Anime refers to Japanese animated productions featuring distinctive characters with large expressive eyes and stylised features. The exaggerated nature of anime drawings means they often do not aim to realistically represent human beings.
This has led some Muslims to argue anime avoids idolatry and is permissible, while others view all representational art as prohibited.
There are two main reasons this question has created so much uncertainty:
1. Lack of Clear Quranic or Hadith Statements
The Quran and Hadith do not directly address or explicitly prohibit the modern concept of animated cartoons and characters. This leads to differing opinions on how general principles and verses regarding idolatry and representing human beings should be applied to a new artistic medium like anime.
2. Dispute Over the Definition of ‘Image’
The key Quranic passage discussing images is Surah Al-Anbiya 21:52 which states, “Indeed, you [disbelievers] and what you worship other than Allah are the firewood of Hell. You will be coming to [enter] it.” Some scholars argue this refers to 3D idols and statues, while others take it to prohibit 2D images and drawings as well. The definition impacts the ruling on anime.
Table of Contents
Is Drawing Anime Haram?
Yes, Drawing Anime is haram, because, drawing images risks imitating God’s act of creation and should be avoided entirely.
Those Who Prohibit Anime Argue:
- Figurative images could lead to idol worship even in animated form.
- Cartoons still represent human beings and that representation captures the spirit, which only Allah (SWT) should do.
- Drawing living beings is at best useless and at worst shirk, regardless of the style or medium.
Those Who Permit Anime Argue:
- Anime characters are fictitious and imagined beings, not attempts to realistically depict creation. This avoids shirk (idolatry).
- Exaggerated cartoon forms do not represent God’s true creation so do not usurp His role as Creator.
- Anime is a creative medium of expression and imagination which should be permissible so long as it avoids nudity and immorality.
Factors to Consider
There are some additional considerations around this issue:
- The majority of classical scholars permitted images and drawings of beings without spirits, including plants, trees and inanimate objects. This suggests realism is not the core concern.
- Animated cartoons are a very new phenomenon not addressed in traditional jurisprudence. Modern rulings must consider new contexts.
- Anime productions often involve fantastical stories and characters unlike the real world. This makes the risk of shirk less concerning.
- While drawing any being with a spirit is questionable, anime seems less related to real idol worship than historic statues of deities.
Conclusion: The Majority Opinion is That Anime is Permissible
Given the lack of decisive evidence and the distinguishable nature of modern animated cartoons, most contemporary scholars allow the drawing of anime characters within certain limits:
- Anime drawings should not depict nudity, sexuality or immorality.
- Animations should not display overt religious idolatry or symbols of other faiths.
- If characters are given God-like powers or worshipped in the story, this would become shirk.
As long as faith in Allah remains strong and no forbidden practises are promoted, creating or viewing anime is permissible according to predominant modern Muslim opinion. Anime does not realistically represent human beings, avoids idolatry of any beings with spirits, and qualifies as fantasy art and storytelling within Islamic guidelines.
Answers to Related Questions:
Is drawing cartoons haram in Islam?
No, the majority of scholars allow cartoon drawings as long as they avoid nudity, idolatry, or depicting the prophets. This applies to anime as well.
Is drawing fictional characters haram?
Fictional characters are permitted, including in anime, as long as they are not given divine qualities or worshipped by viewers or characters.
Is drawing for fun haram?
Drawing for enjoyment and creative expression is not haram according to most opinions, as long as the content itself does not contain prohibited imagery like nudity.
Is drawing Pokémon haram?
No, Pokémon are fictional creatures without spirits, so drawing them does not risk idolatry or imitating God’s creations. As a fantasy franchise, Pokémon is permissible.
In summary, anime avoids the major prohibitions around image-making and there is no decisive evidence to forbid it entirely. With care around content, creating and watching anime is allowed according to the majority of contemporary Muslim scholars and positions.