Assalamualaikum w.b.t. Some people like to capture and post pictures of car crash victims or any other accidents on their social media. What is its ruling through Islam’s perspective?
Posting the picture of a deceased is haram because it can mortify the deceased and may hurt the feelings of his family members. Especially when the condition of the deceased is inappropriate like when his awrah is exposed or when his organs are detached from his body because Islam forbids its ummah to expose the awrah of others and this may disgrace him. Besides, this may traumatize his family members and may raise unwanted circumstances. Hence, such an act should be stopped because it contradicts the etiquette, moral and Islamic ethics. Moreover, individuals involved with this behaviour should be taken under strict action so that this phenomenon will not spread in our society.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
The Prophet PBUH said:
لَا يُؤْمِنُ أَحَدُكُمْ حَتَّى يُحِبَّ لِأَخِيهِ مَا يُحِبُّ لِنَفْسِهِ
None of you [truly] believes until he loves for his brother that which he loves for himself
Sahih al-Bukhari (13) and Sahih Muslim (45)
Based on the above hadith, it is clear that a Muslim should always love goodness that is given to his fellow Muslim brothers like he loves goodness for himself and vice versa. Therefore, a Muslim should practice ihsan and good deeds to his other Muslim brothers, covering his faults as well as preserving all their rights (among Muslims). (Refer: ‘Umdah al-Qori Syarh Sahih al-Bukhari, 1/141).
Hence, basically, the action of posting and spreading the pictures of a deceased is haram and contradicts the Islamic ethics and moral because it will mortify the deceased and may hurt the feelings of his family members.
Islam highly emphasizes on the rights of a Muslim upon his brother which among them is protecting his life, property and honour as mentioned by the Prophet PBUH:
لُّ الْمُسْلِمِ عَلَى الْمُسْلِمِ حَرَامٌ دَمُهُ وَمَالُهُ وَعِرْضُهُ
All things of a Muslim are inviolable for his brother in faith: his blood, his wealth and his honour
Sahih Muslim (2564)
Based on the above hadith, it shows that an obligation of a Muslim upon his other Muslim brothers is that it is haram for them to shed the blood of his brothers or invade his wealth like stealing, robbing or lying during trades, and one should preserve his brother’s honour, in which he should not degrade other’s character, physical appearance or lineage because that will degrade his honour while he is obliged to protect them. (Refer: Al-Adab al-Nabawi, 1/137).
Allah SWT says:
وَلَقَدْ كَرَّمْنَا بَنِي آدَمَ
And We have certainly honoured the children of Adam
Surah al-Isra’ (70)
The above verse shows that Allah SWT honors humans whether they are alive or even after their death. And it is undeniable that what is prohibited upon a Muslim to his brother while he is alive is the same as when he has passed away. This is in accordance with a hadith by the Prophet PBUH:
إن كسر عظم المؤمن ميتا مثل كسره حيا
Imam Ibn Hajar al-Asqalani said: “it can be taken as a lesson from this hadith that prohibition upon a Muslim on his brothers’ rights while they are dead is the same as when they are alive.” (Refer: Fath al-Bari, 9/142).
Therefore, based on the above dalil, it is wajib for us to be ethical and honour our Muslim brothers whether they are alive or dead. All actions that will lead to invasion towards other Muslims’ life, wealth and honour is haram and prohibited by our virtuous religion.
Besides, the action of posting and spreading pictures of a deceased which are inappropriate or not covering awrah is a form of mortification and is highly prohibited by the religion. In fact, there is no khilaf among the scholars that it is wajib to cover the awrah of a deceased. (Refer: Hasyiyah al-Dasuqi, 1/408). To the extent that the scholars emphasize that awrah or faults of a deceased should be covered and preserved even they are bathed.
Imam al-Nawawi said: “And it is Sunnah to cover the dead body (during bathing) from the eyes of others because there are possibilities that there is physical defects which he covered all his life (while being alive), and it can be that there is some spot of blood, but is thought by those who saw them as a punishment for him (the deceased).” (Refer: Al-Majmu’ Syarh al-Muhazzab, 5/154).
The Prophet PBUH said in this issue:
لاَ تُبْرِزْ فَخِذَكَ وَلاَ تَنْظُرَنَّ إِلَى فَخِذِ حَىٍّ وَلاَ مَيِّتٍ
Do not unveil your thigh, and do not look at the thigh of the living and the dead
Sunan Abu Dawud (3140) and Sunan Ibn Majah (1460)
It is even greater prohibition when the condition of the deceased is inappropriate like when his organs are detached from his body, the body disintegrates and etc., so, this may not mortify the deceased. It is clear that this action is highly irresponsible and strictly prohibited by religion.
Therefore, based on clear evidences, it is wajib upon us to cover the awrah or faults of others even if he already passed away. In fact, it is wajib for a Muslim to cover anything displeasing from his brother while being alive. Whoever commits something that unveils the awrah and faults of a deceased, then he is included among those who invade the honour of his fellow Muslim brothers and it is among things that are most hated by Allah and His prophets.
In brief, the action of posting and spreading pictures of a deceased is haram because this may mortify the deceased and hurt the feelings of his family members. In addition, if the body is in an inappropriate condition like when awrah is exposed or organs are detached, then it is haram to spread the pictures because Islam forbids his ummah from uncovering the awrah of others and it is mortifying for the deceased. Besides, this may traumatize the family members and may raise unwanted circumstances. Hence, this action should be stopped because it contradicts the etiquette, moral and Islamic ethics. Moreover, individuals who commit such an act should be taken under strict action so that this phenomenon will not spread in our society. Wallahu a’lam.
May Allah give us all true understanding in religion. Ameen.