Guidelines on Children’s Clothes with Pictures and on Dolls
Sheikh Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked the following question
Question: – Here, one of the sisters asks: What is the ruling on clothing children with clothes which contains pictures of things which have souls if it is not possible to erase these pictures from them, because by erasing them (the pictures), the garment is spoiled?
So, the Sheikh replied:
Answer: – Without doubt, it has to be said, that for the likes of this question, the purchasing of the garment which is illustrated with pictures, has to have definitely already occurred by mistake or negligence from the father or mother who bought (it), because the fundamental principle is that it is not appropriate for the Muslims that they purchase clothes which have pictures on them. However, a person may be unaware, and he may be negligent, and they may forget…and he may forget and he may purchase a garment, (and) after he returns with it to his house it becomes clear to him that there is a full prohibited picture on it. So, in this situation also, this question (above) is not to be found. It is imperative that another introduction precede it (this question), and it is…the changing of the garment for another garment from the place where it was purchased from, (whereby this new garment) does not have on it a prohibited picture. So if… so if it was not possible for the father or the mother to change it (for another garment), then here in the third stage (of this situation) this question comes about.
So, I remind about these two introductions (which should be placed before the question) because the majority of the people are heedless when they proceed to the markets. They buy everyday necessities (which are made) from different materials, from them which are the likes of those things which are spread out (carpets, rugs, mats etc.) and blankets or what resembles that, those (things) which are predominantly illustrated with pictures and decorated. And they do not pay any attention to them at all (these materials which have pictures) and they buy them with the excuse that these materials are not respected (because they are sat on, slept on etc.) and are not hung up. So, we say: It is imperative upon the Muslims that they be those who are awake (and) not those who are asleep, and that they pay attention to the plot of the disbelievers, those who are invading them in the midst of their own house with diverse ways – and that which is from them (these ways) are these clothes which are illustrated with pictures.And it (this matter) is mentioned bit by bit, specifically if the people are in need of it. And in a manner more specific when they are made heedless through some of the erroneous guidelines, through some of the fataawa (religious edicts) which are not based upon authentic proof, like (the fataawa for) these dolls and children’s toys which cram up the markets and the mothers go and buy for the boys and girls many a thing from these amusements in the name of them (being) toys for children or toys for girls.
So, it is imperative that we remember something here, and it is that the toys (i.e. dolls) which are allowed to be used for the small children… rather I say for girls only and not for the males from the children, that there is not out there any proof for the permissibility (of these toys/dolls) except the hadeeth of ‘Aaishah (may Allah be pleased with her) which says that she used to send for the daughters from the daughters of her neighbours to come to her and she would play with them with girls’ toys and the Messenger (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa ‘ala aalihi wa sallam) would help her in that and consent to her (doing that) and he would not rebuke her. Rather, indeed he (sallallahu ‘alaihi wa ‘ala aalihi wa sallam) [entered upon her] one time and saw amongst her toys a horse with two wings. So he (‘alaihi salaam) said to ‘Aaishah, playing about with her: ‘A horse which has two wings?!’ She said: ‘O’ Messenger of Allah, have you not heard’ or ‘has it not reached you that the horse of Sulaymaan (‘alaihi salaam) had wings?’ and he (‘alaihi salaatu wa salaam) laughed and he affirmed her in that. This hadeeth is the proof which makes it possible for us to rely upon it in allowing girl’s toys (i.e. dolls) with images and sculptured forms.
However, there is a principle of fiqh (jurisprudence) out there that every text which comes and carries within its folds a ruling which is an exception from the general proofs, then this ruling is halted at and it is not increased upon because it is against the fundamental principle. And that which was like that, i.e. that which was against the fundamental principle, then an analogy (qiyaas) is not made from that which was irregular to the fundamental principle, (and) because that which was against (an) analogy (being made with it), cannot (then) be used to make (a further) analogy based upon it, and indeed it is but connected (back) to the general principle.
If this meaning is clear to all, inshaa’Allah, then at this time we say: The toys which Sayyidah ‘Aaishah (may Allah be pleased with her) [had], they were from that type which some of the other women engaged in, in diverting the attention of their children away from requesting food and drink in the state of them fasting. And indeed they (the women) used to take for them images from coloured wool, from cotton and give them to those who were fasting from the youngsters, diverting their attention away from requesting food and drink. This type from the images, this type from the toys of the children, it was a local (type of image and toy) and it was a domestic [i.e. in the house] (type of image and toy), and it was not imported from outside the Islamic households, let alone being imported from the lands of disbelief and misguidance which manufacture toys and figures which are in accordance with their tastes, with their habits and their customs, and which do not agree in any way whatsoever with the habits of the Muslims and their customs and the rulings of their share ‘ah. And from that which shows you this, is what you see in these (imported) images, from the (imported) figures (which) sometimes are small (in size) and sometimes are big (in size), until (even) a young girl (who) can just about hold the doll and (yet) it is the same length as her and the same width as her and it has blond hair and clipped (in its hair) from the sides like the male children. And it (the imported doll) has a garment which are shorts i.e. the garment which has no legs to it, and it has the short garment which reveals the thighs (of the dolls). These sculptured forms contain the customs of those disbelievers and their habits and their mannerisms.
So, if we entered these sculptured forms into our houses, then first that (shows) that we are pleased with what they contain (i.e. from the customs, habits and mannerisms of those who made them)…firstly…, and secondly, that we are teaching our children (those) mannerisms and that we are bringing them up since their tender age upon finding pleasant these objects which are mutually contradictory to the Islamic clothing, and in particular that which is related to the men. And due to this, it is imperative upon us to beware of these imported clothes from the lands of disbelief with their [different] types and their (different) forms and their (different) purposes, and from that are the clothes of young children.
So we, with great sorrow, every time we enter a house we find the children of our brothers, those who adhere – according to our claim – to the Book of our Lord and the Sunnah of our Prophet, despite all of that, we find that the children have been dressed in clothes which have pictures on them and lewd pictures. Then, this calamity has spread until we have begun to clothe our youths who have passed the age of responsibility with shirts which have pictures on the back and on the front. And (when) sometimes we pray the Friday prayer, there comes to the Friday prayer, as you know, the one who does not pray except on the day of Friday, and most of his life he spends in play and amusement and despite that he (stills) attends the Friday prayer. So, we see him praying and behind him i.e. on the back of his shirt, there is a picture of a woman with her hair flowing and visible from her is her arm and her neck and the likes of that, and we face this picture (whilst praying).
These strange acts of heedlessness from the Muslims, I think that that which helps in spreading these shameful things and these Islamic violations is the saying that the prohibited images are indeed only but firstly, the three- dimensional images which have a shadow. As for that which is not three- dimensional, then these they claim are permissible and allowed and especially if they were not formed by the hand but were rather but formed with a photo camera or a printer. So, these are from the whisperings of shaytaan which he has thrown amongst humanity in this time and beautified for them (the fact) that there is nothing wrong with them.
So, it is upon the Muslims therefore, to stay away from buying any type from the types of clothes which have these pictures on them due to what we have mentioned earlier.
And in conclusion I say in response to that question (asked above): If the affair revolves around scraping off (the picture from) the garment and wasting the benefit from it and around seeking pleasure from it (the garment) despite its obvious and hidden shortcomings…I say if…., then seeking benefit (from it) is permissible. However, I believe that the believing woman and the one who with her capability is truly the mistress of the house, (should) erase the traces of that picture by scraping (it) off and with embroidery whereby the head is wiped out because the affair is as he (‘alaihi as salaam) said:
‘Indeed, the picture is but the head’.
So, if the head is wiped out, the picture is wiped out, even if some of its traces remain. And with this has the answer been completed inshaa’Allah.
Taken from the cassette entitled: Tawjeehaat Lil-Mar’atil- Muslimah (guidelines for the Muslim woman) of Sheikh Muhammad Naasir-ud-Deen Al-Albaanee (may Allah have mercy on him).
Translated by: Abu Yusuf, Sagheer Ibn ‘Abdir-Rasheed Al-Kashmeeree