Q. I usually grow out my nails out. My mother-in-law not only insisted I cut it, but insisted I never grow it long again…
A. Sayyidina Abu Huraira reports that Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) said that certain things are part of human nature and done naturally by humans:
‘Five practices are characteristics of the Fitra (human nature): circumcision (for boys), shaving the pubic hair, cutting the mustaches short, clipping the nails, and plucking the hair of the armpits(or one can shave or trim it short, should a male or female not wish to pluck it).’
Bukhari: Volume 7, Book 72, Number 77
It can be noted from the sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallaahu alayhi wa sallam) and his family (peace upon them all) that doing the above actions are part of religion. Admiring the armpits of basketball players with sweat dripping from their armpit-hairs, long mustaches of men that grow to such an extent that it flows into their drink and food, growing of an Amazon jungle in the pubic area, or for that matter, growing one’s nails in a predatory-like manner analogous to fit the fashion of the day are all forbidden acts in religion. Our religion wants us to not just have a healthy look, but a healthy hygiene as well.
For the women who do still find the need for long nails, more-so, woman who want to appease husbands who are influenced by watching too many nail polish commercials, our recommendation is that you use fake nails made out of non-human and preferably plastic like fibers to appease such spouses for a very limited time. Once the nails have fulfilled their purpose, the nails must be removed prior to a Fardh bath or Wudhu, depending on the situation.
Islam has a distinctive feature of clean style. Maintaining a look most desired by Islam would achieve the greatest level of reward in both the world, Insha-Allah, Amen.
Allah certainly knows best.