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Modern Tattoo Methods

Answered as per Shafi'i Fiqh by Qibla.com

Answered by Shaykh Amjad Rasheed
Translated by Shaykh Hamza Karamali, SunniPath Academy Teacher

I read from some answers on here that tattoos are not allowed due to the colour being mixed with blood and then something being left on the outer surface of the skin which is firstly impure and also prevents water from reaching the skin. Modern tattoo methods have changed. Pigment is now inserted underneath the skin so therefore, there is no blood on the skin and also nothing prevents water from reaching it. Therefore is it allowed?

Answer:
In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful

1) Modern Tattoos are not Necessarily Filth

[h: The tattooing process referred to by the scholars of Sacred Law is, “to prick the skin with a needle until blood exits, after which a powder-dye is sprinkled on it to leave a blue or green mark [h: on the skin].” (Hashiyat al-Shirwani `ala al-Tuhfa, 2.128). The mark that remains on the skin is thus a trace of the blood that was drawn out, and the prayers of a person with such a mark are not valid until the tattoo is removed because blood is filth and it is not valid to pray with traces of filth on one’s body.]

As for modern tattoo methods, if they do not involve the mixing of dye with blood after it exits onto the outer surface of the body, then the tattoo is not considered a trace of filth [h: and one’s prayers are thus valid with such a tattoo on one’s body].

2) Modern Tattoos Nevertheless Remain Unlawful

Scholars mention three legal reasons for the unlawfulness of tattooing: (1) the unnecessary infliction of pain caused by the needle that penetrates the skin, (2) the being affected by filth caused by the mixing of the dye with the blood that exits after the needle’s penetration, and (3) the altering of Allah’s creation without necessity. Each of these three reasons suffices to independently make tattooing unlawful, even if the other reasons are not present.

The great late Egyptian Shafi`i scholar, Ahmad al-Halwani al-Khaliji said by way of explaining the reason for the unlawfulness of tattooing,

“The legal reason [for the unlawfulness of tattooing] is … that tattooing comprises infliction of pain, filthification, and it and the matters that are mentioned alongside it [h: in the hadiths that prohibit tattooing] comprise altering of Allah’s magnificent creation. [h: This last legal reason is derived from the fact that when prohibiting tattooing, the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) described the tattooing women as] “those who alter Allah’s creation,” which is a hint to the Quranic verse, “… and I will surely command them, and they will then surely alter the creation of Allah.”” (al-Wasm fi al-Washm, 25)

The great Shafi`i hadith scholar, Munawi, also mentioned in his book, Fayd al-Qadir, that the reason for the prohibition of tattooing is that it involves altering Allah’s creation.

If the first two legal causes for the prohibition of tattooing are no longer found in modern tattooing methods, then the last legal reason nevertheless remains. It therefore seems to this needy soul—after contemplating the words of the scholars of Sacred Law, and after consulting our teacher, Shaykh Muhammad al-Khatib (may Allah preserve him)—that tattooing is unconditionally unlawful regardless of the method that is employed because it involves altering Allah’s creation without necessity, even if it no longer comprises the infliction of pain or the filthification of the skin. This is clearly implied by the words of Shaykh al-Islam Zakariyya al-Ansari in his book, Sharh al-Rawd, and also by the words of the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) in the hadith related by Bukhari and Muslim, “Allah curses women who tattoo themselves or have themselves tattooed, those who remove their facial hair, and those who part their teeth, [all] for the sake of beautification, altering Allah’s creation.”

السؤال: علَّل الفقهاءُ نجاسةَ الوشم بكون حبره يختلط بالدم، لكن الوسائل الحديثة تُدْخِلُ الحبر أو النيلة تحت البشرة من غير أن يختلط بالدم، فهل يؤثر هذا على نجاسة الوشم، وهل يؤثر على جواز الوشم؟

الجواب: أما بخصوص نجاسة الوشم؛ فإنه يُحْكَمُ بنجاسته إن اختلطت المادةُ الملونة كالنيلة والحبر بالدم الخارج من البدن بسبب غرز الإبرة فيه كما هو طريقتُه المعروفة؛ فإن لم تختلطت تلك المادة بالدم لم يحكم بنجاسته.

أما بخصوص حكم فعل الوشم بالطريقة الحديثة المذكورة في السؤال فأقول طالباً من الله السداد: ذكر العلماءُ لتحريم الوشم ثلاث علل، كلُّ واحدة منها تصلحُ علامةً للتحريم من غير انضمام غيرها إليها، أولها: التعذيب الحاصل بغرز الإبرة،. وثانيها: التنجيسُ الحاصلُ باختلاط المادة الملونة بالدم الخارج بسبب غرز الإبرة. وثالثتها: تغييرُ خلق الله تعالى من غير ضرورة تدعو إليه. قال العلامة أحمدُ الحلواني الخليجي الشافعي من متأخري المصريين في كتابه “الوَسْم في الوَشْم” (ص25) مبيناً علةَ تحريم الوشم:” وعلةُ ذلك … أن الوشمَ تعذييبٌ وتنجيسٌ وفيه وفي إخوته المارة تغييرٌ لخلق الله البهيِّ بإشارة قوله في الخبر:” المغيرات خلق الله “. وهو تلميحٌ لآية:(ولآمرنَّهم فليُغَيِّرُنَّ خلقَ الله) … “. اهـ وكذلك صرَّح بتحريمه لأجل تغيير خلق الله تعالى والتعذيب العلامةُ المناوي في “فيض القدير”.

فإن انتفت العلتان الأولتان في الطرق الحديثة للوشم بقيت العلةُ الأخيرةُ؛ فالذي يظهرُ للفقير بعد تأمُّل نصوصِهِم ومراجعةِ شيخنا محمد الخطيب -أمتع الله به-: أن الوشمَ حرامٌ مطلقاً لتغيير خلق الله تعالى لغير ضرورة وإن لم يحصلْ به تعذيب وتنجيس وهو ما تفهمه عبارةُ شيخ الإسلام زكريا في “شرح الروض”؛ فقد روى الشيخان والإمام أحمد مرفوعاً:” لعن الله الواشمات والمستوشمات والمتنمصات والمتفلجات؛ للحُسْن المغيرات خلق الله “. وفي رواية النسائي:” والواشمةُ والموشومةُ للحُسْنِ “.

This answer was indexed from Qibla.com, which used to have a repository of Islamic Q&A answered by various scholars. The website is no longer in existence. It has now been transformed into a learning portal with paid Islamic course offering under the brand of Kiflayn.

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