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Assalamualaikum w.b.t,

I have a question. What is the ruling of placing tiger soft toys at the balcony to chase away monkeys from trespassing one’s kitchen or doing the same at the farm to chase away monkeys?

I hope SS Mufti could answer my question as I am in a dilemma whenever I see these soft toys at the balcony. I am a bit scared of the toy, but most importantly, I am afraid that angels will not enter my house because of this. Hope for an explanation.



Waalaikumussaam w.b.t,

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 a saying of the Prophet PBUH:

لاَ تَدْخُلُ الْمَلاَئِكَةُ بَيْتًا فِيهِ كَلْبٌ وَلاَ 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) dan Jami’ al-Tirmidhi (2804)]

Al-Mubarakfuri states that what is meant by angels in the phrase ‘Angels do not enter’ is the angels of Mercy, neither the hafazah (which are always with humans and records the deeds of humnas) nor the angels of death (who takes the soul of humans). While the phrase ‘a picture of living creature’ in the hadith means a sculpture (shaped-like) humans and animals. [See: Tuhfah al-Ahwazi (8/72)]

The Reason for the Prohibition of Keeping Dolls (of Living Animals)

Imam al-Nawawi states the reason for the prohibition:

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 state that among the reasons which prevent angels from entering the house is when there is a picture (of living things). This is because the action of putting pictures is a great evil deed and is likely to resemble the creations of Allah SWT and some of the pictures are worshipped.” [See: al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim (14/84)]

Besides, it is stated in another hadith that:

أَنَّ أُمَّ حَبِيبَةَ، وَأُمَّ سَلَمَةَ ذَكَرَتَا كَنِيسَةً رَأَيْنَهَا بِالْحَبَشَةِ - فِيهَا تَصَاوِيرُ - لِرَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَالَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم ‏ "‏ إِنَّ أُولَئِكِ إِذَا كَانَ فِيهِمُ الرَّجُلُ الصَّالِحُ فَمَاتَ بَنَوْا عَلَى قَبْرِهِ مَسْجِدًا وَصَوَّرُوا فِيهِ تِلْكَ الصُّوَرَ أُولَئِكِ شِرَارُ الْخَلْقِ عِنْدَ اللَّهِ يَوْمَ الْقِيَامَةِ ‏"

Umm Habiba and Umm Salama made a mention before the Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) of a church which they had seen in Abyssinia and which had pictures in it. The Messenger of Allah (ﷺ) said: When a pious person amongst them (among the religious groups) dies they build a place of worship on his grave, and then decorate it with such pictures. They would be the worst of creatures on the Day of judgment in the sight of Allah.

Sahih Muslim (528)

Ibn Qayyim al-Jawziyyah states that there is a story of the Prophet PBUH entered inside of the Kaaba and performed salah in it, and he did not perform prayer unless after all pictures are removed from inside of it. Then, he gave opinion on the story by stating:

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 a dalil which indicates that the ruling is makruh to perform salah in a place which has pictures in it. And it is even makruh than performing salah in a washroom as performing salah in the washroom (is makruh) either due to there are possibilities of najis there or as it is the house of Shaytan. This opinion is sahih. While for place with pictures, (salah inside of it is makruh) because there is a possibility that it may lead to syirk. Most past nations commit syirk either by pictures or graves (of the prophets and the righteous people).” [See: Zad al-Ma’ad (3/402)]

Hence, it can be understood that the prohibition towards figurines or pictures of the living creature is due to its resemblance to the creations of Allah SWT and there is concern that the things to be honored, sanctified or overly respected that it leads to shirk and worship.

The Punishment upon the Keeping of Dolls (of Living Creature) inside the House

Besides, by angels of mercy not entering the house (which has pictures or dolls of living creature and dogs) , it is a punishment upon it. The result is, no angels will perform salah in his house, or ask for forgiveness for the residence, or ask for blessing inside it, or guard the residences from the whisper of Shaytan. This is because angels of mercy are the angels who ask for blessing and forgiveness for the residence. [See: al-Minhaj Syarh Sahih Muslim (14/84)]

The issue on the ruling of keeping dolls or action figures which become the toys for the children or as ornaments in the house or cars or etc. has been answered in our articles:

  1. Al-Afkar #47: Hukum Patung Sebagai Perhiasan. (The Ruling of Dolls as Ornaments)
  2. Al-Kafi li al-Fatwa: Hobi Menyimpan Figura Aksi. (The Hobby of Collecting Action Figures)
  3. Al-Kafi li al-Fatawi (1331): Hukum Menyimpan Patung Permainan Kanak-kanak. (The Ruling of Keeping Toys for Children)

Using Tiger Soft Toys to Chase Away Monkeys

Referring back to the question asked, there are some exceptions given for this issue as a hadith narrated by Aisha R.Anha, where he said:

كُنْتُ أَلْعَبُ بِالْبَنَاتِ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صلى الله عليه وسلم وَكَانَ لِي صَوَاحِبُ يَلْعَبْنَ مَعِي، فَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم إِذَا دَخَلَ يَتَقَمَّعْنَ مِنْهُ، فَيُسَرِّبُهُنَّ إِلَىَّ 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 () used to enter (my dwelling place) they used to hide themselves, but the Prophet would call them to join and play with me. (The playing with the dolls and similar images is forbidden, but it was allowed for `Aisha at that time, as she was a little girl, not yet reached the age of puberty.)

Sahih al-Bukhari (6130)

Ibnu Hajar al-Asqalani said: “The scholars use this hadith as the dalil of the permissibility of girl-like dolls and dolls for daughters. This hadith is an exception from the general meaning of the hadith which forbids creating something to challenge Allah’s creations. This permissibility is highlighted by al-Qadhi ‘Iyadh and he states that this is the opinion of majority of ulama’.” [See: Fath al-Bari (10/527)]

Hence, we know that if the dolls are made as toys and learning tools for children, then its ruling is permissible. This is because dolls for children are not something worshipped or honored. In fact, children by their nature will crush and damage the dolls like entangling the head or parts of its body. This clearly shows that it is toys for them and far from being honored, or even worshipped.

The same, we view that if the dolls are made as something to scare certain animals which damage the plants or house appliances is akin to a farmer who put scarecrows [1] at their paddy fields to scare birds who damage the plants. And farmers who use tiger soft toys to scare away monkeys. These soft toys clearly are not respected, honored or worshipped, but as a way or effort of chasing away monkeys, birds or pests which intrude and damage the plants. By having these soft toys which are located at the side of the house or beside the garden fence, other animals like monkeys will not come near as they thought it is a real living animal. Hence, we view this as permissible as long as the soft toys are not placed at an honored place, not sanctified (taqdis), respected or for the purpose of worship.


Certainly, after viewing of the dalil and opinions of the scholars as well as the reality and waqi’ in Malaysia, we conclude some matters:

  • We are inclined to say that the usage of tiger soft animals to chase and scare away monkeys is permissible as long as the toys are not placed at an honored place, not sanctified (taqdis), respected or for the purpose of worship. However, if the toys are worshipped or are placed at an honored place which leads to sanctification (taqdis), then it is clear that it is haram and is absolutely forbidden.
  • Besides, we propose that if possible, it is better to change the shape of the toys so that they may not be perfect like the original living animals. This is as a narration from Abi Hayyaj al-Asadi, where Ali bin Abi Talib RA said to him: “Should I not send you on the same mission as Allah's Messenger (ﷺ) sent me?

لاَ تَدَعْ تِمْثَالاً إِلاَّ طَمَسْتَهُ

Do not leave a doll without obliterating it [Sahih Muslim (969)]

  • The same, we would like to remind that the toys are best to be avoided from being brought inside the house as clearly stated in the text of hadith on the prohibition with the phrase (فِيهِ) which means inside of it (the house) that has dogs and pictures or sculpture (of living things).
  • Nevertheless, we would like to propose that (if possible) to avoid the use of dolls so that we may not cause things which will lead to worship and etc. If it may be replaced or by using other alternatives, which may avoid any form of syubhah (it is better and safer) as when we leave khilaf matters like this, it is included in what is stated as:

الْخُرُوجُ مِنَ الْخِلاَفِ مُسْتَحَبٌّ

Avoiding khilaf is commanded

May Allah SWT give us clear understanding in this religion. Ameen.

[1] A decoy or mannequin made to scare birds. [See: Kamus Dewan Edisi Keempat]