Tuesday, 15 November 2011

Ruling on animated drawings (cartoons)


What is the ruling on animated cartoons that are shown to children? Do they come under the heading of images that are forbidden in Islam?.

Praise be to Allaah.


It is well
known that Islam has forbidden image-making, drawing and sculpting every
animate being that Allaah has created; there are stern warnings issued to
those who do that. 

The Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “The most severely
punished of the people on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.”
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5950) and Muslim (2109). 

See also the
answer to question no. 7222 and

Islam makes
an exception from this prohibition in the case of images with which children

It was
narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allaah be pleased with her) said: The Messenger
of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) came back from
the campaign to Tabook or Khaybar, and in her alcove there was a curtain.
The breeze came and lifted the edge of the curtain, uncovering the
“daughters” of ‘Aa’ishah, i.e., her dolls. He said: “What is this, O
‘Aa’ishah?” She said: “My daughters.” And among them he saw a horse with two
wings of cloth. He said: “What is this that I see among them?” She said: “A
horse.” He said: “What is this on it?” She said: “Two wings.” He said: “A
horse with wings?” She said: “Have you not heard that Sulaymaan had horses
with wings?” She said: And he smiled so broadly that I could see his eye
teeth.” Narrated by Abu Dawood (4932), classed as saheeh by al-Iraaqi in
Takhreej al-Ihya’ (2/344) and by al-Albaani in Saheeh Abi Dawood. 

ibn Hajr said in Fath al-Baari (10/527): 

This hadeeth
is taken as evidence that it is permissible to have dolls and toys for girls
to play with. This is an exception to the prohibition of images. This was
stated by ‘Iyaad, and it was narrated from the majority that they allowed
the sale of toys and dolls so that girls might learn from a young age how to
take care of their houses and their children. End quote. 

Shaykh Ibn
‘Uthaymeen (may Allaah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on
cartoons that appear on TV? 

He replied: 

With regard
to the cartoons which you say appear on TV, if they are in the form of
humans, then the ruling on watching them depends on whether they come under
the same ruling as realistic human images or not? It is most likely that
they do not come under that ruling.  

If they are
not in the form of humans, then there is nothing wrong with watching them,
so long as they are not accompanied by anything haraam such as music and so
on, and they do not distract from obligatory duties. End quote. 

al-Fataawa 2/question no. 333 


The issue of
animated drawings and cartoons is one of the most serious educational
issues, because of the immense effect that these films have on children’s
developing characters, and because they have become a primary educational
tool in many countries nowadays. 

At this
stage the heart and mind of the child is like a blank page; nothing crosses
it but it leaves an imprint. 

al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him) said in Tuhfat al-Mawdood

One thing
that the child desperately needs is for care to be taken with regard to his
morals and attitude, for he will grow up with whatever the one who is
raising him accustoms him to when he is small, and when he grows older it
becomes difficult for him to change what he has got used to; these attitudes
and characteristics that have become deeply ingrained in him, even if he
tries to suppress them, they will always surface and expose him. End quote. 

These are
some of the positive effects of children watching these programs: 

1 – They
give children a great deal of educational information in an easy and
enjoyable manner. Some cartoons focus on particular geographical areas, and
others focus on scientific matters, such as the parts of the human body,
which gives the child advanced knowledge at an early age.

2 – They
develop the child’s imagination and nourish his abilities, and they develop
the imagination in a way which helps the mind to grow and prepare it to be
innovative and teach the child new ways of thinking and behaving.  

3 – They
teach fus-ha (classical) Arabic which children usually do not hear at home
or even at school. It is well known that teaching the child correct language
is one of the aims of education. 

Ibn Taymiyah
said in Iqtida’ al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem (1/207): 

It should be
noted that becoming accustomed to the language has a powerful effect on
one's thinking, attitude and religious commitment, and also has the effect
of seeking to follow the example of the early generations of this ummah, the
Sahaabah and Taabi’een. Seeking to follow their example increases reasoning,
religious commitment and good attitude. Moreover, the Arabic language is
part of this religion, and learning it is obligatory and essential. End

4 – They
meet some psychological needs and have a beneficial effect, such as
compassion, love, honouring one’s parents, competition, striving for success
and meeting challenges and many other positive attitudes that can be
instilled via cartoons. 

There are
also some negative effects that come from watching these programs: 

1 – The
negative consequences of watching TV in general, of which there are many
such as: damage to the eyes, getting used to laziness and inactivity,
getting used to passive reception and not participating. It also stunts
natural development of knowledge, because knowledge is acquired by learning,
researching and seeking, but the television replaces seeking with mere
receiving. Watching TV also weakens the bonds of love between family
members, when they let watching shows keep them from speaking to one

al-Qayyim said, discussing the parent’s responsibilities in raising the
child in Tuhfat al-Mawdood (241): 

He should
avoid letting him became lazy and inactive, and should teach him the
opposite. He should not let him rest for more than he needs to refresh his
body and soul for more work, for laziness and inactivity bring bad
consequences and will end in regret, but hard work brings good consequences,
either in this world or in the Hereafter or in both. End quote. 

2 – They
present beliefs and ideas that are contrary to Islam, as some movies include
mixing and display of charms (tabarruj) that are haraam. Some
cartoons, such as Tom & Jerry, give distorted ideas about the Hereafter,
Paradise and Hell, and the Reckoning. Some cartoons include distortions of
the stories of the Prophets and Messengers, and some poke fun at Islam and
Muslims, whilst others (such as Pokemon) include the beliefs of eastern and
idolatrous religions. And there are many other examples. Even if a film does
not outwardly go against Islam, it still carries notions of western culture
that are alien to our society and religion. 

Dr. Wahbah
al-Zuhayli said in Qadiyat al-Ahdaath (6): 

With regard
to children’s programs and some adults’ programs, they propagate the spirit
of western culture and promote western traditions, and they attract people
to western-style parties and clubs. 

One of the
effects of this culture is the adoption of imaginary examples instead of
following the example of the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be
upon him), his companions, the scholars and the mujaahideen. So children
start to imitate Superman, Batman and Spiderman and other imaginary
characters who do not exist, and they lose out in following the real
example, as they get confused by so many imaginary examples who have no

Wasaa’il al-I’laam wa’l-Atfaal: Wajhat nazar Islamiyyah by Abu’l-Hasan
Saadiq and the article entitled Athar al-Rusoom al-Mutaharrikah ‘ala
al-Atfaal by Nizaar Muhammad ‘Uthmaan. 

stating the positive and negative aspects, the Islamic attitude should be
clear in sha Allah. The more negative points there are, the closer the
ruling is to stating that it is haraam, and the more it is able to avoid the
negative aspects, the closer it is to being permissible. This tells us that it is essential to establish companies that will produce Islamic cartoons by means of which all positive virtues may be instilled and all harmful and evil aspects can be avoided. 

And Allaah knows best.

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