In the Name of Allaah…
Some people have assumed that since Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan, one of today’s leading Islamic scholars, appears on TV, then he must have changed his views on videography (recording video images) and even still photography as well.
The shaykh (may Allaah preserve him) has been approached and asked about this concern more than once. He was asked once:
What is the ruling on videography? And how should we respond to those who say you consider it permissible based on your appearances on TV and on the Majd Channel?
The shaykh replied:
Subhaan Allaah (Glorified be Allaah)! I have allowed this?! Regarding the (TV) appearances, then I have not sought to appear (on TV). Rather, they came out and attended the masjid. They recorded the lecture and the attendees. They are the ones who did that, without seeking permission or consultation. I have not allowed this, nor am I pleased with it for anyone.
They also recorded Ibn Baaz, may Allaah forgive (them), while he was not pleased with it and warned against it. They come to events and gatherings and record, and the images appear on TV. Does this mean that Shaykh Ibn Baaz allowed tasweer (recording images)? In no way whatsoever! He died on the position that images, in all of their various forms, are impermissible.
At another occasion, the shaykh was asked:
Is it true what is said about you – that you have changed your position on the impermissibility of tasweer (image making), based on your (apparent) approval of your recorded lectures appearing on Majd TV Channel and others?
The shaykh replied:
This is corrupt speech. Tasweer is impermissible, and its not for me or anyone else to say to you that it is permissible, since the texts establishing its prohibition are clear, with a clear threat of severe punishment for those who do it, and it is one of the major sins.
I am from those who forbid this tasweer and declare it impermissible, except in situations of necessity. I have repeated this to you, that it is not permissible except in situations of necessity, like ID cards, drivers’ licenses, and passports. It is allowed in situations of necessity (only). In other circumstances, like for the sake of keeping memories, [an unclear word], trinkets, or decorations hung on the wall, it is impermissible (in these situations). In fact, this is even worse, when someone hangs up a picture, this is even more severely prohibited.
This is what I have said, and this is what I (continue to) say. Anybody who attributes other than this to me is a liar.
Regarding the Majd TV Channel, I have not gone out to them, I have not gone to their studios. Rather, they come to the masjid, they record at the masjid. They even record the prayer at al-Masjid al-Haraam (in Makkah) now, and at the Prophet’s Masjid (in Madeenah). They come to the masjid and record at al-Masjid al-Haraam, and the Prophet’s Masjid.
We can understand the following things from the shaykh’s words here:
- He clearly does not allow tasweer, whether it be photography, videography, or any other way of producing images of things with souls.
- He does not hold it to be allowed for himself or any other scholar to say that any form of tasweer is permissible, except in situations of necessity.
- He has not willingly cooperated with those who record his lectures, Majd TV or anyone else.
- He considers people who make unfounded assumptions about his positions without asking him to be liars with corrupt speech.
- Shaykh Ibn Baaz held the same position, yet people still recorded images of him and spread them.
- People, especially scholars, are not to be blamed for the sins of others, especially when they actively forbid the very sins being committed.
Are Videos of Islaamic Lectures a Necessity?
Some people assume that conveying Islaam to the people is a necessity that requires the use of video recordings. Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan was asked the following question:
Is the one who records Islaamic lectures and lessons considered someone mentioned in the hadeeth (forbidding tasweer)?
The shaykh (may Allaah preserve him) replied:
Yes, yes he is included. He is included in that. There is no need for tasweer. Islaamic lectures are recorded (audio), listened to, and transcribed. The goal is accomplished without tasweer.
Source: This recorded answer.
Live Saudi TV Programs
What might confuse some people in this issue is that Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan (may Allaah preserve him) appears on some live Saudi TV programs.
It is important to recognize that Shaykh Saalih al-Fowzaan and other scholars distinguish between recorded video images (tasweer) and live broadcasts which resemble the unrecorded images found in mirrors, which are permissible.
The shaykh was asked:
Is it allowed for preachers and students of knowledge to appear on television, as a situation of necessity?
Television is a (live) transmission, a transmission, not a recording that is preserved and remains. Rather, it is just a transmission, like the (live) transmission of the prayer from al-Masjid al-Haraam, the (live) transmission of the prayer from the Prophet’s masjid, or the (live) transmission of the pilgrims on Arafat and other significant Hajj locations. This is a live transmission, they call it: live transmission.
The shaykh was then asked a follow-up question:
Many people use your appearances on TV as proof that you believe tasweer is permissible…
I’ve written about this recently. I say: This is not tasweer, rather it is a transmission. It is a live transmission.
Source: This audio file (Arabic)
The shaykh was also asked about when people record those live broadcasts, and replied that the burden of that lies upon the one who makes the recording. This and other statements of the shaykh about tasweer, live broadcasts, and other related issues can be found in this thread (Arabic) on the Sahab Discussion Forum.
Further Elaboration on Videography
For more information and a more detailed discussion about the prohibition of tasweer, and why recorded video images are impermissible, listen to this (at the 25 minute mark).
And Allaah knows best.
Written by: Moosaa Richardson