Fatwa Say Wha? Taking Photos Is an Insult to Islam, Muftis Declare

In a terrible blow to Instagram and Flickr, India’s top Islamic seminary issued a fatwa the other day saying that taking pictures is sinful. Anyone who clicks a shutter, the muftis warn, is answerable to Allah.

Mufti Abdul Qasim Nomani, Mohtamim (vice chancellor) of Darul Uloom Deoband, said on the phone, “Photography is un-Islamic. Muslims are not allowed to get their photos clicked unless it is for an identity card or for making a passport.”

He said Islam does not permit video-taping of marriages or clicking of pictures to save as mementos for future generations. … “Photography is unlawful and sin. Hadith (recorded Islamic tradition) warns sternly against it,” … reads the fatwa posted on the school’s website.

This is spectacular news. You see, the Hadith is not just any recorded Islamic tradition; rather, it is

a report of the deeds and sayings of Muhammad. Hadiths may originate from other important characters of the earliest years of Islam such as the companions of Muhammad or Shia Imams as well.

Therefore, the no-photos fatwa is proof that Islam is truly a superior faith; its founders foresaw the invention of the camera some 12 centuries before it happened, and, with Allah’s unfailing guidance, pre-condemned it.

About Terry Firma

Terry Firma, though born and Journalism-school-educated in Europe, has lived in the U.S. for the past 20-odd years. Stateside, his feature articles have been published in the New York Times, Reason, Rolling Stone, Playboy, and Wired. Terry is the founder and Main Mischief Maker of Moral Compass, a site that pokes fun at the delusional claim by people of faith that a belief in God equips them with superior moral standards.

  • LesterBallard

    Is being answerable to Allah the same as being answerable to Yahweh or Jesus?

  • Nele Abels


  • Bitter Lizard

    I’ve already answered to Allah. (P.S. the answer was “no”.)

  • Oranje

    Allah seemed to care a whole lot less in the film days.

    (I still shoot film)

  • Bdole

    “Anyone who clicks a shutter, the muftis warn, is answerable to Allah.”
    Bring it on, Al.

  • mikespeir

    Love that picture. Does it matter who’s actually inside the burkas?

  • Mark W.

    Screw him, as a noted islamic scholar myself, at least as well versed in the true will of Allah (possibly more) as Mufti Abdul Qasim Nomani, I’m putting a Fatwa on him. If he doesn’t shape up, it will be a double-dog fatwa. I said it first, no touch backs.

  • JA

    So…since we have Everyone Draw Muhammad Day, how long before we have a Everyone Photograph a Muslim Day?

  • Frank Mitchell

    The prohibition against “graven images” jumped the shark well before this. Several years ago, some Islamic group demanded that Wikipedia remove a drawing of Muhammad … reproduced from an 11th century Persian illuminated Quran.

    EDIT: I misremembered; it was a “a reproduction of a 17th-century Ottoman copy of a 14th-century Ilkhanate manuscript image”. Here’s the Wikipedia article on the Wikipedia article: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Depictions_of_Muhammad#Wikipedia_article

  • Dave

    You remember your cousin Aaesha, she is the second from the left, and your aunty Rijja?

  • flyb


  • cryofly

    I do not mind being answerable to Allah for I know Allah’s nature. But being answerable to narrow-minded thugs is what bothers me.
    PS: That is the most hilarious photo session I’ve ever seen. By the way I can recognize Fatima and Habiba, but not the other three!

  • 3lemenope

    Ok, this cracked me up:

    “Photography is un-Islamic,” Vice Chancellor of Darul Uloom, Mufti Abdul Qasim Nomani, told the Times. “Muslims are not allowed to get their photos clicked unless it is for an identity card or for making a passport.”

    I don’t recall *that* exception in the Surahs…

  • Lucilius

    Photographs Be Unbecoming Him?

  • Matthew Baker

    I like to base all my important decisions on the interpretations of of hearsay.

  • A3Kr0n

    It’s nice to know that some countries will be getting rid of all their surveillance cameras. What did Jesus say about cameras?

  • Frank Key

    Wondering how well all those Muslim tycoons and royalty are going to respond to a prohibition of photos of their NFL and Premier League teams as well as all of the Thoroughbred horses and camels they own and race internationally. Religion is so silly.

