The practicalities of performing wudu ready for Salah can be pretty awkward at times.
How do you explain to your workmates why you have your feet in the sink?
Perhaps wherever you are performing ablution doesn’t lend itself to washing your feet ready for prayer?
Make it easy on yourself.
It is permissible to wipe over your socks when performing wudu. This means that you don’t have to take your socks off and wash your feet each time you perform wudu, you can wipe over the socks with your wet fingers instead.
A word of warning though, the socks cannot be any old socks – there are conditions put in place for which sort of socks can be wiped over.
Khuffs are leather socks which can be wiped over when performing wudu. All the other elements of wudu are carried out as normal but, instead of washing your feet, you wipe over the socks with your wet fingers.
You can also wear thick, waterproof socks that have been approved for the purpose and which meet the conditions required. Typical of these are the “Sealskinz” trademark socks available in the UK.
Wiping over the socks is Sunnah – it is something that the Prophet ﷺ used to do – and so is permissible.
Perhaps the idea of wearing cloth socks is more appealing and “normal” and you won’t get the funny looks you may get when people see you wearing leather socks – because you still have to remove your shoes to wipe over the socks.
But leather khuffs are surprisingly comfortable and warm to wear and I would recommend that you at least give them a try sometime. They are also closer to the sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ as he used to wear leather khuffs.
You will be surprised at how much easier life becomes when you can wipe over your socks.
There is also the added advantage that you may wear these socks for an extended period of time, before having to remove them to perform normal wudu. Twenty four hours for normal daily wear and three days if you are travelling – though you don’t have to keep them on for all that time, you can remove them and perform full wudu as normal.
What do these socks look like ? Here are some leather kuffs …
You can pick a pair up in the UK for under £10.
“Sealskinz” socks are more expensive and you may pair around £20 to £30 for a pair in the UK. They will also wear out and, once there is a hole in them, they are no longer waterproof and permissible.
Remember … wiping over just normal, everyday cotton socks is not allowed.
Here are the rules which make socks okay to wipe over …
- the socks must be strong enough to enable walking in them for approximately three miles on roads without tearing
- the socks should remain in position without being tied
- water must not be able to seep through
- the socks must not be transparent or semi-transparent
Here are the rules regarding maintaining wudu when wearing kuffs …
- to be valid, the khuffs must be donned once a complete wudu has been made
- if wudu then breaks, it is then permissible to wipe over the khuffs if within the allowed time frame
- one who is not a traveller i.e. in normal conditions, may carry out wiping off the socks for a period of 24 hours
- one who is classed as a “traveller” may perform wiping of the socks for a period of 72 hours
- the period of 24 or 72 hours is reckoned from when wudu first breaks after putting on the khuffs
- if the socks are removed during the 24 or 72 hours, then a complete ablution – including washing of the feet must be carried out
And here are the rules for performing the wiping over the socks …
- the right hand should be used for the right sock, the left hand for the left sock
- draw the fingers of the hand on the upper surface of the khuffs, starting at the toes and ending at the foreleg (just above the ankle)
- this should be done once only on each sock
- it is not permissible to wipe the sides or under surface of the socks, only the top
- the extent of three full fingers should be drawn over the sock
This wiping over of the socks is called Masah.
If Ghusl – a full ablution in a bath/shower – becomes compulsory then Masah is not permissable, the socks have to be removed and the feet washed.
If water enters the khuff, wetting more than half the foot, then both khuffs must be removed and the feet washed.