Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Islamic Ruling On Pictures/Photography

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Islamic Ruling On Pictures

Bismillah Hir Rehman Ir Raheem
Start In the Name Of Allah The Most Beneficent The Most Merciful

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In view of unprecedented development in print and electronic media, particularly TV, Internet and Video phones, it is important that we understand the issue of 'pictures' in Islam in its proper perspective.
The opinions of Islamic scholars are divided on this subject. We have explained below important facts in this context in the light of Quran and Ahadith.
From The Quran :

Al-Araf - 148:
The people of (Prophet) Musa (Alaihis Salam) made in his absence, out of their ornaments, the image of calf, (for worship): it seemed to low: did they not see that it could neither speak to them, nor show them the way? They took it for worship and they did wrong.

Al-Anbiya - 51-54:
We bestowed aforetime on Abraham (Alaihis Salaam) his righteousness of conduct, and well were We (Allah Ta'ala) acquainted with him. Behold! He (Abraham - Alaihis Salaam) said to his father (the brother of his father whom he used to call father out of affection) and his people, "What are these images, to which you are (so assiduously) devoted?" They said, "We found our fathers worshiping them." He said, "Indeed you have been in manifest error, you and your fathers."

Saba - 13:
"They worked for him (Prophet Sulaiman - Alaihis Salaam) as he desired, (making) arches, images, basins as large as reservoirs, and (cooking) cauldrons fixed (in their places): "Work O' Sons of David (Alaihis Salaam) with thanks! but few of My servants are grateful!"

The first Quranic verse says that in the absence of Prophet Musa (Alaihis Salaam) some people made an image of a Calf for worship. This act on their part was wrong.
The second Quranic verse says that some people in Prophet Ibrahim's (Alaihis Salaam) time made some images and worshiped them. This act on their part was wrong.
The third Quranic verse says that some people worked as per the orders of Prophet Sulaiman (Alaihis Salaam) and made images. This act on their part was right. Why? Because these images were not meant for worship.

The above Quranic verses confirm the fact that the intention behind making images has to be virtuous. Images made with bad intention (for worship) are disallowed and images made out of good intention are allowed in Islam.

From Hadiths:

Narrated by Ummul Momineen Aisha (Rdhiallahu ta'ala Anha) - "I used to play with dolls in the presence of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam) and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam) used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet ( Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam) would call them to join and play with me.

Abu Dawud Hadiths:
Narrated by Ummul Momineen Aisha (Radhiallahu Ta'ala Anha) "When the Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam) arrived after the expedition of Tabuk or Khaybar (the narrator is doubtful), the drought raised an end of a curtain which was hung in front of her store-room, revealing some dolls which belonged to her. He asked: What is this? She replied: My dolls. Among them he saw a horse with wings made of rags, and asked: What is this I see among them? She replied: A horse. He asked: What is this that it has on it? She replied: Two wings. He asked: A horse with two wings? She replied: Have you not heard that Solomon had horses with wings? She said: Thereupon the Apostle of Allah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam) laughed so heartily that I could see his molar teeth.

-Pictures drawn, taken or even making shapes of human beings or animals is allowed in Islam provided they are made for some good purpose; even as play things for children because Prophet Muhammad allowed Aisha R.a to continue play with the toys.
- Pictures can be drawn in text books / drawing books / black boards, etc, to explain various subjects to students, Because Islam gaves full freedom to earn education
Allah says: “But say: “O my Lord! Increase me in knowledge”
(Quran 20:115)
-Pictures can be drawn / taken for scientific and technological research and education at Colleges, Universities and laboratories.
-Pictures can be taken and used for Passports / I-Cards / Driver licenses / social security and a host of other requirements.
The Prophet (saws) said "Both legal (halaal) and illegal (haraam) things are obvious, and in between them are (suspicious) doubtful matters. So whoever forsakes those doubtful things lest he may commit a sin, will definitely avoid what is clearly illegal; and whoever indulges in these (suspicious) doubtful things bravely, is likely to commit what is clearly illegal. Sins are Allah's Hima (i.e. private pasture) and whoever pastures (his sheep) near it, is likely to get in it at any moment."
-Pictures of Islamic scholars / Shuyooks can be drawn / printed in books for identification.
-Islamic scholars can appear on TVs, Internet and Videophones to explain Islamic issues to people.
-Pictures of family members can be drawn / taken with the help of a Camera. Since these pictures are used as a remembrance for the following generations, these can be hanged on walls.
For Example: Government Offices in Saudia Arabia contain Pictures of Top Government Officials OR
Kings and Prince come in Camera and shoot photos when they visit some other countries with delegations

Some Notable Points/ Hanging the Pictures:

The majority of the scholars are also of the opinion that a believer must not decorate or display in his house any pictures, images, idols, or photos of animate objects, as in light of the several narrations of the Messenger of Allah (saws), the Angels of Mercy do not enter a house where there are pictures (of animate objects).

