Date : 06-03-2023

Question :

What is the ruling of Sharia on taking pictures of a dying person?

The Answer :

Praise be to Allah the Lord of the Worlds. May His peace and blessings be upon our Prophet Mohammad and upon all his family and companions.

Dying is a state that precedes death, a lesson to consider, but a hardship to the dying person who is experiencing the pangs of death. It is also an admonition whereby the living realize the true meaning of worldly life leaving everything behind and not seeing loved ones anymore. In fact, the Messenger of Allah (PBUH) taught us to calm the dying person by making him/her remember Allah and exhorting him/her to utter the testimonies of faith, in addition to reciting the Quran and making supplication for him/her as death is a great affliction. Allah Says (What means): "and the affliction of death befalls you." [Al-Ma`idah/ 106]. The Messenger of Allah (PBUH) said: "Recite the Chapter of. (Yasin (Qur’an, xxxvi) over your dead." [Abu Dawood].

When a person is dying, his family should exercise patience, expect their reward from Allah and rush to make good righteous deeds. Therefore, engaging in gossip, taking pictures and videotaping the dying person should be abstained from and avoided as this is a transgression against the privacy and dignity of the latter. As we all know, man`s dignity is protected by Sharia for Almighty Allah Says (What means): "We have honored the sons of Adam." [Al-Isra`/70]. This also involves spying on others, and Allah Says about this (What means): "And spy not on each other behind their backs." [Al-Hujurat/12]. In addition, it isn`t even permissible to take pictures or videotape someone in normal situation.

A dying person could appear in a very heartbreaking condition adding more harm to his/her family and relatives especially if that video or picture was circulated on social media. It could also be circulated after his/her death renewing the misery of the deceased`s family and relatives. This is in light of the fact it is recommended that condolences are accepted over three days to comfort the family of the deceased, and more than that is disliked to avoid renewing their grief.

"It is disliked that the solace period extends for more than three days because the aim behind it is to comfort the family of the deceased, which is mostly achieved during this period, so their grief shouldn`t be renewed." [Al-Majmou` Shareh Al-Mohazab, vol.5/pp.306}

In conclusion, one intending good for the dying should ask Allah to forgive them, remind them of Allah, recite Quran and avoid taking pictures or videotaping them since this is a violation to their sanctity and causes harm to their family. And Allah The Almighty Knows Best.