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The painful truth: Islam and body piercings


Gone are the days when women would chat to their friends about the fear of getting their baby daughter’s ears pierced after six months. It is a well known practice to put baby girls through the sting then rather than when they are older.

A more common practice today is both girls and boys, men and women, mothers and fathers discussing the prices, benefits and pains behind body piercings – and not just on the ear lobe. Like many trends, what is now considered acceptable includes every common and trendy practice in society which has no real reason or value other than a superficial one.

Global statistics show that other than having their ears pierced many women are also inclined to take the needle to their navels. Besides multiple ear piercings or the nose piercing other common piercings are made on the tongue, eyebrow, navel, and chin. These piercings are not just a trend of the West. Muslims have also taken to having them done. Piercings in private areas are growing in popularity amongst people in the Muslim community too.

The misguided reasoning behind the common navel piercing is that it can’t be seen by anyone, it would be okay if a woman had it done for her husband, and a female one can have it done by another female or their husband.

Having body piercings done anywhere else besides the ears and nose are impermissible in Islam. Cii Radio presenter, Muallimah Sadiya says, “For men body piercings are completely forbidden.” A man piercing his ears is regarded as a man imitating an action considered natural to a woman.

It is forbidden in Islam for men to copy or imitate styles and ways that are distinctively feminine. It was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbaas RA that Nabi Muhammad SAW cursed men who imitate women and women who imitate men, and he said: “Throw them out of your houses.” [Narrated in Bukhari] It should be remembered that both men and women have different roles in Islam.

It is only permissible for women to have their ears and noses pierced as these are natural parts of adornment. Some scholars limit the piercing only to the ears because of the specific need of women to adorn themselves with jewellery.  Multiple ear piercings are also allowed.

The proof of this permission is based on the Hadith in Bukhari – When Nabi Muhammad SAW prayed on the day of `Eid and came out after with the sahaabah Bilal RA, he ordered the women to pay Zakah, and some of them took their earrings off and threw it (donated it) to the Prophet.

Piercings on body parts other than the ears and nose, for both men and women, is impermissible as it is regarded as emulating the practices of the non-Muslim. It is not permissible to pierce the belly button or other body parts such as the lips, tongue, eyebrows as it is not considered an adornment for the Muslim female in Islam – and any piercings for men are impermissible.

Having the navel pierced by a female does not make it acceptable. The piercing of the belly button will involve exposing the Satar (intimate) area which is Haraam and forbidden in Islam and constitutes a grave sin, on the one piercing and being pierced.

The Hadith narrated by ‘Abdullah ibn Mas’ood, “I heard Rasulullah SAW say: “Allah has cursed the woman who does tattoos and the one who has them done, the woman who plucks eyebrows and the one who has it done, and the one who files her teeth for the purpose of beauty, altering the creation of Allah.” (Sahee Al-Bukhari, Sahee Muslim Vol 2)

Numerous adornment practices accepted by many Muslim women today arise from Western culture, popularised and advertised by Hollywood “starlets”. Navel piercing is a modern invention and has never been recorded in ancient cultures. In fact its rise to prominence can be pinpointed to 1994. A few fashion shows, “supermodels” and celebrities later, countless of Muslim women are indulging in the act under a misguided notion that it makes them more attractive to their husbands.

“In the time of Sahaabiyaat they used to wear earrings, this is natural and acceptable. What you do as a form of adornment, for your husband, within the shariah and not in emulating the kuffar, is permissible,” says Muallimah Sadiya.

Rasullulah SAW has said, “Whosoever impersonates a nation (other than Islam) will be (resurrected) from them on the day of judgment“. (Sunan Abu Dawud)

“Exposing that area [intimate areas] to a female – even a Muslim female is unacceptable. In terms of medical necessity, first preference must be given to a Muslim female doctor. To expose the satr, for cosmetic reasons, how can it be acceptable? Even the hair is not meant to be exposed to another female. To expose that part of the satr for cosmetic purposes would all the more not be allowed,” explains Muallimah Sadiya.

To have the other body parts pierced other than the ears and nose is mutilation (muthlah) of the human body which is forbidden in Islam. Both the person having it done and the doer will be in sin. Mutilation of this sort can cause a great deal of harm to the body. It is highly possible that it could be a means of infection, which in turn can cause irreversible harm to the body.

Body piercing in mainstream terms is regarded as body modification or body alteration and is defined as the deliberate altering of the human anatomy. It is often done for aesthetics, sexual enhancement, rites of passage, religious beliefs, to display group membership or affiliation, to create body art, for shock value, and as self-expression, among other reasons.

There is guidance to follow and latitude granted in terms of necessity which cannot be used for cosmetic reasons. The 21st cosmetically catered century is in line with shaytaan’s declarations.

On his way out from Jannah, when he was expelled, ‘the evil whisperer’ took an oath by Allah Ta’ala that he would encourage people to deface the Creation of Allah:  And I (Satan) will surely lead them astray, and arouse desires in them, and command them so that they will cut the cattle’s ears, and I will surely command them and they will change Allah’s creation.’ Whoever chooses the Devil for a friend instead of Allah is assuredly a loser, and his loss is manifest.” (An-Nisa’: Verse 119)

Sakeena Suliman – Cii News | 08 April 2014

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