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IslamQA: Is it permissible to draw and paint in Islam?

I read your essay on the permissibility of drawing but I'm still a little confused. Is it okay to draw (animals, people etc) as long as you don't put it up on walls? As to show it off/be proud/or idolise it? - and how can this be connected to social media, drawings should not be shared online? Jazak Allah Khairun for your time and effort

The mainstream view (that of the scholars of al-Azhar University) is that drawing and making statues of living things is permissible as long as it is not something that is worshiped religiously or that contains features that conflict with Islam’s teachings.

According to a fatwa on IslamOnline (which is overseen by the respected Egyptian scholar Yusuf al-Qaradawi):

We’d like first to state that there is nothing wrong in drawing as long as the 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.

Within these restrictions drawing humans, animals, natural scenes, etc. is permitted. What is prohibited is making a statue or a sculpture of a living being that has shade (depth or three dimensional).

So the general rule is that when it comes to drawing, painting and making statues, everything is permitted. Then exceptions are made for things that conflict with Islam’s teachings, such as statues of deities, or paintings depicting nudity (unless there is a reason to justify them, so a drawing of a naked person in a medical textbook is completely fine). So the mainstream Islamic view is the common sense view that there is nothing intrinsically wrong with paintings and statues. You can share drawings and paintings online without issue.

Additionally, even if something is wrong with a drawing, painting or statue, we are not required to destroy them. We see this in the example of the Egyptian relics. Muslims have ruled that country for about 1400 years and many of the Companions of the Prophet resided there, yet all the paintings and statues of Egyptian deities remain intact. The Muslims felt no need or desire whatsoever to destroy them and instead appreciated them as reminders of Egypt’s history. The Taliban’s destruction of Afghanistan’s relics was in accordance with their Saudi-taught Wahhabi ideology not in accordance with the views of the majority of Islamic scholars.

For more details please see: A Traditionalist Critique of the Islamic Prohibition on Taṣwīr (Making Drawings and Statues of Humans and Animals)


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One thought on “Is it permissible to draw and paint in Islam?

  1. Ran

    Is a female portrait with their hair, arms and the like showing (but still covering and not intended to arouse sexual desire, purely for artistic sake) included in the prohibited drawing? Since most painting and other art pieces of women are not fully covering awra, is looking at it the same as looking an unveiled woman?


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