camera

Sayyiduna Abu Talha (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "Angels (of mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture." (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5609)


Introduction:

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

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh

Before proceeding further, consider the following Hadeeth of Prophet Muhammad (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam).

Sayyiduna Abu Talha (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "Angels (of mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture." (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5609)

The English term “photo” is a loose translation of the word “Tasweer” in Arabic and the entire argument hinges on the definition and application of the Arabic term.

1 Is “Tasweer” meant to be a hand drawn portrait?

 

2 Is “Tasweer” meant to be an image which is (hard) printed on a paper, cloth, parchment or object?

 

3 Is “Tasweer” meant to be an image which is (unprinted) but exists in a digital format on your camera, laptop or phone?

 

In a nutshell and succinctly put, this issue has only two salient points which need to be discussed:

 

1 If a scene or interaction is Haram (impermissible) in real life, it is Haram (impermissible) in any type of still or recorded imagery or motion.

 

2 If the stored image (or recording) is on an electronic medium such as a laptop, phone or memory card it is not considered “Tasweer” as mentioned in the narrations of Nabi (Sallallaho Alaihe Wassallam).

All Ulama agree on point 1.

A large number of Ulama (scholars) agree with point 2 while others disagree. If you disagree with and choose to follow the opinion of those Ulama, there are no issues. This article is not intended to force you to abandon your position. This article does make the point that there are plenty of Ulama who don’t consider digital images as “Tasweer” and deem them to be permissible. Taqleed is obligatory upon a layman and there is no chastisement upon the laymen who choose to follow and make Taqleed of any of the Ulama quoted in this article.

We have taken the time to only include the list of Scholars who are well known and trusted (Academically) and included their videos as evidence of their opinion. The videos of the honourable Scholars are not (necessarily) on the topic but just provided as an illustration that they consider digital photography permissible due to appearing on videos.

This issue is summarised in the latest Fatwa by Darul-uloom Deoband (Waqf) as follows:

Darul-Ifta Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband INDIA

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

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh

What is your opinion on Digitial Photography? Can youtube be used by Ulama and others for Tableeghi and Islamic purposes?

Jazakallahu Khayran

Ref. No. 38 / 1079

In the name of Allah the most Gracious the most Merciful

The answer to your question is as follows:

Some ulama hold photographic imaging, video imaging and the like to be forbidden while others say that today’s digital photography is not that photography which is impermissible in Islam, hence digital photography is not Haram. Therefore, we say it is better to avoid all kinds of photographic and video imaging. And also it should not be used for Tableeghi Islamic purposes.  

And Allah knows best

Darul Ifta

Darul Uloom Waqf Deoband


1. Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) [Pakistan]

The video (below) is neither promoting the opinion of Dr Israr Ahmed (RA) nor giving the impression that Allamah Yusuf Binori (RA) gave a Fatwa upon the permissibility of photography. It is narrating an incident about his life, translation from minutes 2:16 is as follows:

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President Muhammad Zia-ul-Haq (RA) had arranged for a conference of Islamic Scholars in Karachi. Allamah Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (RA) [1917-1997] who was a well-known Hanafi Scholar (of the Arab) world also arrived for the conference. He was the (illustrious) student of the last Shaykhul-Islam of the Ottoman Empire, Shaykh Muhammad Zahid Al-Kawthari (RA) [1879-1951].

Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) visited Allamah Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (RA) at the Hotel and towards the end extended an invitation for the Shaykh to visit Darul-uloom, which he accepted.

On the appointed day (of the visit) Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) invited other guests including his son-in-law Maulana Muhammad Ta’seen (married to his oldest daughter). This incident has been narrated to me directly by Maulana Muhammad Ta’seen.

I want to make it clear so the authenticity of the incident is established in your mind and the fact that I am not narrating it from unverified sources. Rather, I am quoting the person who was not only (closely) related to Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) but his (oldest) son-in-law and present on the occasion.

Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) was waiting for Allamah Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (RA) to arrive until the news reached him that Shaykh (RA) was arriving. Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) went outside to welcome him when he noticed that he was arriving with a camera hanging on his person.

Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) noticed it but since Allamah Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (RA) was a guest, he said nothing. Allamah Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (RA) arrived and sat down. After a little while, he (RA) asked for the Ulama (gathered) there to get closer for a (collective) photograph.  Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) at this point stated that this is Haram (impermissible).  Allamah Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (RA) put aisde his Camera and asked for evidence for photographs to be impermissible.

An exchange occured between the two Scholars.

Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) gave evidence after evidence which Allamah Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (RA) refuted them once after another. In the end, Shaykh (Allamah) Yusuf Binori (RA) had to say that it is "against Taqwa (piety)". Allamah Abd al-Fattah Abu Ghudda (RA) responded that you can follow that opinion but you can't declare it to be impermissible without evidence.

2. Shaykh ‘Abd al-Hafīz al-Makki (RA) [Saudi Arabia/Pakistan]

Khaleefa of Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandhalawi al-Muhajir al-Madani (RA) and his opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

3. Shaykhul-Islam (Mufti) Rafi Usmani (HA) [Pakistan]

 The text pertinent to our discussion is from minutes 4:33 (onwards) and translated as follows:

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Since the title of “Mufti” is associated with me, it is important that I clarify a few things. There are a few cameras here and they have (my) permission that they can transmit the proceedings from here on televisions and the internet. But if these images are (printed) then it will be to make "Tasweer" of living beings. You don’t have (my) permission to print these images.

I welcome Journalists from the (print media) here and may Allah Ta’ala reward them I hope that they will report this event (diligently and honestly). If they have taken pictures of today’s proceedings then they should not print (images) which contain clear (human) faces. You know the techniques to accomplish this, you can make pictures which don’t bring the faces (into focus) and if you don’t take pictures at all, it will be even more cautious.

A large number of (Pakistani) Ulama have given permission for the establishment of a television station. The basis of this Fatwa is conditional and some of the salient points can be summarised as follows:

1 The world Media is ever busy in trying to malign Islam, its teachings and Muslims. It is needed in our times for us to be ready to counter this propaganda.

 

2 Those capable of Fatwa (i.e. Ahlul-Fatwa) did a lot of research, deliberated (in depth) and repeatedly. The decision reached by those in the Darul-uloom (Karachi) and those associated with them and those who trust their judgement is that the (images) shown on television or on the screen of mobile (phones) or on the Internet do not fall under the injunctions of Tasweer (photo) as long as they are not printed.

 

3 Since they don’t fall into the injunction of Tasweer (photo) then those images which are permissible (without imagery i.e. real life) will remain permissible as (digital) images and vice-versa.

 

4 We have been trying for sometimes to establish an (Islamic) television channel worldwide (even in Pakistan) but it should be Islamic. There may be educational, entertainment based programs or even programs for women and children on the channel. There may be political and current affairs (analysis). These programs will need to be interesting (to attract our younger generations) and then the teachings of Islam can be conveyed through these programs.

4. Shaykhul-Islam (Mufti) Taqi Usmani (HA) [Pakistan]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

5. Shaykhul Hadith Hadhrat Tafajjul Haq Hobigonji (HA) [Bangladesh]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

6. Allamah (Dr) Khalid Mahmood [England/Pakistan]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

7. (Maulana) Muhammad Salim Qasmi (HA) [India, Muhtamim, Darul-uloom Deoband (Waqf)]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

8. Shaykh (Maulana) Khalilur Rahman Sajjad Nomani Naqshbandi (HA) [India]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video. 

9. Shaykh (Maulana) Aslam Sheikhupuri Shaheed (RA) [Pakistan]

Maulana (RA) was a well-known Scholar from Pakistan who spent years propagating the Tafseer of the Qur’aan. In the following Interview he advocates that media should be used to propagate Islam and its teachings. He (RA) explains that media is a tool or propagating information. In the time of Nabi (Sallalaho Alaihe Wassallam) the medium of communication was speech, writing, poetry and dispatching messages. Our Nabi (Sallalaho Alaihe Wassallam) not only used all of them but used them to perfection.

He further states that he is not a Mufti but his personal practise in matters of differences (between Scholars) is to take the opinion which satisfies his heart (and gives peace of mind). When it comes to using modern platforms for the propagation and defence of Islam there are several choices such as Radio, Television and Internet. It is agreed that it is permissible to use Radio (or voice) for this purpose. However, the scholars disagree on the means which carry images.

Some state their opinion in a manner which portrays that there is unanimous and agreed upon consensus upon the impermissibility of Tasweer (photo) at all times. They give this impression when their (understanding) is categorically incorrect. There has never been an agreed upon (absolute) statement of impermissibility of Tasweer (photo) in this Ummah (ever). Imam Malik (RA) is of the opinion that a Tasweer (photo) which has no support on its own but requires a support is permissible. A  Tasweer (photo) means that this Tasweer (photo) is on a paper or a cloth or a parchment.

This disagreement continues even today.

When it comes to electronic (digital) imagery then there are countless Ulama who consider it permissible.

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10. Shaykh (Maulana) Ilyas Ghumman (HA)

Shaykh (Maulana) Ilyas Ghumman (HA) is well known for his defence of the Manhaj of Ulama of Deoband. In this short video, he makes some powerful logical arguments as to why he chooses to make videos.  He is repeatedly referring to himself as a Scholar and a Shaykh (not out of pride) but for everyone listening to consider the principles behind his reasoning.

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I don’t talk about Sargodha or Punjab or even Pakistan, I speak about the world. We are the inheritors of a (global) prophet and the entire globe is our sphere of action. It is the Mercy of Allah Ta’ala that it has become easier to work globally when it was not so (previously). In this era of globalisation, Media has brought distant people, closer. It used to take months to travel to faraway lands but today communication reaches those (distant lands) within seconds.

Therefore, we have used Media for our purpose and we have used it without paying attention to the detractors and the objectors. I brought the work of our (Maslak) on print and electronic media when our Ulama had not released the Fatwa upon (its usage). By the grace of Allah Ta’ala we propagated what we believed to be the truth and we realised the value of the Media (early on) and set about using it effectively.

Since I come from a small village some Ulama of (larger) cities had their reservations upon our work as to how this rural villager can take such a giant step (in using media)? I responded by saying that I don’t speak about my personal affairs but I speak of the affairs (associated) with my prophet by the conviction in the pathway of my elders and my predecessors and this can be done by a villager or someone from the city.

When we started using the Media, many people had reservations but with time these reservations were been (literally) buried.

We had a 5 day seminar of research on Mas’ail (issues pertaining to Islam) and I was also invited towards the conclusion. A student handed me a question enquiring as to why I participate in making (videos) when Ulama of Deoband have deemed it to be impermissible.

My responses to him were as follows:

 

1 I (along) with all Ulama consider and agree upon “Tasweer” (photos) to be impermissible.

 

2 I (along) with all Ulama consider and agree upon “Tasweer” (photos) to be permissible when (genuinely) needed.

 

The disagreement is upon the classicisation of “need”. This is derived from Ijtehaad (deduction) and Ulama disagree upon the classification of need. In matters of Ijtehaad there are no (severe disagreements) like in matters which are proven from clear text (of Qur’aan and Sunnah).

I visited a Darul-uloom in Karachi and there was a gathering of (advanced students) in the faculty of Takhasus (Fatwa and research). They asked me questions about (my) videos. My response to them was to ask questions with enthusiasm but then listen to the answers with the same (enthusiasm and due diligence). What I meant is that sometimes questions are asked but the responses are ascribed to be (disrespectful) towards a particular personality (or an elder) by the one asking the question and the responses are (wrongly) taken contest to be refutation of a particular individual.

When I am responding to a question, it should not be twisted, spun or taken out of context to be disrespectful or refutation of another Scholar (or an elder), it should be taken on face value as “my answer”.

I made two points:

1 The punishment of Tasweer (making photos) is connected with severe punishment. Severe punishment is only mentioned on the committing of acts which are (categorially) Haram, you will not see warning of severe punishments on acts which are Makruh (disliked). The punishment is clear cut in text of Hadeeth.

2 But the definition of Tasweer (photo) and its application is not clear cut in the text of Qur’aan and the Sunnah. It is a matter of Ijtehaad (deduction). Those who consider digital (imagery) to be Taweer (photos) deem it to be impermissible, thus the punishment applicable while others who consider digital (imagery) not to be Taweer (photos) consider it permissible.

We believe that our Madhab is closest to the truth with the probability of error. Then why do we regard our opinion of digital (imagery) to be Taweer (photos) to be “the absolute truth” with no probability of error? Have we not exceeded and exaggerated in the matter (of difference of opinion)? Have we not exceeded the limits and consider ourselves to be higher than the Imams of the Madhabs? The Imams of Madhabs (disagreed) but still accepted the probability of error.

I went to Azad Kashmir on one of my tours and there was a team member from my team and bymy team I don’t mean to say that an entire entourage travels alongside me but a few (or even one person) can be part of a team. The Imam of the Masjid requested that I should speak in the Mosque but not record the event. When I asked for the reason, I was told that a one year Tableeghi Jamaat was in the Mosque and they deemed making of (videos) to be impermissible. I asked the Imam that if I were to convince the members of the Jamaat, would he have any objections and he said that he (personally) had no objections. I asked the young (cameraman) to set up the equipment but to keep the equipment switched off. I sat down for the talk.

I asked the (Tableeghi Jamaat) about their program. They replied that they had been given instructions to go abroad but while waiting for their visas they were instructed to work (within Pakistan). I asked them if they had submitted their passports with pictures. They said that they had submitted many additional photographs. I enquired if they knew that Tasweer (photos) were impermissible to which they replied that they knew about the impermissibility. I asked as to why they had pictures taken and submitted them to the embassy? They replied that it was not possible to get visas without photographs. I asked so what? What is the harm in not getting visas?

They said that it was not possible to go abroad without visas.

I said so what is the problem with it? If Allah Ta’ala asks you on the day of judgement as to why you didn’t proceed beyond Pakistan then say that it was not possible due to indulgence in Haram. We were not prepared to perform an impermissible action for the sake of propagating your religion.

They had no answer for this so I then asked them to consider my request.

O people of Tableegh! You also indulge in photography (for Islam) and so do I. But there are some subtle differences between your actions and mine. Your photographs are printed (therefore static) while mine are digital. Printed (static) photography is impermissible by consensus while there are differences upon digital photography. Isn’t the agreed upon matter a bigger Haram? Your (static) photographs stay at the consulate while you (physically) visit England, America etc while I personally stay at Sargodha but my (digital) images go to England, America etc. You use photography and I use photography. The difference is your photograph rests while you take the pain (of travelling) while I rest but my (digital images) take the pain of travelling! You (physically) go to get your pictures taken while my WhatsApp service serves over 80,000 subscribers, over 125,000 subscribers get it from our Facebook and then it gets shared by people. You meet a few people (physically) by indulging in photography while my images get to millions. How come you are a Da’ee (inviter to Allah) and I am a mischief maker? Please explain to me the difference? It is not my habit to crack jokes but make me get the difference between yourself and me. I am not trying to crack jokes! You are all Ulama (scholars) so let’s have an honest discussion and put an end to tale carrying and gossiping.

I was in Hong Kong and my speech was being recorded. There was a Khaleefa of Shah (Hakeem) Akhtar Saheb (RA) before me who strongly disagreed with making (of) videos and his Mureed also discussed the matter with me. I spent 40 days at the Khanqah of Shah (Hakeem) Akhtar Saheb (RA) and he had also given me Khilafah. The Mureed told me that (his) Shaykh strongly disagreed with making of videos while I indulge in it. I asked him why he had become bay’t to his Shaykh? He replied that Shah (Hakeem) Akhtar Saheb (RA) had granted his Shaykh Khilafah and it is the reason for his Bay’t. I asked him if he knew that Shah (Hakeem) Akhtar Saheb (RA) had also given me Khilafah and he knew about it. I asked him if his Shaykh was a scholar to which he replied in the negative.

I said we are both Khaleefahs but one is a Scholar and the other isn’t so shouldn’t you be given my opinion to him rather than the other way around? He had no answer. I further explained that I am not asking for him to follow my opinion or to become bay’t to me. However, I wish for conversations to be contextualised and principled.

Thus, we have decided to make videos and use digital (photography).

11. (Maulana) Allah Wasaya (HA) [Pakistan]

He has a central leader of Aalami Majlise Tehfooze Khatme Naboowat (Pakistan). His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

12. Shaykh (Mufti) Faisal Ahmed (HA) [Pakistan]

He is the Director of Shariah Consultant Service & and a teacher at Jamia Tur Rasheed. His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

13. Shaykhul (Mufti) Aziz ur Rehman Hazarvi (HA) [Pakistan]

Khaleefa of Shaykh al-Hadith Mawlana Muhammad Zakariyya al-Kandhalawi al-Muhajir al-Madani (RA) and his opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

14. (Mufti) Tariq Masood (HA) [Pakistan]

He is a graduate of a teacher at Jamia Tur Rasheed and his opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

15. Shaykh (Maulana) Abdul Salam Rashadi (HA) [Trinidad]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

16. Shaykhul-Hadeeth (Maulana) Bilal Bawa (HA) [England]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

17. Shaykhul-Hadeeth (Mufti) Abdur Raheem Limbada (HA) [England]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

18. (Mufti) Yusuf Danka (HA) [England]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

19. Shaykh (Mufti) Dr Abdur Rahman ibn Yusuf Mangera (HA) [England]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

20. Shaykh (Mufti) Ismail Kacholvi (HA) [England]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

21. Shaykh (Maulana) Arshad Madani (HA) [India]

He is the president of Jamiat Ulama-i-Hind (India) and his opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

22. Shaykh (Mufti) Muneer Ahmed Akhoon (HA) [America]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

23. Shaykh (Mufti) Dr Yasir Nadeem Alwajdi (HA) [America]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.

24. Shaykh (Maulana) Dr Shabbir Ahmed (HA) [Australia]

His opinion on digital photography can be checked by watching this video.


 

Photographs: Please Clarify Your Position

By Shaykh (Mufti) Muhammad Ibn Adam (HA)

Question:

I was just wondering what is Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam’s position regarding photos. I know there is a difference of opinion between the scholars on the issue, but I recently saw a photo of him on a website. Is he of the opinion that photos are permissible?

Answer: In the Name of Allah, Most Compassionate, Most Merciful,

T here are separate issues relating to picture-making (taswir), hence it would be good to understand each issue separately and the Shariah ruling on it:

 

 

Drawing/Painting Pictures of Humans and Animals

As it is common knowledge, there are countless Hadiths narrated from the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) that strictly prohibit painting pictures of animate objects, for example:

Sayyiduna Jabir (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) forbade the keeping of pictures at home and making them." (Sunan Tirmidhi, no: 1749)

Sayyiduna Abu Talha (Allah be pleased with him) narrates that the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him & give him peace) said: "Angels (of mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture." (Sahih al-Bukhari, no: 5609)

Due to these and many other similar narrations, most classical scholars are of the opinion that painting and drawing pictures of humans and animals is unlawful and sinful. They state that 'picture-making' (taswir) of human or animal life has been explicitly forbidden by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) and as such it will be sinful. Only Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him) is reported to have differed with this position of general prohibition.

In one of his narrations, Sayyiduna Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him), contrary to the other three Imams and most other Mujtahids, is reported to have stated that only those pictures are unlawful that are three-dimensional and have a body to them, such as statues and sculptures. A picture that does not have a body or shadow to it will not be unlawful although somewhat disliked, such as drawing a picture on a paper, cloth or on any other object. This is one of two positions narrated from Imam Malik, with his other position being similar to that of the vast majority of classical scholars.

The position of the vast majority of classical scholars is based on the fact that there is no distinction in the various Hadiths between a tangible and intangible picture. The Hadith indicating the permissibility of intangible and non-solid pictures refers to pictures of other than humans and animals. (See: al-Mugni, 7/7 & Takmila Fath al-Mulhim, 4/155)

Based on this, the reliable and mainstream opinion of the classical jurists is that picture-making is unlawful, whether by painting a picture on an object or making a sculpture. This is the position held by the three main Sunni Schools of Islamic law (i.e. Hanafi, Shafi'i & Hanbali) and also one of two positions related from Imam Malik (Allah have mercy on him). It would be better if one referred to a Maliki Scholar to determine the relied upon (mufta bihi) position of that School. As such, one should avoid drawing/ painting pictures of humans and animals.

Photography

In view of the above-mentioned one position of Imam Malik, there is no question with regard to the permissibility of taking photographs, for according to that position, painting pictures of human or animal life on a paper or fabric is allowed, hence camera pictures would hold the same ruling.

However, in view of the mainstream and majority position of classical scholars, the question arises as to whether photos of humans and animals fall under the type of picture-making prohibited by the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) in numerous Hadiths. Camera photos were not in existence when classical scholars were discussing the issue of picture-making, hence one will not find an express ruling regarding photography in their works. As such, it was left to contemporary scholars to determine whether photos held the same ruling as that of painting and drawing pictures.

