In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
There is nothing wrong with using Qur’anic verses in photos of natural phenomena. The photos should be related to the verses, and the verses should be quoted in a way that does not alter their meanings.
In his response to the question, Dr. `Abdul-Fattah `Ashoor, Professor of the Exegesis of the Qur’an at Al-Azhar University, states:
If the flashes or films you are going to make contain, for example, photos of natural scenes, and you want to add sequences of Qur’anic verses to the photos, then there is nothing wrong as long as the following guidelines are observed:
1-You should keep the whole verses intact in the sense that you are not allowed to cut the verses into different words as this alters the meaning of the verses.
2-Also, you are not permitted to put separate statements (i.e. non-Qur’anic words) within the words of the Qur’anic verses.
3-The verses you are going to quote from the Qur’an should be related to the photos you are going to present and the films you make.
If the above guidelines are observed, then you can make films and flashes using Qur’anic verses keeping in mind that the purpose of such photos or flash films should be for a valid and religiously acceptable reason. Otherwise, the issue is not permissible.
Shedding more light on the issue, Dr. Marawan Shahin, Professor of Hadith and its Sciences, Faculty of Usul Ad-Din, Al-Azhar University, adds:
I would like first to state that photography as a medium of communication or for the simple, innocent retention of memories without the taint of reverence or shirk does not fall under the category of forbidden tasweer, which according to scholars is restricted only to making statues.
The rationale behind the prohibition of statues was the fear of worshipping them in addition to their direct relation to paganism.
On the other hand, the use of Qur’anic verses is permissible provided that the photos are closely related to the verses quoted from the Qur’an.
Also, the verse should be clearly and precisely indicative of what the photo is about, such as the use of verses describing natural phenomena and creation with relevant photos.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.