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Rulings Regarding the Wiping Over the Socks for Purification


Rulings Regarding the Wiping Over the Socks for Purification

by Shaykh Muhammad ibn Sâlih al-‘Uthaymîn (d. 1421 AH / n/a CE)

Fataawaa fee al-Mas-h ‘alaa al-Khuffain

Rulings Regarding the Wiping Over the Socks for Purification

Question 1: What is the meaning of Khuffs (Leather socks) and Jawaarab (socks)?

Answer 1: All praise is due to Allaah, and I invoke peace and blessings upon our Prophet Muhammad, and upon all of his Companions.

The meaning of the khuff is that which is worn upon the foot being made of leather and it’s likes. The meaning of Jawaarab is that which is worn on the foot being made of cotton and it’s likes, and it is what is referred to commonly as shurraab (socks, stockings).

Question 2: What is the ruling of wiping on the khuffs and jawaarabs, and what is the evidence for that from the Book and Sunnah?

Answer 2: The wiping is a sunnah which has come to us from the Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ and it is better for the one wearing them to wipe over them, rather than taking them off to wash his feet.

The evidence for this is the hadeeth of al-Mughira bin Shu’bah رضي الله عنه أَنَّهُ who said that: the Prophet صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ made wudu. Al-Mughira said, “I moved to remove his khuffs and he said, ‘leave them, for indeed my feet were in a state of purity when I wore them.’ So he wiped over them.”

The legislation of wiping over the khuffs is established in the Book of Allaah and the Sunnah of Messenger of Allaah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ. As for it’s legislation in the Book, then it lies in the verse, “O you who believe, when you stand for prayer, wash you faces and hands up to the elbows, and wipe your heads and feet up to the ankles.”

There are two correct ways of reciting the saying of Allaah (wa Arjulikum) ‘and your feet’ having reached us from the Messenger of Allaah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

  1. Reciting it as ‘wa Arjulakum’ with a fatha on the laam, hence linking it in meaning to ‘wa wujoohakum’ (and your faces), i.e. wash the feet.
  2. Reciting it as ‘wa Arjulikum’ with a kasra on the laam, hence linking it in meaning to ‘bi ru’oosikum’ (your heads), i.e. wipe the feet.

And that which explains when one should wipe the feet and when one should wash them is the sunnah, for the Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ used to wash his feet when they were uncovered, and wipe over them when they were covered by khuffs.

As for it’s legislation in the sunnah, the sunnah is mutawaatir from the Messenger of Allaah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ in this sunnah.

Imaam Ahmad said, ‘there is no aversion in my heart to wiping. There are forty ahaadeeth with regards to it from the Messenger of Allaah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ and his Companions’ and the saying of the poet:

From those that are mutawaatir is the hadeeth ‘the one who lies..’,

and ‘the one who builds a house for the sake of Allaah, and hopes for the reward’,

and the Sight, the Intercession and the Pond,

and the wiping over the socks, and ….

So this is the evidence from the Book of Allaah, and the Sunnah of His Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ

Question 3: What are the authentic, established conditions for wiping over the socks and what are their evidences?

Answer 3. There are four conditions:

The first: that he be in a state of purity when he wore them. And the evidence for this is his صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ saying to Mughira, ‘leave them, for indeed my feet were in a state of purity when I wore them’

The second: that the khuffs or jawaarabs be pure and clean. If they have filth on them then it is not permissible to wipe over them. And the evidence for this is that the Messenger of Allaah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ prayed with his Companions one day in shoes, and during the prayer he removed them. Then afterwards he informed his Companions that this was because Jibraa’eel had informed him that they had filth or dirt on them. And this indicates that the prayer is not acceptable when there is something in it which is impure, and because when the wiper wipes over the filth it sullies him also, and then he is also not in a state of purity.

The third: that he wipes over them when he is in a state of minor impurity, not when he is junub or in any state that necessitates the ghusl. And the evidence for that is the hadeeth of Safwaan bin Assaal رضي الله عنه أَنَّهُ who said, “The Messenger of Allaah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ ordered us not to remove our socks for three days and nights when we were on a journey except if we were junub, but not from excretion, urination or sleep.”

So the condition is set that the wiping is only for minor impurity, not for the major impurity due to this hadeeth.

The fourth: that the wiping be for the period determined by the Sharee’ah, and that is a day and a night for one who is resident, and three days and nights for the one on a journey. This due to the hadeeth of Alee رضي الله عنه أَنَّهُ who said, “the Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ set a limit of one day and night for the resident, and three days and nights for the traveler,” meaning for wiping over the khuffs.
Related by Muslim.

