Assalamu Alaikum Wa Rahmatullahi Wa Barakatuhu,
In today’s modern society, tattoos are becoming more and more abundant amongst individuals; both Muslims and non-Muslims alike. Therefore, a question frequently asked is whether these tattoos are allowed in Islam. The simple answer to this is that permanent tattoos are haram, and the Prophet of Allah has cursed those who choose to have a tattoo upon them, as well as those who create tattoos for people.
‘Abd-Allaah ibn Mas’ood (رضي الله عنه) said: “May Allah curse the women who do tattoos and those for whom tattoos are done, those who pluck their eyebrows and those who file their teeth for the purpose of beautification and alter the creation of Allah.” (al-Bukhaari, al-Libaas, 5587; Muslim, al-Libaas, 5538).
Furthermore, Abu Juhayfah (رضي الله عنه) said: “The Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) cursed the one who does tattoos, the one who has a tattoo done, the one who consumes riba (usury or interest) and the one who pays it, and he forbade the price of a dog and the earnings of a prostitute, and he cursed the image-makers.” (al-Bukhaari, 5032).
Both these narrations demonstrate that tattooing is a major sin, and whilst the reason for them being haram has not been explicitly discussed, some scholars agree that it is due to altering the creation of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى). If a tattooed individual does decide to truly seek forgiveness from Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى), then the curse will be lifted, so no person should feel that there is no point to repentance, because Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) mercy is greater than your sins and Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) will surely forgive those who carried out these actions in their ignorance.
Another further topic of discussion which often arises surrounds tattooed new Muslims who have now accepted Islam or non-Muslims who wish to accept Islam in the near future. Any person can become Muslim, whether they have tattoos on them or were involved in tattooing others in the past. The removal of tattoos is not required, and these individuals can undertake all their Islamic duties. Islam erases all sins that a non-Muslim commits before he/she became a Muslim. Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى) says “Except those who repent and believe (in Islamic Monotheism), and do righteous deeds; for those, Allah will change their sins into good deeds, and Allah is Oft-Forgiving, Most Merciful”(al-Furqaan 25:70).
‘Amr ibn al-‘Aas said: “When Allah put Islam in my heart, I went to the Prophet (صلى الله عليه وآله وسلم) and said: “Give me your right hand so that I may give you my oath of allegiance.” So he held out his hand, but I held my hand back. He said, “What is the matter, O ‘Amr?” I said, “I want to make a condition.” He said, “What is your condition?” I said, “That I be forgiven.” He said, “Do you not know that Islam wipes out whatever came before it, and that hijrah (migration for the sake of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَ تَعَالَى)) wipes out whatever came before it, and that Hajj wipes out whatever came before it?”(narrated by Muslim, 121).
So, it is never too late to mend your ways!
Checked & Approved by Molana Mohamed Aadil Saleh (Bradford, UK)