Answered by Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra
Is it ok for me to buy and sell paintings that have pictures of animals?
In the Name of Allah, Most Merciful and Compassionate
The position of the Hanafi school of thought is that it is prohibited to draw/paint/create images of animate beings and display them in such a way as to give them respect. Although there is a difference of opinion on drawing two-dimensional images among the schools of law, prohibition would be the more precautious position for a person to take when there is no need to do otherwise (such as education, etc.).
Some exceptions to the prohibition are if they are mere forms that are not detailed, or they are a non-essential part of the being depicted (ex. a hand), or they are too small in size to be made out clearly from a distance.
In modern times, many scholars have also given concessions if such images are used for educational or other important purposes. (Ibn Abidin, Radd al Muhtar)
Although the Maliki school does permit the drawing of two-dimensional images of animate beings, the schools are unanimous that such an image is not permissible to be displayed in a manner of respect or reverence. (Dardir, Sharh al Kabir)
The Buying and Selling of Paintings Depicting Animate Life
Based on the position that prohibits depicting animate beings, if the painting were primarily of a prohibiting image, its buying and selling would follow its ruling and be prohibited. However, based on the other schools’ positions that allow it their depiction, its sale and purchase would also be allowed.
What is superior, therefore, is to avoid buying and selling such pictures and rather choose alternatives to them unless there is a need or greater interest to take a legal dispensation to do them.
More details on images can be read about below, including the difference of opinion about them:
Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Abdullah Anik Misra was born in Toronto, Canada, in 1983. His family hails from India, and he was raised in the Hindu tradition. He embraced Islam in 2001 while at the University of Toronto, from where he completed a Bachelor of Business Administration. He then traveled overseas in 2005 to study the Arabic language and Islamic sciences in Tarim, Yemen, for some time, as well as Darul Uloom in Trinidad, West Indies. He spent 12 years in Amman, Jordan, where he focused on Islamic Law, Theology, Hadith Sciences, Prophetic Biography, and Islamic Spirituality while also working at the Qasid Arabic Institute as Director of Programs. He holds a BA in Islamic Studies (Alimiyya, Darul Uloom) and authorization in the six authentic books of Hadith and is currently pursuing specialized training in issuing Islamic legal verdicts (ifta’). He holds a certificate in Counselling and often works with new Muslims and those struggling with religious OCD. He is an instructor and researcher in Sacred Law and Theology with the Seekers Guidance, The Global Islamic Seminary.