Is It Permissible to Own and Keep Stuffed Animals?

Hanafi Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Yusuf Weltch

Question

Is it permissible to possess stuffed animals?

I have three stuffed animals that I adore: one is a whale with closed eyes and no mouth; another is a pink penguin with closed eyes that isn’t shaped like a real penguin, and the third is a tiny white goat that is seated and wearing a scarf and beanie.

They are all unrealistic and cartoonish. Is it okay if I keep them?

Answer

In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Scholars have permitted the keeping of stuffed animals and other toys – despite them being 3d depictions of animate objects – for children’s learning, play, or comfort. This opinion has been affirmed by the Fatwa Committee of Dar al-Mustafa in Tarim, Yemen, and other formidable contemporary scholars.

However, with regards to adults the original ruling of prohibition, which is the basis regarding depictions of animate objects, applies. The Messenger of Allah (may Allah bless him and give him peace) said, “Angels do not enter homes that have a dog or images (of animate objects).” [Muslim]

Wisdoms of the Ruling

Islam, being the completion of Allah’s blessing on creation, is adamant on the principles of absolute monotheism and Divine unity. In this regard, anything that even hints of polytheism is prohibited. Some examples of this are:

  1. The prohibition of having images of animate objects;
  2. The prohibition of praying towards a fire, an image, a person’s face, etc.;
  3. The prohibition of bowing to someone out of respect;
  4. The prohibition of praying while the sun is rising, at its zenith, or while its setting (with the exception of that day’s Asr prayer) etc.

People of the past, especially at the time of the Prophet (may Allah bless him and give him peace), worshipped idols (images of animate objects), and Islam eradicated all of that and reestablished Divine oneness.

Other Options

If you are a child, you are free to keep and use the stuffed animals.

If you are an adult and you find it difficult to part with these stuffed animals for their sentimental value, you may give them to (or permit to use) any of the children of the house. In this way, you will be able to see and have access to them in a way congruous to the Sacred Law.

Hope this helps
Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a teacher of Arabic, Islamic law, and spirituality. After accepting Islam in 2008, he then completed four years at the Darul Uloom seminary in New York where he studied Arabic and the traditional sciences. He then traveled to Tarim, Yemen, where he stayed for three years studying in Dar Al-Mustafa under some of the greatest scholars of our time, including Habib Umar Bin Hafiz, Habib Kadhim al-Saqqaf, and Shaykh Umar al-Khatib. In Tarim, Shaykh Yusuf completed the memorization of the Qur’an and studied beliefs, legal methodology, hadith methodology, Qur’anic exegesis, Islamic history, and a number of texts on spirituality. He joined the SeekersGuidance faculty in the summer of 2019.