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21 May 2019 CE | 17 Ramadhan 1440 AH
Explanation below

Hadith Explanation

Keep a Curtain in Between

Aisha (radi Allahu anha) reports: “A woman extended her hand from behind a curtain to hand a piece of paper to the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam). The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) pulled his hand back and said, ‘I don’t know if it is a man’s or a woman’s hand.’ She said that it was a woman’s hand. The Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) responded, ‘If you were a woman you would have coloured your nails with henna.’” [Abu Dawud, Nasai]

While it is recommended for women to use henna to colour their nails and differentiate themselves from men, nail polish may not be used since it is not absorbed by the nail the way the colour of henna is and remains a solid coat on top of the nails preventing water from reaching the nails during Wudu. If water does not reach the nails during Wudu, the Wudu is invalid and since Wudu is an essential prerequisite of prayer, the obligation of prayer is not discharged with nail polish on.

The other, more important, lesson from this Hadith is that the female Companions of the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) used to observe Hijab in front of him, which is why the woman extended her hand from behind the curtain. If it were acceptable for men and women to sit freely together, without any partition, there was no need for the woman to be behind a curtain as stated in this Hadith. If such a Hijab were against the Shariah of Islam, the Prophet (sal Allahu alaihi wa sallam) would have certainly pointed it out to her so that it would not have led others astray.

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