Painting pets is my passion. Am I allowed to draw animals?
I embraced Islam recently and before my conversion, I used to earn some money from painting pet animals as I am gifted in painting. But I am not sure if this is allowed in Islam and I tried repetitively to paint natural paintings but my talent lies in painting animals. So am I allowed to continue painting animals because it is my only hobby which pleases me?
Painting animals and humans is allowed according to the opinion of a group of scholars. This is the established opinion of the Maliki school and was approved of Ibn Himdan from the Hanbali school. They opined that prohibition is relevant to statues which have height, width and depth. Ibn Abi Shaybah reported this opinion in his book (al Musanaf) which was attributed to Imam al Qasem ibn Muhammad who was a renowned scholar from the Tabi’in (generations following the Prophet’s companions). Imam Nawawi said that some of the ancestors favored the opinion that it is prohibited to draw anything which has shadow but if it did not reflect a shadow, it would be deemed permissible to draw it and this opinion is invalid. Ibn Hajar in (Fath al Bari) commented on this statement by saying that deeming the previous opinion as invalid needs some consideration.
Therefore, this issue is one of the controversial issues and the Muslim is not blamed to favor any of the presented opinions because whenever differences occur in juristic issues, capaciousness followed suit. Therefore it is permissible for you to draw humans, pet animals and so on whether you draw from your imagination or from nature or from photographs. There is no legal impediment for you to continue drawing and excelling your talent. May God favor you with his blessings.