UPDATED: Is Breathable Nail Polish Sufficient for Wuḍū’?

UPDATE 8-22-2013: My initial article on Inglot’s breathable nail polish was welcomed by many and severely critiqued by others. One of the main criticisms was that the experiment conducted by one of my students was inaccurate and could not be repeated with success. There were many people who reported successful results while several others who documented failure. Obviously, there are several variables that could lead to the experiment not working as it should. Therefore, I have been pressuring Inglot cosmetics to perform a professional experiment which is well documented, and they finally responded. The results should clear up most misconceptions that people may have had. Keep in mind, this only applies to only one coat of polish and has not been tested with base or top coats. Inglot is continuing experimentation and will be releasing more results soon. The results of the latest experiment is below.

When asked about the use of the coffee filter resembling the flexibility of the human nail, Inglot stated the following:

“We are working on finding a different testing surface, other than a coffee filter,  that would resemble a surface of human nail. For the purpose of future experiments we have invested in purchasing more advance testing equipment. Additionally we have already discussed a cooperation with one of universities to conduct more tests checking the following factors: time, pressure, temperature and a number of layers. We will be working closely to find a different testing surface. We have already taken that issue into consideration during the last experiment. Look at the 1:10 minute of the film when the metal stand is being completed and the filter is being placed. The bottom part, on which the filter is placed, has a metal screen built in, which has the flexibility similar to the human nail. It was intentionally used to prevent from extensive or unnatural bending while rubbing which would cause damage to the filter and let the water penetrate easily.”

UPDATE 07-16-13:  For those who are skeptical about using the Inglot polish because of the variance in experiments conducted by various people, I recommend checking out the Tuesday in Love brand of water permeable polish: http://www.tuesdayinlove.com/how-it-works

UPDATE 04-03-13: I have been contacted by quite a few people from different parts of the world who are claiming that they attempted their own experiments on the nail polish and it isn’t working for them. Here are links to two well-documented experiments performed by others: one and two. Here is a video of another experiment that worked. I am open to feedback and appreciate comments, but please: if you are going to criticize my article, make sure to actually read it first and then specify which part you don’t agree with and why.

UPDATE 03-25-13: Inglot has conducted tests which may reveal that not only water vapor but even a droplet can permeate a single layer of O2M polish. The results are unofficial and will be finalized soon. In the meantime, here is some information which explains how and why the polish works: download here

UPDATE 02-25-13: Mr. Inglot, the founder of the company, just passed away on Feb 23. We were scheduled to meet this week and he was going to share his research on some tests being performed on the O2M polish. The tests will now be delayed for a while. You may download his preliminary findings here.

UPDATE 02-07-13: The permeability may be affected by wearing more than one layer [e.g. a base coat, top coat, etc.] so make sure to either test permeability or wait until Inglot releases the tests that they are currently conducting before using multiple layers.

One of the most common questions asked by Muslim sisters is whether or not they are allowed to wear nail polish. The frequent query about whether nail polish is ḥalāl (lawful) or ḥarām (prohibited) is worded incorrectly. There is nothing intrinsically wrong with wearing nail polish.1 The real issue is that this substance forms an impermeable barrier over the nails preventing water from getting underneath. So when a sister needs to perform wuḍū’ (ablution) in order to pray, it cannot be completed without first removing the nail polish.

Many Muslim women have found a solution: wear the nail polish during their period since they don’t need to pray during those days. Yet many sisters will admit that they wish it would be somehow possible to wear nail polish at any time of the month. First, it is highly fashionable nowadays. Second, wearing nail polish usually indicates to another person that a sister is undergoing her period, which can be very embarrassing for others to know.

Now there is a solution. No, I’m not talking about wearing henna. Most scholars advise it as a substitute while failing to realize just how different henna is from nail polish in the world of fashion and beauty. The urge to wear nail polish on a regular basis has even led some sisters to wear a ‘peelable’ variety, which can be scraped off without any chemicals. But what if there was a nail polish that allowed the water to seep through?

Good news. Inglot Cosmetics, a company from Poland, has released a new line of polish called O2M that it has labeled “breathable nail enamel”.2 It borrows a polymer used in some contact lenses that allows oxygen and moisture to penetrate to the nail.3 One sister wisely decided to call the company and was told that water vapor reaches the nail but not water in its liquid form.4 The question then arises about whether water vapor reaching the nail suffices for wuḍū’. Let’s look at the issue in detail.

Reasoning Behind the Necessity of Washing

There are several sisters who don’t know that nail polish prevents wuḍū’, and probably just as many who don’t care and will wear it anyways. But for those who do care, this analysis might help clarify things.

Muslim scholars have analyzed the issue of impermeable substances in the following manner. This verse of the Qur’an prescribes the wuḍū’, “…wash your faces and your arms…” (Qur’an, 5:6). The points that require investigation are: what is meant by ‘arms’ and what is meant by ‘wash’. Mention of the word ‘arms’ (which includes the hands linguistically in Arabic) indicates that every part must be washed and not a single spot should be left dry. Scholars arrived at this conclusion both through linguistic analysis as well as by analyzing reports from the Prophet ﷺ (peace be upon him), which emphasize that the body parts must be washed thoroughly. From this they concluded that anything that prevents water from reaching any of these parts must be removed. For example, if someone had dried paint, dough, or wax on their hand while performing wuḍū’, the water would not permeate that substance and the hand would not have been properly washed. The same is true with nail polish which, when dried, forms a solid impermeable layer on the nails. This is why women are instructed to remove their nail polish when performing wuḍū’. Other substances that do not form an impermeable solid layer such as henna, oil, ink, and lotion are allowed due to the ability of water to penetrate through, especially when rubbing over the wet area.5

As to the definition of ‘washing’, it means that water flows over the surface of every body part which must be washed during wuḍū’.6 The bare minimum amount of water that must be used in order to suffice has been a matter of contention among scholars. Some stated that the part being washed must drip off at least one drop of water.7 Other scholars held that water must have reached every area of that body part, but dripping off is not necessary.8

The important thing to realize is that these scholars were trying to precisely define a minimum point at which the body part in question has had water ‘flow’ over it. The first opinion did not imply that drops of water must drip from any particular area but rather from any area of one body part. For example, while washing the arm with the hand elevated above the elbow, it is likely that the water would drop off near the elbow area due to gravitational forces. For our case concerning the fingernails, this opinion (which is the stricter of the two) does not necessitate water having to drip off the fingernails. This makes sense because water usually drips from a small area when it has completely flowed over that region.

