Umar, director of education and outreach with the Islamic Institute of Orange County in California, said he decided to study the matter because Muslim women had been discussing the product in online forums. There was uncertainty over whether it would be ritually compliant and they were not getting any answers.
“So I decided to go ahead and write an article on this because I know how important it is for Muslim women around the world,” Umar said.
The research involved putting the O2M polish and a standard polish on coffee filters, letting them dry and then putting water drops on top of each to see if moisture seeped through. In the case of the traditional nail polish it did not, but it went through the O2M polish.
Umar said he has gotten an enthusiastic reception to his opinion from women and not only because they are reveling in the chance to accessorize with colorful varnishes.
“Usually when men give a religious ruling or verdict, they tell women that something is not allowed,” Umar, 31, said. “They felt so good that someone was finally telling them: ‘You are allowed to do this.’”
However, there are still some questions about how breathable the nail polish is when multiple coats are used, as is common practice for manicures.
Before his death, Inglot was working to answer this question and gathering more data on the product. The company’s managers plan to continue his efforts. Inglot had insisted on having more data before he felt he could responsibly promote the varnish as being compliant with Islamic law.
Islam has many schools of thought and no figure like the Roman Catholic pope to issue final rulings on religious legal interpretations, so it is unclear if all Islamic scholars will agree on O2M’s permissibility.