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
After Imam Ali (AS) was martyred, Imam Hassan (AS) took over as his successor who like his father fought against Mu’aviah but he couldn’t defeat him because his army was not sufficiently loyal. His reliable followers were inadequate and he feared that they could be killed in the battle. Thus, Imam Hassan (AS) made a peace treaty with Mu’aviah, under the duress against his own will.
Mu’aviah became the Caliph under specific circumstances. For instance, he wasn’t allowed to choose the next Caliph and his son (Yazid) couldn’t be his successor. On the other hand, when Mu’aviah died, Imam Hussain (AS) was opposed to and fought against Yazid and he and his followers were brutally martyred. Both Imam Hassan (AS) and Imam Hussain (AS) had few collaborators/ associates/ helpers; however, this did not stop him from protesting against Yazid and his tyranny.
One of the most controversial questions about Imam Hussain (AS) is that why he did not make peace with Yazid just like his bother did with Mu’aviah?
It is worth noting that it would be so irrational to think that Imam Hussain (AS) had a different disposition from Imam Hassan (AS), for example one was more of a diplomat while the other was more of a fighter. In fact the objective conditions at the times of two Imams were rather different hence, their approach apparently differed.
1. Mu’aviah was willing to make peace with Imam Hassan (AS) but Yazid wasn’t like his father. Mu’aviah did not want to fight against either Imam Hassan (AS) or Imam Hussain (AS) and they were not prepared to do so. Once the governor of Medina wrote to Mu’aviah that Hussain (AS) does not want to take over the kingdom for now but he may do in the future. Mu’avia wrote to the ruler:
Leave Hussain (AS) and do not bother him because we don’t want to conflict with him while he is in peace with us (1)
On the other hand, when Yazid became the Caliph, he ordered the governor of Medina to make Imam Hussain (AS) to either obtain the oath of loyalty (to the Caliphate of Yazid) or failing that, kill Imam Hussain (AS), cut off his head and send it to Yazid.
2. In public Mu’aviah was, at least superficially, a pious person who would not commit sins or harm innocent people. Sometimes even the followers of Imam Ali (AS) had doubts about the impiety of Mu’aviah. While Yazid had no reservations, he would commit sins in public including drinking wine, playing with dogs and monkeys and etc. As in this regard Imam Hussain (AS) said:
Yazid is an alcoholic person and kills innocent people and does sins in public, so a person like me wouldn’t accept a person like him as their king (2)
3. Mu’aviah was a very powerful king with strong army but Yazid was not as clever and strong.
4. The loyalty of many of Imam Hassan’s (AS) followers was questionable. Some abandoned him and some others tried to kill him or even surrender him to Mu’aviah. But the companions of Imam Hussain (AS), as he himself said, were of a better and more loyal caliber. (3)
5. Mu’aviah was among the companions of the Prophet (PBUH) which earned him the respect of Muslims in general whereas Yazid was not a companion of the Prophet (PBUH) was so important to Muslims in that time and people would respect him so much. But Yazid wasn’t a companion of the Prophet.
6. Mu’aviah’s sister (Um Habibah) was the Prophet’s wife. Since the prophet’s wives are called ‘’the mothers of the believers ‘’; therefore, Mu’aviah was called “the uncle of the believers”. Yazid, however, did not have such status.
7. Although he did not meet any of his commitments that he had already made, Mu’aviah could say that he is legally the caliph because of the peace agreement between him and Imam Hassan (AS) because Yazid could not claim such legitimately.
Some people think that Imam Hussain (AS) didn’t agree with his brother in making peace with Mu’aviah however because of his respect for his brother, he observed the peace treaty and did not oppose Muaviah. However, this view about Imam Hussain is not right.
If we assume/Supposing that Imam Hussain (AS) did not actually agree with his senior brother, he could fight against Mu’aviah; because, the latter broke his agreement that he had made with Imam Hassan (AS), when he made his son, Yazid, his successor and Imam Hussain (AS) had no agreement with Muaviah however the circumstances of Imam Hussain were unsuitable for an uprising against Muaviah.
- Bihar al-anvar, Majlesi, vol.44, pg.212
- Maghtal al-Hussain (AS), Abd ar-Razzaq al-Muqarram, pg.129
- Musnad al-Imam ash-Shahid, al-Atarodi, vol.2, pg.4
A feature that is being propagated by different types of media about Muslims and Islam is an angry and aggressive face. This is while Islam has a lot of direct commands and recommendations about controlling anger and being good-tempered. A narration from Imam Sadiq (AS) defines good-temper very well: “Good temper is to soften your attitude and clear your speech and meet your brother with kindness.” 
In this text, we will study the viewpoint of Islam on being good-tempered.
There are many verses of the Quran that teaches us how to interact with others. The Prophet of Islam (PBUH&HP) was sent as a role model:
“There is certainly a good exemplar for you in the Apostle of Allah—for those who look forward to Allah and the Last Day and remember Allah much.” (33:21)
This exemplar is defined in different verses of the Quran, not only by admiring the number of his prayers but with his excellent manners. Allah admires his apostle by saying:
“And indeed, you possess a great character.” (68: 4)
Therefore, when Allah tells us:
“Obey Allah and the Apostle so that you may be granted [His] mercy” (3: 132), He means that by following the characteristics of the Prophet (PBUH&HP), one can achieve success and prosperity. One of his most important features was his good-temper.
One may think that many people are not good-tempered and yet have very successful lives. However, the Quran introduces being soft and kind to people as a means of reaching goals.
Almighty Allah says to His Apostle:
“It is by Allah’s mercy that you are gentle to them; had you been harsh and hardhearted, they would have surely scattered from around you. So excuse them and plead for forgiveness for them, and consult them in the affairs, and once you are resolved, put your trust in Allah. Indeed Allah loves those who trust in Him.” (3: 159)
As it is mentioned in the above verse, Allah introduces being good-mannered and good-tempered as the essential element that made the Prophet (PBUH&HP) successful in guiding people. Also, some of the features of a good-tempered person are mentioned in this verse:
1.To be forgiving towards people’s faults and mistakes in our social or family life (Excuse them).
2.To ask Allah to forgive other people for their sins and mistakes (plead for forgiveness for them). Having this manner helps us feel real compassion towards others, and therefore, it allows us to interact with them with kindness and a good temper.
3. To give credit and respect to other people by asking their ideas even if we know better than they do (consult them in the affairs).
Imagine that if in our daily life, we try to consider these three crucial hints, how peaceful our life will become, and how influential we can become in our relations and communications.
Should we be soft and gentle to everyone? Or are there groups of people to whom we should be harsh and demanding?
Two verses in the Quran explain how Muslims should behave towards different groups of people. This verse of the Quran: “Muhammad, the Apostle of Allah, and those who are with him are hard against the faithless and merciful amongst themselves,” (48: 29) indicates that Muslims should be kind and merciful to other Muslims and harsh on those who deny the existence of Allah and the hereafter. However, when Allah orders prophet Moses (PBUH) and Aaron to go to Pharaoh to invite him to monotheism, He orders them:
“Both of you go to Pharaoh, for he has indeed rebelled. Speak to him in a gentle manner; maybe he will take admonition or fear.” (20: 43-44)
Again, in this verse, Allah introduces the importance of soft and gentle speech as an essential means of reaching goals.
Experience shows that by being good-tempered, one can become popular among others and can make his/her own life as well as others peaceful.
Prophet Muhammad (PBUH&HP) says:
"being good-tempered sustains friendship.” 
Imam Al-Sadiq (AS) says:
“Charity and being good-tempered flourish lands and increase lifetime.” 
And in the words of Imam Ali (AS):
“The treasures of the provision are in being good-tempered and affability.” 
These verses of the Quran clearly show that if people wish to have a good life in this world and the hereafter, they need to work on themselves to control their anger and to be good-tempered in their relationships.
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 68, p. 389
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 389
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 71, p. 395
- Bihar al-Anwar, vol. 75, p. 53