Painting your nails is somewhat of a controversial topic among Muslim women. Some women say that it is fine, some are strictly against it, and others say that they perform wudu before painting their nails so that the ablution stays pure underneath the polish. I have always loved painting my nails, getting manis/pedis, the whole nine yards. Saying that I am a “girly” girl would even serve as an understatement. Which brings me to my dilemma… Going to the mosque with painted nails or toes.
I was at the mosque on a Friday afternoon recently, and I had both my toes and finger nails painted red. My husband loves my nails painted red, as do I. I, personally, do not see an issue with painting my nails as long as I do wudu beforehand and my intentions for wearing the polish are pure (which, mine certainly are). This lady leaned over to me, and said “You have your nails painted”. Which I replied, “Yes, I do!” (I mean… hello captain obvious, like what kind of response was she honestly hoping to get???) So, she shook her head in disapproval, and mumbled something in another language to her friend beside her. I figured that was the end of our exchange, but boy was I wrong.
Her friend leaned over to me and asked for my hand. I showed off my OPI “Red Hot Rio” painted fingers proudly. She threw my hand back at me, and began to lecture me. She told me that I shouldn’t paint my fingers or toes and then go before Allah in the mosque. I mean, I don’t know if she thinks Allah lives only at our mosque or what, but he would be aware of my red nails no matter where I was on the planet… I am pretty bold, and I am not afraid to stand up for what I believe in so I told her how I felt. She said I “shouldn’t be at the mosque to impress the men” blah blah blah. I was just bewildered at the fact that these two women have taken such an interest in my life all because I had my nails painted. I let her know that I am married, and that my appearance really isn’t any of her concern. She eventually stopped talking to me after giving me another 20 minute lecture on how I should be representing myself and our religion, which again, is literally none of her concern.
Ya know… I never expected people in Islam to be so judgmental, but I have learned that there are these types of people in every community. I mean, if she is really that worried about who is representing our religion in a poor light… maybe she should get the contact information of some of the terrorists who are severely ruining Islam’s image all around the world. Next to them, my red nails should be the least of anyone’s concerns.
I think that as a revert to Islam, people feel that we should be held to a higher standard than those who were born into the religion. I guess they think “why would you join a religion if you aren’t going to follow it 100% correctly?”. The beauty of it is, is that no matter how you are practicing Islam, the only thing that truly matters is your relationship with Allah. Someone will always be critical of something that you are doing, whether its painting your nails, wearing the hijab, not wearing the hijab, I mean the possibilities are really endless. As a Muslim revert in America, we have so so so many critics and judgments, so I wish that people would be encouraging and helpful to us as we navigate through our relationship with Allah.