[By Majlisul Ulama]
Masah alal Khuffain is an act of ibaadat ordered by the Shariah. Just as all acts of ibaadat have their requisite conditions (Shuroot) for their validity, so too does Masah alal Khuffain have Shar’i conditions for its validity. An ibaadat is not valid if its conditions are not observed.
Masah means to wipe or rub. Khuffain are a special kind of socks made of leather. The act of lightly wiping the wet hand over the khuffain is called Masah.
Ghair Muqallideen (those who have renounced the Taqleed of the Four Math-habs of the Ahlus Sunnah Wal Jama’ah) among whom is the sect known as Salafis, have completely distorted the Shariah’s Ahkaam (rules) pertaining to this ibaadat. Notorious for their taqleed (blind following) of their desires, these Ghair Muqallideen have discarded the Shuroot which are necessary for the validity of Masah. They therefore claim that masah on ordinary conventional cotton, woollen and nylon socks is valid.
Purely on the basis of their personal opinion have they refuted the fourteen century old Ijmaa-ee (on which there is Consensus) Ruling of the Shariah which specifies a particular type of sock for the validity of Masah. The opinion of the Salafis is in conflict with the unanimous Ruling of the Four Math-habs —in other words, in conflict with Islam – its Shariah and the Sunnah of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Besides personal opinion, they have no Shar’i Dalaail (Proofs of the Shariah) for their baseless opinion.
The Salafis claim that they are following the Sunnah. To bolster a view, they will cite some Hadith. Their fundamental error is that they submit the Hadith to their personal opinion. But personal interpretation and opinion which conflict with the Interpretation which has been transmitted authentically down the centuries from the age of the Sahaabah and the Taabieen or from the Khairul Quroon (the Three Noblest Ages of Islam), overrides all opinions and interpretations.
Masah alal Khuffain has to be viewed in the light of the Rulings of the Fuqaha (Jurists) of the Ummah from the earliest times, not in terms of the opinions of non-entities who have popped up in this era which is so far away from the Age of Risaalat (the age of the Nabi – sallallaahu alayhi wasallam), and so close in proximity to Qiyaamah.
This discussion will, In sha’Allah, set out the Proofs of the Shariah for its Law pertaining to Masah on special socks called Khuffain.
The Meaning of Masah Alal Khuffain
According to the Shariah, Masah Alal Khuffain means to pass the wet hand over a special type of sock in which are found several conditions.
The following are the necessary conditions of the special type of sock for the validity of masah:
(1) The socks must cover the entire foot including the ankles.
(2) The socks should be of such durable material that walking in them without shoes is possible for more than three miles without the socks tearing. This is the Hanafi ruling. According to the Shaafi Math-hab, the khuffain should be sufficiently durable to walk for three days and three nights. Although the Maaliki Math-hab does not stipulate walking distance, it stipulates that the material must be leather which obviously satisfies the condition of the other Math-habs. According to the Hambali Math-hab, continuous walking is not a condition. The durability of the sock is left to Urf (Popular custom). If according to the prevalent custom the socks is strong enough for walking, i.e. walking without shoes, it will be valid for masah otherwise not.
From the description of the khuffain given by the Four Math-habs, it is obvious that there is consensus on the fact that the socks are of a special type in which walking without shoes is possible without the socks tearing. The normal socks worn in this day lack in this quality.
This second shart (condition) is thus not to be found in woollen, cotton and nylon socks.
• The socks must be rigid enough to be able to remain intact on the leg without tying with laces/string. If the socks slides down while walking as do ordinary socks, masah thereon is not valid.
• The socks should be impervious, i.e. water should not be able to seep through as it would in the case of ordinary socks.
• The foot should not be visible through the socks.
The significance of these conditions can be better understood from the stringent condition imposed by Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh). According to him, the khuffain must necessarily be of leather. Masah is not valid on khuffain of any material besides leather even if the conditions which are found in leather khuffain do exist in khuffain of other materials. This is the stringent requirement of the Maaliki Math- hab. The other three Math-habs too have their stringent requirements for the validity of masah.
