Which Religions Ban Tattoos?

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In many religions, tattoos signify certain important roles like tradition and rituals. Despite many religions like Hinduism and Buddhism allowing tattoos amongst their followers, some religions, up to date, do not allow tattoos. 

So, which religions ban tattoos? Well, religions like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism largely condemn the wearing of tattoos. This article will discuss the common religions that ban tattoos and those that allow tattoos.

We will also discuss the reasons why some religions ban tattoos.

Let’s get started!

Religions That Ban Tattoos

Tattoos have been there since five thousand years ago. However, some religions, like Christianity, Islam, and Judaism, ban their followers from wearing tattoos for reasons we will discuss. 

The Christianity Religion

Are tattoos allowed in Christianity?

In the old testament, Leviticus (19:28) states, “ You shall not make your cuttings in your flesh for the dead, nor tattoo any marks on you: I am the LORD. Thus, from this quote, tattoos are not accepted in the Christian faith.

However, many people argue that the bible does not directly ban tattoos; instead, it warns against the practice of witchcraft or pagan rituals.  

Also, many people compare Leviticus 19:28 with another passage from the same book ( 19:27) that says, “ You shall not round off the hair on your temples or mar the edges of your beard.” This would mean trimming the edges of your beard hair is banned in the bible. 

Since many Christians trim their beard hair today, does it mean they disobey the bible or go against the Christian faith? Well, that would be no. What if Christians interpreted Leviticus 19:28 just the way they interpret Leviticus 19:27?

The Islam Religion

The Islam religion was started in the seventh century, making it younger faith than the Christian and Judaism religions. Most Islamic scholars believe tattoos are banned in the Islam faith because, according to them, their body is the creation of Allah.

However, in the Islamic faith, a Henna tattoo is usually used as an alternative to permanent tattoos. Henna tattoo, traditionally used in Islamic weddings and other rituals, is allowed as it is temporary and can be washed easily. 

However, some people bring up discussions about other body modifications, such as makeup and ear piercings.

They are accepted in the Islamic faith because they are temporary; however, ear piercings become permanent with time. Does it mean that ear piercing should also not be accepted as it leaves a permanent mark?

The Judaism Religion

The Judaism religion and tattoos do not differ much from the Christian religion. Jewish law forbids tattoos, as Leviticus 19:28, says, “You shall not make gashes in your flesh for the dead, or make any marks on yourselves.”

There is a common Jewish belief that you should not alter your body and keep it as it was given to you. This is because the human body is sacred. After all, it was created in the image of God; thus, putting a tattoo on it will remain permanent until death. 

However, committing one sin, like putting a tattoo on your body, doesn’t exclude anyone from Judaism; hence wearing a tattoo is like violating the Torah law; it doesn’t exclude from Judaism. 

A myth states Jews who have tattoos may not be buried in the Jews cemetery. According to Torah law, even if you have a tattoo, that will not prohibit you from getting buried in the Jewish cemetery. 

Religions That Require Tattoos

While there are religions that ban their followers from getting tattoos, there are those religions that require tattoos, such as Hinduism and Buddhism.

The Hinduism Religion

As for the Hinduism religion, they are the source of many tattoo designs like the sacred and popular “Om” symbol. Hindus are allowed to wear tattoos; however, they are not allowed to wear tattoos that disrespect the Hindu gods.

Another thing to note is that if a Hindu is to wear a tattoo, the tattoo’s placement is crucial. They don’t wear tattoos of the god shiva on their feet, legs, or anywhere below their waist. 

In the past, Hindu women used to wear tattoos of their husbands’ names on their forearms to communicate more easily with other people.

The Buddhism Religion

Like Hinduism, Buddhism is also not restrictive regarding tattoos. They believe that the body is temporary, which also makes tattoos temporary; hence they do not violate Buddhist beliefs or doctrines.

Furthermore, in Buddhism, monks are also allowed to have tattoos to remember the Buddhist teachings. 

It is also said that a spiritual leader of Buddhism known as Dalai Lama once met his follower wearing tattoos and commented that they were very colorful, clearly showing that tattoos are allowed in Buddhism.

Final Words

From the above article, it is crystal clear that each religion has its own beliefs about tattoos, depending on how you practice your religion. However, each religion uses tattoos for different purposes.

I hope this article helps you understand more about Religions that ban tattoos and why.

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Michael Blau

Michael Blau

I have been tattooing for over 15 years and have my studio in Brooklyn. While I'll tattoo just about anything on anyone, my specialty is religious tattoos.
I am originally from Williamsburg, a neighborhood in Brooklyn known for its large Jewish population. This has given me a lot of experience and understanding when it comes to tattoos and religion.

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