Tuesday, September 22, 2015

Religious Weirdness About Nail Polish

One Friday afternoon, as I was settling down to listen to a sermon in my local mosque in Orange County, California, a woman leaned over to me and whispered that I needed to take my toenail polish off to properly complete ablutions. Many people believe that since water can’t touch nails because of the impermeable polish barrier, one can’t perform ablutions. Without successfully performed ablutions, my prayers would not be accepted.

My toenails have been a source of contention in mosques spanning the globe. I’ve been lectured on the moral ills of nail polish in languages I don’t understand. While I interpret lectures on ‘correct’ practices as policing, many women feel these corrections are religious and generational duties that contribute to community construction.

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