Based on this difference of opinion concerning the definition of washing, scholars have differed concerning whether rubbing snow over the body parts suffices for wuḍū’ if no drops fall off.9 At first glance, it might appear to a student of Islamic Law that this example serves as a good analogy to apply to the issue of breathable nail polish. However, upon further inspection the analogy fails because the case of snow involves no drops falling whereas the case of the fingernails does involve drops falling, even if not from the nail area. Keeping this in mind, if the entire hand was immersed in water and water vapor permeated through to the nails, it would not matter whether or not an actual drop of water in its liquid form reached the nail. The entire hand is still considered washed since water reached every area.

A Test Case

One of my students10 decided to perform a test to see whether or not water actually seeped through when using the Inglot O2M nail polish. As a test case, she applied standard pink nail polish and purple O2M on a coffee filter and allowed both to dry. She then placed another coffee filter below the painted one, squeezed two drops of water over the polish, and applied some pressure with her finger.11 After about ten seconds it was clear that the water was prevented from seeping through (even to the back side of the first filter) on the standard polish but clearly went through the O2M and even wet the second filter. This is sufficient to show that the claims made by the manufacturer are correct and water does indeed permeate through to the nail.


It is imperative that issues such as the legitimacy of wearing breathable nail polish while performing wuḍū’ be properly researched both on the scientific level as well as the fiqhī (Islamic Law) level. It appears to me that there is a sound basis for believing the water seeps through to the nail when wearing O2M breathable nail polish. Perhaps not every brand that claims to be breathable meets this criteria and perhaps the nails need to be soaked in water for a few seconds. Nonetheless, the basis exists for permissibility. As for the questions concerning whether or not nail polish should be used by Muslim women in public, which colors may potentially cross the boundaries of modesty (ḥayā’), and whether these cosmetics are an extravagant use of one’s wealth are all beyond the scope of this article and not directly related to the issue at hand. Sisters must consider all those variables before using any cosmetics, but after they have done so, the research on breathable nail polish points to its permissibility.

For more info on contemporary fiqh issues, see Mustafa’s new book: Guide of the Believer

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  1. This is according to the widely-held opinion by several Muslim scholars that cosmetics containing alcohol are allowed to be worn. Also, cosmetics should not be tested in a cruel manner on animals or contain any pork products such as gelatin. The Inglot brand discussed in this article is free from these deficiencies. See http://veggiebeauty.com/cruelty-free-statement-inglot []
  2. http://inglotcosmetics.com/o2m.nail.enamel/products/141/565 []
  3. http://www.nytimes.com/2010/04/22/fashion/22SkinOne.html?_r=3& []
  4. http://www.reveilingyourself.com/2012/04/halal-nail-polish.html []
  5. It is interesting to note that Ibn ʿĀbidīn [ḥanafī] argues this is not the real reason but substances like henna are allowed due to necessity. See Ibn ʿĀbidīn, Radd al-Muḥtār, 1:154. []
  6. Al-Samarqandī, ʿAlā’ al-Dīn, Tuḥfah al-Fuqahā’, 1:8. []
  7. Ibn al-Humām, Kamāl, Fatḥ al-Qadīr, 1:15. []
  8. Ibid. This is the opinion of Imām Abū Yūsuf. []
  9. Kāsānī, ʿAlā al-Dīn, Badā’iʿ al-Ṣanā’iʿ, 1:3. []
  10. Shabana Haxton lives in California and is an RN, MSN, and CNL. []
  11. The extra drop on the filter paper seen in the picture was an accidental misfire from the dropper and was not taken into consideration during the experiment. []


  1. Fatimah says:

    Very interesting read! It’s been something I’ve avoided all together, but this has piqued my interest. Still may not be worth it though :)

  2. Reed says:

    Sometimes, too much knowledge prevents a person from using common sense.

    • Adilah says:

      SMH Is this really that important when you look at the state of the Ummah?

      • Z says:

        I really appreciate Imam Mustafa Umar’s addressing this issue. It’s an important topic because many sisters do wear nail polish and pray with normal (impenetrable) nail polish on. So, their wudu’ would be invalid and, therefore, their prayers are invalid.

        If we’re not purifying ourselves and rectifying our relationship with God, then we can’t rectify the state of the Ummah.

        • Kendriana says:

          Muslims always make things 10 times more complicated than they need to be, nobody should be caring about nail polish THAT much. If it’s water penetrable then wear it,if it’s not don’t wear it, but if it is, don’t tell people not to wear it just because it goes against everything you’ve ever known about the subject cause it makes you feel insecure. Now we got sisters gloating about how they’re “so pious” that they wouldn’t wear it even if it was permissible?!

          Ok, so if something is permissible you’ll continue to act as if it’s haram?

          That makes like no sense at all…

      • aa says:

        Agreed. The house is burning down and we’re still worried about rearranging furniture…

        Also, am a little confused about a couple of things: 1) My understanding was that Wudu was made from the amount of water in a cup. The Prophet SAW lived in a desert. Did they really have that much water to perform wudu in the way that is being prescribed? Muslim bathrooms become swimming pools after some perform wudu; I’m not sure that so much water should be wasted.

        2) I’ve heard that the Prophet SAW has made wudu over socks or turban. Is this true? If so, I’m guessing these items were not dunked in the water to permit “flow”. Are we really going to parse based on the permeability of these coverings?

        • Rue says:

          1) in the dessert, they do tayamum to replace wudhu, in which they wash their hands n faces only using the sand :) if u dont want ur toilet to flood, then just do the washings of the 5 parts of the body (the compulsory one) :) and just once since doing it three times is just a sunnah :)

  3. sarah says:

    reminds one of the times when the scholars were debating whether parrot (?) meat was halal or haram while they were being invaded by mongols.

