Al ‘Allaamah Shaykh Muqbil’s fatwaa on television (TV)
Taken from Ijaabatus-Saa’il ‘alaa Ahimm il-Masaa’il, pp. 247-253
Translated by Aboo Sumayyah Aqeel Walker
Written by/Said by Al Imaam Muqbil bin Haadee Al Waadi’ee (Rahimahullaah)
Edited by Editorial Staff at tazkiyah (dot) org (the site is down now, baarak Allaahu feekum)
Question: These days the television and video exist which ruins the youth and causes division in their thinking and they become blind followers of the enemies of Islaam. So what is the way or how do we advise the people to avoid this devil (the T.V.), and what are the harms that are caused by this television?
Answer: All praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of all that exists, and may Allaah send prayers of blessing and peace upon our Prophet, Muhammad, and upon his family and his companions, all of them. I bear witness that there is no deity that deserves to be worshiped except Allaah alone, who has no partner, and I bear witness that Muhammad is His Servant and Messenger.
Thus, to proceed: Television and video are among the tests which the Muslims have been tested with from their enemies. They (TV and video) contain corruptions that none knows except Allaah, He Who is free of imperfections and the Most High. Among these corruptions is the matter of At-Tabarruj (being indecently dressed and revealing parts of the body that should be covered in public). They (TV and video) contain Tabarruj of the women. The Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said,
“I did not leave behind any Fitnah (evil trial or temptation) that is more harmful to the men than the women.”
And the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said,
“I have not seen any who are more deficient in intellect and religion, and more effective in removing the intellect of the prudent man than one of you women.”
And the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) warned about the gaze. He said to Jareer bin ‘Abdullah, as is mentioned in the Saheeh of Muslim, “Turn your gaze away.”
Rather, Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic, says in His Noble Book, “Say (O Muhammad) to the believing men to lower their gazes and guard their private parts (from illegal sex).” And He also says, “And say (O Muhammad) to the believing women to lower their gazes and guard their private parts (from illegal sex).”
And in the two Saheehs (Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim) it is reported in a hadeeth from Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) that he said that the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “The son of Adam’s (mankind’s) share of Az-Zinaa (illegal sex, i.e. adultery and fornication) has been written upon him – he will fall into that and it is inevitable. The two eyes, their adultery is the gaze (i.e. looking at what is unlawful), and the two ears, their adultery is listening (to what is unlawful), and the hand, its adultery is the striking (that is unlawful), and the leg, its adultery is the walking (to what is unlawful). And the heart desires and hopes, and that (adultery) is either confirmed or rejected by the private parts.” This is a harm from the harmful and corruptive matters, and it is the evil harm of the gaze. And the gaze is among the greatest causes of the corruption of the heart. So much so that some of the people have said:
(Poetry)“All of the incidents begin with the gaze,
And most of (the people in) the Fire will be from those who belittle the evil,
How many gazes did in the heart of its doer,
The deed of the arrows without a bow and without a bowstring,
It captivated his eye, that which harmed his heart,
There is no welcome to delight that comes with harm.”
And the woman may be a righteous woman or the man a righteous man, and due to the gaze, the heart will become corrupted. Indeed he did well who said:
(Poetry)“Say to the pretty girl in the black scarf,
What did you do to the devoted religious man?
Indeed he was getting his garments ready for the prayer,
Until you appeared before him at the door of the Masjid,
Return his prayer and fasting back to him,
Do not tempt him, by the right of the Lord of Muhammad!”
Thus, it is obligatory upon every Muslim, who feels the responsibility toward his family and toward himself, to avoid this Fitnah (evil trial and temptation), which many of the people have been tested with (meaning TV). And the Lord of Might says in His Noble Book, “O you who believe! Protect yourselves and your families from a Fire whose fuel is humans and stones.” And the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, as is related in the two Saheehs, from a hadeeth of Ibn ‘Umar, “Each of you is a shepherd, and each of you is responsible for his flock.” And he also said, as is related in the two Saheehs, from a hadeeth of Ma’qal bin Yasaar that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “There is no shepherd whom Allaah makes responsible for a flock, then he does not take care of them with his sincerity and advising, except that he will not find (i.e. smell) the fragrance of the Paradise.”
Therefore, it is obligatory upon the Muslim to avoid this evil trial and to cleanse his house of it (i.e. TV). Yes. In the two Saheehs, it is related in a hadeeth from Abu Moosaa Al-Ash’aree (Radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) that the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “The likeness of the righteous company and the wicked company is like the person who carries musk oil and the blower of the bellows. The carrier of musk fragrance will either give you some as a gift, or you will buy some from him, or you will smell a nice fragrance coming from him. But the blower of the bellows will either burn your clothing or you will smell a foul odor coming from him.” Then you are going to bring in a devil for yourself from America (on the TV) who is going to come and dance in front of your wife?! A devil from America or from France, who will come and dance or a boxer who boxes, and he’s going to come and box in front of your wife. What is correct brothers is that this is a lack of feeling the responsibility before Allaah, the Mighty and Majestic.
