Praying in a room with images

Praying in a room with images


Assalam 3alaykum Osama! I have a question in regards to praying in a room with images on the wall, is it permissible? I had hoped to stick up some photos of my family in my room but my roommate has a problem with it. My family back home has always followed the hanafi ruling in terms of photos in a room when praying so I’m not sure what to do.

Wa alykum as-salaam!

The Grand Mufti of Egypt, Dr. Ali Gomaa, wrote the following Fatwa after being asked whether “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.”

Grand Mufti Gomaa’s response was as follows: “There is nothing wrong in circulating and hanging photos of humans or animals… photography is not unlawful.” He then concludes by saying “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.”

Grand Mufti Gomaa is not Hanafi, but Shafi’i, so I’m not sure what you mean by the “Hanafi” position, but, I would rather trust the opinion of those schooled in the Azhari Methodology, regardless of their Madhab (as Al-Azhar offers education in five Schools), as Al-Azhar is, in my estimation, the most thorough and important Islamic Institution.

Regardless of that fact, your question goes beyond simple permissibility, but towards your living situation with your roommate.

While you must be cognizant of your roommate, your roommates must also be aware of your stances. I would suggest you talk to your roommate, offer the opinion of the Grand Mufti, and attempt to reach a compromise. If one cannot be made, and it simply becomes an issue of “Islamic opinions,” well, you have the evidence of Dr. Gomaa, and with respect, I think you should request your roommate to provide evidence of their own.

When discussing “idols” and attempting to make correlations between the literal idol worship of the pagan Arabs during the time of The Prophet to today, this goes against looking at the function of something in order to determine it’s relative permissibility or impermissibility.

In fact, in the Fatwa from the Grand Mufti, Dr. Gomaa writes about this, specifically, “rulings follow their apparent causes, whether present or absent…what matters in legal rulings is what is designated–not the designation itself.“

That is a cornerstone of the Usul al-Fiqh, or the “Principles of Jurisprudence” in Islam, which is Dr. Gomaa’s specific area of expertise.

I hope this helped, and please make sure to deal with your roommate with kindness and understanding, for whatever opinions they may hold, we are all one Ummah.

I pray this reaches you and your families in the best of health and Iman, insha Allah.

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