Questions On Cutting The Nails
Q1. Is it permissible to cut the nails any time and any day?
Some narrations specify particular days for cutting nails, but all these narrations are not
proved as Imam Ibn Hajr reported in his famous book "al-Fath". What is proved in this
concern is that no more than forty days are to be passed without clipping nails. One is
advised to care for them every Friday since it completes the Taharah (purity). The rule
in this regard is to clip them whenever there is need.
Q2. Is there any manner in cutting fingernails? I heard in a lecture that in cutting
fingernails, we need to start in the index finger of the right hand followed by the rest of
the fingers. Is there any Daleel on this?
According to Matn al-Iqnaa (a name of book) of Hanbali school, it is desirable for a
person who clips his/her nails to do that in the following order:
The little finger of the right hand, the middle finger, thumb, ring finger and finally the
index finger. Then, one clips nails of one's left as follows: The thumb of the left hand, it
middle finger, the little finger, the index finger and finally the ring finger.
According to al-Shafi'e school, clipping one's nails has to be started with one's index
finger of the right hind, since it is more honorable due to being used to attest Shahadah
of Tawhid, then the middle finger, the little finger, the ring finger and finally the thumb.
Then, the little finger of left hind, the ring finger, the middle finger, the index finger and
finally the thumb. After that, one is advised to clip one's little toe of his/her right foot, and
then, in turn one by one to be ended with the little toe of the left foot (Quoted freely from
However, we believe that the above-mentioned narration concerning the order of
clipping one's nails has no foundation Ibn Daqiq al-'Id, a well known a verifier and
Muslim scholar, said: 'Clipping nails in accordance with a fixed order has no foundation
in Sharia'. He added: 'It is not allowed to believe in the approbation of clipping nails
according to the above-mentioned order, since such a desirability has no evidence in
Sharia. So, it is wrong to believe this easily'.
Here, we re-assure that Ibn Daqiq al-'Id does not negate to start with the right, in
general, but he negates the order among fingers (hand or leg), since the Prophetic
Hadith states: "The Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) likes and prefers starting from
right (hand/leg) side while wearing his shoes, combines, bathing, making Wudu and
even in all his matters". [Reported by Imams Bukhari and Muslim]
Q3. Can we cut the baby's nails when the mother is still in confinement period?
There is no harm in clipping the nails of a new-born baby, rather this is desirable and is
included in the saying of the Prophet, sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam:
"Five things are part of one's Fitrah (human nature and disposition): Shaving the pubic
hairs, circumcision, trimming the moustache, removing the hair under the armpit and
clipping the nails." [Al-Bukhaari and Muslim] Imaam Ibn Hazm, may Allaah have mercy
on him, said regarding these five things:
'This also applies to a mad person, an unconscious person and to a child.' It does not
matter that the mother is in her confinement period or otherwise, and there is no relation
between clipping nails and the mother being in confinement. To believe that it is
forbidden or disliked to clip the nails of the baby while the mother is in confinement is an
Q4. I would like to ask about cutting the nails, should we cut them (as I do) or leave
them very long? I have read many times that cutting the nails is a must and they
should be pared every 7 days trimmed every 40 days, as I try my best to advise my
friend that Shaitan will be under them, but she chooses to listen to others as they tell
her what she wants to hear. I have tried many times now to advise her and don't know
what to do now for the best. Could I be wrong in my understanding in what I have
read? Please advise me in what is the right path to take?
A. It is proved in the sound collections of Hadith of al-Bukhari and Muslim from Abu
Hurairah (Radiya Allahu Anhu) that Allah's Messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) said:
"Five things are part of one's Fitra (human nature and disposition): Shaving the pubic
hairs, circumcision, trimming the moustache, removing the hair under the arms and
trimming the nails"
The above-named Hadith indicates that performing such acts constitutes part of human
Fitra, which Allah has created in all human beings; it also urges them to do such acts so
as to acquire the best and finest qualities of the human being.
As mentioned above, trimming the nails means to pare them and to keep them short so
as to prevent dirt from remaining under them; otherwise this constitutes a violation to
the Sunnah of the Prophet (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam). He (Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam)
stated that we should not leave them (acts of Fitra except circumcision) more than forty
days as reported in a sound Hadith by Imam Muslim . This means that we are allowed
to leave trimming the nails no more than forty days; otherwise it becomes disallowed.
In addition, if leaving the nails to be long is just to imitate non-Muslim women, then it
becomes a violation to Shari'a for two reasons: imitation and breaching the Prophet's
(Sallallahu Alaihi wa Sallam) guidance.
As for the inquirer's saying that the devil will be under long nails, there is no evidence
in the Qur'an or Sunnah for such assumption according to our knowledge.
Allah knows best.