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Are Muslims Allowed to Have Tattoos?

01 August, 2021
Q As-salamu `alaykum. Abdullah ibn Masud 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.” The paragraph above is something I've heard very often and I have a question about it. It says those who tattoo themselves 'for the PURPOSE of beatification or altering Allah's creation are cursed'. What if your purpose intent is otherwise?


Wa `alaykum as-salamu wa rahmatullahi wa barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

Tattooing is forbidden in Islam. It couldn’t be allowed as it changes Allah’s creation.

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Answering your question, Dr. Wael Shehaa, PhD in Islamic Studies from Al-Azhar University and currently the Imam of the Downtown Toronto Masjid in Canada, states:

Tattooing means to pierce the skin with a needle and inject kohl or some other substance to change the skin color to blue or green. This is haram (unlawful) according to the consensus of the scholars. (Ibn Qudamah, Al-Mughni, 1/94)

Al-Bukhari and Muslim narrated that Abdullah ibn Masud (may Allah be pleased with him) said, “Allah has cursed the women who do tattoos and the women who have this done, the women who pluck their eyebrows, and the women who file their teeth for the purpose of beautification and change the creation of Allah.”

Therefore, tattooing is not allowed, irrespective of its form, because it involves changing the creation of Allah.

Commenting on the above hadith, the great scholar Imam An-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said, “As for the words ‘women who file teeth for the purpose of beautification’, what this means is that they do that with the aim of beautification. This implies that what is forbidden is that which is done for the sake of beautification. But if it is needed for medical reasons or to correct a fault in the teeth and so on, there is nothing wrong with it.”

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.