Are tattoos Haram?

The ancient traditions of the Prophet Mohammed forbid tattoos. So, based on these traditions, getting a tattoo is Haram. But it can have other meanings too, so let's find out together in this article, are tattoos Haram?

Tattoo image illustration
Illustration of a tattoo. Image created for our site

Is tattooing Haram in Islam?

Based on the hadiths i.e. the oral traditions handed down by the Prophet Mohammed, tattoos are prohibited. Abu Juhayfah reports that: "The Prophet cursed the one who tattoos and the one who gets tattooed". So, this prohibition is highly respected by Muslims, especially conservatives. However, the most liberal Muslims, such as the Sufis, consider that this prohibition should only concern images of idols or of people.

On the other hand, in other Muslim regions, tattooing is an ancient tradition. In the Arabian Peninsula, for example, it's common to find married women tattooing their chins, foreheads, eye contours and so on. This tradition has since spread to many regions. We also see men tattooing calligraphy or symbols linked to their religion.

The tattoo is not perceived in the same way by all Muslims. In fact, many Muslims are tattooed with allegorical symbols of the religion. So, if you want to get a tattoo, you should consult an Islamic scholar or one clerkto know what is Haram and what is not.

Why isn't tattooing allowed?

Why aren't tattoos allowed? For various reasons, including :

  • The tattoo alters Allah's creation The Most High. Indeed, the creation of the heavens and the earth belongs to Allah. Therefore, no one may alter, modify, add or remove anything from his or her body. Furthermore, the God's creation is perfect.
  • Satan uses this path to lead men away from God in order to make them commit this forbidden act. As Iblis says in Sura An Nissa, verse 119:

"Surely, I will not fail to lead them astray, I will give them false hope, I will command them, and they will split the ears of cattle; I will command them, and they will tamper with Allah's creation. And whoever takes the Devil for an ally instead of Allah, will surely be doomed to evident loss."

What's more, we live in a society based on appearance and materialism. This is not just limited to tattoos, but goes beyond them, i.e. surgery, extensions, piercing, which is also Haram if done on certain parts of the body, etc.

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