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FACE OFF: The Real Story Behind Learning Roots Change from Faceless Characters

“Why do your character illustrations show facial features now?” 

“I liked the fact that you were one of few publishers that didn’t show facial features. What’s behind the change?” 

“I’m surprised and disappointed with this move.”

“Is this part of a premeditated conspiracy, to water-down the deen of our children?”

 

These are some of the comments we’ve heard from our customers in recent times since we’ve started to illustrate our characters with facial features.  At the very least, an explanation is due. And here it is…

First of all, this decision was taken after much research, discussion, debate and deliberation. It’s not something taken lightly and not without consequences. It reflects the development of our company’s journey with the matter, and so what you’re about to read will trace those experiences and reflections. 

To understand the change, we have to go back to 2006 when Learning Roots first featured characters in its products. The characters were drawn with blank faces. Why so? Because we were aware of hadith such as the following:

 Abu Talhah (R) narrated: “I heard the Prophet (S) say: ‘The angels do not enter any house in which there is a dog or an image.’” (Muslim).

Ibn ‘Abbas (R) narrated: “I heard the Messenger of Allah (S) say, ‘Whoever makes an image in this world will be told to breathe life into it in the Day of Resurrection, and he will not be able to do so.’” (Bukhari & Muslim).

No-one in their right mind would want to risk facing such punishment. So, we understood these hadith at face-value without much further research, depth or commentary. It was also the norm among publishers in Muslim majority countries at the time to draw faceless characters, and we followed suit when Learning Roots first started and it became part of our brand identity. But this decision wasn’t without challenge, and it didn’t take long for the struggles to manifest themselves…


Early Signals

One of the first products to feature characters was the Box of Manners which was first produced in 2006. The nature of the product demanded the expression of animated human emotion. Trying to convey that a character is happy, angry, upset or pensive without the use of eyes, a mouth and a nose is undoubtedly inhibiting. But we managed nonetheless and through the support of body language and context, we were able to get by. But that certainly didn’t mark the end of the challenge…


Limitations: The first edition of the Box of Manners would often show the back of a character or a silhouette to get around the faceless issue.


As our products developed, so did the demand for the effectiveness of our illustrations to demonstrate more complex messages. For example, if you can’t show facial features how would you differentiate ’tears of joy’ from ‘tears of sorrow’, or ‘curiosity of intrigue’ from ‘curiosity with doubt’? The differences between these compound emotions are very subtle. Even with the aid of facial expressions, it’s a challenge for many artists to convey. And without the aid of eyes, eyebrows, a mouth and a nose, it’s nigh impossible.

Showing Emotions: Is she happy or sad? She could be either. Sometimes, you just can’t tell without facial expressions.


The Search Begins

So naturally, this situation compelled us to look into the Islamic legal ruling in further detail. We did what any thorough researchers would do. We gathered all the hadith and evidence we could find related to the matter. We perused the commentary to the hadith. We tried to widen the angle of enquiry by looking at how scholars of opposing conclusions reasoned their arguments. We discussed the matter personally with scholars. This process occurred over several years and still continues till today.

Bear in mind that we were just researchers with a student mindset seeking a better understanding of a small area of enquiry related to our field of work. We’ll summarise what we found, but we won’t go into the details with names and references because that’s not the purpose of this article. If you’re interested in the topic, we encourage you to do your own research, and if you do so with determined effort, the details will become clear to you. Here’s what we discovered:

This matter has been part of classical scholarly discourse, so it’s nothing new. Having said that, modern developments in photography, videography and the digital arts have given the issue new life among contemporary scholars. 

There is a spectrum of scholarly opinions on the matter, ranging from those who consider image-making to be strictly prohibited with a few exceptions, to those considering image-making to be permissible so long as they do not fall foul of general Islamic guidelines. 

And as you’d expect, there’s a body of scholars in the middle of the two sides who argue that only certain types of images are prohibited particularly those that open an avenue to  shirk (associating partners with Allah) such as statues or portraits invariably crafted with the intent of veneration.  But if the images lead to more benefit than harm, such as those used for the purpose of education or play, then these scholars deem them to be permissible. 

There are lots of details contained in the arguments and even a cursory reading into the subject will reveal that the matter is far more nuanced than a simple black and white, yes or no. There are genuine discussions on the differences between digital photographs and hand-drawn images as well as 2D images and 3D statues. 


What they all agree on...

What was unanimous in the findings of our research, however, is that there is an exception to the general rule when it comes to children. This was conceded even by those scholars holding the strictest line, based on the hadith:

Aisha (RA) said: “I used to play with dolls in the house of the Messenger of Allah (S), and I had friends who would play with me…” (Bukhari & Muslim)

And as you’d expect, there’s more scholarly discussion about how far this exception extends. Does it apply only to dolls? Were the dolls faceless dolls? Can the exception be extended to other items that have educational benefit? 

Even if we accept the premise that 2D images for children cannot show animate objects, then several other questions arise: 

  • Does drawing a faceless human count as it being inanimate or a lifeless object without a soul? 
  • Does separating the head from the rest of the skeleton (as some scholars have suggested) reach safety under the ruling? 
  • Does a faceless character constitute a ‘new creation’ that is competing with Allah’s creation?

How do you see it?

What this research did bring to fruit is how much of the implementation in this field is subjective.

To you and me, drawing a human face without eyes may mean it’s devoid of life, and therefore without a soul. But to others, it’s still a human life, just without eyes. 

To you and me, a human without eyes is just that: a human without eyes. But to others, it may be a different type of creature that is human-like, but not human per-se.


Subjective Art: Is the character above a human without eyes, or a new creation that is human-like but not human per-se? This is not a fact-fiction question. You will get different answers from different people and no one answer will be definitive. 


It’s not a simple black and white issue…

In all honesty, the more we researched this topic over time, the more we came to realize that this issue is in flux... 

In the early days of our research, there was a significant contingent of scholars that prohibited photography and debated whether videography was essentially lots of photo frames put together to create motion. What would happen to the da’wah (calling to Islam) if video lectures or photo platforms were deemed impermissible today? With the proliferation of mobile devices and the digital world they support, it’s fair to say we’ve passed that point now. 

What we did conclude, however, was that this issue is not as clear cut as we had first assumed. There are obvious exceptions to the rules for children’s resources and there’s plenty of food for thought in the details too.

But you may be surprised to learn that after all this research and despite being aware of this allowance to show facial features, we still decided that Learning Roots should stick to faceless characters

After all, it was still the safer option, right? 


Let’s Level Up…

One of the core values at Learning Roots is  Ihsan (excellence) in our work through constant improvement. What got us to where we are today, will not get us to where we need to be tomorrow. To level up, we must up our game. Every day. 

Part of that improvement was to build brand identity behind our characters. Up until now, our characters had been distinctive in style, but not in personality. If we were to make future strides, we’d need to build affinity and identity around our characters; boys and girls that a Muslim child living in today’s world can relate to and take as positive guides. Undoubtedly, a large part of the personal identity of a 2D or 3D visual character resides in the face. By opting not to use facial features, the door to this development is restricted. 

Behind the Brand: Few would argue that faceless characters cannot build a greater affinity with children in the same way fully-featured branded characters with personality can.


But opposing views would argue that what we perceive to be advancement should never be at the expense of Allah’s pleasure. We agree. But to say the use of facial features in children’s products, in particular, is at the expense of Allah’s pleasure is a bold yet arguably weak statement. And so the case against showing facial features begins to wane.


My Kids Find this Scary!

One of the other qualities we’ve always been keen on at Learning Roots is to listen to what our customers have to say. And while we were occasionally praised for not showing facial features, we would consistently hear voices from the opposite end. Comments such the following were not uncommon:


“My child finds the faceless characters scary!”


“Even if you don’t show faces, my kids just fill in the blank faces anyway!”


“These faceless characters look creepy and very off-putting.”


While we may or may not agree with such comments, we do accept them to be genuine concerns for some. And that acknowledgement brings to surface concerns in child-psychology that we hadn’t previously been cognisant of. Does the continual exposure of children to faceless characters, or faces with partial facial features lead to negative psychological effects?

Whether you regard this issue as significant or not, we just want to highlight that it is a multi-faceted issue that permeates the Islamic legal rulings, application to modern advancements, effects on professional development as well as child psychology. 

But if that wasn’t enough, there’s an even bigger elephant in the room that we’re all aware of, but doesn’t often get a mention in the discourse of image-making in Islam…


The Bigger Picture

In our research we found a significant body of insightful scholars who looked beyond the technicalities of the issue and foresaw an even bigger wave that has already crashed on the shores of Muslim homes. While we’re discussing the finer details of a classical matter that has been debated over centuries, our children are today drowning in a sea of highly sophisticated, alluringly attractive, and in some cases, overtly nefarious sights and sounds from mainstream media. 

Discerning this phenomenon (which only strengthens with the passage of time) has led some scholars to encourage the use of engaging full-featured imagery in Islamic learning contexts, particularly since the texts already allow room for this.

Missing the Woods for the Trees: Few children living in the West today don’t own a book, toy or video game without characters that don’t feature facial features.

Let’s be honest here; The average Muslim child living in the West, be they from a ‘practising’ family or otherwise, will at some point likely indulge in content from Disney, Netflix, television or YouTube. Or they’ll play video games, either on consoles or phones or tablets. And if it’s not on the screen, then they will almost certainly own some toy or book that contains living beings with full facial features. And if they're truly part of the 0.1% that have escaped these ubiquitous offerings then such items are still likely to have unsuspectingly entered their homes from their child’s school, clubs or the wider world.

So why is there a different expectation when it comes to wholesome Islamic resources when they reside alongside mainstream resources on the same shelf in the same Muslim home?


Paying Attention…

At Learning Roots, we’re under no illusion about what we’re up against. Yes, we want to attract your child’s attention so we can direct them to Allah and His beautiful religion. And yes, we’re wrestling with the likes of Disney, Pixar and Dreamworks for that attention. To be frank, we’re not able to compete with a simple toolkit of faceless characters that fail to build an emotional connection with your child. 

And so if there’s clear room afforded to us in our religion to expand our toolkit, we will not stand by and watch our children be lured into a chasm designed by people whose agendas are far removed from or even opposed to Allah’s glorification. That’s not happening on our watch. And that’s a matter of honour and duty for us.

Furthermore, our company culture doesn’t operate from a ‘protectionist’ mindset. We’re not motivated by the aim of shielding our children from the harms of mainstream media. Rather we’re driven by the dreams of what our children can and will become when they are raised by learning, loving and living Islam. When you come from this approach, you empower children to thrive in their Islam and the defence against harm comes as standard. 

With the weight of all the arguments we’ve enumerated above, we made the decision that Learning Roots, a company that seeks to let the natural beauty of Islam shine on our children, and one that designs for young Muslims living in an ever-sophisticated, ever-alluring modern world, would now use the room afforded to it by Islam, to show characters with facial features. 


Summary

It’s often said that many readers peruse the beginning of an article, skip the middle and search for a conclusion at the end. If that describes you, then here’s what you are searching for:

When Learning Roots began in 2004, we took the hadith prohibiting image-making at face-value and established our brand identity with faceless characters.From the outset, our creative team experienced the limitations of expressionless characters. We researched the topic thoroughly and knew there was a well-evidenced exception to the general prohibition of image-making for children, even among scholars holding a strict line. Furthermore, with art being so subjective, even drawing characters without faces doesn't necessarily mean they fall under the 'safe' option. 

