Answered by Sidi Wasim Shiliwala
Question: Is it allowed to pray in a room with simple pictures of children?
Answer: As-salaamu Alaikum wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuhu,
May Allah reward you for your concern with regards to the validity of your prayers!
It is disliked (makruh) to pray in the presence of a picture of an animate creature. It is prohibitively disliked (makruh tahriman) if the picture is in front of the person praying, above him, to his left, or to his right. It is mildly disliked (makruh tanzihan) if it is behind him.
However, it is no longer disliked (makruh) in any of these cases if the picture is very small, meaning that if it were placed on the ground, a standing person wouldn’t be able to make out its details. It is also not disliked if it is covered, if its head or faced is severed, if it is missing a limb required for its life, or if the picture is of an inanimate object.
So in your specific case, it is disliked to pray in a room where there are pictures of children present. It is better to either remove them or cover them while you pray, or to pray in a different area.
If none of these options are possible, and if the pictures in question are photographs (and not drawings), then you could follow the opinion of some Hanafi scholars that photographs are permissible. This would entail that praying in a room with photographs is permissible, although even then one should try their best not to face the picture while they are praying.
Keep in mind, though, that prayer is an intimate meeting with your Lord, and that greater care and scrupulousness in your prayer will result in greater reward. As such, I highly advise you to do what you can to make sure your prayer room, or at the very least the direction in which you pray, is free of pictures.
For more details on praying with images, see the following answer:
For more details on the difference of opinion regarding photography, see the following answer from Shaykh Muhammad ibn Adam:
[Shurunbulali, Ascent to Felicity; Haskafi, Durr al-Mukhtar; ibn Abidin, Radd al-Muhtar]
Jazakum Allahu Khairan,
Checked & Approved by Faraz Rabbani