The illustrious Fuqaha and Imaams of the Math-habs were Men of Knowledge of the Khairul Quroon. Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) commanding honour and obedience to them, said: “Honour my Sahaabah, for verily they are the noblest of you, then those who come after them (the Taabieen), then those after them (the Tab-e-Taabieen). ”
It is inconceivable that these illustrious authorities of the Shariah of the Khairul Quroon who had all unanimously based the validity of Masah Alal Khuffain on several conditions had violated the Sunnah in so doing. Such is the opinion of the ignoramuses of this age who submit the Ahaadith to their whimsical desires and corrupt opinion.
The Authorities — the illustrious Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen – did not glean their masaail (rules) from Hadith Books compiled a couple of centuries after Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). They acquired their Ilm first hand from the Sahaabah and the Students of the Sahaabah. The ludicrous opinions of the Ghair Muqallideen of this age in which we are, cannot override the fourteen century Practice of the Ummah —a Practice acquired from the highest ranking Authorities of Islam-the Sahaabah and the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen.
No Muslim stands in need of profound knowledge not a high grade of intelligence to understand that any opinion or idea which develops in this age and which is in conflict of the Laws of Islam which have been transmitted by authentic narration from the earliest age of this Deen, can never be part of the Shariah. The Deen was perfected in the very age of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). The Qur’aan and the Sunnah cannot be subjected to the interpretation of the men of this age.
It is the height of folly for people -these Ghair Muqallideen —in this era to cite a Hadith in substantiation of their fallacies, and to then aver that the Aimmah and Fuqaha of the entire Ummah have erred in the rulings which they had issued fourteen centuries ago. For correct comprehension of the masaa-il of the Shariah when viewing these laws in the light of the Ahaadith contained in the later compilations of Hadith Kutub such as Bukhaari, Muslim, Abu Dawood, etc., it is essential to understand that the Aimmah Mujtahideen who were the first Students of the Sahaabah were the greatest Authorities of Hadith, not Imaam Bukhaari, Imaam Muslim, and others (rahmatullah alayhim). The Aimmah Fuqaha by virtue of their investiture as Authorities of the Shariah by the Sahaabah (radhiyallahu anhum) formulated the masaa-il on the basis of the authentic Ahaadith they acquired from the Sahaabah and the Students of the Sahaabah. These Authorities of the Shariah did not have to wait to be resurrected from their graves until the compilation of the Hadith books in the third century of the Islamic era, to enable them to systematically formulate and codify the Laws of Islam, i.e. the Shariah, for the eternal benefit of posterity.
When the Ahkaam (Laws and Rules) of the Shariah had no need to wait for the advent of the great Muhadditheen such as Imaam Bukhaari and Imaam Muslim (rahmatullah alayhima), then it will indeed be folly and insanity Islamically speaking to even suggest (as the Salafi doctrine implies) that there was a need to wait fourteen hundred years for the likes of Al-Albaani (the Salafi Imaam of this century) to surface on earth to rectify the “errors of exposition” presented by the Students of the Sahaabah (the Aimmah). For such ludicrous averments, there is the following Qur’aanic response:
“When the jaahiloon address them (the Mu ‘mineen), they say: ‘Salaam’. “We do not follow the ignoramuses.”
THE BASIS FOR MASAH ALAL KHUFFAIN
The act of Masah Alal Khuffain is in conflict with rational reasoning. The true and actual cleaner and purifier is only water, hence Tahaarat (Purification from ceremonial impurities) is achieved only by the use of water and not by any other liquid whatsoever. Thus, wudhu and ghusl are not valid with any type of juice or clean (taahir) liquid. Even if such liquid has the property of cleansing an item of its physical impurities.
Masah is in conflict with reason because this act does not literally clean just as sand in Tayammum is in conflict with reason because it does not purify/clean as water does. In terms of the principles of the Shariah, any Shar’i Hukm which is in conflict with Qiyaas (Analogical and rational reasoning) may not be extended to any other act of ibaadat. It shall be confined to its Maurad (i.e. the original act of ibaadat specified by the Shariah). An ‘irrational’ law commanded by the Qur’aan or Ahaadith-e-Mutawaatarah for a particular occasion or act may not be extended to other actions on the basis of the Shariah’s process of Analogical Reasoning (Qiyaas).
This will be illustrated by means of an example. Consider the Shariah’s mas’alah (according to the Hanafi Math-hab) of the breaking of Wudhu by loud laughter. If the musalli laughs aloud during Salaat, it nullifies both his Salaat and Wudhu. The first effect, i.e. of Salaat breaking is rational and understandable. But the second effect, namely, breaking of Wudhu, is incomprehensible at face value, and is in conflict with rational reasoning because when a person laughs aloud, no impurity emerges from his body. Since only the emergence of impurity nullifies Wudhu, the ruling of Wudhu breaking by loud laughter is ‘illogic’.
However, since this is the Ruling of the Shariah, we cast aside our reasoning and our logic and submit in obedience to the command of the Shariah because this is the Command of Allah Ta’ala. We confine this ruling to only Salaat. That is, loud laughter will break Wudhu only if the act is committed during Salaat. Hence if someone laughs when he is not in Salaat, such laughter will not break Wudhu.
From this it will be understood that one of the conditions for the validity of Qiyaas-e-Shar’i (The Analogical process of deduction of masaa’il of the Shariah) is that the original basis, called Maqees Alayh, should not be in conflict with Qiyaas.
Now consider the act of Masah Alal Khuffain. Masah on khuffain in lieu of washing the feet commanded by the Qur’aan is ‘illogic’, It is in conflict with ‘rational’ understanding or Qiyaas. Passing a moist hand on top of the khuffain does not, to our understanding, perform the same function as washing the feet thoroughly with water. In fact, the Shariah emphasises washing with water to such a degree that even if a millimetre remains dry on any part washed in Wudhu, then the Wudhu will not be valid. But in the case of Masah, both feet in entirety are left unwashed and dry. The Shariah proclaims the act of Masah an adequate substitute for washing the feet.
Since the act of Masah Alal Khuffain came into force in total conflict with ‘rational’ reasoning and in conflict with Nass-e-Qat’i, i.e. the Qur’aanic verse commanding washing of the feet, it will be confined to its Maurad, i.e. KHUFFAIN. It is haraam and baatil to extend it to any other substratum such as ordinary socks. Khuffain in the unanimous exposition of the Authorities of the Ummah are only leather socks.
For the unacquainted minds there is a need to further explain this mas’alah lest ignorance constrains people to conclude that the act of Masah Alal Khuffain itself is unlawful in view of its conflict with the Qur’aanic aayat commanding washing of the feet. The highest category of Hadith narrations is termed Ahaadith-e-Mutawaatarah. Ahaadith of this classification are on par with Qur’aanic verses. A Qur’aanic injunction can be adequately and correctly explained, restricted and extended on the basis of such Ahaadith. There is absolutely no difference of opinion among any of the authorities of the Shariah right from the time of the Sahaabah on this issue.
The act of Masah Alal Khuffain is based on Ahaadith-e-Mutawaatarah, hence its Mashrooiyyat (it being an order of the Shariah). If Ahaadith-e-Mutawaatarah had not existed on the permissibility of Masah Alal Khuffain, then it would never have been lawful to legalize this act in lieu of washing the feet which is commanded by the Qur’aan.
