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Is Wudu Permissible with Nail Polish
Wudu (ablution) & Nail Polish Issue
This subject seems to be a common discourse of today’s religious events and proponents of this issue support their stance implying that since water won’t penetrate the layer of nail polish, wudu is not complete and hence one cannot complete religious obligation where wudu is required. Mostly this perception is based on fatwa’s of Muslim Jurisprudence and has no solid base to support it.
The irony of this issue is that even well educated and professional are among the proponents of wudu without nail polish, without rationalizing the issue. Islam has been on the surface of this planet for last 1400 years and nail polish issue has recently surfaced. The creeds from various scholars do not satisfy rational wisdom as from early era of Islam, men were allowed to do wudu without removing their leather socks and in case of non availability of water Tayamum was allowed.
One has to think rationally why it was necessary to do wudu with respect to the environmental conditions and what the essence of wudu is. Early era of Islam is not comparable to 21st century life style. Desert with blowing dust, dirt & very hot weather was a common factor in cleaning before praying. One has to satisfy this requirement in order to go before Allah and pray. From that prospective, cleanliness of mouth, nose, face, hands & feet including hairs were regarded as pre-requisite of slat.
In those days use of henna on hand, feet and hair was a commonality that people used to do. Nail polish was not known to those people. Use of henna was a common practice and women used to put henna and no one raised the question of wudu validity in terms of water penetrating to the real skin.
Used of nail polish that surfaced during last century is being practiced throughout the world. Usually if someone is using nail polish, nails would be cleaned before putting the polish. Hence it is totally redundant to say whether the surface of nails has received water or not.
If it is required then what about those Muslims who used henna on hands or color their hairs. They also fall in the same category and their wudu is also not valid. In addition to above, men should not be allowed to do wudu wearing their socks. Similarly Tayamum should not be allowed if water is not available. It may also be quoted here that the prophet is reported to have used oil on his bear. If so, oil is also water resistance and may not have wet his beard.
We Muslim have a habit of doing forensic on minor issues rather than addressing gray areas that are causes of controversies.
I think this issue should be left on individuals to decide. If they are satisfied that nails were cleaned before putting nail polish, their wudu should be intact. Allah is the final judge and he will decide based on one’s intention. Preferably one can say that Muslim women should avoid use of nail polish due to wudu required for praying but it is not an absolute necessity for wudu.