IslamQA: Why did God not create humans to be perfect?

Recently,when I read Quran,instead of fixing my belief in God, there started to occur tricky questions. Right now I am stuck with this one: "Allah is El-Kuddûs.The One who is beyond all human understanding of purity, perfection and holiness.But shouldn't all of His creations be as much perfect? Why did devil become devil? Isn't it like an error in the most perfect system?hafazanAllah, I'm trying to be careful, but at the same time it's humanly to want to satisfy the mind, right?Assallamuelykum.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

God already had perfectly obedient creatures (the angels) before the creation of Adam. The point of Adam is not to be perfect, but to have free choice to be good or evil. By freely choosing to be good, he is made greater than the angels, since angels have no choice. So this world of imperfection enables the existence of a greater perfection than would be possible otherwise.

For a longer discussion of these issues, please see my essay: Why God Allows Evil to Exist, and Why Bad Things Happen to Good People

IslamQA: Do you have to make up your missed fasts before Ramadan?

Do you have to make up your missed fasts before Ramadan? Or can you still do them after. Will your Ramadan still be valid if you have some/a lot still left over?

It is considered sinful to fail to make up all the fasts that you have to make up until the next Ramadan comes. But if that happens, you can fast Ramadan like normal then make up the missed fasts from the previous period after Ramadan without issue.


IslamQA: Her secret romantic relationship cured her depression

AOA! I had severe depression for more than 2 years that I could neither focux on my studies nor on my daily routine tasks. My family wasn't supportive and I had no friend to talk to, as my father doesn't let me leave home much.I was a mere dead soul. So one day I started talking to a very nice guy online and we got into a relationship.After that I became much better.I know it's haram to keep a relationship but I know if I were not talking to him I could never get out of my depression.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Sorry to read about your situation. Such relationships are not clearly defined as haram in Islam as I discuss here. But they are disliked even if they have a great psychological benefit because while they can rescue you from one difficulty they can cause you fall into an equal or greater one.

Whether you should continue in that relationship or end it depends on the strength of your faith. God does not ask you to bear more than you are able. But the admirable and pious thing is to accept your situation as it is rather than working secretly to bypass it. It is your family’s fault, judging from what you said, that you have such a strong need for that relationship, so they cannot justly blame you (although they will do so if they found out). Ideally you should get medical help for your depression and avoid secret romances until you are ready to marry.

For now, try to dedicate yourself to God and get close to Him through Quran-reading and tahajjud. Ask Him constantly to help you and change your situation for a better one.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: Has the Quran been changed?

Salaam,I'm curious about something,we are all know that Bible and Zebur changed by people,that's why God sends us to a new Holy Book,I read the Bible and it has very bad parts and it makes me disgusted,but I don't like some part of Quran tho,I think it's because I read Turkish Quran? The translate must be bad.My question is do you think Quran changed by people too? Is something like can be happen or no?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I do not believe the Quran changed because of its highly oral nature (hundreds of people memorized it early on) and because of its early collection in books by Uthman b. Affan (may God be pleased with him). To me another proof of its authenticity is its beauty and coherence. The book proves its authenticity on its own. Even if we knew nothing about its history, for example if someone unearthed a Quran today, a person who reads it cannot help but be extremely overpowered by its speech. The Quran proves itself, and since it says that God is protecting it from being corrupted, this increases our faith in its authenticity.

I too had difficulty with some parts of the Quran, for example the famous wife-beating verse (4:34). But through my study and reflection I have always been able to come to an understanding that settles my heart (see my essay on verse 4:34 here).

Translations of the Quran do not capture its beauty and coherence, so they can lead to doubt about its divine origin. The only solution for this is to learn good Arabic and read it in the original, or to take other people’s word for it when they say the Arabic Quran is miraculously beautiful, inemitable and matchless.

IslamQA: The Islamic view of listening to Rihanna, Beyoncé and Adele

SalamunAlekium,I'm from Germany and I'm listening USA and UK artist like Rihanna,Beyoncé,Adele... And some members of family says "They're nude all the time and they sing dirty songs,you shouldn't listen them,it's a sin,if you listen or love you are gonna be like them" is that true? I just love all the types of music and I like their personalities,does Islam or Quran says anything like that?

