Hanging photos

Egypt's Dar Al-Ifta

Hanging photos


We have received an inquiry from a man about the ruling of hanging photos of his deceased parents in the entryway of his apartment, seeking prayers for mercy and forgiveness for them from whoever enters his house. He was told that this is prohibited.



There is nothing wrong in printing and hanging photos of humans or animals since they do not imitate God’s creation which was warned against. Hanging pictures is permissible provided the photos are free of nudity and do not incite lust. This is because the type of "imaging" intended by the hadith which is firmly warned against, is creating complete statues which imitate God’s creation. Though it is called "tasweer" (depiction), photography1 is not unlawful since this apparent cause (imitating God’s creation) is absent – and rulings are based on their apparent causes, whether present or absent. In reality, photography captures rays of light; it is called "tasweer" only in a metaphorical sense, and what matters in legal rulings is the essence (or reality) of a thing, not what it is called.

Based on the above and in reference to the question, it is permissible to hang your parents’ photos for this noble purpose as long as they are clothed in an acceptable manner for people to look at. There is no harm whether it is a partial or complete picture. This is not prohibited, contrary to what some have told you.

And God knows best.

1. nb: In Arabic, the words for sculpting, depiction, and imaging share a common linguistic root.

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