Is taking pictures of that which possess a soul, haraam in and on itself or due to something it causes?

Answered by our Shaykh, the ‘Allaamah, the Sincere Adviser, Abu ‘Abdirrahman Yahya bin ‘Ali Al-Hajoori – may Allaah preserve him –


Is taking pictures of that which possess a soul, haraam in and on itself or due to something it causes?


(It is) prohibited, prohibited and we will suffice with it being prohibited, regardless it being prohibited in and on itself or due to what sprouts out from it, however the evidences came prohibiting taking pictures of that which possess a soul and that it’s like the creation of Allah ﷻ:

《وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ ذَهَبَ يَخْلُقُ كَخَلْقِي، فَلْيَخْلُقُوا ذَرَّةً، أَوْ لِيَخْلُقُوا حَبَّةً أَوْ شَعِيرَة”ً》

“And who is more oppressive than the one who goes and attempts to create like my creation, so try and make an ant, or a grain or a barley grain.”
[Hadeeth of Abu hurairah reported by Al-bukhaari and muslim]

It is haraam in and on itself because it has been prohibited from its origin (Allah ﷻ and the prophet ﷺ have made it haraam), and haraam due to its reasons because it leads to worshipping the one who was pictured, if a long time goes by, so its impermissible due to this and for this.

《إن الذين يصنعون هذه الصور يعذبون يوم القيامة، يقال لهم‏:‏ أحيوا ما خلقتم‏》

“Verily those that make these pictures will be punished, it will be said to them: “give life to that which you have made”
[Hadeeth of ibn umar reported by Al-bukhaari and muslim]

They will be punished on the day of judgement .

يَخْرُجُ عُنُقٌ مِنَ النَّارِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ لَهُ عَيْنَانِ تُبْصِرَانِ وَأُذُنَانِ تَسْمَعَانِ وَلِسَانٌ يَنْطِقُ يَقُولُ إِنِّي وُكِّلْتُ بِثَلاَثَةٍ بِكُلِّ جَبَّارٍ عَنِيدٍ وَبِكُلِّ مَنْ دَعَا مَعَ اللَّهِ إِلَهًا آخَرَ وَبِالْمُصَوِّرِينَ

“Some of the Fire (in the shape of a long neck) will come out of the Fire on the Day of judgment. It will have two eyes which can see, two ears which can hear, and a tongue which can speak. It will say: ‘I have been left in charge of three: Every obstinate oppressor, everyone who called upon a deity besides Allah, and the image makers.”
[Reported by At-tirmidhi from the hadeeth of Abu hurairah]

And the strange thing is the audacity of the people to take pictures of that which possess a soul without any need, with this severe punishment.

This is what amazes i swear by Allah, I mean their severe indulgement in taking pictures and its punishment, I swear by Allah is equivalent to the punishment of the one who kills an innocent soul.

《‏إن الذين يصنعون هذه الصور يعذبون يوم القيامة، يقال لهم‏:‏ أحيوا ما خلقتم‏》

“Verily those that make these pictures will be punished, it will be said to them: “give life to that which you have made”

And is he able to give life to that which he made⁉️
That means that he will continue to be punished and his punishment will not stop.
And if he is from those who worshiped Allah ﷻ alone, then he will be punished until whenever Allah ﷻ wills, it doesn’t mean that he will abide in the hellfire forever.

《..ولعن المصور.》
“And curse be on the picture maker.”

And the curse cannot be except for a major sin.

This is (from) that which makes a person feel estrangement due to the large amount of those who give a fatwa in the permissibility of taking pictures of that which possess a soul with explanations weaker than the web of the spider.

And one person says: “yaa akhi, this isn’t a picture this is just a capture of my shadow”
What kind of speech is this⁉️
If you go to the someone who makes pictures, are you going to say to him take a picture of me or capture my shadow⁉️

And likewise the one who is in the passport office for example, is he going to say : “give me your photo” or is he going to say: “give me your shadow or captured shadow”⁉️

This is the legislative reality and the reality known according to the people that it is a picture. Nobody is going to look at it at say: this is my shadow. They will say this is my picture, and this is the picture of so and so.

[The shaykh was then asked that the picture which is considered haraam are only that which are drawn/painted]

What’s the difference⁉️ Rather this (photos taken by devices) is more clear, this is more clear. Wallahi it is just….we ask Allah for safety.

