Madinat al-Muslimeen Islamic Message Board
|01/27/02 at 20:39:24|
|Bismillah and salam,|
I remember someone's question about photographs was left unanswered but i can't find the thread. I came across this recently:
My question is : IS the taking of PHOTOGRAPHS ALLOWED,(I know drawing pictures of living things is not allowed -but what about taking photograph's of people etc.), can you supply me with some evidence please. I need this information quickly.- Inshallah.
Praise be to Allaah.
Photography (tasweer) means the taking of pictures of living, animate moving beings, like people, animals, birds, etc. The ruling is that it is forbidden on the basis of a number of reports, such as the following:
'Abdullaah ibn Mas'ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Those who will be most severely punished by Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 10/382).
Abu Hurayrah (may Allaah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Allaah, may He be exalted, says: 'Who does more wrong than the one who tries to create something like My creation? Let him create a grain of wheat or a kernel of corn.'" (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see Fath al-Baari, 10/385).
'Ali (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: "Shall I not send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent me? Do not leave any built-up tomb without levelling it, and do not leave any picture in any house without erasing it." (Reported by Muslim and al-Nisaa'i; this is the version narrated by al-Nisaa'i).
Ibn 'Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "Every image-maker will be in the Fire, and for every image that he made a soul will be created for him, which will be punished in the Fire." Ibn 'Abbaas said: "If you must do that, make pictures of trees and other inanimate objects." (Reported by Muslim, 3/1871)
These ahaadeeth indicate that pictures of animate beings are haraam, whether they are humans or other creatures, whether they are three-dimensional or two-dimensional, whether they are printed, drawn, etched, engraved, carved, cast in moulds, etc. These ahaadeeth include all of these types of pictures.
The Muslim should submit to the teachings of Islam and not argue with them by saying, "But I am not worshipping them or prostrating to them!" If we think about just one aspect of the evil caused by the prevalence of photographs and pictures in our times, we will understand something of the wisdom behind this prohibition: that aspect is the great corruption caused by the provoking of physical desires and subsequent spread of immorality caused by these pictures.
The Muslim should not keep any pictures of animate beings in his house, because they will prevent the angels from entering. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: "The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or pictures." (Reported by al-Bukhaari, see al-Fath, 10/380).
But nowadays, unfortunately, one can even find in some Muslim homes statues of gods worshipped by the kuffaar (such as Buddha etc.) which they keep on the basis that they are antiques or decorative pieces. These things are more strictly prohibited than others, just as pictures which are hung up are worse than pictures which are not hung up, for how easily they can lead to glorification, and cause grief or be a source of boasting! We cannot say that these pictures are kept for memory's sake, because true memories of a Muslim relative or friend reside in the heart, and we remember them by praying for mercy and forgiveness for them.
Taking pictures with a camera involves human actions such as focusing, pressing the shutter, developing, printing, and so on. We cannot call it anything other than "picture-making" or tasweer, which is the expression used by all Arabic-speakers to describe this action.
In the book Al-I'laam bi naqd kitaab al-halaal wa'l-haraam, the author says: "Photography is even more of an imitation of the creation of Allaah than pictures which are engraved or drawn, so it is even more deserving of being prohibited… There is nothing that could exclude photography from the general meaning of the reports." (p. 42, see also Fataawa Islamiyyah, 4/355).
Among the scholars who have discussed the issue of photography is Shaykh Naasir al-Deen al-Albaani, who said: "Some of them differentiate between hand-drawn pictures and photographic images by claiming that the latter are not products of human effort, and that no more is involved than the mere capturing of the image. This is what they claim. The tremendous energy invested the one who invented this machine that can do in few seconds what otherwise could not be done in hours does not count as human effort, according to these people! Pointing the camera, focusing it, and taking the picture, preceded by installation of the film and followed by developing and whatever else that I may not know about… none of this is the result of human effort, according to them!
Some of them explain how this photography is done, and summarize that no less than eleven different actions are involved in the making of a picture. In spite of all this, they say that this picture is not the result of human action! Can it be permissible to hang up a picture of a man, for example, if it is produced by photography, but not if it is drawn by hand?