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.448
"Narrated by Abu Talha I heard the Messenger of Allah (saws) saying; "Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal)."

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 7.841
" Narrated by Abu Talha The Messenger of Allah (saws) said, "Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house where there are pictures."

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 4.450
" Narrated by Abu Salim Once Gabriel promised the Prophet (saws) that he would visit him, but Gabriel did not come, and later on he said, "We, angels, do not enter a house which contains a picture, or a dog."

Almost all the scholars of Islam are unanimous in their opinion that there is no harm if one takes a portrait photograph for necessary and legal reasons, and to comply with the modern methods of identification like identity cards, driver’s license, passports, etc. Some opine that there is no harm if one wishes to take photos of family and loved ones and keeps them secured in albums for memory; but if they abstain from it, it would be better and purer for them.

Pictures Drawn for Wrong Intentions are not Allowed:

The following Ahadith clearly specify prohibition of pictures drawn or taken for unlawful purposes like worship, immorality, hatred, satire, etc.

-It is in Hadith - Narrated by Ummul Momineen Aisha (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anha) - Um Habiba (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anha) and Um Salama (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anha) mentioned about a Church they had seen in Ethiopia in which there were pictures. They told the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam) about it, on which he said, "If any religious man dies amongst those people (Christians) they would build a place of worship at his grave (considering him to be divine) and make these pictures in it. They will be the worst creature in the sight of Allah Ta'ala on the Day of Resurrection." (Bukhari - Book #8, Hadith #419).

-It is in Hadith - Narrated by Abu Juhaifa (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anhu): "I saw my father buying a slave whose profession was cupping, and ordered that his instruments (of cupping) be broken. I asked him the reason for doing so. He replied, "Allah's Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam) prohibited taking money for blood, the price of a dog and the earnings of a slave-girl by prostitution; he cursed her who tattoos and her who gets tattooed, the eater of Riba (usury), and the maker of pictures (for bad purposes). " (Bukhari - Book #34, Hadith #440)

-It is in Hadith - Narrated by Ibn Abbas (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anhu): 'When the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam) saw pictures in the Ka'ba, he did not enter it till he ordered them to be erased. When he saw (the pictures of Abraham - Alaihis Salaam and Ishmael - Alaihis Salaam carrying the arrows of divination), he said, "May Allah (Ta'ala) curse them (the Quraish)! By Allah, neither Abraham (Alaihis Salaam) nor Ishmael (Alaihis Salaam) practiced divination by arrows." (Bukhari - Book #55, Hadith #571).

-It is in Hadith - Narrated by Abdullah bin Umar (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anhu): Allah's Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam) said, "Those who make these pictures (for worship) will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said to them. 'Make alive what you have created.' (Bukhari - Book #72, Hadith #835).

-It is in Hadith - Narrated by Said bin Abu Al-Hassan (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anhu) - "While I was with Ibn 'Abbas (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anhu) a man came and said, "O father of 'Abbas (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anhu)! My sustenance is from my manual profession and I make these pictures." Ibn 'Abbas (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anhu) said, "I will tell you only what I heard from Allah's Apostle (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Aalihi Wasallam). I heard him saying, 'Whoever makes a picture (for prohibited usage) will be punished by Allah (Ta'ala) till he puts life in it, and he will never be able to put life in it.' Hearing this, that man heaved a sigh and his face turned pale. Ibn 'Abbas (Radiallahu Ta'ala Anhu) said to him, "What a pity! If you insist on making pictures, I advise you to make pictures of trees and any other un-animated objects." (Bukhari).

-It is in Hadith - "On the Day of Resurrection a neck will stretch forth from Hell; it will have two eyes to see, two ears to hear, and a tongue to speak. It will say, "I have been appointed to take care of three types of people: every arrogant tyrant, every person who called on some deity other than Allah (Ta'ala) and those who made (forbidden) pictures" (Tirmidhi)

However, Some Islamic scholars only prefer digital camera images because it doesn't challenge the Supermacy of Allah as Digital images are reflect of original human or animals that God created. But, they forbids the picture-making for anyh purposes on the basis of some hadith.

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 7.834
Narrated by Muslim We were with Masruq at the house of Yasar bin Numair. Masruq saw pictures on his terrace and said, "I heard 'Abdullah saying that he heard the Prophet (saws) saying, "The people who will receive the severest punishment from Allah will be the picture makers.' "
Note : Picture-Making not Taking (Photography)

Sahih Al-Bukhari Hadith 7.845
Narrated by Abu Juhaifa that he had bought a slave whose profession was cupping. The Prophet forbade taking the price of blood, and the price of a dog, and the earnings of a prostitute, and cursed the one who took or gave (Riba') usury, and the lady who tattooed others or got herself tattooed, and the picture-maker.

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