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Permissibility of getting a permanent or temporary Tattoo

Question 626: Asallamu ailikum. I would like to know is permanent tattoo on the body Haram and impure and does it invalidate prayers?

Answer 626: Sayyid Sistani (ha) says: Tattoos are permissible and they do not affect wudhu irrespective of whether they are permanent or temporary.[1]

Most of the grand jurists have said in regards to having tattoos: If tattoos are mere color or they are done under the skin and there is no substance on the skin to prevent water from reaching the skin, wudhu, ghusl and prayer are in order.[2] If there are substances on the skin that form obstruction and prevent water from reaching the skin, wudhu, ghusl and prayer would be invalid. [3] In the latter case, the obstruction should first be removed and then one should take action for ghusl.

In case, the tattoos contain any substances or ingredients which prevent water from reaching the skin, it is necessary to remove them before wudhu or ghusl.[4] In case, the tattoos do not contain any substances that would form obstruction, there is no problem. Therefore, hajj acts like Tawaf (circumambulation), and prayer of Tawaf which need ritual purity (wudhu or ghusl) are in order in such a case.

Sayyid Sistani (ha) was asked if it is permissible for a woman to get her eyebrows tattooed. His Excellency replied: “Since the tattoos are done under the skin, there is no problem. However, if they are considered zinah (adornment) in common view, she must cover them from non-mahram men.”[5]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Number of things which invalidate Wudu (ablution), answer 556.

Index: Number of things which invalidate the prayer, answer 626.

Index: The validity of Ghusl even a barrier finds out after a week, answer 031.

Index: Rules on drawing according to Islam, answer 226.

[1] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Q&A: Tattoos.

[2] – Tawzih al-Masail (with annotation by Imam Khomeini) vol.1, pg.205.

[3] – Ibid. 201

[4] – Majma’ al-Masail (by Ayatollah Gulpaigani), vol.1, pg. 65.

[5] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Q&A: Tattoos.

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keeping or hanging pictures ascribed to the Imams

Question 144: What is the Shia view on religious and non-religious pictures (like for creative arts or illustration)? What about depictions of the Prophets (saws), and Imams (a.s)? I want to know the permissibly of these things, as well as whether they are liked or makrooh.

Answer 144: The religious authorities’ (grand jurists) answer in this regards: As per the Islamic law, there is no problem to keep or hang those pictures which are ascribed to the Infallible Imams (a.s) and the Holy Prophet (pbuh) in our houses or Hussainiyah, if it is not considered desecrating or disrespectful according to Urf (custom) nor opposed to the status of them.

According to Ayatollah Sistani, If it does not involve desecration of them, there is no problem.

Note: The jurists have said: Offering prayers is makrooh (abominable) at certain places including “facing the picture or statue of living creatures, unless it is covered. It is makrooh to offer prayers at a place where there is a picture, even if it may not be placed in front of the person who offers prayers”.[1]

For further information in this regards, please refer to the following answer:

Index: Rules on drawing according to Islam, answer 226.

[1] . Ajwabat al-Istiftaat (Answers to Religious Queries), vol.2, pg. 38. Tauzihul Masail of Sayyid Roohollah al-Moosavi al-Khomeini (with connotation), vol.1, issue No.898.

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Rules on drawing according to Islam

Question 226: Asslam o alikum! I am a born artist. God gifted me with the talent of drawing sketches and painting. But I am confused if it is haram or not, to draw pencil sketches and paint? Some people tell me its haram while others not. Those who tell me its haram give me justification that to draw sketch of humans and animals is like I am mocking Allah’s creation. If it is so, my intention is not to mock the creation of God, He is the one who gifted me this talent. But now I have stopped drawing because of my confusion and I need to know if my drawings are haram or not.
Here’s my facebook page of my work.
(kindly It is advised for the group members not to like this page, It is shared only to clarify what kind of drawings I draw)
JazakAllah kahir

Answer 226:  It is allowed to draw pictures of non-living objects such as trees, flowers, etc., even in concrete form. There is no difference in the various forms of pictures whether they are painted, drawn, or embroidered, etc.[1]
According to Ayatollah Sistani, drawing a non-sculptured figure is allowed. Based on obligatory precaution, it is necessary to refrain from drawing a sculptured picture of a living being.[2]

There are traditions in our hadith books according to which angels do not enter houses where portraits of animate beings are kept.[3] It is necessary to mention a few points in regards to such traditions:

  1. A) The word “portrait” in the traditions includes pictures as well as statues of animate beings.[4]
  2. B) Most of these traditions are weak and inauthentic (without a trustworthy chain of transmission).[5]
  3. C) Religious authorities have mentioned these tradition in respect of those places where offering prayers is makrooh (abominable).[6]

It is for the same reason that the jurists have said: Offering prayers is makrooh (abominable) at certain places including “facing the picture or statue of living creatures, unless it is covered. It is makrooh to offer prayers at a place where there is a picture, even if it may not be placed in front of the person who offers prayers”.[7] Therefore, offering prayers at a place where there is the image of human and animate beings is abominable irrespective of whether the picture is in a mosque or elsewhere or whether it is in front of the people offering prayers or behind them. If there is a picture, it is better to cover the picture with something during prayers.[8]

In any case, according to the verdict of most of the current jurists, there is no objection in hanging up and keeping portraits, statues and (inoffensive) pictures in houses, public places and squares.[9]

[1] . Tahrirul Wasilah of Imam Khomeini. Pg. 538. Istiftaat of Imam Khomeini, Sayyid Roohullah, Vol. 2, Pg. 19

[2] . The official website of the office of Sayyid Sistani (ha), Question & Answer » Drawing.

[3] – Kulayni, Muhammad bin Ya’qub, Al-Kafi, vol.6, pg.528, hadith 13, Islamic Publications, Tehran 1407 A.H.; Al-Tahzib, Muhammad bin Hasan Tusi, vo.2, pg.377, hadith 102, Islamic Publications, Tehran 1407 A.H.

[4] – Majlisi, Mer’atul Uqul fi Sharh Akhbar Aal Al-Rasul, Muhammad Baqir Majlisi, vol.15, pg.299, Islamic Publications, Tehran, 1404 A.H.

[5] – Ibid.

[6]Muntahal Matlab fi Tahqiq al-Mazhab, Hilli, Hasan bin Yusuf, vol.4, pg.324, Majma’ al-Bohuth al-Islamiyah, Mashad, 1412 A.H.

[7]Tauzihul Masail of Imam Khomeini (with connotation), vol.1, issue No.898.

[8] – Answer partially extracted from answer 855 (site:930).

[9]Current Legal Issues according to the verdicts of Grand Scholars, Sayyid Mohsen Mahmoodi, Sahib al-Zaman Publications, pg.43, (extracted from Porsman software).