Is it permissible to do masah over socks? How to do wudu with leather socks? Can we do wudu in leather socks?
1) The Definition of Khuff
In ablution, wiping over the khuff replaces the washing of the feet. It is permissible to wipe a type of sock called khuff that is worn on the feet, or on footwear that is subject to a similar ruling of khuff. This has been made legitimate for the convenience of Muslims. According to the Ḥanafis, the wiping over the khuff while performing the wuḍū denotes rubbing over it once, starting from the toes of the feet, with the wetness of the hand, as much as three fingers. The footwear that is made out of leather or similar materials, covering the ankles and above is called “khuff”.
Some hadiths reach the level of tawātur about wiping over the khuff. Some of them are as follows: Ali (ra) said, “If religion was based on independent reasoning, it would be more appropriate to wipe the bottom of the khuff, not the top. I saw the Messenger of Allah (saw) wiping the top of the khuff.” It is reported from Mughira Ibn Shu’ba that he said, “Once I was in the company of the Prophet (saw) on a journey and I dashed to take off his khuffs. He ordered me to leave them as he had put them on after performing the ablution. So he passed his wet hands over them.” Safwan Ibn Assal (ra) is reported to have said: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) used to order us, that when we were travelers’ – or – ‘in travel, to not remove our khuff for three days and nights except, from sexual impurity, but not from defecation, urination, and sleep.” It is narrated that Jarīr (ra) said: “I saw that the Messenger of Allah (pbuh) urinated, then performed ablution and then wiped over his shoes.”
The obligatory amount of wiping the feet is equal to the amount of the smallest three fingers of the hand, on the khuff that coincides with the front of each foot. When that amount of area is wiped, the obligation is fulfilled. This is the view of the Ḥanafis.
According to the Malikis, the entire upper part of the khuff must be wiped, whereas according to the Ḥanbalis, most of the upper part must be wiped, and according to the Shafiʿis, an area up to a finger from the top must be wiped to fulfill the obligation.
According to the Ḥanafis and the Ḥanbalis, having the fingers separated while wiping and starting from the toes and making it towards the leg is the proper way of wiping according to the sunnah. However, according to the Shafiʿis, the sunnah way to perform wiping is to place the right hand on the toes and the left hand on the heel. According to the Malikis, the mandūb way to perform wiping is to place the right hand on the tip of the toes and the left hand under the toes. It is narrated from Mughira b. Shu’ba (ra) that he said: “The Prophet (saw) wiped over his khuffs. He placed his right hand on his right khuff. He placed his left hand on his left khuff, and then wiped upwards only once.”
Yet, it is sufficient to pour some water over the khuffs, wipe them with something like a wet cloth or sponge, wipe them crosswise, or start the wiping from the leg of the khuff. However, it is important to know that these acts do not comply with the sunnah. Moreover, wiping under the khuffs is not considered permissible.
2) Conditions Required for Wiping Over the Khuffs
- The khuffs should be worn after washing the feet for wuḍū because, in the hadith reported by Mughira (ra), the Prophet (saw) said to him, “leave the khuffs as I put them on after performing the ablution.” On the other hand, wiping over the foot or over a bandage due to a legitimate justification is also considered washing. Therefore, khuffs worn after such a legitimate wiping can be wiped for a further ablution.
- The khuffs must cover the parts of the feet that are obligatory to be washed during the ablution. Therefore, the area that the khuffs should cover is the feet with the ankles. It is not permissible to wipe over footwear that does not cover the ankles together with the feet.
- According to the Ḥanafis, the khuffs should be robust enough to walk a long way, approximately 6 km. According to the Shafiʿis, the ruling regarding the robustness of the khuffs differs between that of a traveler and a resident. For the travelers, the footwear needs to be strong enough to walk with them for three days and nights, while for the residents it is a day and a night. The Malikis do not require any measure for robustness since the khuffs are made from leather and they are recognized as already having a certain level of robustness. The Ḥanbalis hold a similar view stating that the issue of robustness needs to be left to the customary practices of the people.
- The khuffs should not have holes on them. Accordingly, there should not be a hole, slit, or tear in the khuffs below the ankles or below or above the khuffs. However, minute holes are excused by some schools. The views regarding the excused amount of the holes differ among the schools. According to the Ḥanafis, the holes cannot be bigger than the size of where three little toes can enter. According to the Shafiʿis and the Ḥanbalis, even if the tear is a small one, it is not permissible to wear it as khuffs. According to the Malikis, there is no limit for the holes. As long as it is called khuffs, one can wear them and wipe over them while performing the wuḍū.
- The khuffs must be thick enough to stand untied. Most of the jurists, except for the Malikis, consider wiping permissible on khuffs made of leather, thick felt, cloth, and similar materials. However, the Ḥanafis and the Shafiʿis stipulate that khuffs should be of a nature that does not immediately let the water penetrate to the skin. According to them, the existence of this condition is also considered to be implied in the texts that indicate the legitimacy of the wiping over khuffs. The Malikis, on the other hand, consider it necessary for the khuffs to be made of leather and being stitched.
- The khuffs should be thick enough to prevent water from penetrating the skin beneath.
In short, in addition to normal khuffs and boots that cover the feet with the ankles, buskins, thick socks that are strong enough to walk in for more than 5.5 km with them, and wadmol slippers with legs can be worn as khuffs. They can also be wiped during the ablution.
3) Is it Permissible to Wipe (masah) Over Socks?
According to Abu Ḥanīfa, wiping can be made on the socks covered with leather or with soles underneath, provided that they are worn after performing full ablution. The basis of this view is the following hadith narrated from Mughira b. Shu’ba (ra): “The Messenger of Allah (saw) performed wuḍū and wiped over the socks and shoes.”
According to Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, masah can be carried out on thick and durable felt or wool socks, even if there is no leather sole underneath. This is because the Prophet (saw) wiped over his socks. However, the socks need to be thick so that it is possible to walk on them. For that reason, thin socks that do not have these qualities cannot be wiped over. It is reported that Abu Ḥanīfa, in his last days of illness, acted in line with the views of Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad, and even said, “I did what I had been preventing other people from doing.”
According to the Malikis as well, the socks made from cotton or cloth must be bound with leather inside or outside. Only then is it permissible to make masah over them. According to the Shafiʿis, the socks must be thick to the extent that they are not transparent and water should not be able to penetrate them. The sole of these socks must be made with leather. Moreover, one should be able to walk continuously upon them. However, according to the Ḥanbalis, the socks require no leather and the main condition is that no part of one’s foot is visible. The only other condition is that the socks should remain firmly gripped on the feet so that a person can walk continuously on them. A group of other jurists did not consider any of the above conditions for socks and said that it is permissible to do masah over the socks.
4) Duration of Wiping Over the Khuffs
According to the majority of jurists, the duration of the wiping for a resident is one day and one night, that is, twenty-four hours, and for a traveler who goes to a distance of at least 90 km or eighteen hours away is three days and three nights or seventy-two hours. This duration starts from the moment when the ablution is invalidated after wearing the khuffs after a complete wuḍū. For example, if a person performs ablution by washing his feet at one o’clock and puts on his khuffs, and then something that invalidates his wuḍū occurs at five o’clock, the duration of the wiping begins at five o’clock. For that reason, it will not have started from the moment the person wore the khuffs.
The following hadith narrated by Ali (ra) is proof of the period of wiping: “The Messenger of Allah (saw) commanded the time limit for wiping over the socks for a traveler to be three days (and three nights) and for a resident to be one day and one night.”
If a person sets out on a journey while wearing khuffs as a resident, he/she becomes subject to the duration of the journey and completes this period. In contrast, if a person who wears khuffs as a traveler becomes a resident, his term will expire after wiping for one day and one night. After that, he has to wash his feet while performing the wuḍū.
If a person who has performed wuḍū by wiping his khuffs removes his khuffs from his feet, it is sufficient to wash only his feet; he does not need to completely re-perform his wuḍū. However, if a person who performs the wuḍū by washing his feet and putting on his khuffs, removes his khuffs from his feet for any reason before his wuḍū is invalidated, he does not need to wash his feet again, as his state of wuḍū will not be invalidated.
