Please note: The answers on constitute friendly advice rather than fatwas. Where relevant, we translate the opinions and fatwas of respected scholars and present them in our answers.

Making wudu with nail polish: Is it the same as masḥ (wiping over socks)?

With regards to the impermissibility of nail polish due to wudu, can't the concept of masah be applicable to wearing nail polish as well? Doesn't it have the same logic?

Legally ablution by wiping over socks (al-masḥ ʿala l-khuffayn) is a highly specific exception designed to help travelers avoid having to take off their socks. It can only be maintained for three days before having to take off the socks to make ordinary ablution. We can make use of analogy (qiyās) to say that wiping moist hands over nail polish is similar to wiping moist hands over socks if a person takes off the nail polish after three days. The problem is that this is a far-fetched analogy. The vast majority of devout Muslims would not be satisfied with it. The masḥ exception appears to be specific to that case and appears to not have been meant to be extended by analogy to other cases.

I respect minority opinions so if there is one mainstream scholar that says exceptions can be made for nail polish then I would respect their opinion and those who follow it, although personally I would continue to support the majority opinion. But I have looked and have not found anyone who disagrees with the opinion that nail polish nullifies ablution.

Hopefully one day someone will invent a type of nail polish that makes it possible to make ablution while wearing it. I should mention that what is currently marketed as “halal” nail polish is likely not halal (see: Is “halal” nail polish really halal?).

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