Islam Question and Answer – Prohibition of images and erecting statues, and the effect this has on ‘aqeedah

 

Prohibition of images
and erecting statues, and the effect this has on ‘aqeedah

I am having difficulties explaining to a muslim that erecting a non-muslim statute is haram. His response was this woman was a heroine and fought the muslims to defend her land, and she is my ancester before islamization..

 

Can a muslim idolize a statute, or erect one in memory of a hero?, even if the hero and/or heroine was not muslim?

 

Praise be to Allaah. 

Firstly,
it may be understood from your question that what is to be denounced is
the fact that the statue is of a kaafir, and that if it was a statue of a
Muslim it would be permissible to erect it. This is a mistake, because all
statues of animate beings are equally haraam, regardless of whether they
are made in the images of a Muslim or a kaafir. Indeed, making a statue of
a kaafir is worse, because it combines two evils, that of making the
statue and that of glorifying this kaafir. 

There
follow details of the prohibition on the making of images and statues.

I.   
The prohibition on statues is not just the matter of fiqh; it goes
beyond that to the matter of ‘aqeedah, because Allaah is the Only One
Who has the power of giving shape to His creation and creating them in the
best image. Making images implies that one is trying to match the creation
of Allaah. The matter also has to do with ‘aqeedah when these images are
taken as idols which are worshipped instead of Allaah.

Among
the daleel (evidence) that image-making is the exclusive preserve of
Allaah are the following:

 1.    
Allaah
says (interpretation of the meaning):

“He
it is Who shapes you in the wombs as He wills” [Aal ‘Imraan 3:6]

“And
surely, We created you (your father Adam) and then gave you shape (the
noble shape of a human being); then We told the angels, ‘Prostrate
yourselves to Adam’” [al-A’raaf 7:11]

“He
is Allaah, the Creator, the Inventor of all things, the Bestower of forms.
To Him belong the Best Names. All that is in the heavens and the earth
glorify Him. And He is the All-Mighty, the All-Wise”
[al-Hashr 59:24] 

“O
man! What has made you careless about your Lord, the Most Generous? Who
created you, fashioned you perfectly, and gave you due proportion. In
whatever form He willed, He put you together.”

[al-Infitaar
82:6-8]

 These
aayaat clearly state the belief that creating and giving form to creation
is the preserve of their Lord, Creator and Fashioner, so it is not
permissible  for anyone to
encroach on that and to try to match the creation of Allaah.

 2. 
It was reported from
‘Aa’ishah Umm al-Mu’mineen that Umm Habeebah and Umm Salamah
mentioned a church which they had seen in Ethiopia, in which there were
images. They  told the Prophet

(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) about it, and he said:
“Those people, if there was a righteous man among them and he died, they
would build a place of worship over his grave and put images in it. These
will be the most evil of creation before Allaah on the Day of
Resurrection.” (narrated
by al-Bukhaari, 417; Muslim, 528)

 Al-Haafiz
Ibn Hajar said:

 This
hadeeth indicates that making images is haraam. (Fath
al-Baari, 1/525).

 Al-Nawawi
said: 

Our 
companions and other scholars said: making images of animate beings
is extremely haraam and is a major sin, because severe warnings have been
issued against it in the ahaadeeth. Whether the image is made to be used
in a disrespectful fashion or for other purposes, it is haraam to make it
in all cases, because it implies that one is trying to match the creation
of Allaah, whether the image is to appear on a garment, carpet, coin,
vessel, wall or whatever. With regard to pictures of trees, camel saddles,
and other pictures in which no animate beings appear, these are not
haraam. This is the ruling on making images. (Sharh
Muslim, 14/81).

 3. 
Sa’eed ibn
Abi’l-Hasan said: I was with Ibn ‘Abbaas (may Allaah be pleased with
him) when a man came to him and said, O Abu ‘Abbaas, I am a man who
lives by what his hands make, and I make these images. Ibn ‘Abbaas said:
I will only tell you what I heard the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) say. I heard him say: “Whoever makes an
image, Allaah will punish him until he breathes life into it, and he will
never be able to do that.” The man became very upset and his face turned
pale, so [Ibn ‘Abbaas] said to him, Woe to you! If you insist on making
images, then make images of these trees and everything that does not have
a soul. (Narrated by
al-Bukhaari, 2112; Muslim, 2110).

 4. 
‘Abd-Allaah ibn
Mas’ood said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings
of Allaah be upon him) say: The people who will be the most severely
punished before Allaah on the Day of Resurrection will be the image
makers. (Narrated by
al-Bukhaari, 5606; Muslim, 2109).

 5. 
It was reported from
‘Abd-Allaah ibn ‘Umar (may Allaah be pleased with them both) that the
Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said:
Those who make these images will be punished on the Day of Resurrection.
It will be said to them, Give life to that which you have created! (Narrated
by al-Bukhaari, 5607; Muslim, 2108).

 6. 
It was reported that
Abu Hurayrah entered a house in Madeenah and saw somebody making images in
it. He said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of
Allaah be upon him) say: [Allaah says:] Who does greater wrong than one
who goes and creates something like My creation? Let them create a seed or
a small ant! (Narrated by
al-Bukhaari, 5609; Muslim, 2111).

 Al-Nawawi
said:

 Concerning
the words of Allaah. “Let them create a small ant or a seed or a grain
of barley!” means, let them create a small ant which has a soul and
moves by itself, like this small ant which was created by Allaah. Or let
them create  a grain of wheat
or barley, i.e., let them create a grain which is eaten as food or which
can be planted so it will grow and which has the characteristics of a
grain of wheat or barley or other seeds which were created by Allaah. This
is impossible, as stated above. (Sharh
Muslim, 14/90).
None can bring forth living vegetation out of nothing except Allaah, may
He be glorified.

 7.   
Abu Juhayfah said:
the Prophet
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) forbade the
price of a dog and the price of blood, and he forbade tattooing and asking
to be tattooed, and the consumption or paying of ribaa, and he cursed
those who make images. (Narrated
by al-Bukhaari, 1980).

  II.    
Islam prescribes that
idols should be destroyed and smashed, not made and repaired. Among the
evidence for this is the following:

  1.  
‘Abd-Allaah ibn
Mas’ood (may Allaah be pleased with him) said: when the Prophet

(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) entered Makkah [at the
Conquest], there were three hundred and sixty idols around the Ka’bah.
He started hitting them with his stick and saying, “Truth has come
and Baatil (falsehood) has vanished. Surely, Baatil is ever bound to
vanish” [al-Israa’ 17:81 – interpretation of the meaning]. (Narrated
by al-Bukhaari, 2346; Muslim, 1781).

 2.  
Abu’l-Hiyaaj al-Asadi said: ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said to
me: Shall I not send you on the same basis as the Messenger of Allaah

(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent me? Do not leave any
statue without destroying it, and do not leave any built-up grave without
razing it to the ground. (According to one report: and do not leave any
picture without erasing it). (narrated
by Muslim, 969).

 Ibn
al-Qayyim said:

 Tamaatheel
is the plural of Timthaal
(statue), which refers to a representative image.

 Shaykh
al-Islam (Ibn Taymiyah) said:

 The
command is to destroy two types of images: images which represent the
deceased person, and images which are placed on top of graves – because
Shirk may come about from both types. (Majmoo’
al-Fataawaa, 17/462).

 (al-Fawaa’id,
p. 196).

  III.     
The Prophet

(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) warned against bringing images
into the house, and said that this is a sin and deprives a person of good.
Among the evidence for that is the following:

 1.     
Abu Talhah said: I heard the Messenger of Allaah
(peace
and blessings of Allaah be upon him) say: The angels do not enter a house
in which there is a dog or statues.” (Narrated
by al-Bukhaari, 3053; Muslim, 2106).

 2.     
‘Aa’ishah Umm al-Mu’mineen (may Allaah be pleased with
her) said that she bought a pillow on which there were images. When the
Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) saw
it, he stood at the door and did not enter. She saw on his face that he
was upset, and said: O Messenger of Allaah, I repent to Allaah and His
Messenger
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). What is my
sin? The Messenger of Allaah
(peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) said: What is this pillow? She said, I bought it for you so that you
could sit on it and recline on it. The Messenger of Allaah
(peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: On the Day of Resurrection, the
makers of these images will be punished and it will be said to them, Give
life to that which you have created. And he said: The angels do not enter
a house in which there are images. (Narrated
by al-Bukhaari, 1999; Muslim, 2107).

  IV.    
Making images is a way of falling into Shirk, because Shirk starts
with the veneration of those who are depicted in the images, especially
when people have little or no knowledge. The evidence for this is:

 Ibn ‘Abbaas said: The idols of the people of
Nooh were known among the Arabs later on. Wadd belonged to (the tribe of)
Kalb in Dawmat al-Jandal. Suwaa’ belonged to Hudhayl. Yaghooth belonged
to Muraad, then to Bani Ghutayf in al-Jawf, near Sabaa’. Ya’ooq
belonged to Hamadaan. Nasar belonged to Humayr of Aal Dhi’l-Kalaa’.
These were names of righteous men from the people of Nooh. When they died,
the Shaytaan inspired their people to set up idols in the places where
they had used to sit, and to call those idols by their names. They did
that but they did not worship them, but after those people died and
knowledge had been forgotten, then they started to worship them. (Narrated
by al-Bukhaari, 4636).

 Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:

 The reason why al-Laat was worshipped was the
veneration of the grave of a righteous man which was there. (Iqtidaa’
al-Siraat al-Mustaqeem, 2/333).

 And he said:

 This problem – i.e., veneration – which is
why Islam forbids (images), is the reason why so many of nations have
fallen into committing Shirk to a greater or lesser degree. (al-Iqtidaa’,
2/334).

 Ibn al-Qayyim (may Allaah have mercy on him)
said, describing how the Shaytaan plays with the Christians:

 He plays with them with regard to the images
which they have in their churches and which they worship. You cannot find
any church which is free of these images of Maryam (Mary), the Messiah,
George, Peter and others of their saints and martyrs. Most of them bow to
these images and pray to them instead of to Allaah. The Patriarch of
Alexandria even wrote a letter to the ruler of Rome supporting the idea of
bowing to these images: (he said) Allaah commanded Moosa to make images of
cherubim in the Tabernacle; and when Sulayman the son of Dawood built the
Temple, he made images of cherubim and put them inside the Temple. Then he
said in his letter: this is like when a king sends a letter to one of his
governors and the governor takes the letter and kisses it then touches it
to his forehead [a sign of respect], and stands up to receive it. He does
not do this to venerate the paper and ink, but to venerate the king. In
the same way, when one bows to an image, it is to venerate the person
represented by the image, not to venerate the paints and colours.

 This is exactly the same as the example given to
justify idol worship. (Ighaathat
al-Lahfaan, 2/292).

 And he said:

 In most cases, the reason why nations fall into
Shirk is because of images and graves.” (Zaad
al-Ma’aad, 3/458).

 V. 
The aayaat and ahaadeeth quoted above indicate that the prohibition
of images is for two reasons:

The first is: because it implies that one is trying to
match the creation of Allaah.

The second is: because it is an imitation of the
kuffaar.

The third is: because it is a means of veneration and
falling into Shirk.

From the above it is clear that it is forbidden to make
statues, whether the statue is of a Muslim or a kaafir. Whoever does that
is trying to match the creation of Allaah and thus deserves to be cursed.
We ask Allaah to keep us safe and sound, and to guide us. May Allaah bless
our Prophet Muhammad.

Islam Q&A
Sheikh Muhammed Salih Al-Munajjid

 

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