And this period starts the first time one wipes over the socks, and it finished 24 hours after for the resident and 72 hours after for the traveler.

So if we were to assume that one purified himself for fajr on Wednesday at 5am, and he remained in this state till the Ishaa prayer, then he slept and woke for fajr at 5am on Thursday then he has to make wudu with washing his feet as the period has expired. But were he to make wudu before 5am then his wiping is valid and he can pray fajr with this wiping. And he can keep praying as much as he wishes afterwards as well with that same wudu, for the wudu does not become void when the period of wiping ends according to the strongest opinion of the scholars. And this is because the Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ did not set a time period for the state of purity, but he set a time period for the wiping only.

So when the period for wiping has finished then there is no wiping after this, but if he was in a state of purity when the period expired, then his state of purity remains. This is because this state of purity has been established according to the dictates of the sharee’ah, so then it cannot be removed except by an evidence from the sharee’ah, and there is no evidence for the state of wudu ending as the time period for the wiping ends. And because the basic principle is that everything endures according to what it is upon until it’s termination is made clear.

So these are the conditions that are set for wiping over the khuffs. And there are other conditions that some scholars have mentioned but some of these are problematic.

Question 4: What is the correctness of the condition set by some of the Legal Jurists that the feet be covered…?

Answer 4: This condition is not correct because it has no evidence for it. For indeed as long as the name khuff or jawaarab is applicable to the item then wiping over them is permissible, because the sunnah has described wiping over the khuffs in a general way. So it is not possible to specify what the Legislator generalizes except with another evidence from the Legislator or a Sharee’ah principle by which the specification becomes clear. So building upon this it is permissible to wipe over torn or thin khuffs, because the purpose of the khuff is not to cover the outer skin, rather it is to protect the feet and benefit them….(?)…so there is no difference in this between a thin, thick, torn or complete sock.

The important point is that a long as the term khuff is applicable to the item, then wiping over it is permissible.

Question 5: A Person makes tayammum, then he wears the khuffs, then he finds water, is it permissible for him to wipe over the socks knowing that he was in a state of purity when he wore them?

Answer 5:

“for indeed my feet were in a state of purity when I wore them”

And the purity of tayammum has no connection to the feet, rather it is only concerned with the hands and face. So building upon this, if a person does not have water with him, or he is sick and unable to use water for wudu, then he can wear the khuffs even without being in a state of purity, and he can wear them for an unlimited time (making tayammum) until he finds water or is cured from his illness, because the feet are not connected to the tayammum.

Question 6: Is the intention obligatory, meaning that when a person intends to wear socks or shoes should he have the intention that he will wipe over them, and likewise should he have the intention that he is going to wipe over them as a resident or a traveler, or is the intention no obligatory?

Answer 6: The intention is not obligatory because the ruling of wiping is concerned only when the need arises and therefore it is not requiring an intention. Just like if a person were to wear a garment, it is not a condition that he has to have the intention that this garment covers his awrah when he prays. So it is not a condition that he has to have the intention that he will wipe over the socks when he wears them. Likewise he does not have to have an intention as to how long he intends to wipe for, rather if he is traveling then he has a period of three days whether he had the intention for this or not, and if he is resident he has a period of one day whether he had the intention for this or not.

Question 7: What is the journey in which the wiping period of three days and nights becomes permissible?

Answer 7: The journey in which it becomes permissible to shorten ones prayer, is the journey in which it becomes permissible to wipe over the socks for three days and nights, this is because in the hadeeth of Safwaan bin Asaal which we have mentioned he says, “when we were on a journey”, so for as long as a person is on a journey in which he shortens his prayer he can wipe over his socks for the period of three days.

Questions 8: When the traveler comes to the end of his journey, or a resident starts a journey and he has already started wiping over his socks, how does he calculate the length of his wiping?

Answer 8: When a resident wipes over his socks and then starts a journey, then he should complete the wiping of a traveler (i.e. 3 days and nights) according to the strongest opinion. And if he was traveling and then completes his journey, then he should complete the wiping of a resident. Some of the People of Knowledge have mentioned that if one were to wipe as a resident then start a journey he should complete the period of wiping as if he were a resident, but the strongest opinion is what we have first mentioned. This is because this person has some time remaining in the period of his wiping before he started on a journey, then he started traveling so it is true to say that he is a traveler and therefore from those that can wipe over there socks for three days.