    • habib says:

      huh? Where did you hear that story? CNN?

      • Talut says:

        Yes sis Sara is right:

        When Halagu Khan invaded Baghdad,the scholars were discussing fiqh issues(parrot,crow or something else,does nt matter what) but they were discussing every matter besides defending themselves and the locals from onslaught.

        Halagu grew angry at this and combined with some other reasons he killed the Caliph by rolling him in a carpet and being trempled or mauled by horse.Terrible death indeed.

        Its not in CNN,from authentic history books.

  4. Asmaa says:

    This article, although scientific, begs the question regarding the real issue. The prophet pbuh mentioned that Muslims should refrain from “grey” areas that have not been defined as either halal or haram, and this seems to be one of them to say the least. I am talking about the “breathable” nail polish not the regular one of course. So why don’t scholars just state it as it needs to be stated rather than beat around the bush. Fatwas are not meant to be popular, just meant to be based on sound prophetic evidence.

    • Erica says:

      The scholars should not say something is haram when it is not haram even if the issue is skirting the line. They CAN say clearly that this is discouraged since it is a grey area, and should not be performed.

      • Asmaa says:

        Agree. When something is discouraged, saying that makes those who stay away from it seem pious rather than seem extreme.

        • Zaima says:

          It was a grey area before on regular nail polish now with the breathable nail polish as it touches and cleans the surface of nail it is considered halal… no grey ares… quite simple really pleaser dont make things more complicated than need to be.

    • Sophie says:

      Why is it a gray issue if this nail polish really is water permeable and reaching the nails? It seems anyone can do the test at home for themselves.
      When I was much younger, this question was asked of the Imam by another sister, and he did not scoff at her as I believe many sisters seem to be. He answered the question with sound reasoning. This is true of our beloved prophet (saw). Many questions concerning daily life seem trivial to some, but Islam is a way of life and that includes all aspects.

  5. Rhonda says:

    This article is very relevant for women in the United States so JazakAllahu khayr! I’ve heard many religious sisters discuss if it’s valid from a fiqh perspective so it’s refreshing to see our scholars researching what the the normal Muslim is thinking about. This is an example of fiqh in action and I appreciate that the findings and research are shared with the reader.

    If this isn’t relevant to a specific reader, than you can always read other articles and fiqh opinions out there about the topics that interest you but I feel that downplaying what is relevant to others is inappropriate.

    Also, shuyukh should not be put down for researching topics that are relevant to some segments of the Muslim population. If anything, that IS the role of our shuyukh. They should guide and teach us what is and is not permissible, albeit it be something as small as whether or not we can wear nail polish.

    Be positive people. The Prophet Muhammad (pbuh) was asked a thousand questions and he never refused answering a question because he had bigger fish to fry or more “important” things to deal with.

    • Adilah says:

      How is this whole stupid topic important at all. Get a clue. The Ummah is in a sad state. People are being slaughtered, others are starving and Sister in the US are worried about polishing their nails. I’ve got to make hijrah soon. Stuff like this makes me physically ill. Astaghfirullah.

      • Z says:

        Jazak Allah khair Shayk for addressing this issue! I benefited greatly from this!

        Rhonda: beautifully said. Couldn’t have said it better myself :)

        Adilah: The Ummah is in a sad state because of people like you who don’t have proper adaab when addressing our scholars. Look at the prophetic teachings of how the prophet (S) dealt with people and look at how our scholars dealt with their teachers and other scholars around them.

        This is of grave importance to some sisters because some sisters love putting on nail polish. So much so that they pray with nail polish on! Therefore, their wudu is not valid, making their prayers invalid.

        If we can’t address the basic fundamentals of our faith, which in this case is salah, without stirring a debate based on emotions then we are far from solving the problems that our Ummah is facing, my friend.

        Adilah: My intention is not to offend you. It just makes me real upset when people disrespect our scholars. May Allah give you the best akhlaq and make it a means of you entering Jannah inshAllah :)

    • sarah says:

      couldn’t have said it better myself. JazakAllah for the research

    • Reed says:

      Rhonda, you make good, reasonable points.

    • Dwitra says:

      Agreed with sister Rhonda. Some mundane issues for some people, might be an important issues for others. So do not judge others just because you don’t see or feel the same way. Also I think this article shows us clearly how to think and understand properly for some fiqhs that related with every-day’s life. How we apply the thought process and the step by step thinking before come into conclusion.

    • Lujain says:

      Right on sister, we we shouldn’t shun others personal likes or dislikes, just because they are different then our own!!! May Allah bless us with more understanding & consideration towards one another,AMEEN!

  6. Sameera says:

    If its not relevant to you let it be. I appreciate this article and respect the scholar for taking his time. I know there are bigger and more concerning issues out there, but no matter is too small when it comes to deen. I am in my thirties, mother of two, and perhaps I care; if you don’t no need to comment, just move onto the next article.

  7. Yasmin says:

    Jaazakallah khair for this very interesting and informative post!

  8. Shadee says:

    ZEENA — adornment — should also be discussed.
    ZEENA in front of foreign men was prohibited by the Prophet peace be upon him.

    • HOPE says:

      the author says that was out of the scope of the article. It’l probably be discussed in another one. As it constitutes of hijab.
      And Allah knows best.

  9. Dania says:

    Assalamu Alaikum wr wb,

    Besides the wudu aspect of nail polish, what about the attention that nail polish may bring? I’m more concerned about the “hijab/modesty” aspect of nail polish. Thoughts?

    • aa says:

      I’m not convinced that nail polish is immodest.
      Is the issue that the nail polish is attractive? Or is the issue that it brings attention to the hands which could be seen as attractive?

      Surely we are beyond discussing whether a woman’s hands can be shown, right? If a women’s hands are showing, so would any jewelry she is wearing, and those are adornments too. Did people not wear jewelry in the Prophet’s (SAW) time? So, quite frankly, if a guy is aroused by a woman’s nail polish, he’d probably be aroused by her rings, or by her naked hands. I would consider him to be the one with the problem that needs to be fixed, and not prohibit women from yet another thing becuase some weird guy is finding it attractive or it is bringing attention to something that is permissably shown.

