Sunday, 15 April 2007

Masah On Leather Socks

There is a unanimous decision on the permissibility of passing wet hands (masah) on leather socks for Wudhu (Ablution).

Imam Bukhari RA relates the following Hadith in his Sahih on the authority of Sa'ad bin Abi Waqqas RA regarding the Prophet SAW that he passed wet hands over his leather socks.

Abdullah ibn Umar RA regarding it responded by saying:

"Whenever Sa'ad narrates a Hadith from the Prophet (SAW), there is no need to refer to anyone else."

Also on the authority of Amr ibn Umaiyyah RA, he says:

"I saw the Prophet SAW passing wet hands over his turban and also his leather socks."

It is related by Muqaira ibn Shu'ba RA:

"Once I was in the blessed company of the Prophet SAW on a journey and I asked to take off his leather socks. He ordered me to leave them as he had put them on after performing ablution. So he passed his wet hands over them."

The above mentioned Ahadith, the fact that they are all Sahih (authentic) imply that there is no doubt in it being the Sunnah of the Prophet Muhammad SAW.

Imam Abu Hanifah RA is reported to have said concerning one who doesn't believe Masah as being permitted, as an Innovator, rather, some renowned scholars such as Imam Karkhi RA have gone to the extent saying that the Ahadith regarding the passing of wet hands on leather socks number over forty and according to the great Tabi'i Hasan Basri RA, they number over sixty and therefore reached the status of Tawatur (manifestly proven saying of the Prophet SAW) and henceforth whoever refuses to believe in its permissibility would be out of the fold of Islam !

Once, Imam Abu Hanifah RA was questioned about the qualities of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jamaah.

He answered by describing them with striking questions.

1. They give precedence to Shaykhayn i.e Abu Bakr RA and Umar RA over the rest of the companions.

2. They have the two son in-laws (RA) of the Prophet SAW; and

3. They believe in the passing of wet hands over leather socks.

Hence apart from the Shi'ah and Rawafidh sects, there is a complete unity in its permissibility. However that is regarding leather socks. The Mas'alah is similar concerning Jawrabayn (normal, cotton or woollen socks) with a few necessary conditions.

All four Imams are of this opinion due to the following Ahadith narrated by Tirmidhi and also Abu Dawud on the authority of Muqaira ibn Shu'ba RA that the Prophet SAW performed ablution and passed wet hands on cotton socks with his sandals (also his feet).

Abu Musa Asha'ari RA relates a Hadith from Bilal bin Rabah RA saying that Rasullullah SAW used to pass wet hands on both his leather and cotton socks. From these Ahadith, we understand that the passing of wet hands on socks but only if three conditions are fulfilled.

There is consensus between the Sahabah RA and therefore the Four Imams say that these conditions must be fulfilled, otherwise the masah will not be valid. The reason being is, so that these socks become similar in quality and properties to leather socks.

Famous companions of Rasulullah SAW such as Abdullah ibn Mas'ud RA, Bara'ah RA and others have all mentioned these conditions.

These conditions are as follows:

1. They must be thick so that water does not enter them.

2. They must not tear if they were walked in for a mile.

3. They must stay stuck to the feet without being tied.

When these conditions are not fulfilled, then there will be hardly any difference in wearing socks and not wearing them and therefore washing the feet will become necessary.

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