In terms of the principles of the Shariah as explained above, it is not permissible or valid to transfer this permissibility of Masah to any item other than Khuffain because the original Hukm is in conflict with Qiyaas. It has to be restricted to Khuffain which are leather socks. It is precisely for this reason that Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh) rigidly maintains that masah is not valid on any type of socks besides leather socks even if any other type of socks have the qualities of leather socks. And, both Imaam Maalik and Imaam Shaafi (rahmatullah alayhima) rule that even if Thakheen socks have leather sewn around them, then too masah on them is not valid.
Thakheen are such heavy woollen socks which have all the attributes of leather. They are not the normal processed and ‘refined’ woollen socks available nowadays in the modern world. According to the majority of Hanafi Fuqaha, masah on Thakheen is valid because such socks are in the very same category as Khuffain. The validity of Masah on Thakeen is dependent on the following conditions:
• It is possible to walk in them for more than three miles without them tearing. The walking is without shoes on.
• They must be non-porous preventing water seeping through.
• They must remain firm on the foreleg without being tied with laces, elastic, etc. They should not slip down while walking as ordinary socks do.
If the socks are of this standard, having all the properties of Khuffain (leather socks), then according to the Ahnaaf they are in fact in the same category as leather socks, hence it is not a question of transferring the hukm of masah to an item which does not comply with the Maurad (the khuffain) mentioned in the Nass (Ahaadith-e-Mutawaatarah).
The only difference of opinion among the Shariah’s illustrious Authorities on this question relates to such socks which are in the category of Khuffain. There is absolutely no difference of opinion on the prohibition of masah on ordinary socks on which the modernist Salafis and Ghair Muqallideen make masah to appease their nafs (lowly desires and fancies). They have adopted the practice of masah on ordinary socks on the basis of their weird and fallacious nafsaani opinion, and on nothing else. They have absolutely no Hadith support for the fallacy propagated by their imam of this century.
The Authority, Jassaas (rahmatullah alayh), in Ahkaamul Qur’aan, encapsulates this discussion as follows:
“The actual basis is that the purport of the Aayat (of Wudhu) is washing which is proven (by Nass-e-Qat’i), If it were not for the Ahaadith-e-Mutawaatarah narrated from the Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) regarding Masah alal Khuffain, we would not have made lawful Masah. Since authentic Ahaadith (of the Mutawaatir class) have been narrated we utilized it as proof for its (i.e. the masah’s) employment (and validity), and we used it in conformity with the aayat in that it covers the exigency of masah (by virtue of the Ahaadith). And, we left the balance (of the narrations which are not Mutawaatar) on the basis of the aayat’s command. Since the narrations of masah on jurabain (non-leather socks have not been narrated to the extent of the narrations of masah on khuffain, we retained the hukm of washing on the maurad of the aayat, (i.e. washing of the feet).”
Jurabain are non-leather socks of wool, cotton or any other cloth. There are some narrations which mention masah on jurabain. However, these narrations are not of the Mutawaatar class, hence may not be cited to override or water down a command by the Qur’aan. Nevertheless, an explanation for masah on jurabain mentioned in some Ahaadith is necessary to dispel the confusion created by the Ghair Muqallideen. Firstly, there is not a single Authority among the Salf-e-Saaliheen (the illustrious and pious predecessors of the Khairul Quroon era) who claims that masah on ordinary socks is valid notwithstanding the Hadith narrations which mention masah on Jurabain. The Authorities of those early ages had more awareness of the meaning of jurabain in the context of masah. Those authorities who hold the view of the validity of masah on jurabain, do not say that masah is valid on just any type of socks such as the socks we have in our day. According to them, if the jurabain are covered with leather, then masah on them is valid. In this regard it is necessary to explain in some detail for a proper understanding.
In Ahkaamul Qur’aan, Jassaas says: “They (the Fuqaha) differed on the question of masal alah jurabain. According to Imaam Abu Hanifah and Imaam Shaafi (rahmatullah alayhima) masah on jurabain is not permissible except if they are mujallad (i.e. leather sewn over them). Tahaawi narrates from ImaamMaalik (rahmatullah alayh) that masah on jurabain is not valid even if they are mujalladain (on which leather has been sewn). Some of the Companions of Imaam Maalik narrate that according to him, masah on jurabain is not permissible except that they be mujalladain like khuffain. Thauri, Abu Yusuf, Muhammad and Hasan Ibn Saalih (rahmatullah alayhim) said that if the jurabain are thakheenain, then masah on them is valid even if they are not mujalladain.” (We have already explained the meaning of Thakheen earlier.)
THE KINDS OF JURRAAB (NON-LEATHER SOCKS)
There are firstly two types of jurraab or socks made of a material other than leather, such as woollen, cotton or nylon socks. The two kinds are called: Thakheen and Raqeeq.
In the terminology of the Fuqaha, Thakheen are socks of such durable and tough material which renders them khuffain for all practical purposes, We have already explained the properties of Thakheen earlier on.
According to Imaam Maalik’s one view masah on jurabain is not valid even if they are Thakheen and even if leather is sewn on them. In another view, he avers that masah will be valid on socks of the Thakheen kind if leather is sewn on them, for then they will in reality bo khuffain. According to Imaam Shaafi, masah will be valid on Thakheen socks only if leather is sewn on them. In the view of the Hanafi and Hambali Math-habs, masah is valid on Thakheen socks even if leather is not sewn on them, i.e. they are Mujalladain.
Non-leather socks in which the properties of Thakheen socks are not found, are called Raqeeq in the terminology of the Fuqaha. Not a single Authority of the Shariah holds the view of validity of masah on Raqeeq socks. The only miscreants who hold this view are the Ghair Muqallideen of this age. How can Muslims even offer any consideration to a view which has absolutely no support in the Shariah? From the time of the Sahaabah, it was always the mas’alah that masah on Raqeeq (non-leather socks not of the Thakheen type) was never permissible.
The deviate Salafis, making taqleed (blind following) of their 20 th century imam, Al-AIbaani, cite the narrations of several Sahaabah who had made masah on Jurabain. Grabbing these narrations, they legalized masah on ordinary woollen, cotton and nylon socks Inspite of the fact that all the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen who were fully aware of the Ahaadith pertaining to masah on Jurabain did not accept the validity of masah on just any socks. All of them stipulated certain properties to be found in the Jurabain for the masah to be valid. These properties have already been explained earlier on in this discussion,
The Salafis attempt to confuse ignorant and unwary Muslims on the issue of Jurabain. They peddle the idea that ordinary socks are the same as the Jurabain on which the Sahaabah would make masah. But the explanation and interpretation of Jurabain given by all Authorities of the Shariah, and their unanimous ruling make it abundantly clear that masah on ordinary socks is not valid since these socks are not the kind of Jurabain on which the Sahaabah would make masah..
MUJALLAD AND MUNA’AL
There are two kinds of Jurraab (non-leather socks): Mujallad and Muna’al. Socks on which the leather covers the entire foot including the ankles are called Mujallad two are called (Mujalladain), Socks on which only the under surface (soles), heels and toes are covered with leather are called Muna’al.
(i) Raqeeq Mujallad are ordinary socks over which leather has been sewn covering the entire foot. In the unanimous ruling of the Ahnaaf (Hanafi Fuqaha), masah is valid because they are in fact in the same category as Khuffain, According to Imaam Maalik and Imaani Shaafi. Masah on such socks is not valid despite the full leather outer-covering. According to the Hanaabilah (Hambali Math-hab), it is permissible.
(ii) Raqeeq Muna‘al are ordinary socks on which leather has be sewn on the soles or/and the heels and toes. Masah is not lawful on such socks in terms of all Four Math-habs.
