Praying in a Room with Pictures Hanging on the Wall

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Posted: 28 Safar 1423, 11 May 2002

Q.) There is a controversy over the issue of the presence of a picture or image of an animate thing in a place one may wish to perform Salat. My general understanding is that if in a room or office there is a picture, say of a person hanging on the wall, thenit is not permissible to perform Salat there. However, I have come across some Shaikhs who argue that the word sura means something carved out of either wood or stone, which in the pre-Islamic era were being worshipped. They proceed to say that pictures do not fall in this description. Therefore, they contend that one can pray in an office or room where there is a picture of a person.

Please, enlighten me on this, since in many offices there are pictures and one finds himself in a helpless situation when it comes to Salat time.

A.) It is Makrooh to perform Salat in a room that has a picture of an animate object. (Tahtawi pg.294)

This is also understood from a Hadith of Nabi Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, Sayyidna Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) purchased a cushion/pillow which had pictures. When Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam saw it, he stood at the door and did not enter. Sayyidna Aaisha (Radhiallaahu Anha) realized the he was displeased about something. She enquired, 'O, Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam! I seek forgiveness in Allah and His Rasul. What wrong did I do?' Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam responded, 'What is this cushion/pillow with pictures?' She said, 'I bought it for you to sit on it and lean against it.' Rasulullah Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam said, 'Verily the people of these pictures will be punished on the day of Qiyaamat. It will be said to them 'Give life to what you have created' and he said, 'Verily, the house in which pictures are found, angels do not enter.' (Mishkaat pg.358)

And Allah Ta'ala Knows Best