Fiqh & Sunnah

Image Makers will be Punished on the Day of Judgement

Narrated Abdullah ibn 'Umar (d. 73H) radiallahu 'anhu: Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam said:

"Those who make these images (suwar) will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them, make alive what you have created."
Al-Bukhari 7/541, no. 835; Muslim, 3/160, no. 5268

Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar (d. 852H) said:

"It is a command to do that which one is unable to do. From it we get a description of how the punishment of the image-maker will be. He will be ordered to breathe the soul into the image which he has made and he will not be able to do so. As a result his punishment will continue (unceasingly)."
Fath ul-Bari, 10/398

It should also be mentioned that there must be consideration in this matter if the making of a picture is necessitate by urgency or emergency, such as x-rays for identification or diagnosis of a disease or sickness. In this case the condition is that the picture itself be not the immediate goal or objective. This is based on the rule is usul ul-fiqh: necessity should be measured by the existing circumstances. Whatever goes beyond that, to the point of being done out of pride, and enjoyment of these images, is forbidden. [Nuzhatu'l-Muttaqin, 2/1150, no. 1680]

The Command to Remove Curtains Containing Images

'Aishah (d. 58H) radiallahu 'anha reported that Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam came back from a journey and that she had screened her door with a curtain having (images) of winged horses on it. He sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam commanded 'Aishah to remove them, and so she pulled them down. [This is the wording narrated by Muslim, 3/1158, no. 5256]

Al-Bukhari's narration is:

"I had hung a thick curtain having images (tamathil). He, sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam, commanded me to remove them, so I pulled them down."
Al-Bukhari, 7/542

Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar said:

"It has the word tamathil which is the plural of timthal and refers to something whose image is made; and it is more general than to be limited to shakhis (that which has body like a statue) or naqsh (engraved), dahn (painting), or nasaj (weaved) in a cloth. In the narration of Bukayr ibn Al-Ashajj from 'Abdur-Rahman ibn Al-Qasim, reported by Muslim [3/1159, no. 5265], it contains the words ' ... she hung up a curtain which had in it tasawir (images)'."
Fath ul-Bari, 10/401. no. 5955

See also Ahmad 6/208, 6/281, where 'Aishah's narration contains, " ... she said then he sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam tore it up."

Pulling Down and Tearing up Curtains Containing Images

'Aishah radiallahu 'anha reported that she had a curtain which had images (tasawir) in it. Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam entered (the room) and pulled it down. 'Aishah said, "I then tore it and prepared two cushions from it." A man who was present at the time when this hadith was being narrated and whose name was Rabiah ibn 'Ata ibn Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad was one of the students of Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad, asked, "Didn't you hear Abu Muhammad (Al-Qasim, the narrator from 'Aishah), making mention of 'Aishah radiallahu 'anha having stated that Allah's Messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam used to recline on them (the two cushions)?" Abdur-Rahman ibn Al-Qasim said, "No, but I heard Al-Qasim ibn Muhammad saying so." [Muslim, 3/1159, no. 5265, footnote 2518].

'Abdul-Hamid Siddiqui in his commentary of the english translation of Sahih Muslim, [3/1159, footnote 2518] said:

"One may ask the question if the cloth having pictures on it is forbidden to be used as a curtain, why is it not forbidden to be used as a cushion? The answer is that when the cloth having pictures upon it is torn into pieces and sewn in another shape, the pictures lose their form altogether and they no longer remain pictures. Moreover hanging-pictures are more conspicuous, while those on cushions, etc, become insignificant."

This is similar to what Al-Hafidh Ibn Hajar said concerning the reconciliation ('jam) between the following hadith containing the words, " ... he tore (the curtain containing images) apart ... so we turned the curtains into one or two cushions", and the next hadith containing the words, "She bought a cushion having images on it. When Allah's messenger sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam saw it he stopped at the door and did not enter ... he sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam added, 'Angels do not enter a house in which there are images.' "

Al-Hafidh says another possible explanation for reconciliation between the two ahadith is that when the curtain was cut up, the cutting could have been, for example, in the middle of the image, thereby changing it from its original form. For this reason he sallallahu 'alayhi wa sallam began to use it to lean on.

Be Mindful O Mankind!

To all who love and revere the Book, And earnestly strive to find in it, Not a reflection of their own fancies, But a clue to Unity, Discipline, And the call to higher matters of the spirit, The Fruit of Life, Thought and Study.
'Abdullah Yusuf Ali (d. 1373H), may Allah have mercy upon him

Never Forget What They Said

“We are imposing a complete siege on Gaza. There will be no electricity, no food, no water, no fuel. Everything will be closed.”
Israel's Defense Minister Yoav Gallant, 9 October 2023