      To me, nail polish could fall into less worrisome categories.

      1) Grooming. At least in the US, many professional women get manicures. It’s a sign of being well-put together, like wearing a nice suit.

      2) Personality. Wearing different colored nails can be seen as an expression of personality, just like wearing different colored clothes. I worry when all expressions of personality are categorized as being immodest. This taken to its natural conclusion would relegate us all into black-niqabi-gloved-wearing conformity-bound women, and I don’t think is in the spirit of our beautiful, inclusive religion.

      So to answer your question, I think the discussion of not wearing nail polish due to immodestly is fairly off the mark. The wudu discussion is slightly more relevant, but even then I don’t really see it as super-relevant. While I appreciate the scholar finding us girls a nice alternative and researching the issue, I wish I saw more articles about what men should or shouldn’t be doing. It seems like a lot of focus on “women must’ and “women can’t” lately…

      • mustafa umar says:

        @aa Read my article about urinating while standing, and you will see that men are just as much addressed in my research.

      • AL86 says:

        The end of this comment is absolutely ridiculous. Why do you want to see more articles about what men should and shouldn’t be doing? That’s a comment a teenager would make or something. “Stop picking on me! Pick on someone else!” We women can benefit from articles that are written for us (granted, I think this one is silly, but I’m not the one who plans to wear nail polish when I’m praying), so I don’t know why you feel like the heat is on you.

        • aa says:

          @imam umar, I will certainly check it out. Thanks for pointing it out and thanks for the response.

          @AL86, you certainly make a lot of assumptions about me. I’m not being defensive and I’m not being adolescent. My point is that in the past six months I’ve received a spate of articles on this website about what women can and cannot do while not seeing any articles about when men can or can’t do. That’s a fact I think we can both agree on (if I’ve missed one, please let me know, I’d love to read it!). I find it a concerning pattern when there is a trend of focusing only on rules that would limit female behavior. Women, wear hijab. Women, don’t wear nail polish. You’re right that women can benefit from these articles. But where is the discussion about men’s requirements to wear beards? the role of the turban or hat? Or what clothes are appropriate for a man to wear? Surely men can benefit from a discussion of these topics, too, right?
          I generally am a big fan of this website and the good work the scholars do. But I also think it’s important to point the unbalanced focus so it can be addressed. It’s not an accusation. Take it as an editorial suggestion.

  10. Ummehani says:

    I completely agree with you Sister Rhonda. I have never cared for nail polish but have daughters who may care one day, and I would love to give them a scientific/ Islamic information on this issue. Thanks to the Sheikh for researching this issue thoroughly and for giving us options. May Allah increase our beneficial knowledge. Ameen!

  11. aisah says:

    salam all,
    Thank you for investigating into this matter as it demonstrates the thirst for true knowledge as prescribed by Islam.
    However, my thoughts are, everything in Islam is judged by Allah on the basis of intention (niyyah). therefore, i believe that it would be best to also address the following
    -the purpose of wearing the nail polish (self confidence? praise from other women? praise from (nauzubillah) men?)
    -the necessity of wearing the nail polish (why bother if there’s other things that is more beneficial in the path towards jannah- the concept of zuhud or moderation)


  12. sana says:

    well said, Rhonda!

  13. Reminder says:

    عن أبي عبد الله النعـمان بن بشير رضي الله عـنهما قـال: سمعـت رسـول الله صلي الله عـليه وسلم يقول: (إن الحلال بين وإن الحـرام بين وبينهما أمور مشتبهات لا يعـلمهن كثير من الناس فمن اتقى الشبهات فـقـد استبرأ لديـنه وعـرضه ومن وقع في الشبهات وقـع في الحرام كـالراعي يـرعى حول الحمى يوشك أن يرتع فيه ألا وإن لكل ملك حمى ألا وإن حمى الله محارمه ألا وإن في الجـسد مضغة إذا صلحـت صلح الجسد كله وإذا فـسـدت فـسـد الجسـد كـلـه ألا وهي الـقـلب

  14. Marwa says:

    Jazak Allah khair for this. I have been dying to wear nail polish for my husband, to prevent nail biting, for myself, and to be fashionable with NO intention to attract men. I have a question about how long hand must be submerged in water for the water to get through the polish? I am worried that I expend so much energy to wake up for fair and keep my 5 prayers, and then not getting rewarded because of an invalid wudu.
    Jazakum khiran

  15. Aiyah says:

    Salaam alaikom well although this topic may not seem important to some it may be to others so please respect one another. I am pretty neutral on this topic but I will say that there are women out there who like to paint their toes or a housewife that would like to appear pretty to her husband and would like to wear nail polish. It is in her intention we don’t know people’s circumstances so to cast judgement should be avoided. We don’t know if the sister wants to paint her toes goes out without showing her feet or if the housewife never leaves the home. We should make excuses for one another instead of claiming they are immodest or have bad intentions. Yes this ummah has many problems all which have happened by the will of Allah and the best weapon the believers have is dua so to change a state of an entire people we should all unite in supplication for Allah to help us

  16. Summer says:

    What I would like to know is how many layers of nail polish were painted onto the coffee filter before the water drops were placed over it. Do extra layers make the nail polish less permeable?

  17. Anon says:

    I was so happy when I read this, as I love nail varnish and am very sad to remove it when I have to pray. It made me think, however – does the nailpolish sit on the coffee filter in the same way it sits on the nail?

    In the image it looks less like the polish coats the filter and more like it has been absorbed by the filter, which then also absorbed the water. Nailpolish on the nail is shiny and solid-looking. The polished filter doesn’t look that way.

    Also, the standard manicure is two coats of nailpolish – can we check whether water impermeates both coats? and perhaps a different surface than just a coffee filter?

    :( I realized these things just before I was about to buy four of those Inglots.

  18. Chad says:

    Salaam Alaikum Wa Rahmatullah,

    Real questions deserve real answers, even if others think the question isn’t worth asking. The issue at hand deals with the validity of a sisters’ wudu, which is directly related to the validity of her prayers, so it’s not as trivial as some might think. May Allah reward our dear brother Mustafa Umar for his efforts.

