The disastrous consequence of legalising photography


Hazrat Moulana Yunus Patel Sahib رحمة الله عليه

One of the greatest calamities of our times is the abuse of the camera.

In this day and age, with the easy availability of cell-phones, digital cameras, camcorders, etc. everyone seems to be in possession of a tool which has created an upheaval in mischief. How many have had their names dragged through the mud or have been black-mailed, slandered or left humiliated and disgraced due to photographs taken and then circulated?

Photography is an evil, which has been entirely misjudged and under-estimated.

Just recently, a brother related a dream to me, requesting an interpretation. I interpreted his dream saying: ‘It seems as if movies are being viewed in the Musjid.’

Within a matter of days, the interpretation was made apparent. We had a visiting ‘Aalim give a talk in our Musjid. I was sitting on a chair, near the front, when I observed three young boys very absorbed with their cell phones. I requested a friend to go to the back of the Musjid and see what they were up to. He observed that they were viewing some film with dirty, indecent pictures.

إنا لله و إنا إليه راجعون We give our children high-technology at the expense of hayaa (modesty), Deen and Imaan.

One is to have no shame and commit sins in the presence of Allah Ta`ala, but increasing in shamelessness is when one is brazen enough to commit sins in the presence of Allah Ta`ala, whilst in the Musjid, the House of Allah Ta`ala.

The same shamelessness is found en-masse in the Musjid of all Masaajid, Musjidul Haraam in Makkah Shareef. The objective of the majority visiting these days, is taking photographs and video recording, instead of engaging in Ibaadah.

Complaints – and it is even our experience – of flashes and clicks of the camera, seen or heard, whilst Salaah is in progress or whilst in Tawaaf.

There is a very dire need to explain that this is a grave and serious crime in the sight of Allah Ta`ala.

What needs to be understood is that photography of anything animate is a clear prohibition. It is haraam.

It has been narrated from Hadhrat Jabir (Radiyallahu Anhu) that Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) forbade pictures in the house and he forbade making them.

Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said: “Verily, of the most grievously tormented people on the Day of Resurrection are picture-makers.”

There are, in fact, many other Ahaadeeth, which clearly prove this prohibition.

Why did Allah Ta`ala prohibit photography?

One reason is quite clear; that it was the origin of shirk (polytheism):
Going down the passage of history, we find that mankind was introduced to idol worship due to Shaytaan’s efforts in leading mankind astray. So due to his whispering encouragement, people began to draw and sketch their pious predecessors, thinking that their faces and images will be a source of inspiration; an incentive to also follow in their footsteps of piety. However, it was the means by which many began to worship those pictures, and thereafter carved such idols; and idol worship came into vogue.

Whilst this would have been more than sufficient for the Believer, it is no longer considered a worthy reason by Muslims who want to engage in the sin. Many say that there is no way that they would worship a photograph or even a sketch, let alone an idol. My Shaikh, Hadhrat Moulana Hakeem Muhammad Akhtar Sahib دامت بركاته explains that one reason behind the prohibition is so that Allah Ta`ala may protect the respect and dignity of His servants.

Many a time, a person who was engaged in various evils is granted hidayah (guidance). Sometimes, this hidayah is such that he attains a high stage of wilayah. The person becomes a great Wali (Friend) of Allah Ta`ala and even a Shaikh, and thousands of people throng to his gatherings. Now at such a time, if someone were to dig up pictures of his past … what embarrassment would he have to endure?

From Allah Ta`ala’s side, there is forgiveness of sins, on sincere taubah, to the extent, that all evidence is ‘deleted’ and Insha-Allah, the person will not have to render an account for those sins. However, if photographs were taken, then this is evidence which the person has produced against himself, and which cannot always be destroyed – especially if it is in the hands of others who wish to bring disgrace to the person.

My Shaikh mentioned the above reason, during an election in Pakistan, where a woman was a candidate in the election. She was blackmailed with photographs of herself in a compromising situation, so that she withdraws.

Further to this reason, we find that the porn industry and filthy films are all based on pictures. Islam nips the problem in the bud by prohibiting photography.

