Body Modifications: The Pursuit of Desires

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Sadaf Farooqi is an award-winning blogger, freelance writer and home-schooling mother of three.

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Vol 6 - Issue 1 Body modifications copyThe first time I directly witnessed a case of body-piercing was in the 90’s when a childhood friend returned from England after a few years stay. With jaw dropped, I beheld her pierced abdomen, adorned with a sickle-shaped, diamante-studded ‘contraption’ nestled in her navel. The Quran states that Satan will try to trick humans into body modification:

“Verily, I will mislead them, and surely, I will arouse in them false desires; and certainly, I will order them to slit the ears of cattle, and indeed I will order them to change the nature created by Allah.” (Al-Nisa 4:119)

Body modification is also, as Satan himself promised, a means of following one’s desires, in order to change whatever one wants in one’s natural physical form created by Allah (swt). Furthermore, it’s not just the human body that is modified to suit desires; plants and animals are also now subjected to special fertilizers and hormone treatments to make them meet new standards of consumption and higher profit rates. Highlighted below are some of the creation-modification methods used today.

Body Piercing

Body-piercing is a modern-day trend, in which metal rings or other ornaments are worn in openings pierced in the body. The ears, eyebrows, nose, abdomen, chest, or navel could be pierced in several areas. Reasons behind this phenomenon could be a desire to stand out, to imitate an idol or celebrity, or to rebel. In addition, hair is dyed an unnatural color such as purple, blue or green, with several areas of the head shaved off to create ‘designs’. Some people take this so far that their original face is lost amid the designs. It is a clear example of how Satan has led humans to alter Allah’s (swt) creation.

Allah warns us in the Quran: “Surely, Shaitan (Satan) is an enemy to you, so take (treat) him as an enemy. He only invites his Hizb (followers) that they may become the dwellers of the blazing fire.” (Fatir 35:6)

Plastic Surgery and Liposuction

In order to fix sagging skin, fat-rolls, wrinkles – marks of age or excess weight – more and more people are rushing to the plastic surgeon’s scalpel. Procedures include facelifts, tummy-tucks, nose-jobs and breast augmentation. All these procedures involve improvements made to the body, driven by a passionate desire to stay beautiful, look more feminine, or ‘improve’ a specific body-part.

Liposuction is a surgical procedure, in which incisions are made at key areas in the body to suction fat from it in fluid form. It results in fat reduction mainly on the hips, thighs and abdomen.

Sheikh Salih Al-Munajjid, a scholar at, states in his ruling on plastic surgery: “There are cosmetic surgical procedures which are Haram and are not considered to be excusable; these are seen as tampering with the creation of Allah (swt) for the sake of beauty. Examples include: breast enlargement or reduction, and procedures aimed at reversing the signs of ageing, such as face-lifts, etc. The Islamic view is that these are not permitted because there is no urgent need or necessity for them; rather, the aim is to change and tamper with the creation of Allah (swt) for reasons of human vanity. This is Haram and the one who does it is cursed, because it involves two things mentioned in the Hadeeth: pursuit of beauty and changing what Allah (swt) has created.” (Sheikh Salih Al-Munajjid,, verdict number 1006)

The exception to this ruling is removing abhorred scars or natural deformities from one’s body through plastic surgery, so that one does not suffer the psychological trauma of being spurned off by people. Such physical faults could include beard-like stubble on a woman’s face, burn-scars caused by an accident or skin lesions caused by leprosy.


Tattoos are designs embedded under the skin, using needles to infuse coloured dye into the skin’s colour-pigment. They do not get washed off in normal life unless one has them removed because the skin pigmentation is physically changed. Tattooing is a body-marking practice that is thousands of years old. Nowadays, a tattoo depicts a person’s devotion to something.

Abdullah Bin Masood (rta) has narrated that Allah’s Messenger (sa) said: “May Allah curse the women who do tattoos and those for whom tattoos are done, those who pluck their eyebrows and those who file their teeth for the purpose of beautification, and alter the creation of Allah.” (Bukhari and Muslim)

Thinning of Eyebrows

Pencil-drawn, thin eyebrows have always been fashionably ‘in’. Fashion models on runways and in glossies promote changing the shape of female eyebrows to look more beautiful and to provide space under the brow for accentuating eye makeup. I know ladies who shave, pluck, wax or thread more than half of their eyebrows to leave just a millimeter-thin line which they accentuate with a brow pencil. What are we actually doing? Wiping off Allah’s (swt) creation and replacing it with our own ‘creativity’?

In rushing to modify the natural brows which Allah (swt) has bestowed us with – simply because the fashion world, beauticians and socialite friends tell us we cannot look beautiful unless we do so – we defiantly ignore and disobey the warning given to us by Allah’s Messenger (sa) in the above Hadeeth.

Transgender Surgery

Several famous people have had sex-change surgery in order to become a woman (if they were born a man) and vice versa. This is not to include those who were tested by Allah (swt) by being born with both types of genitals, then had one surgically removed to eliminate the ambiguity, rather, what is abhorred is the act of having one’s sex changed solely due to a strong desire or whim to do so.

Transsexuals have body-parts surgically added and/or subtracted, in order to achieve their gender transition. They also consume male or female hormones. A transsexual, who recently made news, is an American, Thomas Beatie. Previously a woman, she chose to keep her reproductive apparatus after her transition and gave birth to a daughter because ‘his’ wife was barren.

Artificially Enhanced Meat and Genetically Modified Plants

Certain hormones and chemicals are now routinely added to cattle and poultry fodder in order to make them grow bigger and meatier at a much faster rate. These chemicals are passed on to the humans who consume these animals, causing increased heart disease. Similarly, the DNA or genes of plants are altered by genetic engineering so that these plants become resistant to certain pesticides. Such organisms are known as GM (genetically modified).

Indonesia’s leading authority on Islamic affairs has given the go-ahead to Muslims to consume GM Foods. The reason is the absence of any fatwa that indicates that GM Food is actually Haram. However, consumption of GM Foods (meat or plants) is another thing and the actual action of modifying the basic DNA of plants and animals to produce more meat or perennial fruit is another issue altogether. It goes without saying that it is a way of tampering with the creation of Allah (swt). When man tries to change the creation of Allah (swt), it produces side-effects and negative repercussions.


Some people might think that there’s nothing wrong with changing the creation of Allah (swt) by the above methods. Some term it as ‘scientific progress’ or ‘human ingenuity’. We must remember, though, that Allah (swt) is the One Who created us and He knows best what is good for us. His wisdom is more profound than ours, and we must abstain from disobeying His commands and following the insinuations of our avowed enemy:

“Did I not command you, O Children of Adam, that you should not worship Shaitan (Satan). Verily, he is a plain enemy to you. And that you should worship Me [Alone – Islamic Monotheism, and set up not rivals, associate-gods with me]. That is the Straight Path.” (Yasin 36:60-61)

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