Question # 144: What is the ruling for wiping over socks during wudu? Is it allowed to do so over non-leather socks?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: As for the period of time, the permissibility of wiping over leather socks is one day and one night for the resident, and three days and three nights for the traveler. As for its method, according to the Sunnah, the Muslim should start wiping over khuffs by placing his right hand on the right khuff and the left hand on the left khuff then he should stretch his hands over his khuffs up to the leg. Thus, wiping is on the top and not at the bottom of the sock or shoe.

The socks must cover the feet up to the ankles and must have been worn in the state of ablution; and the wetness must not reach the feet on wiping over them.

Lastly, wiping over anything that is worn on the feet is permissible, whether slippers (khuffayn) made of leather or felt or wood, or socks made of linen, wool, cotton, nylon, synthetic or other fabrics.

Long Answer: Safwan ibn ‘Assai narrated “We were ordered (by the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم)) to wipe over the socks if we were in a state of purity when we put them on, for three days if we were travelers, and for one day and night if we were residents. We did not remove them unless we were in post-sex impurity.” (Related by ash-Shafi’i, Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaimah, at-Tirmidhi, and an-Nasa’i, who graded it sahih)

Shuraih ibn Hani said, “I asked ‘Aishah (رضي الله عنها) about wiping over socks and she answered, ‘For the traveler, three days and three nights; for the resident, one day and night.” This hadith is related by Ahmad, Muslim, at-Tirmidhi, an-Nasa’i and Ibn Majah. Of its authenticity, al-Baihaqi says, “This is the most authentic report on this topic.” Some say that the duration begins with the time of the wiping, while others say it begins from the time of nullifying the ablution after wearing the socks.

The following invalidates the wiping:

(i) The end of the permissible time period for wiping.

(ii) Post-sex impurity. (see hadith above)

(iii) Removal of the socks.

If (i) or (iii) occurs while the person was in a state of purity, he need only wash his feet. (‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq)

[As for its method,] according to the Sunnah, the Muslim should start wiping over khuffs by placing his right band on the right khuff and the left hand on the left khuff then he should stretch his hands over his khuffs up to the leg. It has been narrated on the authority of Al-Mughirah (رضي الله عنه) commented, “It seemed as if I was looking at the trace of wiping over the khuff of the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) in the form of lines drawn by fingers.” (Al-Hidayah, Commentaries on Bidayatul-Mubtadi) (‘Simplified Islamic Jurisprudence’ by Abdul-Fattah) Wiping is done on the top, not the bottom of the sock or shoe; Al-Mugheerah said: “I saw the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) wipe on the top of his socks.” (at-Tirmidhi; graded hasan) (Commentary on ‘Umdat al-Fiqh, Muwaffaq-ud-Deen, Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi)

The following are the conditions of wiping over socks:

  • They must cover the feet up to the ankles.
  • One must wear them when being in a state of purification (i.e., in a state of ablution). [The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to the one who wanted to help him in taking his khuffs off to perform ablution: “Leave them as I had put them after performing ablution.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)
  • Wetness must not reach the feet on wiping over them, because it is not lawful to do washing and wiping together.
  • They must not contain any holes through which the feet can be seen. [Per Shaykh Muhammad bin Salih Al-‘Uthaimeen, “…it is permissible to wipe over tom socks, or thin socks, through which the skin can be seen…” – Fatawa Arkan-ul-Islam] Accordingly, it is not permissible to wipe over thin socks because they are in no way like khuffs.

(‘Al-Fiqhul-Muyassaru minal-Qur’ani was-Sunnah’ by Muhammad M. ‘Abdul-Fattah)

[Further,] there is no distinction between the thick or thin socks, thus many scholars allow wiping on all socks. You may also wipe on the shoes if they are up to the ankle or if you have socks underneath them given you wore them after you have made wudu’ in which you washed your feet. (Commentary on ‘Umdat al-Fiqh, Muwaffaq-ud-Deen, Abdullah ibn Ahmad ibn Muhammad ibn Qudamah al-Maqdisi) Ibn Hazm said: wiping over anything that is worn on the feet – of things that are permitted to be worn and which come up above the ankles – is Sunnah, whether they are slippers (khuffayn) made of leather or felt or wood, or socks made of linen, wool, cotton, camel hair or goat hair, whether leather is worn over them or not, or whether they are overshoes or slippers worn over slippers or socks worn over socks. (Al-Muhalla) The difference between socks and khuffaayn is that the khuffaayn are made of leather, whereas socks are not made of leather; rather they are made of wool, linen, cotton, [nylon or synthetic] or other fabrics. (Islamqa.info)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam