Ruling on Taswir (painting, drawing, sculpture, photography)

Question:

What is your view concerning the claim that taking photographs of humans is permissible, while drawing pictures is Haram (prohibited)? What is your advice for Muslim women who issue Fatwa (legal opinion issued by a qualified Muslim scholar) without knowledge?

Answer:

Taswir (painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography) is not permissible whether by hand or not. All kinds of Taswir are rejected. The Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him) cursed the Musawwir (one who makes pictures and statues, or photographs of living beings). He (peace be upon him) said: “The people who will be most severely punished on the Day of Resurrection will be the Musawwirs.1

Every Musawwir will be in Hellfire.2

The Musawwir is to be punished in Hellfire for each picture they take for themselves. When the Prophet (peace be upon him) saw a thick curtain having pictures on it that belongs to ‘Aishah, he took hold of it and tore it saying: “The makers of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them, ‘Give life to what you have created (i.e., these pictures).’3

Every Muslim should avoid Taswir. It is authentically reported that the Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed the consumer of Riba (usury), the one who pays it, the Musawwir, she who tattoos and she who gets tattooed. One should beware of all this, of consuming Riba, of tattoos and of depicting beings with souls such as pigeons, chickens, animals, humans, birds, etc. It is not permissible to depict any beings with souls neither on papers, nor on clothes nor on wood. Every man and woman should beware of issuing Fatwa without knowledge. They should fear Allah; they should not talk about Allah without knowledge. Every Muslim should beware of this, for issuing Fatwa without knowledge is a very dangerous matter which every Muslim should avoid and ask for Allah’s Forgiveness for what they have committed in the past.


  1. Narrated by Al-Bukhari, Book on clothing, Chapter on the punishment on the Day of Rising of those who make images, no. 5950; and Muslim, Book on clothing and adornment, Chapter on the prohibition of drawing a picture of an animal, no. 2109. 

  2. Related by Muslim, Book on clothing and adornment, Chapter on the prohibition of drawing a picture of an animal, no. 2110. 

  3. Al-Bukhari, Book on marriage, no. 5181; Muslim, Sahih, Book on clothing and adornment, no. 2107; Ahmad, Musnad, vol. 6, p. 246; and Malik, Muwatta, Book on miscellaneous matters, no. 1803. 

  • Date: Rabi' Al-Awwal 11, 1442 AH
  • Source: One of the questions of Hajj for the year 1418 A.H
  • Mufti: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz