A highly popular product amongst Muslims everywhere is the Islamic Calligraphy decoration. Unfortunately many Muslims are falling into this Bidah which the Prophet Muhammad never practiced. Some have even given these special powers and hence are committing Shirk. This video clearly explains when and how these are permissible.
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The Video Transcript is below:
Moving into the new millennium, one of the fastest growing industries is the Islamic Decoration business. We see the mass production of paintings, plaques, and cloths to be hung around the home or in businesses, ornaments and stickers to fashion living rooms, accessories hanging in the car, and engraving being done on the walls of mosques; all containing the Arabic text for the names of Allah, quranic verses, bismillah, the shahadah, ayat-ul-kursi, or Muhammad (peace be upon him). But is this Islamic consumerism permissible, or has the commercialisation of Islam gone too far?
There are a few points on this issue which we can definitely mark down as being facts:
- This is a newly invented practice. The Sahabah never purchased these items, or placed them around the house. The Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him) never felt the need to write the name of Allah, frame it, and place it on his wall at his house. This is why we do not have any hadiths mentioning these matters, because the practice was only started by ignorant Muslims hundreds of years after the time of the Sahabah.
- It’s a waste of money. Have you seen the prices for some of these items? Many of them are even made with gold. It is much better to put your wealth to use to earn good deeds which will reward you in the afterlife, instead of blowing it on possessions which you will leave behind when you go to the grave.
- It’s a dust collector. Hanging these items in your home has not been known to improve behaviour. Nowadays you see people backbiting against others while they are sitting on their couches underneath the verse warning against backbiting. All these plaques and paintings end up doing is sitting on the walls and gathering dust.
Apart from these facts, there are really 2 main factors which determine whether this hanging practice is halal or haraam. They are the intention, and the content.
If your intention is for it to be used as a decoration and adornment of your home, business, or mosque, then you need to be made aware that the Quran was not revealed for this purpose. You can just google the term Islamic Decorations or search on Amazon, to see how big of a business this has become. But the Quran is not a tin of Dulux paint in which you paint your house with, and Muhammad is not a sports star who you put up a poster of on your walls.
The only time the scholars have given permission for you to put up these Quranic verses and so on your walls is when your sole intention is to recite the verse every time you see it. And let’s be strict about this. Sole intention means sole intention. It doesn’t mean half the time, or a quarter of the time, because how do you measure and count that, and then you get lazy, before eventually you walk past it like it wasn’t there. Let’s face facts. Putting things up for a part-time reminder just doesn’t work.
And why do you need a decorative verse, instead of just writing “read the quran” or “recite ayut-ul-kursi”. These simple statements are more powerful because they are a direct order to you when you read them, and it saves you from going against Allah’s intention when he revealed the Quran. Furthermore, it saves you from a case where an ignorant person might visit your house, see these hanging verses, and end up leaving and falling into bidah.
Right across the globe, there are many ignorant Muslims who believe that hanging these Islamic decorations in their home will bring blessings, or that displaying them in their business will lead to more wealth. This practice is a bidah. For any religious practice to be permissible in Islam, we must have an authentic proof for it, and as we mentioned before, there are none.
It may even lead to shirk; the most evil of sins. Some people believe that placing certain verses around their homes or in their cars will protect them. Only Allah can protect us, and if you make items as partners with Allah in your protection, then you have committed shirk
In regards to the content of these items, many of them feature the Arabic texts shaped into animals, like the Bismillah bird, or the shape of people or individual body parts. The creation of animate images is haraam, and sometimes the text is as well. The calligraphy is often so distorted that you can’t even make out what it is saying, and some scholars have ruled that these styles are haraam, emphasising that there limits on the permissible styles in which we can write the Quran in.
So, in 99.99% of cases, it is haraam for you to place these paintings and plaques with Arabic Islamic texts in your home, car, business, or in the mosque, and depending on your beliefs, may also be shirk or bidah. And in the very rare case that your intentions are true, it is advisable to avoid this practice too, since you may lead others astray, and there are alternatives available which are permissible.