Drawings of People: Is it Haram in Islam?

drawings of people and animals

The Shariah ruling on people’s drawings has long been debated, with many new Muslims wondering if they are allowed to keep drawings they made before becoming Muslim, or if they must throw them away.

The answer may surprise you, because it’s not what you think! This article takes a deep dive into the issue of drawing people in Islam and what the Sunnah and scholars say about it!

Islamic Teachings on The Drawing

Islam has addressed issues of creating human or creature drawings in different ways.

In The Hadith

It is strictly forbidden in Hadith to draw living creatures. One such prohibition is stated in i. Riyad as-Salihin 1680 where Ibn Abbas reported that he heard the Holy Prophet say that the painters of portraits would be thrown into hell. He further stated that if one must draw, it must be trees and other intimate things.

Another hadith narrated by Hazrat Aisha sheds further light on this issue in Sahih Al Bukhari 7557.

In this hadith, it is reported that the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) said that the painters of the pictures or drawings would be punished and asked to bring those portraits to life.

The line “Make alive what you have created” emphasizes the seriousness of this prohibition.

What to do now?

Based on the hadith and Islamic jurisprudence, it is clear that drawing living beings is not permissible. However, according to some ulema, there may be some flexibility in this matter.

The context and intent behind the creation of such drawings play a significant role in determining their permissibility. If the purpose is for educational, historical, or non-idolatrous reasons, some scholars may consider it acceptable with certain restrictions, but the debate still remains.
Muslims must be careful not to engage in idolatry (shirk) or promote idolatrous practices through their drawings or images. It is essential to avoid any form of worship or veneration of these images.


When in doubt, Muslims are advised to consult knowledgeable Islamic scholars who can provide specific guidance on individual cases.

While the creation of drawings of people, especially those intended to represent living beings, is generally discouraged in Islam based on the hadith mentioned in Sahih al-Bukhari 7557, there may be exceptions depending on the context and purpose.

Muslims should approach this matter with caution, seeking to uphold Islamic principles and avoiding anything that could lead to idolatry or the violation of core Islamic beliefs. Consultation with knowledgeable scholars for specific guidance is recommended in situations of uncertainty.

Got a question? Feel free to ask mufti and get quick answers.


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