Shaikh Hussain al-Hatibi (may Allah preserve him) mentions that Shaikh Muqbil (may Allah have mercy upon him) said regarding the Sphinx:

“It is a statue of a lion in Egypt from the time of Pharaoh. The issue regarding it is that generations passed over it, Egypt was conquered, and it was not destroyed despite the presence of the evidences for the prohibition of pictures and statues. The response to this is the following:

  1. That those who conquered Eypgt were not the Senior Companions, like Amr ibn al-As and Uqbah ibn Nafi’ (may Allah be pleased with them). So perhaps this ruling [on the prohbition of statues] was hidden from them
  2. Or perhaps they were preocuppied with [other] conquests
  3. Or perhaps the land in which the statue was in was uninhabited
  4. Or some of them said: this statue was buried in sand until Napoleon of the West uncovered it later on. If this is correct, it is the best answer”

[al-Taaj al-Mukallal pg. 36]

Translated by

Faisal Ibn Abdul Qaadir Ibn Hassan
Abu Sulaymaan