Fiqh As-Sunnah

Proof of its legitimacy:
Wiping over the socks is part of the sunnah. An-Nawawi states, "All those who qualify for ijma' (consensus) agree that it is allowed to wipe over the socks--during travelling or at home, if needed or not--even a woman who stays at home or a handicapped person who cannot walk can do so. The Shi'ah and Khawarij reject it, but their rejection is not valid. Says Ibn Hajr in Fath al-Bari, "All of the preservers (of hadith) are of the opinion that wiping over the socks has come through a continuous transmission. Some have collected all of its narrations (from among the companions), and its number exceeds eighty. This includes hadith from the ten pepole who were promised Paradise." The strongest hadith on this point has been related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi on the authority of Hammam anNakha'i who said, "Jarir ibn 'Abdullah urinated, performed ablution and wiped over his socks." It was said to him, "You do that and you have urinated?" He said, "Yes, I saw the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, urinate and then do likewise." Said Ibrahim, "They were amazed at that hadith, because Jarir had embraced Islam after surah al-Ma'idah was revealed (10 AH). One of its verses calls for washing one's feet. This hadith helps us understand the verse by confining it to one who is not wearing socks. This constitutes a particular case, and the person who wears socks can just wipe over them.

Wiping over slippers:
It is allowed to wipe over slippers, as this has been related from many companions. Says Abu Dawud, "Wiping over sandals (has been done by) 'Ali ibn Abu Talib, Ibn Mas'ud, al-Barra' ibn 'Aazib, Anas ibn Malik, Abu Umamah, Sahl ibn Sa'd and 'Amr ibn Hareeth. It has also been related from 'Umar ibn al-Khattab and Ibn 'Abbas." 'Ammar, Bilal ibn 'Abdullah ibn Abu Aufi and Ibn 'Umar also have hadith on this subejct. In Ibn alQayyim's Tahdhib as-Sunan, he relates from Ibn al-Mundhir, "Ahmad made a statement about the permissibility of wiping over slippers because of his fairness and justice. Nevertheless, the basis of this permissibility is the practice of the companions and a manifest analogy. There is no real difference between socks and slippers. It is correct that they take the same ruling. Most scholars say that one can wipe over either one." Those who permit it include Sufyan al-Thauri, Ibn al-Mubarak, 'Ata, al-Hasan and Sa'eed ibn alMusayyab. Commenting on this subject, Abu Yusuf and Muhammad said, "It is allowed to wipe over them if they are thick and completely hide what they cover." Abu Hanifah did not approve of wiping over thick slippers, but he changed his mind three or seven days before his death. He wiped over his slippers during his illness and said to his visitors, "I did what I used to tell people not to do." Al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah reported that the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, made ablution and wiped over his socks and slippers. This is related by Ahmad, at-Tahawi, Ibn Majah and at-Tirmidhi, who called it hassan sahih. Abu Dawud graded it weak.2

As it is permissible to wipe over socks so is it permissible to wipe over any foot covering, which has been used to avoid the cold or protect the wound, and so on. Of its permissibility, Ibn Taimiyyah says, "It is all right to wipe over foot covering because it takes precedence over wiping socks or slippers, for usually a foot covering is used for some need and to protect the feet from some harm. If wiping over the socks and slippers is allowed, then wiping over any foot covering should come first. Whoever claims that there is a consensus on the inadmissibility of wiping over foot coverings does so with a lack of knowledge. Not to speak of a consensus, he cannot prove its forbiddance even from the works of ten famous scholars." He goes on to say, "Whoever ponders over the words of the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, and gives analogy its proper place, will know that the license from him was spacious on this subject and in accord with the beauty of Islamic law and the monotheistic magnanimity with which the Prophet had been sent." Even if there are some holes or cuts in the socks, it is permissible to wipe over them, as long as the person has only such socks to wear. Says al-Thauri, "The slippers of the emigrants and helpers were not free of cuts or holes, like the slippers of the people (in general). If this were a matter of concern, it would have been mentioned and related by them."

Conditions for wiping over the socks:
One must have put his socks (or whatever covering he is using) while in a state of purity. Said al-Mughirah ibn Shu'bah, "I was with the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, one night during an expedition. I poured water for him to make ablution. He washed his face and arms and wiped his head. Then I went to remove his socks and he said, 'Leave them on, as I put them on while I was in a state of purity,' and he just wiped over them." (Related by Ahmad, al-Bukhari and Muslim). Al-Humaidi related in his Musnad that al-Mughirah reported, "We said, 'O Messenger of Allah, may we wipe over our socks?' He said, 'Yes, if you put them on while you were in a state of purity." The stipulations by the jurists that the socks must completely cover the foot to the ankle, and that one must be able to walk (a distance) in them alone, has been shown by Ibn Taimiyyah in his al-Fatawa to be weak.

The place to be wiped on a sock:
Islamic law prescribes that the top of the sock is to be wiped. Said al-Mughirah, "I saw the Messenger of Allah, upon whom be peace, wipe over the top of his socks." (Related by Ahmad, Abu Dawud and at-Tirmidhi, who called it hassan.) 'Ali observed, "If the religion was based on opinion, the bottom of the sock would take preference in being wiped to the top of the sock." (Related by Abu Dawud and ad-Daraqutni with a hassan or sahih chain.) What is obligatory in the wiping is what is meant by the lexicographical meaning of the word "wipe." There are no specifications authentically mentioned with respect to the wiping.

The duration of the wiping:
For the resident, this period is one day and night. For the traveller, it is three days and nights. Said Safwan ibn 'Assal, "We were ordered (by the Prophet) to wipe over the socks if we were in a state of purity when we put them on, for three days if we were travellers, 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-Shaf~i, Ahmad, Ibn Khuzaimah, at-Tirmidhi, and an-Nasa'i, who graded it sahih.)

Shuraih ibn Hani said, "I asked 'Aishah about wiping over socks and she answered, 'For the traveller, 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 description of the wiping:
After the person completes his ablution and puts on his socks or slippers, it is proper for him to wipe over them later on when he wants to perform ablution. He is permitted to do that for one day and night if he is resident, and for three days and nights if he is a traveller. But if he is in post-sex impurity, he must remove his socks, in accordance with the preceding hadith of Safwan.

What invalidates the wiping:
The following invalidates the wiping:
1. The end of the permissible time period for wiping.
2. Post-sex impurity.
3. Removal of the socks. If (i) or (iii) occurs while the person was in a state of purity, he need only wash his feet.

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