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Why are tattoos filthy? How are they to be removed?

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed

I have read that tattoos are filthy. Why? How are they removed?

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

Tattoos are considered filthy in our school and they prevent the validity of prayer. This is because tattooing–according to the explanation of the fuqaha–is extracting blood from the hand (for example) using a needle and then mixing a colored pigment with it that will mix with the blood and then dry so that its substance remains on the outer body.

Tattoos are prohibited (haram) and are obligatory to remove, unless one fears harm thereby, such as becoming sick, or delay in recovery from sickness. In such cases, it would not be obligatory to remove them.

As for how they are removed, this is a matter that returns to medicine, and there is no particular manner prescribed for it by the fuqaha.

Amjad Rasheed

(Translated by Faraz Rabbani, edited by Hamza Karamali)

الحمد لله رب العالمين ، والصلاة والسلام على سيدنا محمد وعلى آله وصحبه أجمعين . أما بعد : فهذه أجوبة أسئلة إخواننا من كندا . السؤال الأول : قرأت أن الوشم نجس فلماذا ؟ وكيف يزال ؟ الجواب : الوشمُ في مذهبنا نجسٌ يمنع صحة الصلاة ؛ لأنه كما فسّره الفقهاء أن يخرج الدم من اليد مثلاً بواسطة إبرة ثمّ يوضع عليه مادة ملوّنة تمتزج به حتى يجمد وتبقى عينه على ظاهر البدن. والوشم حرام يجب إزالته إلا إن خاف من ذلك محذوراً كحدوث مرض أو تأخر شفاء مرض فلا تجب إزالته حينئذ . أما كيفية إزالته فأمر راجع إلى الطب وليس له طريقة خاصة عند الفقهاء .

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