Azaadville’s Fatwa on T.V

Darul Ifta Azaadville’s Fatwa on Television

Also Download Mowlana Fadlur rahman’s letter to the Jamiat Fordsburg in Urdu and English

Assalaamu alaykum

Respected Hadhrat Mufti Motara Saheb damat baraktahum

A certain doctor from our area of Roshnee went to Somalia recently.

While he was there he filmed all the conditions of the people in Somalia.When he returned,he produced a dvd of his trip and handed this dvd to a few business people.

After watching this dvd the businessmen were obviously moved by what they had seen on the dvd.An aalim was consulted and permissibility of copying the dvd and handing it out after the Eidgah was given.A collection was held for Somalia after the Eidgah.On the dvd copy were names of various business people to whom money for Somalia could be given to.

Even the local Molana who had conducted the Eid Salaah had encouraged the congregation to collect the dvd and watch it.

My questions are:

1.Is it permissible in this circumstance with the famine in Somalia to produce a dvd of this type and encourage people to watch it so that they make take lesson?

2.When the aalim who gave the concession was asked about pictures and television,he said that there is a difference of opinion between senior Ulema with regards to pictures and that due to the difference, pictures of this nature are fine.Even on the issue of tv he says that initially Ulema ruled tv haraam but now in Pakistan senior Ulema are conducting programmes on tv to benefit people.

Kindly advise what does the Shariah allow in a situation where people want to show others what is the situation in Somalia,can one take photos with images?Can one video the plight of the people?

Jazakallah

Wasalaam

Muhammed

Muhtaram,

السلام عليكم و رحمة الله و بركاته

We received your query on 14 September, with regards to collecting donations via recorded DVDs. We apologize for the delay. Our answer is as follows:

 

The making of pictures has been strongly prohibited in Islam. This prohibition can be substantiated from a large number of Ahaadith, which when combined give the benefit of Tawaatur[1]. (Mutawaatir ul ma’na) A few Ahaadith[2] regarding the prohibition of producing pictures are presented below:

 

عن أبي هريرة قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم: ان أصحاب الصور الذين يعملونها يعذبون بها يوم القيامة يقال لهم أحيوا ما خلقتم . مسند أحمد بن حنبل [2 /380]

عَنْ سَالِمٍ عَنْ أَبِيهِ قَالَ وَعَدَ النَّبِيَّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ جِبْرِيلُ فَرَاثَ عَلَيْهِ حَتَّى اشْتَدَّ عَلَى النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَخَرَجَ النَّبِيُّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ فَلَقِيَهُ فَشَكَا إِلَيْهِ مَا وَجَدَ فَقَالَ لَهُ إِنَّا لَا نَدْخُلُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ صُورَةٌ وَلَا كَلْبٌ .صحيح البخاري [2 81.8]

قال جاء رجل إلى ابن عباس فقال :إني رجل أصور هذه الصور فأفتني فيها فقال له ادن مني فدنا منه ثم قال ادن مني فدنا حتى وضع يده على رأسه قال أنبئك بما سمعت من رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول : كل مصور في النار يجعل له بكل صورة صورها نفسا فتعذبه في جهنم ) وقال إن كنت لابد فاعلا فاصنع الشجر وما لا نفس له( صحيح مسلم [2 /202]

The Ulama are also unanimous with regards to this prohibition and their Ijma (consensus) has been narrated in the books of Fiqh:

(باب تحريم تصوير صورة الحيوان)

[2104] قال أصحابنا وغيرهم من العلماء تصوير صورة الحيوان حرام شديد التحريم وهو من الكبائر لأنه متوعد عليه بهذا الوعيد الشديد المذكور فى الأحاديث وسواء صنعه بما يمتهن أو بغيره فصنعته حرام بكل حال ……………. ولافرق فى هذا كله بين ماله ظل ومالاظل له هذا تلخيص مذهبنا فى المسألة وبمعناه قال جماهير العلماء من الصحابة والتابعين ومن بعدهم وهو مذهب ابي الثوري و مالك و ابي حنيفة و غيرهم. ( شرح النووي على مسلم 199/2)

و ظاهر كلام النووى في شرح مسلم الاجماع على تحريم تصوير الحيوان. (شامي ج1 ص 647)[3]

جاندار کی تصویر سازی باجماع امت حرام ہے (احسن الفتاوی ج8 ص422)[4]‌‍

In the queried situation, it is necessary to ascertain the reality of DVD videos and TV before passing a ruling on whether such a course of action is permissible or not:

