Fatwa No : 338455
Printing texts inspired by Quranic verses on T-shirts
Fatwa Date : Rabee' Al-Aakhir 7, 1438 / 5-1-2017
Assalaamu alaykum. I have a website that sells Islamic T-shirts inspired by the Quran (but not containing Quran texts). It is a "print-on-demand" model, which means that I pay my designer to create images (a text with sketches of non-living things) and then put these images onto T-shirt images (using my supplier's software), and then the supplier's software puts these T-shirt images on my website for advertising. When someone views the advertising and purchases from my website, they pay me, and the order goes automatically to my supplier. The supplier charges me (at a lower price), prints my images onto the T-shirts, and mails the T-shirts to the customer. The T-shirts contain links, like "Quran.com/25/63", and links to my website, so people can learn more about Islam. (I have basic things about Islam there.) I am careful not to put actual Quran texts on the shirts, out of respect of the words, but I try to put concepts, or a very brief summary. Can you please let me know if there is anything haram about this model? I am trying to do good, and I am very passionate about this (as I feel that it may make others curious to learn about Islam), but I do not want to accidentally do haram in the process. (The reason that I worry that something may be haram is because I have come across a hadith that prohibits selling something that you do not possess. But in my case, I have the graphics, which I payed for, and I am collaborating with the supplier to print the graphics onto what has been ordered. Also, the supplier has always delivered, and I have policies to ensure that the customer always gets what they paid for, so there is no mistreatment of customers.) Please let me know if you have any further inquiries, and may Allaah reward you for helping me to reach the truth on this matter, Allaah willing.
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 is His slave and Messenger.
Your question included two matters; the first of which is about the texts that you write, after which you mention the number of the Soorah and the number of the verse while your intention is to encourage people to learn about Islam; this is a good objective, but the method is not safe, as some people may disrespect what you write. Also, the person who wears the shirt or the one who sees it might think that what is written is the wording of the verse, so you should avoid this.
Indeed, the means of Da’wah (proselytization) to Islam and enlightening people with it are so many.
Clothes are subject to disrespect and collect sweat and dirt; it is for this reason that some scholars stated that one should not write any mention of Allah on clothes.
Shaykh Ibn Baaz said, “It is not permissible to write Bismillahi Ar-Rahmaani Ar-Raheem (in the Name of Allah, The Most Gracious, The Most Merciful) on T-shirts, as it may be thrown in unclean places; in brief, one should not write the Names of the Lord, or Bismillahi Ar-Rahmaani Ar-Raheem, or verses of the Quran on a T-shirt and the like as they may be treated with disrespect, and sometimes people walk on them if they become worn out; so this is not permissible.”
Also, the translation of the Quran is respected, even if its sacredness is not the same as the Quran itself; so its meaning and translation should not be put in a place where they could be disrespected.
As for drawing non-living things, then this is permissible. An-Nawawi said, “As regards trees and the like, which are inanimate, then they are not forbidden to make or to earn an income from, be it the trees that bear fruits, or else; this is the view of all the scholars.”
Displaying some religious matters on your site in order to encourage people to learn the religion or to invite them to Islam is a good act, even if you do so with the intention of earning money.
Ibn Taymiyyah was asked about whoever copies (writes down) Saheeh Al-Bukhari, Saheeh Muslim, and the Quran with his own hand while intending to write the ahaadeeth and the like, and whether he would be rewarded if he copies for his own self or for sale?
He replied, “A person will be rewarded for writing it regardless of whether he had written them for himself or in order to sell them, as the Prophet said, 'Indeed, Allah will admit three people to Paradise by virtue of one single arrow: The one who makes it, the one who shoots it, and the one who hands it to him.' Writing is the same thing, regardless of whether this is for his own benefit or with the intention that others will benefit from it; he will be rewarded for both.”
Concerning the second issue, which is selling clothes before owning them, this is valid if you agree with the buyer that you guarantee the sold item; for example, you sell him a T-shirt with such and such description, which you will send to him at a known time, and he gives you the price immediately, and then you ask the supplier to print the drawings and the like, and you buy the T-shirt from him and send it to the buyer or you agree with the supplier to send it to the buyer at the agreed-upon time. This is called As-Salam sale.
For more benefit in this regard, please refer to fatwa 27508.
Allah knows best.