Do I Have to Stop Exercising and Doing Photography?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat

Question

I have ADHD and anxiety disorder. I work out for my health and have hobbies like photography, but an Islamic teacher told me I have to give these up because working out attracts girls and photography is a debated issue. He quoted hadiths about it.

So now when I do these actions my heart hurts and that means it’s wrong. What should I do?

Answer

I pray you are well.

You don’t have to give up exercise – especially for not the reason you were given. The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “The strong believer is better and most beloved to Allah than the weak Believer – but there is much good in both.“ [Bukhari] Physical strength is one of the valid interpretations of the hadith, and it is cultivated through exercise.

As for photography, yes, there is a difference of opinion on it – which means it cannot be condemned as haram outright. Avoiding it out of precaution is fine and recommended if you’re capable of following that position. You shouldn’t feel guilty or that you’re a bad Muslim for doing something many learned scholars have said is permissible.

As for the hadiths he mentioned, they are all sound and should be primarily taken to refer to the clearly haram first. Once a person has done that, matters of doubt – which are not necessarily matters of difference – should be addressed.

His advice should have been presented in a way that inspired you to move to higher levels of practice. Leaving you full of doubts and guilt over such matters is not the best reflection of the way of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace).

It is important to take knowledge from someone who is qualified to teach and answer questions. This entails that they have studied the Islamic tradition, and are able to properly apply the principles of knowledge into a practical context with wisdom and practicality.

This is important. They may very well say certain things are haram and should be avoided, and others are halal and recommended, but the answers should not make one’s basic practice of Islam unduly difficult.

May Allah grant you the best of both worlds.
[Shaykh] Abdul-Rahim
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdul-Rahim Reasat began his studies in Arabic Grammar and Morphology in 2005. After graduating with a degree in English and History he moved to Damascus in 2007 where, for 18 months, he studied with many erudite scholars. In late 2008 he moved to Amman, Jordan, where he continued his studies for the next six years in Sacred Law (fiqh), legal theory (Usul al-fiqh), theology, hadith methodology, hadith commentary, and Logic. He was also given licenses of mastery in the science of Quranic recital and he was able to study an extensive curriculum of Quranic sciences, tafsir, Arabic grammar, and Arabic eloquence.