Whoever had a dire necessity and needed to take a copy of his passport, for a permit, for a identity card, drivers licence, a permit of such and such from the necessities, then he takes it while disliking it, as it has come:

《”…فمن كره فقد برئ، ومن أنكر فقد سلم، ولكن من رضي وتابع”》

“ whoever dislikes it then he is free, and whoever expresses disapproval then he is safe however he who is pleased and follows (will be sinful)”
[Reported by muslim from the hadeeth of umm salamah]

And with that, there is no sin upon him inshaAllah because he has been forced to, and the sin is upon the one who forces it. And the affairs of the people are able to run without these type of extensions.
And whoever implements the affairs of the Salaf and the rulers of the Muslims and the affairs of the one who was organised, in the time of ‘Umar and after him, they were not in need of any picture and their affairs were at the upmost accuracy and safety, and the blessings are from Allah ﷻ.

And in the books of fiqh, not one of them have mentioned, not in Al-Mughni nor in Al-Majmoo’ nor Sharhul Muhathab nor in any book from the books of knowledge, do they mention that the criminal incidents are to be taken a picture of or…

They didn’t have this, not in any of the books of the salaf, that they need to take a picture. Look at this picture of this and this picture of that…these things came later on.

Weren’t their affairs organised and their rules were running and their borders were in place..they were upon khair❗️❗️
Every time the people stretched out in looking for the finer things, the evil just covered them even more so.

Even in the issues of philosophy as some of them have said:

“If it wasn’t for competity in the dunya then the books of debating would not have been placed, not Al-Mughni nor Al-‘Umud.

This Al-Mughni is from the books of philosophy and it isn’t Al-Mughni of Ibn Qudaamah and likewise Al-‘Umud isn’t ‘Umdatul Ahkaam.

If it wasn’t for competity in the dunya then the books of debating would not have been placed, not Al-Mughni nor Al-‘Umud ****

And they aim -as they claim- to make things easier *** but in reality all they have done is complicated it.

They complicated it and they complicate it and they did not make things easier except they caused more disorder.

Also we believe that the safety is from Allah ﷻ and that if his slaves obey him, he assures them and corrects their conditions, and safety is not within the finer examinations of picture taking, to the point that everything must be taken a picture of.

We also believe that some affairs could be left out and Allah ﷻ could put Barakah in it due to that.

And we believe that Tawheed and staying away from sins are means of (obtaining) honour and that picture taking, even though they are found to be from the means (assumingly), however it is impermissible.

(وَالَّذِينَ كَسَبُوا السَّيِّئَاتِ جَزَاءُ سَيِّئَةٍ بِمِثْلِهَا وَتَرْهَقُهُمْ ذِلَّةٌ ۖ ….َ)
“And those who have earned evil deeds, the recompense of an evil deed is the like thereof, and humiliating disgrace will cover them…”
[Yunus 27]

The summary is this: Not indulging in taking pictures of that which possess a soul, and that which you are forced with from taking a picture that which you are in need of, then you do it while disliking that and you ask Allah ﷻ for safety.

Oh my brothers there’s things which are really shamefull in regards to picture taking of animate being, you’ll see an individual if he wore his imaamah like this (he takes a picture), and likewise the one sitting next to him he takes another picture with him, he’ll say “can i take a picture with you?” This is ones beard is until here and this is that daa’ee and this is so-and-so’s imaamah and that is the imaam of the masjid and this is the khateeb….” Anytime someone wants something he just takes a picture.

Do not be deceived by the excessive spreading of falsehood, the spreading of falsehood does not make it permissible❗️❗️❗️

Is falsehood becomes widespread does it become permissible⁉️ No it doesn’t rather the importance of rebuking it increases. And the deen of Allah ﷻ is taken from His Book and from the Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ not from (false) interpretations and (unauthorized) concessions.

If some of the people were to take some of the fatawa of Abu haneefah he would be drinking nabeedh and lo and behold there he is drunk and walking around naked.

