From Lajnah Daimah to Darul Ifta

Common problem in moslem world nowadays: when dalil (postulate) is and the realities of modern life are clashed with seemingly irreconcilable differences (©Bangdzia/Pustaka Al-Kautsar)

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “The most severely punished of the people on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.” Narrated by al-Bukhari (5950) and Muslim (2109). 

The hadith (the sayings of Prophet Muhammad) above is the most popular postulate regarding the ban of tashwir. From this, it can be inferred that there are many things that can’t be performed if the hadith is to be obeyed faithfully. However, there are more than one hadith: there were several cases where Prophet Muhammad allowed tashwir (for example, the doll of ‘Aisyah). Other than that, those hadiths could be understood in different ways by a lot of scholars, resulting in several opinions where tashwir is allowed.

In this book, Bangdzia is not analyzing those postulates and then creating a new opinion. He explains what he has found in several scholars’ opinion regarding the law of tashwir, because they were those who have the capacity to interpret it. There are several scholars who prohibit tashwir totally, like Nashiruddin al-Albani. But there are also scholars who allow photography and video like Shalih Utsaimin. There are also those who divide tashwir into several categories, in order to differentiate between the allowed ones and the forbidden ones, like Yusuf Qardhawi and Ahmad Hassan.

As for fatwa committees, there is Lajnah Daimah in Saudi Arabia which bans almost every forms of tashwir, while the reverse happened at Darul Ifta in Egypt, which allows almost every form of tashwir. In Indonesia, several organizations have also issued some pronouncement regarding tashwir. Muhammadiyah once prohibited the act of displaying the photograph of the organization’s founder, but it was revised several years later. Similar case had also happened at Nahdhatul Ulama which issued fatwa that displaying photographs of scholars is stated as mubah (allowed).

The discussion on tashwir also branched off to the way it is made. There are some opinions that allow tashwir with the condition that the picture depicts the creature in the form that is impossible to exist in real life. That’s why sometimes we can find some picture books released in Arab countries which show human or animal pictures being cut at the neck, or the face is removed/erased, or it is made in such ways that it doesn’t resemble a living creature anymore. These also include the ways to use depictions of animate creatures so that it doesn’t contradict the tashwir law.

Back to Intent

So, where’s your final goal? (©Bangdzia/Pustaka Al-Kautsar)

As in Ramadhan, when moslems perform the tarawih ­prayer, we can find different ways of doing it in different mosques. There are those who perform the prayer in 11 raka’at, while others perform it in 23 raka’at. However, one needs to choose to perform the prayer in one mosque. The question is, if the moslem choose to pray in 11 raka’at, then should other moslems who pray in 23 raka’at be blamed? Of course not, because each of those opinion has their own basis of reasoning.

The same goes with the tashwir law. We can pick one of the existing opinions: whether to forbid all of them, forbid partially, or allow them. However, keep it in mind that the opinion should be taken from valid sources, issued by committee or scholars who have the capacity in their field. We can’t create our own opinion before we possess the knowledge about it. This kind of mindset, in my opinion, is what Bangdzia wants to show to the readers: choosing an opinion and not blaming/forcing our opinion to others, to make a healthy and open discussion environment.

Other than that, for a moslem, one also need to check on the intent of performing a work, asking “for what purpose” on every activity. Whether in the end one’s answer is “to get God’s blessing” or “just for fun” or even other goals, then that intended goal will be what one will reap. In Islam, intent holds an important role on every activity, so a moslem need to hold to it well.

Like Bangdzia said at the end of this book, “At the end, whatever your choice, be responsible with that choice, be it in this world and in the afterlife.”

Book cover (©Bangdzia/Pustaka Al-Kautsar)
Title : Gambar Itu Haram
Author : Bangdzia
Publisher Pustaka Al-Kautsar
ISBN : 9786021695418
Cover : Art carton
Length : 157 pages
Size : UB-30 (14.00 cm x 20.00 cm)
Weight : 200 gr
Price : Rp 37,000.00 (around $ 3)

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