What does Islam say about drawing pictures of people or taking photos?

In case it is prohibited, then I must mention that i cannot fly to mecca to perform umrah or hajj without there being a photo of me on the passport.

Are photos prohibited? Are they not? Does the permission depend upon the use/context?


1 Answer 1


(I believe that the traditional scholars, too, won't disallow passport photos and likes on the basis of 'the principle of compulsion' in Fiqh. However, your question is general. So, the answer is accordingly general.)

The prohibition of drawing pictures mentioned in hadiths is specific for the images that contain elements of polytheism in them. This following is an excerpt from a long article but summarizes the core argument that supports this opinion:

...the 'sin' involved in making images, as mentioned in some of the cited narratives is that the 'artist', in his own mind, makes a creation in the likes of God's creation. Even though this 'sin' remains inexplicable in the case of ordinary images and imaging, yet it becomes stunningly apparent in the making of images, which are representative of polytheistic beliefs. An 'artist' or a 'sculptor', who makes an image for worship, actually claims certain qualities for these images. he claims that these images hear man's calls; he claims that these images can help man in his hardships; he claims that these images, if they are adequately pleased can be a source of great blessings for their worshippers. All these qualities of hearing, understanding, responding, and, in certain cases, helping are qualities specific to intelligent living-beings. Independently intelligent living-beings are the creation of God alone. Whoever claims these qualities for an image, made by his own hands is, in fact, claiming to have created a creation, which is in the absolute likes of the God's own creation.

  • The quote seems to be supporting the idea that any image is a "creation". But that reasoning could be applied to any tool. I'm not sure it supports your argument that only images of polytheism are Haram. Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 9:06
  • It goes like this: (a) making "a creation in the likes of God's" is forbidden (b.1) Polytheistic images are actually "creation in the likes of God's" (b.2) Ordinary images are not "creation in the likes of God's" (c) Therefore, Polytheistic images are forbidden and the others not. [argument for (b.1): the artist does assume some attributes for the image that makes it "a creation in the likes of God's", argument for (b.2): he/she does NOT claim any such attribute for it]
    – a_fan
    Commented Jan 6, 2015 at 12:43

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