If everyone practiced upon this teaching, we would not have pornography, woman abuse and exploitation, child pornography, and the evil consequences of rape, insanity, suicide, incest, etc., much of which has shattered and devastated the marriages and homes of many Muslims.

Now thinking over all these harms, we should appreciate the prohibition all the more and show that appreciation by abstaining. There is nothing but great wisdom in the prohibitions of Allah Ta`ala, with nothing but good for His servants.


The opinion of Hadhrat Moulana Yusuf Binnori رحمة الله عليه on television

During the last meeting of the Pakistan Islamic Council that Allamah Yusuf Binnori رحمة الله عليه attended, Hadhrat was asked to appear on television. He declined. Later Hadhrat was asked whether films could be used for the propagation of Deen, provided that all immorality and factors that destroy character are removed. Upon this, Hadhrat Moulana رحمة الله عليه expounded on a principle of Deen, the gist of which is:

“I wish to share with you a principle issue. We have not been obligated by Allah Ta’ala to use every possible means, whether permissible or impermissible, for the tableegh of Deen. Instead, we are required to use all our energies and resources to propagate Deen only using permissible means and methods.

Together with the injunction of tableegh, Islam has also laid down guidelines and principles for tableegh. We are thus obligated to conduct our tableegh within this framework.

If we are successful in our efforts after following the guidelines and principles, then indeed, we have achieved our ultimate goal and objective. If our efforts were unfruitful, but we had adopted the permissible methods and means, we will not be compelled to further our tableegh by using every possible and available means, be it permissible or impermissible.

If even one person is blessed with guidance after using the permissible means, then undoubtedly our tableegh was successful. However, if on the other hand, scores and droves of people embrace Islam on account of us adopting impermissible methods and means, then this holds no value in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.

How can success ever be achieved when we have transgressed the bounds of Shari‘ah? Rather than it being the tableegh of Deen, it would be the tableegh of something else.

Photography inherently contradicts the injunctions of Islam. Therefore, we will not be compelled to utilise it as a tool for tableegh. If a person is prepared to accept Islam through our invitation via permissible methods and means, then we will definitely be grateful and pleased. However, for those who are not prepared to do so and wish to accept our invitation only by means of the television, then we regret that we will have to be excused.

If this stance is not adopted today, then the television will be a tool for tableegh now, but in time to come, be-hijaab (unveiled) women would be used for this purpose, and an effort will be made to use immoral gatherings of music and dancing, etc., to invite people to Deen.

In this way, in the name of tableegh we will be guilty of gradually violating the laws of Islam.”

(Article written by Mufti Taqi Saheb in the kitaab “Muhadditul Asr Hazrat Moulana Muhammad Yusuf Binnori (Rahmatullah Alayh) P.g. 91, Nuqoosh-e-Raftagaa, P.g 104)

Fatwa of Moulana Yusuf Ludhyaanwi رحمة الله عليه

Hadhrat Moulana Yusuf Ludhyaanwi رحمة الله عليه writes:

Although the photos captured by video or television equipment are not visible (like a normal printed picture), but they are stored, and displayed on a television set.

These pictures cannot be excluded from the hukm of tasweer.

The most that can be said is that instead of the olden method of picture-making, technological advancement has brought about a new means of picture-making.

When Shari‘ah has declared picture-making  as haraam, then no matter which methods or means are invented, Tasweer will remain haraam.

The humble of opinion of this servant is that in hand-drawn pictures those evil are not found which are found in video and tv… because of the television and videos every home has been transformed into a cinema…

Does this make sense that on the one hand Shari‘ah declares hand-drawn pictures as haraam, and the picture maker as mal’oon and warns him of “ashad-dun naasi azaaban yowmal qiyaamah”, but on the other hand declares Halaal this ‘storm of immorality and indecency’ known as TV?

As for the claim made by some that there is some benefit therein, so I ask:

“Are there no benefits in intoxicants, pork, interest and gambling?” But the Qur’aan Shareef has put a cross on all these benefits by announcing “wa ithmuhumaa akbaru min naf’ihimaa”.

Some say that through TV and videos we will propagate and spread Islam.

In our country there are Deeni programmes on TV, but, with due respect, may I ask:

How many non-muslims have accepted Islam by viewing these Deeni programmes?

How many bê-namaazi’s began performing Salaat because of these programmes?

How many sinners have made taubah because of these programmes?

This is nothing but deception.

This instrument of immorality and sin, which is ‘najisul ayn’ from head to toe, which is mal’oon, the one who makes it is mal’oon in Dunya and Akhirat, how will it assist in spreading Deen?….

As for those who say that so-and-so says this and so-and-so does that, this is not a daleel of jawaaz (permissibility) for us.

Wallahu a’lam

(Moulana) Muhammad Yusuf

20 Zhul Qa’dah 1406

(Mufti) Ihsaanullah Shaa’iq, Darul Iftaa wal Irshaad, Naazimabad, Karachi 16 jumaadal Ukhraa 1425

Al Jawaab Saheeh  (Mufti) Muhammad  16/06/1425

Al Jawaab Saheeh (Mufti) Saeedullah  16/06/1425


Opinion of Hadhrat Moulana Yunus Patel Saheb رحمة الله عليه regarding the influence of television

One of the many Sunnats of the Ambiyaa عليهم السلام is that of hayaa – shame and modesty: a quality which is sorely missing in the lives of the majority of Muslims today and which should otherwise be an outstanding characteristic and feature of all Muslims, whether married or unmarried.

Television is such an evil that if our society only understood its reality, then they would find no excuse to watch. Its spiritual harm is that it takes away the hayaa and shame of our men, women and children.

The content of most television programmes is nothing but immodesty and indecency, which invites nothing but immodesty and indecency – into our homes, into our lives and the lives of our children.

However, this truth and reality seems to just pass over the understanding of even those Muslims who have some link with Deen. Many are regular with Salaah, they are seen in the Musjid, they are wearing the garb of the pious and yet they will be the ones to present flimsy and feeble excuses to view television programmes.

Let us consider this situation of sin from the following view – which Alhamdulillah, has been a means of many getting rid of the television.

  • If a person has to knock on your door and tell you: ‘I would like to use your lounge to commit adultery.’
  • Or a group of some friends have to request you: ‘We would like to use your home to gamble and enjoy our liquor.’
  • Or a group of youngsters have to tell you: ‘We have chosen your home as a venue for our partying, dancing, drug-taking and fornicating.’
  • Or a Christian family has to request you: ‘We would like to use your home as a venue for our church ceremony. The marriage of our daughter as well as the baptism of our grandchild. We have already obtained the consent of one of our priests.’
  • Or some idol-worshippers have to suggest: ‘We would like to carry out some of our religious rites in your home. We would like to bring our idols also. You are more than welcome to observe or participate in our rites. ’

Many Muslims, on hearing such requests, will get very angry; will express disgust – if not swear and curse such suggestions.

However, these very same Muslims who will even resort to swearing and cursing such proposals, invite into their homes all of the above by the switch of the television, by hiring English and Hindi films and DVDs and downloading porn and other films from the internet. There is so much of adultery, partying and other filth that we seem to just welcome into our homes – least realizing the consequences.

Just to give you one example and this is but the tip of the iceberg – and it is said with the intention of removing the blindfold that most parents wear:

A father of four children mentioned to me that he had got rid of his television and he thereafter explained why. He said that late one night he heard strange noises from his children’s room. On opening the door of their room, he found their television switched on. […This is our concept of modesty: parents must have their own television, to view all kinds of filthy programmes in their privacy, and children must have their own television to view all kinds of indecency in their privacy (Na’oozu Billah).]

The father mentioned that there were dirty and obscene scenes of naked people on the television screen. He mentioned that it was filthy and that it shocked him; but what had him even more shaken was that his children were all undressed, engaging in the same kind of indecent acts. They were imitating the pornography they were viewing. He said himself, that until then he had not considered the harm of television. It took this kind of incident to wake him up. …This is just one example of so many. Do we wish to face something similar?

