The contemporary Azhar-educated Egyptian scholar Dr. Khālid ʿAbd al-Munʿim al-Rifāʿī says in a fatwa1 that the four schools agree that piercing the ear is permissible due to the fact that it serves a common need among women, and that there is no clear evidence against it. He quotes the Ḥanbalī scholar Ibn al-Qayyim (d. 1350 CE) saying in his Tuḥfat al-Mawdūd:
ويكْفِي في جوازه عِلْمُ الله ورسولِه بفعل الناس له وإقرارهم على ذلك فلو كان مما ينهى عنه لنهى القرآن أو السنة
It is sufficient [evidence] for making it permissible the fact God and His Prophet had knowledge of people doing it and authorized their act. If it was something to be forbidden, the Quran or the Sunnah would have forbidden it.
Regarding the issue of nose piercings, he quotes the Saudi scholar Ibn ʿUthaymīn saying that if it is a common practice among women in a place to do so then there is no issue with it, while he himself apparently dislikes it.
The Saudi Ḥanbalī scholar ʿAbdul Muḥsin al-ʿAbbād has the same opinion regarding both ear and nose piercings, that they are both permissible.2
The scholarly view appears to be that if a certain type of piercing is a common cultural practice and has no harms to one’s health then it is permissible. The issue of tongue piercings is complicated by the fact that it has negative health effects. From a 2012 study:
Within the limitations of this study, this case control study has demonstrated the adverse long-term effects of tongue piercing. A significant correlation between wearing a tongue piercing and an increased incidence of enamel fissures, enamel fractures and gingival recessions (especially in the lingual region of mandibular incisors) was revealed.
Based on this and other data available and the numerous dental complications which have been reported, individuals should be advised against having a tongue piercing. Subjects who already have a piercing object inserted should be informed with conviction about the risks they are facing.3
Another study from 2015 concluded:
Both lip and tongue piercings are highly associated with the risk of gingival recession, and tongue piercings are also associated with tooth injuries.4
Since tongue piercings seem to have a greater potential for harm, it appears to me that it would be more in accordance with Islamic law to consider them forbidden than allowed.
- حكم تخريم الأذن والأنف للبنت بغرض الزينة؟ [archived link].
- IslamWeb, fatwa #126559 [archived link].
- Ziebolz, D., Hildebrand, A., Proff, P., Rinke, S., Hornecker, E., & Mausberg, R. F. (2012). Long-term effects of tongue piercing — a case control study. Clinical Oral Investigations, 16(1), 231–237. http://doi.org/10.1007/s00784-011-0510-6
- Int J Dent Hygiene. 14, 2016; 62–73 DOI: 10.1111/idh.12118 Hennequin‐Hoenderdos NL, Slot DE, Van der Weijden GA. The incidence of complications associated with lip and/or tongue piercings: a systematic review.