Category: Jurisprudence and Rulings (Fiqh)
Fatwa#: 29246
Asked Country: United States

Answered Date: Jun 07,2014

Title: What is the ruling of taking pictures?

Question

What is the ruling on taking pictures? Is it haram? And can you please explain the hadith that says "The one who will receive the most punishment on the day of judgement will be the picture-maker" -Sahih Bukhari

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

 

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

 

In principle the taking of pictures of animate objects is haram.

 

 

Consider the warnings in the following Ahadith regarding photographs:

 

91 - (2107) حَدَّثَنَا مَنْصُورُ بْنُ أَبِي مُزَاحِمٍ، حَدَّثَنَا إِبْرَاهِيمُ بْنُ سَعْدٍ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنِ الْقَاسِمِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ: دَخَلَ عَلَيَّ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَأَنَا مُتَسَتِّرَةٌ بِقِرَامٍ فِيهِ صُورَةٌ، فَتَلَوَّنَ وَجْهُهُ، ثُمَّ تَنَاوَلَ السِّتْرَ فَهَتَكَهُ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: «إِنَّ مِنْ أَشَدِّ النَّاسِ عَذَابًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، الَّذِينَ يُشَبِّهُونَ بِخَلْقِ اللهِ»

 

Translation:

A'isha reported that Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) entered (my apartment) and I had hung (on the door of my apartment) a thin curtain having pictures on it. The colour of his face underwent a change. He then took hold of that curtain and tore it and then said: “The most grievous torment for the people on the Day of Resurrection would be for those who try to imitate Allah in the act of creation.” (Sahih Muslim)

 

96 - (2107) حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ يَحْيَى، قَالَ: قَرَأْتُ عَلَى مَالِكٍ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ الْقَاسِمِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، أَنَّهَا اشْتَرَتْ نُمْرُقَةً فِيهَا تَصَاوِيرُ، فَلَمَّا رَآهَا رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَامَ عَلَى الْبَابِ فَلَمْ يَدْخُلْ، فَعَرَفْتُ، أَوْ فَعُرِفَتْ فِي وَجْهِهِ الْكَرَاهِيَةُ، فَقَالَتْ: يَا رَسُولَ اللهِ أَتُوبُ إِلَى اللهِ وَإِلَى رَسُولِهِ فَمَاذَا أَذْنَبْتُ؟ فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «مَا بَالُ هَذِهِ النُّمْرُقَةِ؟» فَقَالَتْ: اشْتَرَيْتُهَا لَكَ، تَقْعُدُ عَلَيْهَا وَتَوَسَّدُهَا، فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: " إِنَّ أَصْحَابَ هَذِهِ الصُّوَرِ يُعَذَّبُونَ، وَيُقَالُ لَهُمْ: أَحْيُوا مَا خَلَقْتُمْ " ثُمَّ قَالَ: «إِنَّ الْبَيْتَ الَّذِي فِيهِ الصُّوَرُ لَا تَدْخُلُهُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ» )صحيح مسلم (3/ 1669)(

 

Translation:  

 

A'isha reported that she bought a carpet which had pictures on it. When Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam saw that, he stayed at the door and did not get in. I perceived or I was made to perceive upon his face signs of disgust. She said: Allah's Messenger, I offer repentance to Allah and His Messenger. (But tell me) what is the sin that I have committed. Thereupon Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam said: What is this carpet? She said: I bought it for you so that you might sit on it and take rest. Thereupon Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam said: The owners of these pictures would be tormented and they would be asked to bring to life what they tried to create. He then said: Angels do not enter the house in which there is a picture. (Sahih Muslim)

 

Rasulullah Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam says in the hadith quoted below, narrated by Ibn Umar, that the one who makes pictures i.e. the photographer will be severely punished on the Day of Qiyaamah. He will be asked to give life to that which he had created.

 

 

97 - (2108) حَدَّثَنَا أَبُو بَكْرِ بْنُ أَبِي شَيْبَةَ، حَدَّثَنَا عَلِيُّ بْنُ مُسْهِرٍ، ح وَحَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ الْمُثَنَّى، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى وَهُوَ الْقَطَّانُ، جَمِيعًا عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللهِ، ح وَحَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ نُمَيْرٍ، - وَاللَّفْظُ لَهُ - حَدَّثَنَا أَبِي، حَدَّثَنَا عُبَيْدُ اللهِ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، أَنَّ ابْنَ عُمَرَ، أَخْبَرَهُ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ قَالَ: " الَّذِينَ يَصْنَعُونَ الصُّوَرَ يُعَذَّبُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، يُقَالُ لَهُمْ: أَحْيُوا مَا خَلَقْتُمْ ") صحيح مسلم (3/ 1669)(

Translation:

 

Ibn 'Umar reported Allah's Messenger Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam having said: Those who paint pictures would be punished on the Day of Resurrection and it would be said to them: Breathe soul into what you, have created (Sahih Muslim).

 

In another hadith it is mentioned that souls will be placed in these pictures and the pictures will be used to punish their makers in the fire of Hell.

