In The Name of Allah, The Most Merciful, The Bestower of Mercy.
The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] said, “The scholars are the heirs of the Prophets. The Prophets did not leave behind dinars or dirhams, rather they left behind a heritage of knowledge, and the one who acquires it acquires an abundant portion”. [At-Tirmidhee 2682]
The writers at Wikipedia stated under the title “Controversial statements”: Saleh al-Fawzan was given attention in Western media again in May 2016 after he declared taking photos prohibited in a video published by the Middle East Media Research Institute on April 17, 2016. According to The Independent, “Speaking in a televised broadcast, Sheikh Saleh Bin Fawzan Al-Fawzan was asked about “a new trend of taking pictures with cats” which “has been spreading among people who want to be like the Westerners”. The Sheikh initially appears incredulous, asking: “What?! What do you mean pictures with cats?” He then declares: “Taking pictures is prohibited. The cats don’t matter here.” When asked again about the “new trend”, he says: “Explain this trend to me. Taking pictures is prohibited if not for a necessity – not with cats, not with dogs, not with wolves, not with anything.” [End of quote]
We remind these writers that the upright Salafi Scholars do not appease those who disagree with their judgements by flattering them or going along with the crowd. This photography issue is not to be regarded as controversial; rather, it should be assessed in light of the Qur’an and the authentic Sunnah. Indeed, it only causes controversy for individuals who either do not want to hear what they dislike hearing or who believe that the Shariah’s rulings have no place in so-called contemporary cultures or modern societies. The subject matter is applicable to all people, not just those living in the West, because its ruling is revealed in the infallible final divine revelation. The Prophet [peace and blessings of Allah be upon him] said, “The people who will receive the severest punishment from Allah will be the picture makers.” [Sahih Al-Bukhari 5950]
Imaam Muhammad Ibn Salih Al-Uthaymeen [may Allah have mercy upon him] was asked, “How do we reconcile between the statement of the Prophet ‘The people who will receive the severest punishment from Allah will be the picture makers’ and the fact that the Mushrikoon will receive the greatest punishment on the day of judgement?”. He replied, “The severest punishment here means the severest punishment received by the sinners whose sins have not reached disbelief. As for the severest punishment received by the Mushrikoon, their punishment will be the severest among all the people”. [(1)]
Read this article by Shaikh Abu Khadeejah [may Allah preserve him] titled: Photography, Selfies and Picture-making are from the Major Sins, Proven by the Authentic Narrations: Heads and Faces on Photos Should be Erased or Removed: That is the Sunnah: https://abukhadeejah.com/photography-and-picture-making-adh-dhahabi/
Finally, regarding the statement, “a new trend of taking pictures with cats” which “has been spreading among people who want to be like the Westerners”, this applies not just to individuals who desire to imitate non-Muslims in what is forbidden, but also to any cultural practises or behaviours that contradict the Shariah. Read below:
Therefore, the verdict given by Al-Allaamah Salih al-Fawzaan [may Allah preserve him] against picture-making is a ruling derived from the pure Shariah, and anyone who deems this a controversy is either an ignoramus or someone who follows vain desires. We ask Allah to protect the upright Salafi Scholars from the statements of the ignoramus Aameen.
To be continued…InShaaAllah.
[(1)]: [ فوائد ومسابقات المئين من فتاوى ودروس ابن عثيمين – pages 34-35]