Our constant push for improvement had been kept in check by our insistence to not depict facial features. And some of our customers were sending us a clear signal that child psychology was a factor that perhaps we’ve been blind-sided to in the past. But all the while as the years past, we continually witnessed Muslim children being allured by the increasingly attractive sights and sounds of mainstream media, while we stuck to the simple toolkit of faceless characters. 

There came a point where we were simply unwilling to stand by and watch this happen, especially when our religion afforded us the room in this context to broaden our options and tackle the issue.


Sweet Fruits

And so we proceeded, at times, tentatively with simple lines depicting eyes, until we went on to show detailed features with our Ramadan Activity Book which we launched in 2019 with the aim of introducing Learning Roots to a much wider audience. 

Best-Sellers: The Ramadan Activity Books were the first Learning Roots publications to feature full characters. 

It was a significant decision in our company history, one that was slow in coming, but the impact certainly was not Alhamdulillah. Our products and company have since enjoyed heightened popularity with both existing and new customers year on year. We’re especially pleased that children can now enjoy a greater emotional connection with our characters, and ultimately Islam, when using our products.


Peace of Mind

Of course, there will always be those who will insist that there is no barakah in doing the ‘wrong thing’. We appreciate the feedback and couldn’t agree more. As you can appreciate, where we differ is if this is truly the ‘wrong thing’. As we hope this article highlights, this issue is far from black and white, and even sticking to the ‘safer option’ is not so safe in the wider context of the world our children are growing up in. Furthermore, by showing facial features for children, we're simply following a well-established, agreed-upon timeless ruling in Islam.

There are multiple ways of looking at any matter, even if we prefer one over the others. We’ve shared our journey in this article so you may gain a greater appreciation of our experience with the issue of faceless characters. At this juncture, after having undertaken the due diligence, we’re at peace with this issue and we end with these apt words of the finest of creation:

Wabisah ibn Ma’bad reported: The Messenger of Allah (S) said to me, “Have you come to ask about righteousness and sin?” I said yes. The Prophet clenched his fist and struck his chest, saying, “Consult your soul, consult your heart, O Wabisah. Righteousness is what reassures your soul and your heart, and sin is what wavers in your soul and puts tension in your chest, even if people approve it in their judgments again and again.” (Sunan al-Dārimī)

36 Responses

S S

S S

August 29, 2020

Thank you for the explanation.I come from a family of Al-Azhar scholars in Egypt.My grandfather and my father were both “Azhari’s” as we call them back home.Yes I know the hadith about the angels.But being raised in a household where lots of rules were also approached logically,I honestly see no harm in illustrating features in children’s books.I don’t want you guys to feel guilty about it.We all grew up with stories that had characters illustrated in them, as long as these illustrations are not showing anything ‘haram’.
If we don’t approach this matter logically, I assume any medical student with a model of a skeleton or brain or even sheets of the human body organs illustrations will actually be doing a great harm to themselves by having these things in their room.Is that student really doing harm?And God will punish them by not making angels enter that room or house? Or is he/she actually studying and working hard to be able to later on be of good use to the community and help treat people? The skeleton is not there to be admired or worshipped and so are the illustrations in children’s books.It all depends on the context.
Keep doing what you are doing.Having features in a children’s book is normal and if angels God forbid do not enter a house, I am sure it is not because of the illustrations of these books you publish.

Thank you

Sumaiya

Sumaiya

August 29, 2020

I love the explanation, and JazakAllahu khairan for that. I used to, in the early days not care about the facial features and was strictly against it. But after having children, it makes a difference. Also, according to many Shafi’is having illustrations for children’s toys and books is allowed.

My kids did find it offputting, but I loved the stories. I also do storytelling and read your books to toddlers and those under 5, you don’t know how many of them would just be put off and scared that they would look away during the reading by the faceless characters. I realized over time that it’s pretty difficult to keep all things faceless, especially for the development of young children in today’s time. And when there is a legitimate difference of opinion in the matter, and you’ve consulted ulema, then why not with the intention to benefit the children.

JazakAllahu Khairan to you all for all your efforts, may Allah accept it, grant you all barakah and success in both worlds.

