The rector of influential Islamic seminary Darul Uloom of Deoband, Abul Qasim Nomani, has denied that a fatwa "banning" photography by Muslims as un-Islamic had been issued by the institution.
“Darul Uloom does not have powers to ban anything. It is the government that has such powers. Our fatwa department simply issues religious advice when its views are voluntarily sought by an individual for his or her own personal use,” he told HT from Deoband.
He however said Islam did not permit idol or image worship, which is why the Prophet did not allow his portrait to be made. This is why images of human beings, whether in the form of a drawing or photograph, are not encouraged. “But there is no ban from our side,” he said.
Wire reports had said that a ban had been pronounced by the seminary on Muslims taking photographs. Nomani said a fatwa was a religious advice applicable to a person who formally seeks it and a query could be about any aspect of Islam. He refused to directly comment one way or the other on whether photography was un-Islamic. “If a Muslim in genuine need of advice on Islam’s position on such matters were to approach us, then we are duty bound to give the advice. We can’t issue fatwas just for making news,” he said.
Islam has no Pope, no Vatican. So religious for guidance, Sunni Muslims worldwide turn to either Egypt’s Al-Azhar University or India’s Darul Uloom. The seminary’s responses, usually endorsing strict compliance of Shariah or Islamic laws.
After the Quran, Hadith, or a collection of Prophet Mohammed’s sayings and description of his lifestyle, is the second-most authoritative source for Muslim laws, after the Quran.