Rafed English

The wiping on the slippers and socks

The jurists of Islam have differed greatly on the [question of] wiping on slippers and socks, [differences] which can not be covered in this haste. In short, the discussion on it is connected with the question of its permissibility and non-permissibility and on limiting and defining its position. It [also] pertains to its characteristics, its timing, its prerequisites and [on what] destroys it.

As for it being permissible, there are three views:

1) Always allowed whether one is travelling or at home.
2) Permissible when travelling, not when at home.
3) Not allowed at all as it has not been regulated in religion. The three views are narrated from the first generation and from Malik.

As for defining its position, they have also differed on it. There are those who say that it is obligatory to wipe the upper part [of the slipper] and that the wiping on the lower part is recommended. [Others] state that it is obligatory to wipe the outer and the inner parts. The third view is that it is obligatory to wipe the outer rather than the inner part, for the wiping of the inner part is neither obligatory nor recommended. There are those who say that one can choose between wiping the inner and the upper part, whichever you wipe becomes obligatory.

As for the type of position, those who say [it is necessary] to wipe on the slippers have differed on the wiping on the socks, some have allowed it others have disallowed it.

As for the description of the slipper, they have differed on the [permissibility] of wiping on torn slippers. Some have allowed wiping on it as long as it can [still] be called a slipper even if it's tear is excessive. Amongst them are those who have not allowed the front part of the slipper to be torn whereby the foot, however little, may be visible. Some of them have allowed wiping on it provided the tear is little.

As for it's timing, they have disagreed on it [too]. Some have said there is no time [fixed] for it and that the wearer of the slippers can wipe on them as long as he has not removed them or he has not become ritually impure. Some have stated that there is a special time for that (the mash) for those at home, those travelling have a different time, they have also differed on the description of a journey and [definition] of the distance.

As for the conditions of wiping on the slippers, it is that when wearing the slippers the feet must be pure by performing the ritual ablution (wudu). This is a condition which most of them have imposed. However, it has been narrated from Malik that this is not a condition. They have disagreed on the question of one who has washed his feet, worn his slippers and then completed his wudu; is his washing of the feet sufficient for him before he wears them or must he wipe them? They have two views on this.

As for different [things] peaking the [act of] wiping, one of them is the removal of the slippers. A group has stated that the purity remains if he removes the slippers until something which peaks the ablution occurs, he does not have to wash his feet. Others have said that his purity is poken by his mere removal of the slippers. Others still have said that his purity remains if he washes his feet after removing his slippers. If he prays without washing them then he has to repeat the prayer after washing them. [They have] other differing views and contradictory verdicts on that which pertain to the wiping on the slippers, it is not our intention to discuss the details now.

As for the Imamis, following their predecessors - following the Imams of the pure family - [their view] is that they do not allow the wiping on the slippers, whether that be at home or on a journey. For our proof, the saying of the Almighty is sufficient. He said: "And wipe your heads and feet to the anklebones." This [verse] imposes the obligation of wiping on the feet themselves. Where did the wiping on the slippers come from? Has this verse been apogated? Or is it ambiguous? Never, on the contrary - and this is unanimously agreed upon - it is amongst the unambiguous verses which are [part of] the mother of the book. The exegetes are agreed that there is no apogation in the chapter of Ma'ida (chapter 5) which includes the verse on the wudu except for one verse "O you who believe, do not violate the sanctity of the symbols of God (5:2)." Some of them have claimed that it, not other verses of the blessed chapter, have been apogated.

As for the traditions which indicate the permissibility of wiping on the slippers, they do not prove anything according to our conditions. We have shown their weaknesses. Additionally there are [other] considerations:

1) They are opposed to the book of God, the Almighty and Glorious. It has been reported from the Prophet of God (P) that he said: "If a hadith is reported to you from me then compare it with the book of God. If it agrees to it then accept it, otherwise reject it."

2) They (the traditions) contradict themselves, therefore many differences have arisen amongst those authenticating them, acting on what they require, as you have noted. What we have indicated recently is that they have differed on their verdicts as they (the traditions) contradict themselves since they are the sources for their (the jurists') rulings.

3) The consensus of the Imams of the pure family ('Ali and his sons, the legatees) on the ruling of not permitting the mash (wiping) on any obstacle whether it be [in the form of] slippers, socks and shoes or other types [of materials], their traditions clearly contradict the traditions of the masses which indicate the permissibility of doing so. The ruling that is established concerning contradictory traditions is to prefer what agrees with the book of God, the Almighty, Glorious. This applies if they are equal as regards to their isnad and proofs. How can the weighty [thing] from the Prophet of God (P), the other half of the book of God, the most High, the ships of salvation of the umma and the door of [reducing the] burden of it's sins and its [the umma's] safety from differences be equal [to these traditions]?

4) If this [wiping on the slippers] was true, then it would have been successively transmitted at all times and places. This is because the need to know the purity of the feet in the wudu is a general one - as we have said before - for the men and women of the umma. It is a basic need for them every day and night whether they are at home or on a journey. If the verse meant "not wiping" then those abiding by the shari'a would have known it at the time of Prophecy and after it. It would have been an established thing amongst them in all generations especially as it is coming in devotional worship whose meaning is not rationally derived. [The fact that] it is alien to the act of worship would necessitate it being well-known due to its strangeness. Since the matter is not so, the weakness of these invalid and baseless traditions becomes clear to us.

