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
Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar, observed by Muslims worldwide as a month of fasting, prayer, reflection and community. In this holy month Muslims fast from the food, drink, smoking, and sexual activity, and other specific activities drawn by Islam between dawn to nightfall until when the evening adhan is sounded in order to practice abstaining. There is definitely a higher purpose beyond not eating or drinking behind fasting. Fasting is one of the Principles of Islam, a religious duty commanded by Allah. Muslims who obey such commands or duties are said to receive thawab* each time for each good deed and receive redemption in the afterlife. Today we are going to discuss the real philosophy behind this Principles but at first, let us see some of the Quran verses pointing to fasting and its place in Islam.
O you who have believed, decreed upon you is fasting as it was decreed upon those before you that you may become righteous –
(The Holy Quran 2:183)
The month of Ramadhan [is that] in which was revealed the Qur'an, a guidance for the people and clear proofs of guidance and criterion
(The Holy Quran 2:185)
This principle is often emphasized in the principles of Islamic jurisprudence “The basis for the formation of all religious and divine rules is the interests and corruptions that philosophy is its cause”.
The second surah of The Quran (Al-Baqarah) clearly telling us the purpose of the act of fasting, talks about Divine bowing (verse 185), thanksgiving (verse 185), Benefiting from divine help (verses 45 and 153), benefiting from Allah (verse 184), attaining piety (Verse 183) and victory and success in deeds (verses 45 and 153) are among the wisdom and goals of fasting. We will discuss them deeply now:
Fasting has other benefits and effects, the most important one is identifying the sincere; Because fasting means abstaining from drinking and eating and sexual pleasures as well as other prohibitions, it is very difficult for many people who cannot wash their hearts of material pleasures and are only humble and submissive who give up by divine command. Therefore, it can be said that fasting is one of the most important divine tests through which sincerity can be recognized. Imam Ali (AS) says about this function of fasting: Allah made fasting obligatory in order to test the sincerity of the people. (1) Also, Lady Fatemeh (AS) says about the role of fasting insincerity: Allah has made fasting obligatory in order to establish sincerity. (2)
Other functions of fasting include the element of empathy; Because the fasting person understands the difficult conditions of others by fasting, and because of the suffering he suffers during the fast, he feels the suffering of the poor deeply now. Creating similar conditions and assimilating the living space with the lives of the poor, in the most important dimension, namely the lack of food and drink and other pleasures, causes a feeling of sympathy and provides the ground for financial benevolence and charity. Some rich people, for various reasons, including illness or intentionally not fasting, have to pay atonement, so one of the purposes of fasting is to reach a part of the wealth and property of the rich to the poor so that at least the life of the poor is provided and the level of class distance becomes slightly lower.
we can also refer to this wisdom that Imam Sadigh (AS) has stated about the obligation of fasting: Allah has made fasting obligatory so that the rich and the poor become equal (3) Imam Reza (AS) also says about this matter: People are commanded to fast in order to understand the pain of hunger and thirst, and through it to find the poverty and misery of the Hereafter. (4)
Another wisdom mentioned in the narrations for fasting is zakat of the body. In the sense that zakat is for everything; That is, just as it is zakat for property, which by paying for it provides the ground for proper growth and development of the body. Prophet Mohammad (PBUH&HP) said: Zakat is for everything and zakat on the bodies is fasting. (5) Also, our dear Prophet (PBUH&HP) said: Fast to stay healthy (6)
Medical research has proven today that fasting has a very effective role in eliminating diseases, especially cancer; this is because the lack of nutrients in the body has the first effect on cancer cells and dries out their roots. Therefore, in order to have a healthy body and all the organs of the body to work properly, we must accept fasting as a treatment and use it for the proper development of our body.
In the teachings of Islam, Jihad, especially its military one, has been set as a standard for other tasks due to its difficulty to achieve. Therefore, matters such as gaining halal, marrying well, and the like are considered and measured as jihad. Fasting is a difficult and arduous task because it is even permissible to step on carnal pleasures. Fighting against carnal desires and confronting erotic issues is one of the most important jihads known as the Great Jihad; and it is more difficult to fast in the heat of summer and under the sun and with work and labor. Such a fast is one of the best examples of deeds from the ideals of Prophet (PBUH&HP) that he said: Fasting in the heat is jihad. (7)
Imam Sadegh (AS) also says about fasting in extreme heat: Whoever fasts for Allah on a very hot day and becomes thirsty, Allah will appoint a thousand angels to touch his face and give him the good news until he breaks his fast. (8)
Achieving true fasting means that not just a person's body and tongue fasting, but also his heart and mind are fasting. Imam Ali (AS) says in expressing the best types of fasts: The fast of the heart is better than the fast of the tongue, and the fast of the tongue is better than the fast of the belly (9). So, in the real fast, all the organs of a person must be fasting from sin and mistakes. It is also narrated from Lady Fatima (PBUH) that: What is the use of fasting for a fasting person who has not preserved his tongue, ears, eyes, and joints? ** (10)
There is no point in Islam that hasn’t been checked by wisdom higher than human ones. If there are acts in Islam that are hard or pointless in our sight, that means we can’t see their higher purpose. Islam is always fresh and never gets old like other religions and it seeks human redemption so follow its orders to find yourself in the righteous path
- Nahj al-Balagha (verse 252)
- Bihar al-Anwar (96th volume – page 368)
- Man La Yahduruhu al-Faqih (second volume – page 43)
- Wasa'il al-Shia (4th volume – page 4)
- Al-Kafi (4th volume – page 62)
- Bihar al-Anwar (96th volume – page 255)
- Bihar al-Anwar (96th volume – page 257)
- Al-Kafi (4th volume – page 64)
- Exalted Aphorisms and Pearls of Speech (first volume – page 417)
- Bihar al-Anwar (93th volume – page 295)
* Thawab means punishment and has been used in both good and evil deeds of the human, and of course it is often used in good deeds.
**Lady Fatima (AS) has made a Denial interrogation in this narration of hers that it makes it more understandable
The religion of Islam is profoundly concerned with the social life of human beings, and its rules are set to be practiced on a large scale and in all aspects of humans’ life. Therefore, it is inseparable from the financial and political organization of society. So, Islam has built a system of economy compatible with any society  and practical at any given time.
Islam considers the economy as one of the most important aspects of social life, but not its sole purpose which has to be taken into account at the expense of ignoring or harming other aspects of human life. The typical and well-known economic concepts in Islam are Khums, Alms tax (Zakat), Usury (Riba), Mortmain property (Waqf), etc.
A healthy economy according to Islam is one that is vibrant and growing, advantageous for all kinds of people in the society, and free from favoritism and injustice. This is an economy in which a fair amount of income is earned through a sufficient amount of work which is beneficial both for the individuals and society.
Therefore, a Halal source of income -that is the money earned through acceptable ways in Islam- in Islamic society is earned through a job, which is compatible with public interests based on the sharia of Islam. On the contrary, the income earned by any demand regardless of its nature or its effect upon society is not considered Halal according to Islam. In other words, the demands must be for the benefit of humankind -not just materialistically but also spiritually- to result in a healthy and desirable income .
Despite many misunderstandings, Islam never condemns being wealthy or having a prosperous way of living[i]. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) said: “Worshiping has seven parts and its best part is lawfully earning money”. Contrarily, producing wealth in lawful ways, legal trading, and spending money for personal matters without extravagance and prodigality -which is strictly forbidden in Islam- have been highly recommended .
However, it condemns putting financial needs and concerns above other things, living for the sake of gathering money and piling it up, not earning money to have a better life, which is apparently not achieved just by money. On the other hand, if money becomes a means for work, activity, and productivity, then it will result in a more satisfactory and peaceful life .
To conclude, the practical religion of Islam is in favor of a lively economy in which welfare is not restricted to a particular group in society, a typical feature of capitalistic societies. Moreover, wealth is distributed fairly but not equally and regardless of the amount and quality of the work they undertake - characteristic of a communistic economy- among all kinds of people in the society.
It is a system that is continually developing, and each individual has an opportunity to put his or her talents into practice. In other words, social justice is the crucial factor of the Islamic financial organization. A perfect example of this kind of society can be easily depicted in the reign of Muslims’ great religious leader after Prophet Muhammad (PBUH), Imam Ali (AS) [ii].
[i]. Money has been directly called “Kheir” which means “goodness” in the Quran (2:180).
[ii]. On the second day of his reign, Imam Ali (AS) told his people as an announcement of his way of distributing the commonwealth among the society that: “the wealth is God’s property. Thus it will be distributed equally betwixt you, and no one is regarded above the other in this distribution, and there will be the best reward for God-fearers on the Day of Judgement”. Also, he was severely criticized by the upper-class groups in society for his careful observance of neglected people and his similar behavior with all kinds of people from any economic background.
- Sheykh Al-Saduq. Savab al-Aamal va Iqab al-Aamal.
- Morteza Motahhari. Nazari bar Nezame Eghtesadye Islam (An Overview of Islamic Economic system). Tehran: Sadra Publication.