Masah on Regular Socks

By Mufti Ebrahim Desai

Q.) Is it obligatory to have a leather sock to do the masah while making wudu? What are the conditions for masah on the socks to be permissible?

A.) We have referred to the chapter of masah in Fiqh-us-sunnah of Sayyid Saabiq - Darul Kitaab Arabi edition and noted Ibn Taymiya's opinion. Being a mujtahid, he had the right and authority to derive his own conclusions. However, his conclusion on making masah on regular socks is contrary to the view of the majority of scholars. Ibn Taymiya based his conclusion on a Hadith wherein it is stated that Rasulullah, Sall-Allahu alayhi wa sallam, made masah on jawrabayn. Jawrabayn is a covering for the feet similar to leather socks. (Shaami vol.197). Therefore, Allama Shaami explains that, Kirbaas (rough cotton) woolen socks, silk socks are excluded from the category of jawrabayn (Ibid). According to the Hanafi school, Imam Muhammad and Abu Yusuf are of the opinion that masah on jawrabayn is permissible if they are thick. Allama Shaami comments on 'thick' as;

a) Be able to walk three miles (without tearing).

b) Remain self supportive and upright on the lower part of the leg.

c) Being non-transparent so that water too cannot seep through.

Since these three conditions are not found in regular socks, therefore, masah on regular socks is unlike masah on thick jawrabayn. Imam Abu Hanifa's difference was never on leather socks but on jawrabayn. Initially, he was not of the opinion of making masah on jawrabayn. Only 3 or 7 days before his death, he made masah on jawrabayn, not on cotton socks. (Fiqh-us-sunnah vol. 1 p. 61) And Allah Ta„la Knows Best.