I have a slight problem. I am a sincere Muslim. I keep my nails trimmed but my husband wants me to keep them a little long. I have tried to convince him into letting me trim them because it is not allowed in Islam, but he thinks I am becoming an extremist because he finds nothing wrong with keeping elongated nails. What should I do? Husbands do have rights in Islam but I also know that in the Holy Qur'an God Almighty does not allow us to listen to anyone if they are forcing us to go against His commands. Please advise.
Cutting nails is the Sunnah of the Holy Prophet (sws). This practice relates to that type of Islamic directives and practices which have been promulgated to ensure purification of the physical self of a believer. Since the basic purpose of Islam is inner purification, it lays great stress on physical purification as well because the latter cultivates a sense of purity and ultimately helps in attaining the purification of the inner self. Therefore, we see that many practices have been instituted for the purpose, for example, shaving off the hair from under the armpits and from the pubic area. One must not ignore these important Sunnan. However, there exists a categorization among the Sunnan in terms of their binding nature. For instance, we, as Muslims, do not condone that anyone should not circumcise any of his male offspring though we will not be much bothered if this particular person does not greet us in the ceremonial way by saying Assalamu 'alaykum. The Sunnah of cutting nails belongs to this second type as is the ceremonial greeting.
You should therefore keep trying to convince your husband, of course, very politely and ask him to give due importance to the practice. If however he does not listen, you may comply with his wishes as far as this practice of cutting nails is concerned. Allah will surely not hold you responsible as long as it is not your desire to transgress. And do not forget to pray to the Almighty that He may give you wisdom to persuade him and that He may instil within your husband a close attachment to the religion.