Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
What are the rulings for drawing/3D models, animation, and drawing appropriately-clothed people, etc., as game development and cartoons require drawing/3D models and animation software?
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
Software design, including games, is permissible unless it involves impermissible elements, such as the depiction of detailed animate life, violence, illicit behavior, etc.
Depicting detailed images of animate life is unlawful and would likely be the biggest obstacle in choosing Game Development as a career, and Allah knows best.
Prohibition of Depicting Animal Life
Making detailed pictures of animate life is one of the major sins (kaba’ir). [Dhahabi, Kitab al-Kaba’ir]
The Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Every maker of pictures will go to the fire, where a being will be set upon him for each picture he made, to torment him in hell.” [Bukhari]
In another hadith, he (Allah bless him and give him peace) said: “Whoever makes an image shall be required (on the Last Day) to breathe a spirit into it, but will never be able to do so.” [Bukhari]
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.’” [Bukhari; Muslim]
Many scholars 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.
If you could make your characters like those mentioned above, they would be permissible to design, which applies to all non-detailed images, even though they are living beings, and Allah knows best.
Rulings Concerning Games
Other than games involving prize money, every game played by two or more people that relies on luck, conjecture, and guessing is unlawful (whether money is stipulated or not). Every game not in the above category is permissible if there is no money therein. Any things mentioned above that are permissible become unlawful if they prevent one from performing a religious or this-worldly duty. [Keller, Reliance of the Traveller]
I pray that this benefits.
[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 has completed his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.