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Fatwas / Miscellaneous / Changing pictures through technical means

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Respected Shaykh, Assalamu Alaykum wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu. Can you please tell me the ruling of changing a person's photograph like making the nose smaller, raising the eyebrows, making the lips smaller, and so on.

التعديل في الصور الفوتوغرافية بوسائل التقنية

Answer

All praise is due to Allah. May Allah's peace and blessings be upon Prophet Muhammad, his family and his companions.

Wa alaykum salaam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu

To proceed:

To respond to your question, I say:

It is not permissible to interfere with a picture and change the features of the photographed person by making the lips bigger, reducing the nose, and so on because this is emulating Allah's creation. This is part of what was transmitted in the hadeeth of al-Bukhari (5954) and Muslim (2107). Aisha (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said, " The most grievous torment the Day of Resurrection would be for those who imitate (Allah) in the act of His creation." The people being referred to here are those who take pictures, as was transmitted in another narration by al-Bukhari (6901) where the  Prophet (peace be upon him) said, " The people who will receive the severest punishment from Allah will be the picture makers." What is meant by imitating of Allah's creation here is copying Allah by trying to create and fashion something, as was explained in the narration of Muslim (2107) that: "The people who will be most severely punished on the Day of Resurrection will be those who try to match the creation of Allah." Creating the creation and fashioning it is specific to Allah the Exalted. Allah the Exalted said, " It is He who forms you in the wombs however He wills. There is no deity except Him, the Exalted in Might, the Wise" [Al-'Imraan: 6]. Therefore, manipulating pictures is trying to vie with Allah in area which is specific to Him only. Therefore a believer should not do that.

Shaykh Khalid al-Mosleh

9/11/1428 H


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