Wiping over socks and shoes during wudu

In the name of Allāh, ar-Raḥmān (the most merciful), ar-Raḥīm (the bestower of mercy).

During the winter period, questions regarding wiping over shoes and socks are often asked. This issue is one of further importance in the West, where many Muslims work throughout the day and there are no facilities to perform wudū. Traditionally, Muslims wore the ‘khuff’ – socks covering the ankle made from leather. People would wear them due to their durability, especially on journeys. However, in modern times the ‘khuff’ is worn much less and people wear a combination of socks made from various fabrics and shoes.

This article will provide several evidences proving the permissibility of wiping over fabric socks and shoes that cover the ankles. In proving its permissibility, the established principle of legislated ease and applicability of the Sharī’ah is affirmed. [1]

{Allāh intends ease for you, and He does not want to make things difficult for you…} [2:185]

Wiping over the khuff (ankle-covering leather socks)

There is no difference among the scholars of Islām regarding wiping over the khuff, indeed its permissibility is seen as a differentiating point between the majority of Muslims and some of the astray sects such as the Rāfida Shī’ah and the Khawārij.

Imām Ibn Daqīq al-Eīd mentioned, “The permissibility of wiping over the khuff is well known to the scholars of the Sharī’ah, so much so that it is considered to be from the apparent symbols of Islām and its negation has become a symbol of the people of innovation.” [2]

Ḥāfiẓ an-Nawawi also mentioned, “All those who are worthy of being followed have unanimously agreed on the permissibility of wiping over the khuff on journeys and whilst resident; regardless of whether it is done out of need or not. It is even permissible for a woman who always remains in her house and a weak bedridden person who never walks. The only people to disapprove of it were the Shī’ah and the Khawārij – their views are not considered. It has been narrated from Mālik in many narrations; what is well known from his madhhabb is like the majority of the madhāhib: that wiping over the khuff has been narrated by a large number of companions that cannot be enumerated. Ḥasan al-Baṣrī (may Allāh have mercy on him) said, ‘seventy from amongst the companions of the Messenger of Allāh have narrated to me that he used to wipe over the khuff”. [3]

It is enough therefore to mention one authentic narration regarding this; Mughīrah ibn Shu’bah narrates that “the Prophet performed wudū; I descended from my mount to remove his khuff and he said,

Leave them as they are, indeed I put them on upon purity [of wudū].

He then wiped over them.” [4]

Wiping over fabric socks and shoes

1. Thawbān (radiaAllāhu ‘anhu) said, “The Messenger of Allāh sent an army division [for an expedition]; they were afflicted by severe cold. When they reached the Messenger of Allāh , he ordered them to wipe over the ‘Aṣāib and Tassākhīn.’ [5]

  • ‘Aṣāib refers to what is wrapped around the head such as a turban, bandage or towel.
  • Tassākhīn refers to anything which keeps the feet warm and covered.

2. Mughīrah ibn Shu’bah (radiaAllāhu ‘anhu narrates that the Prophet performed wudū and wiped over “jawrab” and socks and shoes. [6]

“Jawrab” refers to any fabric which is wrapped around the foot, it could be accurately translated as fabric socks. The thickness of the fabric socks is differed over: Should it be very thick or can it be light? Should it conceal the feet completely or not? Should it keep its shape when not worn or not?

In answering the above points, Ibn ‘Uthaymīn said “The correct view is that it is pemitted to wipe over fabric socks if they are torn or light, such that the skin underneath them can be seen. This is because the permissiblity of wiping over fabric socks and their likes is not that it should full conceal [the feet]. The feet are not ’awrah that have to be concealed; rather the point behind the permissibility of wiping over footwear is to give an allowance for a person and make it easy for him, such that he is not required to remove his socks or khuff when performing wudū. Instead we say: It is sufficient for you to wipe over it. This is the reason why wiping over footwear has been legislated. And this reason (i.e. to make things easy upon a person) is the same regardless of wether a khuff is worn, torn or untorn socks; light or heavy socks.” [7]