…Do we care to even know what our sons and daughters are doing in the secrecy of their rooms? The fact that many demand that no one ‘invade’ their space and privacy to the extent of having ‘No Entry’ signs on their doors, should have parents a little more than worried…  especially if they are viewing television and are surfing the net or have free access with cell phones.

Many have written, that after watching certain films or programmes, the desire came strongly into their hearts to take drugs, drink liquor, murder their parents, indulge in homosexuality, engage in adulterous relationships, commit suicide, rape, and so much else – and many of them do so.

Moreover, with sins like television and evil, lustful glancing, Allah Ta’ala removes the love between husband and wife and even ones children become disobedient.

There are many husbands who entertain thoughts of and fantasize of other women when with their wives. And they will when they are watching different actresses and television presenters. Many wives are guilty of the same infidelity having seen or socialized with ghair-mahaarim. Many women are so infatuated and obsessed with some soccer player or cricket player that they become dissatisfied with their husbands, and spend their time fantasizing.

Had the person not viewed all those ghair-mahaarim on the television screen and computer screen, and had lowered his gaze in real life situations, then he would not have desired that which he cannot have, and there would not have been dissatisfaction with his (or her) spouse.

Moreover we complain: There is no barkat in our homes; there is no barkat in our wealth; there is no barkat in our time. Our children are rebellious. The husband is having an extra-marital relationship. The daughter has accepted Christianity. The son is on drugs … and the list of complaints does not end.

Then who is to blame except the one who brought all of this haraam into the home by purchasing the television and exposing the family to so much of sin.

…Great Ulama became bay’at upon the hands of Moulana Hakeem Fakhrudeen رحمة الله عليه. He mentioned that there was a time, that with the rising and setting of the sun, he saw nothing but noor in Surat. The atmosphere was one of noor. The day commenced with Salaah, Tilaawat, Zikrullah…

After the cinemas and television and videos flooded Surat, there was nothing but ‘zulmat’ – darkness. With the distraction of such entertainment, Ibaadah becomes a forgotten duty.

One Wali of Allah Ta’ala, on visiting a home, mentioned that he perceived the sin of Zina (adultery) from the walls of that home. He was able to recognize this due to the purity of his heart. The residents of that home were not indulging in adultery but they were watching the sin on television.

When fire burns against a white wall, it blackens the wall. The Ahle-Dil, with their purified hearts, see the fire of sins which has burnt and blackened the white hearts of the Muslims.

We should take lesson and take measures to protect ourselves and our children.

Cartoons and films portraying Ambiyaa عليهم السلام and Sahabah (Radiyallahu Anhum)

Q: What is the Islamic ruling regarding cartoons or films portraying stories of the Ambiyaa عليهم السلام or the Sahaabah? In today’s times, these types of films are available in the market and are widespread on the internet.

A: Before addressing the issue in question, it is vital for us to understand a few preliminary aspects in order that the issue be understood in correct perspective.

The purpose for acquiring Islamic knowledge is that one may find the correct direction in reaching Allah Ta’ala. Knowledge in itself is not the goal; rather it is a medium that leads one to the goal. The goal is practising on the laws of Sharee’ah in accordance to the manner prescribed by Allah and His Rasul (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). If the knowledge one acquires does not lead one to the goal, then in reality this is not worthy of being called Islamic knowledge. Perhaps it could be called information. Hence, the pertinent question one needs to pose is, what is Islamic knowledge and how should one go about acquiring this knowledge?

