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We do online business and sell products and services online. We do not put any photos, pictures or videos on our website (as photos are haram in Islam). By not adding any photos I mean not even pictures of men or animals, cartoons or animations, etc.

We are really suffering because our competitors do all these. They share funny photos on the website and Facebook, etc. to keep their customers engaged, etc. Practically speaking, it's nearly being out of business without photos or videos.

We don't want to add any vulgar images. What should we do in such a situation? If we don't put any women photos, can we add some other photos on the website e.g. men, cartoons, animations?

Or what will be the best alternative to photos in a business?

  • 1
    "As photos are haraam in Islam" Could you provide some evidence for this? – Zahra Ezati Oct 1 '12 at 8:44
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    Prohibition is on the pictures of living things – Abdullah Oct 1 '12 at 9:00
  • @Abdullah: Digital pictures? Source please. – fuddin Oct 7 '12 at 18:52
  • @StartupCrazy There is a difference of opinion on that. Check my answer below. – Abdullah Oct 7 '12 at 19:49
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Photography is a very tricky issue and I am not going to give you a straightforward answer. I am going to give you the general ruling and some advice.

The general ruling is that image making (tasweer) of living things is prohibited in Islam because it is trying to match Allah in creating.

This is because of various strong evidences in sahih hadeeths:

In the two Saheehs (al-Bukhaaree and Muslim), on the authority of Abu Hurairah (radiallaahu 'anhu), who said: the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu 'alaihi wa sallam) said: Allaah, the Most High, said: "Who is more a wrongdoer than o‎ne who tries to create creation like My creation. Let him create a small ant (dharrah) or a grain of wheat or that of barley." This wording is from Muslim. [Al-Bukhaaree 7/541, no.837; Muslim 3/1162, no.5275.]

Also in the two Saheehs,

on the authority of Ibn Mas’ood (radiallaahu ‘anhu), who said: the Messenger of Allaah (salallaahu ‘alaihi wa sallam) said: “The most severely punished people o‎n the Day of Resurrection would be the image-makers (al-musawwiroon).” [Al-Bukhaaree 7/540, no.834; Muslim 3/1161, no.5272, 5270]

There are several other hadeeth which indicate that the curse of Allah is upon the image-makers.

Now, what makes the issue tricky is what falls under the category of image-making. Without doubt, painting living things, or making sculptures falls under this prohibition and there is no differing opinion regarding that.

The issue of photography i.e. taking pictures with camera or making cartoons is what is highly discussed. Majority of the scholars deem it permissible to take photos in case of necessity. Examples of necessity include identity photos, passport photos, or photos of criminals for the purpose of identification and then arrest when they commit a crime or attempt to flee. These majority of the scholars considered photographs to be prohibited on occasions other than these.

However, a slightly different opinion is also held by few scholars like Shaykh Muhammad Ibn Salih al-Uthaymeen. I repeat, it is only slightly different. He feels there is no harm in taking photograph with camera instantaneously since it is not matching Allah in creating rather, it is transporting an image created by Allah with help of a device. So, it is not an action but an impression. However, he also said it will be prohibited to take pictures if it is meant for haraam purpose, for example, for enjoyment or for memory. Regarding cartoons on TV, he also deemed it permissible since it does not follow the real image. I suggest you read his verdicts in the issues surrounding images.

That said, I am going to give you some advice (based on my personal perference and opinion that I take from scholars). You can see in the hadeeths that curse of Allah is upon the image-maker and there is a horrifying punishment for them. In one hadeeth, the prophet (salallahu alayhi wassalam) said :

“Whoever makes an image (soorah) in this world would be compelled to breathe a soul (rooh) in it o‎n the Day of Resurrection, but he would not be able to do so“

The issue of image-making is related to tawheed (monotheism) and your belief in Allah. If you are really serious about it, I recommend you listening to this audio which explains well how it is connected to your belief in Allah. Now, though there is a permissible differing among the scholars, Allahu A'lam which opinion is the truth. I do not force you to take any one particular opinion but I advice you to give some thought into the risks and benefits and If I were you, I wouldn't want to jeopardize my hereafter based on differing. If photography with camera is excused, Alhamdulilah but if not, I want to be on the safer side. I hope you get what I mean.

Regarding your purpose of photos, if you want to share these photos for entertainment (you said to keep them engaged - I assume it is entertainment) or if it keeps your customers from doing what is obligatory, then it would be haraam by all opinions (the majority and the minority).

As for best alternative, I am not qualified to suggest. However, the world of Allah is big. He is the one who gives sustenance to all. I hope you will definitely find some halal way to keep you and your family happy, bi'ithnillah.

  • This is a very tricky issue. Until now I thought it was all good. As most of the people in the Muslim community do it without paying much attention to the different types of photography. I don't know where to draw the line between the different types; but does it apply to watching movies, news, etc? – Noah Oct 2 '12 at 7:34
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According to Fiqh of Shia Islam using pictures or drawing them or taking photos is not haram and is permitted. But making statue of living creatures is not permissible.


Reference:

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