This is a fairly controversial-subject, within the Muslim-World, historically as well as contemporarily, something that I had only found out recently, the issue of Tattooing: to do or not to do. Honestly, I, myself, early on, as a New-Muslim, had actually, seriously, considered & was prepared to get a Tattoo. But, once I learned the general Islamic prohibition against it, I was very unsettled: I had wondered to myself why would something like a Tattoo be such a religious-issue. It has taken a considerable amount of time for me to actually come to the correct-conclusion about this issue, and the conclusion is fairly-simple: Tattoos are Mahrum/Haram (Prohibited/Unlawful). Now, there are a lot of people (both Muslims & Non-Muslims alike) whom will in fact take issue with this particular stance, regarding this issue, and that’s okay…I’ll explain why I chose to arrive at this conclusion, after considerable study, textually (via the Qur’an & Sunnah/Prophetic-Tradition).
Allah states, very clearly, within His Noble-Book, “There is no justifiable change for the creation of Allah.”(Noble Qur’an: Chpt.30, V.30). Now, this means that we are to be grateful for how Allah has fashioned our bodies, and to not attempt to make “improvements” or “adjustments”, based upon our selfish egos/desires. When you get a Tattoo, you’re basically stating that Allah didn’t complete you, that you know have to spend money, endure unnecessary-pain, etc., in order to gratify one’s self, instead of just being grateful for the way that Allah has already formed us.
Then, there’s also this: Muhammad (Peace be upon him) has stated that we are not to cause (unnecessary) Harm, either upon ourselves, nor upon others. And, also, Muhammad quotes Allah, as Allah has stated, “Oh, My Property/Servants!!! Verily, I’ve made Oppression prohibited upon Myself, as well as between you (the Creation). So, do not oppress one another (yourselves)!!!”.(an-Nawawi)
This Verse (from the Qur’an) & these Prophetic-Narrations show us that any type of Oppression (large or small), either to one’s own self, or to others, is completely (Islamically) prohibited. Because, the Islamic definition of Oppression is actually: to place something where it doesn’t belong, where it can damage, or cause Harm, and it’s Islamic wrong to harm people, unless Islamically justified, and there’s never any Islamically justified reason to harm one’s own self.(Lisan-ul-`Arab/The Language of the Arab: Lexicon of the Arabic-Language)
Let’s stay on-topic with the self-harm: When getting a Tattoo, what happens? Well, you get stuck with a needle-machine, for quite awhile, depending on how sophisticated the Tattoo in-question actually is: there’s significant, (unnecessary) pain/blood-loss, that one endures, for no Islamically sound, or universally-intelligent reason, at all. Then, there’s the (very-high) risks of getting infections, diseases (most common HIV, Hepatitis, etc.). You then have the ink of this Tattoo tainting your blood, which could, in the near/distant future, cause many (potential) health-complications, as a result of this ink inserted into the body.
Now, it’s obvious why people would have a problem with what I’ve thus mentioned, especially if they are among those whom profit from the Tattoo Industry: people like me are bad-for-business. And, also, for those whom may or may not even be Muslims, they would obviously have a problem with my statements, because they view it as a valid element of either individual, social, cultural, expression. But, let’s focus on the Muslims, for just a minute: who created us? Who sent-down/revealed Guidance to us, via Revelation, Textual-Scriptures? Who has the ultimate right to dictate to the Creation, Humanity, etc., what is right, wrong, proper, improper, etc.? Yeah, you’ve got it: Allah, the Creator/Lord of the Universe: it is He whom has [provided us with existence, life, family, Guidance, etc. And, likewise, it is He, alone, whom is worshipworthy & it is He, alone whom has the ultimate-right to dictate our beliefs, statements, actions, behavior, conduct, etc.
So, with that being said, regardless to whether you’re a Muslim or Non-Muslim, proponent or opponent (to Tattoos/Tattooing), Scholar or Layman: just, please, simply digest what I’ve mentioned, just for a few minutes or moments, then, if you really feel like I’ve not made my case concrete enough, then, you definitely have the full-option to ignore what I’ve presented. At the end, it is Allah whom will judge us all, according to His own standards & we all will be held accountable for what we’ve done & what we haven’t done, what we knew & what we didn’t know, what we adhered to & what we ignored…May Allah guide us all…Amen