Sumaiya (Canada)

Aarifah Khan

Aarifah Khan

August 28, 2020

I loved reading this and I’m so glad you took time to explain to us, it was very interesting.
I understand how hard It is to show expression through faceless illustrations but, you managed to do it and you done it very well…
This is what made you different From everyone else you were very unique.
I was unpleasantly surprised when I realised the faces are now on your products but I will still buy your products because they are definitely educational and fun and full of quality and my whole family are full of excitement when we use the products. But if I had a choice I would pick faceless.
I wonder though… can’t you sell both options? Faces and faceless you would cater for everyone then.
I pray you continue to do well and always be here for us to order your much loved products InshaAllah 💜

Sarah

Sarah

August 28, 2020

I really respect the fact that you took the time to address your customers (and prospective customers) by providing this ‘article’ of your journey and research.

Just a suggestion, not sure if it is feasible (financially, logistically or otherwise), perhaps you could offer the option of faceless characters and characters with facial features, and let customers choose their preference?

May Allah put baraka in your business and reward you for all the knowledge you help bring into everyone’s home! Ameen.

Rilah

Rilah

August 28, 2020

I am soo happy that you have taken this decision- as I was reluctant to buy without faces etc. In my opinion this is a much more profound stance alhamduLillah

Umm Easa

Umm Easa

August 28, 2020

JazakAllah for such an open and informative article on why you’ve chosen to add facial features.

I’ve always loved Learning Roots, as have my family, as you catered to the exact niche of our religion, and that too in such a beautiful way.

I don’t agree with your reasoning, which is basically opening up your target market to those who aren’t so strict. The eyes thing especially on an Islamic product is a big no no in our home and for that reason I’ll have to stop purchasing but regardless of all this I wish you the very best in your future endeavours.

Despite all comments about ‘this being the 21st century and having to move on with times’, I wish you had realised, and people would too, our beautiful religion is timeless. It was written for all times, without the need for anything to change. Least not, by us.

May Allah swt guide us all, ameen.

Umm T

Umm T

August 28, 2020

Assalaamu aleykum, thank you for your explanation, it is very helpful. I just can’t help but wonder however, what about ’Don’t be like the non-Muslims’? I don’t know much about it but it’s something that can be a sounding board in these difficult times, and how families at home need to make decisions and put in effort so children aren’t missing out. It’s not easy but alhamdulillaah children are also adaptable. Maybe the solution is to have both, I’m not sure if it is a financially viable decision. Just sharing, please forgive me if this comment feels unhelpful or illicit difficult feelings. I honestly just want to help in my small way. You’re already doing much. Thank you.

Fero

Fero

August 28, 2020

Fantastic work that you are all doing! I agree that they should have facial features. Thank you for taking the time and effort to go through your reasoning behind the decision.

Ruqaiyya

Ruqaiyya

August 27, 2020

Assalaamu ’alaikum.

JazaakumAllaahu khair for the explanation.

I am by no means more qualified than the scholars of Islam, but the way I see it is that ‘every action is based upon its intention’. If the figures or characters with faces are for educational purposes and there is more benefit than harm, then I cannot see the issue so long as these are not carelessly left lying around – especially in areas of prayer.

I allow my child to have some books and toys with characters that have faces on, but am strict in that they must go straight back into a covered toy box after so as not to repel the angels or be left out when we pray. My child is 7 and has been brought up to understand the reasons why, by Allaah’s Grace.

No matter what we do in life, someone will always disagree or criticise and so I believe as long as we always do our best to purify our intentions, ask Allaah for guidance and remember the end goal, in shaa Allaah, we will be successful.

And Allaah knows best.

Fee amaanillaah.

Um abdullah

Um abdullah

August 27, 2020

Salam au alkum

Thank you explaining and while I understand why I am majority disappointed and think you consider doing as much as you can without faces.

May Allah swt make it easy on your company.

Asbah Alaena

Asbah Alaena

August 27, 2020

As an illustrator myself – I have struggled with this question for months! Did istekhara for weeks. And finally settled at what I’m doing is good In Sha Allah!

Only yesterday I began having doubts about the illustrations I do for children’s book; again and today I get to read this detailed article! SubhanAllah!

I totally agree – and much JzA for this article,

I highly respect the people who choose faceless bc this may be super high on taqwa – but I totally believe that what I’m doing will In Sha Allah be permissible.

WAJiD

WAJiD

August 27, 2020

Asalaam alaikum,

JazakAllah Khairun for such an open and clearly thought out article. It should be required reading for all Muslim organisations and activists in how to handle a contentious topic with respect and clarity.

Well done.
WAJiD

Umm A

Umm A

August 27, 2020

As a long time customer and I really have invested in almost every line of your rpoducts whilst I appreciate the decision as well as the explanation, it’s really sad to hear this.
For me I felt like I could purchase LR products as something that was different. There aren’t many out there like you, ie faceless and I respected and loved your products for that. I introduced them to my children from babies and they never questioned it, it felt that this was a unique selling point for me. It’s true, everyone is doing it but what then makes you different? There are other children book publishers out there too who draw faces and over time you’d become same as the rest. I’m not certain yet I’d continue buying. I’d gotten the Ramadan booklets before noticing but was hoping you’d keep some faceless features. Either way, best wishes in your endeavour and may Allah reward your intention , whatever that may be.

Hafsa B

Hafsa B

August 27, 2020

I prefer faceless. My children never had a problem with it because they were taught about images early. I know it’s a foreign concept to a lot of children who have been exposed to Disney/Pixar/etc at an early age. *glad we bought the earlier products Alhamdulilah. We love Learning Roots quality and will continue to look for products without images when shopping the site. Wallahu ‘Alim.

Unmoal Hamdan

Unmoal Hamdan

August 27, 2020

Our home of 3 boys loves faces of expression because it brings life to the story being told. It’s relatable and it leaves an imprint in their memories. I found it interesting that my 2 year old pointed it out to me that they don’t have faces and my 7 yrs old asked me why they didn’t have faces. We don’t have to mimic western cartoon styles of appealing to children, however, we should take the good to help our children form an attachment to Islamic learning too. They love colors, friendly faces, and familiarity… I see nothing wrong with that! =) Jazak Allahu Khair’un for your efforts to bring the children closer to their deen. That’s the silver lining !

A L

A L

August 27, 2020

Salam alaikum
Thank you so much for this explanation. As so many have mentioned, it’s wonderful to see such a respectful and thorough message. I just wanted to weigh in: we aren’t fussed about the Issue of faces on children’s books and toys, whether there are faces or no. There is something to be said for the use of judgement as long as the basic tenants are taken into account, as far as we are concerned. Having said that, I wonder if your company has room for both, it is to say a line of products that satisfies one side of this controversial issue, and a line that satisfies the other. Then clients could choose whatever suits their needs.
Take care!

Sidra M

Sidra M

August 27, 2020

Asa,
I am glad that you have started to show facial features in your books/resources. My children love your books, but always got a bit creeped out by the fact they had a blank face and it used to put them off reading them! Whatever argument one believes to be valid, kids are kids and for them it’s a simple case of what looks natural/normal! I think you have made the right decision and inshallah your resources will now be accessible to even more children.
Jzk for taking the time to post a statement about the change.

Umm Ibrahim

Umm Ibrahim

August 27, 2020

Asalaamu alaykum,

As a long time customer who has ceased buying after the switch to facial, I’m dissapointed but appreciate the time you took to explain. It helps to know that alot of consideration has been put into what I’m sure was a tough decision. You will no doubt find support on both sides of the coin.

While I can understand the change in some of your products, my main concern was that faces were incorporated even in your quran products (like the new juz amma reader). I found that to be unnecessary and disrespectful to the words of Allah (any animation sounds strange in that context, to be honest). I’m sure you aren’t competing with Disney for Qur’an products… Nevertheless, I wish you the best as you continue your company’s journey.

