What is the ruling on traveling to kaafir countries as a tourist, and taking pictures of the women in one’s family on these trips?
Praise be to Allaah.
Taking pictures of women is not permitted at all, because of the temptation and evil that results from that, in addition to the fact that taking pictures is forbidden in and of itself. So it is not permissible to take pictures of women when traveling or for any other reason. The Council of Senior Scholars has issued a statement that this is haraam. With regard to traveling to kaafir countries or permissive countries, this is not permitted because it involves temptation and evil, and mixing with the kaafirs, and seeing evil things and being affected by that. It is only permitted within strict guidelines which have been set out by the scholars, namely:
1- For necessary medical treatment which cannot be found in any Muslim country
2- For business purposes which require travel
3- To learn knowledge which the Muslims need and which cannot be found in their countries
4- To call people to Allaah and spread Islam
In each of these cases, there is the condition that the traveler should be able to practise his religion openly and show pride in his beliefs, and keep away from places of temptation.
With regard to traveling solely for the purpose of a pleasure trip, or for a break, this is emphatically forbidden. I ask Allaah to make me, you and all the Muslims adhere to that which He loves and which pleases Him. May Allaah bless our Prophet Muhammad and his family and companions.