Forgetting to Remove Nail Polish Before Praying
A sister forgot to take off nail polish before wudu’ (ablution) and performed Prayer. Is her Prayer considered valid as she did it out of forgetfulness? Does she need to repeat the Prayer?
In order for ablution to be valid, it is essential to remove anything that prevents the water from reaching the skin, such as oil, nail polish, wax or band-aids. Prayers offered in that state are invalid and not acceptable.
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Al-Majmu`: “If there is wax, dough, henna and the like on one of his limbs, which prevents water from reaching any part of it, then his taharah (purification) is not valid, whether the amount is large or small.
If there are traces of henna and its color left on the hand, without there being any solid material left, or elsewhere, or traces of liquid grease whereby water flows over the limb but does not stay there, his taharah is valid.”
It says in Fatawa Al-Lajnah al-Da’imah: “If the color is impermeable, then ablution is not valid unless it is removed before doing ablution. If it is not impermeable, then ablution is valid, as is the case with henna.”
Based on this, if a woman prays and there was anything on her that prevented water reaching the skin, and she forgot to remove it before praying, then she is not regarded as sinning because she forgot; but the prayer is not valid and she has to repeat ablution and the prayer, because of the report narrated by Muslim from `Umar ibn Al-Khattab (may Allah be pleased with him) who said: A man did ablution and omitted a place the size of a fingernail on his foot. The Prophet (peace be upon him) saw it and said: “Go back and do ablution properly.” So he went back then he prayed.”
Al-Nawawi (may Allah have mercy on him) said, commenting on this hadith: “This hadith demonstrates that if a person omits a small spot of that which must be purified, his purification is not valid, and this is something on which the scholars are agreed. … This hadith also indicates that if a person omits washing any part of his body and purifying himself out of ignorance, his purification is not valid.”