Is it permissible for children to draw animals or living beings?.

Is it permissible for children to draw animals or living beings?.

by | Sep 20, 2019 | Articles, Fatāwā, Fiqh | 0 comments

Is it permissible for children to draw animals or living beings?.


Praise be to Allaah.


It is not permissible to draw and make images of animate beings, whether they are engraved, on paper, on cloth or anything else, because of the report narrated by al-Bukhaari (2105) and Muslim (2107) from ‘Aa’ishah the Mother of the Believers (may Allaah be pleased with her), that she bought a cushion on which there were images. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw it, he stood at the door and did not enter. She said: I recognized displeasure in his face. I said: O Messenger of Allaah, I repent to Allaah and His Messenger, what have I done wrong? The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “What is this pillow?” She said: I bought it for you to sit on and recline on. The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The makers of these images will be punished and it will be said to them, ‘Bring to life that which you have created.’” Then he said: “The house in which there are images is not entered by the angels.”


And Muslim (2110) narrated that Sa’eed ibn Abi’l-Hasan said: A man came to Ibn ‘Abbaas and said: I am a man who makes these images; advise me about that. He said to him: Come close to me. So he came closer to him. He said: Come closer to me. So he came closer to him, until he put his hand on his head and said: I will tell you what I heard from the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: “Every image maker will be in Hell, and for every image that he made, a soul will be created which will punish him in Hell.” He said: If you must do that, then make (images of) trees and inanimate things.


Al-Nawawi (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Sharh Saheeh Muslim: Our companions and other scholars said: Making images of animals is emphatically haraam and is a major sin, because this stern warning which is mentioned in the ahaadeeth is issued concerning it. That applies whether he makes it to be used in ways that are not respectful or otherwise. Making it is haraam in all cases, because it is competing with the creation of Allaah. That applies whether the image is in a garment or a carpet or a dirham or a dinar or a penny or a vessel or a wall or anything else. As for making images of trees, camel saddles and other things in which there are no images of animals, that is not haraam. End quote.


It says in Fataawa al-Lajnah al-Daa’imah (1/479): What makes images forbidden is the fact that they are images of animate beings, whether they are sculptures, or drawings on walls or fabric or paper, or they are woven, and whether they are done with a quill, a pen, or a machine, and whether they represent something real or something imaginary, whether they are small or large, beautified or distorted, or drawn in the form of lines representing a skeleton. What makes them forbidden is that fact that they depict animate beings, even if they are imaginary like pictures of ancient people, Pharaohs, or leaders and soldiers of the Crusades, or like the pictures of ‘Eesa (Jesus) and Maryam (Mary) that are kept in churches, etc., because of the general meaning of the texts, and because that is competing with the creation of Allaah, and because it is a means that leads to shirk. End quote.



Even if the child is not yet accountable, his guardian should prevent him from doing haraam things and discourage him from doing them, so as denounce evil and to train the child and make him get used to what is good.


Allaah says (interpretation of the meaning):

“O you who believe! Ward off yourselves and your families against a Fire (Hell) whose fuel is men and stones, over which are (appointed) angels stern (and) severe, who disobey not, (from executing) the Commands they receive from Allaah, but do that which they are commanded”[al-Tahreem 66:6]


And the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Each of you is a shepherd and each of you is responsible for his flock. The ruler of the people is a shepherd and is responsible for his flock. A man is the shepherd of his household and is responsible for his flock. A woman is the shepherd of her husband’s house and children and is responsible for her flock.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (893) and Muslim (1829).


The child’s guardian should raise him to keep away from making images and drawing animate beings, and he should explain to him that this is haraam.

He should look for permissible alternatives that are available, praise be to Allaah, such as drawing vegetables, fruits, trees and oceans, and any inanimate objects.


And Allaah knows best.



What is the ruling on animated cartoons that are shown to children? Do they come under the heading of images that are forbidden in Islam?.


Praise be to Allaah.


It is well known that Islam has forbidden image-making, drawing and sculpting every animate being that Allaah has created; there are stern warnings issued to those who do that.

The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The most severely punished of the people on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5950) and Muslim (2109).

See also the answer to question no. 7222 and 39806.

Islam makes an exception from this prohibition in the case of images with which children play.

It was narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came back from the campaign to Tabook or Khaybar, and in her alcove there was a curtain. The breeze came and lifted the edge of the curtain, uncovering the “daughters” of ‘Aa’ishah, i.e., her dolls. He said: “What is this, O ‘Aa’ishah?” She said: “My daughters.” And among them he saw a horse with two wings of cloth. He said: “What is this that I see among them?” She said: “A horse.” He said: “What is this on it?” She said: “Two wings.” He said: “A horse with wings?” She said: “Have you not heard that Sulaymaan had horses with wings?” She said: And he smiled so broadly that I could see his eye teeth.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (4932), classed as saheeh by al-Iraaqi in Takhreej al-Ihya’ (2/344) and by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood.

