Although many people believe that they are not, we are told that the Prophet (صلّى الله عليه وسلم) said: “Whoever cuts himself with a knife or sharp knife will be one-hundred-and-one days in Hell.”1 Some traditions have also been recorded with regard to tattoos. This is the general consensus.
Is it a crime to have one’s face painted?
From a legal point of view, the act of ‘cutting’ is considered a ‘crime’, if the tattoo is ‘infringing’ upon its owner ‘s dignity and rights’. There has also been a report in al-Bukhari (3:1656) from Abu Sa’id al-Khudri: “The Messenger of Allah (صلّى الله عليه وسلم) forbade tattooing from a person whose dignity and rights are threatened. He said: ‘The best of you never makes for himself a tattoo on his face, save what he would want to do to be useful, or to have something to do with.’ Some people have been given the right to keep the image of their face on their bodies with no fear of harm.”2
However, there are a number of traditions in Islamic jurists and scholars that indicate a person may not ‘cut’ themselves and should not remove tattoos that have been added to them. Imam Anwar al-Bakri (صفبر الرحمني عليه) mentions the following:
“Tattoos are not an affront on dignity and rights, so it does not harm them, though it may cause shame to one’s family and one’s relatives. If you do not feel that the tattoo is being removed with any kind of seriousness, then one should not remove it.”3
Is it permissible to have a ‘hair removal kit’?
This can be difficult as hair removal kits do not have a single purpose or effect. Thus, we can assume that the Quran does not specify something that can be used to ‘remove eyebrows or ‘strip hair’. However, some jurists have held that they are permitted to have such kit in order to ‘remove’ the hair and to ‘clean up’ the skin. A Muslim man who has a problem with his eyebrows may have a ‘hair removal kit’ made of two parts:
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