Fatwa ID: 03316
Answered by: Shaykh Umer Khan
Passing wet hands (Masah) over normal everyday wear cotton socks
Is Wudu valid of a person who performs Masah over normal cotton socks (which are NOT waterproof nor fulfil any other requirements of the validity of Masah)?
– Please provide different opinions from amongst the jurists.
بِسْمِ اللهِ الرَّحْمنِ الرَّحِيْم
In the name of Allah, the Most Gracious, the Most Merciful
There is a scholarly consensus of the jurists (fuqahā') on the permissibility of wiping over soft leather boots (khuffayn) whether staying at home or travelling. This is because of the pre ponderous of evidence, i.e. a large number of authentic narrations on this topic. Imām Abū Ḥanīfah is reported to have said: "I fear that whoever denies wiping over khuffs has almost left Islām because the narrations regarding it have almost reached the level of tawātur [i.e. it was reported by so many people with unbroken chains that a mistake or conspiracy in the transmission is inconceivable]." Imām al-Ṭaḥāwī went as far as to declare it as one of the core Sunnī beliefs to accept wiping over khuffs as being a part of our religion.
This consensus of the scholars is regarding soft leather boots (khuffayn), not socks made of other materials (jawrabayn) such as wool, cotton, or nylon and without any leather. The four schools of thought have differed regarding wiping over socks without any leather. The Mālikī and Shāfiʻī madhhabs do not allow for it. According to the Ḥanafī madhhab, the permissibility is with conditions: the socks must not be transparent, they must cover the feet up to (and including) the ankles, they must hold on to the feet without being tied, they must prevent water from reaching the skin, and one should be able to walk in the socks (by themselves) for a distance of one farsakh (three to four miles) without them tearing. Similarly, the Ḥanbalī madhhab permits it with conditions: the socks must be thick enough that no part of one's foot is visible, and the socks must remain firmly gripped on the feet and a person should be able to walk continuously in them.
Based on the relied-upon opinions in each of the four schools of thought and the opinion of the majority of scholars, wiping over thin socks would not be considered permissible, and wuḍū' performed in this way would not be considered valid.
However, it should be noted that some scholars did allow for wiping over thin socks. Therefore, when praying behind an imām who follows this opinion, one should not create unnecessary fitnah. Imām al-Nawawī stated "Our companions narrated from ʻUmar and ʻAlī raḍiAllāhu ʻanhumā that it is permissible to wipe over the socks, even if they are thin. They also narrated that from Abū Yūsuf, Muḥammad, Isḥāq and Dāwūd."
Only Allah knows best
Written by Shaykh Umer Khan
Checked and approved by Mufti Mohammed Tosir Miah
Darul Ifta Birmingham