Thursday, December 27, 2007

Quran and Hadith on Images

Defining Islamic Art

The most important part of Islamic Art is the prohibition of realistic images of humans and animals.

The Quran and Hadith advise us on this area.
Hadith - Bukhari 3:428, Narrated Said bin Abu Al-Hasan
While I was with Ibn 'Abbas a man came and said, "O father of 'Abbas! My sustenance is from my manual profession and I make these pictures." Ibn 'Abbas said, "I will tell you only what I heard from Allah's Apostle . I heard him saying, 'Whoever makes a picture will be punished by Allah till he puts life in it, and he will never be able to put life in it.' “Hearing this, that man heaved a sigh and his face turned pale. Ibn 'Abbas said to him, "What a pity! If you insist on making pictures I advise you to make pictures of trees and any other inanimate objects."
Hadith -Bukhari 4:47, Narrated 'Aisha
I stuffed for the Prophet a pillow decorated with pictures (of animals) which looked like a Namruqa (i.e. a small cushion). He came and stood among the people with excitement apparent on his face. I said, "O Allah's Apostle! What is wrong?" He said, "What is this pillow?" I said, "I have prepared this pillow for you, so that you may recline on it." He said,
"Don't you know that angels do not enter a house wherein there are pictures; and whoever makes a picture will be punished on the Day of Resurrection and will be asked to give life to (what he has created)?"
Hadith - Bukhari 4:448, 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)."
Hadith -Bukhari 5:338, Narrated Ibn Abbas
Abu Talha, a companion of Allah's Apostle and one of those who fought at Badr together with Allah's Apostle told me that Allah's Apostle said. "Angels do not enter a house in which there is a dog or a picture."
Hadith - Muslim, Narrated Ali ibn AbuTalib
AbulHayyaj al-Asadi told that Ali ibn AbuTalib said to him: Should I not send you on the same mission as Allah's Messenger sent me? Do not leave an image without obliterating it, or a high grave without levelling it.
Hadith - Bukhari 8:151, Narrated 'Aisha
I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet , and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Apostle used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for 'Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.) (Fateh-al-Bari page 143, Vol.13)
Hadith - Abu Dawud, Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu'minin
When the Apostle of Allah arrived after the expedition to Tabuk or Khaybar (the narrator is doubtful), the draught raised an end of a curtain which was hung in front of her store-room, revealing some dolls which belonged to her. He asked: What is this? She replied: My dolls. Among them he saw a horse with wings made of rags, and asked: What is this I see among them? She replied: A horse. He asked: What is this that it has on it? She replied: Two wings. He asked: A horse with two wings? She replied: Have you not heard that Solomon had horses with wings? She said: Thereupon the Apostle of Allah laughed so heartily that I could see his molar teeth.

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