Contemporary scholars have differed on this issue:

a The position of the overwhelming majority of Indo-Pak and some Arab scholars is that photographs of human or animal life are not permissible for the very same reasons that paintings of these are not permissible. They state that the ruling on picture-making does not change by changing the tool with which the picture is produced. Whether an image is produced by painting it or using a camera, as long as it is an image of a human or animal, it will remain unlawful (haram).This is the position of Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani and most of my other teachers. It is, without doubt, the more precautious and arguably stronger opinion.

b The second position on the issue, held by most Arab Scholars (from all four Madhabs) and some from the Indian Subcontinent, is that there is a difference between photos and the prohibited picture-making (taswir). Shaykh Muhammad Bakhit al-Muti'i of Egypt, a 2oth Century scholar known for his knowledge and piety, wrote a whole treatise titled al-Jawab al-Shafi fi Ibahat Surat al-Photography in support of this view of permissibility. His basic understanding is that the reason behind the prohibition of painting pictures (in the words of the Hadith) is challenging Allah in His Creating of living creatures. In camera photos, however, one does not produce an image through one's own imagination; hence one is not challenging the Creating of Allah as such. It is merely a reflection of a living being already created by Allah Most High.

These are the two positions of contemporary scholars on the issue. There are great scholars of knowledge, wisdom and piety on both sides of the fence; hence, it would be wrong to criticize anyone for following any one of these positions. It is a matter of genuine and valid difference of opinion. It is not an issue where one may condemn another, and one must respect others' right to follow their conscience.

As you have asked about my personal stance, firstly I am by no means in a position of having a 'personal' opinion as such. I follow my teachers and learn from them. I have teachers in the UK and the Subcontinent who prohibit photos, but I also have teachers in the Arab world permitting them. The position which I follow is that of my teachers who prohibit taking photos, for that is a more precautious and safe position. However, I have complete respect for the position (and practice) of those who permit taking photos.

As such, my practice is that I do not willingly pose for a photo unless there is a genuine need like for a passport or something similar. If I am asked, I politely refuse. At the same time, if someone is taking photos and I am also in attendance going about my own business, I do not go out of my way to prevent him taking my photo. Thus, if you did come across a photo of mine, it is probably because I may have been present in a place where photos were being taken. The recent photo of mine you have referred to was taken in the same context. I had knowledge that photos were being taken and that I may appear in one, but I did not willingly pose for a photo. I hope that makes sense!

Live Broadcasting

Shaykh Mufti Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) and many other scholars have declared that live broadcastings of images do not fall within the ambit of picture-making (taswir). A picture is something that is permanent and static, whilst the image broadcasted live is not permanent hence cannot be termed a picture. A live broadcast is in reality a reflection of the actual image, similar to seeing an image in a mirror.

Therefore, if an image of a human or animal is broadcasted live, then this does not fall into the unlawful picture-making. It will be permitted to broadcast something live or view a live programme, provided the content of the programme is lawful (halal). (Taqrir Tirmidhi, 2/351)

Video Recording

According to Shaykh Taqi Usmani, that which is recorded in a videotape or DVD is also not considered a picture. In a videotape, the particles of an image are gathered and then re-opened in the same order to view the image. This is the reason why it is not possible to see the picture in the rail of the tape without playing it. (ibid)

Therefore, if a permitted and Halal event, such as a lecture of a scholar, is played and viewed on a videotape or DVD, it will be permitted, Insha Allah.

Note that the above discussion does not in any way relate to watching Television. Watching TV and keeping it at home is another matter altogether, for which a separate answer is needed. The many harms and evils of keeping a TV at home are known to all. This answer only relates to the permissibility of viewing a Halal image through a live broadcast or a videotape/DVD.

Shaykh Taqi Usmani (may Allah preserve him) sums this up in one of his Fatawa:

"The images appearing on live programs or recorded programs on television are not the pictures in the strict sense envisaged in the Ahadith of the Holy Prophet (Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam) unless they are printed in a durable form on paper or on any other object. But the basic reason why Muslims are advised not to keep TV sets in their homes is that most of the programs broadcast on the TV channels contain impermissible elements."

And Allah Knows Best

[Mufti] Muhammad ibn Adam

Darul Iftaa

Leicester , UK