Friday, August 12, 2022 - 14 Muharram 1444

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Men getting tattoos

I have noticed that all proofs from primary texts on tattoos address women. I am confused whether it is permissible for men to get tattoos. What exactly is the ruling for men who want to get tattoos?

Answer

For women, love of adornment is innate
God Almighty created women and endeared adornment to them. God described women in the Quran as naturally loving adornment. He Almighty says, “A creature who is brought up in adornments (wearing silk and gold ornaments, i.e. women)…” (Quran 43: 18); for this reason, the primary texts on tattoos are addressed to women.

Generally speaking, tattooing in which the skin is pricked by a needle until blood oozes and different kinds of dyes are placed in these puncture wounds to penetrate the skin and remain there with no removal is prohibited according to the opinion of the majority of scholars. This is because the procedure causes unnecessary pain and harm and is considered impure. This is based on the words of the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) who said, "God cursed the woman who gives the tattoos and the one being tattooed." God Almighty says, "(Satan said), ‘I will order them to deface the (fair) nature created by God" (Quran 4:119).

There is no objection to getting temporary or removable tattoos which are common in our times. There is likewise no objection to males or females getting removable tattoos which do not cause bodily harm, especially the ones which are not visible to others or made for the sake of adorning oneself to one’s spouse. 'Aisha, the mother of the believers (may God be pleased with her) and many scholars maintained this legal opinion. 'Aisha (may God be pleased with her) is the narrator of the above mentioned hadith and this proves that the prohibition here is not general provided the procedure does not cause harm.

The ruling
It is permissible for men to get removable tattoos if it meets the above mentioned criteria i.e. it does not cause bodily harm or contain impurity and is made for a valid reason allowed by Islamic law such as self-adornment and the like.

And God Almighty knows best.