I’m sorry but I have a question, is it permissible to have minion or teddy bear as our pillow (to hug or hold onto) when we sleep? Hope for an explanation from Datuk Mufti.
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
We start with the statement of the Prophet PBUH:
لَا تَدْخُلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ وَلَا صُورَةُ تَمَاثِيلَ
"Angels (of Mercy) do not enter a house wherein there is a dog or a picture of a living creature (a human being or an animal).”
Sahih al-Bukhari (3225), Sahih Muslim (2106) and Sunan al-Tirmizi (2804)
Al-Mubarakfuri explained that the meaning of the phrase “Angels do not enter” refers to the angel of mercy and not angels of hafazah (who is always with a person and records his deeds) and also not the angel of death (who takes lives). While the phrase “a picture” in the hadith means a picture (that is in the form of) humans and animals. (See Tuhfah al-Ahwazi, 8/72)
The Reason for the Prohibition of Keeping Pictures or Figurine (of living creatures)
Imam al-Nawawi explained regarding the reason of the prohibition saying:
قَالَ الْعُلَمَاءُ سَبَبُ امْتِنَاعِهِمْ مِنْ بَيْتٍ فِيهِ صُورَةٌ كَوْنُهَا مَعْصِيَةً فَاحِشَةً وَفِيهَا مُضَاهَاةٌ لِخَلْقِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى وَبَعْضُهَا فِي صُورَةِ مَا يُعْبَدُ مِنْ دُونِ اللَّهِ تَعَالَى
“The scholars stated, among the reasons angels are prevented from entering a house is because there is a picture (of a living creature). The reason is the act of placing the picture is a cursed transgression and it is as though resembling the creation of Allah and some of the pictures are worshipped.” (See al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, 14/84)
Ibnu Qayyim al-Jauziah state that there is a narration where the Prophet PBUH entered the Kaaba and prayed inside of it but the Prophet PBUH refused to enter it until all the pictures are brought out from it. Afterwards, he commented on the narration saying:
فَفِيهِ دَلِيلٌ عَلَى كَرَاهَةِ الصَّلَاةِ فِي الْمَكَانِ الْمُصَوَّرِ، وَهَذَا أَحَقُّ بِالْكَرَاهَةِ مِنَ الصَّلَاةِ فِي الْحَمَّامِ؛ لِأَنَّ كَرَاهَةَ الصَّلَاةِ فِي الْحَمَّامِ، إِمَّا لِكَوْنِهِ مَظِنَّةَ النَّجَاسَةِ، وَإِمَّا لِكَوْنِهِ بَيْتَ الشَّيْطَانِ، وَهُوَ الصَّحِيحُ، وَأَمَّا مَحَلُّ الصُّوَرِ فَمَظِنَّةُ الشِّرْكِ غَالِبُ شِرْكِ الْأُمَمِ كَانَ مِنْ جِهَةِ الصُّوَرِ وَالْقُبُورِ
“This is evidence that ruled it makruh (undesirable) to pray in a place where there are pictures in it. And this is a greater makruh compared to praying in washrooms for the makruh ruling is due to either the fear that there may be najis or it is the house of shaytan. This is the sahih opinion. As for a place where pictures are in it, (praying there is makruh) for there is a possibility that it could lead to syirk. Most previous nations are led to syirk whether by worshipping pictures or graves (of prophets and pious people).” (See Zad al-Ma’ad, 3/402)
Thus, we understand that the prohibition towards figurine or pictures (painting) of living creations is because they resemble the creation of Allah SWT and it is feared that they would be honoured, venerated or respected that ultimately it will to syirk where they are worshipped.
We have discussed the issue regarding statues, figurines, toys and others like them thoroughly in our previous articles:
- Al-Afkar #47: The Ruling of Statues as Décor
- Al-Kafi li al-Fatawi: Collecting Action Figures as a Hobby
- Al-Kafi li al-Fatawi 1331: The Ruling of Keeping Children’s Toys
- Irsyad al-Fatwa: The Ruling of Using a Tiger’s Plushie to Chase Away Monkeys
Character or Animal-Shaped Bolster
It has become a trend where children nowadays would have a teddy bear, minions plushie or others as their bolster or pillow that they hug or hold when they sleep. Regarding this matter, Imam al-Nawawi cited the opinion of al-Khattabi who states:
وَإِنَّمَا لَا تَدْخُلُ الْمَلَائِكَةُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ أَوْ صُورَةٌ مِمَّا يَحْرُمُ اقْتِنَاؤُهُ مِنَ الْكِلَابِ وَالصُّوَرِ فَأَمَّا مَا لَيْسَ بِحَرَامٍ مِنْ كَلْبِ الصَّيْدِ وَالزَّرْعِ وَالْمَاشِيَةِ وَالصُّورَةِ الَّتِي تُمْتَهَنُ فِي الْبِسَاطِ وَالْوِسَادَةِ وَغَيْرِهِمَا فَلَا يَمْتَنِعُ دُخُولُ الْمَلَائِكَةِ بِسَبَبِهِ
“Indeed, the angels will not enter the house where there is dog or pictures (pictures of figures) which are prohibited. As for what is not prohibited to be utilized such as hunting dogs, or dogs that guard crops or farm animals and pictures that are not revered on throws or pillows or others like it, then they do not prevent angels from entering the house (inside the house) because of their presence (inside the house).” (See al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, 14/84 and Tuhfah al-Ahwazi, 8/72)
However, afterwards Imam al-Nawawi states his opinion where he said the prohibition of the matter is general for all types of dogs and pictures:
وَالْأَظْهَرُ أَنَّهُ عَامٌّ فِي كُلِّ كَلْبٍ وَكُلِّ صُورَةٍ... لِإِطْلَاقِ الْأَحَادِيثِ وَلِأَنَّ الْجِرْوَ الَّذِي كَانَ فِي بَيْتِ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ تَحْتَ السَّرِيرِ كَانَ لَهُ فِيهِ عُذْرٌ ظَاهِرٌ فَإِنَّهُ لَمْ يَعْلَمْ بِهِ وَمَعَ هَذَا امْتَنَعَ جِبْرِيلُ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ مِنْ دُخُولِ الْبَيْتِ وَعَلَّلَ بِالْجِرْوِ فَلَوْ كَانَ العذر فى وجود الصورة والكلب لايمنعهم لَمْ يَمْتَنِعْ جِبْرِيلُ
“The strong opinion regarding the prohibition is a general prohibition for all types of dogs and picture of figurines… for the hadiths are absolute (not bound by anything). And for the narration of a puppy’s presence under the bed in the Prophet PBUH’s house, the Prophet PBUH did not know about it, thus, there is an excuse in this case. However, it still prevented the angel Gabriel from entering the Prophet PBUH’s house because of the puppy being inside of the house. If there is exception for pictures of figurines and dogs (being inside a person’s house), surely Gabriel AS would not have been prevented from entering the house.” (See al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim, 14/84)
Even so, there is a narration from Aisyah R.Anha where she said:
كُنْتُ أَلْعَبُ بِالْبَنَاتِ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ وَكَانَ لِي صَوَاحِبُ يَلْعَبْنَ مَعِي فَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا دَخَلَ يَتَقَمَّعْنَ مِنْهُ فَيُسَرِّبُهُنَّ إِلَيَّ فَيَلْعَبْنَ مَعِي
“I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet, and my girl friends also used to play with me. When Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me.”
Sahih al-Bukhari (6130)
Ibnu Hajar al-Asqalani said: “Scholars have used this hadith as evidence about the permissibility of girls playing with dolls. This hadith is an exception for the general hadith that prohibit creating something that resembles the creation of Allah SWT. This permissibility is affirmed by al-Qafi ‘Iyadh and he states that this is the opinion of the majority of scholars.” See Fath al-Bari (10/527)
Thus, we know that if the toys or plushie is for play and education of children, then it is permissible. The reason is, children’s toys is not something that is revered or worshipped. Furthermore, it is in the nature of children to throw or break their toys or even disassembling the head and body parts of their toys. This clearly shows that toys are just their plaything and not something that is honoured or revered.
Coming back to the question asked, in our opinion it is permissible to have Teddy bear or Minion plushie as pillow as long as it is not revered, venerated (taqdis), respected or is used for the purpose of worship. Moreover, when it is used as a pillow it is clear that its purpose is not to be revered for it may be exposed to drool and others.
To conclude, after reviewing the evidences and opinions of scholars as well as considering the reality and waqi’ of Malaysia, we draw the following conclusions:
- We are inclined to say that having teddy bear or minion plushie or others as pillow is permissible as long as it is not honoured, revered, venerated or for the purpose of worship. However, if the plushie is worshipped or placed in a place of honour that could lead it to be venerated, then it is clearly haram and prohibited.
- However, we would like to suggest (if possible) to avoid teddy bear, minion plushie and others as pillow. If possible, replace them (with other pillows such as pillows shaped like stars, plants and others) or leave it altogether to avoid any form of syubhah (doubt), for when we leave matters of khilaf such as this, then it is included as what has been stated:
الْخُرُوجُ مِنَ الْخِلاَفِ مُسْتَحَبٌّ
“Avoiding khilaf is encouraged.”
May Allah SWT give us a clear understanding in practising this religion. Amin.