As mentioned earlier, Raqeeq in the language of the Fuqaha refers to all such socks which are either not covered entirely by leather or in which the properties of Thakheen socks are not found. In this category are our ordinary woollen, cotton and nylon socks. No Math-hab and no Authority of the Shariah holds the view that Masah is valid on such socks. Such socks do not come within the meaning of Khuffain, and masah on them cannot substitute for the washing of the feet as commanded in the aayat of Wudhu.
The severity of the ruling of prohibition on making masah on ordinary socks can be gauged from Imaam Abu Hanifah’s stand. Throughout his life he held the view that masah is not valid even on Thakheen socks although the other Hanafi Fuqaha have ruled that masah on Thakheen socks is valid. Only during his last illness does it appear that he had retracted this view and accepted the view of the other Fuqaha. The question of making masah on ordinary socks simply does not arise in the Shariah. It is unanimously prohibited.
It should now be quite clear that the issue of Masah Alal Khuffain is not insignificant and so imple as the Salafis portray. The validity of any ibaadat is dependent on its Shuroot (Conditions) which the Fuqaha of the Ummat have explained in detail on the basis of the Qur’aan and Sunnah. Masah Alal Khuffain is no exception.
If the logic and reasoning of just any man had to be valid, then just as the Salafis have extended the ruling of masah from Khuffain to ordinary socks, so too may it be extended to masah on the turban instead of the head, and masah on the niqaab (face-veil) for women instead of the face.
SALAAT BEHIND A SALAFI
If the imam leading the Salaat happens to be a Salafi Ghair Muqallid and he is wearing socks, then Salaat will not be valid behind him. It is their common and permanent habit to make masah on ordinary socks. Their wudhu will therefore not be valid in terms of all Four Math-habs. Hence Salaat behind such an imam is not valid.
A BASELESS CLAIM
Another baseless claim which the modernist Salafis make is that it is permissible to remove the socks after masah has been made on them, and perform Salaat. This is absolutely false. Firstly, their masah is not valid on ordinary socks. Secondly, if masah is made on proper khuffain, these khuffain symbolically and in the law of the Shariah acts as a preventer of the hadth (ceremonial impurity or Najaasat-e-Hukmi) descending into the feet, hence the feet are deemed taahir (pure) if at the time of hadth the khuffain are on. (Hadth is the state of impurity following the nullifying of Wudhu. In other words in the state of not being with wudhu).
If at the time when Wudhu broke, the Khuffain were not on the feet, then the feet will have to be compulsorily washed. One may not don the khuffain in the state of hadth, then make masah on them. The khuffain have to be put on after a complete Wudhu. If someone makes a complete Wudhu, then dons the khuffain, and later removes them before his Wudhu broke, it is permissible then to perform Salaat because the Wudhu is intact. The removal of the khuffain at such a juncture does not nullify the Wudhu nor masah because masah is not necessary on the khuffain which are put on after a complete Wudhu has been made.
However, once the Wudhu is broken, the feet will have to be compulsorily washed if the khuffain are removed after masah is made on them.
THE BLIND TAQLEED OF THE SALAFIS
The followers of the deviant Salafi sect are the only people who consider masah on ordinary socks valid. There only basis for their fallacy is the opinion of their Imaam, Ibn Taimiyyah to whom they offer blind allegiance. In the attempt to escape the charge of blind following, they do not overtly cite the opinion of their Imaam. Instead they cite the Hadith narrations which constitute the basis for the opinion of their Imaam.
In his Fataawa, Ibn Taimiyyah states:
“Masah on jurabain is permissible when one is able to walk in them, whether they are mujallad (covered with leather) or not is the most authentic view of the Ulama. And, in the Sunan: Verily Nabi (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) made masah on his jurabain and na’lain (shoes). And this Hadith even if it is not proven, qiyaas (logic) demands this (validity of masah) because the difference between jurabain and na’lain is only this that the one is from wool and the other from leather. It is known that a difference of this nature has no effect in the Shariah. Hence, there is no difference between leather, cotton or woollen socks just as there is no difference between white and black ihram. At most, leather is more durable than wool. Thus this has no effect…” (Vol. 21 page 214)
Even Ibn Taimiyyah concedes, albeit grudgingly, that the Hadith narration pertaining to masah on jurabain is of questionable reliability. As such it is not valid to extend the Masah alal Khuffain ruling (effect) to jurabain. The law pertaining to Khuffain is the effect of Ahaadith-e- Mutawaatarah (Hadith narrations of the highest category, the authenticity of which is absolute). It is for this reason that we see that not a single one among the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen and the Fuqaha of the four Math-habs claiming that masah on jurabain is valid.