Likewise, the intelligent woman does not like for her husband to look, and have his heart tempted, by gazing at young ladies (on the TV). She does not like this. And happiness is not achieved between the woman and her husband unless she is obedient to him and far from looking at other than him. And likewise for him himself, he should be far from looking at women other than her. This is the Fitnah (evil trial, mischief) of the gaze.
The second Fitnah (evil trial, mischief) is the Fitnah of picture making. The callers to Allaah’s religion, who take pictures on the Minbars (podiums, speaking stands) – a caller to Islaam, maa shaa’ Allaah, saying to the people, “O people! You must adhere to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam)! Stick to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam).” Yet, he is disobeying the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam). And the Messenger (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) commanded ‘Aliyy to not leave any grave elevated except that he level it, nor any picture except that he erase it. The word picture (in this hadeeth) comes in the indefinite form in a manner of negation. Therefore it includes every type of picture. Then after that the person comes to us with a Fatwaa (religious verdict) from the noble Shaikh (so-and-so) saying that he permitted that a person be filmed on television and that a person be filmed on video for the sake of Da’wah (Islaamic propagation) to Allaah. We are not disorganized in the religion of Allaah. And the Lord of Might says in His Noble Book, “And the help only comes from Allaah.” We are not able to manifest anything for the Da’wah if Allaah does not want it. And Allaah will never manifest anything for us unless we are upright and adherent to the Sunnah of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam). O free is Allaah of any imperfection! The student of knowledge is upon something extremely dangerous. Don’t you know that Allaah, Who is free of imperfections and Most High, says, “And fear Allaah and Allaah will teach you.”And He, the Most High, says, “O you who believe, if you fear Allaah, He will give you a Furqaan (discernment for judging and separating right from wrong).” And Allaah, free is He from imperfections, the Most High, says, “O you who believe! Fear Allaah and believe in His Messenger (Muhammad), and He (Allaah) will give you a double share of His mercy, and He will give you a light so that you may walk by it, and He will forgive you.”
Allaah threatens those who deviate among the students of knowledge. He says,“And if We willed We could certainly take away that which We revealed to you (Muhammad), then you would not find for yourself any guardian against Us.”
The matter, O my brothers, is being upright. So stand firm and upright for Him (Allaah). The Lord of Might says in His Noble Book, “So stand upright (acting upon the orders of the religion) as you have been commanded.” The Fatwaa (religious verdict) of Yoosuf Al-Qardhaawee is to be thrown up against the wall (Yoosuf Al-Qardhaawee gave a verdict saying pictures are permissible). And the Fatwaa of the Noble Shaykh (so-and-so), who gave the Fatwaa saying that filming pictures is permissible on the television also is to be thrown up against the wall. Why? Listen to the statement of the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) when he entered into the apartment of ‘Aishah and she had covered a little room of hers with a curtain that contained pictures. So the Prophet refused to enter and he said,
“O ‘Aishah! Verily the severest of the people in punishment on the Day of Resurrection will be those who made these pictures.”
Some people say, “Those who make the pictures or the photographer, he is the sinner.” Yet you went to him so that he could take your picture and you allowed it. And the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “Whoever among you that sees an evil, let him change it with his hand, and if he is not able, then with his tongue, and if he is not able, then with his heart, and that is the weakest of faith.” And Al-Imaam Ahmad reported in his Musnad from Jaabir (Radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) entered the Ka’bah and found pictures on the walls. So he called for some water and a rag (to wash them away). This proves that they were not three-dimensional (i.e. statues). Also, the hadeeth of the curtain proves that they were not three-dimensional images (i.e. statues). In the two Saheehs it is related from a hadeeth of Abu Hurayrah (Radhiyallaahu ‘anhu) from the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) regarding what he narrated from his Lord (that Allaah said),
“And who does a greater wrong than the one who goes and creates like my creation. So let them create a speck of dust or let them create a seed or let them create a grain of barley.” Also in the Jaami’ of At-Tirmithee in a hadeeth from Abu Hurayrah it is reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “A neck will come out of the Fire (of Hell) and it will have two eyes to see with and two ears to hear with and a tongue that speaks. So it will say, ‘Verily I have been made responsible for dealing with three: with every arrogant, stubborn person, and whoever took another god along with Allaah, and those who made pictures.’”
