Stuffed Animals: Are they allowed?
Answered by Shaykh Ilyas Patel
Is it permissible to keep stuffed animals as decoration, particularly those not permissible to eat e.g. lion, eagle etc?
It would not be permissible to keep stuffed animals as decoration:
On the authority of Abu Hurayra (Allah be pleased with him) that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) gave dispensation regarding statues/images, which are, tread upon and disliked which were raised and erected.
Layth reports that, I came to Salim ibn Abdullah and he was leaning against a cushion in which had images of a bird and wild animal.I said to him, is this not offensive? He replied, ‘No, only those are offensive which are raised and erected.’
It has been reported in Muslim that the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) that Jib’rail said, we do not enter a house in which there are pictures or a dog
The reason that surrounds the prohibition of animate objects is either tashabbuh (imitation) or ta’dhim (respect) as mentioned by Allama Ibn Abidin as follows:
What is clear from their (fuqaha and learned scholars) statement is that the reason behind the prohibition is either imitation (tashabbuh) or respect (ta’dhim). And respect (ta’dhim) is more common and general e.g. if the image is on the right, left or in the place of prostration, there is no imitation in it, but ta’dhim (respect). When it comprises of both respect and imitation, then the offensiveness will be more severe.
(Ibn Abidin, Hashya Ibn Abidin, V.1 pg 649)
From the above we come to know that if stuffed animals are erected, raised and given respect to, then it will not be permissible to keep them.
Keeping fish and cats as pets is permissible as they are not categorically mentioned in the ahadith, like dogs, and there is no imitation or respect given to them as such.
And Allah Knows Best