India's leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom has issued a fatwa, saying "photography is unlawful and a sin", even though Saudi Arabia allows photographers inside the holy city of Mecca and live telecast of 'namaz' is beamed on Islamic channels across the world.
Mufti Abdul Qasim Nomani, Mohtamim (Vice-Chancellor) of Darul Uloom Deoband, told PTI on phone, "Photography is un-Islamic. Muslims are not allowed to get their photos clicked unless it is for an identity card or for making a passport."
He said Islam does not permit video-taping of marriages or clicking of pictures to save as mementos for future generations.
When pointed out that Saudi Arabia allows photography, Mufti Nomani said, Saudi Arabia can do it, but they will not allow it.
Mufti Nomani agreed with the fatwa -- a religious edict issued by Darul Ifta in Deoband -- regarding a query from an engineering graduate saying he was passionate about photography and wanted to pursue it as a career.
"Photography is unlawful and a sin. Hadith (recorded Islamic tradition) warns sternly against it. Do not do this course. You should search any suitable job based on your engineering course," reads the fatwa posted on the school's website.
All India Muslim Law Personal Board member Mufti Abul Irfan Qadri Razzaqi also agreed with Mufti Nomani's fatwa.
"Islam forbids photographing of humans and animals. Whoever does that will be answerable to God," Mufti Razzaqi told PTI.
A similar fatwa was issued when a television reporter asked if his "facing the video camera" is against Islam.
"You are right, it is prohibited in Islam to photograph and to let others photograph you. Therefore, you should seek forgiveness from Allah for the same and choose for you a work which is free from such prohibited acts," read the fatwa
Another fatwa, that was issued read that any work which involves unlawful things is unlawful. But if part of a person's job includes oral or written reporting as well as photography, then the entire income will not be labelled as unlawful.
However, Mufti Saif Abbas, president of the Shia Chand Committee, said his sect allows photography and television viewing. "Islamic channels such as Peace TV, QTV, ARY and others beam live coverage of namaz, Hajj...are they all wrong?
I have argued with my Sunni colleagues that there is nothing wrong with photography," he said.