Photography and Making of still pictures is considered as one of the biggest sins in Islam, but like Music it has become one of the most common practices in the Ummah today. However the fact is that still pictures are Haram and one of those sins for which the most severe punishment will be given on the day of judgment. Yet more or less we are ignorant about this fact. In this blog I will collect some points from Mufti Taqi Usmani’s ‘Fiqhi’ article on the same subject.
Collection of Ahadith forbidding ‘Still Pictures’.
Mufti Taqi Usmani has provided a total 14 Ahadith from Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Tirmidhi and Nisai, all of which are clearly stating that still photography is ‘Haraam’ and will result in the most severe punishment for those adamant and do not repent from this sin. Below I am copying some Ahadith.
In the above mentioned Hadith quoted in Sahih Bukhari, it is clearly mentioned that Rasool Allah said that people who make still pictures will be given punishment on the day of judgment (Qiyamah) and they will be asked to put life into what they have made.
In the above mentioned Hadith, it has been mentioned that on the day of judgment (Qiyamah) the most severe punishment will be given to those who make still pictures.
In the above mentioned Hadith it is mentioned that Hazrat Abu Hurayrah , on seeing pictures in the house of Marwan, said, that Rasool Allah told him that Allah told him that ‘Who will be more cruel than the person who make things like I (i.e. Allah) make them’. Furthermore from the words of the Hadith it is evident that Allah’s wrath is attracted by this practice since HE asks the makers of still pictures to make grains, tiny particles etc as well.
From this Hadith we learn that angels don’t enter the homes where there is a still picture or a dog.
In another Hadith (which can be read from link provided at the end of this blog), it is mentioned that angels don’t enter the homes where there are still pictures of sculptures.
In Hadith 8 (which can be read from link provided at the end of this blog), Rasool Allah has extended his curse (Laanat) on people who make still pictures. We must think that how far can we go with the curse of Allah’s favorite Nabi on us?
In another Hadith (which can be read from link provided at the end of this blog), Rasool Allah , immediately tore the curtain on which there were still pictures of animals in Hazrat Aisha’s home and said that on ‘Qiyamah’ the most severe punishment will be given to those who try to copy Allah’s action of giving birth to life.
In another Hadith 12 (which can be read from link provided at the end of this blog), it has been asked to destroy any still pictures which one comes across of.
From the above collection of Ahadith, the following points should have become very clear.
Makers of still pictures will be given the most severe punishment on the day of judgment (Qiyamah).
Angels do not enter any place where there is a still picture.
It has been asked to destroy such still pictures as soon as one comes across it. As can be seen in the section of ‘Practice Of Sahaba’ it means to destroy those pictures which one’s own or has authority to destroy.
The above applies only for still pictures of living objects (which have a soul) like Human beings, animals, birds etc. It is allowed to make pictures of trees, mountains etc.
I believe no further explanation should be required after reading such clear Ahadith on this topic. Who would want to get the most severe punishment and live with the curse of Rasool Allah and/or live in a place where the angels do not enter hence removing us from their protection which they provide to us against Shaitan/devil.
Practice of Sahaba
In one case, narrated in the article, the Christians prepared a lavish meal for Hazrat Umar , when the later visited Syria. But Hazrat Umar excused himself saying that we cannot enter your Churches because of sculptures and still pictures that you decorate your Churches with.
In some of the other cases narrated, Sahaba-e-Karam, either refused to attend dinners or refused to enter the homes/places where there were still pictures.
Is Present Day Photography Part of this ruling
Some people get misguided by thinking that the present day still pictures taken by cameras, mobile phones etc do not fall under these Ahadith. They are of the view that such a ruling only applies for still pictures made by hand.
However a quick review of the Ahadith mentioned above, would have clarified the fact that ‘still pictures’ as a whole are labeled as haram and no explicit method of their development has been mentioned. e.g. if it would have been mentioned that still pictures made by hands or brush are haram, then it would have been right to make such an assumption.
It is common sense that when an explicit method has not been mentioned then it means that the ruling applies in totality to all methods e.g. Killing is someone is haraam in Islam. Since no explicit method has been mentioned therefore it would mean that killing is haraam no matter which method you use. In olden times it was done through swords, poison, daggers etc. In modern times it can be done through guns, bombs etc So it would be wrong to assume that killing by swords, daggers etc is Haraam while killing by guns/bombs etc is allowed!
Still Pictures were not allowed only in the early part of Islam
Some people also make this incorrect assumption that still pictures were only disallowed in the early parts of Islam, so as not to confuse new Muslims with Idols etc. In the later part of Islam it became Halal to do so.
This is also an incorrect derivation, since as mentioned above that the Sahaba-e-Karaam, even after the passing away of Rasool Allah , refused to enter homes where there were still pictures let alone allow to make still pictures or make it themselves.
We should save ourselves from such incorrect assumptions and stick to the rulings of Quran & Sunnah and take help help from the practice of Sahaba.
Still Pictures for Need
However still pictures for extreme need are allowed e.g. identification cards, passports etc.
May Allah make the truth clear and easy to follow for us. Ameen.
Link For Article
The complete juristic article written by Mufti Taqi Usmani can be read from the below link.