Fatwa: 675

Category: fatwas about creed and monotheism

Determining the forbidden shape of the cross

The question:

Is the emblem on the front and back of a Mercedes and a Chevrolet considered a cross? Is it an obligation for me to remove it, even if this results in a decrease in the car’s value? May Allah give you the success to explain the legal ruling for this issue. May Allah reward you abundantly.

The answer:

All praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon whom Allah sent as a mercy to the Worlds, upon his Family, his Companions and his Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Not every emblem that resembles a cross is prohibited and forbidden. The cross is the one known that the Christians sanctify and extol by way of worship. In most cases, this symbol appears on right angles and the bottom is larger than the top. The Christians consider the cross a distinguished symbol of following `Îssa Ibn Maryam (Jesus son of Mary)(1).

Thereupon, it is not permissible for a Muslim to raise an item that carries this image, because this is a symbol of Shirk (polytheism). The cross symbolizes worship to other than Allah. Whoever resembles a people in their practices is just like them. This comes from the hadith where the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said, “Whoever imitates a people is like them…”(2).

Whenever a Muslim possesses this kind of cross, he should remove it whether by defacing it, blotting it, sticking on it, or by any other way to remove this symbol, without damaging the principal object that bears it. This is based on the hadith reported by `Imrâne Ibn Hittân that `Aisha رضي الله عنها told him, “The Prophet’s صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم used to destroy everything that carried a cross or image in his house.”(3)

Ibn Hajar said, “Since destroying images and crosses is intended in this hadith, then defacing, scratching off, and spoiling them as well is included. This is the act that should be done to all images, including images engraved in a wall.”(4)

If the person does not have the ability to change it with his hands then he must use any other means at his disposal. This is taken from the hadith where the Prophet صلَّى الله عليه وسلَّم said, “Whoever witnesses something evil must change it with his hands if he has the ability, otherwise he must speak against it. If he is not able to speak against it, he must hate it in his heart. Hating this evil in the heart is the weakest of faith.”(5)

Now that we have defined the cross that the Christians venerate and take as a symbol, it is clear that the symbols on the two previously mentioned cars are not to be removed.

The perfect knowledge belongs to Allah عزَّ وجلَّ. Our last prayer is all praise is due to Allah, the Lord of the Worlds. Peace and blessing be upon our Prophet, his Family, his Companions and Brothers till the Day of Resurrection.

Algiers, Rabî` Ath-Thâni 18th, 1428H.
Corresponding to: May 5th, 2007.

(1) There are many kinds of crosses: Saint George’s cross, Saint Andrew’s cross, the cross of Lorraine, the Maltese cross, the cross of the Catholic Church, Saint Anthony’s cross, Jerusalem cross, the swastika and others. We can also mention “The Red Cross” and the crosses put in some European countries’ flags, like the flag of Switzerland, England, Finland and others, and the one commonly known is that mentioned above (in the answer).

(2) Reported by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Garments” (hadith 4033) and Ahmad (hadith 5232), on the authority of Ibn `Umar رضي الله عنهما, and judged authentic by Al-Albâni in Irwâ' Al-Ghalîl (hadith 1269).

(3) Reported by Al-Bukhâri, chapter of “Garments” (hadith 5608), by Abu Dâwûd, chapter of “Garments” (hadith 4151) and Ahmad (hadith 23740), on the authority of `Â'isha رضي الله عنها.

(4) Fat’h Al-Bâri by Ibn Hajar (10/358-386).

(5) Reported by Muslim, chapter of “Faith” (hadith 177), Ibn Mâjah, chapter of “Temptations” (hadith 4013) and Al-Bayhaqi (hadith 20759), on the authority of Abu Sa`îd Al-Khudri رضي الله عنه.

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