Listening to music in general is permitted in Islam as discussed here. Regarding listening to songs by those singers, it is not a clear-cut issue between it being forbidden or permitted. While one song might not contain anything morally harmful, another might contain much that is disliked in Islam. The following hadith sheds some light on this:

I went to Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) and he asked me, "Have you come to inquire about piety?" I replied in the affirmative. Then he said, "Ask your heart regarding it. Piety is that which contents the soul and comforts the heart, and sin is that which causes doubts and perturbs the heart, even if people pronounce it lawful and give you verdicts on such matters again and again." (Riyad al-Salihin Book 1, Hadith 591)

It is your obligation to develop a close relationship with God (such as through Quran-reading and tahajjud). Once you have a close relationship with God, you can tell for yourself whether something is harmful or not. You will feel it in your heart when something conflicts with your piety and decreases God’s respect for you. So focus on God and start judging things from that perspective.

Personally I strongly dislike all songs that celebrate casual sexual relationships, drinking and drugs, and I consider them harmful to a Muslim’s soul to engage in listening to them.

As your character develops through study and worship, you will start to feel too much respect for yourself to allow yourself to be subject to such questionable pleasures. These singers are often rather pitiable humans with broken lives and little to no wisdom and high character. A person who recognizes these facts will naturally feel repulsed by their songs since they come from a lowly place that is beneath him. I do not say that this applies to all songs and singers. But personally I naturally feel repulsed by most pop songs and could never sit to enjoy them, while I generally have no trouble with classical Western and Persian music.

IslamQA: How does Islam view nationalism and patriotism?

Salaam. How does Islam view Nationalism and Patriotism?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There is no issue with loving one’s own nation and working for its good. But there is a problem when this becomes an ideology that promotes arrogance and pride toward one’s own nation so that a person views other nations as inferior, disliked or hated, as is common among many nationalists. Muslims should instead recognize the equality of all humans before God and should take to heart the Quran’s statement that:

The most honorable among you are the most God-fearing. (From verse 49:13)

According to the above verse, we should view people of other nations as superior to some people of our own when they are more God-fearing.


IslamQA: Repeating prayers due to uncertainty about having performed them correctly

Assalamu alaikum I keep forgetting things in my prayer or more likely doubt it. Like I would say the Basmalah before reciting and I would start doubting or say the dua in rukoo and maybe when am in sajdah I will start feeling like I didn't say it. sometimes I tried to continue praying but I my heart will be tight and I feel scare like am doing something wrong. If I say I'll pray sujood sahw then I'll be praying it my every salah. I feel like I have a mental problem because sometimes I found myself praying a particular prayer more than five times like I would be starting over and over please help.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

Sorry to read about your condition. It sounds like OCD (obsessive-compulsive disorder) and there are drugs that help with it, so I recommend seeing a doctor. The Prophet PBUH says:

When any one of you is in doubt about his prayer and he does Dot know how much he has prayed, three or four (rak'ahs). he should cast aside his doubt and base his prayer on what he is sure of. then perform two prostrations before giving salutations. If he has prayed five rak'ahs, they will make his prayer an even number for him, and if he has prayed exactly four, they will be humiliation for the devil. (Sahih Muslim 571 a)

If you are not sure whether you made a mistake or not, then try to continue the prayer and cast away your doubts. At the end perform the sujud al-sahu just to be sure. You can do this with every prayer if you have to, there is no issue with doing it every time.

Best wishes.

IslamQA: The Islamic cure for nihilism

What to do when you see the world in a nihilistic view?

The cure for me was to truly take the Quran to heart. According to the Quran God is in charge of history. Everything that happens happens with God’s knowledge and approval. Nothing escapes His dominion. When you see evil in this world, you can know that it is God who allows it to happen and that He is not neglecting it, and that He will change things for the better when the time is right.

Once you truly submit to God, you realize that this world is like a video game that runs on a computer controlled by God. There is absolutely no reason to worry about the future of the world and humanity when you know that God is utterly in charge. History is like a film directed by God. We are the actors and we have some freedom in what we do, but we can never change the direction of the film because God is in charge of it and has His own thousand-year plans that play out in the world.

Rather than thinking of the world in terms of days and years, think of it in terms of generations and centuries the way God thinks of it. We are part of a much larger story and only God knows what amazing things may be in the future. So leave the management of the world and its history to God. It is not your business to worry about how things are in the world or how they may turn out. God is totally in charge of these things. Your part is to do good with what God has given you, being a minor actor in God’s film.

I know it can be difficult to keep such a mindset when the world constantly reminds you of its shortcomings and flaws. The cure is to read the Quran daily. It will constantly remind you of the fact that God is in charge and that nothing escapes Him, and in this way you will be consoled and comforted on a daily basis and your worries will be taken away.

IslamQA: Is Iran a truly Islamic government?

What you think about Iran? I mean about the Iranian Islamic government,do you think is that real Islam? Forcing woman's to wearing hijab and forcing people to worship?

The Shias have their own “contract” with God and are responsible for the truth as they know it. I believe all humans have a conscience (what some call a fitra) that motivates them to goodness and against evil, and all humans are responsible for whether they answer the call of their conscience or reject it even before any religious belief or knowledge.

The Iranian government is very complex and there are all kinds of people in it, some of whom are sincere and try to do the best for their people. There are also radicals and extremists who like to use the government as a tool for forcing their views on others.

As for forcing women to wear the hijab, I consider it a useless policy that has no strong basis in Islam. I do not know if they force people to worship, but it is true that they place restrictions on Sunni worship. For example they do not allow Sunni mosques to hold Friday prayers in cities like Tehran if my information is correct. This is of course unjust and harmful to the government itself since it leads to discontent and dislike for the rulers.

Ideally the government should become a truly pluralist government as Ayatollah Khomeini promised before he was in power. I believe there will be significant change (I hope for the better) within the next few decades since the new generation is largely university-educated unlike their parents and are less concerned with religious zealotry. There are also Shia intellectuals like Abdolkarim Soroush who are extremely pluralist and humanist in their outlook, love Sunni scholars like al-Ghazali and Rumi, and who are loved and respected by many Iranians. So there is reason to be hopeful.

IslamQA: Dealing with Sufism making you feel arrogant and superior

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. Thank you in advance for answering the questions. Last year I learned about tasawwuf & was immediately hooked. The problem now is lately I've been feeling rather self-righteous & troubled that other doesn't have the same 'in-tasawwuf' way of thinking. I feel this is a sign of arrogance and try to fix it, but somehow I always automatically compare others' view with mine & dismiss them. Do you have any advice? Thank you very much again for answering.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh

I would say that is a natural stage on the way of a person who seeks spirituality. It is a strong sign that you still have much further to go until you acquire spiritual maturity and start to appreciate the divinely-given transcendence of each human soul and love them and appreciate them as your equal before God. I recommend reading the Quran daily, an hour a day seems sufficient to wipe out feelings of self-satisfaction and arrogance.

Whenever you see a negative characteristic develop in yourself, it is a sign that your connection with God is not close enough or is on the wrong grounds. The Quran is the best foundation for building and maintaining a relationship with God because it constantly points out our errors, failings and smallness in the sight of God, helping us never fall into the trap of self-satisfaction. Merely focusing on other acts of worship such as dhikr is not good enough and is bound to allow bad characteristics to grow in you. You need the Quran to constantly nudge you back onto the right track so that you remain guided. There is no alternative to the Quran for building and reforming your character.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

IslamQA: If God loves us, why does He allow us to suffer?

Lately this hasn’t been making sense to me - I am at a low place in my life where I have no emotional relationships at all and I don’t feel needed/wanted. So when I turn to Islamic advice, I keep reading things along the lines of “You need to pray more because you need God, God doesn’t need you” and I find that even more depressing? How can God not need me at all yet love me more than my own mother? I don’t understand how I’m suppose to increase my worship knowing that I am insignificant to Him

Sorry to read about your situation. When it is said that God does not need you, it is to impress upon you your utter dependence on Him. All goodness and happiness comes from God and we as insignificant servants of Him have to utterly submit to Him and rely on Him to take away our hardships. God does not need us and can destroy all of humanity in an instant if He wished. When you take this fact to heart, you recognize that God is not like a parent who will love you regardless of what you do. Instead, God is like a mentor who is forgiving toward those who repent to Him, so the proper way to relate to Him is through obedience.

We are social creatures. It is very depressing to be isolated and feel like you are not wanted. Your Islamic belief cannot magically cure this–there is no way to make God replace the importance of your relationships with humans except for a very small minority of people who attain a high spiritual status and are able to make God the center of their lives. For most people, for their own mental health it is essential that they are surrounded by good and loving people. Since you do not have this in your life, the correct path is to acknowledge your depression and recognize that for it to be taken away there is a need for your situation to change. Your solution is patience while the difficulty lasts, while relying on God to change your situation.

Narrated `Abdullah: I visited Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) while he was suffering from a high fever. I said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! You have a high fever." He said, "Yes, I have as much fever as two men of you." I said, "Is it because you will have a double reward?" He said, "Yes, it is so. No Muslim is afflicted with any harm, even if it were the prick of a thorn, but that Allah expiates his sins because of that, as a tree sheds its leaves." (Sahih al-Bukhari 5648)

The above also applies to psychological suffering. It is a chance for your sins to be forgiven and for you to earn the rewards of patience. There is no fun, joy or glory in psychological suffering. We seem to suffer needlessly while God watches on, doing nothing to help us. But remember that the Prophet PBUH suffered years of hardship, loss and failure at the beginning of his prophethood. Why did God allow this? God could have given him instant success and relief if He had wished. The answer is that suffering helps prove our character. How can we claim to be truly submissive toward God and truly patient if God always solves our problems for us? The best people you meet in your life are people who suffered greatly but who found a way to hold onto God until God took the suffering away.

Please see my following essay where I expand more on the purpose of suffering: Islam and Depression: A Survival Guide

IslamQA: Is it permitted to sing in the shower/bathroom?

Also, why is singing in shower/bathroom not permitted? I know the reason and it's because the shower/bathroom is a place where jinns and shaytaan live in, but I seek a more logical reason behind it. Thank you.

A fatwa by Dr. Ahmad al-Kurdi mentions that it is permitted to sing in the shower or outside of it as long as the words of the song are not un-Islamic and immoral.


IslamQA: Can you make wudu when your awra is visible?

Salaam. I have couple things to ask. Is it okay if we take wudlu while our awrah is visible, e.g. our chests (for women), navel or knees revealed?

Hiding the awra is not necessary for the correctness of wudu. A person can perform wudu naked during the performance of ghusl (i.e. during showering).


IslamQA: How do I balance between being a programmer and a writer?

Hi,this maybe not an question asking about islam,but i am quite interested about how you manage your time between becoming a programmer and writer. I am deeply inspired and amazed by your writings as it shows your erudition. I would also like to know how you learned programming. Thank you

I do not have a 9 to 5 job. I do contract software engineering on a project basis while my main income relies on an online business I built years ago that requires little day-to-day work. This alhamdulillah gives me a lot of free time to read and study. My writing ability comes from reading a great deal of books since my teenage years. Most of the books are listed on my about page. If you want to be a good writer, my advice is to read a great deal, especially Victorian classics and scholarly works on Islam and other topics as listed on my about page.

I learned programming at the beginning from a course I took in college which taught JavaScript. That gave me a foundation for continuing my learning on my own. Since then I have read many books on JavaScript, SQL and other languages. But the most important part of my learning came from practice. I was put in charge of my college newspaper’s WordPress website which forced me to learn some PHP in order to perform programming tasks. That in turn led me to create my own WordPress sites like IslamicArtDB which required a great deal of learning.

If you to learn programming, after learning the basics the most important thing is practice. You need projects to work on. My projects were all Islamic websites and others like

IslamQA: Was Abu Talib a Muslim?

Wa Alaikum salaam wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh. I like to know about what is Abu talib's real in hadith sources and was he a muslim or no ?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

Authentic narrations mention that Abu Talib was not a Muslim and that he did not convert to Islam even at his death bed. Here is a relevant hadith from Sahih al-Bukhari:

When the time of the death of Abu Talib approached, Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) went to him and found Abu Jahl bin Hisham and `Abdullah bin Abi Umaiya bin Al-Mughira by his side. Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said to Abu Talib, "O uncle! Say: None has the right to be worshipped but Allah, a sentence with which I shall be a witness (i.e. argue) for you before Allah. Abu Jahl and `Abdullah bin Abi Umaiya said, "O Abu Talib! Are you going to denounce the religion of `Abdul Muttalib?" Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) kept on inviting Abu Talib to say it (i.e. 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah') while they (Abu Jahl and `Abdullah) kept on repeating their statement till Abu Talib said as his last statement that he was on the religion of `Abdul Muttalib and refused to say, 'None has the right to be worshipped but Allah.' (Then Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) said, "I will keep on asking Allah's forgiveness for you unless I am forbidden (by Allah) to do so." So Allah revealed (the verse) concerning him (i.e. It is not fitting for the Prophet (ﷺ) and those who believe that they should invoke (Allah) for forgiveness for pagans even though they be of kin, after it has become clear to them that they are companions of the fire (9.113). (Sahih al-Bukhari 1360)

IslamQA: How to get up for fajr prayer when you keep falling asleep after the alarm

Assalamualaikum wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh. I hope this question finds you in high imaan & good health, aamiin. I would like to ask for your tips on getting up for Fajr prayer. I've set up my alarm and get awaken in time (usually 1 hr before syuruk) but instead of getting up to do wudhu I would just lay there on my bed thinking if it would be any different if I pray or not, or other pointless things... It mostly ends up with me fallen asleep again and end up praying Fajr after sunrise (with a long sujud session afterwards profusely asking forgiveness for my heedlessness). This rarely happens to other prayers, for which I would immediately go to perform them after 15 mins of adzan time. Do you have any tips to immediately get up for Fajr prayer without aimlessly laying around & daydreaming? Jazakallahu khairan

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah wa barakatuh,

My advice is to buy an alarm clock (rather than relying on a smartphone) and placing the alarm clock somewhere away from your bed so that when the alarm goes off you have to get out of bed to turn it off. Once you are out of bed it is much easier to continue to the prayer than to go back to bed. Make sure that the alarm clock is distant enough that you cannot reach it from the bed.

Best wishes inshaAllah.

IslamQA: Should you tell your fiance about your hymenoplasty?

I read your answers about hymenoplasty but my case is specific, please help! I was 15 when I lost my virginity, stupid and naive- the guy was 10 years older than me so I changed my mind when it was about to happen, but he did it anyways. I was not a Muslim back then. Now I am a Muslima, 22 years old, shall I tell my fiance I did hymenoplasty, or does it count as my past (we shouldn’t talk about our previous sins; and Allah forgives the past, before islam and repentance). However, I feel like that big of a lie (deception) would cause a break of our relationship sooner or later and a heavier reason, I don’t want to stain my soul by lying! People nowadays underestimate what lies do to our character. On the other hand, I am very content I did it because it helps me guard from zina now. And it somehow healed me. May Allah bless you for your research and knowledge you share with us.

According to a fatwa by the Qatari Fatwa Authority, a person who committed zina should not tell the future spouse about it since the Prophet PBUH recommends that we do not tell others about our sins when God has allowed them to remain secret. This is also the opinion of Shaykh Muhammad al-Hasan al-Shanqiti in a fatwa. For this reason it may be best if you keep your history and your hymen reconstruction a secret. I understand the burden of feeling like you are living a lie. What you should do may change based on the character of your future spouse. If they are pious, open-minded and forgiving, then letting them know may not harm your relationship with them, while if they have some immaturity then it may be best to keep it a secret from them. It is a difficult choice, but as far as I know there is no easy way out. If you keep it a secret, you can make it up through repentance and worship, especially through developing a close relationship with the Quran through tahajjud and Quran-reading.

Best wishes inshaAllah.


IslamQA: If God is responsible for guidance, why are humans punished for being misguided?

Assallamualeykum! I was wondering if there is any proper answer for this question I was asked the other day: "If it is God who decides whether the person believes in Him or not, why would He still send people who don't believe in him to hell, isn't that decision made by Himself already?" And then there's an ayat in Quran 10:100 where it says that no person will believe if Allah doesn't wish for it. and that He doesn't like people who don't believe in Him. Jazakallahu khairan.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

There are various Islamic theological theories that tried to answer that question. My favorite so far is Ibn Taymiyya’s who says that guidance is like a conversation between humans and God. God guides the human, and the human responds by accepting this guidance or rejecting it. If they accept it, God guides them further, and if they reject it, God either ignores them or causes them to become even more misguided.

This “conversation” takes place every single day of our lives. The more we choose guidance, the more we are guided by Him, and the more disobey and turn our backs on Him, the more misguided He makes us.

So it is not a case of God forcing total guidance or misguidance on us from the beginning. It is a case of Him guiding us, then ourselves choosing whether we want to be guided further or not.

There are some hadiths that suggest that humans are choiceless in whether they are guided or not, for example:

While the Prophet (ﷺ) was in a funeral procession. he picked up something and started scraping the ground with it, and said, "There is none among you but has his place written for him either in the Hell Fire or in Paradise." They said, "O Allah's Messenger (ﷺ)! Shall we not depend upon what has been written for us and give up deeds? He said, "Carry on doing (good) deeds, for everybody will find easy to do such deeds as will lead him to his destined place for which he has been created. So he who is destined to be among the happy (in the Hereafter), will find it easy to do the deeds characteristic of such people, while he who is destined to be among the miserable ones, will find it easy to do the deeds characteristic of such people." Then he recited: 'As for him who gives (in charity) and fears Allah, and believes in the best....' (92.5-10) (Sahih al-Bukhari Vol. 6, Book 60, Hadith 474)

While we cannot escape God’s decrees, He guides or misguides us based on our choices. The above hadith therefore has to be re-interpreted through the theory of a dynamic fate; from birth your place in the Hell or Paradise may be “written”, but based on your choices as you grow up, God may change what He has written. So the fate is always written by God and decreed by Him, but our choices change what He decrees for us. There are hadiths that support the idea of a changeable fate, for example:

لَا يَرُدُّ القَضَاءَ إلَّا الدُّعَاءُ، وَلَا يَزِيدُ فِي العُمُرِ إلَّا البِرُّ

Nothing counters God's decree except supplication, and nothing increases lifespan except righteousness. (Narrated in al-Tirmidhi, authenticated by al-Albani in al-Silsila al-Sahiha 154 and in Sahih al-Jami` 7687.

According to this hadith if your fate is to be misguided, all that you need to do is pray for guidance, and this will change your fate.

The Quran itself never suggests that our fate is sealed as soon as we are born, instead supporting the theory of a changeable fate. The Quran says:

God erases whatever He wills, and He affirms. With Him is the Mother Book. (The Quran, verse 13:39)

The above may refer to the Divine Registry (al-Lawḥ al-Maḥfūḍ) where our fates are written, and it says that God erases and affirms as He wishes.

The Quran’s theology and the above hadith support the idea of a written fate that changes by God’s choice, but in response to our choices. So guidance and misguidance is decreed by God, but He decrees them based on our choices. If we choose guidance, God chooses guidance for us and increases us in guidance. And if turn away from Him, He chooses misguidance for us. While it is always God who guides us and misguides us, it is our own choices that lead to this, so we are held responsible for it.

A misguided person can never say to God, “I asked for guidance but you misguided me!” because that is not how the universe works. God guides constantly everyone who sincerely asks Him for guidance. A misguided person is one who chooses misguidance constantly. God calls them to Himself and places reminders in their path, and but they constantly turn away and based on that choice God punishes them.

... Say, “God leads astray whomever He wills, and He guides to Himself whoever repents.” (The Quran, verse 13:27)

... God chooses to Himself whom He wills, and He guides to Himself whoever returns to Him (with repentance). (The Quran, verse 42:13)

Sources I benefited from:

IslamQA: The evidence for the permissibly of drawing and painting in Islam

Salam, I am drawn to the approach of Islam you & others like you take, and when I read the understanding of the permissibility of things like music or drawing it makes sense to me. However, I worry that I'm actually just accepting the rulings that align more with my personal preferences rather than doing what's right because it makes life more difficult. After learning that 3 of the Sunni schools reject the permissibility of drawing, I feel there might be a flaw in the minority opinion. Advice?

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I understand your worries. When it comes to the issue of drawing the evidence is very confused, therefore there is room for doubt and interpretation. Unfortunately there is no way to synthesize the evidence to come up with an opinion that completely settles the heart. But the evidence is sufficient to avoid condemning drawings and to let people do what they choose to do. The strongest support for drawings being permissible comes from al-Qasim b. Muhammad, one of Medina’s Seven Jurists who lived after the generation of the Companions. It is incredibly unlikely that this scholar would have supported a baseless opinion.

The two strongest pieces of evidence for drawing being permissible is that:

  1. The Quran does not contain the slightest hint of drawings of living things being prohibited.
  2. This is a case where hadith creates an entirely new category of prohibition not mentioned in the Quran. Should hadith be allowed to create entirely new categories of prohibitions? The correct answer seems to be “no”. Prohibitions should have a basis in the Quran that is further explicated in hadith. If the Prophet had received a revelation on drawings of living things being evil and prohibited, he should have made it clear–so the question is did the Prophet PBUH fail to transmit revelation to us? The hadiths on drawings of living things being disliked or impermissible are few and may reflect a personal dislike of the Prophet PBUH for drawings, rather than a rule meant to be followed. If there was meant to be a prohibition, the Prophet PBUH would have clearly stated it to his Companions and we would have had dozens of hadith narrations mentioning his statement and the Companions’s response to it, similar to the hadiths mentioning the story of how alcohol was banned and how the Companions responded by destroying their alcoholic drinks. Why did the Prophet PBUH fail to make a clear statement on prohibition? The answer could be that because there was not meant to be a prohibition. Drawings of living things were very widespread in Arabia at the time and we should have had numerous hadiths mentioning that they were destroyed and prohibited.

Numerous hadiths are mentioned from the likes of Aisha about the Prophet PBUH saying angels do not enter houses in which there are pictures, for example:

I purchased a cushion with pictures on it. The Prophet (came and) stood at the door but did not enter. I said (to him), "I repent to Allah for what (the guilt) I have done." He said, "What is this cushion?" I said, "It is for you to sit on and recline on." He said, "The makers of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said to them, 'Make alive what you have created.' Moreover, the angels do not enter a house where there are pictures.'" (Sahih al-Bukhari 5957)

Yet we have hadiths like the following where Aisha refutes the above hadith supposedly from herself, saying she did not hear the Prophet saying angels do not enter a house in which there are pictures:

Abu Talha Ansari reported Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) as saying:

I came to 'A'isha and said to her: This is a news that I have received that Allah's Apostle (ﷺ) had said: Angels do not enter the house in which there is a picture or a dog, (and further added) whether she had heard Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) making a mention of it. She said: No, but I narrate to you what I saw him doing. I bear testimony to the fact that he (the Holy Prophet) set out for an expedition. I took a carpet and screened the door with it. When he (the Holy Prophet) came back he saw that carpet and I perceived signs of disapproval on his face. He pulled it until it was torn or it was cut (into pieces) and he said: God has not commanded us to clothe stones and clay. We cut it (the curtain) and prepared two pillows out of it by stuffing them with the fibre of date-palms and he (the Holy Prophet) did not find fault with it. (Sahih Muslim 2106 f, 2107 a)

Below is further evidence for making drawings of living things legal:

  1. Prophet Sulayman had statues built for him. If statues were inherently evil and disliked by God, how could a prophet do such a thing?
  2. The Prophet PBUH and his Companions used Byzantine coinage that had human portraits on them, yet there is no mention whatsoever of the Prophet PBUH disliking them or considering it impermissible to use such coinage.
  3. As mentioned, the highly respected Successor al-Qasim b. Muhammad, one of Medina’s Seven Jurists, considered drawings of living things to be permissible.
  4. The Prophet PBUH ordered Aisha to take away a curtain that had the picture of bird on it because “it reminds me of the worldly life”. He did not say it is prohibited or evil–just that it was distracting.
  5. Aisha used to have a toy horse with wings, the Prophet PBUH laughed at it and did not say it should be destroyed.
  6. The Companions did not destroy the paintings and statues in Khosrow’s palaces or in Egypt. Their inaction shows that there was no universal agreement on such things being evil and harmful.