Q. Is it haraam to have stuffed toys and animals? Is it haraam to pray with them close by?
A. Stuffed toys and animals fall within the same prohibition of animate objects and are not permissible. The Prophet (SA) has warned against pictures and images, saying that Allah will ask its maker to put life into it on the Day of Judgement and he would not be able to do so. When we look at stuffed toys and animals, we see that they represent life to a greater extent. In fact, the manner in which these are made make them look real, although they are lifeless. As such these will fall into the same prohibition of pictures and images which is evident from sound traditions.
Praying Salaah in an area where these stuffed toys and animals are will not be haram. However, it will be Makrooh. So, wherever you wish to perform Salaah, you should move these toys/animals away from that place.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan