"Ask the people of The Remembrance if you don't know".
[The Qur'an, 16:43]
What is the ruling regarding building a snowman? Is it halal to build a snowman? Will it count as building a sculpture/statue?
According to leading Hanafi scholars making a snowman is permitted, due to the fact that the sacred law allows images and forms in the context of play and fun as they are not being venerated. Imam al-Ayni said in his Umdatul Qari, commenting on the hadith (narrated by al-Bukhari) mentioning Sayidah Ayesha used to play with dolls,
“The hadith is evidence for the fact that it is permitted for girls to use (animate) forms (dolls) as toys, and this is an exception to the general prohibition upon (animate) forms.”
وَاسْتدلَّ بِهَذَا الحَدِيث على جَوَاز اتِّخَاذ صور اللّعب من أجل لعب الْبَنَات بِهن، وَخص ذَلِك من عُمُوم النَّهْي عَن اتِّخَاذ الصُّور
(عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري)
The other thing to bear in mind is that a snowman is not a permanent form therefore does not have the same meaning as a statue.
Answered by Shaykh Noorud-Deen Rashid, Teacher at Fiqh Answers.
Al-Imam al-Dardir states:
“The conclusion is that representation of the living is prohibited by consensus, if it is a full and complete representation, with a shadow, and made in a lasting material. Contrary to the one missing a member that would not allow it to live if it was a “real” living being. Also excluded what has no shadow such as drawings on a sheet or on a wall. There’s divergence on what is made from a non lasting material, and the correct opinion is prohibition, and it is haram to look at what is haram”
(Sharh al-Saghir ‘ala Aqrab al-Masalik, Chapter of Marriage, Section About the Wedding Feast)
Al-Imam as-Sawi in his marginal notes on this commentary says: “Contrary to the one missing a member : such as having a hole in the stomach”
The permissibility of the snowman would then be linked to the form it takes. If it is made in a way resembling a complete living being, and with enough elements to allow it to live if it was animated, then it would be haram even if made in a non lasting material, such as snow.
Answered by Shaykh Saifullah Abu Muhammad, Teacher at Fiqh Answers.
All praise is due to Allah and may salutations and peace of Allah be upon the Prophet Muhammad ﷺ.
It is prohibited to build a snowman according to the Shafi’i School. This is because it depicts a living thing (a human) even though a human does not exist as being made from snow or look like it. However, the form the snowman has is the form of a human being in terms of it having a body, head, eyes, nose and arms. Therefore, the scholars of the Shafi’i School have prohibited this. Imam Qalyubi says, (the words in brackets below are the words of Jalal ud-Din al-Mahalli)
(ويحرم تصوير حيوان) ولو على هيئة لا يعيش معها ما لا نظير له كما مر أو من طين أو من حلاوة هـ حاشية قليوبي
“(It is prohibited to depict a living thing) even if it is depicted in a form that it does not exist in. This is also true even if the depicted thing is made from earth or sweets.”
(Hashiyah Qalyubi wa ‘Amirah, Section on the Wedding Feast)
Answered by Shaykh Mohammad Jamili, Teacher at Fiqh Answers.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Qudamah states:
“If the head of the image is cut off then the dislike goes. Ibn Abbas said, ‘An image is the head, so if the head is cut off then it is not an image’ and this has been mentioned from Ikrimah.
Also, it has been narrated from Abu Hurayrah that he said that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said, ‘Gabriel came to me and said ‘I came to you yesterday and nothing prevented me from entering except that there were some statues at the door, the house had a curtain that had images on it, and there was a dog in the house, so give an order for the head of the statues that are at the door so it can be cut off until they become like the form of trees, give an order for the curtain and let two floor-cushions that are stood on be cut from it, and give an order for the dog so that it can be removed’ so the Messenger of Allah ﷺ did so.’
If that which life cannot remain after it has gone like its chest or stomach is cut off from it, or a head is made for it separate from its body then it does not come under the prohibition because the image does not remain after it has gone, thus it is like cutting of the head. However, if the animal remains after that which has gone like the eye, hand, and leg, then it is an image which comes under the prohibition.
If at the beginning of making the image there is the image of a body without a head or a head without a body, or a head is made for it and the rest of its body is an image not of an animal then it does not come under the prohibition because it is not an image of an animal.”
(Sharh al-Kabir, Chapter of the Wedding Feast)
Answered by Shaykh Bilal Brown, Director at Fiqh Answers.