  • Tainda

    I just snort laughed at double-dog fatwa

  • Guest

    There was nothing there, no picture, so I guess that means he doesn’t exist either!

  • Jasper

    Apparently, I’m going to the 307th level of hell

  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    Probably the same way the respond to the prohibition on alcohol. Buy buying more of it for use behind closed doors.

  • The Other Weirdo

    It’s almost as though they don’t want any history, to have no past.

  • The Skeptical Bear

    Well Said LesterBallard.
    Also, which laws should we take and from which gods ? It seems they all want us to fight for their right ( to party :) ).
    Surely we should just set laws that protect the weaker of our society. to me, that is pretty much the point of intelligence.

  • Smiles

    @Terry Firma, I never thought your profile pic was blasphemous…but now I stand corrected.

  • Loic

    I predict the next Dan Brown novel: “The Prophet’s Bathroom Mirror” about a plot to suppress newly unearthed evidence that Mohammad routinely took selfies.

  • Loic

    Wait, what about a photo booth? You’re not per se clicking the shutter if you step into one of those….

  • viaten

    I suggest you create a slight breach of etiquette by skipping the triple fatwa and going right to the triple-dog fatwa.

  • http://lafantintheroom.blogspot.com/ L.A. Fant

    I’m not at all surprised that photography is an insult to Islam. I’d be insulted too if all the damning evidence of Islamic wife beatings, be-headings, amputations, stonings, rapes, FGM, etc. (oh God it’s a long list) was (is) available for everyone to see.

  • ShoeUnited


    It’s still there, you just need to go to the actual article page.

  • http://itsmyworldcanthasnotyours.blogspot.com/ wmdkitty

    “No touch backs” is what finally got me. I haven’t heard that since… forever ago!

  • busterggi

    Apparently Allah has nothing more important to do than listen for people saying cheese.

  • busterggi

    Careful infidel – or Allah may freeze your tongue onto a flagpole next winter.

  • busterggi

    That’s not Muhammed. The real Muhammed is a blonde European just like Jesus.

  • viaten

    Tainda also might never get an Official Red Ryder Carbine-Action Two-Hundred-Shot Range Model Air Rifle, but a leg lamp is still a possibility.

  • Rain

    Basically all a fatwa amounts to is a hissy fit. So I like to call it a fatwahhhhhhh…

  • Janet Holmes

    What does this mean for TV and movies? Must all the TV stations in Muslim countries shut down instantly or face Allah’s wrath?

  • Guest

    Yep, Monty Python couldn’t have done it better.
    Right, no more photos, every one got it?
    No more photos yeah no photos!
    But how will we get suicide bombers on planes without passports?
    Ok, no photos except passports!
    Yeah! No more photos except passports, no more photos except passports!
    Then how will we drive to the airport?
    Ok Ok, no more photos except passports and car licenses!
    Yeah! no more photos except passports and car licenses! no more photos except passports and car licenses!
    And how will get our benefits without identity cards?
    Alright, Alright! No more photos except passports and drivers licenses and identity cards!
    Yeah no more photos except No more photos except passports and drivers licenses and identity cards! No more photos except passports and drivers licenses and identity cards!
    But how will buy guns in the land of the infidel without a gun licence?

  • Savpunk

    Well, I’ve had more than one Muslim tell me that everything that exists and will exist and is known and will be known is already mentioned in the Quran – a few have sworn to me Mohammad knew all about computers, so knowing about cameras and photography would be a big piece of halal cake.

  • Mike De Fleuriot


    From the above site.
    Nudity, Immorality and Television

    The most glaring evil propagated by the television media of the world is the crime of nudity and sexual immorality. Commercialised nudity and sexual immorality under the camouflage of educational pictures are accepted and necessary features of world television. The Modern World is haunted by the obsession of illicit sex, and it is this carnal obsession of illicit sex coupled with the unbelievers’ god of materialism that makes capital of the female body on TV as well as all other mass media.

    The Islamic concept of morality and modesty is the very antithesis of the immorality dished out to the world via TV. Islam demands the concealment of the female body. The Holy Messenger of Allah sallallahu alaihe wasallam said,

    “The woman is an object of concealment.”
    (Tirmizi – Mishkat)
    TV is an institution which is widely used to exhibit the female body. Islam has banned all forms of immorality and immodesty, but TV exhibits immodesty and immorality in their crudest forms by depicting the actual sex acts and, above all, it audaciously and shamelessly passes these off as educational. Television as a prime agent of immorality is very well borne out by the following report:

    The Evening Post dated 21st February, 1975, reports:

    “In the film Dr. Christopher is seen holding up a contraceptive sheath and explaining its use to a class of boys and girls. Called ‘Sex and the 14 year old’, the film concentrates on advising young people how to avoid pregnancy.”

    The above quoted extract will suffice to indicate the sordid mess and mass of unspeakable immorality portrayed by the TV. Leading non-Muslims too have voiced their concern over the evils and filth shown on TV.

  • Mario Strada


  • Intelligent Donkey

    Better than Yahweh who’s just looking for people who masturbate.

  • Tainda

    I want a leg lamp!

  • Camorris

    How about asking these Muslim to show us passages that foretell of discoveries and inventions yet to come.

  • http://parkandbark.wordpress.com/ Houndentenor

    I have no problem being answerable to Allah. He doesn’t exist so that’s not really a problem. I do have a problem with being answerable to Allah’s followers. So as long as there is no threat of violence in such a violence this doesn’t affect me in the least. If people don’t want to take pictures, what’s it to me?

  • Mira

    Especially since most of the liquor stores around here I know of are owned by Muslim Arabs…

  • http://friendlyatheist.com Richard Wade

    Suggested caption: “Everybody say ‘Cheese!’”

  • viaten

    Just as well. You wouldn’t want to “put your eye out”.

  • Uzoozy

    It was intended to be an parady

  • Uzoozy

    None of the muftis problem, each individual is always answerable to Allah, These fatwas is a joke.

  • Uzoozy

    You must be talking of the USA all these things happen in the good old USA , rapes are an obsession at the rate of one every 7 SECONDS

  • Uzoozy

    Not all Arabs are nuslims, many of them are Christians

  • http://lafantintheroom.blogspot.com/ L.A. Fant

    Stinking Zionist Kuffars! … All Images are Haram!

  • Savpunk

    Heh, heh. You ask miracles of me, my friend.

  • Mira

    That’s why I made a distinction, if you notice.

  • UWIR

    Taking pictures is like sex. You’re allowed to do it if you don’t enjoy it.

  • http://lafantintheroom.blogspot.com/ L.A. Fant

    … Well actually there really aren’t that many Arab Christians left in the middle east … just approx. 12 million as opposed to the 317,000,000 Muslims ( http://www.danielpipes.org/1050/disappearing-christians-in-the-middle-east ) ( http://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2013/06/07/worlds-muslim-population-more-widespread-than-you-might-think/ ) Daniel Pipes: “At the present rate, the Middle East’s 12 million Christians will likely drop to 6 million in the year 2020. With time, Christians will effectively disappear from the region as a cultural and political force.”

  • Uzoozy

    If this were the case of dwindling Christian people what can be done. As far as I am concerned all religions had been living happily together and should have no reason to kill each other, I pray to God to give All OF THEM the best for this life and after.

  • http://lafantintheroom.blogspot.com/ L.A. Fant

    Peace Train Coming? … Nice sentiment! … Doesn’t survive the test of Islamic Sharia (Religious) Law though.
    Islamic Law stipulates that Islam is to progress till all of the world is under Islamic Rule.
    That’s what the so called Arab Spring is all about … Restoration of the Caliphate. … http://lafantintheroom.blogspot.ca/2011/11/peace-train-coming-and-6th-caliphate.html
    As for the Christians and Jews …. “People of the Book” will be allowed to survive as 2nd class citizens.
    Quran (Yusif Ali Translation)
    At Tawba 29:
    “Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya (tax) with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.”
    FYI… The Egyptians are now exacting the Jizya tax of Christians right now … http://lafantintheroom.blogspot.ca/2013/09/pay-jizyah-tax-or-die.html

  • Uzoozy

    This is the actual text of the Verse. You have twisted the words around and have changed the message totally.
    Please refrain from changing Allah’s words.
    Jizya is less than the Zakat which every muslim pays so why should not all the people share in running the State
    Sahih International:
    Fight those who do not believe in Allah or in the Last Day and who do
    not consider unlawful what Allah and His Messenger have made unlawful and who do
    not adopt the religion of truth from those who were given the Scripture –
    [fight] until they give the jizyah willingly while they are humbled.

