What Is the Ruling Regarding Drawing Living Creatures Without Features?

Question: Is it permissible to draw a human without features? For example when you do not have a display picture on social media e.g Facebook. The display picture is an I icon the shape of a human without features. 

Answer: In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate

Making or having a picture of a human with no features falls under a difference of opinion amongst the scholars. Some strictly prohibited all pictures while others deemed that prohibition conditional. Having such a picture on one’s computer makes the issue less serious compared to having such a picture hanging in one’s home. But caution is recommended whenever possible, in matters such as these.

The Prohibition of Pictures

There is a difference of opinion regarding drawing living creatures. Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) replied when asked about this, “If you must, then only make trees or anything without a soul” [Bukhari, Muslim].

The apparent meaning of what Imam al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) mentions, in his commentary of Sahih Muslim, is that it is strictly prohibited. He said, “The drawing of living beings is strictly prohibited.” Until he mentions, “thus producing it (i.e. the picture) is strictly prohibited in all circumstances, because it is an imitation to the creation of Allah, Most High…” [al-Durar al-Mubahah].

Conditions of a Prohibited Picture

On the other hand, the apparent meaning of Qadi Iyad (may Allah be pleased with him) is that whatever type of picture does not make the prayer performed with it, disliked, then to keep such a picture in one’s home is not disliked” [al-Durar al-Mubahah].

Thus the type of picture which would make the prayer performed with it, disliked, is that if the head or features of the face are removed or it is small such that it cannot be clearly seen from far, or that it is missing a vital body part, then it is not prohibited.

May Allah bless you and us
Allahu A’alam

[Shaykh] Yusuf Weltch

Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani

Shaykh Yusuf Weltch is a graduate from Tarim; a student of Habib Umar and other luminaries; and authorized teachers of the Qur’an and the Islamic sciences.