The view on the internet seems to be that it is impermissible but after asking students of knowledge I recieved this answer:

"The mainstream view (that of the scholars of al-Azhar University) is that drawing and making statues of living things is permissible as long as it is not something that is worshiped religiously or that contains features that conflict with Islam’s teachings. So the general rule is that when it comes to drawing, painting and making statues, everything is permitted. Then exceptions are made for things that conflict with Islam’s teachings, such as statues of deities, or paintings depicting nudity (unless there is a reason to justify them, so a drawing of a naked person in a medical textbook is completely fine). So the mainstream Islamic view is the common sense view that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with paintings and statues. You can share drawings and paintings online without issue. Additionally, even if something is wrong with a drawing, painting or statue, we are not required to destroy them. We see this in the example of the Egyptian relics. Muslims have ruled that country for about 1400 years and many of the Companions of the Prophet PBUH resided there, yet all the paintings and statues of Egyptian deities remain intact. The Muslims felt no need or desire whatsoever to destroy them and instead appreciated them as reminders of Egypt’s history. The Taliban’s destruction of Afghanistan’s relics was in accordance with their Saudi-taught Wahhabi ideology not in accordance with the views of the majority of Islamic scholars.// The Azhari scholars (from al-Azhar University in Cairo) Gad al-Haq Ali and Yusuf al-Qaradhawi and the Saudi Islamic studies professor Khalid bin Abdullah al-Qasim say that drawing (including drawing living things) is permissible. You will find others who will say that drawing living things is not permissible. The people of Egypt and most of the Muslim world follow the Azhari opinion."

Thoughts and Response to this?


Please note that Islam.SE is not for seeking judgement on which viewpoint is correct. The view that images are permitted (as long as they are not worshiped) has been held by some factions since classical times and they cited various evidence and arguments for it; and various refutations were made against them.

However the passage you quoted does not cite any actual evidence and is mostly appeal to authority. The opinion of some selected individuals like Gad al-Haq Ali, Yusuf al-Qaradhawi, Khalid bin Abdullah al-Qasim, and some academics at al-Azhar university etc. is not valid evidence as no individual has the authority to make Islamic law and it can only be taken from Quran, Hadith or Ijmah.

There is Ijmah that statues of living being, or any images that can cast a shadow, are forbidden:

وأجمعوا على منع ما كان له ظل ووجوب تغييره

And there is Ijmah on the prohibition of images that cast shadows and on the obligation of changing them

شرح النووي على مسلم

And the view of the Jamhoor is that all images (even 2d drawings) of living beings are forbidden:

أنه يحرم تصوير ذوات الأرواح مطلقا، أي سواء أكان للصورة ظل أو لم يكن. وهو مذهب الحنفية والشافعية والحنابلة

That it is forbidden to make an image of anything with a soul, whether or not the image can cast a shadow. And this is the madhab of the Hanafis, Shafis and Hanbalis.

الموسوعة الفقهية

(English translation of the Arabic text is my personal translation. It may contain paraphrasing and mistakes)

  • For anyone else wondering about this question, because I see it a lot, this video has some interesting insight to. The Shaykh gives his view point near the end. youtu.be/LJVfAba_jtc
    – Frey
    Oct 26 '18 at 13:38

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