The Encarta encyclopaedia 2009[5] explaining television states:

……..Digital television uses technology that records, transmits, and decodes a signal in digital form—that is, as a series of ones and zeros. This process produces a much clearer picture and sound quality than analog systems, similar to the difference between a compact disc recording (using digital technology[6]) and an audiotape or long-playing record.[7]

Madehow.com states regarding the DVD:

Digital video disk or digital versatile disk (DVD) is a type of optical data storage medium capable of holding up to 17 giga-bytes (GB) of information. First introduced during the mid-1990s, they were developed as an improved form of compact disk (CD) technology. DVDs can produce such high quality pictures and sounds; they are expected to eventually replace both VCRs and CD players.

DVDs have also been widely used for recordings of motion pictures. Explaining motion pictures Encarta encyclopaedia 2009 mentions:

The images that make up a motion picture are all individual photographs. But when they appear rapidly in succession, the human eye does not detect that they are separate images. This results from persistence of vision, a phenomenon whereby the eye retains a visual image for a fraction of a second after the source has been removed. Although we do not experience the images as individual photographs, we do notice the differences between them. The brain then perceives these differences as motion.[8]

From the information that has been stated above we find that the TV and DVD are instruments which produce many pictures in a short period of time. By storing and transferring such animate pictures onto DVD, one is guilty of assisting in picture making[9]. Thus, becoming the means of perpetrating a grave sin as can be ascertained from what Rasulullah صلي الله عليه و سلم said:

عن عبد الله قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم ان اشد الناس عذابا يوم القيامة المصورون (مسند احمد ج 1 ص 620)

Translation: the most severely punished person on the day of judgement will be the picture makers.

Islam has likewise forbidden the keeping of pictures of animate objects. As a result, displaying any kind of pictures in one’s house will also be impermissible. Rasulullah صلي الله عليه و سلم said:

عن أبي طلحة رضي الله عنهم قال : قال النبي صلى الله عليه و سلم ( لا تدخل الملائكة بيتا فيه كلب ولا تصاوير ) صحيح البخاري ج2 ص880

Translation: the angels of mercy do not enter the houses wherein there is a dog or pictures.

One’s home is therefore deprived of the mercy of Allah; the angels of mercy do not enter and this results in the Shayaateen entering.

Due to the aforementioned, the majority of the Ulama are of the opinion that watching TV or DVDs for any reasons whatsoever is impermissible. This also applies to those DVDs which are broadcasted for charity purposes or for taking lessons from the state of affairs of other countries. This course of action cannot be justified in Shariah as it is at the expense of committing sin. Maulana Yusuf Ludhyaanwi رحمة الله عليه with regards to this has mentioned: “By employing Haraam and forbidden methods, guidance would not spread because Haraam methods are evil, and by using evil, evil will spread.”

In a piece of writing authored by Khalid Beig, the issue of using TV for charity purposes has been discussed. The article shows that Muslims shouldn’t wait to be moved by videos to give charity; but rather a Muslim should always be ready to spend in the path of Allah. We will reproduce some extracts of the article to further explain this:

Islamic Work and Television…. Not too long ago, a young professional in the U.S. approached prominent Muslim scholar and Deputy Chairman of the Jeddah based Islamic Fiqh Council of the Organization of Islamic Conference (OIC), Justice Taqi Usmani to inquire about his profession. He produced computer graphics for the television and motion picture industry. This is the age of the media, and the only effective way to spread Islam today is through television and movies, he argued. If we do not learn the trade………….

“I have given a lot of anxious thought to this issue,” replied Justice Usmani in his characteristic measured tone, weighing every word. “And I have reached the conclusion that the cause of Islam cannot be served through television, especially under the current circumstances. You should seek another line of work.”……….

Khalid Beig further goes onto mention the various forms of Islamic TV:

“…………The third types of videos are used by relief organizations showing the terrible situation of Muslims in Kashmir, Bosnia, Palestine and elsewhere. The intentions are noble, the results look great. But someone must ask the hard question: Why should the Muslims need disaster pornography before they can come to the help of their brothers and sisters? What are the implications of this practice for both present and future?” [10]………………

The issue of using the TV for viewing Hajj videos was a matter that arose in the past century. The manner in which the senior ‘Ulama responded to this holds sufficient guidance for us. When the question of Hajj videos was posed to Maulana Ashraf Ali Thanawi رحمة الله عليه, he expressed great worry and concern and thereafter stated:

“Amongst the reasons of prohibition is the usage of animate objects and taking benefit from them. There is no difference of opinion regarding the making of pictures even though it may be of the Hujjaj. Rasulullah صلي الله عليه و سلم did not hesitate to even remove the statues of Ibrahim عليه السلام and Ismail عليه السلام”.[11]

In the above Fatwa, there apparently seems to be no evils associated to the Hajj videos; in fact one can say that the videos are being broadcasted solely for a good purpose. However, such a practice has been judged to be Haraam because of the usage of animate pictures. [12]

Similarly, broadcasting videos to raise funds for the people of Somalia may seem to be a noble and righteous cause, but such a practice would be classed as prohibited as it contains the usage of animate pictures.

