What do the scholars of the Din and muftis of the Sacred Law state regarding the following issue: Is the purchase of dolls, miniature plastic babies and cartoons, all of which resemble living objects, permissible? Is offering salah (the ritual prayer) in a room where such toys are present permissible? Kindly provide the detailed rulings along with proofs. May Allah reward you with the best of rewards.

Questioner: Zain  from  UK


بسم اللہ الرحمن الرحیم
الجواب بعون الملک الوھاب اللھم ھدایۃ الحق والصواب

The purchase of toys that resemble living objects is permissible. It is also permissible for children to play with them. However, toys with music should not be purchased as listening to music is haram (prohibited). This ruling (regarding music) is not applicable upon children but they must be stopped from committing impermissible acts right from childhood.

Imam Ibn ‘Abidin Shami (may Allah have mercy upon him) states in Radd al-muhtar regarding toys:

لَوْ كَانَتْ مِنْ خَشَبٍ أَوْ صُفْرٍ جَازَ

Translation: “It is permissible to purchase toys make out of wood or brass.” [Radd al-muhtar, vol. 7, pg. 505]

Mufti Amjad ‘Ali A’zami (may Allah have mercy upon him) states in Fatawa Amjadiyyah, “The sale of toys made out of iron, brass and copper is permissible because they are among those things from which it is permissible to benefit.” [Fatawa Amjadiyyah, vol. 4, pg. 232]

It is impermissible and a sin to decorate the house with toys that resemble living objects. It is an obstacle for angels entering the home. However, children playing with them and placing them in a place of disrespect or keeping the toys lying around on the floor is not impermissible.

It is stated in Fatawa Amjadiyyah: “Giving such toys to children and their playing with them is not impermissible, because keeping a picture (of a living object) in the house only out of respect is impermissible. It is not absolutely impermissible or when kept out of disrespect.” [Fatawa Amjadiyyah, vol. 4, pg. 233]

As far as praying in a room containing toys that resemble living objects is concerned, it is similar to praying in a room that contains pictures. Salah in this case is makruh tahrimi (prohibitively disliked) only in two scenarios.

1. When the toys have a full body resemblance to a living object and are placed in front of the worshipper, on a wall, etc., out of respect.

2. When they are placed on the place of prostration and the worshipper is prostrating on them. This scenario seems impossible in this case as no one prostrates upon a toy. Thus, there is a greater possibility of the first scenario in this case.

If such toys are on the right or left or behind the worshipper and have been placed in a cupboard, etc., decoratively, or have been hung on a wall, the salah will be makruh tanzihi (disliked but not forbidden or encouraged), even though decorating in this manner is makruh tahrimi.

Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him) states in Jadd al-mumtar,

فتعلیق امثال صور النصف او وضعھا فی القرازات وتزیین البیت بھا کما ھو متعارف عندالکفرۃ و الفسقۃکل ذالک مکروہ تحریما و مانع عن دخول الملائکۃ وان لم تکرہ الصلاوۃ ثم تحریماً بل تنزیھاً

Translation: “Hanging of half-body pictures, keeping them in treasures, decorating the house with them, etc., like it is popular among the disbelievers and sinners, are all makruh tahrimi and are acts that stop the angels from entering the home. However, the salah offered will not be makruh tahrimi, but will be makruh tanzihi.” [Jadd al-Mumtar, vol. 2, pg. 366, Maktabat al-Madinah]

He (may Allah have mercy upon him) states in Fatawa Ridawiyyah,

الصلٰوۃ علی سجادۃ فیھا تصاویر اذا لم یسجد علیھا نفی الامام محمد الکراھۃ فی الجامع الصغیر، واثبتھا فی الاصل والکل صحیح بالتوزیع ای یکرہ تنزیھا لاتحریما

Translation: “In al-Jami’ al-Saghir, Imam Muhammad has negated the karahah (dislike) of salah offered on a prayer mat containing pictures that one does not prostrate upon. However, its karahah has been proven in Kitab al-Asl. All of this is correct according to classification. The salah will be makruh tanzihi and not makruh tahrimi.” [Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 24, pg. 614]

If the toys are in a place that is not respected, e.g. they are lying on the floor other than the place of prostration, then salah is valid without any karahah.

Imam Ahmad Rida Khan (may Allah have mercy upon him states):

نعم فی بساط غیرہ لایکرہ اذاصلی علیہ ولم یسجد علیھا وان لم تکن تحت قدمیہ بل ولوکانت امامہ لوجودالاھانۃ مطلقا مع عدم التعظیم

Translation: “If one offers salah on a mat with a picture and does not prostrate on the picture, then there is no karahah. (This holds true even if) the picture is not under his feet but is in front of him, because in this case there is absolute disrespect of the picture and no veneration in any sense.” [Fatawa Ridawiyyah, vol. 24, pg. 616]

واللہ تعالی اعلم ورسولہ اعلم صلی اللہ علیہ وآلہ وسلم
کتبہ ابو الحسن محمد قاسم ضیاء قادری

Answered by Mufti Qasim Zia al-Qadri
Translated by the SeekersPath team

Read the original answer in Urdu here – [Q-ID0412] Can I buy dolls, plastic babies & cartoons for my children? Can I pray around them?

What does Makruh Tanzihi and Makruh Tahrimi mean? – read here

Also see:

[Q-ID0390] I prayed in a room that had pictures on the wall, do I need to repeat the prayer?

[Q-ID0449] Can I enter the Masjid and pray wearing a t-shirt that has images on it?

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