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.

On nail polish and ablution

As-salamuʿalaykum, I recently i have come across Dr. Shabir Ally's thoughts on the nail polish dilemma on YouTube ( I'm inclined towards his reasoning for it but would like to know your take on his opinion too if possible.

Alaikumassalam wa rahmatullah,

I watched the video but unfortunately he did not say anything new on the issue. I believe that nail polish is at best in a gray area, which means that it should be avoided as part of piety.

He mentioned that oil can be used on the skin, which can be barrier to water. But the human skin naturally produces oil and absorbs it, so it is not directly comparable to nail polish. As for kohl, unlike nail polish it does not create an impermeable barrier to water because as far as I know the skin pores continue to remain open after using it, although I am not sure about the exact science of how it interacts with the skin. The comparison with kohl is interesting and hopefully if the exact science of its interaction with the skin can be determined, a similar substance may be possible to create to use as nail polish, although it will likely not create the “polish” that ordinary nail polish creates.

I believe that the possibility of people being turned away from Islam because of the prohibition on nail polish is not significant enough to warrant permitting it.

Another solution would be the development of nail polish stickers that are easy to remove before ablution, although they would be a hassle to use.

And God knows best.

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