In 2009 after I published an update for my History of Faceless Dolls article I received an email from a mother who told me, "Muslims also have a tradition of faceless dolls." I didn't know that and thanked her for telling me as well as telling her I would include this in my next update.
She directed me to several websites selling faceless cloth dolls for Muslim children. They were as follows:
The Islamic Establishment
From what I understand Islam forbids the depiction of facial features of any kind, including those on dolls.
The faceless cloth doll shown in the picture to the left is from The Islamic Establishment website.
Besides the faceless cloth dolls they also sells faceless knit bears.
The Aisha Dolls by Umm ‘AbdirRahmaan website sells two categories of faceless dolls; Dolls 0+ for babies and children up to 3 and Dolls 3+ for children over 3 years of age.
The description for the Category 3+ dolls is as follows: Time for Play - Cater for Islamic Values
Once the children grow they want more challenging toys. The ragdolls from Aisha Dolls all have removable clothes and woolen hair which invite the child to imaginative play. All dolls are faceless.
The faceless boy and girl dolls, Friends Asiyah and Bilal, shown in the picture to the right, are from the Dolls 3+ category of the Aisha Dolls website.
The description for the Category 0+ dolls is as follows:
Since babies always want to put everything in their mouth all our age 0+ dolls from Aisha Dolls webshop are made from 100% natural cotton. With Islamic clothing Aisha dolls 0+ cater for Islamic values from an early age. All 0+ dolls are faceless.
The faceless baby doll, shown in the picture to the left, is from the Dolls 0+ category of the Aisha Dolls website. It's called "Nuh Soft Rag Doll" and it's description is as follows:
Nuh is one of the latest models from Aisha Dolls. Nuh has a soft padded body with soft unremovable clothes, which makes him ideal even for small children. Without facial expressions Nuh will be the constant companion whether the child is happy or sad.
According to the "Sunnah Style Dolls (and their makers) featured in SISTERS Magazine" post on Brooke Benoit's "A Cliched Life" blog, which appeared in the November 2014 issue of Sisters Magazine, "When Umm ‘AbdirRahmaan couldn’t find any faceless, sunnah-style dolls on the market for her own children, she made some. Umm ‘AbdirRahmaan stated, “In the beginning I mostly had my own children in mind and their upbringing. After realising the need for this toy in the Muslim community, the idea expanded and I wanted to assist every Muslim family that wishes to uphold Islamic values in their home, creating toys that can support them in their upbringing of their children."
According to their website, when asked to describe their dolls here is what they said, "Aisha Dolls was the first of its kind on the market. Aisha Dolls are faceless, wearing modest/Islamic clothing, soft to cuddle and play friendly. Aisha Dolls cater for Islamic values, and are made with quality and imaginative play in mind, all very important aspects of every Muslim child’s life and upbringing. Aisha Dolls also offer multicultural dolls with different skin colours, reflecting our Muslim community."
Also, according to their website, when asked what inspired them to make faceless dolls here is what they said, "The name of Aisha Dolls says it all. I was inspired by the hadith describing how Aisha (may Allaah be pleased with her) used to play with dolls which had no facial features in the presence of the Prophet (Salla Allahu ‘alayhi wa salam). Having children of my own, I noticed that there was no company offering faceless dolls specifically for the Muslims. To begin with I made dolls for my own children, thereafter I saw other Muslim families’ need for this toy. I decided to create my own models and the idea for Aisha Dolls was born, the first company offering dolls of this kind to the Muslim community."
I also found a Facebook page by Mahasin Abdullah called "Rainbow Babies Dolls - Made by Mahasin A." that sells the handmade cloth dolls and crocheted dudes, shown in the picture to the right, online and at fairs.
According to the "Sunnah Style Dolls (and their makers) featured in SISTERS Magazine" post on Brooke Benoit's "A Cliched Life" blog, which appeared in the November 2014 issue of Sisters Magazine, "While Mahasin observes the sunnah of leaving off facial features, her dolls are especially beautiful, made personalised in a rainbow of buyers’ favourite colours and wearing unique handmade clothes. "