Reference: Fataawa Mu’aasirah – Page 425;
Fataawa al-‘Aqeedah – Page 419
Question: There are many people who are lenient when it comes to looking at pictures of women, on the basis that they are [just] pictures and not [the] real [thing]?
Response: This leniency is extremely dangerous, that being for a person to look at a woman – whether that is via visual media, newspapers, [magazines] and the like.
Indeed this is [a source of] fitnah upon the heart of a man, leading (encouraging) him to intentionally look directly at a woman; And this is something which has been witnessed.
And we have been informed that some youth collect pictures of beautiful women to drool over them, and seek pleasure in looking at them, and this is indicative of the great fitnah in looking at these pictures. So it is not permissible for a person to look at these pictures – whether they are in magazines, newspapers or other than them if he finds in himself [a feeling of] enjoyment and pleasure when looking at them.
Because that is a [source of] fitnah which harms his [adherence to the] religion, and his [religious] outlook and direction; His heart then becomes attached to looking at women, so he is reduced to staring directly at them.