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There are some hadiths that say creation is haraam.

'Aisha reported: Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) visited me and I had a shelf with a thin cloth curtain hanging over it and on which there were portraits. No sooner did he see it than he tore it and the color of his face underwent a change and he said: 'Aisha, the most grievous torment from the Hand of Allah on the Day of Resurrection would be for those who imitate (Allah) in the act of His creation. 'Aisha said: We tore it into pieces and made a cushion or two cushions out of that. [Sahih Muslim Book 024, Hadith Number 5261]

Abu Zur'a reported: I visited the house of Marwan in the company of Abu Huraira and he found pictures there, whereupon he said: I heard Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) as saying: Allah, the Glorious and Exalted, said: Who is a more wrongdoer than one who tries to create creation like Mine creation. Let him create an atom or a grain of wheat or that of barley. This hadith has been transmitted on the authority of Abu Zur'a and he said: Abu Huraira went to the house of Sa'ld or Marwan which they had built in Medina and he (Abu Huraira) saw a painter who had been painting pictures in his house, whereupon he told that Allah's Messenger (may peace be upon him) had said like this, but he made no mention of the words: "Let him create the grain of barley." [Sahih Muslim, Book 024, Hadith Number 5275]

But as long as the creation is not a tangible object, it looks like it's fine.

So, how about robots? Today, there are many robots that attempt to walk, move, and talk like people and animals. Does this follow the same category as paintings? Many of them don't have a human face and don't even look very human.

Bonus question: What about artificial intelligence that isn't in a physical form but tries to replicate a human mind exactly?

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    Good question, if I was asking, I would add dolls and stuffed toys too :) – user44 Aug 24 '12 at 19:22
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Use of robots that do not resemble creatures is permissible. What is not permitted is the resemblance to Allah's creation as quoted in Abi Zur'a's hadith (also in Sahih al-Bukhari 7559) in your question: "Who are most unjust than those who try to create something like My creation?"

Even if this were to be a matter where opinions differ, there is an associated risk of being among challenged on Judgment Day by Allah, and potentially punished:

حَدَّثَنَا قُتَيْبَةُ بْنُ سَعِيدٍ، حَدَّثَنَا اللَّيْثُ، عَنْ نَافِعٍ، عَنِ الْقَاسِمِ بْنِ مُحَمَّدٍ، عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ـ رضى الله عنها ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ﷺ قَالَ: إِنَّ أَصْحَابَ هَذِهِ الصُّوَرِ يُعَذَّبُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَيُقَالُ لَهُمْ أَحْيُوا مَا خَلَقْتُمْ

Narrated Aisha: Allah's Messenger ﷺ said, "The painter of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them, 'Make alive what you have created.'"

Sahih al-Bukhari 7557

Or, at best, be deprived of the blessings of angels of mercy as a result of having such a humanoid robot:

حَدَّثَنَا ابْنُ مُقَاتِلٍ، أَخْبَرَنَا عَبْدُ اللَّهِ، أَخْبَرَنَا مَعْمَرٌ، عَنِ الزُّهْرِيِّ، عَنْ عُبَيْدِ اللَّهِ بْنِ عَبْدِ اللَّهِ، أَنَّهُ سَمِعَ ابْنَ عَبَّاسٍ ـ رضى الله عنهما ـ يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ أَبَا طَلْحَةَ، يَقُولُ سَمِعْتُ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ ﷺ يَقُولُ:‏ لاَ تَدْخُلُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ وَلاَ صُورَةُ تَمَاثِيلَ

Narrated Abu Talha: I heard Allah's Messenger ﷺ saying; "Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal).

Sahih al-Bukhari 3225

The degree at which a robot (or any other humanoid form) is considered to resemble Allah's creation is not defined. I guess it is left to the individual who will need to justify this on Judgment Day to decide for themselves.

There is nothing specifically mentioned to prohibit or allow artificial intelligence per se; therefore, it is allowed.

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  • This very question of "imitation of creation" is quite broad topic in my opinion. So on that regard, how do we reconcile the hadiths where prophet seems to condemn any act of creating; drawing, painting, sculpting, etc with the hadith where the prophet (saw) smile at Aisha (RA) playing with dolls which seems to resemble an animal of some sort. Similarly, as many scholars have permitted the act of say drawing nature; trees, mountains, earth, sun etc. Aren't they the creation of Allah too, so by drawing them aren't we "imitating creation"? – EPIC Tube HD Jul 26 at 16:35
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بَلِّغُوا عَنِّى وَلَوْ آيَةً
Propagate / Pass from me, Even if it is a single verse. Allah demands to propagate his religion using most advanced technology. Analyzing Multiple meaning of Verse 25 of Surah 57 Hadeed (Iron) creation of Magnetism, Gravity, Current and INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY.

