Tag Archives: Some opinions of the ‘Ulama on Pictures

Prohibition on Photography, Pictures, Images etc.

Photography and some modernist-Ulama

Have mercy on the Deen !
Do not destroy the masses !

[By Hadhrat Mufti Sa’eed Palanpuri d.b]

Hadhrat Maulana Shaykh Hakeem Fadhlul-Kareem Al-Hussaini, Mufti A’zam Madani of Daarul Iftaa, Assam, enquired from Hadhrat Mufti Sa’eed Ahmad Palanpuri about the ruling regarding the permissibility & impermissibility of photography, due to its widespread indulgence nowadays. Hadhrat Mufti Sa’eed Ahmad Palanpuri issued the following Fatwa in response:


Revered & Respected Brother! May your piety increase.

Assalaamu’alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh.

You have enquired regarding  photography, whether it is permissible or impermissible, and if it is impermissible than why is the actions of seniors contradictory to it?

Generally in the gatherings & conferences well known personalities get their photos taken without the slightest hesitation. Moreover some well know personalities have now started to appear on television too.

Regarding this issue, the unanimous ruling of all the Muftis of South Asia (India, Pakistan and Bangladesh) is:

  “All photos are haraam. The prohibitions sounded in the Saheeh Hadeeth for pictures are equally applicable to these photos. Some ‘Ulamaa of Egypt and ‘Arabia have differed on this. But the ‘Ulamaa of South Asia have no difference of opinion regarding this matter whatsoever, i.e. they all unanimously agree that whether the pictures are digital, non-digital or hand-made, all pictures of living beings are haraam.”

 However, the seniors of the Ummah practically flout the verdict of their Muftis. There no longer exists aversion for the camera photos in their minds. This is a big tragedy. I often say to the Akaabireen that if the ruling has changed & the camera photos have become permissible than ask all the Darul Iftaa’s to issue the ruling of its permissibility first. Thereafter may they have photos taken.

The present state of affairs is in fact a mockery of Deen. Common people say:

     ‘Look! Muftis issue the Fatwaa (of prohibition) while the Hadhrats who have their photos taken in gatherings act in conflict.‘

If importance and significance concerning even one Deeni matter is eliminated from the hearts of the masses, then all the other Deeni matters will suffer the same fate.

Moreover some businessmen without thinking of the consequences have started   selling photos of the seniors. Now the photos of Hadhrat
Thanwi, Hadhrat Madani, Maulana Zafar ‘Uthmani and many more other Buzurgs are being flagrantly sold. What will be the result of this ?? Everyone can understand this. It is my request to the seniors, for the sake of ALLAH have mercy on the Deen. If you don’t have any value left in your hearts for Deen then at least please do not destroy the masses.” 

[End of the Fatwa]


The photos of Hadhrat Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanvi,  Hadhrat Maulana Husain Ahmad Madani ,etc.”: This should not be misconstrued. These true Akaabireen NEVER  indulged in the Kabeerah (Major) sin of photography. Their photos are either passport pictures or snaps taken by some misguided miscreant without the knowledge of these noble Ulama.

Those who  have been referred to as ‘seniors’, but who  stoop to the despicable  level of  intentionally having their photos taken, or not taking measures to prevent  their  photos  being taken or act like dumb devils feeling pleased with their  photos, hence their silence – they are not Seniors in the true sense of the term. On the contrary, they are  mudhilleen (those who mislead the masses). About these mudhilleen  ‘seniors’, Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) said:

   “Verily, I fear for my Ummah the aimmah mudhilleen.”

When a  person  constantly dwells in an environment of najaasat, he becomes desensitized to its abhorrent stench  and  harm. The stench
of faeces then becomes ‘fragrant’  as a consequence of the imbalance in his olfactory sense. This is the fate  which these misguided ‘seniors’ are suffering. Najaasat has become fragrant to them, hence not a semblance of revulsion for the major sin of picture-making remains in their hearts. They belong to the fraternity of the ulama-e-soo’.

Some opinions of the ‘Ulama on Pictures

Shaikh Mustafa’ Humaami (Rahmatullah alayh) of Egypt writes: “The photographers of our time regard picture-making as a great skill and as a branch of the ‘fine-arts’.. this means that these people regard picture-making as lawful without any qualms. Now, what does the Law state regarding  a person who regards a forbidden practice as lawful, and this too, when he has knowledge of its prohibition? We seek Allah’s protection. Alas! Muslims today have been encircled by this great evil (of photography) to such an extent that there hardly remains a Muslim home without being full with photos. Ponder! Should  Rasulullah صلى الله عليه والسلم make an appearance today and observe this evil, what will be his attitude? The great misfortune of the situation is that this fitnah (the evil of photography) prevails in those cities where the inhabitants regard themselves to excel in knowledge.”

Pictures are generally worshipped by the idolaters, and are therefore  detested by the angels as well as despised by the Prophets صلى الله عليه والسلم and the makers of them will be duly punished on the Day of Resurrection, because they are the cause of providing materials for idolatry. It is manifest that those ignorant people who keep pictures of the Prophets (Alayhis Salaam), Imams, saints, peers and pay them every respect and preserve them, from a belief of their auspicious influence, have gone most astray and are deeply involved in the crime of SHIRK. It is therefore necessary to take the pictures out of good homes, as impure things.. Hence the crime of making pictures. Is very great, greater even than the crimes of that of Yaz’id and Shimar…” – TAQWIYATUL IMAN, SHAH ISMA’IL SHAHEED (Rahmatullah Alayh).

“The second  main constituent of their (Muslim) culture is the creed of Monotheism. Belief in the Oneness of God is manifest in all their activities from spiritual conviction to practical conduct and from worship to festivals and ceremonies. Their homes and studios are expected to be free from every trace of idolatry and polytheism – photographs, statues, images having been prohibited to them by their religion. The same principle has to be followed even while making or buying toys for their children.. wherever Muslims will be honest in their loyalty to Islamic civilization, they will remain strictly removed from such practices.”

“It (Islam) frowns severely upon certain forms of self-indulgence and sensuality to which the West has given the imposing label of “Fine Arts” some of these are dancing, painting and photography (of living beings) and sculpture.” – MAULANA ABUL HASAN ALI NADWI (Rahmatullah Alayh)

“.. indulgence in picture-making opens the door to the worship of idols. In most communities idol-worship started with picture-making.” – HADHRAT SHAH WALIULLAH MUHADDITH (Rahmatullah Alayh)

“It is prohibited by Sharia’h to prepare, print and publish images of living things. By Shari’ah, this is sinful indeed. “In fact, to prepare imaginary images of the Sahaba (radhiyallahu anhum), print and publish them is a far greater and extremely grievous sin.”

“ISLAM strictly prohibits pictures and images of all animate things; whether these pictures are drawn by hand or photographed, it is an indisputable fact that they are pictures and photos of living things… it is un-Islamic and strictly prohibited to print history books in the form of picture-stories, more especially of the Sahabahs and the righteous predecessors.”

–MAULANA C.M. SEMA, Jamiatul Ulama, Natal

Why Pictures of Animate Objects have been Prohibited


Objects of Prohibition

The Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه والسلم was commissioned by the Almighty to eradicate idolatry, root and branch, from the world. Previously, prophets were raised who preached the unity of Allah. As each prophet passed away, his followers took some form of idolatry. For instance, the followers of Jesus Christ (Isa alayhis salaam) introduced images in their churches. The Protestant vehemently protested and established different churches, abolishing all images therefrom. They, however, upheld Trinity as opposed to unity, bidding good-bye to pure monotheism preached by Isa alayhis salaam. The Holy Prophet Muhammad صلى الله عليه والسلم came to purge the evils from the old truths and introduced new ones conformable to the new society. Therefore perceiving the baneful effect that pictures and images would have on his followers in future, he abolished them wholesale. He demolished the tree of idolatry as well as eradicated its possible roots from Islam. This is one of the reasons why life-pictures have been made unlawful. The second reason is that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه والسلم prohibited mourning the death of a man for more than three days. If there is a picture of a dead family member near someone, it will give him constant mental anxieties and sorrows, thereby making him indifferent and incapable of active work. The third thing to be noticed is that the Holy Prophet صلى الله عليه والسلم whose principles are now shining in full glory after 14 centuries has not established this law without any rhyme or reason. The reasons given above may not extend so far as to those of the Prophet صلى الله عليه والسلم. These are after all comparatively quite insignificant. Only Allah and His Apostle know best about the reasons. Taking the opposite view, it is evident that if pictures were allowed in Islam, the result would have been disastrous to the cause of perfection of the unity of Allah. Pictures of saints, prophets and holy men of Islam and other religions would have been hung up in mosques, houses, in the Prophet’s mosque at Madinah and in the Holy Ka’aba. “The truth has come” would have disappeared and people would imperceptibly have put wreaths of flowers by way of homage to the deceased great men and saluted them. This practice would have led ultimately to idolatry. Thus with true foresight, Islam the religion where only truth prevails, held pictures as unlawful.