The difference of opinion between the ‘Ulama of Pakistan is not to do with the producing of pictures. The making of pictures is unanimously Haraam as has been clearly stated above. However, there are a small number of ‘Ulama who consider the TV and DVD image not to be a picture, but a combination of tiny electronic rays that do not have a physical structure and are in the form of many pixels. There is no permanence found in such images due to which a complete picture is not formed. Therefore, according to them, the images appearing on TV screens are not the pictures which have been mentioned in the Hadith and will be excluded from the prohibition.[13]

In response to this argument, the information that was presented above with regards to the reality of the TV and DVD image will suffice for us, where it was clearly stated that these are picture producing machines that produce many pictures per second, thus the sin being much more due to multiple images being made.

If we were to accept the argument of there not being any permanence in the TV and DVD image, then there still exists particles of an image which creates the potential of the video being captured and printed. Taking this potential into consideration, the TV and DVD image would ultimately be considered as Tasweer, and Haraam.

To say that the images appearing on TV screens are not the pictures which have been mentioned in the Hadith is incorrect as well. By merely changing the methodology of making something the Hukm (command) of that thing will not change. A picture will remain a picture regardless of whether it is made by hand, camera or via the television; and changing its name to pixels or electronic rays (or any other name) will not affect its Hukm.[14]

What we can say is that modern day technology has simply made it easier to produce pictures, and in a more clear-cut and fine manner; to the effect that on the press of a button a complete picture is being formed and within a second it is ready to be broadcasted throughout the world. Instead of legalizing the matter this gives more reason of prohibition. This viewpoint has also been backed up by Abdul Karim Zaydaan:

والصورة المنهي عنه تشمل المصنوعة باليد والمصنوعة بالآلة, اذ لا فرق بين الاثنين, بل قد تكون المصنوعة بالآلة تطابق الاصل و تماثله تمام المطابقة و بوضوح تام. فهي اولى بالمنع والحظر من المصورة باليد.[15]

Another point worth mentioning is that many commands of Shariah are based on Urf.[16]The Fuqaha have stated that in a lot of cases priority is given to Urf over haqaaiq lughwiyya (real meanings of words).[17] The images moving around on the TV screen are understood to be pictures by the general masses. Therefore, even if the technical intricacies about the TV image were to be true,[18] there would be no scope of permissibility in watching television, based on the above principle (of Urf).

Similarly, the Fuqaha have stated a principle in identifying certain shari’ commandments: اذا اجتمع الحلال و الحرام غلب الحرام i.e. when there is a contentious issue between the scholars about the permissibility and impermissibility of an object, then preference would be given to classifying that object as impermissible[19]; and this is based on ihtiyaat (precautionary measures). This principle further supports the position of prohibiting the viewing of any television programs.[20]

You mentioned in your question that Ulama are conducting programmes on TV. If a small number of Ulama are conducting programmes then the majority aren’t.[21] The appearing of some Ulama on TV is not a good enough proof of its permissibility. As Muslims, our source of direction is the Quraan and Hadith as explained by Sahaabah Kriaam radhiallahu anhum and not just any contemporary personality.

In the light of what has been mentioned above, there seems to be no scope of permissibility for making videos which are produced with the intention of raising funds for the Muslims suffering across the world. There are many other ways of raising funds for the needy, which are in accordance to Sharia’, and one should opt for them. The donations which are raised through the traditional and permissible means may be a small amount but they will carry more Baraka and blessings.

. AND ALLAH TA’ALA KNOWS BEST.

Usama Bin Suleman Bhattay

11 June 2012

20 Rajab 1433

[1] Tawaatur is the highest degree of authenticity. I.e. the narrations with regards to this matter have been transmitted with such a large number that to disregard it is impossible. Allama Sabuni has also confirmed this in Tafsir Aayatil Ahkaam P.G. 419 vol.2. ((فان النصوص الواردة فى تحريم التصوير بلغت حد التواتر

[2] The prohibition of picture making through Tawaatur has been mentioned by Mufti Shafi Rahmatullahi alayh in tasweer ke shari’ ahkaam p.g 44. In a fatwa published by Darul Uloom Yasin ul Qur’an, Karachi, 42 Ahaadith have been presented from 25 Sahaba.

