Islamic Tattoos

All of the major religions have inspired tattoos, including those that have also tried to prohibit them. It would seem that tattoos are simply too attractive when it comes to expressing something so fundamental as one’s beliefs.

Numerous Islamic symbols have been used in tattoos including the Crescent with Star, verses of the Koran–perhaps in Arabic calligraphy, and the Hand of Fatima. Like Christians, Muslims also believe in the existence of angels, Satan, and even Adam and Eve. It’s therefore not surprising to find that some of the tattoo symbols will overlap as well.

Crescent Moon with Star Tattoo Design by Greg James

Crescent Moon with Star Tattoo Design by Greg James

The Crescent with Star, however, did not start as an Islamic symbol, but rather gained its popularity as a political symbol in the Middle East, eventually becoming associated with one of the main religions of the region. In fact, early Islamic communities used little in the way of symbolism, especially in terms of iconography.

As with the other major religions, there are people who interpret Islamic religious writings in a way that would prohibit tattoos. The Koran is no more straightforward on the issue than other religious documents, saying things such as the guilty are “recognized by their marks” (55.41) and the like. The Hadith however, i.e., the sayings of the Prophet Muhammad, are much more to the point: “Allah’s Apostle said, ‘The evil eye is a fact,’ and he forbade tattooing” (Sahih of al-Bukhari 7.72.827). Nevertheless, Muslim believers do get tattooed and some use the symbols of their religion.


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