Assalamu alaykum

Respected Ulema

I’ve been to a wedding this past weekend which alhamdulillah was very well organised in terms of shariah compliance… But there’s one thing which is constantly affecting me and harming my conscience and that is the photography that went on. Alhamdulillah I wasn’t part of it however I feel the urge and the need to pass on the message and the hadith as well as the reference regarding the seriousness of photography being haraam and the sin if u could pls reply in these regards… Because it has not ended after the function people are now setting those photos as profile pictures etc.. Jazakallahu khayran


Bismihi Ta’ala

Respected Sister

Wa alaikumus salaam warahmatullahi wabarakaatuh

You have raised one of the crucial issues of the time. May Allah Ta’ala grant us the correct understanding and enable us to do that which will please Him at all times, Aameen.

Impermissibility of Picture Making: 

Picture making of animate objects is clearly prohibited in the ahaadeeth.

1. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has said: “The people who will receive the severest punishment on the day of judgement are the picture makers (of animate objects).” (Saheeh Bukhari #5950 & Saheeh Muslim #5539).

2. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) also said: “Every picture maker will be in the fire. For every picture that he makes, a living being will be created and will punish him in jahannam.” (Saheeh Muslim #5540)

This prohibition refers to all types of photography. While a digital picture may be stored as pixels, it is nevertheless a picture, albeit in a more sophisticated manner, and hence impermissible. There are many detailed proofs for the impermissibility of all types of photography which is beyond the scope of this brief answer.

Harms of Photography: 

Nevertheless, apart from the impermissibility mentioned above, consider the various other harms of digital photography, which is presently a pandemic that has beset the Ummah.

• Everywhere pictures and videos of people are being taken. The worst is at functions. The pictures of these women are then circulated to a wide number of people. They are also set as “profile pictures”. Every strange man who looks at that picture will be committing zina and will be accursed. Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) is reported to have said: “The curse of Allah Ta’ala is upon the one who casts a lustful glance (at a non-mahram) and also upon the one who has displayed herself.” (Shu’abul Imaan #7399) Thus the woman whose “profile picture” is being viewed by strange men is constantly under the curse of Rasulullah (sallallahi alaihi wasallam).

• Many young people who have sought advice to overcome their weaknesses have confessed to fantasising the most filthy things about women whom they have only seen pictures of. Especially in functions women are all dressed up and “made-up”. This picture of the “made-up” woman is circulated and becoming the object of filthy thoughts in the hearts of many men. Does the mere thought of something like this ever happening not send a terrible shudder down one’s spine? Does it not make one feel nauseous? The remote possibility of something like this taking place, will make any self-respecting woman with the slightest amount of shame shun whatever could lead to something so disgusting. But, the issue is … Is there any shame left?

• Due to the wholesale engagement in digital photography, people have become lax with regard to the prohibition of all pictures. Many print the digital pictures and think nothing of it.

These are only some of the harms.

Deprived of the Company of the Angels: 

Furthermore, another serious factor is that by us engaging in picture making and keeping photographs, we are deprived of the company of the angels.

In various narrations Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) has stated that the angels do not enter a place in which a picture is kept. (Saheeh Bukhaari #3225) On one occasion ‘Aaisha (radiyallahu anha) had sewn a pillow for Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) which had some pictures on it. When Rasulullah (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) came home, he stood by the door and his blessed countenance began to change colour (out of anger). When ‘Aaisha (radiyallahu anha) enquired about the reason for his anger, He (sallallahu alaihi wasallam) replied: “Are you not aware that the angels don’t enter a house in which a picture is kept. The one who made a picture will be punished on the day of Qiyaamah and he will be ordered to instil life into it (which will be impossible to do). (Saheeh Bukhaari #3224)

Being deprived of the company of the angels is a serious issue for a believer, since they are a Mu’mins friends and are of assistance to one on various occasions, even at the most crucial times.

