I am wondering if drawing skeletons or skulls is prohibited in Islam? Since I've been told drawing things that contain human life, such as portraits, are prohibited. Although skulls don't have life and drawing skills are a necessity in my GCSE an A level's.


1 Answer 1


General, Common Ruling on drawing images/pictures

Drawing animate objects in general is strictly prohibited under Sharee’ah. It is basically included in the prohibition and threat reported in Sharee’ah texts regarding image-making and image-makers.

Sa’eed ibn Abi’l-Hasan said:

I was with Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with him) when a man came to him and said, O Abu ‘Abbaas, I am a man who lives by what his hands make, and I make these images. Ibn ‘Abbaas said: I will only tell you what I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say. I heard him say: “Whoever makes an image, Allaah will punish him until he breathes life into it, and he will never be able to do that.” The man became very upset and his face turned pale, so [Ibn ‘Abbaas] said to him, Woe to you! If you insist on making images, then make images of these trees and everything that does not have a soul. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 2112; Muslim, 2110).

‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood said:

I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: The people who will be the most severely punished before Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image makers. (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5606; Muslim, 2109).

5.It was reported from ‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar that the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:

Those who make these images will be punished on the Day of Resurrection. It will be said to them, Give life to that which you have created! (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5607; Muslim, 2108).

It was reported that Abu Hurayrah entered a house in Madeenah and saw somebody making images in it. He said:

I heard the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: [Allaah says:] Who does greater wrong than one who goes and creates something like My creation? Let them create a seed or a small ant! (Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 5609; Muslim, 2111).

Exemption/ Conditions in which it is permissible to draw images/pictures

1- Exemption of (baby) dolls

Most of the scholars have exempted the making of girls’ toys from the prohibition on making images and statues. This is the view of the Maalikis, Shaafa’is and Hanbalis. Al-Qaadi ‘Iyaad narrated that most of the scholars said that this is permissible, and he was followed in that by al-Nawawi in his commentary on Muslim. He said:

“Exempted from the prohibition on making images that have a shadow are things that are used as toys for girls, because of the exemption that was narrated concerning that. This means that it is permissible, whether they are toys in the shape of people or animals, three-dimensional or otherwise, and whether they are supposed to represent real animals or not, such as a horse with wings…

The majority of scholars quote as evidence for this exemption the hadeeth of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) in which she says:

“I used to play with dolls in the house of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). I had friends who used to play with me. When the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came in, they would hide themselves, then he would call them to join me and play with me.”

2-Permissble to draw animate objects in an incomplete form

Some scholars allow image making for animate objects in an incomplete form. To explain, it is permissible to produce an image of a living being if a part without which a living being cannot live is omitted from the image, such as the head, or half of the body, etc. To support their view, they quoted the incident when the

Prophet sallallaahu `alayhi wa sallam ordered ‘Aa’ishah may Allaah be pleased with her to tear the garment with images which she had. She tore it into two parts and made two floor-cushions and the Prophet, sallallaahu ‘alayhi wa sallam, used to sit upon them. [Al-Bukhari, Muslim and others]

It was also narrated on the authority of Abu Hurayrah that the Prophet saw said:

"Jibreel (Gabriel) came to me and said, "I came to you yesterday, and nothing prevented me from entering the house except that there was a statue by your door, and there was a curtain in your house with images on it, and there was a dog in the house. So tell someone to cut the head off the statue by your house door, so it will look like a tree; tell someone to cut up the curtain and make it into floor-cushions that will be stepped on; and tell someone to take the dog outside." [Ahmad, Abu Dawood, At-Tirmithi, An-Nasa’i: authentic]

Based on this argument, making images of complete and incomplete animate objects is not the same however you should refrain from doing this in order to avoid the difference in opinions among the scholars and keep away from matters that involve doubt.

3- Drawing for Educational/Security/Essential Purposes

What is strongly impermissible is to draw the entire human body with all its details, or the face and neck with all its details (except when necessary for immediate educational purposes and the like).

As for drawing an outline of the human body, without detailed features, and labeling the various parts, or drawing the details of a particular part (such as the heart), this is permitted, and this is not disliked if for a reasonable purpose (such as education).

When a photo for a passport, or for identification documents, or to show pictures of suspects so that they will be recognized, or testing purposes, or when applying for a job, and other ways in which trickery may be prevented or security protected. In this case a concession is granted, only as much as is essential.


Also see (SE) :

  • 1
    Great, well detailed answer, +1.
    – user44632
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 16:31
  • @SyedMohammadSannan Thanks
    – AbduRahman
    Commented Oct 31, 2022 at 17:17

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