While Ibn Taimiyyah has primarily resorted to logic, the authorities of the Shariah – the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen and the Fuqaha – have acted purely on the Ahaadith of Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) – on such Ahaadith of absolute reliability which constitute a valid basis for omitting washing the feet inspite of this act being a categoric command of the Qur’aan Majeed. Since the order of masah alal khuffain is in conflict with Qiyaas (the Shar’i process of Analogical Reasoning), it cannot be extended to jurabain in terms of the principles governing valid Qiyaas and also on account of the weakness of the relevant narrations.
It is of importance to note that Ibn Taimiyyah appeared on the scene seven centuries after Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam). Inspite of the vast chasm of seven centuries between him and the age of the Aimmah-e-Mujtahideen who had acquired their knowledge of the Shariah from the Sahaabah, he lacked the spiritual discernment to understand his error of differing with the Ijma‘ (Consensus) of the Fuqaha of the first seven centuries before him. He had failed to understand that among these illustrious Fuqaha were all the Aimmah-e- Mujtahideen – all those noble Fuqaha who had acquired their knowledge from the Sahaabah. It is inconceivable that the Fuqaha of all Four Math-habs, from the earliest time of Islam, could have unanimously ruled in error that masah on ordinary socks is not permissible while a man appearing seven centuries later discovered this ‘error’.
This position of Ibn Taimiyyah leads to the conclusion that the entire Ummah with all its illustrious Ulama and Fuqaha from the time of the Sahaabah had erred on this issue and for seven centuries the Ummah was in the dark only to be extricated from this darkness by Ibn Taimiyyah. This is most certainly untenable and unacceptable.
Ibn Taimiyyah’s claim that his view is “the most authentic of the two (opposite) views” cannot be corroborated by evidence. In fact, it is baseless. We have earlier in this discussion shown that the authorities of all Four Math-habs – the entire Ummah – refute the validity of masah on ordinary socks. Among these authorities the position taken by Imaam Maalik is the strongest and most rigid. According to him masah is valid on only leather socks while the other Fuqaha hold the view that if socks of another material are as durable as khuffain and have the properties of khuffain, then such socks will be in the category of khuffain. Imaam Maalik was among the Taabieen. He had Sahaabah for his Ustaadhs. He did not appear seven centuries after Rasulullah (sallallahu alayhi wasallam) like Ibn Taimiyyah.
In a self-contradiction, Ibn Taimiyyah stipulates the condition of being able to walk in the socks. This is a condition which the Four Math-habs stipulate for the validity of masah alal khuffain. The implication of Ibn Taimiyyah’s condition is that masah is not valid on such socks in which one cannot walk, i.e. walk with socks without shoes on normal terrain. Most certainly, such walking is not possible with ordinary woollen, cotton and nylon socks. Since ordinary socks do not satisfy this condition, masah on them would not be permissible even according to Ibn Taimiyyah.
It should be remembered that all the Fuqaha who lived seven hundred years before Ibn Taimiyyah, and in particular Imaam Maalik (rahmatullah alayh), were well aware of the existence of the jurabain Hadith. Inspite of this, they ruled that masah on ordinary socks is not valid.
The ruling of the Four Math-habs, viz., Masah on ordinary socks is not valid, is the only reliable view and has existed in the Ummah from the time of the Sahaabah.