Is it permissible to use emoticons?


I would like to know about the permissabilty of using emoticons on bbm etc. Is this the same as picture making?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.

As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.

An emoticon is defined as “A pictorial representation of a facial expression using punctuation marks and letters, usually written to express a person’s mood. Emoticons are often used to alert a responder to the tenor or temper of a statement, and can change and improve interpretation of plain text; emoticons for a smiley face :-) and sad face :-( appears in the first documented use in digital form.”[1]

Emoticons do not fall under the definition of animate picture making; therefore, it will be permissible to use emoticons.[2] (Qamoos al- Fiqh, Vol.2, Pg.465- 470)

However, emoticons should not be confused with smileys. A smiley is defined as “A smiley, smiley face, or happy face, :) or: D is a stylized representation of a smiling humanoid face, commonly occurring in popular culture. It is commonly represented as a yellow (many other colors are also used) circle (or sphere) with two black dots representing eyes and a black arc representing the mouth. “Smiley” is also sometimes used as a generic term for any emoticon.”[3]

It is clear from the above definition that a “smiley” falls under the purview of impermissible animate picture making.

We advise one to express one’s emotions and feelings with a simple emoticon and refrain from using smileys.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.



[2]  و قيد بالرأس لأنه لا اعتبار بازالة الحاجبين أو العينين لأنها تعبد بدونها ( رد المحتار، ج 1، ص 648، ايج ايم سعيد)


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