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‘Halaal’ Nail Polish?


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Q. I would like to know what is the fatwa regarding the ‘halaal’ nail polish that has become the latest buzz among muslim women.


(There may be grammatical and spelling errors in the above question. Questions are published as received)


A. To date, the Jamiat has not approved any nail polish that is suitable for Wudhu. It is a condition that water reaches the surface of the finger nails and toe nails for Wudhu to be valid. Nail polish prevents water from reaching the surface of the nail and it is therefore necessary to remove before making Wudhu. The Wudhu will not be valid if the nail polish remained on the nail at the time of making Wudhu.


There have been concerns raised about a certain nail polish product claiming to be water permeable, thus allowing water to reach the surface of the nails. Due to this claim, some people have been misled into assuming that this nail polish is Halaal (in the sense that it is suitable for Wudhu without the need to remove it).


Due to the numerous requests from concerned Muslim sisters, the Jamiat looked into this particular product and conducted multiple tests. The results turned out to be negative and it was concluded that the nail polish is not water permeable and it prevents water from reaching the surface of the nail. Hence, this particular type of nail polish that is being marketed as Halaal nail polish is not acceptable for Wudhu.


And Allah Knows Best

Mufti Suhail Tarmahomed


Fatwa Department

Jamiatul Ulama (KZN)

Council of Muslim Theologians

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Is it permissible to wear the new “breathable” nail-polish and would the wudhu be valid?

Recently, there has been a lot of talk about a "breathable" nail polish that is now out. It is nail polish that allows water to seep through. I wanted to know whether wudhu can be done with this nail polish. The following article discusses this type of nail polish and states that wudhu is done, but I don't know how authentic and reliable it is, so I wanted to confirm it with you. It states in the article that water vapour reaches the nail through this nail polish, but not water in its liquid form. Will wudhu be done in this case?


In the Name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful.
As-salāmu ‘alaykum wa-rahmatullāhi wa-barakātuh.


In principle, in order for the wudhu to be valid the entire limb needs to be washed. This includes the nails as well.

The enamel in conventional nail-polish is impermeable and hence hinders the water from reaching the nails. This means that the primary condition of making the entire limb wet is not fulfilled. The wudhu' with such a nail-polish is thus incomplete.[1]


Recently, a couple of cosmetic companies have introduced “breathable” or “water based” nail-polish. Their claim is that the enamel in these nail-polish allows water-vapors to pass through. If the claim is correct, then the condition mentioned above for the validity of wudhu will be fulfilled and the wudhu will be valid. However, if the reality of permeability from these nail-polish is any different than what has been mentioned above, then the condition will not be fulfilled and the wudhu' will not be valid.


One such company is “inglot”, which has introduced a range of these breathable nail-polishes. It is this particular brand which has been mentioned in the article you posted. Over the past few months we have been looking into this issue and have been on the outlook for independent tests for the viability of their claim of permeability.


We take note that many people have indeed done independent tests and have come to a negative result. Most internet websites mentioning reviews on the “inglot” have posters who have come up their objections. The weblink provided by your kind self also has visitors who have posted their own findings on the issue. However, it is possible that since an individual is unable to do such tests in a control environment, the results can be skewed and inadmissible for reliability. We have thus far come across only one reliable test conducted by Jamiatul Ulama (KZN) on a similar product which claimed to be “Halal nail polish” due to being permeable. Ulama at Jamiatul Ulama concluded: 


“The results turned out to be negative and it was concluded that the nail polish is not water permeable and it prevents water from reaching the surface of the nail.”[2]


While we understand the need of our sisters for a viable alternative to conventional nail-polish, we also iterate that the issue of wudhu' is a very important and significant one for our religious and spiritual well being. Wudhu' is the basic requirement for one of the mightiest worship in Islam, the salah. If one is not cautious in securing one's wudhu', one would jeopardize this pillar of Islam. The issue of breathable nail-polish directly affects the validity of one's wudhu' and salah. Hence, caution is extremely important, especially at this stage when we do not have significant number of independent tests which would conclusively prove the permeability of such nail-polish.


Moreover, there is always an option to use henna as an alternative means of beautification. Henna is recommended by Rasulullah salallahu alayhi wasallam himself, and Wudhu' with the henna is also permissible.


Keeping the above points in mind and the gravity of the matter, until conclusive results are established, it will be impermissible to use these products.


And Allah Ta’āla Knows Best

Faisal bin Abdul Hameed al-Mahmudi

Checked and Approved by,
Mufti Ebrahim Desai



[1]  (قوله: به يفتى) صرح به في الخلاصة وقال: لأن الماء شيء لطيف يصل تحته غالبا اهـ ويرد عليه ما قدمناه آنفا ومفاده عدم الجواز إذا علم أنه لم يصل الماء تحته، قال في الحلية وهو أثبت.

    (قوله: إن صلبا) بضم الصاد المهملة وسكون اللام وهو الشديد حلية: أي إن كان ممضوغا مضغا متأكدا، بحيث تداخلت أجزاؤه وصار له لزوجة وعلاكة كالعجين شرح المنية.

    (قوله: وهو الأصح) صرح به في شرح المنية وقال لامتناع نفوذ الماء مع عدم الضرورة والحرج ا هـ (الدر المختار وحاشية ابن عابدين (رد المحتار) (1/ 154))

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