As Salaamu Alaikum,
We have been told about a nail polish which is water permeable and breathable and that it is permissible to perform Wudhu with it on the nails, because the water goes through the nail polish and reaches to the nail. Can you clarify this for us?
Wa Alaikum As Salaam,
In the matter of Wudhu, Allah Has given the following law which states,
(O you who believe! when you prepare for prayer, wash your faces, and your hands (and arms) to the elbows; Rub your heads (with water); and (wash) your feet to the ankles).
In this verse, Allah has ordered that certain parts of the body be washed while performing Wudhu and this includes the hands also. With respect to the washing of the hands, the Fuqaha (Jurists) have stated that the area which is essential to be washed is from the tip of the fingers, including the finger nails, to the area just after the elbows, which includes the elbows.
The Fuqaha (Jurists) have further stated that for the soundness/validity of Wudhu, it is a condition that the water must reach all the parts of the limbs which are to be washed, in such manner that nothing remains of such parts except it has been washed, and that the water flows over all the parts of the skin and the nails, (in the case of the hands and feet). If any area/spot remains dry which was essential to be washed, even to the size of the hole of a needle, then Wudhu will not be valid. ‘Based upon this, the Jumhoor (majority of scholars) have stated that it is Wajib (essential) for one to shift/move a tight ring on the finger so that the area beneath it can be washed with water’
The Fuqaha have further stated that it is also a condition for the soundness of Wudhu to remove every such thing which prevents the water from reaching onto the limb/area which must be washed in Wudhu. That is, there must not be anything that blocks the water from reaching the area which must be washed in Wudhu, like wax, grease, lubricant, oil, paint, nail polish etc.
(Al Fiqh Al Islami Wa Adillatuh Vol. 1 Pages 391 – 392 Maktaba Rasheediya Queta Pakistan).
The above text of the Fuqaha (Jurists) shows that in order for Wudhu to be valid and correct/sound, it is necessary that every limb of the body which is required to be washed, be washed thoroughly without any part of it being left dry.
As for the act of washing and its meaning, the Fuqaha have explained that, ‘Washing means to make the water flow over the limb in a manner that it trickles and drips from the limb. The minimum amount should be at least two drops or two times dripping of the water. It is not sufficient for water to flow or pass over the limb without drips falling off the limb.
(Al Fiqh Al Islami Wa Adillatuh Vol. 1 page. 367).
The above text shows that it is not sufficient for an area or limb to be wet while performing Wudhu. Instead, it is necessary for the area/limb to be washed in a manner that water flows over the limb and then two or more drops of water fall off the limb.
The other condition highlighted in the text of the Fuqaha for the validity of Wudhu, is that there must be nothing on the area to be washed, which prevents the water from washing that area. As such, since washing the finger nails is an essential part of Wudhu, one must not place anything on the nail to prevent/block the water from washing the nail. Therefore, in the presence of nail polish on the nails, Wudhu will not be valid since the nail polish prevents the water from washing the nails.
With respect to the nail polish you have asked about which is water permeable and breathable, I have checked it and have found that water does not pass through it. The different tests which I have done, shows that it prevents water from seeping and soaking through it. For this reason, it will not be permissible to perform Wudhu while wearing this type or other types of nail polishes since water does not penetrate it to wash the nails which is essential. If it has been applied on nails, then it must be removed in order to perform Wudhu, and if one does not remove it while performing Wudhu, the Wudhu will not be valid.
And Allah Knows best
Mufti Waseem Khan
12th March 2019
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.