  19. abuhunain says:

    As salaamu alaikum,

    It wasn’t really made clear in the post but it appears from the picture that although the water permeates the nail polish it becomes mixed. So by the time the water would reach the fingernail it would no longer be mutahhir. Can Imam Mustafa clarify this issue? Would this (ie water mixed with coloring) be valid for wudu according to any school?


    • mustafa umar says:


      You brought up a very good fiqhi point. I didn’t take that into consideration. But now, after reflecting upon it, it should not be a problem since water does not remove the nail polish over time, and that means that any small amount of polish that mixes with the water is negligible. My [hanafi] opinion on mixed water is that as long it is deemed [‘termed’] water it is still absolute water [mutlaq] and it is so in this case since the quantity of polish mixed is very little.

  20. Ayesha says:

    Interesting article. I’m alarmed by how much negativity and arrogance there are in some of the comments. It just an interesting insight that may be beneficial to some people. If you don’t find it beneficial, then don’t read it and then go to the lenghts of commenting on it. You could’ve just spent that time on reading something that was beneficial to you.

  21. Ali says:

    The first thing a person will be asked about on the Day of Judgment is the prayer. Ritual purity is a precondition for the validity of one’s prayer. Therefore, this topic is not only not trivial, but of immense importance. Furthermore, addressing this topic and having concern for the ummah’s problems are not mutually exclusive.

  22. May says:

    Imam Suhaib it would be greatly appreciated to analyse the suras and hadiths that analise the wearing of hijab. Because the hijab issue has become somehow vague and a lot of the times you are finding people saying that its not obligatory for Muslim women to wear it since its not in the Quraan, therefore it would help a lot of the women out there to go through the relevant verses and their detailed explanation. the fact is alot of the women are struggling with it but the imams are not addressing the issue of how hard it is, they just try to brush it off. Another important issue is hijab practical in this day and age when everyone is walking semi naked?????

  23. Anon says:

    Assalamu alaikum! THANK YOU for this! :) May Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala reward you for your efforts! This may be unimportant for some people but to others, this is a question that needed to be answered. The prophet ‘alayhi salaatu salam always took time to answer people’s questions :) no matter how major or minor. Again, Jazakallahu Khairun :)

  24. Haq says:

    Sh Mustafa, writing an article is like ‘dancing in the minefields’, so I say enjoy it while you dance :)

  25. Yaqub (Jacob) says:

    It’s unfortunate that people are conveying sentiments along the lines of “there are bigger things to worry about than this”…of course not all issues in life carry the same weight of importance than others.

    However at the very least; recognize the importance of the subject of this article; and also recognize the validity of the subject. Most importantly however; ponder on why this is why Islam is the beautiful way of life and faith that it is…because no stone is left unturned in terms of the subject matter (whether someone may deem the subject matter as “miniscule” or not.)

    No others faith has such a rich tradition and history of consistently and constantly asking/seeking questions and answers to life’s little AND large subjects.

  26. Arif says:

    Awesome article. This is actually relevant and brings an interesting contribution to the discussion. I like the filter test…I wonder if someone can do a similar test on different types of socks to see if different fabrics are permeable or not to water which is a condition for many for the validity of wiping the sock.

  27. Reed says:

    When looking at reasons for doing something, it’s not enough to look at the reasons for the container. One must also understand the reasons for the content.

    Two of the reasons for prayer are to come closer to Allah (CC) and to cleanse oneself, the latter of course is part of coming closer to Allah (CC).

    Wudu is similar. It is a preparation for prayer. We cleanse our exterior to prepare for cleaning our interior. The exterior being cleaned (Hands, arms, feet, head are those exterior aspects of the body that easily become dirty.) Thus, nail polish is not in the same category as “dried paint, dough, or wax”. The former is an intentional adornment of beauty (which may bring up the topic of modesty but that’s not what’s being discussed here) while the latter is incidental from doing work. Thus, while a normal person will consider paint as something to be cleaned from, the same person would not consider nail polish as something dirty and thus needing to be cleaned.

    Of course, some will say that it doesn’t matter what a normal person thinks. It only depends upon what Allah (CC) has commanded. No doubt. But people are interpreting the commands, which as Yusuf Rios in his recent article “Reasons of Revelation” has noted, needs an understanding of why Allah (CC) sends a particular revelation. The reason of wudu is to clean oneself. As nail polish is not an item needing to be cleaned, then a person’s exterior is cleaned by removing any dirt, paint, dough, and so on from the nail polish but not the nail polish.

    Consider a doctor who prescribes an antibiotic for a bacterial infection. On a later occasion, the same person has similar symptoms of a fever, aches, and so on. The person decides he needs antibiotics again without understanding that this time he has a viral infection for which antibiotics don’t help. Just as it is not the symptoms but the disease for which a doctor prescribes medicine. In determining whether something is permitted or prohibited, one needs to differentiate the content from the container of the command.

    • Masooma says:

      Reed, I agree completely. Nail polish is not the same as paint or dough that one does not intend to get on themselves as it would demonstrate they are dirty. Rather, it is a clean substance covering a clean nail. Alhumdu’Allah, we were granted the responsibility to read the Quran for ourselves and come to our own conclusions for which we will be responsible on the day of judgment. While I don’t wear nail polish because it requires a lot of upkeep, I don’t believe that if I chose to then Allah would not accept my prayers. I think some people spend so much time thinking about the definition of the word “wash” that they have lost sight of common sense and oftentimes bring much of the Muslim world with them. Islam is a logical religion that is meant to be understood and practiced by all who are individually responsible for their choices. Thus, I do not think Allah made his commands difficult for the average person to follow in this situation or others.

  28. N says:

    Assalaamu alaykum. I’ve got a few questions. Why is there a need for nail polish in the first place? Is it to beautify herself for her husband or for herself? I’m asking because I’ve always thought that a woman’s beauty is for her husband.its extremely rare to find nail polish on women’s hands whose nails is not grown or long either, so will they be keeping there nails short as they should and still where nail polish or will they be violating shariah on cleanlyness aswel? Do we show we are different to other religions if we follow what non-muslims do? I’ll leav it at that because i agree totally with Adilah.

