Drawing Imaginary Animate Beings with Complete Body Form
Fatwa No: 448768

  • Fatwa Date:14-10-2021 - Rabee' Al-Awwal 8, 1443
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Question

Assalamu Alaykum, Is it permissible to illustrate cartoon characters in Adobe illustrator that looks like living things but not an actual being? Like I illustrate a cat by my imagination. Details: I know that drawing a living creature that has a soul in it is haram. But after researching I found that here illustrating/drawing means is exactly drawing an actual being. Like drawing Mr. Fulan, anyone can identify that drawing as Mr. Fulan with distinct characteristics. In tom and jerry's cartoon, tom and jerry resemble cats and rats. But we know that it is not an actual cat or jerry in the real world. Artists drew those out of their imagination that looks like cat and rats but it is not in actual world cat and rats. No creation looks exactly tom and jerry in the real world! So what is the ruling on that? My question is can we draw/illustrate cartoon characters with just outer shape and some dot that represents the eye. I have added some of my examples below. Below are some illustrations of some cute cats and bears. Though these are the illustrations of animals that have souls, it is not the illustrations of an actual animal. Artists used their imagination to create these beautiful illustrations. Below are the links, I swear by Allah, these link doesn't contain any spam or misleading things. The links just show some cute animal drawings. Please give me an answer to these illustrations! 1. https://imgur.com/K9r9GoS2. https://imgur.com/a/E1QMxEgJaz?k All?hu Khayran for your precious time.

Answer

All perfect praise be to Allah, The Lord of the Worlds. I testify that there is none worthy of worship except Allah, and that Muhammad  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) is His slave and Messenger.

The ruling on drawing animate beings with their complete body form is a matter of difference of opinion among the scholars.

The majority of them are of the view that it is prohibited in principle for the Ahadeeth that forbid imagery – such as the Hadeeth in which the Prophet  sallallaahu  `alayhi  wa  sallam ( may  Allaah exalt his mention ) said: “Those who depict images will be punished on the Day of Resurrection; it will be said to them: 'Breathe a soul into what you have depicted.’” [Al-Bukhari and Muslim]

This is the preponderant opinion. Nonetheless, some scholars, such as the Maaliki School of jurisprudence, are of the view that it is only disliked and not forbidden.

However, if the picture is not complete; i.e., it is missing a part that is essential for life, such as the head or the chest, then, according to many scholars, such a picture is permissible.

As for imaginary images – such as cartoon images – as long as they are complete (i.e. with complete body form), then they are forbidden. Indeed, some jurists who forbade pictures have stated that the forbidden depiction of animate beings includes what has no equivalent in reality.

Hashiyat ar-Ramli ‘ala Asna al-Mataalib reads:

It is forbidden to make an image of any animal, i.e., even if the like of it is not seen (in reality), such as a human being with wings.” [End of quote]

We apologize for not opening the links sent in the question.

For more benefit on the prohibition of drawing living beings, please refer to Fatawa 90288, 82806 and 336841.

For more benefit on drawing images without the eyes, nose and mouth, please refer to Fatwa 380557.

Allah Knows best.

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