Answered by Shaykh Irshaad Sedick
Is it permissible to get a tattoo on the breasts after a double mastectomy and reconstructive surgery due to breast cancer? The doctor wishes to have an areola tattooed.
In the Name of Allah, the Most Merciful and Compassionate.
May Allah alleviate our difficulties and guide us to that which is pleasing to Him.
This type of tattoo is permissible to the extent required for medical purposes or to disguise a defect, as it is not for adornment or beautification, and Allah knows best.
Tattoos in Hadith
Ibn Mas‘ud (may Allah be pleased with him) said: May Allah curse the women who do tattoos and those who have tattoos done, those who pluck their facial hair, and those who file their teeth for beautification, changing the creation of Allah, may He be exalted. Why should I not curse those whom the Prophet (Allah bless him and give him peace) cursed? [Bukhari]
(People filed their teeth to create gaps between their teeth to appear younger.)
The above narration specifies the prohibition of changing the creation of Allah “for beautification”. That indicates that the prohibition applies to permanent cosmetic changes for purely cosmetic purposes. We also infer that these cosmetic changes are permissible for legitimate medical purposes or concealing defects.
Imam Al-Nawawi’s Commentary
Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said: “About the words ‘those who file their teeth for beautification’, what is meant is that they do that to look more beautiful. That indicates the prohibition applies to purposes of beautification. If it is needed for medical reasons or to treat a defect in the teeth and the like, there is nothing wrong with it. And Allah knows best.” [Nawawi, Sharh Sahih Muslim]
I pray this is of benefit.
[Shaykh] Irshaad Sedick
Checked and Approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani
Shaykh Irshaad Sedick was raised in South Africa in a traditional Muslim family. He graduated from Dar al-Ulum al-Arabiyyah al-Islamiyyah in Strand, Western Cape, under the guidance of the late world-renowned scholar, Shaykh Taha Karaan.
Shaykh Irshaad received Ijaza from many luminaries of the Islamic world, including Shaykh Taha Karaan, Mawlana Yusuf Karaan, and Mawlana Abdul Hafeez Makki, among others.
He is the author of the text “The Musnad of Ahmad ibn Hanbal: A Hujjah or not?” He has served as the Director of the Discover Islam Centre and Al Jeem Foundation. For the last five years till present, he has served as the Khatib of Masjid Ar-Rashideen, Mowbray, Cape Town.
Shaykh Irshaad has thirteen years of teaching experience at some of the leading Islamic institutes in Cape Town). He is currently building an Islamic online learning and media platform called ‘Isnad Academy’ and pursuing his Master’s degree in the study of Islam at the University of Johannesburg. He has a keen interest in healthy living and fitness.