The Scot, who defeated Dan Evans the previous day, was too strong for the Spaniard on the quick courts in Abu Dhabi, prevailing 6-3 7-5 in what was Nadal’s first match since August due to injury.
Murray will now go on to face Andrey Rublev of Russia in Saturday’s final.
After the match, Murray said: "Me and Rafa played so many tough matches over the years and, well we’d not played for five or six years and it shows both of us have gone through a lot of injury troubles and issues. And it’s great to just have the opportunity to be on the court with him again.
“Rublevhad a fantastic season last year and he hits a huge ball from the back of the court so certainly will test my movement out.”