Imam Q & A – Tattoos

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Imam Q & A - Tattoos

Salaam Alaikum, I am curious about the permissibility of tattoos in Islam. I have been told that it is completely haraam because it prevents water from touching the skin but I see that women are wearing henna without any problem and this also blocks the water from touching the skin. Then I was told that Tattoos are OK because modern tattoos are formed with ink injected under the skin whereas the tattoos discussed in Hadith are talking about scarification where the skin is cut and allowed to heal in patterns. Now I am very confused on this issue and want to know what the real ruling is.
Jazakallah khair and may Allah bless the sheikh for his time in answering.

Wa Alaikum Salaam,

The prohibition of tattoos is not related to the issue of water reaching skin for Wudu only.

Allah ﷻ created humans on the best shape and figure {very truly, We created man in the fairest stature} 95:4 and the Prophet ﷺ said: “Allah is beautiful and He likes beauty.” (Imam Muslim). The prohibition of tattoos was meant to keep the figure of the human on the same gift from Allah ﷻ unless for specific medical reasons.

The Prophet ﷺ mentioned such prohibition directly in the Hadith as it was narrated by Imam Muslim: “Allah cursed the tattooer and the tattooed.” And if we add to that the pain associated with such practice for Islam prohibits harm caused to others or to self, we are certain of the meaningful reasons behind such prohibition.

One last point as to comparison with Henna; henna is allowed as it is only changing surface color of skin without blocking pores for water and Wudu and for that it will fade out in a short period of time while tattoos are permanent. If Henna was tattooed it will become haram too.

Allah knows best,

Sh. Kifah Mustapha
Imam & Director
Orland Park Prayer Center

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