The ruling on caricatures


What is the ruling on caricatures in newspapers and magazines that include drawings of persons?


The referred to drawing is not permissible. It is one of the widely common prohibited matters that should be abandoned due to the categorical purport of the Sahih (authentic) Hadiths establishing the prohibition of picturing animate objects, whether through photographing, drawing or anything else.

Among these Hadiths is that reported by Al-Bukhari in his Sahih (Book of authentic Hadiths) on the authority of Abu Juhayfah (may Allah be pleased with him) that he said: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) forbade (earning) the price of a dog and the price of blood, and the (earnings of) woman who tattoos and (charge paid by a woman who) is tattooed, and the consumer (taker) of Riba (usury) and its giver, and cursed the image-maker.” 1

Also, it is reported in the Two Sahih (authentic) Books of Hadith (i.e. Al-Bukhari and Muslim) that the Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “The people most tortured on the Day of Resurrection would be the image-makers.” 2

He (peace be upon him) also said: “those who make such pictures would be punished on the Day of Resurrection and it will be said to them: Breathe life into what you have created.” 3

There are many other authentic Hadiths establishing this ruling, with exception only in case of necessity. Allah (Glorified and Exalted be He) says: “…while He has explained to you in detail what is forbidden to you, except under compulsion of necessity” [Al-An’am: 119]

I implore to Allah to help Muslims adhere to the Shari`ah (Law) of their Lord and the Sunnah of their Prophet (peace be upon him) and keep away from what disagrees with them. He is the Best One to be asked.

  1. Related by Al-Bukhari, Book on transactions, Chapter on the proceeds from the sale of dogs, no. 2238. 

  2. Narrated by Al-Bukhari, Book on clothing, Chapter on the punishment on the Day of Rising of those who make images, no. 5950; and Muslim, Book on clothing and adornment, Chapter on the prohibition of drawing a picture of an animal, no. 2109. 

  3. Related by Al-Bukhari, Book on dress, Chapter on the one who disliked sitting on images, no. 5957; and Muslim, Book on clothing & adornment, Chapter on the prohibition of drawing a picture of an animal, no. 2108. 

  • Date: Rabi' Al-Awwal 11, 1442 AH
  • Source: It was published in the book entitled 'Fatawa Islamiyyah', compiled by Shaykh Muhammad Al-Musnad p. 4/362
  • Mufti: Shaykh Abdul-Aziz ibn Baz