Posted in Islam & Interfaith Subjects, Personal & Opinion, Social Issues & Politics

Challenging Taboos: Muslim & Tattooed

Although I’ve written about this before, I thought it would be time to write a follow up post for all you tattoo fans out there. For Shia Muslims and some Quranists all tattoos are awesome and many wear them proudly for various reasons, but if you’re a Sunni it might be better to press that little red X in the corner of the webpage because you might just go straight through the roof with what’s about to follow. 😛

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Let me first introduce you to Kendyl Noor Aurora, a fully tattooed Muslim woman. Like her, I also got my first tattoo when I was 16 years old. Mine is a spiral heart on the inside of my left wrist and has its own special meaning to me. I wasn’t Muslim back then but I’ve also gotten inked after my conversion. I chose to be a Shia (although I prefer to call myself a Universalist and embrace the universality of Islam instead of just a single school of thought) and not a Sunni for a long list of reasons and tattoos weren’t even on that list, they are really just a cherry on top of a religion I’ve absolutely fallen in love with! ❤

For more of sister Kendyl’s journey of being a tattooed Muslim take a look at the following video and find more on her YouTube channel:

Make sure to read the comments too! There are a lot of interesting perspectives and others sharing their personal experiences. Why not add yours while you’re at it? Although I am a tattooed Muslim, thus far I’ve always kept my ink covered so nobody really knows I have it, and even if they do they’ve probably never seen it. Although I have my own reasons for always keeping my ink covered up, sister Kendyl has definitely given me inspiration to uncover those on my hands and lower arms and I may just consider altering my style a little bit…

For those interested in Shia tattoos, check out 313tattoos on Instagram. Although some sheiks say that you shouldn’t tattoo things like the names of religious figures of verses of the Quran on your body, but according to Ayatollah Sistani these too are permissible as long as they are done in good taste. Watch the following video for a quick overview of the general Shia opinion on tattoos:

Now let’s talk about the article I named this post after. In regards to the Sunni argument that tattoos change God’s creation, doesn’t circumcision change it in a permanent fashion too? You can get the tattoo removed (so I supposed they aren’t that permanent after all) but you can’t get your foreskin back, sorry. Many liberal Sunnis also say that the their hadith prohibiting ink was only relevant in a specific context and is outdated today, we all unfortunately still face prejudice for being “Muslims of color” with our tattoos.

This section of the article was especially touching when a young man was talking about the tattoo he got after his grandfather passed away:

“Behind almost every tattoo is a story and mine is no different. To some people, tattooing is an extreme action, but to others, tattoos offer peace in knowing that one’s story will always be with them, forever on their skin. My most significant tattoo takes up my entire back and is dedicated to my late grandfather Mohammed Khalleel. […] I am currently serving in the US ARMY, and I am making my family, friends and colleagues, very proud with all that I do in my life and with how I have been able to turn it all around. I owe all of this to my grandfather. He gave me a second chance at life. This is my story behind my tattoo and why it is part of my life story. The main and largest portion of my tattoo is a verse from Surah al-Baqarah, which reads, ‘Who, when a misfortune overtakes them say, Surely we belong to God and to Him shall we return.’”

Although my grandmother is still alive (for the moment anyway) I was also raised by her and there’s nobody more special to me than her in my life, I would eventually want some type of ink to commemorate her, however I would want it while she’s still alive so I can show it to her. I’m set to get new ink at the end of August, but not something for my grandma. I’m getting a Holocaust memorial tattoo, and no, Islam is not some anti-Semitic cult. Any Muslim with a head on their shoulders will love their Jewish neighbors. While you’re at it, you should read the stories of Muslims who saved Jews during the Holocaust and start being more compassionate towards all people because there’s enough hatred in the world as it is.

There will without any doubt be much more discussions about tattoos in the future as they increase in popularity just about everywhere in the world. My next tat will be my 13th one and I’m already thinking about my 20th. Until next time everyone… ❤

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Author:

Liberal Muslim, social justice and human rights activist, cat lover, author and fellow human.

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