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Q698: Can we keep photos of marhoomeens?

Question

Assalamu Alaikum.

My father in law passed away on Saturday evening (please make dua maghfirat for him and pray Allah gives the family sabr)

We have some photos of him we would like to keep. Please tell me is it permissible to keeps photos, even of we decide to not look at them but just keep them with the intention of showing his grandchildren when they get older.

Would you also please inform me of what the consequence of keeping the photos would be for the marhoomeen as some members are adamant on keeping them Please advise.
Wassalam.

Answer

Walaikumussalam w w

May Allah shower His mercy upon the grave of your grandfather, forgive his mistakes and elevate his ranks in jannah, And give sabr to the whole family.

Sorry for the delay in replying. I had to give careful consideration and make mashwera.

Mufti Tahir Saheb of Saharnpoor is very strict and says It would be haram to keep them.

Firstly, photos should not be taken unless extremely necessary. Showqia photos are not allowed, Eg holiday snaps, wedding memories etc

Thereafter, if any photos are taken out of necessity, and the person dies, the correct procedure is to destroy them.

Especially showqia photos and videos must be destroyed.

If the necessary ones are not displayed but kept concealed, there might be some flexibility in there.

Photos kept for respect will not be allowed, eg photos of buzrugs. This is because this reverence could lead to their worship.

Mufti Mahmood Saheb went to someone’s house, who showed them the photo of some buzrug. Mufti Saheb tore it apart. The person felt bad. Mufti Saheb said this is also tagyeerul munkar. (rectifying the incorrect). Mufti saheb went on to say that keeping photos of awliyaullah is worse than keeping photos of others.

If the marhoomeen had instructed their family to keep their photos or liked their photos to be kept or knew about them but they did not instruct their disposal, then there is a possibility of them being reckoned in the qabr.

This is derived from the mas’la of maatam (lamenting), where Rasulullah sallallahu alayhi wa sallam said
الميت يعذب بما نيح عليه
“The mayyit gets azaab when nawha is done upon it”

The commentators have mentioned various reasons for this azaab. 3 of them are what I have said above.

So this could also be applied to the mas’ala of photos and other unislamic instructions left behind.

Allah knows best

4 Responses

  1. Ahmed

    Photographs of our akabir

    A brother inquired about the availability of photographs of our pious predecessors (akabir), especially Hakim al-Umma Mawlana Ashraf ‘Ali Thanawi (may Allah have mercy on him).

    The response,
    Our akabir do not approve of photography of living creatures.
    They acknowledge the fiqhi dispensation for essential governmental requirements. But without a genuine reason they consider it impermissible.

    However, it can not be denied that their photographs do exist .
    These were taken without their knowledge and permission.
    If they would have known they would have vehemently disapproved of it and urged the perpetrator to destroy these pictures.

    The following incident is an example for us,
    A person brought a rare picture of Hakim al-Umma Thanawi (may Allah have mercy on him) to Mawlana Hakim Akhter sahib (may Allah preserve him) expecting some reward and appreciation. Immediately after listening to his introduction and prior to having a glimpse of the picture Hakim sahib tore it into pieces . He commented that Hazrat Thanawi would have never approved of it.

    How can we claim to follow our akabir when we practice against what they taught?

    http://www.ashrafiya.com/2009/01/10/photographs-of-our-akabir/

  2. Ahmed

    “On another occasion an Englishman came to visit Hazrat Sheikh (Hazrat Sheikh-ul-Hadith, Hazrat Maulana Muhammad Zakaria Muhajir Madani) rahmatullahi alaihe and had his heart set on taking his picture. It was explained to him that this was Islamicly unpermissable. Somewhat he asked permission to photograph Hazrat’s rahmatullahi alaihe bedroom door. When it was granted to him he beamed with delight, snapped up his camera.”

    http://www.inter-islam.org/Pastevents/Historical.html

  3. Sincere Seeker

    Assalaamu alaikum shaikh,

    I fully understand the part about not taking pictures of the pious, as the reverence for them Could lead to idolatry, like we learn from history from how shaytaan successfully managed to lead the generations succeeding Adam (عليه السلام) eventually to idol worship through pictures of their PIOUS ones- so not taking pictures of PIOUS people that I understand fully

    But what I don’t understand is Why would/ how can spur-of-the-moment-pictures,’shawqiyyah’ pictures,holiday snaps, family pictures, pictures of ones children, pictures of ones siblings and parents, pictures that capture and preserve memorable moments with our loved ones, how can those be disallowed in Islam.

    Does Islam really disallow such pictures, even for those people who are not fortunate enough to be able to spend much time with their families, who for one reason or another are separated from their families and can’t visit it them and see them often…
    Does Islam prohibit ‘keeping’ ones family with u wherever u go…

    Please answer my question after much thought i would really really appreciate it,try to look at it from our point of view

    The world is not how it used to be, times have changed-pictures have become a part of everyday life, not restricted to special events and people, such that many a pictures are just CASUAL pictures…

    Please give much thought…
    (Forgive me for my tone of words, if there’s any harshness in them it is not intentional and if I have offended you forgive me for that is not my intent, not even in the slightest)

    —————— ———————————————————

    AR says:

    Walaikumussalam w w

    I did kept that in mind when I wrote ‘there could be some flexibility in there’

    The thing is, if we give the outright green light, people go way beyond limits.

    This is why the fuqahaa have disliked daff as well, because we give one finger and people grab the arm. So we have to encourage the general public to be careful.

    There is another thing about keeping photos after death. We are encouraged to be patient, stop crying, and move on with our lives after bereavement. What photos and videos do is, that they drag that sorrow further.

    Also we’re encouraged to do Isaale sawab by reading Quran, giving sadaqa on behalf of the deceased.

    We are also urged to visit their graves, because they can realise who has come and they feel good by our presence and by our recitation of the Quran near their graves.

    Also we can remember our own death by visiting them.

    So, we can’t base shariah rulings on our emotions. We look around the whole world and we see that simple saada Muslims avoid photography altogether.

    May Allah bless us with the understanding of the wisdom behind His commands and make practicing easy for us.

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