لَقَدْ أَرْسَلْنَا رُسُلَنَا بِالْبَيِّنَاتِ وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَوَالْمِيزَانَلِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاسِ وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّـهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ وَرُسُلَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ إِنَّ اللَّـهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ ﴿الحديد: ٢٥﴾ Definitely! WE have sent apostles with clear signs, and sent with them, The Book and The Balance. So that, men may establish justice; and WE also sent down iron which has much potential in it and also has benefits (Magnetism and Current) for mankind. So that Allah may know, who helps Him and His Apostles in ““Unseen””. Verily! God is all-powerful and all-Mighty. (57:25)

وَأَنزَلْنَا مَعَهُمُ الْكِتَابَوَالْمِيزَانَلِيَقُومَ النَّاسُ بِالْقِسْطِ And sent with them The Book and The Balance, meaning legislation (book) and Judiciary (balance/equality) to establish Law N Order and equality and Justice on earth.

  1. Technically speaking, because of Iron and Gravity, analytical balance for weight and measurements come into existence, which work on 'Principle of Gravity' and thus represents, justice, Jurisprudence, Legislation and judiciary, and 'analytical balance' still displayed by all the world Judiciary.

The Mentioning of "Iron" in the verse refers to the magnetic and gravitational properties given to planet earth by Iron. وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيد And We down Iron from skies. The word (أَنزَلْنَا) means to send down in parts and not at once. That is, like the book (Quran) was sent down in parts, Iron was also sent down in parts.

Very recently it was found by scientist that, hot lava earth doesn't had the capacity to manufacture heavy metals as Iron in it. But they are manufactured in Planets with very high temperatures, and then Iron was sent to earth as Meteorites and Asteroids strikes slowly when earth was still hot and liquid lava. So, it can be calculated, with the decision of Creation of Man, a proper planet was selected and changes started to take place over there. First Irons and then Water cold and freezed Meteorites (78:14) and water was sent in measured qualities (23:18)
Subhaan Allah and Quran talks about these great sciences, when no one know this, these are verses establish the authenticity of Quran.

وَأَنزَلْنَا الْحَدِيدَ فِيهِ بَأْسٌ ِشَدِيدٌ وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاس We sent down iron which much potential in it, and also has advantages for men. (بَأْسٌ شَدِيدٌ) refers great hidden potentials, that is, strength to manufacture Arms, Guns and Tanks and also magnetic / electric properties of Iron which electronics and social media. These are all hidden potentials of Iron. Even absence of Iron in living Blood (hemoglobin) Kills the Man. (وَمَنَافِعُ لِلنَّاس), and benefits to humanity, Magnetism, Current and our world life gets lighted up and now all humans sciences depends on Iron. from space exploration to earth explorations Iron is also the main constituents of all the living blood, which is responsible for absorption of Oxygen for air. Without out Iron in blood no humans can survive. Recently it is found that Oxide of Iron is also highly beneficial in treatment of Cancer.

وَلِيَعْلَمَ اللَّـهُ مَن يَنصُرُهُ وَرُسُلَهُ بِالْغَيْبِ So that Allah may know, who helps Him and His apostles SLAWS by Unseen means (بِالْغَيْبِ). This refers to propagation of Islam or Deen by Unseen means, that is people do not come in contact but message is passed. In past world passing of information or propagation was by contact, lectures and seminars. Presently it is by Information technology using social media, that is no one knows who is behind this, it is the unseen means or secret (بِالْغَيْبِ)

Then Allah SWT concludes to propagate his religion using Iron or the most developed and advanced technology from current as social media.

And people working on these are unseen, no one knows who are they but, Information reaches them. Subhaan Allah, Allah accepts the works of those who work unseen and pass on to others using this social media (facebook, WhatsApp, YouTube and others).

Even efforts of ladies from behind (unseen), is mentioned and entertained and appreciated.

إِنَّ اللَّـهَ قَوِيٌّ عَزِيزٌ Verily Allah is All-Powerful and All-Mighty. Then finally, Allah SWT informs, whatever efforts you do, in propagating Islam using most recent technology (Iron) is known by Him, and who lags behind and arrogant are known by him. Once Again, even efforts of ladies from behind (unseen, secret), are entertained appreciated and not wasted.

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