Getting to Know Allah

The Eternal Adolescent?

More Destruction, Less Creation

Getting to Know AllahThe Prophet had many abilities, but painting or sculpture were not among them.

Like an adolescent, and like His Mentor, God's Messenger was more into destruction than creation; a phase which he may never have outgrown while he grew to despise those who could do what he could not, associating this with a prohibition from Allah.

Then again, like most gods, Allah is somewhat insecure in His omnipotence, the most visible manifestation being his obsessions with what they worship apart from Him, the so-called idols from which we get Islam's prohibition against sculptures.

The reason for the prohibition against representations of the human or animal form on canvas or frescos is less obvious. Arguments advanced include that Allah is concerned that the artist will want to worship his or her creation and entice others to do the same – to worship a work of art instead of His All-Powerfulness. Some believers, Sunnis mostly, even consider photographs prohibited.

Another, is that the depiction of the human or animal form in any medium is "an act of creation" therefore an infringement on Allah’s domain, which, like the almost two-thousand years old Bamiyan Buddhas, and the more recent Islamic State inspired destruction of treasures of antiquity, must be obliterated at the earliest opportunity.

Since the Prophet's sayings and example is the law if the Koran does not offer a contrary opinion, the prohibition against images may have more to do with something God's Messenger said about painters and paintings.

Narrated Aisha:

I bought a cushion with pictures on it. When Allah's Apostle saw it, he kept standing at the door and did not enter the house. I noticed the sign of disgust on his face, so I said, "O Allah's Apostle! I repent to Allah and His Apostle. (Please let me know) what sin I have done."

Allah's Apostle said, "What about this cushion?"

I replied, "I bought it for you to sit and recline on."

Allah's Apostle said, "The painters (i.e. owners) of these pictures will be punished on the Day of Resurrection. It will be said to them, 'Put life in what you have created (i.e. painted).'"

The Prophet added, "The angels do not enter a house where there are pictures."

Bukhari 34.318

Narrated Abu Talha:

I heard Allah's Apostle saying; "Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal)."

Bukhari 54.448


The Koran’s prohibition is unequivocal. No statues of people or animals – what Allah calls idols!

Does this prohibition against statues, paintings and drawings of animals and people extend to children’s toys such as dolls and stuffed animals? Is Allah concerned that children who play with dolls and stuffed animals will end up worshipping them instead of Him?

If Allah is anything like His Messenger, toys in the hands of children or adults playing with their children playing with toys are not on His prohibited list.

Said the Prophet's wife Aishah (may Allah be pleased with her): I used to play with dolls in the house of the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be on him) and my friends would come over to play with me.

They would hide when they saw the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) approaching, but he was in fact very happy to see them with me, and so we played together.

Reported by al-Bukhari and Muslim

Aisha also reported:

One day the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) asked me, "What are these?"

"My dolls," I replied.

"What is this in the middle?" he asked.

"A horse," I replied.

"And what are these things on it?" he asked.

"Wings," I said.

"A horse with wings?" he asked.

"Have not you heard that Solomon, the son of David, had horses with wings?" I said.

Thereupon the Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) laughed so heartily that I could see his molars."

Reported by Abu Dawud