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/shirkdoes not fall under the category of forbiddenTasweer.
One finds a number of traditions from the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, condemning people who makeTasweer, which denotes painting or carving images or statues. It was closely associated with paganism orshirk. People were in the habit of carving images and statues for the sake of worship. Islam, therefore, declaredTasweerforbidden because of its close association withshirk(association of partners with Allah). One of the stated principles ofusul-u-Fiqh(Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) is that if anything directly leads toharam, it is likewiseharam. In other words,Tasweerwas forbidden precisely for the reason that it was a means leading toshirk.
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 forbiddenTasweerhave 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, drivers’ 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 ofTasweer. Therefore, one cannot make an unqualified statement to the effect that all photography ishalal. 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.”
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