Those who say that photography is permitted have "frozen" the meaning of the word "tasweer," restriciting it only to the meaning known at the time of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) and not adding the meaning of photography, which is "tasweer" or "picture-making" in every sense - linguistic, legal, and in its harmful effects, and as is clear from the definition mentioned above. Years ago, I said to one of them, By the same token, you could allow idols which have not been carved but have been made by pressing a button on some machine that turns out idols by the dozen. What do you say to that?"
(Aadaab al-Zafaaf by al-Albaani, p. 38)
It is also worth quoting the opinion of some contemporary scholars who allow the taking of photographs but say that the pictures should not be kept: "The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or pictures." (See al-Sharh al-Mumti', 2/198).
There are many bad things involved in the making of pictures. Besides the element of imitating the creation of Allaah - which is an accusation denied by many of those who make pictures - reality bears witness to the great extent of immorality and provocation of desires caused by the prevalence of pictures and picture-making nowadays. We must remove or blot out every picture, except when it is too difficult to do so, like the pictures which are overwhelmingly prevalent in food packaging, or pictures used in encyclopaedias and reference books. We should remove what we can, and be careful about any provocative pictures that may be found.
"So keep your duty to Allaah and fear Him as much as you can…" [al-Taghaabun 64:16 - interpretation of the meaning]
Photographs which are essential are permitted - such as those required for identity documents, or for identifying or pursuing criminals [e.g. "wanted" posters and the like - translator's note], or for educational purposes which cannot be achieved otherwise. The principle in sharee'ah is that we should not exaggerate about what is necessary.
We ask Allaah to accept our repentance and have mercy on us, and to forgive our excesses, for He is the All-Hearing Who answers prayers. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad.
Islam Q&A (www.islam-qa.com)
|01/28/02 at 11:47:01|
This is a hard subject to talk about. I found this just to give you another point of view. I will try to find some more things and post them here, Insha Allah. In my personal opinion, you should try to avoid it (better safe than sorry).
Just in case the link doesn't work, I also posted the article below.
Brief Text : Pictures & Photography
Dated: 13 May 1999
Asked by: Zubair from Pakistan
I want to know about photography of living beings like humans and animals. Is it allowed in Islam? I will be very grateful if you help me regarding this. Jazakallah
In my opinion, pictures of anything, whether living or non-living things are not prohibited per se. Although there are a number of narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) in which, apparently it seems that prohibition of pictures, in general, has been referred to but if all the narratives regarding the issue are gathered and analyzed, it becomes apparent that the Prophet (pbuh) has actually prohibited pictures, which were used for worship in the society.
In the Arab society, during the times of the Prophet (pbuh), pictures and paintings were primarily used for the purpose of polytheistic worship. In my opinion, therefore, these were the pictures, which have actually been referred to in the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh) in this regard.
Besides all the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh), the following narrative in which Saalim ibn Abd Allah is reported to have explained the nature of the prohibition mentioned in the narratives ascribed to the Prophet (pbuh). This narrative is reported by Ahmad ibn Hanbal:
Laith reports that once I visited Saalim Ibn Abd Allah. As I entered, I saw him resting on a pillow on which there were pictures of birds and wild animals. I asked him, "aren't these [pictures] disliked [in Islam]". He said, "No. Only those [pictures] are disliked which are put up for worship".
It should be clear from the explanation given above, I am of the opinion that pictures are not prohibited per se. It is only when a picture entails polytheistic veneration that it becomes prohibited. If a picture of a living thing, like the picture of a person's father etc. does not entail a polytheistic belief, it would not be prohibited. On the other hand, if a picture of a non-living thing [non-living does not imply "non-living" in the scientific sense] entails a polytheistic belief, like for instance, the picture of a particular tree or a stone, such picture shall stand prohibited.
The reason for this prohibition is, obviously, to save people from the fatal sin of Shirk [polytheism].
14th May 1999
|01/28/02 at 12:03:55|
(Here is an another view of photographs. This is from Fatwa-Online.com)
The ruling concerning picture making
Question: What is the ruling concerning picture making? What are the ahaadeeth concerning that topic? According to the strongest opinion among the scholars, is there a difference between pictures which have a shadow [three-dimensional pictures and statues] and those which do not [two-dimensional drawings]?