Question 9: A person is doubtful as to when he started wiping over his socks, what should he do?

Answer 9: In this state the answer is based upon what is certain, so if he is doubtful if he started wiping for Dhuhur or Asr prayers, then he should make his starting period Asr because the basic principle is the absence of wiping. And the evidence for this is the rule that the principle remains upon what it is and that the basic principle in this case is the absence of wiping.

And that a man complained to the Messenger صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ that he thought that he had passed wind in his prayer, so he told him not to leave the prayer until he heard a noise or smelt something.

Question 10: A person wipes over his socks after the period of wiping has expired and prays, what is the ruling of his prayer?

Answer 10: If he wipes after the period has expired, whether he is traveling or resident, then his prayer with this purification is invalid because the wudu is invalid due to the period of wiping having expired. So it is obligatory upon him to make a new and complete wudu, washing his feet, and to repeat his prayers that he prayed with that invalid wudu in which he wiped over his socks after the period had expired.

Question11: If a person removed his socks and he was in a state of wudu, then he put them on again before his wudu broke is it permissible to wipe over them?

Answer 11: If he removes his socks and then puts them back on again and he is in a state of wudu, then if this wudu was his first wudu (i.e. the one in which he washed his feet) and this did not break for the duration he had his socks on, then there is no problem in him putting his socks on and wiping over them again when he makes wudu. But if this wudu was a wudu in which he wiped over his socks then it is not permissible for him to put his socks on and continue wiping over them, because it is necessary for him to wear them when his feet have been purified with water, and in this case the purity is with wiping over the socks, this is what is known from the speech of the People of Knowledge.

But if one were to say that if he put his socks on again while he was still in a state of purity, even if it were the purity of wiping over the socks, then he could continue wiping over them as long as the period of wiping lasted then this is a strong opinion. But I do not know of anyone who held this opinion, and the thing which prevents me from holding this opinion is that I have not come across anyone from the People of Knowledge who holds this opinion, so if one of the People of Knowledge were to have this opinion then this would be the correct one according to me.

This is because the purity gained from wiping is a complete state of purity, so it is desirable to say that if he can wipe over his socks after putting them on after having washed his feet, then he can wipe over them after the purification of wiping over them. But I have not seen anyone who holds this opinion.

Question 11: So therefore we do not say that removing the socks is from the things which invalidate the wiping?

Answer 11: Therefore removing the socks (in this second case) does not invalidate his state of purity but it invalidates his wiping, so if were to put them on again another time and broke his wudu then it is necessary for him to remove his socks and wash his feet when he makes wudu. The important point is that it is necessary for him to have put the socks on when he has made a wudu in which he has washed his feet (in order to wipe over them later on) as far as we know from the speech of the People of Knowledge.

Question 12: A person wipes over his shoes in the first instance, then in the second he removes his shoes and wipes over his socks, is this wiping of his correct? Or is it necessary for him to wash the feet?

Answer 12: There is a difference of opinion over this. So from the People of Knowledge are those that opine that if one were to wipe over one of the two khuffs, be it the upper or the lower then the ruling remains with that and the wiping does not move to the second.

And from them are those that opine that it is permissible for the wiping to move to the other for as long as the period of wiping remains. So for example, if one were to wipe over the shoes, then he removed them and wished to make wudu, then he can wipe over his socks. This is the strongest opinion. Likewise if he were to wipe over his socks, and then put on another pair, or put on a pair of shoes, then there is no problem in his wiping over the upper layer for as long as the period of wiping remains. But the period is calculated from the point of the first wiping, not the second.

Question 13: Many people ask as to how the wiping should be done and the place of wiping?

Answer 13: The way of performing the wiping is to pass the hand over the feet from the extremity of the toes to the start of the shin only. Meaning that the part of the khuff that is wiped is the upper part only. And the wiping is done by passing both hands over both feet simultaneously i.e. the right hand wipes over the right foot and the left hand over the left foot at the same time, as one would wipe the ears. Because this is what is clear and obvious in the sunnah due to the saying of Mughira bin Shu’ba (in his hadeeth), “and he wiped over them”, and he did not say he صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ started with the right or left, rather the clear and literal meaning is what we have explained. Yes, if one of the hands cannot be used then you start with wiping the right foot then the left.

And many people wipe by using both their hands to wipe the right foot, and both their hands to wipe the left foot. This has no basis as far as we know, all that the scholars have said is to wipe the right foot with the right hand, and the left foot with the left hand.