Someone took the fatwa of Abu haneefah in drinking nabeedh, after that he consumed the nabeedh and got drunk, then he took to the street and Allah ﷻ decreed that he happened to come across abu haneefa. So he said to him: “Oh son of a fornicatress oh son of a fornicatress,” he was addressing abu haneefah, “look I have drunk nabeedh because of your fatwa”❗️❗️

Can a mirror capture a shadow, go on capture it, a shadow is not captured by it, if you moved yourself from it, it would be gone, but this you find it captured in it, the picture is in it, you can view it you can extract it, using this as an evidence is not in its correct place, a mirror can not reproduce old things, mirror is similar to glass the Prophet ﷺ….

The one who forbade picture taking of animate beings, is he the one who permitted mirror, is this not the case?

He permitted it, the Prophet ﷺ would use a mirror, and encouraged us if one of us was to looked at the mirror to say,

(اللهم أحسن خَلقي وخُلقي)
“Oh Allah better my looks and manners.”

The hadeeth is authentic with wording similar to this, to supplicate for obtaining good manners, if he looked at it or didn’t, so there is no resemblance between this and the mirror, using this as an evidence is far away from being correct,


This is ruled upon that it’s a mistake, and they made ijtihaad and were mistaken, and that the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah ﷺ is a protection for everybody, and that someone mistaken regardless him being a scholar or an ignorant person, is not followed into his mistake and he is supplicated for with success, uprightness and correction.

And it’s not permissible to blind follow me or anybody else in something which is incorrect.

(اتَّبِعُوا مَا أُنْزِلَ إِلَيْكُمْ مِنْ رَبِّكُمْ وَلَا تَتَّبِعُوا مِنْ دُونِهِ أَوْلِيَاءَ ۗ قَلِيلًا مَا تَذَكَّرُونَ)

“Follow what has been sent down unto you from your Lord (the Quran and Prophet Muhammad’s Sunnah), and follow not any Auliya’ (protectors and helpers, etc. who order you to associate partners in worship with Allah), besides Him (Allah). Little do you remember!” [Surat Al-A’raf 3]

( ۚ وَمَا آتَاكُمُ الرَّسُولُ فَخُذُوهُ وَمَا نَهَاكُمْ عَنْهُ فَانْتَهُوا ۚ وَاتَّقُوا اللَّهَ ۖ إِنَّ اللَّهَ شَدِيدُ الْعِقَابِ)

“And whatsoever the Messenger (Muhammad ﷺ) gives you, take it, and whatsoever he forbids you, abstain (from it), and fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment.” [Surat Al-Hashr 7]

( ۚ فَلْيَحْذَرِ الَّذِينَ يُخَالِفُونَ عَنْ أَمْرِهِ أَنْ تُصِيبَهُمْ فِتْنَةٌ أَوْ يُصِيبَهُمْ عَذَابٌ أَلِيمٌ)

“…And let those who oppose the Messenger’s (Muhammad ﷺ) commandment (i.e. his Sunnah legal ways, orders, acts of worship, statements, etc.) (among the sects) beware, lest some Fitnah (disbelief, trials, afflictions, earthquakes, killing, overpowered by a tyrant, etc.) befall them or a painful torment be inflicted on them.” [Surat An-Nur 63]

وَمَا كَانَ لِمُؤْمِنٍ وَلَا مُؤْمِنَةٍ إِذَا قَضَى اللَّهُ وَرَسُولُهُ أَمْرًا أَنْ يَكُونَ لَهُمُ الْخِيَرَةُ مِنْ أَمْرِهِمْ ۗ وَمَنْ يَعْصِ اللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُ فَقَدْ ضَلَّ ضَلَالًا مُبِينًا
It is not for a believer, man or woman, when Allah and His Messenger have decreed a matter that they should have any option in their decision. And whoever disobeys Allah and His Messenger, he has indeed strayed in a plain error. [Surat Al-Ahzab 36]

And a scholar is not infallible, everyone’s opinion can be taken or rejected except for the Prophet ﷺ (his speech is waajib to accept and to be taken).

So that which coincides with the truth then may Allah ﷻ reward him and he is a scholar, and if he happens to be incorrect, it is said that this is a mistake, specifically the people of knowledge they (should) know this is a mistake, and refrain from the mistake with clarification that this is a mistake and he that is a scholar.

Translated by : Abu Huthayfah Saamy Al-hindy And Abu ‘Abdirrahman ‘Abdullaah bin Ahmed Ash-Shingaani