Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.
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:
Watching television or looking at pictures depends on the person’s intention and what he or she is watching. If the person is watching something good, and for good objectives, then it would be all right.
Responding to your question, Dr. Sano Koutoub Moustapha, deputy chairman of the International Fiqh Academy and professor of fiqh and its principles at the International Islamic University, Malaysia, states:
Watching television is not haram nor is looking at pictures of living creatures. It is strongly recommended to watch good programs and news on television. This is due to the fact that television is a means which can be used for good as well as for bad.
Therefore, everything depends on the intention of the person who is looking at the pictures of living creatures. If his or her intention is to learn and be informed about what is happening in the world, then it is strongly recommended to watch and look.
There is no single authentic text or order which prohibits watching television or looking at pictures as some people believe.
Islam does not deprive Muslims of benefiting from good means and tools. Islam welcomes all new technology such as television, planes, cars, trains, and the Internet and Islam urges Muslims to use them to spread noble teachings and values.
Therefore, the individual should not reject technology without an explicit text and order. Scholars agree that the means to good are good, and likewise the means to bad are bad.
In this context, prohibition or allowance will merely depend on the objectives of using or utilizing these means.
Allah Almighty knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.