Hereunder is a summary of some of the benefits we enjoy from the company of the angels:

1. Protection against various deeni and worldly difficulties.

Allah Ta’ala says in the Quraan Majeed:

لَهُ مُعَقِّبَاتٌ مِّن بَيْنِ يَدَيْهِ وَمِنْ خَلْفِهِ يَحْفَظُونَهُ مِنْ أَمْرِ اللَّـهِ

“For him (man) there are angels alternating with each other, before him and behind him, who guard him under the command of Allah Ta’ala.” (Ra’d v11)

Ali (radiyallahu anhu) says, “For every human being there are angels appointed to protect him. It is their duty to keep guarding them lest a wall falls over them, or they stumble into a ditch, or some animal causes harm to them. However, when the will of Allah Ta’ala overtakes a person, the guarding angels move away and whatever Allah Ta’ala intends to afflict him with will come upon him.” (Roohul Ma’ani vol.13. pg. 141).

From a narration of Uthmaan (radiyallahu anhu) we learn that the duty of these guarding angels is not limited to protecting human beings from worldly discomforts and hardships only. Instead, they also dissuade and try to protect them from sins. They continue infusing in their hearts the urge to do good and to fear Allah Ta’ala, so that they would refrain from sinning. If they still fall prey to sin, the angels make du’aa for them and try that they somehow hasten to repent and become cleansed of the sin. Thereafter, if the sinner fails to take heed and refuses to correct himself, they write down a sin in his book of deeds.

In short, these guarding angels keep protecting human beings against deeni and worldly discomforts and difficulties, all the time, awake or asleep. The well-known Tabi’ee Ka’b Al Ahbaar says: “If this divine protection had to be removed from around human beings, the jinns would make their lives difficult.” (Ma’aariful Quraan vol. 5, pg. 170)

2. Comfort and glad tidings at the time of death, which is the most crucial moment for man.

Allah Ta’ala says:

إِنَّ الَّذِينَ قَالُوا رَبُّنَا اللَّـهُ ثُمَّ اسْتَقَامُوا تَتَنَزَّلُ عَلَيْهِمُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ أَلَّا تَخَافُوا وَلَا تَحْزَنُوا وَأَبْشِرُوا بِالْجَنَّةِ الَّتِي كُنتُمْ تُوعَدُونَ ﴿٣٠﴾ نَحْنُ أَوْلِيَاؤُكُمْ فِي الْحَيَاةِ الدُّنْيَا وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَشْتَهِي أَنفُسُكُمْ وَلَكُمْ فِيهَا مَا تَدَّعُونَ

“Surely those who have declared: ‘Our Lord is Allah’, then they remained steadfast, the angles will descend on them saying, ‘Do not fear and do not grieve, and be happy with the glad tidings of the Jannah that you had been promised. We were your friends in the worldly life and (will remain as such) in the Hereafter. And for you in it is whatever your souls desire, and for you here is whatever you ask for’.” (Haa Meem Sajdah v30-31)

The descent of angels and their address which is mentioned in this verse will take place on three occasions; first at the time of death, secondly in the graves and thirdly at the time of resurrection from the graves. Abu Hayyaan is of the opinion that the angels actually keep on descending upon the believers all the time, even in this life, and their effects and blessings are found in the deeds of the believers, but the voice of the angels will only be heard at these occasions.

Thaabit Bunaani (rahimahullah) says, “According to a hadeeth that has reached us, at the time of resurrection, the believer will be met by the two angels who used to be with him in the world, and they will console him not to worry or be afraid. They will give him the glad tidings of Jannah which were promised to him. These words of the angels will bring serenity to the believer.” (Ma’aariful Quraan vol. 7, pg. 651 – Summarised)

When the angels offer so much of assistance and protection to us, it will the height of ingratitude and deprivation for us to get involved in photography and lose this company.

May Allah Ta’ala save us from everything that will lead to His displeasure, Aameen.

11 Safar 1434 / 25 December 2012

Answered by:

Uswatul Muslimah Panel of Ulama

Checked and approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee