Issue on Taswir (painting, drawing, sculpture, photography)

Question:

Is it permissible for a teacher to draw animate beings in the course of teaching as a visual aid, bearing in mind that many Sahih (authentic) Hadiths prohibit Taswir (painting, drawing, sculpture, and photography) of animate objects?

Answer:

It is not permissible for a teacher or any other person to depict pictures of animate beings, because the Prophet (peace be upon him) cursed the Musawwir (one who makes pictures and statues, or photographs of living beings) and said that they are among the people most tormented on the Day of Resurrection. They are to be punished and demanded to bring life to what they had created. Educational illustration can be achieved without Taswir. Allah (Glorified be He) does not make the Ummah (nation based on one creed) in want of anything prohibited, with regard to education. There are so many lawful means of illustration that are instrumental and sufficient for whoever fears Allah. May Allah guide us and all the Muslims to comprehend His Religion and hold fast to it, and save us from the misleading temptation, for He is the All-Hearer and the Ever-Near. As-salamu ‘alaykum warahmatullah wabarakatuh (May Allah’s Peace, Mercy, and Blessings be upon you)!

  • Date: Rabi' Al-Awwal 11, 1442 AH
  • Source: Issued by the office of His Eminence when he was the President of the Islamic University, on 25/3/1395 A.H., no. 841
  • Mufti: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz