DUBAI: MARYAMAH KHALID
Published — Thursday 25 April 2013
Last update 25 April 2013 3:45 am
A “breathable” nail polish created as a less harmful alternative to regular nail varnish has become a surprise hit among Muslim women. The polish looks trendy, and — making it interesting to Muslim women — it is said to be halal (allowed by Islamic law) and provides no obstacle for women who want to complete their wudhu (ablution) before the daily prayers.
Nail polish is considered inconsistent with wudhu because of the physical layer it creates over the nails. This prevents water from cleansing the nails, which is a requirement for wudhu.
Therefore, a woman would have remove her nail polish every time she needs to renew her wudhu, which may mean removing and re-varnishing several times a day.
For this reason, some Muslim women put nail polish on after finishing the last prayer of the day before going out, and then take it off again before dawn prayers. Others simply refuse to go through the trouble of getting a manicure that won’t last long.
Inglot Cosmetics, the manufacturer of O2M Breathable Nail Enamel, claims that unlike the regular manicure which keeps oxygen and moisture from reaching the fingernail, Inglot’s nail polish was formulated to let both air and water through, hence making it a ‘wudhu-friendly’ nail polish. The product is made of a polymer found in contact lenses to achieve permeability.
A craze has built up around O2M nail polish after an Islamic scholar in the United States tested its permeability and published an article saying that, in his view, it complies with Islamic law.
“I love nail polish and I wish I could wear it on a regular basis,” said UAE-based Fatma. “This new polish is a huge breakthrough for me. We are supposed to cover up, but nowhere does it say ‘don’t be fashionable’.”
Aisha Ali, an employee at a real estate office, said she rushed out and bought the polish in its five available colors as soon as she heard about it.
College student Farhana Ali felt that Inglot just found a new way to circumvent the Islamic laws, even though some scholars approved it.
The mosque Noor Al-Islam’s Imam in Sharjah, Sheikh Ali Barakat, pointed out the conditions of validity of wudhu agreed by the majority of scholars. It is the removal of any substances that prevents water from reaching the body, he said. “If this product allows water to reach the nails then there is no harm in using it.”
Nevertheless, Fatima Al-Hamrani, Islamic law instructor, said that the product should be prohibited because it encourages women to manifest in finery.
“Any finery acts do not require a fatwa (Islamic legal judgment) to permit it,” said Shaikh Ahmad Al-Qubaisi, a prominent UAE Islamic scholar. “Whether it allows the passage of water or not, it is haram (forbidden by Islamic law). These inventions are circumventing the name of religion, and we should be aware of it, and more eager to implement the Sharia,” he said.