 

2 - وَحَدَّثَنَا نَصْرُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ الْجَهْضَمِيُّ، حَدَّثَنَا عَبْدُ الْعَزِيزِ بْنُ عَبْدِ الصَّمَدِ، حَدَّثَنَا مَنْصُورٌ، عَنْ مُسْلِمِ بْنِ صُبَيْحٍ، قَالَ: كُنْتُ مَعَ مَسْرُوقٍ، فِي بَيْتٍ فِيهِ تَمَاثِيلُ مَرْيَمَ فَقَالَ مَسْرُوقٌ: هَذَا تَمَاثِيلُ كِسْرَى فَقُلْتُ: لَا، هَذَا تَمَاثِيلُ مَرْيَمَ، فَقَالَ مَسْرُوقٌ، أَمَا إِنِّي سَمِعْتُ عَبْدَ اللهِ بْنَ مَسْعُودٍ يَقُولُ: قَالَ رَسُولُ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ: «أَشَدُّ النَّاسِ عَذَابًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ الْمُصَوِّرُونَ» 99 - (2110) قَالَ مُسْلِمٌ: قَرَأْتُ عَلَى نَصْرِ بْنِ عَلِيٍّ الْجَهْضَمِيِّ، عَنْ عَبْدِ الْأَعْلَى بْنِ عَبْدِ الْأَعْلَى، حَدَّثَنَا يَحْيَى بْنُ أَبِي إِسْحَاقَ، عَنْ سَعِيدِ بْنِ أَبِي الْحَسَنِ، قَالَ: جَاءَ رَجُلٌ إِلَى ابْنِ عَبَّاسٍ، فَقَالَ: إِنِّي رَجُلٌ أُصَوِّرُ هَذِهِ الصُّوَرَ، فَأَفْتِنِي فِيهَا، فَقَالَ لَهُ: ادْنُ مِنِّي، فَدَنَا مِنْهُ، ثُمَّ قَالَ: ادْنُ مِنِّي، فَدَنَا حَتَّى وَضَعَ يَدَهُ عَلَى رَأْسِهِ، قَالَ: أُنَبِّئُكَ بِمَا سَمِعْتُ مِنْ رَسُولِ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ يَقُولُ: «كُلُّ مُصَوِّرٍ فِي النَّارِ، يَجْعَلُ لَهُ، بِكُلِّ صُورَةٍ صَوَّرَهَا، نَفْسًا فَتُعَذِّبُهُ فِي جَهَنَّمَ» وقَالَ: «إِنْ كُنْتَ لَا بُدَّ فَاعِلًا، فَاصْنَعِ الشَّجَرَ وَمَا لَا نَفْسَ لَهُ»، فَأَقَرَّ بِهِ نَصْرُ بْنُ عَلِيٍّ ) صحيح مسلم (3/ 1670)(

 

 

Translation:

 

Muslim b. Subaih reported: I was with Masriuq in the house which had the portrayals of Mary (hadrat Maryan). Thereupon Masriuq said: These are portraits of Kisra. I said: No, these are of Mary. Masruq said: I heard Abdullah b, Mas'ud as saying Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had said: The most grievously tormented people on the Day of Resurrection would be the painters of pictures. (Muslim said): I read this before Nasr b. 'Ali at-Jahdami and he read it before other narrators, the last one being Ibn Sa'id b Abl at Hasan that a person came to Ibn 'Abbas and said: I am the person who paints pictures; give me a religious verdict about them. He (Ibn 'Abbas) said to him: Come near me (still further). He came near him so much so that he placed his hand upon his head and said: I am going to narrate to yor what I heard from Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him). I heard him say: All the painters who make pictures would be in the fire of Hell. The soul will be breathed in every picture prepared by him and it shall punish him in the Hell, and he (Ibn 'Abbas) said: If you have to do it at all, then paint the pictures of trees and lifeless things; and Nasr b. 'Ali confirmed it.

 

These are just a few of the Ahadith showing the harms of pictures and the punishment for the picture makers.

 

It should be noted that all the four Imams of Fiqh , Imam Abu Hanifah, Imam Shaafie, Imam Malik and Imam Hambali are all unanimous on the prohibition of picture making of all animate objects.

 

Digital photography still remains a contested issue even amongst our senior Ulema.

 

In light of the above mentioned Ahadith we advise that one should avoid taking photographs unless it is considered in Shariah to be absolutely necessary. For example photographs for identification, in which case only the required number of photographs should be taken.

 

 

 

For further reading on the subject you may refer to our Fataawa #s 19684 and 22493 entitled “Is it permissible to put family photographs inside our homes” and “Is the profession of taking passport size photographs permissible” respectively.

 

 

 

 

 

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

 

 

Mufti Saeed Ahmed Golaub

Jamaica

Student Darul Iftaa

 

Checked and Approved

Mufti Ebrahim Desai

daruliftaa.net

 

DISCLAIMER - AskImam.org questions
AskImam.org answers issues pertaining to Shar'ah. Thereafter, these questions and answers are placed for public view on www.askimam.org for educational purposes. However, many of these answers are unique to a particular scenario and cannot be taken as a basis to establish a ruling in another situation or another environment. Askimam.org bears no responsibility with regards to these questions being used out of their intended context.
  • The Shar's ruling herein given is based specifically on the question posed and should be read in conjunction with the question.
  • AskImam.org bears no responsibility to any party who may or may not act on this answer and is being hereby exempted from loss or damage howsoever caused.
  • This answer may not be used as evidence in any Court of Law without prior written consent of AskImam.org.
  • Any or all links provided in our emails, answers and articles are restricted to the specific material being cited. Such referencing should not be taken as an endorsement of other contents of that website.