  29. Sandy says:

    I was raised in the West and just started practising Islam, but this is exactly why I dislike very religious people who judge every little thing. This article was beyond amazing, and I do believe that many sisters will benefit from it just like I did. This is very sad but at one point I actually gave up salah just to wear nail polish, I am very thankful for this. I understand the state of the ummah is not well, and that we have bigger problems to worry about….but I am one of the ummah and this definitely has helped me greatly! jazak allah khair.

    • mustafa umar says:

      Your comment made my day :)

    • GM says:

      Alhamdulilah, right there with you sister. As a convert, this is a wonderful article for me and I was ecstatic upon reading it. My mom and sisters love to get their nails done together and are so upset when I refuse to join them or won’t put on nail polish for a special occasion. No matter how I explain it they always seem to forget and take it personally and dislike Islam for how it “restricts” me. Using this nail polish, I can take part in their “bonding experiences”, I can PLEASE MY MOTHER and in doing so and maintaining wudu, I can PLEASE ALLAH SWT. People do not understand our situation so I implore them to think outside of the box. JazakAllah khair for this article. It has truly improved my situation as a convert muslim and inshAllah will be great dawah to my family. May Allah swt reward you for your efforts and open the hearts of those who cannot see.

  30. Green says:

    My 2 cents? I wouldn’t risk my salat by wearing polish if not sure my wudu was valid..if in doubt, leave it out! Wear it when you’ve got your period, Allah has given women prayer free times during the month so wear it then, not even non Muslims wear polish continuously because they know your nails get flaky, it’s not good for you. So problem solved :)

    • Lina says:

      I have a friend who has been wearing this nail polish for a few months and she has said that her nails do not become flaky because it is breathable. That is part of the reason the company came up with it in the first place, to help with the health of the nails. :)

    • Effe says:

      Salaam… I totally agree with Green..

  31. S says:

    So getting this nail polish.

  32. Jinan says:

    This is really great, jazakAllah khair sheikh. I have a friend who also stopped praying because she wanted to put nailpolish on. It made me very sad, but I think we need to realize that we all have our personal struggles and unfortunately in what is a now a global society that emphasizes the importance of our external attributes, that the way we dress is an extension of us and our creativity, it will take a lot to undo this notion. Until then, having these sorts of allowances really helps!

  33. Marwa says:

    Jazak Allah khair for this. I have been dying to wear nail polish for my husband, to prevent nail biting, for myself, and to be fashionable with NO intention to attract men. I have a question about how long hand must be submerged in water for the water to get through the polish? I am worried that I expend so much energy to wake up for fair and keep my 5 prayers, and then not getting rewarded because of an invalid wudu.
    Jazakum khiran

    • Mariam says:

      Here is a response that one sister received from a company:

      I contacted aquarella, another brand. Here is their response:

      Dear ___,

      First of all we apologize for the delay in our reply. We appreciate your question and expect it is in regards to Wudu’. We did a study on this last year and the short answer is “yes” however it’s not quite that simple, so we’ll explain it because it’s time dependent:

      Basic Premise – Acquarella Nail Polish and Conditioner, being a water based, permeable acrylic emulsion allow air and water to pass through its surface film unlike conventional, nitrocellulose polishes.

      Short Term Water Exposure – The answer is no.
      The time required to have full permeability, detectable to the human eye is greater than 4 minutes of full contact (soaking, etc).

      Longer Term Water Exposure – The answer is an absolute YES.
      Full permeability of greater than 4 minutes of full contact (soaking, etc) and is detectable/realized when the polish loses its “shine”. When the polish has lost its “shine”, it has absorbed water into the polymer matrix. After such time as the water leaves the polymer matrix either through absorption into the body or evaporation, the “shine” will return to the surface of the Nail Polish. The polish may even change shade or opacity when absorbing water relative to how long after the initial application of the nail polish. Time for full contact may be made shorter by raising temperature of water. This effect is most prominent within the first week of wearing the polish, after which the polish takes longer to absorb water. We recommend weekly change cycles (or less) to facilitate lower time for absorption.

      All are products are as they are either synthetic or plant based with water and therefore Halal. If there is anything else you would like to know about our products, feel free to let us know. We hope this answers your question and we thank you for your interest in Acquarella nail products.


      Customer Service
      Acquarella Water Based Nail Products
      Email – customerservice@acquarellapolish.com
      Web – http://www.acquarellapolish.com

  34. Huda says:


    Very interesting read- thank you. I wonder whether the author is familiar with an alternative ruling that holds a woman may pray with nail varnish (of any kind) – so long as she performed wudhu prior to applying the nail varnish.

    The reasoning appears to be thus: just as the impermeable property of nail varnish means water cant reach it, it also means no impurities can reach it. Thus the nails will remain in a state of wudhu throughout, provided wudhu was performed BEFORE the varnish went on.

    This appeared a sound reasoning to me but perhaps there is more to it than that? I guess it would depend on whether the objective of wudhu was purely a ritual purification or actual removal of impurities – this ruling seems more sensible in the latter case but may not be in the first case.

    God knows best.

    • Khadijah Noor says:

      salaam, as a convert to Islam, this is exactly the question I have asked, a number of times. I was told simply “Water cannot get to the nail, therefore, impurities cannot be removed!”

      I asked about how, if one has wudu before the nail polish is applied, how any impurities can get through, to contaminate, if the cleansing water cannot get through to clean. No one has been able to answer this.
      I could not find the reference for this alternative ruling.
      Naturally I don’t want to do anything that displeases Allah,(SWT), but I also don’t want to get caught up in the pernicketty little things, and lose sight of the big picture, our responsibilities to Allah.

  35. Fi says:

    Jazakallah Khayr for writing this article imam, it is very much appreciated!

    I enjoy wearing nail polish when I’m I am not able to pray and I know many other sisters who do as well. This is very encouraging and I hope that this or other brands will make breathable nail polishes that will be deemed permissible to wear while praying salat. I do plan on refraining from using it though until more research has been done as salat is MUCH to important to take lightly. But I do especially appreciate that the concerns and questions many women have are being taken seriously.

