Traditionally, permanently tattooing the body has long been considered a sin in Islam because it involves “mutilating” the body, changing Allah’s creation, inflicting unnecessary pain and introducing the possibility of infection, according to scholars who had outlined possible reasons as to why the act is considered a sin.
A new fatwa by Egypt’s former Grand Mufti Ali Gomaa challenges this traditional view, after he stated that inking is permissible for girls, but a sin for boys.
“The (new tattoo technique that does not inflict pain or spill blood) is considered a tool for decoration and adornment, so it’s permissible for girls to have it done,” Gomaa said on his show aired Friday on CBC channel.
“However for boys, it’s like a boy putting on lipstick or nail polish, it’s imitating women and that is forbidden in Islam,” Goma added.
Many people get tattoos for personal reasons, such as to remember a loved one or show their political and religious affiliations, motivations fall under a wide spectrum.
Islamically, there’s a difference in opinions on the permissibility of getting a tattoo.
Due to Sharia (or Islamic Law), the majority of Sunni Muslims hold that tattooing is religiously forbidden (along with most other forms of “permanent” physical modification). This view arises from references in the Prophetic Hadith that denounce those who attempt to change the creation of God, in what is seen as excessive attempts to beautify that which was already perfected.
The human being is seen as having been ennobled by God, the human form viewed as created beautiful, such that the act of tattooing would be a form of mutilation. This is however viewed differently in Shia Islam, and it is generally permitted.
Despite alleged religious prohibition, tattoos are common among Sunnis of Syria, Iraq, Lebanon, Turkey and some Maghreb countries. Sunni Bedouin and Kurdish women have a long tradition of tattooed bodies