In the Disney classic Aladdin (1992), Aladdin is warned not to touch anything except the lamp. But Both he and Apu touch the magic carpet, Carpet. Why was Carpet excluded from that rule?

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    You know, to this day every time I put a curse on something I forget some little details that allow people to escape my dastardly plan and foil my whole operation. Some day I'll learn.
    – Kai Qing
    Aug 31, 2018 at 16:10

4 Answers 4


Because they never touched it with their hands with the intention to take it like Abu did with the diamond/ruby shiny thing. They stood on it with their feet, which is basically what carpets are for anyway. I know technically touching would mean touching, but I think it didn't apply when they stood on the carpet, because they (the writers/studio etc) needed them to interact with carpet at least a little, eg standing on him, to wake him up and notice there was people in the cave for the first time in a millenia to give him a reason for interacting with them. Plus, it's a cartoon with a parrot that has bigger vocabulary than the dictionary, a genie, a talking panther cave, and many more things that are way weirder than why the cave didn't collapse when they stood on the rug.

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    It's also simply impossible to touch nothing. His feet touched the ground. His skin touched the air. Which means that either you are correct (the intention to steal is required), or it's simply not literal (the intentions were to not touch the treasure in the cave).
    – Flater
    Aug 29, 2018 at 9:44
  • They didn't just stand on the carpet. They even shook hands with the rug.
    – user71192
    Aug 12, 2023 at 2:20

I don't know if there is a canonical answer here but for me, the implication is that they are not to touch any of the treasure. After all they were touching the ground by walking on it, so clearly "touch nothing", did not literally mean to touch nothing.

But then one could argue that a magic carpet is part of the treasure as well so it should still apply to the "touch nothing" statement. If we're strictly talking about the Disney cartoon, one could say that the carpet didn't apply because it was alive. Also the carpet initiated the physical contact if I remember correctly which makes it unfair to include in the "touch nothing" rule. They didn't touch the carpet, the carpet touched them.

But if you ask me, I think the "touch nothing" rule was simply meant to apply to the gold and silver and gems that one would obviously be tempted to fill one's pockets with.

One should also note that depending on the version of the story, there may or may not have been a magic carpet. According to Wikipedia:

Aladdin, the 1992 animated feature by Walt Disney Feature Animation (possibly currently the best known re-telling of the story). In this version several characters are renamed or amalgamated (for instance the Sorcerer and the Sultan's vizier become the same person, named "Jafar", while the Princess is re-named "Jasmine"), have new motivations for their actions (the Lamp Genie now desires freedom from his role) or are simply replaced (a magic carpet fills the place of the Ring Genie in the plot, while a royal "magic ring" is used by Jafar to find Aladdin). Names from and elements of the 1940 live-action The Thief of Baghdad are borrowed (for instance, the names "Jafar" and "Abu" and the Sultan's delight in toys). The setting is moved from China to the fictional Arabian city of Agrabah, and the structure of the plot is simplified.

The magic carpet was likely brought into the 1992 Disney version of Aladdin because of the popularity of a flying magic carpet in Middle Eastern folklore.

EDIT: Per Richard's comment, the movie script for Disney's Aladdin actually condemns them as follows

Cave: You have touched the forbidden treasure! (ABU places the jewel back into the paw, but the jewel and the shrine melt into lava.) Now you will never again see the light of day!

This line indicates that what was not to be touched was the treasure itself and not absolutely everything in the cave.

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    From the script; CAVE VOICE: You have touched the forbidden treasure. (ABU places the jewel back into the paw, but the jewel and the shrine melt into lava.) Now you will never again see the light of day!
    – user7812
    Apr 21, 2016 at 21:02
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    Ha I had forgotten that part @Richard good call. I'm gonna add that to my answer.
    – sanpaco
    Apr 21, 2016 at 22:02
  • Go for it. It seemed quite relevant that only some of the treasure is classed as "forbidden".
    – user7812
    Apr 22, 2016 at 8:19
  • The carpet in the Disney movie also serves as the only "inherently good" sidekick. Abu is a thief by nature and somewhat jealous of things that come inbetween him and Aladdin (remember how he doesn't like Aladdin's pursuit of Yasmine). In later movies, Iago becomes the "bad morals" sidekick compared to Abu, but in Iago was not a sidekick (of Aladdin) in the first movie. Compared to either, Carpet has the strongest moral compass and the least character flaws.
    – Flater
    Aug 29, 2018 at 9:46

The carpet was not a piece of the "forbidden treasure". As a living being, the carpet was a prisoner of the cave, just like Aladdin and Abu.

The carpet doesn't touch the treasure, because somehow it knows what will happen. When Abu starts walking towards the ruby, the carpet freaks out, obviously knowing what's coming.

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Because the lamp is the forbidden treasure. Hagar was the only one to say that nothing but the lamp could be touched, the lion just said that the forbidden treasure was touched..

  • "Touch nothing but the lamp" means "Touch the lamp only". Also, If the lamp was the forbidden treasure why didn't the cave shout when Aladdin touched the lamp? It shouted when Abu touched the gem.
    – user71192
    Aug 12, 2023 at 2:27

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