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Explanation of the Hadith regarding pictures

Question

Kindly explain the Hadith below:

Busr ibn Sa’id (rahimahullah) narrates that Zaid ibn Khalid Al-Juhani (rahimahullah) narrated to him something in the presence of Sa’id ibn ‘Ubaidullah Al-Khawlani (rahimahullah) who was brought up in the house of Maymuna (radiyallahu ‘anha) the wife of the Prophet. Zaid narrated to them that Abu Talha said that the Prophet (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) said:

“The Angels [of Mercy] do not enter a house wherein there is a picture.”

Busr said: “Later on Zaid ibn Khalid fell ill and we called on him. To our surprise we saw a curtain decorated with pictures in his house. I said to ‘Ubaidullah Al-Khawlani:

“Didn’t he [Zaid] tell us about the [prohibition of] pictures?”

He said: “But he exempted the embroidery on garments. Didn’t you hear him?”

I said: “No.” He said: “Yes, he did.”

Answer

The meaning of this Hadith seems to indicate that the prohibition of pictures excludes small images embroidered onto cloth. This is outwardly in contradiction to many Hadiths that prohibit the practice outright, among them is the following authentic (sahih) Hadith:

Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (radiyallahu ‘anha) reports: I purchased a cushion that had some images on it. When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) saw it [in my home], he remained at the door and refused to enter. I noticed his expression of disapproval and exclaimed, “O Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam), I seek Allah’s forgiveness and I apologise, but what wrong have I done?” When Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) indicated towards the cushion, I explained that I had purchased it so that he may have a comfortable place to sit. Rasulullah (sallallahu ‘alayhi wasallam) then said, “The people who create such images will be punished on the day of Qiyamah, and they will be told to give life to the images that they replicated.” He also said, “The angels do not enter a home in which there are pictures.”

(Sahih Bukhari, Hadith: 5957, 5961)

 

Reconciling between the narrations

Some Hadith commentators have explained the Hadith that you have cited to be referring to inanimate pictures, or animated pictures that have been shredded by cutting the cloth.

Others have stated that the Hadith you have cited is abrogated.

(Fathul Bari, Hadith: 5958)

 

Kindly note that it is very unwise for an unqualified individual to delve into academic issues by merely stumbling upon one or two narrations on the issue.

This leads to confusion.

 

Please also consult your local Darul Ifta/Mufti for clarification of the legal verdict (fatwa) on this issue.

 

 

 

And Allah Ta’ala Knows best.

 

Approved by: Moulana Muhammad Abasoomar