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Q775: Is it permissible to wipe over thin cotton socks during wudhu?

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Is it permissible to wipe over thin cotton socks during wudhu?


It is not permissible to wipe over thin socks according to any of the four Mazahib. Whichever Imam gave permission for wiping over socks restricted it to Thakhinayn(thick socks), therefore if they are thin and water is seeping through, then wiping over them will not be permissible.

It is written in Ma’rifus-sunan:

اتفقوا على جواز المسح على المجلدين والمنعلين وكذالك اتفقوا على عدم جوازه على الرقيقين يشفان واختلفوا فى الثخينين فالجمهور جوزوه ومنعه ابو حنيفة

“They all agree upon wiping over socks which are covered with leather or which have leather soles, similarly they agree upon the impermissibility of wiping over thin socks through which water seeps, and they differ regarding thick ones, the majority permit it whereas Imam Abu Hanifah (ra) prohibits it.”
(Ma’arifus-sunan pg 346 vol 1)

There is no Hadith in Sahih Bukhari or Sahih Muslim which states the permissibility of wiping over thin socks. However, there are Mutawatir Ahadith regarding wiping over Khuffayn (leather socks).

There is one Hadith in Abu Dawud regarding Masah alal Jawrabayn. However, even Imam Abu Dawud narrated this Hadith and said, ‘Abdul Rahman ibn Mahdi would not narrate this Hadith, as this is narrated from Mughirah ibn Shu’ba’ and what is well known in the Hadith of Mughirah is that, “He wiped over Khuffayn (leather socks).” (In other words, Jawrabayn here is Wahm (mistake)). Imam Abu Dawud says, ‘This Hadith is also narrated from Abu Musa, however the chain is not Muttasil (connected) nor Qawiyy (strong)’.
(Abu Dawud Pg22)

The great Salafi scholar Sheikh Abdul-Rahman Al Mubarakpuri writes in Tuhfatul Ahwazi Sharhut-Tirmizi, “(Imam Tirmizi has classed this Hadith as ‘Sahih’) however, Bayhaqi has narrated the Hadith of Mughirah and said that the Hadith is Munkar. Sufyaan Thauri has classed it Dhaeef and so has Abdur-Rahman ibn Mahdi, Imam Ahmad ibn Hanbal, Yahya ibn Maeen, Ali ibnul Madini and Muslim ibn Hajjaj. What is actually recorded from Mughirah is the Hadith of wiping over leather socks. Imam Nawawi (ra) has mentioned that all the above Muhadditheen, had they been alone, they would have been put ahead of Imam Tirmizi (ra).

Another point is that Jarh supersedes Ta’deel and two narrators in this chain are Dhaeef, Abu Qays al-Awadi and Hudhail ibn Shurahbil.

Sheikh Mubarakpuri writes there are two other Ahadith from Ibn Mas’ood (ra) and Bilal (ra) but they are both Dhaeef and unsuitable as evidence, thereafter he mentions the chain of both the Ahadith and their weaknesses.

He concludes saying:

والحاصل انه ليس فى باب المسح على الجوربين حديث مرفوع صحيح خال عن الكلام هذا ما عندي والله اعلم

The conclusion is, that with regards to wiping over cotton socks, there is no Marfoo’ Hadith which could be classed Saheeh and free from dispute.
(Tuhfatul Ahwazi pg 333 vol 1)

He further states that some people who allow wiping over socks put forward in their argument the Hadith Imam Ahmed ibn Hanbal narrates in his Musnad Ahmed from Thawban (ra) which mentions wiping over ‘Tasakheen’ thus they say that ‘Tasakheen’ means cotton socks. Sheikh Mubarakpuri writes, “This Hadith is also not suitable for use as evidence because Raashid ibn Sa’d did not hear from Thawbaan so there is a disconnection in the chain. Secondly, the scholars of Lughat have said that Tasakheen are socks made from leather. Imam Ibnul-Atheer quotes in his Nihayah under the letter taa’

التساخين هى الخفاف ولا واحد لها من لفظها وقيل واحدها تسخين و تسخان و تسخن

“Tasakheen are leather socks”
(Tuhfatul Ahwazi pg 339 vol 1)

Shaykh ibn Baz (ra) has also written in his Fatawa, “It is not permissible to wipe over them” (thin socks). (fatawa islamiyya pg102).

For reference for all four mazahib see text below from al fiqhul islami wa adilatuhu vol 1 pg 498:

قال ابو حنيفة لا يجوز المسح على الجوربين الا ان يكونا مجلدين او منعلين لان الجورب ليس معنى الخف لانه لا يمكن مواظبة المشى فيه الا اذا كانا منعلا وهو محمل الحديث المخبر للمسح على الجورب…الا انه رجع الى قول الصاحبين في اخر عمره…واشترط المالكية كابي حنيفة ان يكونا الجوربان مجلدين ظاهرهما وباطنهما حتى يمكن المشي فيهما عادة… واجاز الشافعية المسح على الجورب بشرطين احدهما ان يكون صفيقا لا يشف بحيث يمكن متابعة المشي عيله الثانى ان يكون منعلا فان اختل احد الشرطين لم يجز المسح عليه… واباح الحنابلة المسح على الجورب بالشرطين المذكورين في الخف وهما الاول ان يكون صفيقا لا يبدو منه شئ من القدم الثانى ان يمكن متابعة المشى فيه…

Therefore, if you are a follower of any of the four mazaahib, it would be Haram for you to wipe over thin cotton socks. Any Salah preformed by wiping over thin socks will not be valid and that Salah will have to be repeated after washing the feet.

