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Offline Reader Questions

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Question with regards the Permissibility of Tattoos
« on: November 12, 2011, 09:45:48 PM »

...The first is the issue of tattoos. I think mostly, Muslims believe them to be haram. I have no problem with this being true, even though I've never really seen any mention of them in the Qur'an, but its the stories and messages about the image of the tattoo coming to life in the hereafter o punish you and all sorts of nonsense like this that worries me. What's your opinion on tattoos and their permissibility? ...

Offline Joseph Islam

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Re: Question with regards the Permissibility of Tattoos
« Reply #1 on: November 12, 2011, 09:46:46 PM »
Salamun Alaikum.

Haram is a very strong word and one must be careful not to pronounce something 'haram' if it is not explicitly mentioned or strongly implied by the Quranic verses by strong analytical deduction.

Albeit the Quran does not give direct references to 'tattoos', it does give much guidance from which we can derive an answer.

I personally would not consider 'tattoos' or any decorative items on the human skin inherently taboo.

It is the 'nature' of the tattoo or 'decorative impression' (and possibly where it appears on the body) which is of more relevance. Tattoos can be graphically lewd, gross, profane, blasphemous etc which would run contrary to many of the Quranic verses and would amount to a transgression. This would clearly be taboo. Permanent tattoos can also mutilate the skin and harm it in a manner which would arguably put it at tension with verses 4:118-119

004:118-119 (Part)
"...and he said "Most certainly I will take of your servants an appointed portion: I will surely mislead them, and I will create in them false desires; I will order them to slit the ears of cattle and to deface the creation of God..."

I would find such a permanent affliction on the human body difficult to support and would personally strongly discourage it in light of the Quran.

However temporary tattoos much like Henna for women which are not permanent on the skin should not be a problem as long as they do not amount to a transgression. However, decorating the skin in sensitive areas, or private areas of the human body is arguably contrary to the Quranic teachings as more than likely a 3rd person would be involved to impression it.

As far as images and statues being haram, I find no support for this in the Quran. In fact, I find such a concept negated. Prophet Solomon had 'statues' made for the Lord's temple (34:13). The difference is he did not make them to worship them but to decorate the temple. (2 Chronicles 3:1, 3:10). In contrast, Prophet Abraham's father worshipped the 'statues' (021.051-052). So it is not the 'statue' which is inherently 'haram' but what you do with it. There is a difference. However, lewd graphical images or statues which run counter to the spirit of the Quran's guidance are obviously a transgression.


I hope this helps,
'During times of universal deceit, telling the truth becomes a revolutionary act' 
George Orwell