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Playing with dolls




We find mention in the Ahadith that Ayesha ((May Allah Ta’ala be pleased with her) had a doll. Based on this, what it the law pertaining to playing with dolls?



Wa'alaykum as Salam wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuhu,


The Ahadith of A’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) wherein it is stated that she used to play with dolls cannot be used to justify the playing with dolls. There are many narrations that prohibit the making of life-like statues and objects. In some narrations the incident of the messenger (sallallahu alayhi wa sallam) not entering Aa’ishas (may Allah be pleased with her) house because of there being the pictures of animate objects in the house is mentioned. Thus, it will be best to say that the dolls, which are mentioned in the Ahadith were not like the ones of today, but rather they were of a different type, perhaps something simple made of rags which did not have any specific lifelike shape and features. Thus Hadhrat Mawlana Allamah Anwar Shah Sahib Kashmiri (may Allah have mercy on him), in his book Faidh al-Bari vol. 4 pg. 395 has mentioned this;


وكانت حقيقتها في القديم أنهم كانوا يأخذون ثوبا ، و يشدّونه من الوسط فكانت لا تحكي عن صورة و شكل ،

و لم تكن كبناتنا اليوم فإنها تماثيل كالأصنام فلا تجوز قطعاً. (فيض الباري ( (4/ )395


“The reality of the dolls of previous times is that people used to take cloth and tie it in the middle. It did not have a face or a shape. It was not like the dolls of today because they are statuettes like idols; thus they are definitely not permissible.” (Faidh al-Bari vol. 4 pg. 395)


Similarly, In Badhl al-Majhud , the commentary of Sunan Abi Dawud, the footnote of Hadhrat Mawlana Muhammad Yahya Sahib (may Allah be pleased with him) is reproduced which states that the dolls of Aa’isha (may Allah be pleased with her) were not fashioned like animate objects, otherwise, there would have been no reason for Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) to inquire and ask what it was.


{ فقال ما هذا يا عائشة} كتب مولانا محمد يحيي المرحوم في التقرير قوله ما هذا يا عائشة لعل هذا يرشدك أنها لم تكن تماثيل تامة و إلا لما افتقر إلى المسألة و لما ترك في بيته ولما خفي ذلك عليه مدة كذا لأن الملك لا يدخل بيتاً فيه تصاوير فلو كانت تماثيل لامتنع الملك قبل تلك الواقعة من النزول إليه كما في جرو الكلب مع أن عائشة كانت غير مكلفة بعد انتهى. (بذل المجهود 171 /)19


Hafidh Mundhiri (may Allah be have mercy on him) has said that if (for argument’s sake), these dolls were shaped like real dolls then this incident will be said to have taken place before the prohibition of statues, and if it was not life-like then it will be said that the word lu’bah (toy, doll) can be used for something which is inanimate. Allamah Halimi (may Allah have mercy on him) also holds the same view.


وقال المنذري إن كانت اللعب كالصورة فهو قبل التحريم وإلا فقد يسمى ما ليس بصورة لعبةو بهذا جزم الحليمي فقال إن كانت الصورة كالوثن لم يجز و إِلا جاز. إه .(فتح الباري ()10/526


Finally, scholars like Imam Bayhaqi, Ibn Jawzi, Ibn Battal (may Allah have mercy on them all) and others are of the view that the narration of Aa’isha has been abrogated.



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  • 3 months later...

assalamualikum, i just wanted to know if it is permissible for children to play with dolls and keep them in your house, as i have heard from someone that when Hazrat Aisha R.A was a child she played with dolls. if it is not permissble then please can you state why? 


In the name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful
Assalaamu `alaykum waRahmatullahi Wabarakatuh


It is not permissible to have dolls in the house or to allow children to play with them. There are many Ahadith that have explicitly mentioned the impermissibility and punishment of having something that resembles a living being. The following Hadith is just one of many:


فقال ابن عباس لا أحدثك إلا ما سمعت رسول الله صلى الله عليه و سلم يقول سمعته يقول ( من صور صورة فإن الله معذبه حتى ينفخ فيها الروح وليس بنافخ فيها أبدا ) .(صحيح البخاري، 2/53، الفكر)


The Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) says: “One who makes an image (of a living being), surely Allah Ta’ala will punish him until he does not blow life into it and surely he will never be able to blow life into it.”


After such grave punishment is mentioned for one who makes images of a living being, how can it be permissible for one to posses such items and give them to their children to play with? The simple fact that the Prophet (SalAllahu Alayhi Wasallam) has forbade us from this is reason enough for us to refrain from having anything that resembles a living being.


As for the incident of Aishah (RadhiAllahu Anha) having dolls a group of Fuqahaa have mentioned that there is no clear explanation about how her dolls were. Therefore, it is very likely that her dolls did not have any obvious similarity to a real being. Rather, her dolls were void of any distinct features that resembled a living being.


A second group of Fuqahaa including Imam al-Bayhaqi has simply mentioned that this incident took place prior to the prohibition of images. Therefore, this incident cannot be used to sanction the use of dolls. Nevertheless, none of the Fuqahaa have given the permissibility of playing with dolls we find commonly these days. 


واحد( اشترى ثورا أو فرسا من خزف ) للأجل ( استئناس الصبي لا يصح و ) لا قيمة له ف ( لا يضمن متلفه وقيل بخلافه )
(رد المحتار، 5/ 226، سعيد)

(Fatawa Mahmodiya, 19/ 500-502, Farooqiyah)

(Ahsan ul-Fatawa, 8/ 201, Saeed)


وقد استشكل هذا الحديث بما روى من تحريم الصور. فقال بعض العلماء: إن قصة حديث الباب قبل تحريم الصور، وإليه مال البيهقي، وقال بعضهم: محل التحريم ما كان واضح الصورة، وما كانت تلعب به عائشة لم يكن واضح الصورة...
(تكملة فتح الملهم، 5/ 148، كراتشي)

قال القاضي فيه جواز اللعب بهن قال وهن مخصوصات من الصور المنهي عنها... وقالت طائفة هو منسوخ بالنهي عن الصور هذا كلام القاضي.
(سرح النووي على مسلم، 15/ 200، المعرفة)

فيه جواز اللعب بهن، وتخصيصهم من الصور المنهي عنها لهذا الحديث...وذهبت فرقة الى أنه منسوخ بالنهي عن الصور.
(شرح صحيح مسلم للقاضي عياض، 7/ 447-448، الوفاء)


And Allah knows best

Wassalamu Alaikum

Ml. Sajid bin Shabbir,
Student Darul Iftaa

Checked and Approved by:

Mufti Ebrahim Desai
Darul Iftaa, Madrassah In'aamiyyah


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