In order for the knowledge which one acquires to be acceptable in the sight of Allah Ta’ala and sanctioned by Sharee’ah, it is necessary that certain aspects be adhered to:

The first aspect is the aspect of authenticity and reliability. Extreme caution should be exercised in sourcing Deeni knowledge. One should ensure that he refers to reliable, qualified Ulama in the pursuit of seeking Islamic knowledge. Similarly, the material one exposes himself to in the course of seeking education, should be sourced from authentic and reliable sources. If one acquired his knowledge from unauthentic sources or unreliable personalities, then obviously the overall picture of Deen which one will obtain will certainly not conform to the pure and pristine brand of Islam. Concoctions, adulterations and distortions would be noticed in various aspects of his Deen. This will be grossly due to the fact that he had not sourced his knowledge from those authentic, reliable sources approved by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). The disastrous outcome of acquiring knowledge through these channels is that Islam will be reduced to customs and rituals which will change with the fashions and the norms of the time. The great Taabi’ee Muhammed bin Sireen رحمة الله عليه has said:

إنَّ هَذَا الْعِلمَ دِينٌ ، فَانْظُرُوا عَمَّنْ تَأَخُذُونَ دِينَكُمْ (الشمائل للترمذي رقم 415)

Certainly this knowledge that you are acquiring is your Deen, hence you should ensure that you acquire your Deen from authentic and reliable people.

The second aspect is the means through which the knowledge is acquired. It is incumbent that permissible means be adopted in acquiring Islamic knowledge. The method one adopts should conform to the method adopted during the Mubaarak era of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), the Sahaabah and the Khairul Quroon (the glorious era of the Taabi’een and Tab’ut Taabi’een). If one adopts a haraam means to acquire Islamic knowledge, this will be unacceptable in the sight of Allah Ta’ala and such information will be bereft of the true noor of Deen. Thus such knowledge will not lead one to the pleasure of Allah Ta’ala and enable one to uphold the pillars of Islam.

The third aspect is adopting the Sunnah approach when acquiring the knowledge of Deen. The Sunnah approach is to show the highest level of respect and honour to everything related to Deen (viz. The Quraan, the Ahaadith, the Ambiyaa, the Sahaabah, the Ulama, the symbols of Islam, etc.) as well as conforming to all the aadaab (etiquettes) of Deen. When Islamic knowledge is acquired in this manner, adhering to the way shown to us by Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) and adopting the etiquettes of Islam, one will witness the true spirit of Deen coming alive in the lives of the believers. The books of Hadith are replete with many glaring examples which illustrate the Sunnah method adopted by the Sahaabah and the Tabi’een in the pursuit of acquiring the knowledge of Deen. When the knowledge of Deen in reality is the knowledge of Nubuwwat and those who tread on this path to acquire it are honoured with the title of “The heirs of the Ambiyaa”, one could well imagine the great need for one to adopt the outer as well as inner qualities of the Ambiyaa. In other words, one should not confine knowledge to word or action; instead one should endeavour to cultivate the very spirit and noor of the knowledge in all respects. Acquiring such knowledge under the guidance of the true men of Allah Ta’ala who acquired this from their seniors and so forth and so on with an unbroken chain linking up to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) produces an indelible impression on the hearts of people, thereby motivating the true love within people to emulate the Mubaarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in all facets of life.


How did the people of the past acquire Deeni Knowledge?

Hereunder are two examples which will shed light on the method of how the people of the past acquired Islamic knowledge.

Hadhrat Abdullah bin Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhuma) says:

“After the passing away of Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam), I said to an Ansaari friend of mine, ‘Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) is no longer with us, but a large number of the Sahaabah are still present among us. Hence, let us go to them in the pursuit of Islamic knowledge.’ He said, ‘What is the need to acquire `ilm whereas these eminent Sahaabah are present? Who will approach you to enquire of any deeni mas’alah whilst these great men are amongst us?’” Hadhrat Ibnu Abbas (Radiyallahu Anhuma) further mentioned, “I was not in any way discouraged by his words. Rather, I kept up my quest for knowledge and began approaching every Sahaabi who had heard something from Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). In this way, I managed to gather a substantial amount of ‘ilm from the Ansaar. If on my visit to any Sahaabi, I found him resting, I spread my shawl at the entrance of his home and remained seated awaiting his emergence. At times, my face and entire body would get covered with dust, however, this did not cause me to desist from my endeavour and I continued to remain seated there anxiously awaiting their emergence.

I thus carried on my pursuits, till there came a time when people began to flock to me for learning the knowledge of Deen. My Ansaari friend realised this at that time and remarked, ‘This person has surely proved himself to be more intelligent than all of us.’”

