I am well aware of recent events that have sparked controversy over drawing the Prophet Muhammad, (SAW). However, what is the general ruling on pictures and images in Islam?

I am only aware of one hadith on the mater, in which Aisha turns a piece of fabric previously hung on the wall into a rug at the Prophet's (SAW) request.

Are there more detailed rulings on this?


4 Answers 4


This is the Hadith which you are referring to:

Narrated By 'Aisha : (Mother of the faithful believers) I bought a cushion with pictures on it. When Allah's Apostle saw it, he kept standing at the door and did not enter the house. I noticed the sign of disgust on his face, so I said, "O Allah's Apostle! I repent to Allah and H is Apostle. (Please let me know) what sin I have done." Allah's Apostle said, "What about this cushion?" I replied, "I bought it for you to sit and recline on." Allah's Apostle said, "The painters (i.e. owners) of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection. It will be said to them, 'Put life in what you have created (i.e. painted).' " The Prophet added, "The angels do not enter a house where there are pictures."

Al-Bukhari, Book of Sales (34), Hadith No. 2106

The Ahadith are very much categorical on this issue. The scholars agree that painting, sketching and drawing any living being is forbidden unless there is a necessity.

However, as far as taking pictures (snaps) is concerned majority especially the Arab scholars call it permissible as it is the image/reflection that is saved just like as we look into the mirror.

  • 1
    Please clarify your comment about "Arab" scholars. Islam does not differentiate scholarship, or anything else, based on ethnicity.
    – ashes999
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 14:23
  • No you got my point wrong I didn't mean any ethnic discrimination. Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 18:24
  • @MuhammadAhmadZafar then could you please clarify what you meant? Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 18:38
  • Yes, @MuhammadAhmadZafar I assumed as much. Although, on paper, your comment looks a bit odd. Can you please clarify it?
    – ashes999
    Commented Jul 25, 2012 at 18:42
  • Sorry but I can assure you it was only odd on the appearance :-) You can find names of some of such scholars on montada.com/… Commented Jul 26, 2012 at 9:06

As stated in my answer to the similar question above:

...........However, the Prophet did allow the drawing of inanimate objects such as trees and rocks -- anything which does not possess a soul.

Ibn Abbas (May Allah be pleased with them) said: I heard the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) saying:

"Every painter will go to Hell, and for every portrait he has made, there will be appointed one who will chastise him in the Hell.'' Ibn `Abbas said: If you have to do it, draw pictures of trees and other inanimate things. [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]................

click here to see the full question and answer


The ruling of a picture that has a soul like a human or animal is haram, but if it is a picture of a object that has no soul, like a tree or rock, than it is considered OK.

While I was with Ibn Abbas a man came and said, "O father of Abbas! My sustenance is from my manual profession and I make these pictures." Ibn `Abbas said, "I will tell you only what I heard from Allah's Messenger (sallallahu 'alaihi wa sallam) . I heard him saying, 'Whoever makes a picture will be punished by Allah till he puts life in it, and he will never be able to put life in it. " Hearing this, that man heaved a sigh and his face turned pale. Ibn Abbas said to him, "What a pity! If you insist on making pictures I advise you to make pictures of trees and any other inanimate objects"


  • Is there any proof/source to the claim that trees/rocks don't have any soul? Commented May 26, 2014 at 5:06

Adding to what others have said,

Taking digital pictures/videos is halal if what you are recoding is considered halal. and vice versa.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen considers it halal because it is made of pixels (Not hard material).

He states:

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.

Source taken from IslamQA link.

  • Sohaeb, would you be able to add an excerpt in case the link goes down? Commented May 26, 2014 at 10:20

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