Wiping over Thick Socks

Ustadh Salman Younas clarifies the meaning of thick socks or khuff, their conditions, wiping over them, and the rulings on this.

 

Question:

Assalam alaykum wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

Can you please give a detailed answer with proofs and references of why doing masah on thick socks (not leather khuffs) are permitted, such as 1000 miles socks etc. I asked our local imam and he said the thick socks are not on the same condition as khuffs. He mentioned some of the criteria for the khuffs like thickness, standing firmly without any support which socks doesn’t as he said, the water shall not go through, one should walk excessively without any hardship etc.

I have heard different opinions from the scholars and did used 1000miles socks which makes a lot more ease for me on my job, but are a bit confused since there are different of opinions among the scholars, and after all the tahara is the basis of all other acts of worship.

Looking forward to clarification on this issue.

Jazak Allah khayr.

Answer:

 

Wa alaykum assalam wa rahmat Allah wa barakatuh.

In the Hanafi madhhab, it is valid to wipe on socks that fulfill the “meaning” of leather footwear (khuff). 1000 mile socks would seem to fulfill this meaning.

The basic reasoning underlying this position is that the shariah permitted wiping on leather footwear. This dispensation was established contrary to analogical reasoning (qiyas), and, therefore, cannot be extended to other items. However, Hanafi scholars make it clear that what was affirmed contrary to analogy was not the permissibility of wiping over footwear of a particular make, such as leather, but the permissibility of wiping over footwear that fulfilled a particular meaning.

The “meaning” of the khuff that Hanafis unanimously identified was an item that (i) covered the foot and (ii) could be normally walked in. As such, any item that fulfilled this basic meaning would be valid to wipe on. This is clearly affirmed by a number of scholars, such as ʻAbd al-Ghanī al-Nabulsi (d. 1143/1731) who quotes al-Saruji (d. 710/1310) as stating:

 

The correct position (al-sahih) according to them is that if they cover the obligatory area of the foot and it is possible to walk in them, wiping them is permitted however they may be. (Nihayat al-Murad, pp. 350)

 

Similarly, Ibn ʻAbidin stated when discussing wiping on cotton socks:

 

I say: What is apparent is that when the conditions are met, it would be permitted to wipe on cotton footwear. They only excluded it due the conditions generally not being fulfilled in it. This is indicated by what is stated in al-Nasafi’s al-Kafi when he explained the impermissibility of wiping over socks made from cotton being due to regular walking not being possible in them. This demonstrates that if it were possible, it would be permitted. (Hashiya, 1:179)

 

Note here that al-Nasafī’s comments are actually about a jurmiq made from cotton but this does not effect the argument given that a jurmuq takes the same conditions and rulings as a khuff.)
For this reason, most later scholars, such as Imam al-Marghinan, al-Mawsili, al-Nasafi, Ibn al-Humam, and others, gave fatwa on the position of Abu Yusuf and Muhammad that it is valid to wipe on “thick” socks because they fulfilled the meaning of a khuff, i.e. covered the feet and could be walked in. Here, it should be noted that “thickness” has a specific legal definition, namely a sock that can be walked in normally. Any sock that possesses this ability is legally deemed thick and valid to wipe on. (Ibn ʻAbidin, Minhat al-Khaliq, 1:192)

As for many of the other conditions you mention, such as water-resistance or remaining on the shin, these are simply extensions of this “meaning” and, in specific, aim to emphasize the notion of thickness in a non-leather sock. In other words, they aim to describe the type of sock that can be walked in (“What are the attributes of a thick sock that can be normally walked in?”). Effectively, they are akin to descriptive conditions, and jurists forwarded different descriptions to identify the type of socks that could be walked in. For this reason, they often differed with one another on these conditions. However, none of them disagreed on the condition of covering the foot or walking, since these were the central conditions.

I hope this provides some clarity on this issue. There are many details I could not mention here for this would require far more space than is available here.

Salman

 

Checked and approved by Shaykh Faraz Rabbani.