Al Hamdulillah (Praises be to Almighty God)
It has long been established amongst the Muslim scholars that drawing images or sculpting life like creatures, statues, idols and images of any kind is prohibited for Muslims to create. The warnings and punishments are not to be taken lightly.
Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him, told us, "The most severely punished people on the Day of Judgment are the image makers." - (Sahih Al Bukhari (5950) & Muslim (2109)
Reference to making images for children for instruction purposes or entertainment:
We know that Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her) told us, "The Prophet, peace be upon him, came back from a campaign to Tabuk or Khaiber and in her room there was a curtain. The breeze lifted the edge of the curtain to uncover Ayesha's dolls.
The prophet, peace be upon him, said, "What is this Ayesha?"
Ayesha, may Allah be pleased with her, said, "My daughters."
Also included among her toys he saw a horse with to wings made from cloth.
He asked her, "What is this I see with them?"
She replied, "A horse."
He further asked, "What is this on it?"
She said, "Two wings."
He asked, "A horse with wings?"
She said, "Haven't you heard Sulayman (Solomon, peace be upon him), had horses with wings?"
And he smiled so broadly she could see his teeth."
(Abu Dawud (4932) rated Sahih in Takhreej Al-Ihya (vol. 2, #344) and Sheikh NasruAllah Al-Albani's book "Sahih Abu Dawud".
Regarding the above - Al Hafith Ibn Hajr, may Allah have mercy on him, says in his book "Fath Al Bari (vol. 10, #527):
"This hadith provides the evidence it is permissible for dolls and toys for children to play with, as an exception to forbidding images. 'Iyadd states, and it was narrated from the ijma' (majority) they did allow selling of toys and dolls so girls could learn from a young age to care for their homes and children."
A comtemporary scholar of recent times, Sheikh Bin 'Uthaymin, Allah have mercy on him, answered the question about the ruling on cartoons on television.
"If these are human like, then the rule about watching these will depend on whether or not these come under the same rule as realistic images of human beings. Most likely these do not fall under that ruling.
If these are not in the human form, then nothing is wrong with watching, as long as these are not accompanied by anything else haram, as music and so on. And these do not distract from obligatory duties."
Majmu' Al-Fatawa 2, #333
Additionally, the topic of cartoons, animated drawings, graphics etc. is a most serious issue in education, due to the tremendous affect these types of images, videos and films have on our children in developing character and learning behavor. There can be no doubt these have an important role in primary education anywhere in the world today.
From birth to early teens, children's minds are like sponges, constantly absorbing what is around them, and in particular things that are colorful, attractive, fun and animated. Their minds are clean and pure, void of good or bad when they are born, it is up to the parents to insure what they are exposed to will leave a good impression.
Another well-known scholar and student of Ibn Taymiyah is Iban Al-Qayyim, Allah have mercy on them both. Ibn Al Qayyim said in his "Tuhfat Al-Mawdud" (240):
"One thing a child desperately needs is care to be taken regarding his morals and attitude. Because he could grow up with whatever he becomes accustomed to by those who raise him up since he was small. When he grows older it becomes hard for him to change what he's used to, as these are now attitudes and characteristics deeply ingrained, even when he tries to surpress them, these always surface and expose him."
Postive effects for children watching such programs include:
1) Gain much educational information, in easy and fun way. Cartoons that focus on areas of geography, science and human development give kids advanced knowledge early in life.
2) Children's imagination, abilities and imagination all gain rapidly along with mental development and inspire innovation in thought and behavior development.
3) Certain Arabic cartoons for children provide exposure to the Fus-ha (Classical Arabic) that most Muslim children almost never hear in school or in some cases not even in their homes. Teaching our children proper pronounciation, usage and understanding of Arabic is a principle aim of Muslim education.
The famous mujahid and Sheikh Ul-Islam, Ibn Taymiyah wrote in his "Iqtida' Al-Sirat Ul Mustaqeem" (vol. 1, #207):
"It should be noted, becoming accustomed to the (Arabic) language has a powerful effect on a person's thinking, attitude and religious commitment. It also inspires following of the early generations of Muslims, the companions, their followers and those after them. Seeking to follow their example increases reasoning, dedication to religion and good attitude. After all, Arabic is the language of this deen (way of Islam) and learning Arabic is an obligation and essential."
4) Children may satisfy psychological needs and gain benefits in love, honor for parents, competitiveness, working for success, meeting today's challanes along with many other positive attitudes from these types of cartoons.
Again - If the cartoons comply with rulings of Islam on decency, morals, behaviors and so on.
Consider these very bad affects resulting from watch the wrong types of programs, especially cartoons:
1) Over all bad influence of watching regular TV (without parental monitoring or censorship):
- Damage to eyesight
- lazy, inactive & passive
- stunted intellectual development
- lack of attention toward real life issues
Television is a broadcast - meaning it sends messages, but does not receive anything from the viewer (usually). Whereas, the viewer is receiving and not sending anything back. Not full participation. Also causes weak bonds of affection, loose connection with family members, lack of proper communication.
Ibn Al Qayyim discussed the parent's duties and responsibilities toward children's upbringing in Tuhfat Al Mawdude (241) as follows:
"You should avoid allowing the child to be lazy, inactive and instead teach them the opposite. Don't let them rest for more than they need to refresh the boy and soul for more work, because laziness and inactivity bring bad consequences and end in regret. While hard work brings good consequences in this world or in the Next World - or both."
2) Bad television presents wrong beliefs, bad ideas, all contary to Islamic values. Some programs put males and females in close, forbidden relationships, and display tabarruj (forbidden charms).
Some shows give distorted ideas about God, creation, angels, Hell and Paradise and even the Day of Judgment.
Others contain distorted stories of prophets and even make fun of them, joking about Islam, Muslims but at the same time making false worship seem OK.
Examples are many, but even if a program does not openly attack faith and moral teachings, it can still carry hiddent agendas or notions of culture that is alien to good conduct, morals and faith.
Sheikh Yusuf Estes says about television and it's affects on children today:
"It is not only adult programs that promote immoralaty and senseless behavior in our society today. We find much of the children's programming containing far too much in the way of immorality, selfishness and self-gratification without concern for others, even family.
Often programs and shows geared toward children are found to be actually designed to attract the approval of parents who are willing to allow their children to watch hours of these programs even though some content is quite obvious even to the average viewers.
Alcohol, cigarettes, drugs and even death in some of these programs are often treated with a sense of normal complacency. Even suicide or murder can be found in a daily program schedule supposedly in place for kids.
Consider the super-human characters who represent people with god-like powers. The likes of superman, spiderman and the abnormal behavior of batman and other animated characters. These do not exist in real life and certainly cannot be seriously considered as role models for our children.
Confusion - not beneficial knowledge - is what is being promoted in these types of programs."