Is it makruh (abominable) to perform prayers in a place where there are pictures? Can a person perform prayers in a room where there is a television or newspaper that include photographs?

Details of the Question

1. Since it is makruh to perform prayers in a room where there are pictures, is it also makruh to perform prayers in a room where there are pictures like the ones that television and newspapers include? 2. Does it matter whether the pictures are behind or in front of the place where the prayer is performed?

The Answer

Dear Brother / Sister,

It does not matter whether the pictures are in newspapers or on television.

Photos need to be considered in two classes: photos of living beings and photos of non-living beings.

Photos of living beings are either full length pictures which could live or half pictures which could not live. If they are half pictures or too small to be distinguished when looked at, it could be said that they are permissible. However, full length body pictures and photos are not allowed without necessity.

Photos of non-living beings i.e. panorama are certainly allowed. Flowers, lakes and forest views can be photographed and hung in certain places in the house to watch the Divine Power with appreciation.

Hanging full length pictures (of humans, animals and other living beings) on the walls of a room and making it fully visible when looked at means to make the room makruh to pray in. Therefore, it is makruh to pray in a room where there are full length pictures of living beings. If the pictures are in the direction of the Holy Kaaba, the level of karahah increases; if it is on the side, it decreases and if it is behind it decreases more.

Such pictures should either be taken down or they should be covered before praying. There is no harm in keeping full length pictures in a closed place and disclosing when necessary.

Pictures on banknotes or passport photos in ID cards are also allowed. If they were to become alive, they would not live because they are too small or cut in half.

There is also permission for some necessary full length photos taken to recognize certain people. These are necessary pictures. Thieves or other criminals can only be caught by powers of justice in this way.

The non-obscene pictures taken today are not taken in order to worship; so they might not be regarded as pictures made for worshipping. All kinds of obscene photos are contrary to ethics, humanity and Islam. There is detailed information about it in "Kaynaklarıyla İslâm Fıkhı".

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