After the recent incidents in France relating to the satirical Charlie Hebdo magazine, many people have asked about why Islam prohibits images of the prophet Mohammad (PBUH). The conversation on the topic has now broadened after the news that a prominent Saudi cleric has issued a fatwa against the building of Snowmen. In order to clarify some misconceptions, we have pulled some Quranic verses and Ahadith that show an authentic Islamic view on Images and Idols. The topic of the ban on depictions of the prophet Mohammad (PBUH) are also touched upon to give clarification on the subject.
Drawing and making pictures, erecting statues and other animated beings are equally forbidden in Islam, regardless of whether they are of a Muslim or a Kafir (disbeliever). Without a doubt, drawing the picture or making the statues of a disbeliever is worse, because it includes two basic evils and sins.
- Drawing the image or making the statues
- By drawing the images of disbelievers, a person is exalting and glorifying him.
Such prohibition is not only the matter of Islamic Fiqh (Jurisprudence), but it goes beyond of that to the matters and affairs of Aqeedah (Belief or Faith), because the Creator of mankind, Allah Almighty, is the Only One Who has the ultimate power of giving shapes to His creatures, which He created them in best and perfect shapes.
Allah (SWT) says:
“He has created the heavens and the earth with truth, and He shaped you and made good your shapes, and to Him is the final Return.” (At-Taghabun 64:3).
And He (SWT) says:
“Verily, We created man of the best stature (mould).” (At-Tin 95:4).
In general, drawing images or making statues of living things, such as: Humankind, birds, animals and all kinds moving living creatures are extremely forbidden in Islamic Shariah (Law), it is one of the major sins, because too many severe warnings have been announced and issued against it in the Sunnah of the beloved Prophet (PBUH).
Those who draw the pictures and erect the statues of living things in this world will be the most evil of creation before Allah (SWT) on the Day of Resurrection. Umm Habibah and Umm Salamah mentioned a church that they had seen in Ethiopia, in which there were images. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Those people, if there was a righteous man among them, when he died they built a place of worship over his grave and made those images. They will be the most evil of creation before Allah on the Day of Resurrection.” (Al-Bukhari 427).
Those who draw images or make statues will be severely punished on the Day of Resurrection. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Among the people who will be most severely punished on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.” (Muslim 2109).
They are the most unjust people concerning whom Allah (SWT) Himself said in a Qudsi Hadith.
“Who are most unjust than those who try to create something like My creation? I challenge them to create even a smallest thing; a wheat grain or a barley grain.” (Al-Bukhari 7559).
The angels of mercy, blessings and those who pray for forgiveness do not enter a house in which there is a dog or an image. The Prophet (PBUH) said:
“Angels do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or some images (or pictures etc.) of living creatures (a human being or an animal etc.)” (Al-Bukhari 3225).
Why not to draw or make pictures of the beloved Prophet (PBUH)?
Those who make or draw pictures of the beloved Prophet (PBUH) are committing an evil act of lie and blasphemy even if his picture is published to honor or glorify him, because it is well-known that his picture does not exist and no one is allowed to do so. Respecting and honoring the Prophet (PBUH), is to obey in him and carry out his teachings not to make his pictures, in order to annoy and dishonor him.
If the aim of drawing and publishing the picture is to mock and make fun of him (PBUH) then this is disbelief concerning which Allah (SWT) says:
“If you ask them (about this), they declare: “We were only talking idly and joking.” Say: “Was it at Allah, and His Ayat (proofs, evidences, verses, lessons, signs, revelations, etc.) and His Messenger (SAW) that you were mocking? Make no excuse; you have disbelieved after you had believed.” (At-Taubah 9:65, 66).
The Prophet (PBUH) is the best and the last Prophet, so how can one mock or ridicule him? Moreover, Allah (SWT) commanded us to believe in him, assist and honor him all the time. By doing so, one can annoy and disrespect him and Allah (SWT) forbidden the whole humanity to not annoy and disrespect His beloved Prophet (PBUH). Allah (SWT) says:
“Verily, those who annoy Allah and His Messenger (SAW) Allah has cursed them in this world, and in the Hereafter, and has prepared for them a humiliating torment.” (Al-Ahzab 33:57).