Tattoos are a popular form of body art and self-expression worldwide, but are tattoos haram in Islam?
Getting a tattoo is considered controversial and taboo for Muslims due to Islamic rulings on changing Allah’s creation and causing intentional harm to oneself.
There are several evidences from the Quran and the Sunnah (the teachings and practices of the Prophet Muhammad, peace be upon him) that prohibit tattoos in Islam. For example, Allah says in the Quran:
And do not throw [yourselves] with your [own] hands into destruction [by refraining]. And do good; indeed, Allah loves the doers of good. (Quran 2:195)
- 1 What is Tattoo
- 2 Are Tattoos Haram in Islam?
- 3 Why tattoos are haram in Islam?
- 4 Confusion About Tattoos in Islam
- 5 Can You Pray With a Tattoo in Islam?
- 6 Why Are Tattoos Haram but Not Piercings?
- 7 Tattoo in Islam Punishment
- 8 Are Tattoos Haram Shia?
- 9 Hadith on Tattoos
- 10 Is an Allah Tattoo Haram?
- 11 Is It Haram to Be a Tattoo Artist?
- 12 Is Name Tattoo Haram in Islam?
- 13 Is Eyebrow Tattoo Haram?
- 14 Is Hair Tattoo Haram?
- 15 Can Muslims Get Tattoos?
- 16 Author
What is Tattoo
A tattoo is a form of body modification where a design is made by inserting ink, dyes or pigments, either indelible or temporary, into the dermis layer of the skin. This changes the pigment of the skin and can be decorative, religious/sacred, a symbol of status, sexualization or fashion, cultural, shock value and more.
The tattoo equipment uses a machine with needles to puncture the skin thousands of times a minute, penetrating the epidermis and implanting ink droplets into the dermis. The skin heals over time and the tattoo design becomes permanent as the ink spreads and settles.
The process can be painful as the needles penetrate deep into the skin. But many cultures have historically practiced tattooing as a ritual, rite of passage, symbol of religious devotion, decoration and art. It continues to grow in popularity worldwide as a way to express oneself.
Are Tattoos Haram in Islam?
Yes, tattoos are haram, based on hadith (sayings of Prophet Muhammad) that curse/prohibit tattooing and changing Allah’s creation.
Getting inked involves changing the sacred human form Allah precisely created, which is haram.
Tattoo is haram because it require causing deliberate injury/bleeding/pain to the body, which violates Islamic ethics.
Most of the time tattooing carries infection, allergy, and other medical issues leading to harm.
Tattoos historically imply paganism, criminality and sin contradicting Islam.
Why tattoos are haram in Islam?
Tattoos are haram because tattoos permanently and deliberately change the creation of Allah, which is haram. God created the human body in its ideal form, so changing that is seen as an act of defiance or impurity.
The tattoo process intentionally causes pain and injury to the body, and health/infection risks, which is discouraged in Islam. Causing avoidable harm to oneself goes against Islamic principles.
Tattoos historically have pagan, criminal, and un-Islamic connotations which make them unacceptable to some Muslim scholars. Even secular tattoos may symbolize vanity, immorality or impermanence in ways Islam rejects.
Some Muslims believe tattoos, especially elaborate full-arm or facial ones, may distract from spiritual rituals like five-times daily prayer, polluting acts of worship. The focus should be humility and God, not beauty, art or self-indulgence.
Confusion About Tattoos in Islam
There are differing opinions among Islamic scholars about whether tattoos are halal) or haram. Some argue tattoos permanently change God’s creation, which is prohibited. Others say they are permissible if not done in defiance of religious teachings.
Most scholars agree that tattoos themselves are not explicitly forbidden in the Quran or sayings of the Prophet Muhammad. However, some argue that certain types of tattoos may violate principles or teachings in Islam.
Getting a tattoo solely for beautification or fashion may be controversial. But tattoos done for medical reasons (like marking radiation sites) are typically considered permissible.
Tattoos of a blasphemous or offensive nature are agreed to be forbidden according to Islamic teachings about respect and reverence.
If a person had tattoos done before converting to Islam, this is usually not held against them. But some scholars say such a person should not get more tattoos after conversion.
Can You Pray With a Tattoo in Islam?
Yes, you can pray with a tattoo in islam, having a tattoo does not directly prevent someone from performing Islamic prayers (salah).