In the Saheeh of Al-Bukhaaree it is reported that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) cursed the picture makers. And you are a partner with him (in this) because you approved of it. Rather, you gave him the authority to take your picture. Something else remains, and that is that the person may say, “(What about) The pictures that are on the money?” The pictures that are on the money, this is from the boasting of the kings and the presidents. It is not a proof. However, if you fear for your money then take it, and the sin is upon whoever forced you to this (i.e. use money with pictures of people on it). Likewise is the matter of the identification card and the driver’s license and the passport and other things from the matters. The sin is upon whoever has compelled you to do this if you are forced. A student of knowledge wrote to me during these days – may Allaah reward him with good – saying, “I want to come to seek knowledge with you but I think that pictures are forbidden and I feel that I am not forced to do this, for verily it is possible for me to seek knowledge in my land.” So I responded to him by saying that he was right, may Allaah reward him with good. This is the matter. So concerning the picture, do not take a picture except for a matter that is a dire necessity in which you fear that something will happen to you, or your wealth or your honor that you cannot bear. Then after that, be sure, be sure, be sure, that if America and Russia said, “The earlobe of the person should be photographed instead of the complete photograph of the person,” then they (the Muslims) would certainly say that with them. They rush to follow behind America and Russia. And these pictures, they say that it is possible that they look alike. Yes, it is possible that pictures look similar. A person informed me, who works at the Immigration office (in Yemen), he said, “How many criminals who have a beard, and then they shave off their beard, and they return (here to Yemen) and we aren’t even aware of it, O Allaah, unless the name is the same (i.e. in their documents). So we remain in doubt about the guy and in an investigation with him. And if he is persistent we say maybe it isn’t him. Sometimes the person may take out the picture and put another picture in its place, and this happens.” And Allaah is the One Who is sought for help.
Then, after that, there is the spy. He comes to the Islaamic countries with a diplomatic briefcase. He doesn’t come as a poor person, in the appearance of an impoverished man, in the appearance of a student of knowledge, in the form of one who is barely living adequately. He comes with a diplomat’s briefcase. He doesn’t come in this fashion. So O our brothers! The Muslim rulers have begun rushing behind America, Russia and the enemies of Islaam.
We ask Allaah to correct them and to guide them. We must make Du’aa (supplication) for them (the Muslim rulers) to be made righteous and to be guided. We have mentioned two corruptive evils from the evils of television. What remains is that some of them want to make their position seem right by using a hadeeth in the Saheeh of Al-Bukhaaree, that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “Except for a design in a garment.” (1) This statement of his, “Except a design in a garment” may have different meanings. Is this statement truly attributed to the Messenger (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam). I will mention to you the story (around this narration). It is that one of the companions narrated to his brothers that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “The angels do not enter a house that contains a dog or a picture.” Then he became sick and they (his brothers) visited him and found pictures on the walls (in his house). And they said, “Glory be to Allaah! You told us before that the Angels do not enter a house which contains a dog or a picture, then (you have) these pictures!” Then a friend of his said to them, “Didn’t you all hear? He said, ‘Except for a design in a garment.’” This could mean that it was from the statement of the Messenger of Allaah (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) and it could mean that it was not from his statement. This is one thing. It could also carry the meaning of being a design in a garment such as trees and from those things that do not have a soul. So it (allowed pictures) would be things such as trees and from those things that do not have a soul.
1Shaykh Muqbil’s Footnote: [Then it became apparent to me that the addition, “Except for a design in a garment” is strangely contradicting (Shaath). That is because ‘Ubaydullaah bin Al-Aswad Al-Khawlaanee added it and Busr bin Sa’eed did not add it, and Busr bin Sa’eed is given more preference as being correct. In reference to ‘Ubaydullaah bin Al-Aswad, then three people narrated from him and no one who is considered authoritative confirmed his reliability, just as is mentioned in Tahdheeb ut-Tahdheeb. And the hadeeth is in Al-Bukhaaree, vol. 6, pg. 312. So it is known from this that there is contradiction in it, or even we may say its objectionable defectiveness, because Busr bin Sa’eed is reliable and ‘Ubaydullaah was not declared reliable by anyone who was considered an authority. Thus, he (‘Ubaydullaah) is Majhool ul-Haal (i.e. his status is unknown). And Allaah knows best.]It is permissible for us to make this hadeeth the principle regarding pictures, that they are forbidden. What remains with us is the dolls of the small children. People use this as an argument and that the hadeeth of ‘Aishah is considered an abrogation of the hadeeth regarding pictures. No. The principle regarding pictures is that they are forbidden and a concession (exception) has been made for small children to take some wool and rags (and make dolls). The principle concerning pictures is forbiddance. If you want a doll for the children, you make it like this. You take a cloth and put some wool inside of it and you tie it closed and give it to them. This is also just as ‘Aishah did regarding the toy horse (that she had) and it had wings made of wool and cloth. And the principle is forbiddance. This (picture making) is from the corruptive evils, let alone what is disseminated on the television of temptations, and corruptions and things that stir up the sexual lusts. Then, after all of that, they bring for us the guy with the big turban or the “respected man” to give a lesson on the television (i.e. referring to TV in the middle east). In any case, the corruptive evils of television are too many to be restricted and counted. We ask Allaah to cleanse the lands of the Muslims of it. Verily He has power over all things
Question: Some people, if you argue against them by mentioning the fact that the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) prohibited the gaze (i.e. looking at members of the opposite sex who are not one’s relatives), and likewise Allaah (glory be unto Him, the Most High) prohibited the gaze (at members of the opposite sex) in a verse (of the Qur’aan), the person does not consider the picture that he sees on the television to be the same as this form or image (of a woman) that he sees on the street, for example. He says (about the picture on TV), “This is just a picture.”
Answer: Look at this contradiction, my brothers in Allaah’s religion. Some people, if you say to them, “Verily looking at the woman that is on television is forbidden,” the person will respond by saying, “This woman (on TV, her picture) is not like the woman that is on the street. This is just called a picture (the woman on TV).” Then after this, the looking at the picture itself, if it is a picture that is on paper, and her thighs are exposed, and likewise her arms are uncovered and her face is seductive, it is not permissible for a man to look at her, even if it is just the picture of a woman on paper, let alone if it is a picture of her that appears, and moves, and other things as well (like on TV).
And has anything caused more corruptive trials and temptations for the people more than the pictures on television? If the people are not being tested and seduced by the pictures, then why don’t they make a television without a picture. We request from them that they make a television without a picture, we the Muslims. What’s wrong with them that they put pictures of themselves on their books? What’s wrong with them that they take pictures as a part of the curriculums of study, and in other things from the trials and clear matters? The Muslim has no choice in these times but to adhere to his religion and not be concerned with whoever opposes him. That which I advise every brother in Allaah’s religion, is that he adheres to his religion and not be concerned with whoever opposes him. May Allaah help everyone to do what He loves and is pleased with.
I ask the brother who is asking the question. The person will say, “Verily the television contains Qur’aan and Hadeeths and religious admonishment and panels discussions.” I ask the brother, “Do the governments bring in the television in order to spread the religion of Islam or in order to spread their politics?” With all fairness, the governments bring the televisions and the media broadcasts to spread their politics. So ask Allaah to make it easy for the Muslims to have a means of broadcast that conveys Allaah’s religion in the proper manner that it should be conveyed. And all praise is due to Allaah. If the Muslims establish what is obligatory in the masjids and the obligation of inviting to Allaah’s religion, then this contains an abundance of good, and all praise is due to Allaah, the Lord of all that exists. The discussion concerning pictures, are they forbidden or not? That which we believe and practice the religion of Allaah upon is that pictures are forbidden, even if there was nothing else to prove it other than the hadeeth about the curtain. And it is the hadeeth related by ‘Aishah, and it is in the two Saheehs (of Al-Bukhaaree and Muslim). The hadeeth states that she (‘Aaishah) covered up the entrance of a small room that she had with a curtain that had images on it. And the curtain was called a Qiraam, which is a type of cloth covering. So the Prophet (Sallallahu ‘Alaihi Wa Sallam) entered and he saw the curtain, or he intended to enter and he saw the curtain, and then he refused to enter, and his face showed that he was upset. Then he said,
“O ‘Aaishah, don’t you know that the people who will be most severely punished on the Day of Resurrection will be those who make these pictures?”
Then, also on another occasion he wanted to enter and found two coushions (in the house) – which means two pillows – and they had images on them. Then he took the two coushions and tore them up. Therefore, pictures, if they are considered pictures of animate beings (that have souls, such as people and animals), then they are forbidden and it makes no difference whether it is a picture on a peice of paper, or on television or on video tape. This is nothing other than blind following and fear of differing with people. The people say, “It is not considered a picture”, and “it is just like a mirror”, and other things from these different statements. The mirror doesn’t capture the image but the television is a captured image. These are only claims and deceptive tricks upon us so that we remain behind them like cattle. Anything that is brought to us from the enemies of Islam we accept it and meet it with open acceptance. And Allaah is the One Who is sought for help.
What do you say about the hadeeth of the curtain (of ‘Aaishah), oh our brothers? Is the picture that is on the curtain a three dimensional image or not? It is not three dimensional figure (like a statue). So this is a clear proof that no one can deviate from except someone who is trying to be stubborn or someone who has been effected by some other people or he thinks good about some people (i.e. relying upon them, giving them the benefit of the doubt). And Allaah is the One Who is sought for help.