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    Fatwa on Photography

    Fatwa by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty

    In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

    All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

    Dear brother in Islam, we would like to thank you for showing keenness on knowing the teachings of Islam, and we appreciate the great confidence you have in us. We hope our efforts meet your expectations, yet we apologize for the late reply.

    With regard to your question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a senior lecturer and an Islamic scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, answers:

    "Photography as a medium of communication or for the simple, innocent retention of memories without the taint of reverence/shirk does not fall under the category of forbidden Tasweer.

    One finds a number of traditions from the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, condemning people who make Tasweer, which denotes painting or carving images or statues. It was closely associated with paganism or shirk. People were in the habit of carving images and statues for the sake of worship. Islam, therefore, declared Tasweer forbidden because of its close association with shirk (association of partners with Allah). One of the stated principles of usul-u-Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) is that if anything directly leads to haram, it is likewise haram. In other words, Tasweer was forbidden precisely for the reason that it was a means leading to shirk.

    The function of photography today does not fall under the above category. Even some of the scholars who had been once vehemently opposed to photography under the pretext that it was a form of forbidden Tasweer have later changed their position on it - as they allow even for their own pictures to be taken and published in newspapers, for videotaping lectures and for presentations; whereas in the past, they would only allow it in exceptional cases such as passports, driversí licenses, etc. The change in their view of photography is based on their assessment of the role of photography.

    Having said this, one must add a word of caution: To take pictures of leaders and heroes and hang them on the walls may not belong to the same category of permission. This may give rise to a feeling of reverence and hero worship, which was precisely the main thrust of the prohibition of Tasweer. Therefore, one cannot make an unqualified statement to the effect that all photography is halal. It all depends on the use and function of it. If it is for educational purpose and has not been tainted with the motive of reverence and hero worship, there is nothing in the sources to prohibit it."

    Also read:

    Photography is Allowed

    Do keep in touch. If you have any other question, don't hesitate to contact us.

    Allah Almighty knows best.
    ------------------
    "I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has a grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path. (The truth)"
    (11:55-56)

    "...Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds" (6:162)

    [This message has been edited by Sadiaa (edited July 12, 2002).]

    #2
    European Council for Fatwa and Research

    The issue of pictures is subject to an old difference of opinion amongst the scholars that is due to their differing interpretation of what has been narrated from the Prophet pbuh regarding this matter. There are those who have gone so far as to prohibit the making or acquiring of all forms of pictures and these are in the minority. There is also those who prohibited all picture making of man or animal without any exception. This is has also been a minority through out the centuries.

    Most of the scholars, however, are against making and acquiring pictures for both humans and animals, with the exception being made for childrenís toys and those which are not glorified such as those made in carpets, curtains and the like. This opinion is held by a number of the Prophetís companions as well as many other scholars. Their reasons being that the Prophet pbuh confirmed Aishah to play with childrenís dummies, when she was still young. He also used to pray while a partition was in front of him with a birdís picture drawn on it, and all he asked was for it to be moved side ways as it was distracting him while in prayer, and he also used to rest on a cushion made by Aisha which had pictures on it.

    Picture making, in ancient times, used to consist of what man made by hand such as statutes, drawings and carvings and as such there were two opinions held by two groups of scholars. The first group prohibited pictures in statute (or three dimensional) forms and allowed all others, while the second group prohibited all forms of picture making leaving the only exceptions being those described in the above paragraph, ie childrenís toys and those made in carpets, curtains and the like.

    When mechanised picture making became available, people where confused whether to make it part of the general picture making and which was prohibited according to the Prophetís Traditions, or those who say that: this form of picture making is not of manís own innovation, ie it is no more than man capturing by means of machine a picture of that which Allah has created, as the reasons behind the prohibition of making pictures is not to make similar to what Allah has created.

    The strongest position which we advocate and which we see as closest to the intentions of Allah and His Prophet pbuh is that the making of three-dimensional representation is not allowed except where it is used as an educational tool or childrenís toys. So far as other forms of drawn pictures we do not see any harm in them, particularly where they serve a useful purpose.

    Automated static and motion pictures can be more clearly addressed, for in addition to the fact that they are not three dimensional, man also has no part in the picture creation it self. [Hence it is lawful].

    The enquirer should know that there is a difference between the making and the acquiring of pictures. The rule governing picture making is already detailed above. So the rules regarding the acquiring of pictures is that such practice is basically lawful in all that is allowed to be made, except where it becomes glorified, like idols for worship, or used for corrupting purposes such as pornography.
    ------------------
    "I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has a grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path. (The truth)"
    (11:55-56)

    "...Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds" (6:162)

    Comment


      #3
      Whosoever thinks photography is not allowed, should throw all the money out of his pocket for that'd be unislamic too. Dont forget the coins either. Tell them to bring all the wealth and money out of their houses and pile it in the trash can.

