Viewing pictures of animate objects

Answered according to Hanafi Fiqh by

Q: Whilst the impermissibility of picture-making is known, whether it be digital or not, what is the ruling on looking at such pictures which are not of a haraam nature, for example looking at the picture of a man or a dog, etc. Many a times a person doesn’t create pictures himself, but e-mails, etc are forwarded to him with pictures, if he looks at it, is it Haraam/Makrooh/Khilaaf-e-Awlaa or nothing wrong with looking?


A: The object and purpose of producing a picture is that it be viewed and admired. otherwise there would be no reason for one to produce a picture. Hence we understand that the one who intentionally looks at a picture of an animate object is condoning the action of picture-making. Thus we understand that just as it is impermissible to produce a picture of an animate object, similarly it is impermissible for one to keep it in his possession,  intentionally view it or circulate it.

N.B: Hazrat Mufti Shafee’ Saahib (rahmatullah alaih) has mentioned in his kitaab: “Tasweer ke Shari’ Ahkaam” (pg. 89)that this ruling (of the impermissibility of intentionally viewing the picture of an animate object)  is categorically recorded in the Maaliki kitaabs and since it conforms to the Usools (principles) of the Hanafi Mazhab, it is accepted. This principle has also been confirmed by ‘Allamah Shaami (rahmatullah alaih).

And Allah Ta’ala knows best.

وهذا كله مصرح في مذهب المالكية و مؤيد بقواعد مذهبنا ، ونصه عن المالكية ما ذكره العلامة الدردير في شرحه علي مختصر الخليل حيث قال يحرم تصوير حيوان عاقل أو غيره اذا كان كامل الاعضاء اذا كان يدوم وكذا ان لم يدم علي الراجح كتصويره من نحو قشر بطيخ ويحرم النظر اليه اذ النظر الي المحرم لحرام (بلوغ القصد والمرام ص19)

كما في رد المحتار من باب الرجعة فصل التحليل ذكر الفقيه ابو الليث في تاسيس النظائر اذا لم يوجد في مذهب الامام قول في المسئلة يرجع الي مذهب مالك لانه اقرب المذاهب اليه (رد المحتار 2/ 583)

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)

This answer was collected from, where the questions have been answered by Mufti Zakaria Makada (Hafizahullah), who is currently a senior lecturer in the science of Hadith and Fiqh at Madrasah Ta’leemuddeen, Isipingo Beach, South Africa.

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