    And to my fellow posters, obviously this is a minor issue in regards to the plethora of issues our ummah faces but seriously must we be cynical and sarcastic in the replies? Totally unnecessary.

  36. questioning says:

    i think we have an important issue to consider when we are trying to decide what is modest or not: what would Fatima do? (WWFD)

    would Sayyida Fatima (alayha assalam) wear nailpolish? would Sayyida Maryam (alayha assalam) wear nailpolish?
    would Sayyida Khadija (alayha assalam) waer nailpolish?
    whose fashion are we following? i am not talking about kafir vs muslim. i am talking about pious and authentic expressions of feminine baeuty vs. those created by people or shayateen who don’t have in mind our best interests when they convince us to deck ourselvs out. This is a type of zeena that is unnecessary and not befitting of a modest woman.

    • Masooma says:

      Do you think that the mothers of Islam did not do things to make themselves feel beautiful? We may have different cultures now, as I’m sure Allah did not intend for Muslims to be caught in a time warp, but women want to feel good about themselves in any era. Did women living during the time of the prophet (saw) wear henna? Did they wear silk or jewelry? Did they darken their eyes with kajul? What makes you think they would not have worn nail polish had it existed? I’ve grown tired of all the Muslims who seem to think a woman must be completely plain and nonexistent to be modest. This culture of scrubbing the earth of femininity is wrought with absurdity and leads to a great burden being placed on women that I don’t think is required by Allah so much as it is by men. Stop worrying about women’s modesty and start worrying about why women’s behaviors are limited to any reaction by men (in this case, to merely seeing nail polish on fingernails). If we start there perhaps some of the bigger issues our ummah faces will be resolved as well.

      • La says:

        I totally agree! Being modest shouldn’t be completely doing away with anything that makes you feel confident, or brings you any kind of happiness. I truly find some rules people impose to be so out of the bounds of common logic or sense, it’s as if anything you do is deemed haram in some way shape or form! I think we should care more for our actions and intentions rather than nitpick every last aspect of anything remotely enjoyable.

    • Khadijah Noor says:

      Logically speaking, there wasn’t such a thing as nail polish, at the time of the companions of our Prophet (PBUH)?

      Cigarettes did not exist at the time of the Prophet, but we know that they are harmful, and therefore should be considered to be haraam.
      Nail polish is like mascara or eyeliner, it’s not a harmful substance (unless one is allergic?) surely?

  37. carly says:

    For me nailpolish is like wearing makeup and makeup is not permitted. So I choose not to wear nail polish. It’s my personal choice. I shouldn’t be treated poorly because of this as you would mot be wanted to be treated bad for wearing it. I can wear it at home for my husband but I don’t it’s too much of a hassle and maintenance.

  38. Angel says:

    As a revert to Islam, painting my nails is one of the things I miss doing the most. It made me feel confident and more importantly feminine. It was never put on for anyone else (well sometimes the color was chosen to appease my mother), but instead worn for my own enjoyment. I would love it if scholars would look further into breathable polish, as it would make me personally feel a little more connected with my American culture which I feel like is slipping away sometimes.

  39. Daniah Din says:

    Salam, jazakAllahkhair for doing this research. I’m curious to know how many coats of nail polish were applied in the test? Normally when getting a manicure, people tend to do 3-4 coats (including the base and topcoat), so I wonder if water would seep through all that as well since I know inglot sells the base and topcoat as well.

  40. SK says:

    Salams all.

    I tried that same exact experiment at home. Didn’t work :( i was hoping it would. i think we need to have more evidence (from the manufacturers themselves or an independent scientific experiment) to prove the statements they are making about their product.

    • nabeela says:

      That’s kind of disappointing. I was gonna buy it and try the test myself too, am I wasting my money?

      • Sk says:

        You wouldn’t be wasting ur money if u want a healthier alternative for ur nails (or so they claim ;) but a bunch of my friends and I ordered and a couple of us tried the experiment on different textured paper (coffee filter, notebook paper) with different coats and we didn’t feel any wetness on the opposite side. The only explanation I have for the experiment conducted in this article is that accidental drop (see footnote 11) seeped to the other side and spread (as a drop would do on paper towels or paper) and that’s how she felt the wetness…but u would think they were extra careful and would have accounted for that??? I dunno!!! I don’t recall from my science classes what it is called, but if an experiment cannot be replicated with similar results, something isn’t right about it.

        • mustafa umar says:

          She did account for that extra drop and did the test three times. I personally know three other people who also performed the test and it worked the same way. That is specifically why I mentioned that misfire drop in the footnote. She just didn’t want to take another picture :)

  41. La says:

    Thank you so much for this article & JAK. I also would like to point out that every single article I read pertaining to Islam always has those unnecessary negative comments. If you aren’t particularly worried about this subject, don’t read the article! Allah swt didn’t give us this life to constantly feel caged, and have pessimistic views on every subject. Some people enjoy painting their nails and some don’t. That’s okay and entirely up to each individual but there is no need to look down upon others and see yourself as more pious or religious because you would “never do such a thing” inshallah Allah will guide us all to the straight path and may we learn to treat each other’s opinions with respect. As Muslims we must be more compassionate towards one another, not turn people away from our religion because of the rules and strict regulations we choose to impose and all the limits we set. Do things within the boundaries of Islam and with a pure intention and inshallah Allah will be satisfied with all your doings. Ameen.

  42. madinah says:

    It seems some hijabi sisters are so concern about their beauties that they want to look beautiful all the time fr head to toe. In Islam as muslimah, we should dress modestly and for the sake of Allah and not to attract others attention. So, what’s the purpose of putting nail polish & also wearing heavy make up? Is it for Allah? or to attract compliments? Only Allah knows your intention.

    • Nm says:

      I think this is a concern for many people. Women intrinsically love to beauty themselves. This is hinted to in the Quran. Islam does not ask people to stamp out their fitra. It guides it and gives it boundaries. So married women or among other women or mahrams…dressing up is no problem.

