The Koran Does Not Forbid Images of the Prophet

Isaiah’s vision of Jesus riding a donkey and Muhammad riding a camel, al-Biruni, al-Athar al-Baqiyya ‘an al-Qurun al-Khaliyya (Chronology of Ancient Nations), Tabriz, Iran, 1307-8. Edinburgh University Library. Edinburgh University Library

The Koran does not prohibit figural imagery….

….Moreover, the Hadith, or Sayings of the Prophet, present us with an ambiguous picture at best: At turns we read of artists dared to breathe life into their figures and, at others, of pillows ornamented with figural imagery.

If we turn to Islamic law, there does not exist a single legal decree, or fatwa, in the historical corpus that explicitly and decisively prohibits figural imagery, including images of the Prophet.

While more recent online fatwas can surely be found, the decree that comes closest to articulating this type of ban was published online in 2001 by the Taliban, as they set out to destroy the Buddhas of Bamiyan.

In their fatwa, the Taliban decreed that all non-Islamic statues and shrines in Afghanistan be destroyed. However, this very modern decree remains entirely silent on the issue of figural images and sculptures within Islam, which, conversely, had been praised as beneficial and educational by Muhammad ‘Abduh, a prominent jurist in 19th century Egypt.

In sum, a search for a ban on images of Muhammad in pre-modern Islamic textual sources will yield no clear and firm results whatsoever.

…After 1500, a major shift in representations of the Prophet occurs in both Persian-Shiite and Ottoman-Sunni lands. Muhammad’s facial features become covered by a white facial veil while his body is engulfed by a large gold aureole, visual devices that doubly stress his unseen, numinous qualities…

While images of the Prophet have waned since 1800, there nevertheless exist a number of modern and contemporary representations that reveal a rather unsteady, and thus not cohesive or uniform, approach to the production of Muhammad-centered imagery..

Just more rubbish from islam.  They do not even know their own history.  

Wahhabism, dating to the 18th century in what is now Saudi Arabia may have been the main driver of the current hysteria.  Saudi oil money has spread Wahhabism and its ideas worldwide.

  • Drunk_by_Noon

    The nature of Islam, results over time, in an ever stringent interpretation of the Quran as each sect or congregation tried to prove (to all other sects) that their band is the most pure form of Islam. The easiest way to do that is to have all sorts of prohibitions against things not even mentioned in the hadiths or the Quran, and then claim that your strain of Islam is the most correct because it has the greatest number of prohibitions.
    I call the phenomenon “sharia creep” where’s if the “prophet” decreed that music was prohibited, then certainly other forms of entertainment or enjoyment must be prohibited too.
    Then the next thing you know are fatwas against kite flying and men wearing neckties and God knows what else.
    It’s all phony outrage and false moral preening in an effort to appear the most righteous.
    Everything done in the name of Islam is based upon appearance to others as it is a product of a ‘shame-based’ culture, while in private they are raping goats and little children.

    • Frau Katze

      Good concept, “sharia creep”. I wish I had enough time to read more of this history of how this ever got started.

  • Linda1000

    It’s a little late to find out now that images of Mohammed are not haram since the the people gunned down in Paris lost their lives for no valid reason but due to ignorance of islam spread by imams and clerics. Early Persian art is very nice with lots of detail and some of it is as good as the early Italian artists. Some Persian artists also created miniatures really well. Just my impression from the little I have seen.

    • Frau Katze

      I realize that. And, it hardly matters about history, all that matters is that millions of Muslims around the world are convinced it is haram.

      These people are not very bright, or well read, even on their own history. They do not approach history the way we do in the West. It is different way of thinking.

      • Linda1000

        Agree, I was thinking the article, (not your posting) is a little late in being written and of course our media won’t expand on this taboo subject.
        I think islam today deliberately targets poorer and uneducated countries to spread more easily or that seems to be the greatest expansion in places like Africa and Indonesia, Philippines, etc.

  • Dana Garcia

    To that point, Zombietime has a large selection of Mohammed images.

    • Linda1000

      Interesting site, thanks.

    • Frau Katze

      Good site!

  • Una Salus

    The development of Islamic art shows the fallacy of this argument. Non representative patterns abound as anybody who has visited a Mosque immediately picks up. This is stupid attempt on the part of the author to make make modern fatwas seem modern. They aren’t.
    Yes muham-mad is depicted in art but it’s usually the art of people who weren’t fully incorporated into the Islamic ethos. Most religious Muslims will tell you that.

    The Taliban decreed that all non-Islamic statues and shrines in Afghanistan be destroyed not because of art per se although that was probably a factor but because of what they represented – foreign deities.

    In Islam the the prohibition against idols is so strong that it translates in to a mistrust of all art.
    Including music.
    This is not modern it’s quite old.
    What’s also getting old is the pathetic attempt of western liberals to reinvent a religion they don’t understand because they can’t and because they think the same BS that works in the west will work with Islam too.

  • bob e

    great post. i’m so sick of these scummers ..