What do the scholars of the Din and muftis of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: A person offers salah (the ritual prayer) in a room containing pictures of living objects. What is the ruling on his prayer? What is the ruling if the pictures were placed behind the person offering salah? It would be very kind of you if you would provide an answer with a complete research on this issue.
Questioner: Nizam from England
بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب
If a full-body picture of a living object is hung—out of respect—in front of the one offering salah, or there is a picture on the place of sajdah (prostration) in the praying area, and the person is prostrating on it, then the salah is makruh tahrimi (prohibitively disliked). If there is a half-body picture or that of only the face, in front of the one offering salah, then it is makruh tanzihi (disliked but neither forbidden nor recommended). If a full-body picture is not in front of the one offering salah, but rather on the right or left, or on the top (on a wall or the ceiling), or behind, and is placed out of respect, the salah will be makruh tanzihi, even though putting up such pictures is makruh tahrimi and impermissible. Similarly, if there is a picture in the prayer area other than the spot of sajdah, it is makruh tanzihi.
If the picture is so small that the details of its parts are not visible if it is kept on the ground and seen whilst standing, or if it is in a place of disrespect (on the ground or carpet), or if the facial part of the picture has been rubbed or cut off, or if it is hidden in a cloth, or if it is of a non-living object, then in all these cases praying in the room is permissible without any dislike.
If the room contains a half-body picture, it will be makruh tanzihi to offer salah in such a room, even though hanging such pictures out of respect is makruh tahrimi. Imam Ahmad Rida Khan states in this regard:
فتعلیق امثال صور النصف او وضعھا فی القرازات وتزیین البیت بھا کما ھو متعارف عندالکفرۃ و الفسقۃکل ذالک مکروہ تحریما و مانع عن دخول الملائکۃ وان لم تکرہ الصلاوۃ ثم تحریماً بل تنزیھاً
Translation: “Hanging of half-body pictures, keeping them in treasures, decorating the house with them, etc., like it is popular among the disbelievers and sinners, are all makruh tahrimi and are acts that stop the angels from entering the home. However, the salah offered will not be makruh tahrimi, but it will be makruh tanzihi.” [Jadd al-Mumtar, vol. 2, pg. 366, Maktabat al-Madinah]
If the picture is in a spot other than that of performing the sajdah, then the salah is makruh tanzihi. Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) states:
الصلٰوۃ علی سجادۃ فیھا تصاویر اذا لم یسجد علیھا نفی الامام محمد الکراھۃ فی الجامع الصغیر، واثبتھا فی الاصل والکل صحیح بالتوزیع ای یکرہ تنزیھا لاتحریما
Translation: “In al-Jami’ al-Saghir, Imam Muhammad has negated the karahah (dislike) of salah offered on a prayer mat containing pictures that one does not prostrate upon. However, its karahah has been proven in Kitab al-Asl. All of this is correct according to classification. The salah will be makruh tanzihi and not makruh tahrimi.” [Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 24, pg. 614]
If the picture is in a place of disrespect, then salah is permissible without any karahah. Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) states:
نعم فی بساط غیرہ لایکرہ اذاصلی علیہ ولم یسجد علیھا وان لم تکن تحت قدمیہ بل ولوکانت امامہ لوجودالاھانۃ مطلقا مع عدم التعظیم
Translation: “If one offers salah on a mat with a picture and does not prostrate on the picture, then there is no karahah. (This holds true even if) the picture is not under his feet but is in front of him, because in this case there is absolute disrespect of the picture and no veneration in any sense.” [Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 24, pg. 616]
Thus, we conclude that when there is a picture in the room, salah will be makruh tahrimi in only two cases:
1. If it is a full-body picture of a living object and is hung—out of respect—in front of the one offering salah.
2. If the picture is on the spot of prostration and the person praying prostrates on it.
If this research is considered, a lot of secondary issues concerning pictures can be solved.
واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری
Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by the SeekersPath team
Read the original Urdu answer here – [Q-ID0390] I prayed in a room that had pictures on the wall, do I need to repeat the prayer?