A student of Hadith once came as a guest to Imaam Ahmad bin Hambal رحمة الله عليه. It was the sublime conduct of the Imaam that he presented water to the student when going to bed. He placed it close to the student so that he may use it for wudhu at the time of Tahajjud. The following morning the Imaam noticed the water untouched. Hence he exclaimed: “Subhaanallah! A student of knowledge, yet he does not perform tahajjud during the night!” Imaam Ahmad رحمة الله عليه indicated to this fact that the knowledge one acquires should motivate him towards upholding the Mubaarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in his life.


Why is it impermissible to acquire Deeni knowledge through viewing cartoons and films?

Based on the above, after closely examining the issue of acquiring knowledge through viewing cartoons and films which outwardly portray Islamic information, one will realise that this means of acquiring knowledge does not conform to the above mentioned Islamic method of acquiring Islamic knowledge. Furthermore, acquiring Islamic knowledge through this means is impermissible due to the following reasons:

  1. This means of acquiring ‘ilm is impermissible in Sharee’ah as it directly opposes the command of Allah Ta’ala and His Rasul (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam). Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) had sounded severe warnings in his Mubaarak Ahaadith for those who have any involvement in picture making. Hence, propagating Islam via this means is impermissible.

إن أشد الناس عذابا عند الله يوم القيامة المصورون (صحيح البخاري 2/880 ، صحيح لمسلم 2/201)

Those involved in picture-making will be subjected to the worst forms of punishment on the day of Qiyaamat. (Bukhaari 2/880, Muslim 2/201)

  1. In many of these films men and women are seen together. This opposes the law of Sharee’ah in regard to segregation between na-mahram males and females. Hence, this type of enactment, instead of creating an Islamic effect, it only destroys the fabric of Deen through inciting one towards sin.
  2. The actors in these films are portraying illustrious personalities such as the Ambiyaa or Sahaabah etc. This enactment is in itself deception, as the onlookers will begin to base their opinions of Ambiyaa and Sahaabah through the actions of these sinful people. To add insult to injury, the film being videoed is impermissible in Islam. Hence they are trying to propagate Deen through portraying the lives of these illustrious personalities while being involved in such a grave sin.
  3. Propagating Islam through this medium degrades the position of these illustrious personalities and reduces Deen to a thing of entertainment. Furthermore, this will lead to the masses beginning to regard these so called “Islamic movies” as a substitute to Hollywood and Bollywood movies.
  4. Presently the Kuffaar are using this as a means to distort and adulterate the Deen of Islam. Muslims should not be so gullible to fall into the traps and the nets of the Kuffaar. It has been proven that many of these films shattered the Imaan and beliefs of many Muslims and created suspicions and doubts in their Deen.
  5. Portraying these great personalities via cartoon characters causes great disrespect to these saintly personalities. How can Deen come alive in the Ummah when gross disrespect is shown to those who were responsible for bringing Deen alive in the world?
  6. The outcome of such plays, films, cartoons etc. is in reality making a mockery of the august Deen of Allah Ta’ala and the illustrious men of Islam. Similarly, those who view these types of films will be viewed as supporters and promoters of this sin in the sight of Allah Ta’ala.
  7. Lastly, the kitaabs of Aqaaid have recorded that if people enact a play for entertainment purposes where one person assumes the position of a great Aalim or Mufti, and people refer Deeni issues to him, and laugh at him and make a mockery of him, all present on account of showing disrespect to Deen will come out of the fold of Islam. Hence, the outcome of viewing these cartoons, films, etc. is extremely destructive and detrimental to one’s Imaan.

We make Duaa to Allah Ta’ala to bless the Ummah at large with the true love and respect for Deen and the symbols of Deen, and enable us to emulate the Mubaarak Sunnah of Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) in our lives.


Check Also

The Most Virtuous Month to Fast after the Month of Ramadhaan – The Orchards of Love – Part Sixty Nine

In the Mubaarak Hadith, Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alaihi wasallam) said, “The most virtuous of fasts, after …

Enable Notifications OK No thanks