Does Dirt and Grime Beneath the fingernails Prevent Wudu?
Wa alaykum salam wa rahmatuLlahi wa barakatuHu,
If the dirt and grime under one’s nails is just a little, and hence water is not prevented from reaching there, then the ablution is valid and the prayer too, etc. If the dirt and grime is a lot, hence preventing water from reaching, then there are two opinions in the School. In his Fatawa, Sh. Sulayman al-Kurdi mentioned,
فالراجح عندهم عدم العفو لكن ثمة وجه قد رجحه غير واحد بالعفو فيجوز تقليده ولو بعد الصلاة
“The relied-upon opinion, according to them, is that it is inexcusable. However, there is an opinion that more than one authority has given preference and that is that it is excused. Moreover, it is permissible to follow [taqlid] it, even after the prayer.” (Fatawa p. 2)
It is more prudent to remove the dirt and grime from under one’s nails before ablution and prayer. Perhaps, some who work in certain professions would be hard-pressed to follow the relied-upon ruling. Thus, there is a practicable opinion that allows dirt and grime under the nails, which prevents water from reaching, to be considered excusable.
And Allah knows best.
Shafiifiqh.com Fatwa Dept.