Is Drawing prohibited in Islam?

While answering this question, let me cite here cite one of my previous answers:


“There is nothing wrong in drawing as long as the drawn images do not depict nudity or other indecent representations. Also, the picture or image should not be revered or glorified. The detested pictures and images are only those, which are worshiped and revered or that which show immoralities.


There is no evidence in the Shari`ah texts to prohibit drawing as long as the above conditions are met. The prohibition of “tasweer” in some Hadiths does not apply to drawing.


As for photography and drawing in general, here is my detailed answer in reply to similar questions:


“It is not haram to draw such pictures for the purpose of education through illustration. The intent of the law prohibiting images was that in pagan times, it was a direct means and way to shirk (associating other beings with Allah).


In other words, these things were only forbidden because they served as direct means and avenues to shirk. Therefore, if there is not even the remotest possibility of shirk, there is no reason to consider it as haram, especially if there are tangible benefits in drawing them.


It is important to keep in mind that today drawing has become a very powerful medium of communication. For this reason, Muslims cannot simply afford to neglect this vital medium of communication; if they do, they only do so at their own peril. Therefore, as long as you are drawing pictures for the purpose of education or as a medium of communication there is no need to consider it sinful or haram (forbidden).


As for photography, it as a medium of communication or for the simple, innocent retention of memories without the taint of reverence/shirk does not fall under the category of forbidden tasweer.


One finds a number of traditions from the Prophet, peace and blessings be upon him, condemning people who make tasweer, which denotes painting or carving images or statues. It was closely associated with paganism or shirk. People were in the habit of carving images and statues for the sake of worship. Islam, therefore, declared tasweer forbidden because of its close association with shirk (association of partners with Allah).


One of the stated principles of usul-u-Fiqh (Principles of Islamic Jurisprudence) is that if anything directly leads to haram, it is likewise haram. In other words, tasweer was forbidden precisely for the reason that it was a means leading to shirk.


The function of photography today does not fall under the above category. Even some of the scholars who had been once vehemently opposed to photography under the pretext that it was a form of forbidden tasweer have later changed their position on it – as they allow even for their own pictures to be taken and published in newspapers, for videotaping lectures and for presentations; whereas in the past, they would only allow it in exceptional cases such as passports, drivers’ licenses, etc. The change in their view of photography is based on their assessment of the role of photography.


Having said this, one must add a word of caution: To take pictures of leaders and heroes and hang them on the walls may not belong to the same category of permission. This may give rise to a feeling of reverence and hero worship, which was precisely the main thrust of the prohibition of tasweer.


Therefore, one cannot make an unqualified statement to the effect that all photography is halal. It all depends on the use and function of it. If it is for educational purpose and has not been tainted with the motive of reverence and hero worship, there is nothing in the sources to prohibit it.


Almighty Allah knows best.

Thursday, Jan. 01, 1970 | 00:00 - 00:00 GMT

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