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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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