While tattoos themselves don’t invalidate prayers intrinsically, some scholars argue that getting a forbidden (haram) tattoo with an inappropriate image or message goes against Islamic teachings. This sinful disobedience could negatively impact one’s prayers and relationship with Allah.
In Islam, praying in a purified state is encouraged, so some scholars advise removing or covering tattoos during prayer.
Why Are Tattoos Haram but Not Piercings?
Tattoo is haram in islam, because tattoos almost always involve permanent alteration of the skin. Piercings can close up and heal if jewelry is removed. This represents less change to God’s creation.
Tattooing requires constant painful penetration of needles opening skin for lengthy periods. Most piercings involve relatively quick punctures. Less harm is inflicted.
Risk of infectious diseases and other health issues is seen to be lower with piercings versus tattooing. Bloodborne pathogen transmission is rare with regulated piercers.
Decorative tattoos are often seen as pure vanity forbidden in Islam. But piercings, especially earrings, can symbolize beauty, familial ties, femininity – more positive meanings.
Tattoo in Islam Punishment
There is no definitive prescribed punishment for getting a tattoo mentioned directly in the Quran or Hadith (sayings and traditions of Prophet Muhammad).
Most scholars suggest sincere repentance and increased good deeds/acts of worship to atone for the sin of getting an impermissible tattoo. This applies even if it was done before becoming Muslim.
Tattoos solely done for permissible reasons like medical treatment or in cultures where tattoos were not associated with paganism/criminality before Islam may not require penance according to some scholars.
Those who got a forbidden tattoo in willful defiance of presumed Islamic rulings may have their prayers nullified at least until they repent, according to certain conservative perspectives.
Are Tattoos Haram Shia?
Yes, tattoo is haram in Shia, similar to the majority Sunni viewpoint.
Most Shia scholars prohibit tattooing because it involves changing God’s natural creation of the human body, which is revered in Islam. This alteration is believed to show lack of satisfaction with Allah’s design.
Tattoos are also believed to inflict unnecessary harm and pain to oneself, contradicting Islamic ethics on preserving wellbeing and life.
They potentially carry spiritual detriment as well by distracting from humility and focus during acts of worship like prayers, according to some interpretations.
Historically, the cultural perception of tattoos implying criminality, paganism and immorality reinforced the taboo in Shia communities.
Hadith on Tattoos
It was narrated that Abu Juhayfah (RA) said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وسلم) cursed the one who does tattoos and the one who has a tattoo done.”
Ibn Umar (RA) reported that the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه وسلم) cursed the one who does tattoos and the one who has them done.
When ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ud (RA) said, “Allah curses those women who practice tattooing and those women who have themselves tattooed, and those women who get their hair removed from their eyebrows and faces (except the saying of Allah’s curse is not for the women who have tattooing because of medical treatment or correcting any deformity in their body/face) and those who make artificial spaces between their teeth for beauty, altering what Allah has created.”
Is an Allah Tattoo Haram?
Yes, a tattoo depicting the word Allah or name of God would undoubtedly be haram in Islam. This would be seen as extremely disrespectful and improper use of the Creator’s name. Most schools of thought would advise sincere repentance and removal.
Is It Haram to Be a Tattoo Artist?
Yes, practicing as a tattoo artist involving directly inking haram tattoos onto people’s skin would be considered impermissible and sinful in mainstream Islam. However, tattooing for corrective/medical reasons may be permissible.
Is Name Tattoo Haram in Islam?
Most scholars consider name tattoos haram unless they are the names of Allah, Muhammad or other venerated Islamic figures. Even one’s own name in tattoo form risks vainness and altering sacred creation.
Is Eyebrow Tattoo Haram?
Yes, eyebrow tattoos are haram as they modify facial features for purely cosmetic reasons. Some argue medical justifications like correcting deformities may permit it.
Is Hair Tattoo Haram?
Yes, hair tattoo is haram, scalp micro-pigmentation (SMP) hair tattoos create the illusion of a shaved hair buzzcut. As this alters natural appearance and simulates haram tattooing, most scholars consider decorative SMP hair tattoos haram.
Can Muslims Get Tattoos?
No, muslims can’t get tattoos, the majority viewpoint discourages Muslims from getting tattoos unless absolutely necessary for medical treatment. Permissible circumstances are narrow. Reformist thought argues intentions matter more, but classical rulings still call decorative tattoos impermissible for devout Muslims.