Reply to Photographs by Shakir


Hadith (Prophetic Narration) for the painter (Musawwir):

Most intense punishment, in the Day of Judgement, for the man who misguides the people without having any knowledge, or a painter who paints pictures (Tamaathil, تَمَاثِيلَ)
زيادة الجامع الصغير، والدرر المنتثرة،  – للإمام السيوطي
كتاب “زيادة الجامع الصغير”، للسيوطي >> حرف الهمزة

789- أشد الناس عذابا يوم القيامة رجل قتل نبيا أو قتله نبي أو رجل يضل الناس بغير علم أو مصور يصور التماثيل.
(حم) عن ابن مسعود

At the first glance reading this Arabic phrase, the unread person believes that the Prophet forbade painting.

This inference is voided by one verse in Qur’an and adumbrated by another verse, pay attention to verbiage Tamaathil(تَمَاثِيلَ):

In this verse Abraham (peace be upon) asks his people why are they so devoted to images they have chosen to worship, ‘images’ (or sculptures) here is the Arabic word Tamaathil(تَمَاثِيلَ). Therefore one could correctly infer that images dedicated for worship are not allowed:

21:52 Behold! he said to his father and his people, “What are these images (Tamaathil,تَمَاثِيلَ), to which ye are (so assiduously) devoted?”

إِذْ قَالَ لأَبِيهِ وَقَوْمِهِ مَا هَـٰذِهِ ٱلتَّمَاثِيلُ ٱلَّتِيۤ أَنتُمْ لَهَا عَاكِفُونَ


However in the following verse, a cultivating society depicted of those craftsmen and artists who worked for Prophet Solaiman (peace be upon him), and some of these artists were drawing images (or sculpting) (Tamaathil,تَمَاثِيلَ) :

34:13 They worked for him as he desired, (making) arches, images (Tamaathil,تَمَاثِيلَ), basons as large as reservoirs, and (cooking) cauldrons fixed (in their places): “Work ye, sons of David, with thanks! but few of My servants are grateful!”

يَعْمَلُونَ لَهُ مَا يَشَآءُ مِن مَّحَارِيبَ وَتَمَاثِيلَ وَجِفَانٍ كَٱلْجَوَابِ وَقُدُورٍ رَّاسِيَاتٍ ٱعْمَلُوۤاْ آلَ دَاوُودَ شُكْراً وَقَلِيلٌ مِّنْ عِبَادِيَ ٱلشَّكُورُ

The ignorant amongst the Muslims, who has no knowledge, misguides people by telling them to stay away from images and photographs and designs of any nature and applications, and his torment will be the most intense in the Day of Judgment as first Hadith indicates.

The intelligent learned Muslim uses the images of any form or fashion whether as art or as educational tool or for engineering or scientific purposes, for betterment of humanity. And if the Muslim becomes ignorant and stupid, please remind him or her:

34:13 . “but few of My servants are grateful!”




3 thoughts on “Reply to Photographs by Shakir”

  1. Salaam!
    Ya Shaikh,
    Thank you very much, Sir, for this post; I agree with you in toto. Most of us Muslims tend to throw the baby out with the bath water. and in doing so paint ourselves into a corner.

    Ma as Salaam!

    Munawwar Siddique

    ——– Forwarded Message ——–
    Subject: Re: Phone
    Date: Sat, 7 Feb 2015 05:37:54 +0000 (UTC)

  2. Thank you very much Sir for your kind response and clarification.

    As a student of Physics these words are very valueable and inspiring for me:

    “The intelligent learned Muslim
    uses the images of any form or
    fashion whether as art or as
    educational tool or for
    engineering or scientific
    purposes, for betterment of


  3. Salaam,

    3 things to note regarding Prophet Soleiman (AS):

    1 – He himself was not an image maker. His retinue of Jinns did the actual image making. It is not clear what are the properties of the Jinn Psyche, but the Human psyche is very much susceptible to images and as an image maker myself I can assure you the act of making images is spiritually affective as well.

    2 – The Prophet Soleiman has a carte blanche — in the Qur’an as I am sure you know it — to do whatever he pleases “without account”.

    3 – The Prophet Soleiman directed the acts of image creation, what to make, what it should be, and in what form. So, it is entirely possible that his Jinn studio produced purely ‘geometric’ (or psycho-semantically opaque) images. Whatever they were, this much is clear: Soleiman was a ‘Guided’ one ..

    زيادة الجامع الصغير، والدرر المنتثرة، – للإمام السيوطي
    كتاب “زيادة الجامع الصغير”، للسيوطي >> حرف الهمزة

    (Indeed it is an error to pass fatwas on matters without Peer (Jurisprudence) or Pir (Gnosis) review.)

    /& Salaam!

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