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Publishing images and photos

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by DarulIftaBirmingham
  I am the editor of a college newsletter but unfortunately I have to publish

images and photos. At the same time, as a Muslim editor I am able to express and

publish views and articles that benefit Islam in general. What should I do?

Before answering this question, first of all it should be understood that taking pictures of humans and animals is not permissible in Islam.

The Holy Prophet sallallahu alahi wasalam has said:

“Of people the most affected by punishment on the Day of Judgement shall be the makers of pictures.” (Bukhari p880 v.2)

In another hadith narrated by Hazrat Aaisha (ra) when she “stuffed for the Prophet sallallahu alahiwasalam a pillow decorated with pictures (of animals) which looked like a Namruqa (a small cushion). He came and stood near the door but did not enter.” She said, “I repent to Allah (swa), what wrong I have done.” He said, “What is this pillow?”She said, “I have prepared this pillow for you, so that you may recline on it.” He said, “the makers of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Judgement and will be asked to give life to what he has created. The angels do not enter the house where there are pictures.” (Bukhari p881 v.2)

Finally, in another hadith the Holy Prophet (saw) has said “Every maker of pictures will be in the fire.” (Bukhari, Muslim)

According to the majority of scholars from the Indian Sub-continent and some Arab scholars taking photographs of Human and animal life is not permissible. An image, which has been produced by drawing or using a camera, is an image and will remain unlawful.

Mufti Shafee (ra) in Mariful- Quran p.279 v.7 has written the following

“Some people argue that a photo is outside the definition of taswir or picture because it is a shadow, or reflection as it would appear in mirror or water. So, they argue, the way it is permissible to look at your self in a mirror, in the same way a photo picture is also permissible. But, this argument is absolutely wrong, because a reflection or shadow is a reflection until it has not been made to last through some device. Take the example of mirror or water. Your reflection will be gone once you move away from it. If the reflection of this figure were to be made lasting through the use of some chemical process or device, this very thing will become a picture. The forbiddance or prohibition will be the same.”

Therefore, we could derive that camera pictures will hold the same ruling as of drawing pictures of humans or animals.

In regards to your situation, you could continue your editorial role of the college newsletter because through the publication of your articles you are benefiting the Muslim community. However, you should avoid taking pictures or publishing them in the newsletter because this is not permissible in Islam.

Mohammed Tosir Miah           

Darul Ifta Birmingham.

This answer was collected from DarulIftaBirmingham.co.uk, which is run under the supervision of Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah from the United Kingdom.