Fatwa: # 45372
Category: Child Upbringing (Tarbiyyah)
Country:
Date: 15th October 2020

Title

Is it okay if my child watches educational cartoons to aid their mental development?

Question

Assalamualaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakathu, Mufti Sahab. My question is about what would be the best way to teach children. 

I have read that watching cartoons or reading books with animated characters makes a child more creative, open-minded, and helps learn vocabulary and day-to-day conversation. 

As animated shows are haram, please advise me on what will be alternative ways to teach children as our brains love colour and dopamine is released when watching comedy. I'm worried that too much restriction may harm their development. What will be the best ways to teach them morals and day-to-day conversation? How can their imagination be built without watching television and reading books with animated characters?  

JazakAllahu Khairan. 

Answer

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

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

The mind of a child is like clay. It is very impressionable and it is shaped by the upbringing provided by the parents. A positive upbringing based upon the teachings of Sharī’ah will mold the child’s mind to abide by the teachings of Sharī’ah.

Apart from the academic discussion regarding the impermissibility of digital photography and videos, there are a few more aspects to consider when it concerns your children. There are many studies readily available online showing that even a couple of hours of screen time is very harmful to children's development, even if it is something educational. Parental activity and involvement are very necessary for their children's educational progress. Television programs are a very recent development. Children have been developing and learning very well for hundreds of years before the introduction of television to the modern world. It would be absurd to believe that not watching television will impact a child's development. Great people and in fact greater than us passed by before the era of television and technology. Great Islamic luminaries such as Imām Abū Ḥanīfah (d. 150 A.H.) and the other mujtahidīn Imams reached such high levels of understanding and knowledge that people these days are not even able to scratch the surface of their knowledge.  

There may be some possible benefits, but the benefits do not outweigh the spiritual and mental harms. Parental interaction will not only farther your child's development but will also expand the child's interests, and provide the range of emotional support necessary for multiple aspects of a child's learning.

And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Ibn Aḥsan

Student - Darul Iftaa

USA

Checked and Approved by,

Mufti Ebrahim Desai.

 

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