Yes, I Have (real) Tattoos

And what exactly is that on your arm there ukhti, the old ladies ask me with their eyes as my sleeve slips up my arm a bit because I am holding onto the handrail on the bus for dear life.

I try to pull my sleeve up and nearly fall over doing so, but they’ve already seen it and I can feel their stares boring into the side of my head.

Yes, it is a tattoo. And I am a convert. I think sometimes people expect to hear that I was just sitting alone in a room for the first 21 years of my life, waiting for Islam to come to me.

But I wasn’t. I was out doing all the things that normal, non Muslim, American people do. And being from a small (dare I say, a little redneck-y, town), one of the things you do as a young adult is get tattoos.

I got my first, a Celtic knot when I was 18. A few months later I followed it up with some script in Irish that reads “The girl made beautiful by sorrow” (what can I say, I was going through a rough patch!) This may seem depressing and silly, but really it is true. I would have never even come to Islam if I hadn’t been going through a period of major loneliness and depression in London.

The second one I got as a birthday gift when I turned 19-a lavender cancer ribbon representing all of the different kinds of cancer. This is what the aunties usually see on my wrist when they begin to get offended…but at the time I had just lost a grandma and an aunt to various types of cancer, had a cousin still battling, and numerous other people in my life struggling with the same awful disease.

So why, you may ask, did I not rush straight to the laser clinic when I converted to have them done away with?

Well firstly, because ouch. I have heard that the pain involved in laser removal is exponentially more than getting the tattoo in the first place, and that turns me into a big chicken.

Secondly, I don’t have that kind of money right now, and I especially didn’t when I first converted in my final year of undergrad.

And thirdly, besides the fact that tattoos themselves are prohibited, mine don’t actually depict anything bad. One is a testament to my heritage and a reminder that the bad things in my life have only made me better, and the other is a cancer ribbon. It’s not like I have pin-up girls or hazy cigarettes inked all over my body (bleh).

My tattoos are a part of who I was before Islam and still a part of my identity today. I have no intention of ever getting any more now that it is prohibited for me to do so, but I also don’t have any intention of having these ones removed in the near future.

Aunties on public transport can get offended all day, but I am not going to pretend that I had no life before Islam. I did not embrace Islam to erase my past, but to beautify my future.




10 thoughts on “Yes, I Have (real) Tattoos

  1. The various “Muslim” cultures are intellectually handicapped. There’s legitimate scholarly difference of opinion about the permissibility of tattoos. But everything with people nowadays is either haram (if they don’t like it) or wajib (even if it’s actually sunnah). Nobody tells you about all the differences of opinion (which are supposed to be a mercy). Thus Islam becomes istislam.

    Anymore, I just shake my head and chuckle if I hear about some Uncle or Auntie-ji having a problem with something (my English mate has Celtic knots and Elvish on his arms and doesn’t wear a ‘topi’ when he prays). You get fed up until you’re fed up, then you can’t help but laugh.

    Great article as always, sis.


    1. ashleybounoura

      Thank you! You always bring such insightful and intelligent thoughts to the conversation, I really appreciate your comments. In regards to the aunties with all their problems, sometimes for me it is one of those “laugh to keep from crying” kind of things haha

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Salaam! Nice post, MashaAllah. I have tattoos also (pre-Islam of course). It always sparks a conversation when they are spotted but I embrace my past, the good and ridiculously embarrassing. I look at it as a potential lesson. The tut-tuts crack me up.


    1. ashleybounoura

      Salaam! Thank you for the comment! A potential lesson is a great way to look at things; I definitely have some things in my past that make me cringe a bit, but then I just think, if I hadn’t done that I wouldn’t be where I am now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Our past is part of what we are. We probably had to learn from it and maybe we have something different to bring to this community. For example, more indulgence towards people because we know very well that people may change and that what we see of them is only a small part of their lives. That’s something I’ve been teaching to my kids. I think it’s so important! Don’t judge people! Allah is the one who judges, we don’t know anything.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. ashleybounoura

      Very true =) There are so many ahadith on how much Allah loves someone who sinned and turned back to Him, and you never know whose hearts He will give His guidance to!

      Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s