HijabMan has started a new site called Muslim A Day which features a new photo of a Muslim or group of Muslims each day going about their daily lives as normal human beings. This simple gesture of displaying the normalcy of Muslims through pictures is somewhat shocking given that in the media, we are constantly being bombarded with negative images and stereotypes about Muslims.
As Tariq Nelson noted Muslims are being dehumanized in the media and this is a very dangerous development that needs to be proactively counteracted lest we repeat the lessons that were not learned in the WWII.
There was a time in my life when I wanted to be a photojournalist and I actively studied and worked on my skills as a photographer. I loved staging or letting the scene unfold for a picture. I carried my camera with me everywhere and I loved mixing the chemicals needed to develop my rolls of film. I resisted the digital age in cameras but did buy one digital camera a few years ago. I only used it once and then sold it to a sister.
Baraka wrote a post over at Truth & Beauty last year that reawakened the emotions for photography and I once again began looking into purchasing a camera but I decided against it. I haven’t seriously taken pictures since before my conversion to Islam and I don’t like having my picture taken.
I sometimes wonder and feel an immense sympathy for Yusuf Islam. He had not picked up a guitar in 25 years until about a year ago when one of his sons brought a guitar home. So one night, he picked up that guitar and he says his fingers immediately and instinctively knew where to go and he was able to recall many of chords he used to play. When I pick up my old SLR, I feel it is the same way with my hands.
As salaam alaikum.
The idea of a muslim-a-day site is awesome. If it gets enough secular coverage it could be a real beacon of light for the Ummah during a dark time.
I am a writer of essays, articles, poems and reflections for a largely Muslim audience. Please come by when you have a chance to read a little.
I recently bought a digital SLR and am going around snapping away like mad, and have joined a freelance photographers’ bureau in the hope of selling some (for want of other work at the moment). I was really into it back in the 1990s when I had a film SLR and was going round the Welsh countryside snapping away.
I don’t have the objection to taking pictures of people, but I understand why some Muslims, particularly women, don’t like having theirs taken. Recently at a Muslim “expo” event in London, one sister, who does not normally wear niqab, said she had done the day before when the conference was swarming with people with cameras. Pictures of Muslim women, especially in niqab, are often used in the British press to symbolise “threatening Muslims”.
The degree of ikhtilaaf on the permissibility of photographing people is considerably stronger than on music, which scholars overwhelmingly say is haraam. By the way, photo film always used gelatine to bind the halides to the plastic, and you can guess for yourself whether they got the gelatine from Islamically slaughtered animals …
Thanks for sharing the “Muslim a Day” link. I saw this awhile back and haven’t visited it for a while. Good to see how it has come along
“Normal human beings” How can you possibly call yourself normal when you have friends like me? (g)
BTW, I know I’m late (guilty grimace) but — Happy Valentines Day !
Nuh: Thanks for stopping by Muslim Apple, in sha Allah I’ll have a look around your site.
Amira: I think the site is a great idea since so many people say they do not know any Muslims perhaps they can at least see on their computer screens a less threatening image of Muslims through visiting that photoblog.
Yusuf: My feelings on photography are mixed and I value the difference of opinion on the issue. Were I take up the camera again, it would most likely be with a digital camera. My sympathies for Yusuf Islam is in the fact that he left something behind for decades and then the actions of his hands began journey which led him to return to making music.
Personally, I dislike for my own picture to be taken and during some high-profile trials in our area we told the photojournalists that some sisters would not be comfortable with having their picture taken and they were quite respectful for the most part. An example here, you cannot see the sisters praying. And on Eid, I’m always moving away from sisters that are happily snapping pictures while we sit during the khutbah.
Bill, I never said I was normal and I think my blog is evidence of that.
About February 14 or Valentine’s Day, which I spent much of it cold, without power or heat, eating food that did not need to be warmed up, outside cleaning off my car and shoveling snow, calling the electric company, at least I didn’t have to go to work, and my sister came into town that day, but didn’t we have this conversation.
I’m only inclined to celebrate the two Muslim Eid holidays one after Ramadan and one after hajj but thankfully I do accept gifts everyday of the year and holiday pay. The man-made shopping and marketing extravaganza holidays are not my thing and haven’t been since I was kinda young and we discovered that Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy were my parents.
Best wishes to you and your family every day.
I had posted the link you were looking for but not sure if you saw it, so I’m posting it here.
Do you not want to get back into photos right now because you feel that it would consume you and take you away from your Islamic path?
Santa, the Easter Bunny, and the tooth fairy were your parents? Darn, and I didn’t even know they were related.
I agree with your thoughts about the organized gifting opportunities. We do not generally observe them — well, okay, the major ones, like my birthday, yes — because we don’t believe you can ‘organize’ the sentiment behind them. Its either there or not.
I am really sorry about your cold experience.
Salaams, nowhere in your post did you mention whether you think picture taking is haraam. So I am guessing you don’t. So why not go back to it? Just because you’re taking pictures doesn’t mean you have to take your own.
Baraka: Alhamdulillah, I saw the link but am happy that you cross-posted it over here so it is easier for me to find. I’ve been thinking about and re-reading your entry on focusing on the details, about the workshop and may sign up for one later this year, and that ayah cited at the end of the post. Each time I read it, I want to begin the process of research to find out just what is available now in digital cameras, I’ve been out of touch for so long.
Bill: The sentiment part is key. I remember one year I was not feeling the Christmas spirit and none of us wanted to set up a tree so my dad hired someone to put it up but I was annoyed with it taking up so much space in the family room so I just took the tree down. There are certain holidays that rekindle the best in people and bring about warm feelings in the larger community even to those that do not celebrate the holiday and in that gentleness and cozy atmosphere I do revel.
Najm (and to answer the question poised by Baraka): I do not say taking pictures is haraam and it is not my place to say such an enormity when the scholars have differed over the matter. Although I tend to lean towards a more conservative and perhaps in my opinion safer approach to the issue.
My conversion to Islam was so unexpected at least for me that it caused the most blessed upheaval in my life and in the process things that had previously been very important to me quite naturally began to recede into the background as I endeavored to learn enough about my faith to be comfortable and firm with the basics and to propel myself to increase in knowledge, and emaan, and to improve my outward and inner actions. So photography was just one of those things along with many others that happened to fall by the wayside.
But every so often I read a post like the one by Baraka, or I see an effort like Muslim A Day, or some amazing images, or I am able to hold a camera, and my hands instinctively recall just where to go and move along the contours of the camera, checking and adjusting this or that, and then I remember the love.
Yet, I hesitate because I also remember that a camera is a tool that can be used for both good and other than that, and sometimes we begin with a good intention and that may change and leads us to an unfortunate circumstance.
Thanks for the plug. Am currently working to add an archives section to the site, and make it even better.
Hope you are well
such a small world,, actually i know hijabman we use to hang out believe it or not. best thing i can say hijabman is confusing.
As for the guitar thing with Yusuf Islam, i know what it feels,, its probably the worst feeling ever, coz i remember i had returned to guitar after like 2 years of quiting, i knew my eman had a big scratch but once i held it seemed like i didnt forget where my fingers should go too, and after that i know that the scratch was a huge crack.
it was always a struggule, since was the last thing i left, inshaAllah i dont fall back in it..
these things like picture taking and so on become so consuming that it doesnt do eman any good at all
wa Allah al musta3an.
Women without khumoor, with make-up, and what not? I mean the idea is great but to help in sin by posting pictures of sisters who can’t even cover the basics?
May Allaah forgive us,aameen
I guess the point is that the Muslim community is diverse and this to me is what ‘A Muslim a Day’ is all about. It’s not about rulings considering womens clothing.
Yes, that seems to be the point. However, Allaah still has said not to be a part of sin and transgression. I mean, I know scholars wouldn’t approve of displaying the `awrah of women for other men to see online.
Anyways, I don’t want to turn this into some debate that is unnecessary (since these are basics). To each their own but I had to say something.
may Allaah guide us, aameen
Remember me? I am the sister to whom you sold the camera to! I did like it a lot, but unfortunately it broke and not in use anymore.