According to the Malikis, there is no specific time set for wiping over the khuffs. As long as he does not remove the khuffs from his feet or is in the state of junub (major ritual impurity), he can continue to wipe over the khuffs. Their evidence is the following hadith: Upon the question of Ubayy ibn Umara, the Prophet (saw) said, “The period of the wiping lasts up to seven days,” then added, “ then as long as you wish.” However, in contrast to this hadith, which has only one narrator, according to the narrations from many Companions such as Ali, Ibn Masʿūd, and Umar (r. anhum) which reached the level of tawatur, the duration of wiping is one day and one night for the resident, and three days and three nights for the traveler. This is also the view of the Shafiʿis but according to them, this period for the traveler changes to one day and one night if the journey that is made is for carrying out tasks prohibited by Islam.
5) Things that Nullify The Wiping Over Khuffs
Wiping over the khuffs becomes invalid in one of the following situations:
- Anything that invalidates the ablution also invalidates the wiping over the khuffs. Therefore, if its time has not expired, wiping can be done again on the khuffs or bandages in ablutions performed later.
- Conditions that require ghusl (major ablution), such as being in the state of janabah (major ritual impurity) and menstruation, postnatal bleeding, and childbirth invalidate the wiping, and the feet must be then washed during ablution. For, it is reported that the Messenger of Allah (saw) ordered the believers not to take the khuffs off for three days and three nights, except when in the state of janabah (major ritual impurity).
- Taking off or removal of the khuffs on which one has wiped. In this case, if the person is in a state of ablution, it is sufficient to wash only the feet. The removal of the khuffs from most of the foot up to the ankle is considered a complete removal.
- The expiration of the time of the wiping. After the period for wiping is over, the feet should be washed with water and ablution should be performed, and if necessary, khuffs should be put on again. Even if the time expires, if the feet are at hazard of such dangers as frostbite and if the khuffs are removed, one may put the khuffs on again and continue to wipe over the khuffs.
 Al-Shawkanī, ibid, I, 184; Abū Dawūd, Ṭaḥāra, 63; Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, IV, 247, 254. Al-Bukhari, Wuḍū, 49; Libās, 11; Muslim, Ṭaḥāra, 79; Abū Dawūd, Ṭaḥāra, 60. Al-Tirmidhī, Daʿāwāt, 98; Ahmad Ibn Ḥanbal, VI, 240. Muslim, Ṭaḥāra, 72, Ḥajj, 276; Abū Dawūd, Ṭaḥāra, 64; al-Shawkanī, ibid, I, 176. Al-Zuhaylī, ibid, I, 321, 322. Abū Dawūd, Ṭaḥāra, 63; Ibn Ḥanbal, IV, 247, 254; al-Zaylaī, ibid, I, 180. Al-Bukhari, Wuḍū, 49, Libās, 11, Muslim, Ṭaḥāra, 79. Abū Dawūd, Ṭaḥāra, 61; al-Tirmidhī, Ṭaḥāra, 74, 75; Ibn Maja, Ṭaḥāra, 88; Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal IV, 252. Al-Kāsānī, ibid, I, 10; Ibn al-Humām, ibid, I, 108 ff.; Ibn Rushd (Averroes), ibid, I, 19; Ibn Qudāmah, Mughnī, I, 295; Al-Zuhaylī, ibid, I, 343 ff. Al-Kāsānī, ibid, I, 8; Ibn al-Humām, ibid, I, 102-107; Ibn Qudāmah, ibid, I, 282-287, 291 ff. Abū Dawūd, Ṭaḥāra, 60, 63; Aḥmad ibn Ḥanbal, IV, 247, 254. See al-Tirmidhī, Ṭaḥārah, 71; Ibn Maja, Ṭaḥārah, 86. Abū Dawūd, Ṭaḥārah, 61; Ibn Maja, Ṭaḥārah, 87. See al-Tirmidhī, Ṭaḥārah, 71; Ibn Maja, Ṭaḥārah, 86; al-Taḥāwī, Ma‘āni al-Āthār, I, 79. Ibn Rushd (Averroes), Bidāyat al-Mujtahid, I, 20; al-Zuhaylī, ibid, I, 334 ff.; al-Shawkanī, ibid, I, 182. Al-Kāsānī, ibid, I, 12 ff.; Ibn al-Humām, ibid, I, 105; Ibn Abidīn, ibid, I, 254 ff.; Ibn Qudāmah, Mughnī, I, 287.