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Tattoo Removal and Hajj Dilemma

Last updated: 30th March 2005
Question ID: #372
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30th March 2005

Dear Esteemed scholars, In my youth, I had a small (non figurative) tattoo done on my back. It was done by needle injection of ink between the layers of skin. Essentially, the surface layer of skin remains, thus water does pass over and wash the skin therein. Nonetheless, I have made nayat since past two years to do the forthcoming Hajj and have been saving up every day and praying that Allah accepts my Hajj. I sought guidance on the tattoo and was advised that I should repent and remove it as soon as possible. I consulted specialists and they have indicated that laser treatment will be required and each treatment will be be in four month intervals an the whole process may take up to five years. I have now started this treatment and also intend to embark on the next Hajj because Hajj is compulsory and I know not how long my life will be and I have been told that if I have health and the wealth then I should not delay the Hajj. Now, consdering I have offered repentance (I was a youth when I made this foolish mistake) and starting treatment, I feel that I should go to Hajj, however, I felt it is prudent to ask you opinion on this matter, as treatment will take long time (and there is no guarantee that all of the tattoo will be removed). Please try to be understanding of this dilemma as I am trying to do right thing and also undergoing the removal treatment. I have been afraid of asking some people because they say I am dammed and cursed because of the tattoo. Yours faithfully Hamza ps please can you e-mail answer to me also.

Ulamaa ID 01
Answer last updated on:
17th May 2005
Answered by:
Ulamaa ID 01
Bismihi Ta'ala

It is not permissible to have tattoos in Islam. However, if one has a tattoo stitced to his body and then regrets his action, repents and makes all necessary arrangement, as in your case, to remove it, then the doors of forgiveness are open for all. Nobody has the right to say that you are doomed and cursed for this reason.

As you have mentioned, you are going through the necessary treatment to have it fully removed. If during this period of time, Hajj becomes Fardh upon you then you must perform it. The tattoo wouldn't be an obstacle in your way. After all, if a person dies without performing Hajj, having the necessary provisions needed for it, then he will die a sinner.

It is very encouraging to see that you regret your past sins. May Allah give us all the same worry and concern of the hereafter.

And Allah knows best.