Tariq

Tariq

August 27, 2020

Assalaam alaikum,

SubhanAllah, this article is very, very similar to my journey. For many years I’ve been facing this same question, which is definitely not a black/white issue. Every point, even the hadith mentioned was what I faced and the reason of going faceless for many years. Until it became very apparent of the mainstream media today being so powerful that facial features were required to just draw attention to the learning materials too. After so many years of searching, of asking scholarly opinions and of wise people, of reading Islamic resources that tackle this issue… I finally went to facial features. I’m still open to scholarly opinions and this decision wasn’t definitive, however, it opened so many doors subhanAllah. Alhamdulillah a lot of Muslim clients contacted me to illustrate for their projects too.

Muslim communities need to compete with mainstream resources; both children and adults learn from the entertainment industry, whether we like it or not. Faceless characters can only take you so far, and it’s a blessing if it gets a lot of attention without any facial features. It’s the reality we have to face.

JazakumAllah khair for this wonderful article. If I start questioning myself again (which has ceased slowly after this big decision of my life), I will make sure to read this again inshaAllah. It truly reflects my personal journey and the arguments I’ve had with myself as well.

Thank you so much, may Allah bless and reward you all for all the hard work and time you’ve poured into making wonderful Islamic educational resources for the future generation.

Afifa Tufail

Afifa Tufail

August 27, 2020

Bravo for your reasoned and respectful tone of explanation. Isnt Islam about such adab. May Allah guide your projects to fruition- ameen

Ayesha

Ayesha

August 27, 2020

I think as customers we can appreciate the explanation of the use of faces, however as a long term customer unfortunately I won’t be purchasing again, I can understand the world we live in can be competitive and you have to make a living but please don’t forgot our rizq is from Allah and it is better to stay on the safer side and trust Allah and fear him than fearing the loss of losing your company to others because you have no faces on your books. All scholars will have different opinions but remember it is better to stay on the safe side than following a minority. I really did like your books without the use of faces and I personally think you guys did a brilliant job of showing expressions with the use of body language and no faces, my child was still able to understand from them.

Rima Haque

Rima Haque

August 27, 2020

Salaam. I’m very pleased that you’ve added facial features to your products – this makes them hugely more accessible to children and easier to engage. Previous products without, I’ve filled in the features myself with a Sharpie!

Sania M

Sania M

August 27, 2020

Thank you for this very detailed and thorough explanation. It shows your commitment and care for your customers. We can see you truly took this matter very seriously and did all the due diligence before making a decision. To be honest I did not know of your brand prior to your Ramadan books and I absolutely LOVE your illustrations and it was what drew me to your products. Kids need things that attract them to the deen, in a world that lures them away otherwise. Both my boys loved the ramadan activity books last year and asked for more this year. I have since then also purchased more books from your site and love the content/characters. Maybe to please the smaller market of parents who want faceless drawings you can continue a smaller line of books that way? But I for one love all your books and in the book regarding the Prophet pbuh I did see you did not include his face and explained to the children why that was done. My kids have also read and love Noor Kids books with illustrations. In today’s world we want to limit their screen time and that’s why books are a great option. So it’s completely understandable to stay with the times, within reason. Even if you do decide to go onto digital content, having that Islamic option is SO wonderful! It is definitely something us parents would’ve loved as kids, and know that our kids really do enjoy them. Keep up the amazing work!

Good job!

Good job!

August 27, 2020

So lesson of the day… Not to take things at ‘face’ value!! Lol! Art isn’t my forte so I’m pleased i don’t have to pencil in my wonky facial features anymore! Look guys you’re doing a good job. MashaAllah. Refer to sound scholars and keep using common sense. Looking forward to seeing your new improved editions of old favourites and new fresh products InshaAllah. And no need to get into a face off with the haters!! 🤭

Abu Maryam

Abu Maryam

August 27, 2020

Maashaa’allaah the psychological angle blindsided me also but teachers and those with children can surely understand this. Those without will not understand either at all, or as well.

