Is Origami Permitted?

Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick 

Question Summary

Is it lawful to make origami papercrafts that might or might not involve shapes of animals like butterflies, fish, etc.?
Question Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.

May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to what pleases Him.

Depicting animate life in various ways is an issue about which scholars have differed. The more lenient view is that drawing images (or making origami), lacking details unique to living creatures, is lawful, and Allah knows best.
Could it be Brought to Life?

The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) said: “Those who make images will be punished on the Day of Resurrection, and it will be said to them: ‘Bring to life that which you have created.’” [Agreed Upon]
Many scholars appear to regard the depiction of images with incomplete features (having no nose, eyes, neck, etc.) as lawful. Therefore, their makers are not included in the warning because these pictures are not “competing” with the creation of Allah.

The above applies to all non-detailed images, even though they are living beings. [Ibn Abidin, Radd al Muhtar]
Therefore, the origami craft of animate life (assuming that they are obscure/abstract) is permissible to make but better to avoid, and Allah knows best.

Inanimate Image-Making

The Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Every painter will go to Hell, and for every portrait he has made, there will be appointed one who will chastise him in Hell.”

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) said: If you have to do it, draw pictures of trees and other inanimate things. [Bukhari]

Based on the above and similar evidence, the origami crafting of non-animated subjects is permissible, and Allah knows best.
I pray that this benefits and that Allah guides us all.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.

Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.

He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.

Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.