In an attempt to respond to this, we would like to cite the following fatwa issued by Sheikh Ahmad Kutty in which he stated the following:
“Photography as a medium of communication or for the simple, innocent retention of memories without the taint of reverence/shirk does not fall under the category of forbidden Tasweer (photograph).
One finds a number of traditions from the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, condemning people who make Tasweer, which denotes painting or carving images or statues. It was closely associated with paganism or shirk. People were in the habit of carving images and statues for the sake of worship.
Islam, therefore, declared Tasweer forbidden because of its close association with shirk (association of partners with Allah). One of the stated principles of Usul-u-Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) is that if anything directly leads to haram, it is likewise haram. In other words, Tasweer was forbidden precisely for the reason that it was a means leading to shirk.
The function of photography today does not fall under the above category. Even some of the scholars who had been once vehemently opposed to photography under the pretext that it was a form of forbidden Tasweer have later changed their position on it – as they allow even for their own pictures to be taken and published in newspapers, for videotaping lectures and for presentations; whereas in the past, they would only allow it in exceptional cases such as passports, drivers’ licenses, etc. The change in their view of photography is based on their assessment of the role of photography.
Having said this, one must add a word of caution: To take pictures of leaders and heroes and hang them on the walls may not belong to the same category of permission. This may give rise to a feeling of reverence and hero worship, which was precisely the main thrust of the prohibition of Tasweer. Therefore, one cannot make an unqualified statement to the effect that all photography is halal. It all depends on the use and function of it. If it is for educational purpose and has not been tainted with the motive of reverence and hero worship, there is nothing in the sources to prohibit it.”
As for keeping framed pictures, Sheikh Kutty, added:
“There is nothing wrong for you to keep pictures in a frame on your house. Photographic pictures are not considered quite haram or forbidden as is the case with carving of images, which has been forbidden in the Prophetic Sunnah. Pictures are taken by trapping the shadows of a thing, and hence, it is not mimicking Allah’s creation.
Also if a person is simply keeping them for memory or as a souvenir it is not at all prohibited to do so. However, to display pictures of heroes or leaders or scholars on the walls may fall into category of undesirable or forbidden category, for it may breed reverence, which is a slippery road leading to hero-worship, which is forbidden in Islam.”
Based on what is mentioned above, we can conclude that there is nothing wrong in keeping photos of humans in one’s home if they are not pornographic pictures and not statues and they are not revered or worshipped and they are not nude pictures.
As for the issue of issue of the printed robot in the shape of a human on an appliance, we’d like to cite the following fatwa issued by Sheikh `Abdul-Majeed Subh, a prominent Azharite scholar, who stated:
“When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) cursed Tasweer (making figures), he made an exception to those which are not glorified such as those made in carpets, curtains and the like.
Basr ibn Sa’id is reported to have said, “Zayd ibn Khalid became ill and we went to visit him. There was a picture on the curtain of his door. I said to my companion ‘Ubaydullah al-Khulani, who was the servant of the Prophet’s wife Maymunah, ‘Was it not Zayd who told us about pictures the other day?’ ‘Ubayd Allah replied, ‘Did you not hear him when he said, ‘Except if it is made of cloth?'”
Al-Tirmidhi reported on the authority of `Utbah that once the latter went to visit Abu Talhah al-Ansari, who was ill, and he found Sahl ibn Hanif (another Companion) there. Abu Talhah called someone to come and tear up the sheet which was under him. “Why tear it up?” Sahl asked. “There are pictures on it, and you know what the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him said concerning that,” Abu Talhah replied. “Did he not also say, ‘Except if it is made on cloth?'” Sahl asked. “Yes, but it makes me feel better,” Abu Talhah replied.”
Based on this, there is nothing wrong in the printed photos on appliances as long as these pictures are not revered or glorified and they do not display nudity or lewdness.