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Video game character customization and making game characters of animate beings

Answered as per Hanafi Fiqh by Fatwa.ca


I know drawing pictures of animate beings is haram but I want to ask if you are playing a game and you are given a default character and you want to change the skin tone, hairstyle, height, eye shape/colour or clothes of that character will that be considered haram image making or imitating Allah’s creation. Please refer to the link to fully understand what I’m talking about https://youtu.be/xgCM7s_FN08


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ʿalaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

Creating (التخليق) and giving form/ shape (التصوير) to living things are defining traits of Allah that belong solely to Him. No one may have a share in it.[i] He says about Himself:


إِنَّ رَبَّكُمُ اللَّـهُ الَّذِي خَلَقَ السَّمَاوَاتِ وَالْأَرْضَ فِي سِتَّةِ أَيَّامٍ ثُمَّ اسْتَوَىٰ عَلَى الْعَرْشِ يُغْشِي اللَّيْلَ النَّهَارَ يَطْلُبُهُ حَثِيثًا وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ وَالنُّجُومَ مُسَخَّرَاتٍ بِأَمْرِهِ ۗ أَلَا لَهُ الْخَلْقُ وَالْأَمْرُ ۗ تَبَارَكَ اللَّـهُ رَبُّ الْعَالَمِينَ 7:54

Surely, your Lord is Allah who created the heavens and the earth in six days, then He positioned himself on the Throne. He covers the day with the night that pursues it swiftly. (He created) the sun and the moon and the stars, subjugated to His command. Lo! To Him alone belong the creation and the command. Glorious is Allah, the Lord of all the worlds.


هُوَ اللَّـهُ الْخَالِقُ الْبَارِئُ الْمُصَوِّرُ 59:24

He is Allah, the Creator, the Inventor, the Shaper.

The Hadith further indicate towards punishment for those who even outwardly and superficially attempt to share in these traits by creating an image of a living being.[ii]

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ ـ رضى الله عنها ـ أَنَّ رَسُولَ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم قَالَ‏ “‏إِنَّ أَصْحَابَ هَذِهِ الصُّوَرِ يُعَذَّبُونَ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ، وَيُقَالُ لَهُمْ أَحْيُوا مَا خَلَقْتُمْ‏”‏‏.‏

Sayyidah `Ā’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) narrated that Allah’s Messenger said, “Indeed, the makers of these images will be punished on the day of judgment, and it will be said to them, ‘Give life to what you created.”[iii]


عَنْ أَبِي زُرْعَةَ، سَمِعَ أَبَا هُرَيْرَةَ ـ رضى الله عنه ـ قَالَ سَمِعْتُ النَّبِيَّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَقُولُ ‏ “‏ قَالَ اللَّهُ عَزَّ وَجَلَّ وَمَنْ أَظْلَمُ مِمَّنْ ذَهَبَ يَخْلُقُ كَخَلْقِي، فَلْيَخْلُقُوا ذَرَّةً، أَوْ لِيَخْلُقُوا حَبَّةً أَوْ شَعِيرَةً

Sayyiduna Abū Hurayrah (may Allah be pleased with him) said he heard the Prophet saying, “Allah azz wa jall said, ‘Who wrongs themselves more than the one who tries to create like my creation? He should then create an atom, or he should create a grain of wheat or barley.”[iv]


سَمِعْتُ عَائِشَةَ ـ رضى الله عنها ـ قَدِمَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم مِنْ سَفَرٍ وَقَدْ سَتَرْتُ بِقِرَامٍ لِي عَلَى سَهْوَةٍ لِي فِيهَا تَمَاثِيلُ، فَلَمَّا رَآهُ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم هَتَكَهُ وَقَالَ ‏ “‏ أَشَدُّ النَّاسِ عَذَابًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ الَّذِينَ يُضَاهُونَ بِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ‏”‏‏.‏ قَالَتْ فَجَعَلْنَاهُ وِسَادَةً أَوْ وِسَادَتَيْنِ‏.‏

Sayyidah `Ā’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “Allah’s Messenger returned from a trip. I had covered an alcove of mine with a curtain of mine containing an image. When Allah’s Messenger saw it, he tore it and said, ‘The harshest punishment on the Day of Judgement will be for those who imitate Allah’s creation.’ She said, ‘We made it into one or two cushions.’[v]


عَنْ عَائِشَةَ، قَالَتْ دَخَلَ عَلَىَّ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَأَنَا مُتَسَتِّرَةٌ بِقِرَامٍ فِيهِ صُورَةٌ فَتَلَوَّنَ وَجْهُهُ ثُمَّ تَنَاوَلَ السِّتْرَ فَهَتَكَهُ ثُمَّ قَالَ ‏ “‏ إِنَّ مِنْ أَشَدِّ النَّاسِ عَذَابًا يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ الَّذِينَ يُشَبِّهُونَ بِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ ‏”‏ ‏.‏

Sayyidah `Ā’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said, “Allah’s Messenger entered while I had covered with a curtain containing an image. His face became discolored. He then took the cover and tore it. Then, he said, ‘From among the most severely punished on the Day of Judgement are those who imitate Allah’s creation.”[vi]

Although a difference of opinion exists among scholars on the matter of digital photography[vii], in which an image is taken of a living being, the act of creating a video game character is not the same. These images are more akin to drawn images, which are prohibited. There is little difference in drawing an image by hand and painstakingly creating the same image pixel by pixel. In Takmilah Fatḥ al-Mulhim it states, “That which is ḥarām or the impermissible does not change its ruling by the changing of the tool [to make it]. Thus, an intoxicant (al-khamr) is ḥarām whether it is made by hand or machine. Killing is ḥarām whether done by knife or bullets. Similar are images. For the Lawgiver (Shāri`) prohibited from making them or acquiring them. Thus, there is no difference whether the image is obtained by the pen of the image-maker or through photography. And Allah, the Sublime, knows best.” (4:142) Hence, programming the video game character is a major sin just as drawing one would have been as indicated in the quoted hadith.[viii]

In the game, the player is asked to adjust the physical traits of the image such as its skin tone, hairstyle, height, and eye shape/colour. These acts are not as reprehensible as the action of the programmer, because he is merely altering rather than creating. However, he is being asked to engage in image-making to a lesser degree. Thus, it is better to refrain from it. Had a legitimate need existed, one could have been forgiven for it, but here no real need exists.

An acceptable alternative is effacing the facial features. The programmer may offer an option to remove the facial features of a character. This would render the animation permissible.[ix]

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi (S1)


[i] تفسير البحر المحيط، آية 7:54
لا احد يشركه في ذلك ولا في شيء منه.

التحرير والتنوير لابن عاشور، آية 7:54

والتَّعْرِيفُ في الخَلْقِ والأمْرِ تَعْرِيفُ الجِنْسِ، فَتُفِيدُ الجُمْلَةُ قَصْرَ جِنْسِ الخَلْقِ وجِنْسِ الأمْرِ عَلى الكَوْنِ في مُلْكِ اللَّهِ تَعالى، فَلَيْسَ لِغَيْرِهِ شَيْءٌ مِن هَذا الجِنْسِ، وهو قَصْرٌ إضافِيٌّ مَعْناهُ: لَيْسَ لِآلِهَتِهِمْ شَيْءٌ مِنَ الخَلْقِ ولا مِنَ الأمْرِ، وأمّا قَصْرُ الجِنْسِ في الواقِعِ عَلى الكَوْنِ في مُلْكِ اللَّهِ تَعالى فَلِذَلِكَ يُرْجَعُ فِيهِ إلى القَرائِنِ، فالخَلْقُ مَقْصُورٌ حَقِيقَةً عَلى الكَوْنِ في مُلْكِهِ تَعالى، وأمّا الأمْرُ فَهُوَ مَقْصُورٌ عَلى الكَوْنِ في مُلْكِ اللَّهِ قَصْرًا ادِّعائِيًّا لِأنَّ لِكَثِيرٍ مِنَ المَوْجُوداتِ تَدْبِيرَ أُمُورٍ كَثِيرَةٍ، ولَكِنْ لَمّا كانَ المُدَبِّرُ مَخْلُوقًا لِلَّهِ تَعالى كانَ تَدْبِيرُهُ راجِعًا إلى تَدْبِيرِ اللَّهِ كَما قِيلَ في قِصَرِ جِنْسِ الحَمْدِ في قَوْلِهِ الحَمْدُ لِلَّهِ.

[ii] عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري، بابُ نَقْضِ الصُّوَرِ، ج22 ص71، دار إحياء التراث العربي
فَإِن قلت: كَيفَ التَّشْبِيه فِي قَوْله: كخلقي؟ قلت: التَّشْبِيه لَا عُمُوم لَهُ، يَعْنِي: كخلقي فِي فعل الصُّورَة لَا من كل الْوُجُوه

تصویر کی شرعی احکام، مفتی شفی عثمانی، ص ۱۶،۱۷

کتاب النوازل، مفتی منصورپوری، ج۱۶ ص۵۱۰ – ۵۱۲

[iii] صحيح البخاري 7557، كتاب التوحيد، باب قَوْلِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى ‏{‏وَاللَّهُ خَلَقَكُمْ وَمَا تَعْمَلُونَ}

صحيح مسلم 2108، كتاب اللباس والزينة، بَاب تَحْرِيمِ تَصْوِيرِ صُورَةِ الْحَيَوَانِ وَتَحْرِيمِ اتِّخَاذِ مَا فِيهِ صُورَةٌ غَيْرُ مُمْتَهَنَةٍ بِالْفَرْشِ وَنَحْوِهِ

[iv]صحيح ‏‏‏البخاري 7559، 5953 (كتاب اللباس، باب نَقْضِ الصُّوَرِ)

صحيح مسلم كتاب اللباس والزينة، 2111

[v] صحيح البخاري 5954(كتاب اللباس، باب نَقْضِ الصُّوَرِ)

[vi]صحيح مسلم 2107 كتاب اللباس والزينة، 2111

[vii] فتاوی دار العلوم زکریۃ، ج۷ ص۶۹۴-۷۰۱

[viii] مرقاة المفاتيح شرح مشكاة المصابيح، ج7 ص2850، دار الفكر، بيروت
(وَيُقَالُ لَهُمْ: أَحْيُوا مَا خَلَقْتُمْ) : أَيِ انْفُخُوا الرُّوحَ فِيمَا صَوَّرْتُمْ، فَعَدَلَ إِلَيْهِ تَهَكُّمًا بِهِمْ وَبِمُضَاهَاتِهِمُ الْخَالِقَ فِي إِنْشَاءِ الصُّوَرِ، وَالْأَمْرُ بِأَحْيُوا تَعْجِيزٌ لَهُمْ نَحْوَ قَوْلِهِ تَعَالَى: {فَأْتُوا بِسُورَةٍ مِنْ مِثْلِهِ} [البقرة: 23] ، فَدَلَّ عَلَى أَنَّ التَّصْوِيرَ حَرَامٌ، وَهُوَ مُشْعِرٌ بِأَنَّ اسْتِعْمَالَ الصُّوَرِ مَمْنُوعٌ ; لِأَنَّهُ سَبَبٌ لِذَلِكَ، وَبَاعِثٌ عَلَيْهِ مَعَ مَا فِيهِ مِنْ أَنَّهُ زِينَةُ الدُّنْيَا.

أيضا، ج7 ص2852
قَالَ الْخَطَّابِيُّ: الْمُصَوِّرُ هُوَ الَّذِي يُصَوِّرُ أَشْكَالَ الْحَيَوَانِ فَيَحْكِيهَا بِتَخْطِيطٍ لَهَا وَتَشْكِيلٍ

رد المحتار على الدر المختار، ج1 ص650، دار الفكر
هَذَا كُلُّهُ فِي اقْتِنَاءِ الصُّورَةِ، وَأَمَّا فِعْلُ التَّصْوِيرِ فَهُوَ غَيْرُ جَائِزٍ مُطْلَقًا لِأَنَّهُ مُضَاهَاةٌ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى كَمَا مَرَّ

[ix] حاشية الطحطاوي على مراقي الفلاح شرح نور الإيضاح، ص362، دار الكتب العلمية بيروت
قوله: “مقطوعة الرأس” لا تزول الكراهة بوضع نحو خيط بين الرأس والجثة لأنه مثل المطوّق من الطيور كذا في الشرح ومثل القطع طلبه بنحو مغرة أو نحته أو غسله ومحو الوجه كمحو الرأس

This answer was collected from Fatwa.ca, which is a fatwa portal operated by Mufti Faisal al Mahmudi from Canada. 

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