Photography - Scholarly View
  • Question:

    I have heard many differences of opinion on the topic of taking photographs of people, but can you kindly the hanafi ruling on this and also what is the view of the majority of the scholars on this? I do not keep pictures in my house as I believe in another narration it is stated that angels do not enter that house, but can we share pictures of our children for example on social media sites like Facebook?


    Assalamu Alaikum wa rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh

    The issue of photography is one of controversy as there are valid differences of opinion.

    It should also be noted that this matter is not of belief and disbelief. It is rather a mujtahad fīh matter (theological discussion amongst scholars based on interpretation of texts), hence difference of opinion is acceptable and appreciated.

    The below mentioned is my approach to the matter after thorough consultation with my teachers and mentors, such as Sh. Abdullāh Kāpodrawī, Muftī Khālid Saifullāh Al Raḥmānī, Mufīi Rafī’ Uthmānī, Shaykh Salmān Husainī al-Nadwī and Shaykh Ṭaḥā Karaan (may Allāh preserve them).

    Taking, viewing and storing digital photographs of animate and inanimate objects is permissible with the following conditions:

    • The objects photographed are not to be obscene or lewd.
    • The objects photographed should not be for veneration or worship.
    • While taking photographs, the intention should never be to liken or resemble Allah’s matchless ability ‘to create’. Rather the intention should be that one is simply capturing an image of what Allāh Almighty has already created. Allāh is the only al-Muṣawwir (the One who shapes the forms of His creation).
    • Printing digital photographs of animate objects would only be permissible in meaningful necessities, such as pictures for passports, identification cards or educational purposes.

    What ever is prohibited to view in a physical tangible sense is also prohibited to view virtually and digitally.
    There is no objection in printing digital photographs of inanimate objects.

    As for sculptures and statues, one must abstain from making sculptures of animate objects, as this resembles idols and idol worship, which is Islamically prohibited.

    And Allah knows best.

    Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Badat
    Hadith of the Day Imam
    Imam of the Islamic Foundation of Toronto and Director of Mathabah Institute
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