Putting photos on ID cards

Q: People have to include a personal photograph in Identification Cards, Family Records, Driving Licenses, (Part No. 1; Page No. 717) Social Insurance papers, Exam Forms in schools and universities, Passports and the like. Is it permissible to take photographs for this purpose? If it is not permissible, what should the employee do in his job? Should he leave it?


A: Photography is Haram (prohibited) according to the Sahih Hadiths (Hadiths that have been transmitted by people known for their uprightness and exactitude; free from eccentricity and blemish) reported from Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) where he cursed Al-Musawwirun (painters, drawers, sculptors, and subsequently photographers) and mentioned that they will receive the severest punishment on the day of judgment. This is because photography is a means leading to Shirk (associating others with Allah in His Divinity or worship) and it is similar to imitating Allah's Creation. As for someone obliged to include a photo in Family Record, Passport, Exam Form or in Residence Papers or the like, it is permissible for them to do so based on the degree of necessity. Therefore, taking photographs is permissible in case of necessity and in case of someone whose work cannot be accomplished without use of photographs and such usage is for a public interest that cannot be otherwise achieved. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: ...while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity May Allah grant us success. May peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Muhammad, his family, and Companions.

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