      Sisters who are married or among mahrams may love the option of having nailpolish on which allows their wudu to be valid. Personally im a bit unsure because im wondering if the coffee filter test is enough to prove that water indeed gets to the nail,

      • Sk says:

        You know what is even more sad, when we contacted the company asking for proof that their product really does as it says (without mentioning anything about religion) they automatically assumed we were Muslim and gave me a link to this exact article as proof that there’s a fatwa regarding their nail polish’s legitimacy when this article doesn’t do so whatsoever. It’s kinda sad that they r sending to everyone as a canned response (my friends also sent similar questions). Personally, unless they show me scientific evidence to prove what they r saying, I will be skeptical.

    • Mai says:

      If only Allah knows our intentions, why are you assuming you know theirs?

    • Effe says:

      Dear Madinah, you are absolutely right!!! I agree with you- 100%!!! ;-)

  43. ahmed hussain qureshi says:

    Firstly in order for wudu to be valid, water should flow and penetrate the skin. In this case the water took ten seconds to penetrate. The water isn’t flowing, it is merely wetting the nail. Furthermore even wetting the nail means you have to dip your fingers in water for 10seconds. It should be noted that wudu will be invalid by just dipping your hands or nails etc. in stagnant water. Secondly, the dripping of water will still not validate the wudu if water has not flowed and permeated the nails.

  44. Fatima says:

    Why are many of the people commenting here only to argue with others who have commented? If you like polish, wear it. If you don’t like it (or disagree with its halaleness) don’t!
    It makes me sad to see brothers and sisters in Islam ready to jump on each other without hesitation! know Islamically we should tell others if we believe something is wrong, but Haraam is a strong word!
    Manners are very important in our religion, and we should remember we are all on the same page here!
    Just please remember that as Muslims we should stick together, not fight over how good a person we are if we do or do not wear nail polish!
    and also, 72 excuses guys :)

  45. Jen says:

    As a few have mentioned this is a grey area and really should be avoided in which i agree, like How many layers can one apply before water vapor stops reaching the nail, this could probably differ from color to color.Besides natural healthy nails as allah intended never really have been or will be out of fashion ladies……….

  46. sana says:

    So, I just bought this nail polish from macys. $15. pricey, but i thought it was worth it since the reviews are really good and it lasts a long time. and sometimes, religion is expensive. (think about how much we spend on clothes in order to keep up with our modesty. i dont know about you, but i spend a lot because the ‘halal’ clothes are more expensive and tend to be from branded companies). bought a nice pink color to start off so it’s not so bright. It feels really light. other women will notice the difference as for when a person wears nail polish and washes their hands, they can feel that there is something covering your nails. but when i washed my hands it felt as if there was nothing there. i would suggest to stick with one layer of the nail polish while you are praying. the darker colors are pretty dark with even with one layer. i would suggest to the ladies to try it while you’re on your monthly cycle. if you feel a difference, then stick with it. otherwise, just stick w/ the cheaper kind for your monthly cycle.

    • Sk says:

      With all due respect, but I don’t know how it could feel different? At the end of the day, if we take inglot’s words, only vapor reaches the nail. Of course that’s other than the fact that experiment sites in this article doesn’t work. U should try it. I did.

      • sana says:

        you’re probably right that i should try the experiment.
        i don’t know if you just did the experiment at the macy’s store or actually bought it. in other words, i do not know if you wear nail polish on a regular basis or not. I, on the other hand, LOVE nail polish. but i can’t stand the feeling of nail polish after like three-five days, and i start picking at it. and when i wash my hands, my nails have this weird feeling afterward. that’s what i meant by it feels different.
        and i don’t know if it just me, but i feel like my nails are releasing moisture even after a little while after i wash my hands.

        • Sk says:

          I did buy the polish and yea I probably don’t wear polish as much I should (I just never gets around to putting it on lol). I just like to make sure that when someone makes a claim (I.e., that the polish permeates) they have something to back it up instead of sending me a link to this article cuz that certainly is not the proof I was looking for

  47. Leymuun says:

    i’m soooo excited..I SOO WANT TO TRY Inshallah,but yeah definitely gonna do the experiment first…:)

  48. cbeare says:

    I’d like to find out exactly how they did this experiment because I went off and bought this nail polish and tried it out for myself. I used an oil filter first and it didn’t work. Then I tried it on a piece of tissue paper and I covered a larger surface area of the tissue paper and still nothing happened. I actually rubbed the water in (because thats what happens when you do wudhu, you’re rubbing your hands while water flows over it) and still only the area around the tissue paper got wet but not the spot below where I had put the nail polish. If water vapour does go through, the underside should still show residue of some sort. but it was completely dry. I am sorely disappointed as this nail polish is very expensive!

  49. Nabeela says:

    Guys, I went and bought this nail polish, but before I did, I used the testers in the store to conduct my experiment. Here’s the results: First of all, the paper that you use for the experiment must be completely water permeable, so if you drop water over it, it must soak through immediately, because we are testing whether the water permeates the nail polish, not the paper. Ok, so I took normal nail polish, and spread it over a serviette, and did the same with the O2M polish. I waited for it to completely dry, then I placed a drop of water over the painted part, making sure that I never let the water slip onto the actual paper like what happened in the experiment in this article. I pressed the water down on the normal polish, and after many attempts the water did not go through and the paper remained hard. When I placed water on the 02M, the water did not immediately absorb (obviously not), but I pressed on the water and it DID wet the paper. The water did not “flow”, but it definitely went through the paper. I did this test THREE times over (actually more), and I got even better results with thinner paper. So if the water is going through the paper, then OBVIOUSLY it is going through the polish. You just have to wash your nails properly when you take wudhu, like rub it a little. This was my personal investigation and I am not someone to easily believe anything. I had to make sure for myself that is does work, and it does. Although, if anyone wants to buy it, I suggest you try the experiment yourself just so you can see for yourself and not stress about whether your wudhu is permissible or not.

  50. Nabeela says:

    Wow, never mind my previous comment. I just tried the experiment a few times now again and it suddenly won’t work! But it definitely worked the first few times. Something seems dodgy.

    • Sk says:

      Lol sorry!! I’m jur glad that you all are trying it out instead of blindly accepting claims of permeability :) it makes me feel better that we have Muslim women who don’t blindly accept everything they r told without first making sure that the claim is backed up by evidence

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