Question 14: We see people wiping over the upper and lower parts of the khuffs, so what is the ruling of this wiping and what is the ruling of their prayers?

Answer 14: Their prayers and wudu are correct, but they should be informed that wiping over the lower part of the khuffs is not from the sunnah. So in the sunnah is the hadeeth of Alee ibn Abee Taalib رضي الله عنه أَنَّهُ who said,

“if the religion were according to opinion then the underside of the khuffs would have been wiped, but I have seen the Messenger of Allaah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ wiping over the upper part of the khuff.”

And this indicates that only the upper part of the khuff is legislated to be wiped.

Question 15: What is the stance on the saying of ibn Abbaas: “the Messenger did not wipe after (the revelation) of Surah Maa’idah” and that what is related from Alee preceded this revelation?

Answer 15: I do not know if this narration is authentic or not. And I have mentioned before this that Alee bin Abee Taalib is from those that narrated the hadeeth of wiping from the Messenger of Allaah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ and he narrated it after his death, and he explained that the Messenger set it’s time limits, and this indicates that this ruling is established to exist after the death of the Messenger of Allaah صَلَّى اللَّهُ عَلَيْهِ وَسَلَّمَ according to him, and it is not possible to abrogate anything after the death of the Messenger.

Question 16: Are the rulings for wiping the same for women as for men? Or is there a difference?

Answer 16: There is no distinction between man and woman in this. And it is desired that you learn a basic rule, and that is that in principle that whatsoever is established with regards to the men is also established with regards to the women, and whatsoever is established with regards to the women is also established with regards to men unless there is an evidence which indicates otherwise.

Question 17: What is the ruling of removing the sock, or part of it to examine ones feet or to remove a small stone for example?

Answer 17: If he puts his hands in his socks (without removing them) then there is no problem in this. But if he removes them then he should look, if he removes only a small portion than this is alright, but if he removes the majority of the sock then wiping over them in the future becomes invalid (in the case where this is not the first wudu).

Question 18: It has become common amongst the common folk that they wipe over their socks for the five daily prayers only, then after this they put them on another time (i.e. after washing their feet).

Answer 18: Yes this has become common amongst the generality of the people who think that wiping for one day and night means that you wipe only for the five daily prayers, and this is not correct. Rather the limitation of one day and night means that he can wipe for one day or night whether it is for five prayers or more. For, as has preceded, the beginning of the period of wiping starts with the first wiping. So it is possible that the person pray ten (obligatory) prayers or even more. For if he were to make wudu for fajr on Tuesday, and then out his khuffs on, and his state of purity (i.e. he did not make wudu) lasted until he slept Tuesday night, then he wakes up Wednesday morning for fajr and wipes over his feet for the first time then he can continue wiping till the fajr of Thursday morning. So in this case he has prayed the fajr, dhuhur, asr, maghrib, and ishaa of Tuesday in his khuffs, and none of these are counted in the period of wiping because they occurred before he wiped over his socks. Then he prayed the fajr, dhuhur, asr, mahgrib and ishaa of Wednesday with wiping. It is even possible that he pray the prayers of Thursday with this same wiping. So for example say he wiped over his socks 5am Wednesday morning for fajr, then he woke up for fajr Thursday morning and made wudu at 4:45am, he can wipe over his socks again in this case. Then if he were to remain in his state of purity until Ishaa of Thursday, then he can pray the five prayers of Thursday with that same wiping.

Therefore in this example he has prayed fifteen prayers (without removing his khuffs).

Question 19: If a person were to make wudu and wipe over his khuffs, then the period of wiping expires and he removes his socks before Asr prayer for example. Can he pray Asr prayer and is his prayer correct, or does his wudu break with removing the socks?

Answer 19: The strongest opinion from the sayings of the People of Knowledge, which was chosen by Shaykh al-Islaam ibn Taymiyyah and a group of scholars from the People of Knowledge is that the wudu does not break with the removal of the khuffs. So if he were to remove his khuffs and he is in a state of purity in which he had wiped over his socks then his wudu does not break, this is because he is in a complete state of purity as required by the dictates of the Sharee’ah, and it is not possible to break this state of purity except with an evidence from the Sharee’ah. And there is no evidence which states that removing the khuffs or socks that have been wiped over breaks the wudu, so due to this the wudu remains, but if he were to put the socks on again intending to wipe over the socks in the future then this is not allowed as far as I know from the words of the People of Knowledge.

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