ABU DHABI // Muslim women have been advised that wearing make-up could invalidate their prayers this Ramadan.
Muftis from Awqaf, the General Authority of Islamic Affairs and Endowment, have said that women should avoid wearing nail polish and waterproof make-up if they intend to make wudu (washing before prayer) and then pray.
The muftis said that "direct contact of water to the skin is necessary to complete wudu, otherwise prayers remain invalid".
The advice is a reminder to women who may have forgotten or just do not know that their prayers during the holy month could be in vain.
One Emirati woman, Sarah Khamees, from Abu Dhabi, said: "Many women don't know about it and go for wudu like that [with make-up on] but there are some who know it but still apply make-up.
"It's human nature; they know that it's wrong but they do it.
"With the market flooded with cosmetic products, they buy and use without thinking it's halal (permitted in Islam) or haram (prohibited in Islam). Simply, they want to look good by any means."
Sharia law does not bar women from wearing make-up but products that prevent water from contacting the skin during wudu should be avoided - during Ramadan and at any time of year.
A mufti from Awqaf's fatwa call centre said: "If a woman has something on her face that protects or prevents the water from reaching the skin then your ablution is not valid. You must to remove it first.
"Generally, women use substances and put in the skin, which means they act like a partition between the water and her skin. In this case, how could her wudu be OK? It is not OK.
"Similar Sharia laws are applied on nail polish, as it keeps the water away from the skin (nail)."
The mufti advised that women should make wudu before applying their make-up.
"I don't use make-up and nail polish during Ramadan. Women should avoid it," said Emirati Amal Al Maamari, who lives in Abu Dhabi. "Sometimes at parties it's fine but if a lady puts heavy make-up on, wudu will not be complete."
She said the use of lots of make-up should be avoided at all times - not just during Ramadan - as it can give the wrong impression. According to an Awqaf fatwa, on its website for fast-keepers, there is nothing wrong with a person wearing Kohl, an ancient eye make-up similar to mascara, as long as the person avoids cosmetics entering into the mouth and beyond the throat. The same applies to some other cosmetics.
If any cosmetic passes beyond the throat, even unintentionally, it is seen as breaking the fast and that person must make up for that by fasting at another time.