بسم الله الرحمن الرحيم
Sheikh Muhammad Nasir-ud-Deen Al Albani in his book “The Etiquettes of Marriage” (آداب الزفاف) details, while listing some prohibited matters commonly taking place among Muslims at some weddings, the prohibition of picture making (and them being hung on walls) whether it be a portrait painted by hand, drawn, sketched, etc or if it is produced by way of a mechanical device e.g. a photograph. He quotes authentic narrations that are very strong and compelling in nature to support this position. At some point in his discussion he mentions an exception to this fundamental ruling of prohibition, and it pertains to when there is therein a benefit.
Sheikh Al Albani said, “Before I conclude this discourse I cannot fail to draw attention to the fact that we do not, even though we hold the opinion of the prohibition of pictures via any of the two forms (drawn or photographed) along with certainty pertaining to it, we do not see an objection to any picture in which therein is an actualized benefit. This is outside of it being coupled with some type of harm, and this benefit is unable to be facilitated by some other permissible means. Like pictures that are needed with regards to medicine and or geography. Or as it pertains to apprehension of a criminal and warning (others) from him.
Undoubtedly this is permissible and in some cases, at times it can be obligatory. The proof for this is two narrations. The first is upon the authority of Ayesha, that she use to play with girls, (she said) ‘The Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- would come to me while my friends were with me playing.’ Collected by Bukhari, Muslim, Ahmad, and Ibn Sad. In another chain, from her, there was with her dolls. As a result the Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- when entering upon her would conceal himself from her with his garment. Abu Awaanah stated, ‘So that she would not stop.’ Ibn Sad compiled it and its chain of transmission is sound.
Furthermore in another narration that will be cited, she had possession of a (toy) horse with two wings Al Haafidh said, ‘This narration is used to substantiate the allowance of images of girls, and dolls, in order for the children (young girls) to play with. This is particularized aside from the general prohibition of images and Iyaadh was unwaveringly certain about this. As he reported from the majority that they allowed the selling of dolls to girls for the purpose of training them with regards to the affairs of their homes and children, while they are young.’
The second narration is on the authority of Ar-Rubayyi bint Muawwidh who said, ‘The Prophet -sallahu alayhi wa sallam- on the morning of Ashura sent someone to a village of the Ansaar to announce ” ‘Whoever has eaten should complete the rest of his day (fasting), and whoever is fasting should continue the fast.‘ ” She also said, ‘Since then we would fast on it regularly, and we would have our young boys fast. We would make toys for them out of wool and whenever one of them cried out of hunger we’d give him that toy til it reached the time to break fast.’ In another chain it says ‘If they asked us for food we would give them the doll to play with until they eventually completed their fast.’
Reported by Al Bukhari, and the verbal expression (of this narration) is with him. Also reported by Muslim along with additions in other chains. Surely these two narrations indicate the allowance of pictures and its procurement if an educational benefit results that assist in rectifying the soul, refining it, and teaching it. Thus affixed to that is whatsoever therein is a general benefit for Islam and the Muslims from pictures and images. However whatever is besides that remains on the fundamental ruling and it is prohibition e.g., pictures of chieftains, elites, friends, etc from that which has no benefit therein.”
Translated by Najeeb Al Anjelesi