Response: Picture making is to make a representation of a living, willing, moving animal, such as a human, horse, animal and so forth. The ruling concerning that is that such representation or depiction is forbidden. The evidence for that is what is found in numerous ahaadeeth. In the two Saheehs, al-Bukhaaree and Muslim, it is recorded from Ibn Mas'ood that the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:
((The people with the severest punishment on the Day of Judgment are the picture makers)).
Ibn Umar narrated that the Messenger of Allaah (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:
((The people who make these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection. It will be said to them, 'Give life to what you have created)). This was also recorded by al-Bukhaaree and Muslim.
Muslim also recorded from Ibn 'Abbaas that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:
((Whoever makes a picture in this world will be held responsible to breathe a spirit into it and he is not one who can breathe such)).
It is recorded by Muslim on the authority of Ibn 'Abbaas that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) said:
((All the picture makers would be put into Hell. For every picture he made, a soul would be created and punished)).
It is also recorded on the authority of Abu Talhah from the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) who said:
((The angels do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or statues)). [Muslim]
These hadeeth and others are general for every kind of representation, whether it has a shadow, like a figure, or if it does not have a shadow, which is like a drawing on a wall, paper, clothing and so forth. It is confirmed that the Prophet (sal-Allaahu `alayhe wa sallam) entered the Ka'bah and it contained pictures and he asked for a pitcher of water and he began to efface them, saying:
((May Allaah destroy those who make pictures of what they do not create)).
An exception to this ruling during this time is money containing the pictures of kings as well as passports and identification cards. Due to the need and necessity of these items, it is allowed to carry them according to need.
And Allaah knows best.
Shaykh Ibn Jibreen
|01/30/02 at 23:57:15|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
• Photography: Is it permitted in Islam?
I am often dismayed to see people wearing shirts and blouses which display images of birds, animals and even human beings. They even go inside a mosque to offer prayers. The other day, I felt greatly annoyed to see a man wearing a shirt with an advert of Goodyear tires, showing a star boxer encircled with tires around his waist.
I have in the past distinguished between statues and engravings on the one hand and pictures as we know them today, which are either paintings or photographs, on the other. Statements in Hadith, which speak of "pictures" being distasteful or forbidden, clearly mean the first type, i.e. statues and engravings. As for photographs and paintings, these are of a different nature.
We may mention in this connection that the Prophet once used a piece of cloth with pictures on it for prayers. After he finished, he expressed his dislike to that piece of cloth and said that it distracted him from his prayers. From this we deduce that it is discouraged to use such material for a prayer mat. Its use, however, does not affect the validity of prayer.
When the Prophet mentions that pictures are strongly discouraged, he makes the exception "unless they be printed on material." This means material which is used for making clothes. On the basis of this, I must say that I am surprised by the strength of your criticism of people using such material. It is true that some people may find the sight of a man wearing a shirt with a large picture of a bird or a horse rather unpleasant. It may be even more so if it has the picture of a human being, but we cannot say that it is forbidden. Nor can we say that photography, as it is used today, is forbidden. Indeed, it has numerous beneficial uses. If it is used for a bad purpose, as in the case of pornography, it becomes forbidden.
I should perhaps also explain that it may be very unwise for a man to wear such a colorful shirt with attractive pictures inside the mosque, especially if he attends congregational prayers. By doing so, he may cause other worshippers to be distracted of their worship. Displaying advertisements of the type you have mentioned may be also unsightly. If the one who is wearing such an ad receives a fee for wearing it, it is all right, provided that what he is advertising is permissible.
Thus, an advert for car tires is acceptable but one for a brand of cigarettes is forbidden.
[Added: One most common use of photographs in many Muslim countries is leader worship. Some states have made it mandatory for the government offices to display the photographs of their leaders, as a sign of respect. Such an idea is far from Islamic and is forbidden. However, if one has special feelings for a particular person, even a leader, and he makes a display of this, it is all right. The very concept of any kind of homage to be attached to photographs is not permissible. That is to say, it is the niyyah that makes the difference in such cases.]
|01/31/02 at 00:01:59|
|Assalamu Alaikum Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh|
Photography: Reliability of our views
You carried a long piece on "photography as mentioned in Hadith" in response to a reader seeking a ruling on whether photography is permissible or not. On a previous occasion, a friend mentioned that he did not hang pictures of family members on his wall at home, as it was forbidden to do so. In a conversation with a different person, the same kind of opinion was expressed, but with the added question of what should a reader do in order to establish the final Islamic ruling on a question over which he disagrees with you. Your comments will be greatly appreciated.
