Posting pictures of the deceased on social media

Q: With the escalation in the use of social media, we find people often put up status messages or post pictures with a message addressing a deceased person. For example, a person would post "We miss You, Dad" or "last year this time You were with us" etc. Is this permissible in Islam?

A: Pictures of all animate objects are haraam in Islam. Grave warnings have been sounded in the Mubaarak Ahaadith for those who get involved in the major sin of picture making. Nabi (Sallallahu Alayhi Wasallam) said:

إن أشد الناس عذابا عند الله يوم القيامة المصورون (صحيح البخاري 2/880 ، صحيح لمسلم /201)

Those involved in picture-making will be subjected to the worst forms of punishment on the day of Qiyaamat. (Bukhari 2/880, Muslim 2/201)

Apart from this, these messages have no real meaning and are of no benefit to the deceased. When one examines this closely, he will realise that it is a clear emulation of the Kuffaar custom. As Muslims, why should we suffer from an inferiority complex and try to emulate the Kuffaar in their ways and customs?

The Kuffaar reserve one day in the year or certain occasions for expressing their love and emotions for their deceased relatives. Some of them place pictures of their deceased parents or relatives in the newspapers. Others mourn over their deceased and express their grief by circulating pictures among their friends of happy moments they shared with their deceased.

We, as Muslims, should remember our deceased parents and relatives throughout the year and should not reserve just one day or a few special occasions in the year for remembering them. We should specify a time everyday to recite a portion of the Qur'an and convey the reward to them. This will bring cheer to their souls, brighten their countenance and benefit them in the Hereafter.

On the other hand, expressing our emotions in ways that emulate the Kuffaar will cause our deceased parents grief and sorrow in the grave. Furthermore, if during their lives they had promoted or were pleased with these Kuffaar customs, then they will also be punished in the grave when their children express grief over their demise in ways that emulate the Kuffaar.

And Allah Ta'ala (الله تعالى) knows best.

إن أشد الناس عذابا عند الله يوم القيامة المصورون (صحيح البخاري 2/880 ، صحيح لمسلم /201)

عن ابن عمر قال قال رسول الله صلى الله عليه وسلم من تشبه بقوم فهو منهم. (سنن أبي داود رقم 4033)​

Answered by:

Mufti Zakaria Makada

Checked & Approved:

Mufti Ebrahim Salejee (Isipingo Beach)