Answered by Shaykh Mazhar Mahmood
Are tattoos allowed in Islam? If one has tattoos on the body, will ṣalāh be accepted?
Thank you for your queries.
Tattoos in Islam:
Tattoos (i.e, decorative skin markings) which are permanently imprinted into the skin are impermissible in Islām.
Satan had made a strong vow to Allāh Almighty before being exiled from Paradise, that he would mislead the children of Ādam (peace and blessings upon him) into alternating the natural form of their creation. [See Qur’ān, Al-Nisā’: 119]
Tattoos are also exclusive to the aforementioned promise of Satan because they remain on the body from the moment they are imprinted. This is of course if they have not been surgically removed.
Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) had displayed much negativity towards tattoos and those who show interest towards them.
Wahab bin ‘Abdullāh (may Allāh be pleased with him) has narrated: “Allāh’s Messenger (peace and blessings upon him) cursed the tattooist and the one who gets tattoos done…”
[Ṣaḥīḥ al-Bukhārī: 5962].
It is evident from the above mentioned ḥadīth regarding the displeasure of Prophet Muḥammad (peace be upon him) towards tattoos. They are impermissible.
Prayer with Tattoos
There are a number of cases where some have applied tattoos on their bodies in the past. Now they are religiously practicing the teachings of Islam. However they regret the application of tattoos but are unable to afford the surgery to remove the tattoos. The question of prayer with such tattoos are of a great concern. Hence, kindly note the following:
As far as the validity of ṣalāh (prayer) whilst having a tattoo imprinted on a portion of the body for some reason or another, it should be understood that as humans, we shed about 30,000-40,000 dead skin cells of the outermost layer per hour.
Tattooing involves getting pigment deeper into the skin than the outermost layer which sheds. Therefore, wudhū (ablution) and ghusl (ritual purification) in such a case would be intact and in place, causing the prayer to be accepted due to the outermost layer of skin being free from any barrier (to the flow of water).
Allāh Almighty Knows Best