[3] Please also refer to: Al bahru raiq (vol. 2 P.G. 28), Tahtaawi alad dur (vol. 1 p.g. 273), Fathul baari (vol. 10 p.g. 315).

[4] Also: Imdaadul mufteen (p.g.1005) and Imdaadul Fataawa (vol. 4 p.g.256).

[5] Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. © 1993-2008 Microsoft Corporation. All rights reserved.

[6] This is the process which is also used for DVDs, therefore this explanation will also imply to DVDs.

[7] The Encarta dictionary also has it: Television using digital transmission: television broadcasting in which the picture is transmitted as discrete signals represented as numbers.

[8] For further information on DVDs and television please refer to www.bensoncheng.wordpress.com, squidoo.com, and also Microsoft ® Encarta ® 2009. ©.

[9] And Allah Ta’ala says: ولا تعانوا على الاثم والعدوان “and do not assist (one another) in sin and transgression.” (verse 2:surah 5)

[10] The title of this treatise is ‘Understanding television’. Khalid Beig also explains the various modes of Islamic TV and their negative aspects.

[11] Imdaadul Fataawa vol.4 P.G.385

[12] There are many other Fataawa which demonstrate a similar position to that which has been stated above: Ahsanul Fataawa 302/8, Aapke Masail 389/7, Khairul Fataawa, Fataawa lujna ad daima 674/1.

The Fataawa of many eminent Arab scholars has been narrated in the monthly journal of Darul Uloom Deoband, August 2011 edition.

[13] This technical explanation is with regards to digital photography and this is the topic under discussion. All forms of other photography have been deemed to be impermissible by the large majority of Ulama in Pakistan and India and also by many scholars of the Arab world such as Shaykh Al Albani, Shaykh Mustapha Hammami, and Shaykh Sabuni. (Taken from Mufti Rafi Uthmani, www.mathaba.org)

[14] Other examples of this: alcohol is Haraam whether it manufactured via earthen pots or modern day machinery; and by changing the name of alcohol to the various names that are present today will not have an effect on its prohibition.

The same applies to musical instruments. They are different from the instruments that were used in the time of Rasulullah صلي الله عليه و سلم but this does not make them permissible and exclude them from the generality of the Ahaadith of Hurmat.

[15] المفصل فى احكام المراة. Vol. 3 P.G. 469. Similarly has been stated by Mufti Rashid Ahmad in Ahsanul Fataawa, Vol. 8 P.G. 302.

[16] Urf is the concept of basing Shari’ commandments on what the common people are acquainted and familiar with. The Fuqaha have stated Urf to be a proof in Shariah:

ثم إذا لم يرد نص مخالف يشملها فلا كلام في اعتبارها فقد نقل ابن عابدين أن العادة إحدى حجج الشرع فيما لا نص فيه ( ر رد المحتار من فصل بلوغ الغلام ) ونقل أيضاً أن البناء على العادة الظاهرة واجب

 ( ر ردالمحتار من كتاب القاضي إلى القاضي عن العيني بلفظه )Please refer to Sharhul qawid alfiqhiyya P.G. 219-223

[17] Allama Ibn Nujaim mentions in Al Ashbah Wannadhaair: فصل في تعارض العرف مع اللغة : صرح الزيلعي وغيره بأن الأيمان مبنية على العرف لا على الحقائق اللغوية وعليها فروع

[18] In fact, it is very questionable as can be ascertained by the definition of Digital television above.

[19] This principle has been deduced from a Hadith of Rasulullah صلي الله عليه و سلم: ما اجتمع الحلال والحرام الا غلب الحرام الحلال. قال العراقي:لا اصل له و ضعفه البيهقي و اخرجه عبد الرزاق موقوفا على ابن مسعود و ذكره الزيلعي شارح الكنز مرفوعا

[20] Similarly, Rasulullah صلي الله عليه و سلم said: الحلال بين و الحرام بين و بينهما مشتبهات فمن اتقي الشبهات استبرا لدينه و عرضه الخ. صحيح البخارى ج1 ص 13 .

[21] A Fatwa published by Darul uloom Yasinul Quran, Karachi shows that many of the senior Ulama Pakistan are of the opinion of impermissibility with regards to video broadcasting and Television.