I’ve always thought tattoos were amazing. How do you choose a symbol or message when it’s going to be permanently with you? While I’ve never been brave enough to get one, I often think that my faith is one thing that is sufficiently timeless to be permanently inscribed. But do Baha’is get tattoos? Is it allowed, and what do they choose? I set out to find some guidance and examples!
Guidance on Tattooing
As you might imagine, I’m not the first person to wonder about the Baha’i view on tattoos. In response to a letter in 2003, the Baha’i World Centre issued this guidance:
In reply to your enquiry, nothing at all has been found in the Holy Texts on the matter of tattooing. There is, of course, the following general counsel given by BahA’u’llAh:
Let there be naught in your demeanour of which sound and upright minds would disapprove, and make not yourselves the playthings of the ignorant. Well is it with him who hath adorned himself with the vesture of seemly conduct and a praiseworthy character. (The Kitáb-i-Aqdas, paragraph 159)
Generally, what is appropriate in such matters will clearly vary from culture to culture. – Source: Baha’i Library
As something which is left to the discretion and judgement of individual Baha’is, I thought it was also helpful to reflect on another quote from Baha’u’llah asserting that:
In all matters moderation is desirable. – Baha’u’llah
In this light, if you are considering a tattoo, you might like to carefully consider the subject matter and placement. For Baha’i related tattoos, it’s worth also remembering that some symbols, particularly the Greatest Name, have special significance and should be treated appropriately:
“While the House of Justice is reluctant to issue a list of the specific uses of the Greatest Name which should be avoided, the principal thing is for the friends to realize the great sacredness of this symbol, and to use it in ways which are dignified and appropriate….” (From a letter written on behalf of the Universal House of Justice to the National Spiritual Assembly of the Hawaiian Islands, June 3, 1987
Examples of Baha’i related and inspired tattoos
With all that in mind, here are a few great examples of tattoos that are inspired by or related to the Baha’i Faith:
Shown Above: Nine pointed star and Baha’i ID number in Farsi by Saaghi Yazdani Source: Instagram
Shown Above: Bird tattoo by shininglamp, inspired by the quote: “Praise be to God, those two faithful birds have sought shelter in one nest.” Source: Flickr
Shown Above: Assorted temporary tattoos by Laurel Source: Instagram
Shown Above: Nine Pointed Star by julesville Source: Checkoutmyink
Shown Above: Delia Olam’s nine pointed star Source: Interview with Delia
Shown Above: Rainn Wilson’s nine pointed star Source: Instagram
You can find more examples of tattoos on our Pinterest board for Baha’i Tattoos.
Add a comment with a link to a photo of your Baha’i-related/inspired tattoo on Instagram/Flickr/etc. We’d love to see them and to include them in our Pinterest board!
And if you’re considering a tattoo and want something a little less permanent, you might like to consider getting a custom temporary tattoo!
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