Al-Haafiz ibn Hajr said in Fath al-Baari (10/527):


This hadeeth is taken as evidence that it is permissible to have dolls and toys for girls to play with. This is an exception to the prohibition of images. This was stated by ‘Iyaad, and it was narrated from the majority that they allowed the sale of toys and dolls so that girls might learn from a young age how to take care of their houses and their children. End quote.

Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on cartoons that appear on TV?

He replied:

With regard to the cartoons which you say appear on TV, if they are in the form of humans, then the ruling on watching them depends on whether they come under the same ruling as realistic human images or not? It is most likely that they do not come under that ruling.

If they are not in the form of humans, then there is nothing wrong with watching them, so long as they are not accompanied by anything haraam such as music and so on, and they do not distract from obligatory duties. End quote.

Majmoo’ al-Fataawa 2/question no. 333



The issue of animated drawings and cartoons is one of the most serious educational issues, because of the immense effect that these films have on children’s developing characters, and because they have become a primary educational tool in many countries nowadays.

At this stage the heart and mind of the child is like a blank page; nothing crosses it but it leaves an imprint.

Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Tuhfat al-Mawdood (240):

One thing that the child desperately needs is for care to be taken with regard to his morals and attitude, for he will grow up with whatever the one who is raising him accustoms him to when he is small, and when he grows older it becomes difficult for him to change what he has got used to; these attitudes and characteristics that have become deeply ingrained in him, even if he tries to suppress them, they will always surface and expose him. End quote.

These are some of the positive effects of children watching these programs:


1 – They give children a great deal of educational information in an easy and enjoyable manner. Some cartoons focus on particular geographical areas, and others focus on scientific matters, such as the parts of the human body, which gives the child advanced knowledge at an early age.


2 – They develop the child’s imagination and nourish his abilities, and they develop the imagination in a way which helps the mind to grow and prepare it to be innovative and teach the child new ways of thinking and behaving.


3 – They teach fus-ha (classical) Arabic which children usually do not hear at home or even at school. It is well known that teaching the child correct language is one of the aims of education.


Ibn Taymiyah said in Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (1/207):


It should be noted that becoming accustomed to the language has a powerful effect on one’s thinking, attitude and religious commitment, and also has the effect of seeking to follow the example of the early generations of this ummah, the Sahaabah and Taabi’een. Seeking to follow their example increases reasoning, religious commitment and good attitude. Moreover, the Arabic language is part of this religion, and learning it is obligatory and essential. End quote.


4 – They meet some psychological needs and have a beneficial effect, such as compassion, love, honouring one’s parents, competition, striving for success and meeting challenges and many other positive attitudes that can be instilled via cartoons.


There are also some negative effects that come from watching these programs:


1 – The negative consequences of watching TV in general, of which there are many such as: damage to the eyes, getting used to laziness and inactivity, getting used to passive reception and not participating. It also stunts natural development of knowledge, because knowledge is acquired by learning, researching and seeking, but the television replaces seeking with mere receiving. Watching TV also weakens the bonds of love between family members, when they let watching shows keep them from speaking to one another.


Ibn al-Qayyim said, discussing the parent’s responsibilities in raising the child in Tuhfat al-Mawdood (241):


He should avoid letting him became lazy and inactive, and should teach him the opposite. He should not let him rest for more than he needs to refresh his body and soul for more work, for laziness and inactivity bring bad consequences and will end in regret, but hard work brings good consequences, either in this world or in the Hereafter or in both. End quote.


2 – They present beliefs and ideas that are contrary to Islam, as some movies include mixing and display of charms (tabarruj) that are haraam. Some cartoons, such as Tom & Jerry, give distorted ideas about the Hereafter, Paradise and Hell, and the Reckoning. Some cartoons include distortions of the stories of the Prophets and Messengers, and some poke fun at Islam and Muslims, whilst others (such as Pokemon) include the beliefs of eastern and idolatrous religions. And there are many other examples. Even if a film does not outwardly go against Islam, it still carries notions of western culture that are alien to our society and religion.


Dr. Wahbah al-Zuhayli said in Qadiyat al-Ahdaath (6):


With regard to children’s programs and some adults’ programs, they propagate the spirit of western culture and promote western traditions, and they attract people to western-style parties and clubs.


One of the effects of this culture is the adoption of imaginary examples instead of following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him), his companions, the scholars and the mujaahideen. So children start to imitate Superman, Batman and Spiderman and other imaginary characters who do not exist, and they lose out in following the real example, as they get confused by so many imaginary examples who have no faith.


See: Wasaa’il al-I’laam wa’l-Atfaal: Wajhat nazar Islamiyyah by Abu’l-Hasan Saadiq and the article entitled Athar al-Rusoom al-Mutaharrikah ‘ala al-Atfaal by Nizaar Muhammad ‘Uthmaan.


After stating the positive and negative aspects, the Islamic attitude should be clear in sha Allah. The more negative points there are, the closer the ruling is to stating that it is haraam, and the more it is able to avoid the negative aspects, the closer it is to being permissible. This tells us that it is essential to establish companies that will produce Islamic cartoons by means of which all positive virtues may be instilled and all harmful and evil aspects can be avoided.


And Allaah knows best.

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