      Comment


        #4
        This ain't gonna stop me from buying my fav camera... Canon Powershot A40! (It takes very good pictures, this Mullah should try it sometime!!!)

        ------------------
        You can only paint with the colors you're given...
        ...so get what you like and like what you have.

        Comment


          #5
          Originally posted by pakistan99:
          This ain't gonna stop me from buying my fav camera... Canon Powershot A40! (It takes very good pictures, this Mullah should try it sometime!!!)

          Did you even read the article or were you too blinded by rebellion to do that?

          Comment


            #6
            .

            [This message has been edited by Sadiaa (edited July 12, 2002).]

            Comment


              #7
              Originally posted by Mahiwal:
              Did you even read the article or were you too blinded by rebellion to do that?
              I am the rebel ... with the camera

              ------------------
              You can only paint with the colors you're given...
              ...so get what you like and like what you have.

              Comment


                #8
                I found this line interesting. A lot of religious folks change their tune for many other things besides photography when it comes to their own benefit.

                Even some of the scholars who had been once vehemently opposed to photography under the pretext that it was a form of forbidden Tasweer have later changed their position on it - as they allow even for their own pictures to be taken and published in newspapers, for videotaping lectures and for presentations


                Mahiwal, give me a break ok? Photography has a practical use -- people dont take photographs to worship the images, the way statues were once worshipeed. Additionally, when it comes to paintings and other such imagery, the whole point of disallowing such a practice is that people would made illustrative representations of God, Prophets, and respected religious authorities, thereby turning human into God or God into human. This is a sin.

                But photography doesn't make a human a God. Of course, photography LIKE EVERYTHING ELSE, can be abused. We can abuse clothes too , you know , but that does not mean we can't wear them. Photography can be abused, for example, in pornography. But here, the real culprit isnt the photography, but the pornography. Likewise, when one makes a statue , its not the marble or clay that is evil, its the fact that the statue is being worshipped.

                Like everything, one can use photography for practical and artistic reasons, without degrading it into shirk.

                In life, God gave humans the intelligence to use tools. Whether we use them for Good or Evil, that is our choice. And then we get our punishment or reward sooner or later for it.
                I believe in dragons, good men, and other fantasy creatures.

                Comment


                  #9
                  I'm still a little skeptical about the two fatawa. They do allow us to take pictures n all, but I've read some other fatawa where one of the main reasons for prohibiting it is a hadith stating that angels don't enter homes with dogs or pictures of human beings or animals.

                  inshAllah I'll see if I can get an answer from Sheikh A. Kutty on this issue.



                  ------------------
                  "I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has a grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path. (The truth)"
                  (11:55-56)

                  "...Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds" (6:162)

                  Comment


                    #10

                    "
                    One of the stated principles of usul-u-Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) is that if anything directly leads to haram, it is likewise haram. In other words, Tasweer was forbidden precisely for the reason that it was a means leading to shirk."

                    "The function of photography TODAY does not fall under the above category."


                    Maybe I'm not getting this straight but is this Ijtihad?

                    The article is quite explanatory.

                    Comment


                      #11
                      PyariCgudia; What exactly was your point? The fatawa says the exact same thing that Photography today isn't related to "shirk" hence it is allowed. Maybe you had a point apart from that and I missed it?

                      pakistan99; the fatawa does allow photography, what're you talking about?

                      Comment


                        #12
                        Originally posted by Mahiwal:
                        pakistan99; the fatawa does allow photography, what're you talking about?
                        Pakistan99: Didn't you learn any manners in your Imambara ? I understand your hatred for Islam, but don't you think it'd be more wise to express it in a less "blunt" way?



                        ------------------
                        When My servants ask you concerning Me, I am indeed close (to them): I listen to the prayer of every suppliant when he calls on Me: Let them also, with a will, Listen to My call, and believe in Me: That they may walk in the right way. (Holy Qur'an 2:186)

                        Comment


                          #13
                          Leave the guy alone, can't you see he added a smily face at the end? Gosh. He was kidding. Dang.

                          Comment


                            #14
                            HUH! Why don't you all stick to the topic... start another thread or PM each other for the personal attacks!

                            ------------------
                            "I put my trust in Allah, my Lord and your Lord! There is not a moving creature, but He has a grasp of its forelock. Verily, my Lord is on the straight path. (The truth)"
                            (11:55-56)

                            "...Indeed my prayer, my sacrifice, my living and my dying are for Allaah, the Lord of the worlds" (6:162)

                            [This message has been edited by Sadiaa (edited July 13, 2002).]

                            Comment


                              #15
                              These beliefs that photography is haraam & others like it are beliefs of ignorants and extremists! Leave them be!

                              [This message has been edited by hafeez123 (edited July 13, 2002).]

                              Comment

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