3. On the authority of Aws ibn Abī Aws (radiaAllāhu ‘anhu) who narrated that “The Messenger of Allāh performed wudū and wiped over his shoes and feet.” [8]

4. Ibn ‘Umar (radiaAllāhu ‘anhumā) stated, “I saw the Messenger of Allāh wearing them – i.e. leather shoes – he performed wudū and wiped over them.” [9]

5. Isḥāq ibn Rāhawayh said, “The Sunnah of the companions of the Prophet as well as the Tābi’īn after them has been such that they [permitted] the wiping over the socks; there is no difference amongst them in it.” [10]

6. Jamāl ad-Dīn al-Qāsimī said, “This issue, the issue of wiping over the fabric socks, is well known amongst the famous scholars of Fiqh; it has been legislated by the narrated aḥādīth; it is the way of the Companions, Tābi’īn, the scholars of ijithād and all of the narrators of aḥādīth” [11]

Conditions of wiping over fabric socks

1. A person should be in a state of purity, having performed wudū or ghusl, and washing the feet, prior to wearing socks.

2. The socks must reach and cover the ankles.

3. They must be thick socks and not see through. If there are is a small hole(s), then this can be permissible due to it being very common.

4. The period allowed for wiping over them should be no longer than a day and night for a resident person, and three days and nights for a traveller. [12]

All praises belong to Allāh; May the peace and blessings of Allāh be upon the Prophet and all those who adhere to his guidance.

Written by the one in need of Allāh:

Abul Abbaas Naveed Ayaaz
Nelson, Lancashire, UK
15th Shawwaal, 1434h
23rd August, 2013


[1] This aspect of the Sharī’ah – ease and applicability – has very much come to the forefront in recent times, where some people have used – or misused – it in order to establish that which has no basis in the Sharī’ah. Examples of such rulings are allowing women to remove their ḥijāb, dealing in ribā (interest-based) transactions and in general allowing people to leave the obligations of Islām.

[2] Ibn Daqīq al-Eīd; Iḥkām al-Aḥkām; Vol. 1 P.113.

[3] An-Nawawi; Sharḥ Saḥīḥ Muslim; Vol. 3 P. 61.

[4] Narrated by Mughīrah bin Shu’bah; compiled by al-Bukhārī (No. 206) & Muslim (No. 274).

[5]  Narrated by Thawbān; Collected by Abū Dawūd; No. 146.

[6] Narrated by Mughīrah bin Shu’bah; Compiled by Abū Dawūd, at-Tirmidhī, an-Nasāī and Ibn Mājah; Authenticated by Albānī in al-Irwā; P. 101

[7] Refer to: Majmū’ fatāwa wa rasāil ibn ‘Uthaymīn Vol 11.

[8] Narrated by Aws ibn Abī Aws ath-Thaqafī; Collected by Abū Dawūd; Authenticated by Albāni in “al-Masḥ ‘alā al-Jawrabayn” by Al-Qāsimī.

[9] Narrated by Ibn Umar; Collected by Al-Bayhaqi in al-Kubrā and Ibn Khuzaymah in Saḥīḥ; Authenticated by Albāni.

[10] Ishāq ibn Rahawayh; Mentioned in al-Muḥalla of Ibn Ḥazm; Vol. 2 P. 118.

[11] Jamāl ad-Dīn Al-Qāsimī; al-masḥ ‘alā al-Jawrabayn; P. 18.

[12] These conditions were mentioned by Shaykh Ibn Bāz. This has been translated from the following: http://www.binbaz.org.sa/mat/4307.


He is a graduate of the Islaamic University of Madeenah, having graduated from the Institute of Arabic Language, and later the Faculty of Sharee'ah in 2010. He currently resides in Nelson, Lancashire and is the Imam of Masijd Sunnah.

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