Thursday, 27 October 2011

If image-making is haraam, how come it is permissible to watch TV and videos?


A brother told me that taking pictures is haram. I started searching in the fatawa of different scholars and I found that scholars have not agreed it is haram. What convinced me the most was the fatwa of Sheikh Ben Baz - may Allah have mercy on him. I believe all types of pictures are haram as well as keeping them, unless for essential purposes. I believe also that the one who accepts to be pictured is as sinful as the one who takes the picture, because he accepted.

On the other hand, in a fatwa of Sheikh Ben Baz he says that watching TV or video is not haram if it contains no munkar (evil).

My question and problem is: Is it permissible then to look at the pictures that contain no munkar? Just for entertainment, according to the scholars who claim looking at pictures is haram? Regardless the way they have been taken? And if it was permissible, then under which level of (Denouncing the evil) should we consider it? As pictures are munkar (Evil), and I should at least denounce it by my heart, then by taking it away of my sight, and moving away from the place where pictures are existing.

Also if anyone shows me a piece of video by mobile phone then I should avoid it? Please sheikh remove my confusion about this matter and tell me if I am right or wrong?.

Praise be to Allaah.


What you say about it being haraam to take photographs and
keep them except in cases of necessity, and it being permissible to watch TV
and videos if they are free of evils, is the view of a number of scholars,
including Shaykh Ibn Baaz (may Allaah have mercy on him) and the scholars of
the Standing Committee for Issuing Fatwas, may Allaah preserve them. 


The confusion that you mentioned was answered by Shaykh Ibn
‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him), who explained that pictures
contained on a video tape and the like are stored in the form of
electro-magnetic waves, hence they were regarded as permissible by those who
do not regard photographs as permissible. 

He (may Allaah have mercy on him) said: Images made by modern
methods are of two types: 

1 – Those that are stored in a way that does not have any
tangible or visible form, as was mentioned in the case of images, such as
video tapes. There is no ruling on these at all and they do not come under
the prohibition at all. Hence the scholars who forbid photographs printed on
paper regarded them as permissible, and said that there is nothing wrong
with them. It was said: Is it permissible to film the lectures that are
given in mosques? Their opinion was that this should not be done, because it
may disturb those who are praying there, and it does not befit the place,
and so on. 

2 – Photographs that are printed on paper. 

But there remains the question: if a person wants to make
these permissible images, then he is subject to the five rulings according
to his intention. If he intends thereby to do something haraam, then it is
haraam. If he intends thereby to do something obligatory then it is
obligatory. It may be obligatory to make images sometimes, especially moving
images. For example, if we see someone committing a crime that is a crime
against a person’s rights, such as a murder attempt and the like, and it
cannot be proven except by means of a picture, then in that case taking a
picture is obligatory, especially in cases where pictures could tell the
full story, because the means are subject to the same rulings as the ends.
If we use this image-making to prove the identity of a person lest he be
accused of a crime committed by someone else, there is nothing wrong with
this either, rather it is essential. But if we take a picture in order to
enjoy looking at it, this is undoubtedly haraam. End quote from al-Sharh
al-Mumti’ (2/197-199). 

See also questions no.
10326, 13633 and

And Allaah knows best.


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