Monday, 3 October 2011

Question: Is it unlawful to draw pictures and create statues and figurines? If it is unlawful, are there any exceptions?

Question: Is it unlawful to draw pictures and create statues and figurines? If it is unlawful, are there any exceptions? 

Answered by Shiekh `Abd al-Wahhâb al-Turayrî, former professor at al-Imâm University in Riyadh

The ruling regarding image making needs to be addressed in detail:

Drawing pictures by hand of people and animals is unlawful. This is indicated by clear and unambiguous textual evidence. Ibn `Abbâs relates that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “Whoever makes an image in this world, he will be requested to breathe life into it on the Day of Resurrection, but he will not be able to do it.” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Mulsim]

Ibn Mas`ûd also relates that he heard the Prophet (peace be upon him) say: “The severest of penalties on the Day of Resurrection will be given to image makers” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Mulsim].

Making statues of animals and people is the most unlawful aspect of image making, and it deserves the severest punishment from Allah. Drawing pictures comes second.

However, the following cases are exempted from this ruling:

1. Images used by children for playing and for learning are lawful. `Aishah said: “I used to play with dolls in front of the Prophet (Peace be upon him) with my friends …” [Sahîh al-Bukhârî and Sahîh Mulsim] as these are a means for education and constructive play and are free from the danger of being venerated.

2. Photography does not come under the category of forbidden image making, since there are many differences between photographs and hand-rendered images. It is lawful because it is an act of capturing a reflection like the reflection of an image on a mirror. Most importantly, the problem of human emulation of the creative process is not as it is with painting and sculpture.

And Allah knows best.