What is the ruling regarding building a snowman?



Islamic Text

It is permitted for a child to build a snowman when playing. An adult can be involved in this. However, an adult alone cannot build a snowman since the dispensation is only extended to children.

عَنْ عَائِشَةَ رَضِيَ اللَّهُ عَنْهَا، قَالَتْ: كُنْتُ أَلْعَبُ بِالْبَنَاتِ عِنْدَ النَّبِيِّ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ، وَكَانَ لِي صَوَاحِبُ يَلْعَبْنَ مَعِي، فَكَانَ رَسُولُ اللَّهِ صَلَّى اللهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ إِذَا دَخَلَ يَتَقَمَّعْنَ مِنْهُ، فَيُسَرِّبُهُنَّ إِلَيَّ فَيَلْعَبْنَ مَعِي

(Sayidah) Aishah (May Allah Most High be pleased with her) narrated saying, I used to play with the dolls in the presence of the Prophet ﷺ. My friends used to play with me. When The Messenger of Allah ﷺ used to enter (our house) they used to flee, but the Prophet ﷺ would call them to join and play with me. (Sahih al-Bukhari, 6130).

According to leading Hanafi scholars building a snowman is permitted for children in the context of play. This is due to the fact that the sacred law allows images and forms in the context of play and fun. Although there is a general prohibition upon such forms.

Imam al-Ayni commented on the Hadith above which mentions that Sayidah Ayeshah (May Allah Most High be pleased with her) used to play with dolls. He explained that it is an exception to the general prohibition upon animate forms.

(وَاسْتدلَّ بِهَذَا الحَدِيث على جَوَاز اتِّخَاذ صور اللّعب من أجل لعب الْبَنَات بِهن، وَخص ذَلِك من عُمُوم النَّهْي عَن اتِّخَاذ الصُّور (عمدة القاري شرح صحيح البخاري

“The hadith is evidence for the fact that it is permitted for girls to use (animate) forms (dolls) as toys, and this is an exception to the general prohibition upon (animate) forms.” – Imam al-Ayni, Umdatul Qari

Another factor to keep in mind is that a snowman is not a permanent form, rather it melts. Therefore, it does not resemble a statue from that perspective.

And Allah Most High Knows best.

– Answered by Shaykh Noorud-deen (05.01.2021)

– Approved by Shaykh Mazin Bakeer (05.01.2021)

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