The majority opinion of Islamic scholars is that cartoons, anime, and films cannot be considered haram in a vacuum. Scholars must analyze the content, storyline, and promoted values of each anime/cartoon in isolation to determine if it is haram to watch or not.
The general consensus is that anime that contains prohibited content (sexual or perverse content) is considered Haram. Anime content that is used to educate and does not contain prohibited content is generally considered Halal. Each Anime must looked at individual to determine whether it is haram or halal.
In this article, we’ll explore the scholarly opinions and the evidences they consult to derive their opinions.
Is Anime Haram?
Most Islamic scholars agree that drawing or creating anime is haram because the images are moving and human-like. However, scholars consider it halal if it is for children’s play – e.g. Islamic cartoons.
Islam Q&A clarified the ruling on drawing animated cartoons (which applies to anime by extension) in their Fatwa. The Islamic authority site cited the following hadith as evidence that drawing cartoons is haram:
“The Prophet (SAW) said: “The most severely punished of the people on the Day of Resurrection will be the image-makers.”Narrated by al-Bukhaari (5950) and Muslim (2109). (source)
When it comes to watching anime, scholars have different opinions. The prevailing opinion is that Islamic authorities must analyze the specific anime, evaluating the values it promotes and seeing what type of visual content there is. For example, an anime that is ridden with indecent content may be considered haram.
What Does Islam Say About Watching Anime?
Islamic scholars believe that anime/cartoons must be evaluated on their contents to be declared as haram or halal. To understand this matter in depth, we consulted Islam Q&A‘s various fatwas as well as other Islamic authorities and hadith.
According to Islam Q&A, it is impossible to give a shari ruling on all productions. This is because each production conveys a different message and has different visual content. So, while some anime may be haram, others could be permissible.
Islam Q&A also clarified that the impact of animated productions on a child is a deciding factor regarding its permissibility. The authority site outlined the following positive benefits that some animated productions offer:
- They can educate children on different subjects in an enjoyable, engaging manner. This helps develop their thinking and understanding of various matters.
- They grow young minds and help cultivate a child’s imagination.
However, Islam Q&A also discussed the negative effects of watching animated productions. Many of these productions, including anime, promote un-Islamic beliefs and ideas. For example, anime may include sexual and perverse content, as well as distorted perceptions of various ideas such as those about accountability, the Hereafter, and belief systems.
Another interesting point that Islam Q&A raised is regarding fantasy elements in animated productions. The Islamic authority site discussed how elements such as witchcraft or raising the dead can distort a child’s understanding.
Why Anime May Be Considered Haram
Anime may be considered haram if it contains prohibited content (such as sexual content) or if it promotes messages or values that contradict Islamic beliefs.
In our research, we found that some Muslim brothers and sisters are confused about anime because of its animated nature.(source) So they had questions about whether animated nudity or explicit content is forbidden.
So, to understand this matter better, we referred to Islam Q&As fatwa on watching adult productions and cartoons (source). The authority site clarified that watching explicit animated content, or animated content that contradicts Islamic values, is forbidden. Thus, to the best of our knowledge, this applies to anime as well.
Islamic scholars have different opinions about the permissibility of watching productions in general – animated or otherwise. Some scholars forbid watching films or cartoons of any kind, while others consider it permissible provided certain conditions are met.
From our research, we found that some scholars consider watching anime permissible if:
- It does not contain any explicit sexual content or nudity, or other indecent content.
- It does not encourage ideals that are contradictory to Islamic beliefs.
- It does not corrupt, distort, or mock religious and Islamic ideologies.
However, Islam Q&A clarified that it is not possible to give a shari ruling that applies to all animated cartoons and anime (source). Instead, the authority site mentioned that each anime must be analyzed in isolation to determine the permissibility of its content.
So if you are interested in watching an anime, we encourage you to reach out to a trusted Islamic authority figure and ask their advice about its permissibility. You can also do your own research about the conditions for anime to be permissible, to understand which category the anime you have in mind falls into.