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As most people know, the depiction of Muhammad has stirred up the hornet's nest quite a bit and to such a degree that NO pictures of him are shown in official media by fear of repercussions.

I had a discussion about this with a Muslim co-worker and he said that it's only a part of islam that takes offense in depiction of the Prophet (even a non-caricature one). In other parts it's disgraceful to NOT show pictures of him. Can anyone here clarify this?

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see my question here :) –  MYamanT Nov 28 '12 at 15:39

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up vote 6 down vote accepted

Thank you for your question.

It has certainly stirred up a lot of controversy. The Sunnah (authentic sayings of Prophet Muhammad) is very clear on the issue regarding making pictures of humans or any other animate beings. It is not permissible. Islam was sent to do away with the practices of people worshiping the creation and solely focusing their worship to the Creator alone. Creating images and statues of people is at the root of idolatry, which Islam is completely against.

Any depiction of the prophets, not just Muhammad, but of Jesus, Moses, etc.. is not permissible.

This is not a new concept. One of the ten commandments from the Bible says:

“You shall not make for yourself a carved image, or any likeness of anything that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth."

So as Muslims, we take offense to any depiction of the prophets. Whether they draw pictures of Muhammad or depict Jesus in offensive cartoons.

So your Muslim co-worker was incorrect when he said that there would be instances where it would be disgraceful to NOT show pictures of him. Any depiction of any of the prophets is not permissible.

Also, the way we Muslims reacted to this by rioting and violence is also not permissible, but I guess that is for another question..

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How far can you stretch the concept of idolatry? If you really want to go out on a limbe here, couldn't one claim that something like a mosque or really any thing related to worship is bad? –  Sandokan Dec 2 '12 at 23:25
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I think I understand where your coming from. Let me see if I can clarify. Idolatry, or worship/reliance on idols which can be statues, pictures, personalities (alive or dead) are a problem because people tend to think these things can help fulfill their needs. Allah has made it clear in the Quran that those things they call upon & rely on other than Allah cannot harm or benefit them. In most cases, they can't even hear, like wooden statues or dead people. Allah doesn't want us to go through anyone or anything to worship Him. We ask Him directly. –  Abdul-Rahman Dec 2 '12 at 23:57
    
Ah, ok. I think I understand. Thanks for the explanation. –  Sandokan Dec 3 '12 at 7:19
    
+1 very clear, strong answer. –  ashes999 Dec 3 '12 at 21:57
    
You;ve quoted the Sunnah. Is there anything in the quoran to support your statement? –  Mozibur Ullah Dec 5 '12 at 6:41

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