Sculptures in Islam
Creation is only which Allah can do and no human has power to create anything. Allah is the only Creator of living and non-living things, and to all apparent and hidden things. Thus, only Allah is worthy to worship and there is no God but Allah. Allah says in Surah At-Tur, verse 35-36:
“Or were they created by nothing, or were they the creators (of themselves)? Or did they create the heavens and the earth? Rather, they are not certain”. [52:35-36]
Above verses clearly declares the true Creator and since He is the only Creator then we humans are nobody to imitate his Creation because we cannot make a single being with soul. If we cannot create a single being then this means we should behave like a human who should know about his no inhumane powers, and so imitation by making sculptures is haram on humans.
Sculptures which are prohibited in Islam
People often say that sculpture is prohibited (haram) in religion Islam. However, this is not the complete truth. Some sculptures from mud or clay are allowed in Islam, while some are prohibited. Making of any living object are forbidden in Islam. As Ibn-e-Abbas has narrated,
I heard Muhammad (P.B.U.H) and he said: “Whoever makes an image in this world will be commanded to breathe the soul into it on the Day of Resurrection, and he will not be able to do that.” [Narrated by al-Bukhaari (2112) and Muslim (2110)].
Sculptures which are allowed in Islam
Those which are not forbidden in Islam are all those sculptures or images having no soul. Thus, it is permissible in Islam to sculpt depictions of house, tress, mosques, or any other non-living objects.
Why sculptures of living object are not permissible in Islam?
Sculptures of living beings are considered as haram in Islam because it is equal to shirk, since while making the living being a person tries to imitate Allah. To imitate Allah’s creation is sin because only Allah can create, and men are not even worthy to make copies of Allah’s creation. Allah has said this in Quran in Surah Maidah, verse 110:
“(The Day) when Allah will say, "O Jesus, Son of Mary, remember My favor upon you and upon your mother when I supported you with the Pure Spirit and you spoke to the people in the cradle and in maturity; and (remember) when I taught you writing and wisdom and the Torah and the Gospel; and when you designed from clay (what was) like the form of a bird with My permission, then you breathed into it, and it became a bird with My permission; and you healed the blind and the leper with My permission; and when you brought forth the dead with My permission; and when I restrained the Children of Israel from (killing) you when you came to them with clear proofs and those who disbelieved among them said, "This is not but obvious magic." [5:110]
There are multiple hadith which indicate that sculpturing is forbidden on Muslims. Making of sculptures also point other religions of non-believers, who worship idols. But, Allah has clearly mentioned in Quran in Surah Al-Haj, verse 73:
“O people, an example is presented, so listen to it. Indeed, those you invoke besides Allah will never create [as much as] a fly, even if they gathered together for that purpose. And if the fly should steal away from them a (tiny) thing, they could not recover it from him. Weak are the pursuer and pursued”. [22:73]
The above verse states that no one can even able to create a fly out of his powers because all powers belong to only one being who is ‘Allah’.
The Reason for Prohibition of Sculptures, in Islam
The reason for the prohibition is, what represents are animate beings, even if they are imaginary images such as those that are drawn to represent ancient peoples for example pharaohs and commanders and soldiers during the Crusades, or images of Jesus and Mary that are placed in churches, etc. This is because of the general meaning of the texts and because of the imitation of the creation of Allah, and because it is a means that leads to shirk. So, we being Muslims should try to avoid forbidden things.