Tattoos in Arabic

In my job as an Arabic teacher, I have often experienced that people come to me and want to have Arabic names for tattoos. Many just want to know the Arabic writing of their own names or that of  their friend or terms like “strength”, etc.

However, if you want to have a foreign name as a tattoo that is unknown in Arabic, there are different spellings of a word like the name “Thomas”.  If the names or terms are not known in the Arabic language, the tattoo artist will try to make a sound representation of the word. Since this is quite subjective, there can be different spellings of the same name.

Many people want an Arabic tattoo, because the visual representation plays a big role. If one thinks of Arabic calligraphy, beautiful embellishments can be designed.

But before anybody visits a tattoo studio, one should know that you have to bring the Arabic writing or calligraphy with you. Tattoo studios don’t have people who can speak Arabic and then conjure up a name and a suitable calligraphy. Therefore it is Important to invest time for the preparation of an Arabic tattoo.

Travelling in Arab countries

If you have a tattoo as a foreigner, especially as a woman, you will be amazed that this often leads to a discussion. In the Islamic faith tattooing is forbidden. During the tattooing process, colour gets under the skin and the “decorating” of the skin or body becomes irreversible. For this reason, many scholars reject tattoos.

Henna tattoo

Anyone traveling to Arab countries can, however,  get a henna tattoo on their skin. It is very beautiful, leaves no scars and is not permanent. If you are traveling as a woman in Arab countries and like henna, you will quickly find another woman who will paint a henna tattoo on your skin.

Henna is found in North and East Africa as well as in much of Asia. Henna powder is made from the leaves of the shrub. In Western industrialized countries, henna is often used for hair dyeing. Lesser known is the fact that throughout the Islamic world and India henna is mainly used to dye the hands and soles of the feet.

If you want to see how a henna tattoo is applied, you can watch this youtube video.

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