With the invention of the camera, digital imaging, and the facilitation in printing and designing has lead to an increase in imagery. Everywhere one looks one is sure to find an image of a human being or otherwise. From billboard advertisements, to kids bedrooms decorated with cartoon characters, teens having the latest pop-idol plastered on their walls, and living rooms decorated with family pictures. Our world has become an art gallery of living images. Do we ever take a step back from all these displays and think of the advice of the Prophet peace and blessings be upon him?
“Angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or there are pictures.” (Bukhari)
Are we unaware of the warning of the Prophet, or do we turn a blind eye, and adorn our children with t-shirts that praise and glorify these images?
All imagery of animate beings; humans, animals or other than them, are all prohibited in Islam, be they drawn, painted, photographed, carved, moulded etc…This includes whether they are kept for memories sake, as decoration or otherwise. Furthermore, having such imagery in our homes prevent the angels from entering, and do we not want the angels to frequent our houses? Do we not wish that the angels gather with us in our gatherings and mention us to Allah? Do we not desire that our children are protected by the angels of Allah?
A further reason to abandon imagery, is that it was the cause of the deviation of people from the worship of one true Allah to worshipping idols. If we look into the tafseer of Surah Nuh, we will find the narrative of how people began the worship of gods besides Allah. It all began with the production of a few statues of righteous men, to remind the people of their righteousness and to encourage them to do good deeds. However, Shaytaan quickly used this as a trap and time went on eventually people began worshipping the idols, instead of Allah.
Islam blocks the ways that lead to sin and evil, right from the onset, and hence picture-making in all its various forms are prohibited.
Let us look at how our beloved Prophet and role model dealt with the issue,
Narrated A’isha: The Prophet (ﷺ) entered upon me while there was a curtain having pictures (of animals) in the house. His face got red with anger, and then he got hold of the curtain and tore it into pieces. The Prophet (ﷺ) said, “Such people as paint these pictures will receive the severest punishment on the Day of Resurrection.” (Bukhari)
The Prophet peace be upon set an example for us to follow. He forbade the use and making of such imagery in the strongest terms, and actions.
Here is another incident from his life,
Narrated A’isha: I bought a cushion having on it pictures (of animals). When Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) saw it, he stood at the door and did not enter. I noticed the sign of disapproval on his face and said, “O Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ)! I repent to Allah and His Apostle. What sin have I committed?’ Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said. “What is this cushion?” I said, “I have bought it for you so that you may sit on it and recline on it.” Allah’s Messenger (ﷺ) said, “The makers of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them, ‘Give life to what you have created (i.e., these pictures).’ ” The Prophet (ﷺ) added, “The Angels of (Mercy) do not enter a house in which there are pictures (of animals). (Bukhari)
If we reflected for a moment on the effects that these images have on our lives, perhaps we would realise the problems they cause. How many children have had nightmares from a young age due to these images? How many have slit their wrists for a famous person? How many young adults and even the older generation have fallen into the web of pornography and all the evils it leads to? And we can go on, but I think you understand.
Let us conclude by reminding ourselves of the forbiddance of making/drawing/painting/carving images, in addition to the previously mentioned ahadith,
Narrated Abu Huraira, I heard the Prophet (ﷺ) saying, “Allah said, ‘Who are most unjust than those who try to create something like My creation? I challenge them to create even a smallest ant, a wheat grain or a barley grain.’” (Bukhari)
And in another narration, Ibn ‘Abbas said, I heard the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) saying, “Every painter will go to Hell, and for every portrait he has made, there will be appointed one who will chastise him in the Hell.” Ibn ‘Abbas said: If you have to do it, draw pictures of trees and other inanimate things. (Bukhari and Muslim)
My brothers and sisters, are these images really worth your hereafter? Let us make a conscious effort to rid ourselves of these images in our homes. Let us pull down those posters, remove the frames with animate images. Even if we find them on packaging, cover them up to the best of your ability, and your reward will be with Allah. I urge you to teach your children from a young age not to draw images, whether in the home or at school. Engrain Islamic principles in your child from a young age and protect them from the fire whose fuel is men and stones, they will thank you later.