I feel for you in the cold, that is one thing I don’t miss from Maryland. I am enjoying sunny Alexandria.
keep in touch.
PS. I enjoy your website a great deal, may Allah bless you.
I need a name. I can’t think of one. 😦
As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu
This is something very similar to what I’ve thought about before – the only thing is that my parents view *all* picture taking as haraam; whereas I disagree and think that digital photographs are okay, but *drawing* pictures of animate beings/objects are haraam (my reasoning – and that of others – being that taking pictures isn’t ‘creating’ something else, but simply recording Allah’s creation without altering it or trying to ‘improve’ it, etc.).
I’d like to take photography classes one day, insha’Allah, and be part of projects like the one above. I think of myself primarily as a writer, yet I love pictures too – they can convey so much that words simply fail to do.
Now for something totally off-topic:
Umm Layth, I hope you don’t take this the wrong way or anything, but… I was wondering, are you the same Umm Layth who used to be on PalTalk? Your husband used to have a room, did he not?
Oddly enough, the thing I remember most vividly was a video he posted of a rabid squirrel… :S
(And if you’re *not* the Umm Layth from PalTalk, then please totally ignore me :P)
Sahrun, you need a name for what?
wa `alaykum as-salaamu wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuhu,
That’s me Anonymouse. It was a squirrel that fell into our wall somehow from the roof lol and that he got out himself without a bite, walhamdulillaah. Who is you if you don’t mind?
As’Salaamu Alaikum Wa’Rahmatullah….
i’m sorry but i don’t really understand Yusuf Islam….if he wants to be soooo cool and return back to his Rock-N-Roll roots, or something like that, why doesn’t he just ditch the Yusuf name and just go with CAT?
then he can go on the road and just tour with some other 70’s folk icons.
As-salaamu ‘alaikum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatu,
Hah, I knew it! 😛
I’m just a random teenage Muslimah… my parents used to have a PalTalk account to listen to various lectures and whatnot, and sometimes if we were waiting for a room and yours was up, I’d go on to listen (never chatted, though). I found it amusing…
Asalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullah,
HijabMan: Alhamdulillah, I’m fine.
Al-Hanbali: Everyone has their particular struggles in giving up something for the sake of Allah. May Allah make it easy for us. Ameen.
Umm Layth & Jamila: I hear you and have mixed feelings. I’m not a fan of displaying one’s awrah for everyone to see yet we know this is a fact for far too many Muslims. I just like the idea of having a picture of a Muslim each day to dispel the prevalent stereotypes about Muslims.
I like that we can all express our feelings on the issue with good manners even if we have points of disagreement.
Asalamu alaykum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh,
A Forgotten Friend: You are not forgotten and always close to my heart. I changed my email addresses so in sha Allah, I email you. How did the camera break?
Sahrun: Why not use Sahrun?
Amatullah: We are trying to encourage Sahrun to move her blog over to WordPress.
AnonyMouse: It’s so true that visual images can convey so much depth and meaning.
Abu Ameerah: Whatever one may think of Yusuf Islam’s return to making music with instruments, his dedication to his faith is not in question so I don’t see why anyone would expect him to use a name different from the one he has had for more than 30 years.
If you may Muslim Apple,
to Abu Ameerah
i think what you said is too harsh for someone who knows what Yusuf Islam is going through, i certinaly dont think he should go back to what he was doing, I dont doubt that he loves Islam
but i also dont doubt that his dedication to it is not anymore like it was..
I could also tell from experience that once you take such track it is very easy to slip and start giving up a lot of things for the sake of shaytan and your nafss
may Allah keep us firm.
Well, abandoning his stance from before wasn’t something he should have done if he remembered the hadeeth about leaving the doubtful. But there is the opinion (read Nayl al-Awtar) and it seems to be strong that ma’aazif are allowed. So, we can stop talking about him and assuming things about his deen and just contact him directly if there is a problem, insha’Allaah.