The issue of art and drawings in Islam is among those topics that have not been directly mentioned and ruled on in the Quran. Therefore, one might wonder if drawings in Islam is allowed (Halal) or not and if yes, then are all types of drawings permitted (Halal)?
There are a few traditions narrated about drawings in Islam that are usually used to answer this question. However, since the answer can be derived from the Quran, this text tries to answer the question based on the Quranic verses.
Now, you might be asking how it is possible to understand the ruling on drawing while there is no direct mention of it in the Quran. The answer is clear; the Quran provides us with a set of fixed frameworks that work as a criterion for us. And whenever we come to a question that we think was not an issue at the time of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), we can study it, based on the Islamic criteria and find the answer.
Drawings in Islam and all other types of art are considered as tools to make things more beautiful and to create a feeling of admiration in their audience. Allah (SWT) has created this universe most superbly and has ordered all His creatures to admire and praise Him for this beautification. After creating the human, He looked at his creation and admired His own creation: “He formed you and perfected your forms, and provided you with all the good things. That is Allah, your Lord! Blessed is Allah, Lord of all the worlds!” (40:64)
Apart from the whole magnificent scenery of the universe, created by Allah (SWT), there are also some verses of the Quran that indicate the importance of beauty in the eyes of our Creator. And that is why the Prophet (PBUH&HP)’s saying, “Indeed Allah is beautiful and likes beauty” has become so famous . The importance of beauty in the eyes of Allah is visible in different verses of the Quran:
“O Children of Adam! Put on your adornment on every occasion of prayer … Say, ‘Who has forbidden the adornment of Allah which He has brought forth for His servants, and the good things of [His] provision?’” (7:31-32)
Creativity is a blessing with which Allah (SWT) has provided human beings (not to mention all the artistic creations of other creatures). And therefore, human beings have always created new things using their creativity, the effect of which is evident in the history and the Quran, e.g., in building houses, castles, making clothes, or designing jewelry, etc.
However, the Quran does not admire all types of art. For example, making sculptures or figures to worship and as idols are considered to be negative. For instance, Prophet Abraham (PBUH), facing his people who were worshiping lifeless and dumb idols, addresses his father and says: “What are these images to which you keep on clinging?” (21: 52)
While in another Surah of the Quran, making statues and sculptures and other pieces of art so far as they are useful for human beings are referred to as positive and admirable. An example is when The Jinn built those pieces of art under the observation of Prophet Solomon (PBUH): “They built for him as many temples as he wished, and figures, basins like cisterns, and caldrons fixed [in the ground] …” (34:13).
Besides, the main ruling on doing artworks can be derived from a Surah in the Quran called Surah Al-Shu’araa’ which means Poets.
In this Surah Allah (SWT) clearly describes the essence of forbidden (Haram) and allowed (Halal) art with a direct mention of poetry which was popular in Prophet (PBUH&HP)’s time:
“As for the poets, [only] the perverse follow them. Have you not regarded that they rove in every valley and that they say what they do not do? Barring those who have faith, do righteous deeds, and remember Allah much often, and vindicate themselves after they have been wronged. And the wrongdoers will soon know at what goal they will end up.” (26: 224-7)
In these verses, Allah (SWT) states that only perverse people would follow and admire the poets. And in describing the poets, it is mentioned that “they rove in every valley,” meaning that they make up things from their imagination. At the time of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), ‘most poetries were about the beauty of women, adultery, and pervert behaviors.’ However, Allah (SWT) does not forbid poetry completely; rather, He ‘makes the exception of faithful poets’ in the next verse. ‘Those who use their art as a tool to defend justice and to reveal oppression and injustice.’ 
From the above verses of the Quran, we can conclude that any form of art or any other tool is allowed (Halal) provided that they are used in the way of Allah, and if used in the way of Satan, they are considered to be forbidden (Haram). Therefore, it is of utmost importance to be familiar with the Islamic jurisprudence to distinguish the right from wrong from an Islamic viewpoint.
Another point that needs to be considered about different forms of art and drawing is that they should not go against the Islamic jurisprudence. Including erotic pictures or scenes in drawings or illustrations is one example of what makes this form of art forbidden. Therefore, as long as the drawing or making sculptures do not have any adverse harm for human soul and improvement, the ruling is as follows: “There is no harm at all in the sculpture, photography, and drawings of living beings whether or not they have a soul. Also, it is permissible to sell, buy, or keep pictures and statues. There is no objection to showing them in an exhibition as well” .
- Al-Kafi. Vol. 6, p. 438
- Tafseer-e Noor, Qara’ati, M. Vol. 6, p. 381
- Painting and sculpture
Let's start our topic with a question. What is the meaning of 'special' in your life? What days have been special to you, your family, or even to your community? The answer may vary from mere personal occasions like birthdays, anniversaries, etc. to more public ones such as New Year's Eve, Easters, or any National Day. The same is true about every religion, culture, or society. Different days of the year have different meanings in every religious community; such as Laylatul Qadr for Muslims.
"(He) Who perfected everything which He created" (Quran 32:7)
"…So whichever way you turn, there is the face of Allah! Allah is indeed all-bounteous, all-knowing." Quran (2:115)
"There is nothing in existence but beauty, for God created the cosmos only in His image, that is, in the image of His infinite beauty." Ibn Arabi [i], & .
This does not, however, mean that all creatures are the same! Can river stones be equal to those of precious pearls in the oceans? The world is the world of differences, and that actually makes it delightful and adventurous. This is also manifested in people's different languages and colors, which is a sign of Allah's balanced and sophisticated creation.
"And of His signs is … the diversity of your languages and your colors. Indeed in that are signs for those of knowledge" (Quran 30:22)
If every stone were like a pearl would have the pearl had the same value that it has now? How about the days of the year? God is indeed in All Days, but again this is God's plan for us to value specific days or nights more than others. The Islamic Holy scripture refers to a night that has the value as equal to a thousand months, called Laylatul Qadr, the Night of Decree. Likewise, the month of Ramadan or that of Dhul Hijja has special significance in Islam during which distinct rituals and etiquettes are prescribed for Muslims. What is it that really makes them unique? For that, we will have to take a look at Islamic resources.
As indicated earlier, certain nights and days are adored in Islamic culture.
In a week, Friday does not only mark the weekend, but it has a special meaning for Muslims. The Surah "al-Juma" in the Quran declares the importance of the Friday prayer that is a congregational prayer held at Friday noon, and it is also referred to as the "the pilgrimage of the poor" in Islamic traditions. 'Forgiveness of sins,' 'reduction of the difficulties in the Day of Judgment,' and 'great rewards for every step to the place of the Friday prayer' are only a scratch over the surface of the benefits of this ritual for those who attend it .
In a year, the three months of Rajab, Shaban, and Ramadan are highly appreciated. It is narrated that Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) has said: "Indeed Rajab is the month of Allah, while Shaban is my month and Ramadan is the month of my community" . Ramadan is the month in which the Quran was revealed to the Prophet (PBUH&HP). It is also the month of fasting for Muslims .
In a grand tradition, the Prophet (PBUH&HP) narrates that Allah (SWT) said: "Fasting is for me, and I am the one who rewards for it" , "The gates of the fire are closed (in this month), so ask your Lord not to open them and Satans are in chains. So ask your Lord not to dominate them over you." This month is the best month in the sight of Allah, its days are the best, its nights are the best nights and its hours are the best hours… your breath in it (the month of Ramadan) is glorification (of God), and your sleep in it is worship" .
Moreover, it is in this month that the Night of Decree (Laylatul Qadr) is celebrated. A night that is regarded as equal to a thousand months, and it is when humankind's destiny is decreed for the coming year. It was on this night that the Holy Quran was revealed to the Prophet . Indeed, Ramadan is the best month, and the Night of Qadr (Decree) is its heart. Believers stay awake the entire night and pray for blessings and forgiveness. It is the holiest night of the year, and it would be unwise to be heedless of the tremendous benefits of this night. It is a grand opportunity that God has gifted us with; there is a night that our whole year is decreed and if praying that night, we can ask Him to bless us with a year full of the happiness, the spirituality, the health and the success and whatever good we want in our lives. That's how God gives us the chance to rebuild our destiny, and a new beginning of our spiritual calendars, to ask forgiveness for the sins we have committed in the past year while praying for a better fate in the coming year.
The above briefly indicates how some days, months, and nights are special in Islam. The question now remains how we are going to use them and benefit from them. When we are invited to such a special feast undoubtedly, we have to get prepared and plan for it; otherwise, we gain nothing but regret.
That's the beauty of having faith. Your days and nights are not equal. Each and every one of them has their own distinct meanings. It makes the spiritual journey of a servant sweeter and more enjoyable. He/she has always something to do to get closer to His Lord.
[i] An Arab Andalusian Muslim scholar, mystic, poet, and philosopher, whose works have grown to be very influential.
- Claude Addas, The Experience and Doctrine of Love in Ibn Arab, http://www.ibnarabisociety.org/addas1.html
- William C. Chittick, The Divine Roots of Human Love,
- divine roots
- Al-'Allama al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 86, p. 197, Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Man la yahduruh al-faqih, vol. 1, p. 427, Nuri,
- Al-'Allama al-Majlisi, Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 104, p. 123.
- The Quran 2:183&5
- Shaykh al-Hurr al-Amili, Wasā'il al-Shi'ah, vol. 10, p.400.
- Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Al-Amāli, p.95.
- The Quran, Chapter 97th.
In a world that we are faced with many unexpected and horrifyingly inhuman incidents on a daily basis, one might wonder, how is it possible to be Happy? How can we attain inner peace? Are we born to suffer or to enjoy our lives? Security, justice, and welfare are three basic needs of every human being to have a better and happier life in Islam [xii]. However, providing these three factors is partly the responsibility of the government and the authorities of the society. And it partly depends on each individual.
In a previous article, we considered the ways that can help us overcome depression, anxiety, and stress in detail. Here we want to explore Islamic guidelines for a happier life.
One of the first factors in feeling happy in life is to be healthy. Many of us don’t even think about this blessing. When we lose it or find our physical strength not to be as before, then we realize how precious it was.
Islam recommends us to take care of our bodily health through having a healthy diet, eating less, observing personal hygiene, having enough sleep [iii], keeping a regular plan for visiting doctors and going for a checkup [iv], etc.
To have a happier life, you should balance your time between the activities that you do as your responsibility (e.g., your job, your housework, etc.) and the time that you need to rest and have fun [v].
Enjoying from lawful (Halal) fun is highly recommended in Islam. Since it is an opportunity to gather strength and energy to go back to our daily activities [vi]. As a result, we would become more satisfied and happy with our life.
Some recommended fun activities in Islam are horse-riding, shooting, swimming, knitting, telling jokes, traveling [xiii], etc.
Sometimes even looking at a beautiful scene or breathing a pleasant smell can cheer us up. So, for example, dedicating a time to explore nature can be a good idea to revive ourselves and bring hope and happiness to our life [vii]. According to Imam Kazim (AS): “Three things enlighten the eye: looking at greenery, flowing water, and a beautiful face” . Obviously, here “enlightening the eye” means freshening the soul and revitalizing the mind.
One of the places in which one can find his/her inner peace and feel happy and relaxed is the family. One of the main reasons that marriage is so much recommended in Islam [viii] is because of this relaxing effect that it will have on both husband and wife. Talking to the spouse and sharing feelings with each other can relieve the soul from everyday stresses and misfortunes.
Seeing a familiar and friendly face is always heart-warming. So, it is a good idea to visit your relatives or invite them to your house, for example, once a week. When you talk to your friends and family and spend time with them, even for a few hours, you will forget about your everyday issues. Even better, you may find solutions to your problems by sharing them with your relatives and friends.
This was among one of the most common manners of Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) [xi] as well as the twelve Imams. Once, Imam Ali (AS) appeared to be depressed. A person enquired the reason, and he answered: “It’s been seven days that I did not have any guests in my house”.
Positivity and kindness act like a boomerang. You spread the goodness and in return, receive goodness. As Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) puts: “When goodness resides in you, your heart finds assurance. But, when sin enters your soul, your heart becomes full of doubt and restlessness”. Usually, when we do a good thing, we feel better about ourselves, and that makes us happier with our life. We feel useful and as a result more hopeful.
Moreover, being good-tempered and having a positive attitude toward other people is another characteristic that in the long run, will help us experience a happier life [xiii]. Sometimes, when we let go of grudges and empty our heart and mind from the anger and hatred we feel, we experience a feeling of blissful peace and relief [xiv].
Also, avoiding some immoral behaviors such as lying, backbiting, unlawful (Haram) relationships, not controlling the glance when seeing a non-Mahram, etc. will bring us a life of positivity and peacefulness [xv].
Another way to reach happiness and satisfaction is to talk to the creator of the world, the merciful Allah. Worshiping and praying Allah is always recommended in times of hardships [ix]. Since it will remind us of the One who is present all the time and we can rely on, no matter how big our problem is. So, this feeling of security will relieve our soul from any anxiety, and we will become happier and feel more at peace.
On the contrary, some activities may momentarily make us feel happy. Since they don’t have any benefit for our mind and soul, they will finally make us even sadder and more depressed. These are:
1. Occupying yourself with pointless activities and debauchery
2. Repeating the same mistake or sin (no matter how fun it may seem) over and over again
3. Engaging in aimless talks and conversations
4. Keeping company with corrupt and indecent people
5. Being irresponsible toward your commitments
6. Losing opportunities and wasting time 
7. Being highly concerned about financial issues [x]
These and many other guidelines help us in reaching a peaceful life. However, we should note that being happy is not a sudden revelation, but a gradual process. It takes time and effort and requires determination. It is the result of so many factors such as physical health, marriage, keeping company with nature, traveling, having fun, praying, having a good job, etc. Many of these factors have been highly recommended in Islamic sources and narrations (Hadith), as prerequisites for a happier life. Happiness does not come around easily and suddenly; it is on us to bring it around.
[i] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) said: “Two blessings are unknown among people: safety and health” .
Imam Sajjad (AS) said: “ O’ Allah, hearts don’t find peace except with your remembrance and souls don’t reach peacefulness except with seeing you” 
[iii] Imam Reza (AS) said: “[Enough and on-time] sleep, strengthens the body” .
Imam Sadeq (AS) said: “Sleep brings peace to the body, speaking brings peace to the soul, and silence brings peace to mind” 
[iv] Imam Ali (AS) said: “Whoever conceals his/her illness from a doctor, has betrayed his/her body” .
[v] Imam Kazim (AS) said: “ Try to divide your daily routine into four parts: one for supplicating to Allah, one for providing life expenses, one for keeping company with reliable and pure-hearted friends, and one part for enjoying from lawful (Halal) fun” .
[vi] Imam Ali (AS): “ The times of joy and cheerfulness are best opportunities for revitalizing body and soul” .
[vii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “Looking at nature would bring happiness, joy, and liveliness.”
[viii] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “There is no dearer and more valuable foundation in Islam for Allah, other than marriage [and family]” 
[ix] “O you who have faith! Take recourse in patience and prayer…” (2:153)
[x] Imam Sadeq (AS) said: “ I looked for the peace of heart and found it in having less money” .
Imam Ali (AS) said: “Whoever contents with what he/she has, will reach comfort and harmony, and have a better life” 
[xi] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Make every day a new day if you can. Meaning that, give presents to each other and make bonds with each other, for the sake of Allah.”
[xii] Imam Sadeq (AS) said: “ There are three things that every person needs to have; these are security, justice and welfare” 
[xiii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “ In order to reach greatness, travel outside your homeland, since there are five advantages of it: ‘ relieving sadness, gaining money and knowledge, getting familiar with [other] lifestyles and having the chance to accompany with great figures” .
[xiii] Imam Ali (AS) said: “ Being optimistic toward others, results in the peace of heart and decency of religion” 
[xiv] Imam Ali (AS) said: “ The one who is good-tempered, will have a better and more decent life” 
[xv] Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Truthfulness brings peace and lying brings stress and anxiety” .
Imam Ali (AS): “The one who lowers his/her gaze [in front of a non-Mahram] will find peace in his/her heart” .
- Fattal Neyshaburi, Rawdat al-wa'izin wa basirat al-mutta'izin, p.472.
- Bihar al-Anvar, vol.59, p.141.
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p. 484.
- Ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-'uqul, p.409.
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p. 319.
- Shaikh al-Hur al-Aamili, Wasā'il al-Shīʿa, vol.20, p.60.
- Javadi al-Amoli, Mafatih al-Hayat, pp. 135-137.
- Bihar al-Anvar, p.103.
- Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol. 12, p.174.
- Muhammad b. 'Ali b. Shahrashub, Manaqib Al Abi Talib, vol.2, p.73.
- Qadi Nu'man, Da'a'im al-Islam, vol.2, p.326.
- ibn Shu'ba al-Harrani, Tuhaf al-'uqul, p.320.
- Usul al-Kafi, vol.8, p.19.
- Al-Shaykh al-Saduq, Kitab man la yahduruh al-faqih, vol.4, p.402, Hadith no. 5865.
- Bihar al-Anvar, vol. 91, p. 151.
- Mustadrak al-Wasail, vol.8, p.115.
- Ibn Abi al-Hadid, An Interpretation of Nahj al-Balaghah, vol.20, p.299, Hadith no. 415.
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p.253, Hadith no. 5322
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p.299, Hadith no. 6774.
- Abu l-Qasim Payandeh, Nahj al-fasaha, p.548, Hadith no.1864.
- Ali ib Abi Talib, Ghurar al-Hikam wa Durar al-Kalim, p. 260, Hadith no.5555.