.17)
The majority of the Arab scholars are of the view that picture making through camera is permissible. They say that in camera photos one does not produce an image through ones own imagination, but it is merely a reflection of a living being already created by Allah (SWA).
Therefore, the conclusion we can come to is that there are differences of opinions regarding this ruling, however, the most preferable and cautious thing will be to refrain from it.
Only Allah Knows Best
Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham