Answered by Ustadh Salman Younas
Question: Assalam aleykum
Is it permissible to use books for educational purposes that have drawings of angels? I’ve seen works by Muslims that includes illustrations where angels are depicted like humans with wings.
Answer: assalamu alaykum
The basis is that illustrations of animate objects, which include angels, is permitted when used for educational purposes as in the case with children’s books. Therefore, using such books would be permitted.
However, one should avoid illustrations that (a) clearly define the features of an animate being, such as a body with a face with eyes, ears, and a mouth and (b) may lead to incorrect conceptions of what these beings represent in our tradition.
In the case of angels, one should use images that are an outline of a body with wings without clearly defined features of the type you describe. However, if you do use the types of images described in your question, this would not be sinful as there are mainstream and acceptable scholarly opinions that would allow it, which can be adopted in educational contexts.
See: Is It Permissible to Buy and Sell Children’s Books With Illustrations?
The Maliki View on Pictures of Humans and Animals
[Ustadh] Salman Younas
Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Ustadh Salman Younas graduated from Stony Brook University with a degree in Political Science and Religious Studies. After studying the Islamic sciences online and with local scholars in New York, Ustadh Salman moved to Amman where he spent five years studying Islamic law, legal methodology, belief, hadith methodology, logic, Arabic, and tafsir. He is currently a PhD candidate at the University of Oxford and continues his traditional studies with scholars in the United Kingdom.