Abu Jaffer Al Mansour, a great Muslim ruler, who was in power for over twenty years in the beginning of the Abbasid regime, once requested Imam Malik to write a comprehensive book outlining Islamic verdicts on matters that occurred to people in daily life. He wanted that book to be the standard by which all matters are resolved. Imam Malik, the founder of one of the four major schools of thought, counseled Al Mansour not to do so. He argued: "The Prophet's companions settled in different provinces with each of them having his share of knowledge about Islam. If you were now to enforce a single opinion on them all, this will inevitably lead to a great deal of chaos and trouble."
These were words of great wisdom by Imam Malik. What applied then, applies today even in greater measure. We have the fruits of a great wealth of Islamic research and scholarship. Yet people are always impatient. They want a "final" ruling on every question. But rigidity is alien to the nature of Islam. It has always been a characteristic of Islamic thought to respect other people's views and to hold other scholars in high esteem. Hence, it is practically impossible to seek a "final" ruling on every matter without establishing a religious hierarchy. Had it been the intention of Islam to do so, the Prophet would have indicated that. But there is simply no clerical order in Islam. Everybody's opinion is respected, but the opinion which is correct is the one which is supported by the strongest evidence from the Qur'an and the Sunnah.
In answering readers' questions, we certainly try to give what we think to be the answer based on the stronger evidence. We try to steer away from rigidity and controversy, and we do not confine ourselves to the views of a single Imam or a single school of thought. We try to give opinions applicable at present. We do not hesitate to make a verdict clear, even though it may be unpleasant to the reader asking the question. We will never go against a Qur'anic statement or an authentic Hadith or try to impose a subjective interpretation.
If we come up with an answer that differs with a prevailing view, then that is the result of our endeavor. We hope to be rewarded for it. The Prophet has made it clear that a person who does his best to arrive at a clear ruling on something and hits upon the right ruling will have a double reward, but a person whose efforts end up with a mistaken conclusion will have a single reward. It is this type of tolerance, which is characteristic of Islam that sustains our efforts.
Now, if a person reads in Arab News a ruling that is at variance with an opinion he has held for a long time, he may find our line of thinking convincing and supported by evidence, which means that he should take our view. If he is hesitant, then he will need to examine, either on his own if he has the knowledge and ability or with the help of a scholar, the foundation of our view and his own view. He should then take the verdict supported by the stronger evidence. There is simply no other way. In Islam, there is no single person or institution which has the final word. That final word belongs to Allah and He has stated it in the Qur'an or allowed His messenger to express it in the Hadith. I fail to understand why should this tolerance, which I say is characteristic of Islam, be a problem to anyone. After all, if we are mistaken, even then we will be rewarded. Hence, we should be happy in God's great mercy that assures us of a reward even when we are mistaken.
Take the question of photography which has led you to raise this point. You have learned from our view that photography is perfectly permissible unless it is intended or used for a forbidden purpose. We have outlined our arguments, stating that photography as we know it was not known to mankind at the time of the Prophet. Hence, the Hadiths that use the Arabic word which we nowadays use for photography must have referred to something else. We looked at the usage of that word in the Qur'an and concluded that it meant, "shaping, fashioning, molding, the giving of a definite form, etc." This is totally different from the use of lenses in cameras and the printing of films. We likened the printed photograph to the image reflected in a mirror which is perfectly permissible to have at home or anywhere. We also drew a comparison with what is printed on cloth, and which is definitely permissible as clearly expressed in a Hadith.
That was our line of argument. If someone can find another evidence in the Hadith or the Qur'an to arrive at a different verdict, then let him please refer us po that. For our readers who are still reluctant to accept this view, it is still open to them to discuss the matter with other scholars. If they prefer to hang on to what they had believed in the past, then they are perfectly entitled to do so and may God reward them for their efforts. Why should there be any hassle over that? Such an insistence on a single and final opinion is rather alien to Islamic thought.
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