So I am a sketchist and frequently draw human portraits. I find solace in this as I am a very isolated person and have basically zero real friends. It is merely a hobby and it might even help me in the future to gain some fast cash. Recently though, I've come across various articles on the web relating portrait drawing to major sins. The "logic" that these people provide is that when a person draws an animate object (i.e, humans and animal) he is trying to imitate Allah. Which is completely fine and I am willing to believe that. But problem is, my intentions aren't to replicate Allah's creation in a way to seem equal to him. I merely do this for some peace of mind and do not (and will not) in any way try to be equal to Allah. Another issue is that these "scholars" say that drawing animate objects is haram, but drawing inanimate objects (rocks, mountains, trees, sceneries etc.) is permissible. But tell me one thing: isn't it God who created the inanimate objects as well? If drawing animate object is an imitation of God, then verily, drawing inanimate objects is too. So the same people who are against imitating God also say that non-living things are not an imitation of God. So they're basically saying that Allah did not create the inanimate objects? It's a stupid concept but I want some clarification. Thank you.

2 Answers 2


It's considered haram (see e.g. IslamWeb) because of hadith such as the following:

... "The makers of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said to them, 'Make alive what you have created.' Moreover, the angels do not enter a house where there are pictures.'"
Sahih al-Bukhari 5957

This need to be balanced with the hadith:

I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet ...
Sahih al-Bukhari 6130

Different scholars describe various limitations on this for children's toys, photographs, currency, sketches of criminals, identity documents, and images without faces.

Beyond this (why does Allah forbid this), judging from online fatawa, I don't think it's completely known. If Allah gave a reason and scholars were aware of it, we would expect fatawa to relay that reason, and not say things like the following:

The Muslim should submit to the teachings of Islam and not argue with them by saying, "But I am not worshipping them or prostrating to them!" If we think about just one aspect of the evil caused by the prevalence of photographs and pictures in our times, we will understand something of the wisdom behind this prohibition: that aspect is the great corruption caused by the provoking of physical desires and subsequent spread of immorality caused by these pictures.
Islam Q&A

Shabir Ally at About Islam contested the logic of "competing" with Allah.

So, God creates. You cannot create any live object. But you are drawing a picture as a way of competing with God. He says:

And this seems to be a strange reason given in the hadith because most artists will tell you that they have, this is farthest from their minds.

And in fact:

And I would go with Khalib Abu Fadl, who has said in his book, Speaking in God’s Name, that matters of such great social importance should not rest on a prohibition that’s given [only] in the hadith.

So you're not alone in thinking the justification of "competing" with Allah is peculiar.

  • Isn't it interesting to think that maybe the ruling of images in Islam that comes from the hadith has some form of context to it? Commented Jun 19, 2020 at 4:38

I think if you don't think that you are compete with Allah maybe a children or a man with low faith level may think that you are a creator of a new sole or character he love or adore ... the problem here not only your faith ... its how your work affect other human beings faith... That will open a way to discuss God from low faith or low knowledge beings.which will cause a problem in a community faith during the time. sorry that your hobby is Haram its an Ebtelaa. you must learn that you are stronger than that and you can find another way to turn this hobby into halal way Good Luck.

please take care that this rule made not only for this era we live in, its from Gods' vision to all time from start to end of humanity so he know better than us what will affect the community negatively during time .

example: old days some men called Allat and Allozza and hubal were good guys and community respects them after that the a community made statues for them and in after eras the community take a new curve and start to pray to these statues (Quraish). you have to take in mind the story of the prophet Adam (alayh alsalam) and know that god could forgive him directly without teaching humans the lesson. (witch is there something called time , and mind to think and chose between whats right or whats wrong). across time good people come and bad people after them and good people come and people with no knowledge came later. tell we reach the prophet Mohamed (alayh Al salah Walsalm) with stable constitution protected from any human changes (Quraan) . setting the rules tell the end of time.

Allah Alaam (Allah knows All)

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