Appreciating Beauty in Islam-3

Assoc. Prof. Dr. Spahic Omer
Kulliyyah of Architecture and Environmental Design
International Islamic University Malaysia
Jalan Gombak, 53100 Kuala Lumpur
e-mail:    spahico@yahoo.com

Representation of human figures

The fundamental nature of beauty and the beautiful in Islam outlined above appears technically not to be completely in opposition to the moderate and qualified representation of humans too, given that humans are also Allah’s beautiful creation abounding with signs that clearly point to Him, just like everything else: “On the earth are Signs for those of assured Faith; as also in your own selves: will ye not then see?” (Al-Dhariyat 20-21).

According to a set of fatwas (formal legal opinions), there is nothing wrong in drawing human beings in a restrained and qualified way, as long as such images do not depict nudity and other indecent representations abhorrent to the Islamic tawhidic worldview such as the idealization of infidelity, individualism, self-realization and man’s animal passions, and are not used for veneration or glorification of the images’ substance by either the artist or the beholder, and do not fall short of promoting moderation and uprightness rather than extravagance, conceit, haughtiness and the squandering of one’s time, resources and energy. What is unconditionally wrong and thus strongly prohibited is making and keeping statues, i.e., complete, solid figures which have not been disfigured or otherwise defaced.[1] Their presence in a house is sufficient to drive away the angels, as the Prophet (pbuh) unequivocally stated on numerous occasions.

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