Question: Is masah permissible on nylon or cotton socks or not? If it is, then what are the conditions? Please explain upon which socks masah (passing of the wet hand) is permissible.
Answer from: Hazrat Moulana Mufti Nazeer Ahmed Qasmi – Head Mufti, Darul Uloom Rahimiya, Bandipora, Kashmir:
The Prophet made masah on ‘khuffain’ and the usage of the term ‘Khuffain’ according to the scholars of Hadith and the Jurists refer to leather socks. If the socks are not made of leather but from cotton or wool, then the Jurists have placed the following conditions for the permissibility of masah:
(1) They are so thick and strong that it is possible to walk three miles in them
(2) They remain on the shin without being tied or fastened
(3) Water does not penetrate (seep into) the socks, thereby making the feet wet
If the following conditions are found in cotton or woollen socks, then masah will be permissible. This is because they fall under the same category as leather socks. However, nylon socks, rather than being thick are thin and flimsy. To walk three miles in them is difficult, with a great possibility of them ripping. Even if they do not tear, they are deficient in the sense that if water was to be poured on them, it would let it seep through, making the feet wet. Therefore, to make Masah on thin nylon socks, can never be permissible.
Kazi Khan (Rahmatullahi Alayhi) mentions in his book:
“And if they are both thin and without leather soles, then masah upon them will not be permissible.” (Volume 1, Page 25)
There is also the consensus of the Ummah on this fact. It is mentioned in Badaiul Sanâa’i:
“As for masah upon normal cotton socks; if they are thin allowing water to seep through, then with the consensus of the Ulamaa, masah upon them will be impermissible.”
Hazrat Moulana Rashid Ahmed Gangohi Sahib Rahmatullahi Alayhi has mentioned in Al-Kawkabud-Durri (Volume 1, Page 63) that masah upon normal socks has not been established from the opinion of anyone of the scholars of the Mazahib (schools of thought).
The famous Ahl-Hadith scholar Moulana Miah Nazeer Hussain Dehlawi Rahmatullahi Alayhi has mentioned something similar in his Fatawa Naziriyya (Volume 1, Page 327). