Henna & Jewelry in Public

Sep 4, 2010 | Women’s Fiqh


I’m not sure how to reconcile the rulings on nail polish and henna. if one of the reasons for the prohibition of nail polish is that it is adornment that can be seen by non-mahram men, how is the application of henna permissible?

I don’t know if this is related but i was also curious about the ruling for nose rings and other visible jewelry.

Answered by: Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf

Assalamu alaykum

In the name of Allah, the Inspirer of truth.

The reason for discouraging nail polish and not henna is mostly because nail polish creates a barrier in the completion and validity of ablution (wudu). It coats the nails and does not allow the water to reach them, hence the integral of wetting every single portion of the arm for ablution is not fulfilled. Henna is different because it does not create a barrier but actually changes the pigment of the skin and then slowly fades out over time. Hence, it does not affect the validity of ablution.

Since women have been permitted to adorn themselves in different ways, one of them by using henna and then with other jeweler like rings and earrings, they are allowed to wear them. A hadith narrated by Imam Abu Dawud in his Sunan recommends that women wear henna on their hands.

Hence, there will be times when even women who are fully covered will not be able to conceal their hands (not considered awra anyway) and the henna or rings etc. on their hands will come into view for others. Obviously she is not to make a purposeful display of them but at times they will come into the view of others.

The scholars have stated that there is no problem with this since this unintended display comes under the provision of the verse “And say to the believing women that they should lower their gaze and guard their modesty: that they should not display their beauty and ornaments except what (ordinarily) appear thereof….”
[Surat al-Nur, 31]

And Allah knows best.

Mufti Abdurrahman ibn Yusuf