In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.
All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.
In this fatwa:
1- Using paintings in media for educational purposes and calling to the right path is not prohibited; it is, rather, praiseworthy in the point of view of Shari`ah, especially if it proves to be interesting to people.
2- But this does not apply if the subject matter of the pictures in question is prohibited in themselves, such as painting figures of wrong doers, tyrants, atheists or nudity.
Responding to the question, Dr. Khalid Ibn Abdullah Al-Qasim, Professor at King Saud University, states:
Painting pictures of animate beings is controversial among scholars, but the majority are of the opinion that it is prohibited.
The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) was quoted by Abdullah ibn Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) as saying: “The most severely punished among people on the Day of Judgment will be the makers of figures.’ (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Concerning photographs, the majority of contemporary scholars see that they are permitted on the condition that they are not used to glorify their subject matter. Their being permissible is due to the fact that they merely capture the image of real objects without originating them, which means they are not intended to imitate Almighty Allah’s creation.
With respect to using computers in drawing pictures for educational purposes and for the good of the Muslim Ummah as the questioner referred to, it is a praiseworthy effort; the least that can be said about it is that it is not harmful.
It was reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) approved of Aishah’s playing with dolls in the form of animals. (Sunan Abu Dawud and Fath Al-Bari, vol. 10, p. 527).
He (peace and blessings be upon him) also did not criticize Aishah’s making pillows out of cloth with pictures on it. (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
Almighty Allah knows best.
Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.