Idols and Statues (Hadith No. 2155)
Volume 3, Book 43, Number 658:
Narrated ‘Abdullah bin Masud (radiallaahu `anhu):
The Prophet (sallallaahu `alayhi wasallam) entered Mecca and (at that time) there were three hundred-and-sixty idols around the Ka’ba. He started stabbing the idols with a stick he had in his hand and reciting: “Truth (Islam) has come and Falsehood (disbelief) has vanished.”
This incident and some others prove that idols/statues are prohibited in Islam, and must be destroyed. Even if it means not “preserving human civilization”, yes. If this is about idols someone else made, what do you think the ruling would be for making idols/statues in the name of art yourself?
The evidence of sharee’ah indicates that it is obligatory to destroy idols, for example:
1 – Muslim (969) narrated that Abu’l-Hayaaj al-Asadi said: ‘Ali ibn Abi Taalib said to me: “Shall I not send you with the same instructions as the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent me? ‘Do not leave any image without defacing it or any built-up grave without leveling it.’”
2 – Muslim (832) narrated from ‘Urwah ibn ‘Abasah that he said to the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him): “With what were you sent?” He said, “I was sent to uphold the ties of kinship, to break the idols, and so that Allaah would be worshipped alone with no partner or associate.”
The obligation to destroy them is even stronger if they are worshipped instead of Allaah.
3 – al-Bukhaari (3020) and Muslim (2476) narrated that Jareer ibn ‘Abd-Allaah al-Bajali said: The Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) said to me: “O Jareer, will you not relieve me of Dhu’l-Khalsah?” That was a house (in Yemen) belonging to the (tribe of) Khath’am, which was called Ka’bat al-Yamaaniyyah. I set out with one hundred and fifty horsemen. I used not to sit firm on horses and I mentioned that to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He struck me on my chest with his hand and said, ‘O Allaah! Make him firm and make him one who guides others and is guided on the right path.’ ” So Jareer went and burned it with fire, then Jareer sent a man called Abu Artaat to the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him). He said, “I did not come to you until we had left it like a scabby camel.” Then the Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) blessed the horses of (the tribe of) Ahmas and their men five times.
Al-Haafiz Ibn Hajar said:
This hadeeth indicates that it is prescribed to remove things that may tempt or confuse the people, whether they are buildings, people, animals or inanimate objects.
4 – The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) sent Khaalid ibn al-Waleed (may Allaah be pleased with him) on a campaign to destroy al-‘Uzza.
5 – and he sent Sa’d ibn Zayd al-Ashhali (may Allaah be pleased with him) on a campaign to destroy Manaat.
6 – And he sent ‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas (may Allaah be pleased with him) on a campaign to destroy Suwaa’. All of that happened after the Conquest of Makkah.
Al-Bidaayah wa’l-Nihaayah, 4/712. 776. 5/83; al-Seerah al-Nabawiyyah by Dr. ‘Ali al-Salaabi, 2/1186.
Al-Nawawi said in Sharh Muslim when discussing the issue of image-making:
They were unanimously agreed that whatever casts a shadow is not allowed and must be changed.
Images that cast a shadow are three-dimensional images like these statues.
Read more here.