Three questions regarding sacred images


What do the scholars of Shariah say about these three questions,

  1. Is it permissible to use illustrations of the 3 holy sites on tins to sell dates?
  2. Can we send sacred texts and photographs through post?
  3. How do you dispose of Koranic text and photographs of sacred places?


1. Is it permissible to use illustrations of the three holy sites: The Kaaba, Madinah Sharif and Al-Aqsa on tins to sell dates?

An important question to ask is what is the purpose of selling Palestinian dates? As far as I can see this is not a mere commercial venture, but a project to support the Palestinian orphans, provide funds so children can have decent education and life. This is a noble purpose therefore the use of illustrations of the three holy sites is permissible.

The Holy Quran says: He created all things on Earth for you. (Al-Baqarah: 29)

This verse points out that everything on earth is for us and we can benefit from them. The three sacred masajid were built for us and we must relate to them, visit them and keep them in our thoughts.

The Messenger ﷺ said, “the value of deeds depends on the intention.” (Bukhari) Since we live in a visual age, colour and beauty of sacred sites gives pleasure, confidence and arouses spiritual feelings. To help mortals like us to connect with these amazing places is a good thing. The Holy Quran praises people who show respect for these signs of Allah ﷻ: “Anyone who respects Allah’s symbols displays true piety.” (Al-Hajj:32)


2. Can we send sacred texts and photographs of sacred sites through post?

Sending Quranic and religious texts via mail as parcels is permissible, simply because it’s the common way of dispatching and shipping. The condition is that the texts, tins, books, or leaflet should be discreetly/tastefully packaged in strong cardboard or thick paper.

The Holy Quran has mentioned this concept in many places:

  • “Invite to your Lord’s way wisely teaching in a pleasant manner.” (Al-Nahl-:125)
  • “You are the best community to emerge for humanity, so long as you enjoin the common good, forbid evil and believe in Allah.” (Ale Imran: 110)

These verses teach a principle of preaching and calling people to Allah ﷻ, namely with wisdom and courtesy. So, as long as we follow this principle we are within Sharia. So, messaging through mobiles and emails is a way of preaching. We should use these ways to convey the true message to the community.


3. How do you dispose of Quranic text and photographs of sacred places?

The best way is to reuse these attractive and strong tins for storage of herbs, lentils etc. We must get in the habit of reusing things and if we must dispose of them then recycle them. Even the sacred pieces of Quran should respectfully be put into recycling containers and sent for recycling.

Allah ﷻ knows the best.

Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari

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