Hanging photos

Dar al-Iftaa d'Égypte

Hanging photos


What is the ruling of hanging photos of his deceased parents in the entry way to 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 circulating and hanging photos of humans or animals since they are free of imitating Allah’s creation about which makers of ‘depictions’ were strongly warned. [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 firm warning in the hadith is creating complete statues which imitate Allah’s creation.

Though it is called ‘depiction’, photography1 is not unlawful since this apparent cause is absent – and rulings follow their apparent causes, whether present or absent. In truth, photography captures rays of light; it is called ‘depiction’ only in a metaphorical sense, and what matters in legal rulings is what is designated – not the designation itself.

Based on the above and in reference to the question, it is permissible to hang your parent’s photos for this noble purpose as long as your mother’s photo is decent. There is no harm whether it is a partial or complete picture. This is not prohibited – [contrary] to what some have told you.

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

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