Did you present your conclusions to a scholar, or did you just consult regarding the fiqh of imagery in general during this process? In either case, could you mention who they are and/or link to their fataawa? I think this would add further conclusiveness (‘shaykh so-and-so said’ if asked) and give the opportunity for those interested to study in further detail.

Jazakallaahu khayr.

Sumayya

Sumayya

August 27, 2020

Salaam jzk for this very insightful & informative article. It is very brave of you to share your thought processes with the world & ia it is accepted as a work of education from you- I certainly learnt a lot and it makes sense to seek to engage our children early on with characters who are likeable, aspirational and relatable. Jzk & keep up your excellent work!

OumYahya

OumYahya

August 27, 2020

It was Definitively better before (I mean without the facial features).

Nikia Marie Bilal

Nikia Marie Bilal

August 27, 2020

AsalaamuAlaikum, I appreciate the thought and respect for your customers that went into this detailed explanation (and though I usually am a quick peruser, I read the entire page, Alhamdulillah). May Allah reward the entire Learning Roots team, allow these products to be a means of planting the love of Allah and His deen deep into the hearts of our young people, and grant us all the best in this life and the next.

Rachael Malek

Rachael Malek

August 27, 2020

I know there will be varying opinions about this issue, but I for one am in support of keeping the stories & morals of Islam fresh and modern for the coming generations. Faces will engage children more.
Assalamualaykum.

Razia Killedar

Razia Killedar

August 27, 2020

I totally agree with the decision of the management. Of course living in 21st century we do not want our children to lack behind . Allah sees the intention.
Allah knows best

Mohamed

Mohamed

August 27, 2020

Assalamualaikom Wa rahmatullahi Wa barakatuh
May Allah bless you for your due diligence in seeking that which is most pleasing to Allah, using authentic sources and consulting scholars who are aware of the reality of today’s circumstances, and seeking to provide something excellent for our Muslim children to learn about and love their religion – this is true Islam as taught by the Prophet Muhammad peace be upon him. Well done and may Allah give you strength and steadfastness.

Muslim parent.

Faheemah

Faheemah

August 27, 2020

I’m so glad that facial expressions have been incorporated. Personally, blanking them out is unnatural.

I’m super impressed with the care and consideration in addressing this issue, especially the depth of analysis and reflection.

As always
⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐ ⭐
Alhamdulillah
🙂

Abdul Khan

Abdul Khan

August 27, 2020

Assalam alaykum.

I 100% agree with your thinking. My children were put off by the blandness of the material before. Yes you are competing with the likes of Disney etc. I would in fact buy Christian material as it was more eye-catching. Thank you for having a more nuanced understanding of this matter. Even Bilal Philips and others allow pictures and acknowledge a difference of opinion on the matter.

Wassalam
Abdul Hafeez

Maryan

Maryan

August 27, 2020

Thank you for your honesty, your transparency, your realism. Thank you for sharing your thought process with us. It is refreshing, inspiring and comforting to know that Islamic companies are also capable of free thought and conscious decision-making. Undoubtedly, this is not a strictly yes/no debate and you have raised some great points here. You’ve conveyed your message with dignity and respect. I, along with other parents like myself I’m sure, am grateful for that.

May Allah continue to keep us all on the right path, make it easy for us to put the love of Islam in our children’s hearts, and raise a strong-minded and open-hearted generation for the future.

May Allah forgive us for our mistakes and make it easy for us all. Thank you.

T C

T C

August 27, 2020

I don’t think I will be purchasing from you again sadly. Love your books and resources but I still believe faceless is better.

Ahmed Aslam

Ahmed Aslam

August 27, 2020

MashaAllah! Much needed to have facial features – will be a lot more positive then negative, and majority scholars say nothing at all wrong with this, as long as don’t have on qibla wall. Allah swt bless you!

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