It is a nature of women to like beauty and make themselves beautiful. The fact in our daily life clearly shows that women tend to mind every detail in their appearance. Instead of making others interested, they actually do it to gain satisfaction inside themselves.
Industries across the world has provided various facilities to help women increasing their outer beauty. Cosmetic is the most common thing women use to reach this goal. And another thing that usually goes side by side with it is doing manicure and pedicure, which nail polish becomes the main component.
Once, the use of nail polish became a controversy specifically for Muslim women. It is because it contains chemical substance that prevent wudu reach the nails. We all know that wudu is a kind of purification before doing salat. When we fail in it, then our salat is not valid.
But, an innovation came some years ago. Beauty industries provided breathable nail polish that is friendly for Muslim women. They claimed that this kind of nail polish does not cover our nails, so we do not need to worry about our wudu. Probably these industries had read the market trend and considered Islam as the biggest religion number 2 in the world, that they decided to release this product.
There is no specific Islamic law of wearing breathable nail polish for Muslim women. However, according to statement of some scholars referring to Al-Qur’an and Sunnah, some points can be concluded as below.
- The main point or reference is whether it is friendly for wudu or not
It is fine to use nail polish with the label ‘breathable’ as long as it does not cover our nails. In other words, it unites with our nails so that our wudu can touch them. Allah has explained in Surah Al-Maidah verse 6 that when doing wudu, we have to wash our faces and forearms to the elbows, and wipe over our heads and wash our feet to the ankles.
يَٰٓأَيُّهَا ٱلَّذِينَ ءَامَنُوٓا۟ إِذَا قُمْتُمْ إِلَى ٱلصَّلَوٰةِ فَٱغْسِلُوا۟ وُجُوهَكُمْ وَأَيْدِيَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْمَرَافِقِ وَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِرُءُوسِكُمْ وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى ٱلْكَعْبَيْنِ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُمْ جُنُبًا فَٱطَّهَّرُوا۟ ۚ وَإِن كُنتُم مَّرْضَىٰٓ أَوْ عَلَىٰ سَفَرٍ أَوْ جَآءَ أَحَدٌ مِّنكُم مِّنَ ٱلْغَآئِطِ أَوْ لَٰمَسْتُمُ ٱلنِّسَآءَ فَلَمْ تَجِدُوا۟ مَآءً فَتَيَمَّمُوا۟ صَعِيدًا طَيِّبًا فَٱمْسَحُوا۟ بِوُجُوهِكُمْ وَأَيْدِيكُم مِّنْهُ ۚ مَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيَجْعَلَ عَلَيْكُم مِّنْ حَرَجٍ وَلَٰكِن يُرِيدُ لِيُطَهِّرَكُمْ وَلِيُتِمَّ نِعْمَتَهُۥ عَلَيْكُمْ لَعَلَّكُمْ تَشْكُرُونَ
“O you who have believed, when you rise to [perform] prayer, wash your faces and your forearms to the elbows and wipe over your heads and wash your feet to the ankles. And if you are in the state of janabah, then purify yourselves. But if you are ill or on a journey or one of you comes from the place of relieving himself or you have contacted women and do not find water, then seek clean earth and wipe over your faces and hands with it. Allah does not intend to make difficulty for you, but he intends to purify you and complete His favor upon you that you may be grateful.”
The diction ‘forearms to the elbows’ includes our hands, fingers, and nails, based on scholars’ interpretation. In short, we have to mind the manners of wudu before wearing any nail polish product.
- It will be safer to use henna
Henna is different from breathable nail polish. We have known henna since long ago, while breathable nail polish is certainly the fresh product. Although it is written breathable nail polish, and even added with ‘halal’ label, still we have to be careful.
We do not know its chemical substance and whether or not it is really halal. On the other hand, the use of henna is exactly friendly for our wudu for it is permeable. Even there is a hadith that is interpreted as the recommendation to apply henna for Muslim women. Narrated Aisha, Ummul Mu’minin,
قَالَتْ أَوْمَتِ امْرَأَةٌ مِنْ وَرَاءِ سِتْرٍ بِيَدِهَا كِتَابٌ إِلَى رَسُولِ اللَّهِ صلى الله عليه وسلم فَقَبَضَ النَّبِيُّ صلى الله عليه وسلم يَدَهُ فَقَالَ ” مَا أَدْرِي أَيَدُ رَجُلٍ أَمْ يَدُ امْرَأَةٍ ” . قَالَتْ بَلِ امْرَأَةٌ . قَالَ ” لَوْ كُنْتِ امْرَأَةً لَغَيَّرْتِ أَظْفَارَكِ ” . يَعْنِي بِالْحِنَّاءِ .
“A woman made a sign from behind a curtain to indicate that she had a letter for the Messenger of Allah (peace be upon him). The Prophet closed his hand, saying, ‘I do not know this is a man’s or a woman’s hand.’ She said, ‘No, a woman.’ He said, ‘If you were a woman, you would make a difference to your nails, meaning with henna.‘” (Sunan Abi Dawud)
In case we want to decorate our nails but we doubt the validity of breathable nail polish, henna can be the way. Besides gaining pleasure, we can also obtain good deeds, for there are benefits of good deeds in Islam.
- Wearing breathable nail polish can be haram because of wrong intention
Permissible things can be forbidden in Islam because there lies wrong intention (niyyat). In this case, for example, we apply nail polish to attract men’s intention.
It is exactly not permissible since Allah orders women to carefully protect themselves. Islam treats women in very special way. In Al-Qur’an and Sunnah, we can find any detail rule on how women behave to avoid slander around them and evidence of Islam glorifying women.
وَقَرْنَ فِى بُيُوتِكُنَّ وَلَا تَبَرَّجْنَ تَبَرُّجَ ٱلْجَٰهِلِيَّةِ ٱلْأُولَىٰ ۖ وَأَقِمْنَ ٱلصَّلَوٰةَ وَءَاتِينَ ٱلزَّكَوٰةَ وَأَطِعْنَ ٱللَّهَ وَرَسُولَهُۥٓ ۚ إِنَّمَا يُرِيدُ ٱللَّهُ لِيُذْهِبَ عَنكُمُ ٱلرِّجْسَ أَهْلَ ٱلْبَيْتِ وَيُطَهِّرَكُمْ تَطْهِيرًا
“And abide in your houses and do not display yourselves as [was] the display of the former times of ignorance. And establish prayer and give zakah and obey Allah and His Messenger. Allah intends only to remove from you the impurity [of sin], O people of the [Prophet’s] household, and to purify you with [extensive] purification.” (Al-Ahzab: 33)
The Islamic law of wearing breathable nail polish mentioned above is perhaps not really comprehensive, because there are too many references about it. However, we can imply that whatever beauty product we want to choose, the essential thing is that it does not prevent us to do our duty to Allah.
Observe the halal label on its packaging and consult to the expert when it is needed. And another thing that is essential as well is do not use any make up or cosmetic to attract men’s attention. There is law of tabarruj for women in Islam. Rather we do it as sunnah, especially for those who have married. Because outer beauty is less important than the inner one, which can be obtained by doing precious ways how to gain beauty in Islam.