What Is the Ruling on Drawing Images on Clothing and the Like?

Shafi'i Fiqh

Answered by Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan

Question

Below I have listed 4 questions that I would greatly appreciate answers to. To provide some context, I am starting a clothing/design business and want to make sure that the money we make is halal.

  1. Is it allowed for me to draw a living being with missing features on the face, e.g., without eyes or a mouth, or both? Or is it not allowed to draw a living being at all?
  2. Is it allowed for me to commission a non-Muslim artist to make designs for me who are living beings and then put those on pieces of clothing that I will sell (If it is not allowed for me to draw living beings)?
  3. Are you allowed to create computer-generated, 3d living beings, e.g., on software like “Blender” (a 3d graphics software), or digitally draw living beings, e.g., on photoshop and print those on anything?
  4. I understand why drawing was not allowed at the time of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace), the prevalence of idol worshipping, is it still valid today?

Answer

Thank you for your question.

The scholars have different interpretations of the hadith of the Messenger (Allah bless him and give him peace) that prohibits image-making. It is important to know the difference between 3d and 2d images to your question.

The scholars agreed that three-dimensional images are impermissible. However, they differed as to whether the hadith included two-dimensional images. Some Shafi’i scholars, like Khattabi, as well as Maliki scholars, regarded two-dimensional images as permissible.

If one adopts the view that two-dimensional drawings are permissible, it is important to note that the scholars require one not to show reverence to the image. When our mother, ‘A’isha (Allah be pleased with her), showed reverence to a curtain that contained images of horses, the Messenger of Allah (Allah bless him and give him peace) removed the curtains and used them as a doormat. [Muslim]

Lastly, if one adopts the view that two-dimensional images are impermissible, one should note the following: Outlining the human body without detailed features is permitted. Similarly, drawing the face without including details, such as the eyes, is also permitted.

As discussed in detail with references in more than one place on SeekersGuidance website, I have briefly dealt with this question.

Please see here:
Is it Disbelief to Draw Pictures?
Are Drawings for Educational Purposes Permissible?
The Maliki View on Pictures of Humans and Animals

And Allah knows best
[Shaykh] Abdurragmaan Khan
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Abdurragmaan Khan received ijazah ’ammah from various luminaries, including but not restricted to: Habib Umar ibn Hafiz—a personality who affected him greatly and who has changed his relationship with Allah, Maulana Yusuf Karaan—the former Mufti of Cape Town; Habib ‘Ali al-Mashhur—the current Mufti of Tarim; Habib ‘Umar al-Jaylani—the Shafi‘i Mufti of Makkah; Sayyid Ahmad bin Abi Bakr al-Hibshi; Habib Kadhim as-Saqqaf; Shaykh Mahmud Sa’id Mamduh; Maulana Abdul Hafiz al-Makki; Shaykh Ala ad-Din al-Afghani; Maulana Fazlur Rahman al-Azami and Shaykh Yahya al-Gawthani amongst others.