Ruling on dealing in gifts and toys
Praise be to Allah
It is permissible to deal in products that people give as gifts, such as toys, flowers, cards and the like, provided that they do not involve anything haraam such as music or images or pictures of animate beings, and do not help in anything haraam, such as gifts for Valentine’s Day, Christmas, Halloween and so on, because it is not permissible to sell anything that is haraam or helps in anything haraam, as Allah, may He be exalted, says (interpretation of the meaning):
“Help you one another in Al‑Birr and At‑Taqwa (virtue, righteousness and piety); but do not help one another in sin and transgression. And fear Allah. Verily, Allah is Severe in punishment”
With regard to toys and teddy bears, if they are for children, there is nothing wrong with dealing in them, because there is a concession allowing playing with dolls, and because concessions are granted in the case of children that are not granted in the case of adults.
But if they are bought by adults to decorate their living rooms and cars, then it is not permissible to sell them to them.
In as-Saheehayn it is narrated that ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) said: I used to play with dolls in the house of the Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him), and I had friends who would play with me…
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (6130) and Muslim (2440)
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said in al-Fath: This hadith is quoted as evidence for the permissibility of keeping dolls and toys so that girls can play with them. That is excluded from the general meaning of the prohibition on keeping images. This was the view of ‘Iyaad, who narrated it from the majority. They regarded it as permissible to sell toys for girls in order to teach them from an early age how to take care of their houses and their children in the future. Ibn Hibbaan wrote a chapter entitled: Permissibility of little girls playing with toys… – according to a report of Jareer from Hishaam: [‘Aa’ishah said:] I used to play with dolls, which are toys. Narrated by Abu ‘Awaanah and others. Abu Dawood and an-Nasaa’i narrated via another isnaad from ‘Aa’ishah that she said: The Messenger of Allah (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) came from the campaign to Tabook or Khaybar… and he quoted the hadith about him tearing down the curtain that she had hung up over her door. She said: He lifted the edge of the curtain and saw some dolls belonging to ‘Aa’ishah. He said: “What is this, O ‘Aa’ishah?” She said: My dolls. He saw among them a horse that had wings attached to it and said: “What is this?” I said: A horse. He said: “A horse with wings?” I said: Have you not heard that Sulaymaan had horses that had wings? And he smiled.
The report mentioned by Ibn Hajar was also narrated by Abu Dawood (no. 22813) and classed as saheeh by al-Albaani in Ghaayat al-Maraam (129).
Shaykh Ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him) was asked: What is the ruling on buying dolls and on the images that are found in books, such as images of animals and birds, and so on, because children enjoy looking at them and they learn by looking at them, and I do not know what the ruling on that is?
With regard to dolls for children, which are three-dimensional images in the form of a woman or a girl or a child, they may be divided into two categories:
The first category is permissible and there is nothing wrong with it. It includes the dolls that are made nowadays that have no facial features, no eyes or nose or mouth. There are no reservations about the permissibility of these, because ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) had dolls that were like this, with which she played.
The second category is those that are made of plastic and look exactly like human beings, with eyes, lips, eyelashes and eyebrows; some of them even walk and talk. There is some reservation about the permissibility of these, but I am not strict about it, because with regard to the hadith of ‘Aa’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her) which says that she played with dolls, it may be said that it is indicative of lenience concerning dolls, especially since, as I said, children may enjoy playing with them. Nevertheless we say: so long as there is an alternative to that, we should not turn to that which is doubtful when that which is not doubtful is available, because the Prophet (blessings and peace of Allah be upon him) said: Leave that which makes you doubt for that which does not make you doubt.
As for images of other animals, such as horses, lions and the like, there is no justification for keeping them at all, when we have an alternative in the form of toys that are based on equipment such as cars, bulldozers and the like. A boy can play with those just as he would play with toy animals. But if a person is given one of these animals as a gift, then he should cut off its head and leave it without a head, and there is nothing wrong with that.
End quote from Liqa’ al-Baab al-Maftooh (26/6)
And Allah knows best.