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Taking Pictures whilst Naked or Filming Intercourse

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Daruliftaa.com

Is it permissible for a husband to take a picture of his wife whilst she is naked and vice versa?
Also is it permissible for the husband and wife to take pictures of themselves or use a camcorder to record themselves having sexual intercourse, and thereafter look at the photos or watch the video?


In the name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

Regardless of the difference of opinion between the contemporary scholars about the ruling on photography, (even though, the position taken by virtually all scholars of the Indian Subcontinent and great Arab scholars is that photographs fall under the rubric of taswir (picture-making) of living creatures and humans, which has been explicitly forbidden in over 20 authentic hadiths, see: Reliance of the Traveller), the taking of nude pictures of the spouse or recording the act of sexual intercourse and thereafter viewing it cannot be considered permissible.

There are few reasons for this:

Firstly, it is disliked for the spouses to be completely naked during the act of sexual intercourse. Scholars mention, however, that although it is permissible for the spouses to look at any part of the partner’s body, it is disliked that they become completely naked. A cover or sheet over the naked bodies would be sufficient.

Sayyida A’isha (Allah be pleased with her) said: “I never saw the Messenger of Allah’s (Allah bless him & give him peace) private parts.” (Sunan Ibn Majah, no. 662)

Secondly, to expose the naked body in front of a stranger is absolutely unlawful (haram) in Shariah.

Also, to give someone the opportunity to view one’s nakedness (awra) in any way, shape or form is impermissible. By taking nude pictures of one’s self or recording the act of sexual intercourse, it may give someone this opportunity. The pictures taken or the video tape could be misplaced and get into the hands of a stranger. One may lose the tape and it could be picked up by another person. Imagine, if the son or daughter of the couple involved got hold of the tape, what would their reaction be?

The argument that the tape would be hidden and prevented from getting into the hands of a third person is not valid for the simple reason that there is this possibility. Some unusual occurrence can transpire, thus it is possible for a third person to get hold of the tape. The well-established principle of Islamic jurisprudence states: “Prevent evil before it actually happens (sadd al-dhara’i).” (See: Ibn Nujaym, al-Ashbah)

Thirdly, and finally, Islam is a religion of modesty. It does not approve of one stripping naked even when alone in a room, for Allah has a greater right that one should observe modesty before Him. Thus, it is necessary (wajib) in the Hanafi school, and highly recommended by others, to cover one’s minimum nakedness (between navel and knee for both men and women) even when alone. (See: al-Haskafi, Durr al-Mukhtar; Ibn Nujaym, al-Bahr al-Ra’iq). The exception to this is when there is a need, such as taking a shower, relieving oneself, or changing one’s clothes. Even in such situations, it is recommended to minimize the exposure.

The Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Modesty is of faith (iman).” (Sahih al-Bukhari & Sahih Muslim)

Ya’la ibn Umayya reports that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: “Verily Allah is modest and discreet and He likes modesty and discretion. When one of you takes a bath, one should cover one’s self.” (Sunan Abu Dawud, Sunan Nasa’i & Musnad Ahmad) This is a command of recommendation when alone.

Due to the above reasons, it would not be permissible for the spouses to take nude pictures of themselves or record the act of cohabitation. This is disregarding the fact that many scholars hold picture making and photography impermissible from the outset.

And Allah knows best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam
Darul Iftaa
Leicester , UK

This answer was collected from Daruliftaa.com, which is headed by Mufti Muhammad ibn Adam Al-Kawthari. He’s based in the United Kingdom.