5) Assuming that this [wiping on the slippers] is correct, there should have been an apogating [verse] to the verse of al-Ma'ida, since this is the last chapter that was revealed. By it, Allah perfected His religion and completed His blessings and He was pleased with Islam as His religion. Its obligations are obligatory to the day of resurrection; its prohibitions are forbidden to the day of resurrection. Just as the mother of the faithful, 'A'isha, said to Jubayr b. Nafir - when he performed the pilgrimage and visited her - "O Jubayr, do you recite the Ma'ida?" He said: "Yes." She said: "It is the last chapter which has been revealed, what you find permitted in it then consider it as halal, what you find forbidden in it then prohibit it."

The masses stubbornly cling to the ruling of mash on the slippers [even] after its revelation due to the hadith of Jarir: He urinated, then he performed the ablution and wiped on his slippers. It was said to him: "Do you do this?" He said: "Yes, I saw the Prophet of God (P) urinating and then performing the ablution and wiping on his slippers." Muslim reported it and he also reported that this hadith surprised them because the conversion of Jarir was after the revelation of the Ma'ida.

I say: On the contrary, his conversion was before the revelation of the Ma'ida. The proof of this is his presence at the farewell pilgrimage with the Prophet of God. He (P) asked him on that day - as is in the biographical profiles of al-Isaba, reporting from the two Sahihs - that he should ask the people to hear [the sermon]. So his conversion must have occurred before that pilgrimage, and the revelation of the Ma'ida certainly did not occur before that.

Furthermore, al-Tapani reported from Jarir - as reported in the profile of al-Isaba - he said: "The Prophet of God (P) said: 'Your pother al-Najashi has died.'" The death of al-Najashi occurred before the revelation of al-Ma'ida for there is no doubt that he died before 10 A.H.

Al-Qastalani has another strange stubbornness: He says - about wiping on the slippers - the mash is not apogated by the hadith of al-Mughira. The Prophet's (P) wiping on his slippers is clear in the battle of Tabuk and it was his last battle and the Ma'ida was revealed before it during the expedition of al-Marisi'.

I say: The expedition of al-Marisi' was also the expedition of the Banu Mustaliq, they occurred on the second night of Sha'ban in the fifth year, some say in the fourth year as is [reported] by al-Bukhari from Ibn 'Uqba. Al-Nawawi also followed this in his al-Rawda. It has been said that it occurred in 6 A.H. After it, sura al-Ma'ida and many other chapters were revealed. The verse on tayammum was revealed during it (the expedition). This is the saying of the most High in sura al-Nisa' (chapter 4): "If you are sick or on a journey or if you go for a call of nature or if you have gone into your women and you do not find any water then perform the tayammum on pure earth and wipe on your faces and hands, God is most forgiving, kind (4:43)."

The report on this is established from 'A'isha, it is reported by al-Wahidi in his book [entitled] Asbab al-Nuzul (occasions of revelations), so refer to it so that you are sure that al-Qastalani mistook the verse on ablution with the verse on tayammum. Moreover, we do not depend on al-Mughira and Jarir, soon you will know what we have discovered about al-Mughira. Jarir had behaved with the legatees (of the Prophet of God) in a manner which makes us doubt about him too.

6) The mother of the faithful 'A'isha - despite her status with the sunna and her astuteness and despite her location where revelation descended and was legislated - would strictly forbid the wiping on the slippers. Ibn 'Abbas - he was the scribe of the umma and the receptacle of the book and sunna, this cannot be denied - was also amongst those who severely refuted it. Both of them refuted it to the utmost possible degree. Why don't you examine her statements with me? [She said] "Because cutting my feet is more beloved to me than wiping on the slippers." He (Ibn 'Abbas) said: "Wiping on the skin of a donkey is more beloved to me than wiping on the slippers."

Can you reconcile this form of rejection with those traditions? Never, given her status, they can never be reconciled. If these are the statements reported orally from her, by those who know the lean and fat [of traditions], how is it possible for us to rely on them given our remote distance from them (the traditions) over centuries and generations?

One who examines, without prejudices, the repudiation [of mash] by those close to the Prophet of God (S.A.W.) like his wife and his cousin and all the guided leaders from his family, he would be compelled to doubt those traditions.

From this, you will know that the claim that they (the traditions on wiping on the slippers) have been successively transmitted is extravagant and [mere] speculation. Can they reach the level of tawatur (i.e. successively transmitted by many chains of authority) whilst these pious notables be ignorant? Or are they ignorant of the traditions? Glory be to you, this is a great accusation.

If they were successively transmitted, then 'Abd Allah b. 'Umar would not have refuted them nor would Imam Malik in one of the two traditions reported from him, nor would any other upright, upright believing predecessor refute it.

Those who have done complete injustice have said: "I fear unbelief for one who does not wipe on his slippers." It has been seen that the mash on the slippers is not a part of religion, nor is it amongst the essentials of it's derivatives nor is it something which the book has imposed nor is it - by the consensus of the umma - what the sunna has made obligatory. Rather, it is merely a dispensation for a part of the Muslim community. Is there any blame for one who does not practise it [acting instead] in accordance with what the verse on wudu has imposed? The people of the qibla have agreed on the correctness of the acts which it (the verse) dictates and have agreed on the permissibility of the prayer by that. On the other hand, the correctness of the wudu, the removal of uncleanness and the permissibility of prayer by it (i.e. by wiping on the slippers) is a point of dispute between the Muslims. Can disbelief be feared from one who observes caution? What is your view of 'A'isha, 'Ali, Ibn 'Abbas and all the ahl al-bayt since they did not observe the wiping on the slippers, O Muslims?

Adapted from: "Questions on Jurisprudence" by: "Abdul Hussein Shareefaldin Al-Musawi"

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