A senior Saudi religious scholar appeared on TV on Monday to advise against people keeping stuffed animals, dolls or puppets in their homes, claiming such behaviour to be haram, or un-Islamic.
Sheikh Abdullah Manea, the religious advisor to Saudi Arabia’s royal court, was asked in an interview whether having children’s toys in human or animal form in the house would affect prayer.
The high-ranking scholar replied declaring: “We should know the rule regarding stuffed toys depicting animals or other living creatures. They are not permitted in any circumstances. They are haram.”
The draconian ruling by Sheikh Manea stems from Islam’s shunning of idolatry, which some interpret as never using pictures or objects that depict humans, animals or living creatures in general.
The Quran does not specifically condemn representative art or decoration, yet does decry anything that could be considered an idol, which in turn detracts from and compromises the uniqueness and greatness of God.
Sheikh Manea, who holds enormous influence over Saudi law, it being based on Islamic law and Quranic interpretation, has previously denounced coloured contact lenses as haram.
“If lenses are worn for cosmetic reasons, that would undoubtedly constitute a distortion of God’s creation,” he said on a chat show in March.