Sayyiduna Abdullah Ibn-e-Omar (radi Allahu anhuma) reported that Sayyiduna Rasoolullah (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said: ‘Those who paint pictures would be punished on the Day of Resurrection and it would be said to them, “Breathe soul into what you have created.” (Muslim)
The Hadith pertaining to the preparation of pictures whether with the help of colour, paint or pencil or photographic cameras, declare this art to be unlawful in Islam. The reasons of the Sharee’ah are so eloquent and clear in regard to the prohibition of making pictures that they need no comment and elucidation.
That person is missing the mark who says that this prohibition comes under the category of disapproval and is not absolutely unlawful and the stress which had been laid upon its prohibition was because of the fact that idolatry had been quite recently curbed, but now when idolatry has been exterminated and Islam has spread everywhere, the is no need of stressing its forbiddance with full force. This reason for adopting a lenient attitude toward preparation of pictures is quite invalid for in the Hadith the treason put forward for the unlawfulness of the pictures is this: Those who prepare pictures would be asked to breathe soul on the Day of Resurrection in these pictures made by them. And when they would not be able to do this, they would be punished. In the above-mentioned Hadith, the reason for the forbiddance of preparing the pictures of living bodies has been given and that is the vain ambition of the artist in competing with Almighty Allah in His act of creation.
The other reason for the forbiddance of pictures is that it has led to the cult of idolatry in the past and the present too though with a variation of name. There is a Hadith reported on the authority of Sayyidah Ayesha (radi Allahu anha), which explains the attitude of mind that paves the way for idolatry. Sayyidah Ayesha (radi Allahu anha) reported that the Beloved Nabi (sallal laahu alaihi wasallam) said about the people of the Book: “Whenever any pious person amongst them died they built a house of worship at the place of his grave and then made his picture. These are the most wretched creatures in the sight of Allah.”