India's leading Islamic seminary Darul Uloom has issued a fatwa, saying "photography is unlawful and a sin", even though Saudi Arabia allows photographers inside the holy city of Mecca and live telecast of 'namaz' is beamed on Islamic channels across the world.
Mufti Abdul Qasim Nomani, Mohtamim (Vice-Chancellor) of Darul Uloom Deoband, said on the phone, "Photography is un-Islamic. Muslims are not allowed to get their photos clicked unless it is for an identity card or for making a passport."
He said Islam does not permit video-taping of marriages or clicking of pictures to save as mementos for future generations.
When pointed out that Saudi Arabia, which follows the Wahabi school that aspires to return to the earliest fundamental sources of Islam, allows photography in the holiest of Islamic cities Mecca and beams live coverage through the year, Nomani said, "Let them do it. We do not allow it. Not everything they do is correct."
Nomani agreed with the fatwa -- a religious edict issued by Darul Ifta in Deoband -- regarding a query from an engineering graduate saying he was passionate about photography and wanted to pursue it as a career.
"Photography is unlawful and sin. Hadith (recorded Islamic tradition) warns sternly against it. Do not do this course. You should search any suitable job based on your engineering course," reads the fatwa posted on the school's website.
All India Muslim Law Personal Board member Mufti Abul Irfan Qadri Razzaqi also agreed with Nomani's fatwa.
"Islam forbids photographing of humans and animals. Whoever does that will be answerable to God," Razzaqi told .
When reminded that Saudis allow it, he said, "Just because they are richer than us doesn't mean they are also correct. If they are allowing photography they will be answerable on the Day of Judgment in the court of God."