TANGERANG, Indonesia – Helping them to come closer to Allah, an Indonesian clinic is offering Muslims a free laser removal of tattoos, on one condition to read and learn by heart Surah Ar-Rahman, the 55th chapter of the Qur’an about God’s gifts to man.
Taufiq Hidayat is one of the clinic attendants, who prays that each laser beam to remove the dragon tattoo on his arm will bring him closer to Allah, AP reported on Wednesday, August 16.
The shirtless, slender 30-year-old says he got his back, an arm and a leg tattooed to “look cool” back in the day when “I was a gang member, a thug at the market.”
“Now I have a wife and a daughter. Sometimes she buys snacks that come with tattoo stickers that she applies to her skin. I said, ‘Don’t do it. It’s not good for you.’ And she replies, ‘But you have a lot of tattoos. I wanna be like Daddy.’ And in that moment I felt sad,” said Hidayat, tears welling in his eyes.
Hidayat is among about 1,000 people who have signed up for free tattoo removal, according to organizers of the program. About 200 people have finished or are still being treated and others are on a waiting list.
Community activist Ahmad Zaki first offered free tattoo removal several years ago to young punk rockers in Java who wanted to come closer to Allah.
The idea for the clinic in Tangerang grew from a discussion between Zaki and Rizki Sari, a physician who was a high school friend.
Zaki said he and other activists collected about $8,000 in donations that helped Sari’s clinic buy two lasers. News about the clinic has spread quickly, thanks in part to a “Dare to Hijrah” Instagram account.
“People with tattoos might think that it’s art, culture or personal identity, but the community thinks otherwise,” said Zaki, who also runs a religious charity sponsored by a local bank.
“It’s always false gods, satanic, sexual images, and that’s not good.”
The Messenger of Allah (peace and blessings be upon him) cursed a woman who does tattoo and the woman who asks for it to be done for her. The same ruling applies to men, for women have been mentioned because they often tend to do it.
This means that a person who has this tattoo has to repent to Allah the Almighty and to remove it. If it needs a surgical operation and one cannot afford it, then this could be an excuse for him until he can.
For the clinic patients, the tattoo removal was offering them relief and a fresh start.
“When I die, I want myself clean,” Fuad Ahmadi, whose first tattoo was done by friends after he graduated from junior high school, said as he waited at the clinic.
“God gave me clean skin and I ruined it.”