Photography is called tasweer in Islam. It described as taking the pictures of the living (human or animals), animating other moving beings, such as people, birds, and other animals. The law of photography in Islam has defined as prohibited, such in the following below:
Severe Punishment from Allah SWT
- Abdullah ibn Mas’ood (may Allah be pleased with him), reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him), said that,
“Those who will be most severely punished by Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.” – Bukhari.
From the hadith above, the Prophet (peace be upon him) stated that Allah SWT will severely punished anyone who became the image makers in the world. Meanwhile photography is an act that described above. Why was it become prohibited, the answer is…
- Abu Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“Allaah, may He be exalted, says: ‘Who does more wrong than the one who tries to create something like My creation? Let him create a grain of wheat or a kernel of corn.'” – Bukhari
Every living, moving, dead, and soulless creature in the world were created by Allah. he has created every being so perfectly that no mere human can copy what Allah has done. Photography considered as trying to duplicate what Allah has created, dan Allah SWT hated it most. If human want to copy Allah’s creation so bad, then ask them to try making a kernel or corn, which no human will ever be able to.
- Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allah be pleased with him and his father) reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said,
“Every image-maker will be in the Fire, and for every image that he made a soul will be created for him, which will be punished in the Fire.” Ibn ‘Abbaas said: “If you must do that, make pictures of trees and other inanimate objects.” – Muslim
Also read: Prohibitions of Begging in Islam
Prohibition of Animate Being
Islam doesn’t prohibited all kind of photograph. The only kind of photograph that are prohibited are the picture of animate being, whether they are humans, animals, or other moving creatures, as well all three dimensional and two dimensional. All for of photography including drawn, printed, engraved, etched, carved, or cast in moulds. The prohibition include all of those.
The prohibition of photography (act of making image) is strictly prohibited in Islam. The punishment received by the image makers on the Day of Judgement will be truly severe, as they will be put inside the Fire (Hell). But it also stated that photography is allowed in Islam, as long as the object are not the living being such as people and animals. If someone want to create or making an image, then do it to the trees or other inanimate objects.
- ‘Ali ibn Abi Thalib (may Allah be pleased with him), also said
“Shall I not send you on the same mission as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent me? Do not leave any built-up tomb without levelling it, and do not leave any picture in any house without erasing it.” – Reported by Muslim
Not only photography is prohibited in Islam, but keeping a photograph is also not allowed. The Prophet’s (peace be upon him) message was passed on by Ali, whom following his step to erase any photograph left inside a house.
Also read: Prohibition of Speculation in Islam
The Argumentation and the Wisdom
Even though the photography of animate being has prohibited in any kind and any form, many Muslims still argue with it until know, stating that the photographs are only for the decoration purpose, not to be worshiped or prostrated. But there are some hidden wisdom behind the prohibition of photography of the animate being: to prevent any immoral act caused by the photograph, which happens a lot nowadays.
There are also other reasons behind the prohibition of photography in Islam, which means the photography of the animate beings. The existence of those photography prevent the Angels from entering one’s house, as mentioned in the Hadith below:
“The angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or pictures.” – Bukhari
As the Angels of Allah often sent to share all the blessing directly from Him, it such a great for a Muslim when an Angel doesn’t want to come over to his house because of the hanging photograph in the form of animated being and such similar things.
Also read: Prohibition of Swine in Islam
Photograph in Muslim Nowadays
Despite the clear prohibition of photography in Islam, unfortunately, Muslims nowadays keeps statues and photograph inside their house. The statue Gods worshiped by other religion can even be found in one of them, in the name of art and aesthetic. Whether it’s statue, picture that is hung on the wall or the picture that is not being hung up on the wall are all strictly prohibited. All of those can lead to a glorification and makes one becomes arrogant as those pictures can be the source of boasting. Truly, Allah SWT never prohibited anything if it’s not good.
If we, Muslims, have talent in painting or taking photograph, let’s paint pictures an taking objects that is not prohibited by Allah SWT. Other than living and animated being, landscape, plant, flowers, trees, and other unanimated being are also beautiful.