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IslamQA: Is “halal” nail polish really halal?

I’ve recently came across ‘halal nail polish’ that is apparently water permeable and therefore we can perform our prayers as usual. What are your thoughts on this? (Since we cannot pray with normal nail polish on) I hope you can answer my question

Proper wuḍūʾ (ablution) requires that the nails should be washed. From what I understand, water-permeability is not sufficient to make the nail polish suited to ablution, because it might simply be like ordinary nail polish but with microscopic holes that allow water to seep through, meaning that on a microscopic level part of the nails will be completely blocked by the material from being touched by the water and other parts not blocked off. It might be like using ordinary nail polish but using a microscopic needle to put millions of holes in it, it does not change the fact that there are still many areas that will not get any water touching them.  If the material was fully water-permeable then one would expect it to fall off as water gets under it. But since it does not fall off, it suggests that part of the substance gets firmly stuck to the nails, preventing water from touching those parts.

Besides that, there is also another issue. According to the Qatari Islamic website IslamWeb, a niqab-wearing woman’s ablution is not valid if she washes her face over her niqab without taking it off.1 Since both the face and the hands are treated equally in ablution (they both have to be washed, meaning water has to run over them directly), then according to this fatwa even having woolen gloves on would make ablution invalid, even though a woolen glove is perfectly water-permeable the way a niqab is. So if this fatwa’s thinking is valid (I cannot find any others that say the same thing), then water-permeability might be completely irrelevant; regardless of how water-permeable it is, at best it is like having a piece of water-permeable cloth over the nails, which still nullifies the ablution.

Footnotes

  1. Archived link.
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