Misconceptions about the unlawfulness of photography

Question: Suspicions are raised about the unlawfulness of photography. May Your Eminence give a detailed response to the following claims:

1- It is claimed that photography is not an imitation of Allaah’s Creation. Rather, it is the reflection of a person’s shadow on a film. Man has nothing to do with shaping the picture.

2- Photography is likened to a mirror, which reflects the visual image of a person looking at it. Would it also be unlawful if the image reflected in the mirror is fixed?

3- It is claimed that whoever permits watching television, in a case where it broadcasts nothing unlawful, should permit photography as well. This is because television is the transmission of visual images moved quickly to give the viewers the illusion that they are really moving.

4- It is claimed that if photography is prohibited, then taking photos for essential reasons, such as issuing a passport necessary for the residents of Egypt, for example, or to perform Hajj, will also be prohibited. This is because Hajj is not to be sought by unlawful means, that is, a person can not commit theft to perform Hajj, neither can he be, accordingly, photographed to perform Hajj or to issue an identification card, or for other necessary reasons.

Answer: According to the Committee, it is impermissible to photograph soul-possessing creatures because of the authentic evidence reported from Allaah’s Messenger (peace be upon him) regarding this matter. These pieces of evidence are general and applicable to those who earn a living by photography and those who do not. In addition, it is impermissible to fashion soul-possessing creatures whether by hand, by devices in studios or by any other equipment… read more here.

Ruling on photography

Question: Is photography Haraam (prohibited) or not?

Answer: Yes, photographing soul-possessing creatures and the like is Haraam. Whoever does this should repent to Allaah, seek His forgiveness, regret what they are doing and never do it again… read more here.

Photography and buying magazines that include pictures

Question: We have disputed over the issue of photography which you did not mention in your letter. Does it fall under the same ruling of portraying or not? Some (scholars) have argued that it is permissible, for it is not drawing but nothing more than imaging the figure of a person without exerting any effort other than pressing the button (of the camera) to bring out a photograph identical to the figure being photographed. Some of my friends showed me a photograph of Your Eminence in the Kuwaiti magazine of “Al-Mujtamah`” and the Egyptian magazine of “Al-I`tisaam.” It was published with your Fatwa regarding the rulings of Sawm (Fast) during the blessed month of Ramadan. Is displaying your photograph in the magazine a proof of the permissibility of photography or was it taken without your knowledge?

Moreover, if photography is not permissible, then what is the Islamic ruling on buying the newspapers and magazines replete with pictures, although they contain important news and other useful and useless information? Please advise us in this regard.

Is it permissible to put these magazines in Al-Musallah (place for prayer) even if they are covered by a cloth or suchlike? Or should they be destroyed after reading them? What is the ruling on watching moving images on television? Is it permissible to turn on the television in Al-Musallah?

Please enlighten us in these regards, may Allaah enlighten you.

Answer: Firstly, photography falls under the forbidden types of image making, for its ruling is the same as portraying, making images on cloths with color paints and statue making. The difference in the means and tools of making images does not entail having a different ruling… read more here.

Three-dimensional, photographic, painted, or sculptured forms of beings with souls

Question: We know that the Messenger (peace be upon him) cursed Al-Musawwiroon but who are Al-Musawwiroon? Are they the idol-makers, the photographers, or the painters? Do paintings of natural scenery fall under the prohibited category?

Answer: Figuration of living beings is unlawful whether it is in three-dimensional, photographic, manual, or sculptural form, due to the generality of the evidence on the prohibition of Tasweer (painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography)… read more here.

Taking photographs of beings with souls using cameras or the like

Question: Is photographing or video filming permissible? Is it permissible to watch television, especially for the news?

Answer: It is not permissible to take photographs of animate beings using cameras or other means of photographing machines, or to keep pictures of animate beings, except for necessity, such as photographs used in identification documents or passports… read more here.

Taking photographs of humans and other beings

Question: I live abroad and want to send my photograph to my friends, family, and especially my wife. Is this permissible?

Answer: According to some Saheeh Ahaadeeth (Ahaadeeth that have been transmitted by people known for their uprightness and exactitude; free from eccentricity and blemish) of the Prophet (peace be upon him), it is prohibited to take photographs of animate beings, be they humans or animals… read more here.

Photography in Islaam

Question: What is the ruling on Photography in Islaam?

Answer: The basis is that taking pictures of anything that has a soul such as humans and animals is forbidden whether the image is stereoscopic, drawn on paper, cloth, walls, or otherwise because of the following:

1- The prohibition of taking pictures is related in the authentic Ahaadeeth where the doer is threatened with severe punishment… read more here.

Photography and keeping photographs

Question: A debate arose between some brothers on photography and keeping photographs and the conclusion is still undetermined. So what is the ruling on photography and keeping photographs?

Answer: Taking photographs of living beings, be they humans or animals, and keeping these photos, is unlawful. In fact, it is one of the major sins, for there are authentically reported Hadeeths about the terrible threat and severe torment that will befall photographers and those who keep photographs, also because taking photographs is similar to imitating Allaah in creating living beings and may be a means to Shirk (associating others with Allaah in His Divinity or worship) like honoring the photographs of great figures and righteous people, or a means for temptation like photographs of beautiful women, actors, actresses, and semi-naked women… read more here.

Ruling on the pictures of the prophets that were drawn by the Jews and Christians?

Question 385: What is the ruling on showing the pictures of the prophets (peace be upon them) that were drawn by the Jews and Christians?

Answer: Tasweer (painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography) of creatures that have souls is seriously Haraam (prohibited) and one of the major sins, whose doer is threatened with cursing and the punishment of Hell. The Musawwirs (those who make pictures and statues, or photographs of living beings) will be the people most severely punished on the Day of Resurrection and they are the most wrongful of mankind... read more here.

Drawing imagined pictures of the prophets (peace be upon them)

Question 384: What is the ruling on showing the pictures of the prophets (peace be upon them) that were drawn by the Jews and Christians?

Answer: Tasweer (painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography) of creatures that have souls is seriously Haraam (prohibited) and one of the major sins, whose doer is threatened with cursing and the punishment of Hell. The Musawwirs (those who make pictures and statues, or photographs of living beings) will be the people most severely punished on the Day of Resurrection and they are the most wrongful of mankind... read more here.

Ruling on video recording or Videography?

Question 370: Does video recording take the same ruling as photography?

Answer: Yes, the ruling of video recording has the same ruling of photography which is deemed unlawful due to the purport of related religious proofs... read more here.

Is it permissible to be photographed by modern cameras?

Question 369: Is it permissible for us to be photographed by modern cameras?

Answer: Photographing is Haraam (prohibited) and one of the major sins, as it is strongly prohibited in many Saheeh (authentic) Hadeeths, such as the saying of the Prophet (peace be upon him), Every maker of a picture will be in Hellfire. He also said, Anyone who makes a picture in this world will be ordered to breathe soul in it on the Day of Resurrection. There is no difference between making pictures by the camera or drawing them by hand, as the Hadeeths are general in this regard... read more here.