  • 3lemenope

    Please refrain from changing Allah’s words.


    And while we’re on the subject, aren’t you doing the very same thing by translating them to English?

  • Uzoozy

    There is no harm in translating Allahs words in English, or any other language.
    You said Yusuf Ali and I gave you the correct translation.
    Do not change Allah’s words to suite your way of thinking.
    Quran is the word of Allah.

  • 3lemenope

    There is no harm in translating Allahs words in English, or any other language.

    That’s news to me and, if I’m not mistaken, to most Muslims as well. The Quran’s Arabic script is considered the word of Allah, while translations are merely human impressions of the word. They are not protected from error. If I’m not mistaken, you would perceive harm in leading people into error, yes?

    You said Yusuf Ali and I gave you the correct translation.

    I said what? I think you have me confused with someone else.

    Do not change Allah’s words to suite your way of thinking.


    Quran is the word of Allah.


  • http://squeakysoapbox.com/ Rich Wilson

    If any god is really interested in talking to me, it will do so to me in a language I can understand.

    It’s funny how the “One True God” always communicates in such a localized fashion.

  • Matt D

    Ridiculous. What’s next? Gouging out eyes, because they also are taking “photos” of everyone and everything?

  • http://lafantintheroom.blogspot.com/ L.A. Fant

    Ha Ha … You are a funny liar! … You mean that Yusuf Ali is unreliable? … Then why print in Quran.com? … Yusuf Ali Translation http://quran.com/9/29
    Fight those who believe not in Allah nor the Last Day, nor hold that forbidden which hath been forbidden by Allah and His Messenger, nor acknowledge the religion of Truth, (even if they are) of the People of the Book, until they pay the Jizya with willing submission, and feel themselves subdued.
    As for the Jizya (Translation: Penalty … root word – جزاء http://translate.google.com/#en/ar/penalty ) being less than Zakat … just 2 words – Bull Shit.
    FYI: Examples of Jizyah in modern times … http://wikiislam.net/wiki/Jizyah_(Tax)#Jizyah_in_the_Modern_World
    But hell, … don’t take my word for it?
    Here are a couple of Arabic speakers to help you fill in the blanks.
    1. … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cxllLjkrJ-Y
    2. a … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=NR9aws7dyf8
    2. b … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nKlKwt7urDY
    3. … https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QJulA0pasyk&list=PL01288769D5DD8B6F&index=61

  • Uzoozy

    I said the version of translation is incorrect. That the site must be corrupted.
    I know what Jizya is and I do not care what people say.

  • http://lafantintheroom.blogspot.com/ L.A. Fant

    Quran.com is corrupted? … Now you are grasping at straws.
    You have to wonder who corrupted the translation, don’t you? … hmmm?
    Try these:

    … pretty much all the same!

    There must be a whole a lot of corruption in the land.

    As for Jizya … There are none so blind as they who will not see.

    But if you are looking for some historical references try:
    Wikipedia : Vlad Tepes (Vlad the Impaler) … http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Night_Attack

    “Vlad Ţepeş’s only ally, Mihály Szilágyi, was captured in 1460 by the Turks while traversing Bulgaria. Szilágyi’s men were tortured to death, while Szilágyi was killed by being sawed in half.[5] Later that year, Mehmed sent envoys to Vlad to urge him to pay the delayed Jizya (tax on non-Muslims). Vlad Ţepeş provoked Mehmed by having the envoys killed and in a letter dated September 10, 1460, addressed to the Transylvanian Saxons of Kronstadt (today: Braşov), he warned them of Mehmed’s invasion plans and asked for their support.[6] Vlad Ţepeş had not paid the annual Jizya (tax on non-Muslims) of 10,000 ducats since 1459. In addition to this, Mehmed asked him for 500 boys that were to be trained as janissaries.”
    I wonder how much 10,000 Ducats (pieces of gold) would have been worth in 1460? … hmmm? …
    As I said … Bull Shit!
    That was then and this is now in Egypt … $70,000!
    In this instance, I do have to take you at your word: ” I know what Jizya is and I do not care what people say.” … more Bull Shit Muslim Taqiyah! … and you (and I) know it!
    Jizya’s not that bad you say? … Protection from whom … answer —> Muslims!
    Give me proof, you say? … How about life for Christians and Jews under the Pact of Umar (http://www.fordham.edu/halsall/source/pact-umar.asp)
    We heard from ‘Abd al-Rahman ibn Ghanam [died 78/697] as follows: When Umar ibn al-Khattab, may God be pleased with him, accorded a peace to the Christians of Syria, we wrote to him as follows:

    In the name of God, the Merciful and Compassionate. This is a letter to the servant of God Umar [ibn al-Khattab], Commander of the Faithful, from the Christians of such-and-such a city. When you came against us, we asked you for safe-conduct (aman) for ourselves, our descendants, our property, and the people of our community, and we undertook the following obligations toward you:

    We shall not build, in our cities or in their neighborhood, new monasteries, Churches, convents, or monks’ cells, nor shall we repair, by day or by night, such of them as fall in ruins or are situated in the quarters of the Muslims.

    We shall keep our gates wide open for passersby and travelers. We shall give board and lodging to all Muslims who pass our way for three days.

    We shall not give shelter in our churches or in our dwellings to any spy, nor bide him from the Muslims.

    We shall not teach the Qur’an to our children.

    We shall not manifest our religion publicly nor convert anyone to it. We shall not prevent any of our kin from entering Islam if they wish it.

    We shall show respect toward the Muslims, and we shall rise from our seats when they wish to sit.

    We shall not seek to resemble the Muslims by imitating any of their garments, the qalansuwa, the turban, footwear, or the parting of the hair. We shall not speak as they do, nor shall we adopt their kunyas.

    We shall not mount on saddles, nor shall we gird swords nor bear any kind of arms nor carry them on our- persons.

    We shall not engrave Arabic inscriptions on our seals.

    We shall not sell fermented drinks.

    We shall clip the fronts of our heads.

    We shall always dress in the same way wherever we may be, and we shall bind the zunar round our waists

    We shall not display our crosses or our books in the roads or markets of the Muslims. We shall use only clappers in our churches very softly. We shall not raise our voices when following our dead. We shall not show lights on any of the roads of the Muslims or in their markets. We shall not bury our dead near the Muslims.

    We shall not take slaves who have beenallotted to Muslims.

    We shall not build houses overtopping the houses of the Muslims.

    (When I brought the letter to Umar, may God be pleased with him, he added, “We shall not strike a Muslim.”)

    We accept these conditions for ourselves and for the people of our community, and in return we receive safe-conduct.

    If we in any way violate these undertakings for which we ourselves stand surety, we forfeit our covenant [dhimma], and we become liable to the penalties for contumacy and sedition.

    Umar ibn al-Khittab replied: Sign what they ask, but add two clauses and impose them in addition to those which they have undertaken. They are: “They shall not buy anyone made prisoner by the Muslims,” and “Whoever strikes a Muslim with deliberate intent shall forfeit the protection of this pact.”

    from Al-Turtushi, Siraj al-Muluk, pp. 229-230.

  • islandbrewer

    In fact, the majority of Arab Americans are NOT muslim, and the majority of Muslim Americans are not Arab.

  • islandbrewer

    Where’s his 7 year old bride?

  • islandbrewer

    Peanut Butter Und Helly!

  • John Smith

    How would they know who was in the Photo? “oh look there’s you Salah, no wait is that me, no I’m sure it’s Sabhina, well, er the resolution isn’t that high and all you can see’s our eyes, Safi, you’re young can you tell us who’s who”.
    I mean seriously, this makes The Pope® look almost respectable, almost.

  • John Smith

    A pardon?

  • John Smith

    Unless your Salman Rushdie, Ayaan Hirsi Ali, the late Theo Van Gogh, etc this nonsense kills, but mockery is a great counter.

  • John Smith

    That’s only because Allah’s followers forbid jacking off.

  • John Smith

    Well said.

  • John Smith

    None of Dan Brown’s ideas have ever been that good.