Consequently, Salah behind an Imam who has wiped over thin socks will not be allowed. Therefore, Salah should only be lead by a person who has washed his feet according to the command of the Holy Quran or wiped over khuffayn according to the Mutawatir Ahadeeth.

In the verse of the Quran, Allah orders the washing of 3 limbs and the wiping of only the head. Therefore, if someone only wipes his arms or face, his wudu is not valid. The same applies to foot wiping – and foot wiping is done only by the Rawaafidh, Shias.

We have been forced to write this fatwa as we have been informed and seen with our own eyes people wiping over thin socks in wudhu areas where there are puddles of water. Socks get wet on the soles and with these socks, they enter the masjid, wetting the carpet wherever they tread. This makes the carpet smell and others would have to prostrate at that place where they have wetted. If these people had taken their socks off, washed their feet and then wiped them on the mats provided outside the wudhu area, this would not have happened.

Furthermore, Salaah is the most important Ibadah. It should be performed in such a manner that it is correct according to the opinion of all the Ulema. That is why we say that even though Salat alan nabiyy during the final Tashaahhud is only masnoon according to the majority of the mazhabs, however Imam Shafi’i (ra) has said that it is Fard, so one should not neglect it. Similarly, Ta’adile Arkaan (exercising composure during postures) is not fardh according to the Hanafi Madhab. However, according to the other mazhabs, it is fardh, therefore Salaah should be performed with great calmness.

The Prophet (Saw) has said, “Allah loves the effects of worship on his servants.” (Mishkaat). For example, the smell appearing due to fasting is more beloved to Allah than Musk. Similarly, any suffering due to washing the limbs in Wudhu is beloved to Allah. Jannat has been surrounded by things that a person dislikes, so one should be cautious about all the facts of Shariah.

If you are at work, on a plane or in a difficult situation, and need to complete Wudhu quickly, a single wash will suffice. Washing 3 times is Sunnah and better, but it isn’t fardh, so it can be left out when needed.

Those people who find it inconvienient taking off their shoes and socks every time they perform Wudhu, have 2 alternatives to the normal washing of the feet.

Alternative 1: Wear leather socks.

Alternative 2: Wear Khuff-like waterproof socks which go above the ankles, produced by companies like Sealskinz and Gortex. These socks meet all the criteria of being wudu-wipable, and therefore are permissible to wear and wipe over during Wudhu. They cost about £20 a pair and can be bought on the internet.

Please note: The conditions of Masah alal khuff:

  1. They should be worn after performing full wudhu including washing of the feet.
  2. They should not be torn, if they have holes more than three small toes then masah on them will not be correct.
  3. The timing of masah is one day and one night for a muqeem and three days and three nights for a musafir.
  4. The timing does not start from the moment you make wudhu or when you wear them but rather from the moment your wudhu breaks e.g. if you washed the feet for the wudhu of fajar then you wore the socks thereafter, your wudhu broke at 10:00am then you will be allowed to wipe over them until 10:00am the following day, then at that time your masah limit and wudhu will be finished and you will have to do wudhu all over again, washing the feet.
  5. Masah can only be done after hadath asghar (minor impurity). Therfore, if janabat (major impurity) takes place the khuffayn will have to be taken off and the feet will be washed.

Please note: The terminological difference between wiping (masah) and washing (ghasl).

Masah is just wiping a wet hand over the area. For example, passing your hand across part or all of your head, or wiping the top of the Khuff.

On the other hand, Ghasl is wetting the whole limb, in such a way that some drops of water fall off the limb. Thus, wetting the whole arm or foot with a single cupped handful of water is sufficient, and the Fardh of a single wash will be completed.

قَوْلُهُ : أَيْ إسَالَةُ الْمَاءِ إلَخْ ) قَالَ فِي الْبَحْرِ : وَاخْتُلِفَ فِي مَعْنَاهُ الشَّرْعِيِّ ، فَقَالَ أَبُو حَنِيفَةَ وَمُحَمَّدٌ : هُوَ الْإِسَالَةُ مَعَ التَّقَاطُرِ وَلَوْ قَطْرَةً حَتَّى لَوْ لَمْ يُسِلْ الْمَاءَ بِأَنْ اسْتَعْمَلَهُ اسْتِعْمَالَ الدُّهْنِ لَمْ يَجُزْ فِي ظَاهِرِ الرِّوَايَةِ ، وَكَذَا لَوْ تَوَضَّأَ بِالثَّلْجِ وَلَمْ يَقْطُرْ مِنْهُ شَيْءٌ لَمْ يَجُزْ . عَنْ أَبِي يُوسُفَ هُوَ مُجَرَّدُ بَلِّ الْمَحَلِّ بِالْمَاءِ سَالَ أَوْ لَمْ يَسِلْ .رد المحتار951

Note that even under normal circumstances, one should not use an excessive quantity of water. The Prophet (saw) used no more than a small bowlful of water for Wudhu. In the hadith this has been narrated as one Mudd equal to nearly 775ml/655g.

Once Rasulullah (saw) passed by one sahabi who was using excessive water during wudhu so he said, “O sa’d! Do not exceed the limit!” he asked, “Are there any limits in wudhu which are exceeded? He replied, “Yes, even if you are on a flowing river.”

Once Rasullulah (saw) was riding, he passed by a river and he felt like performing wudhu so he dismounted, took a bowl, filled it from the river and performed wudhu. There was some water left in the bowl so he went back and poured it inside the river saying, “maybe Allah will benefit some bird, animal or human being through this amount.”

Written by: Shaykh Abdur-Rahim

Attested by: Mufti Tahir Sahib, Mufti Ibrahim Raja sahib, and Moulana Nawshaad Sahib

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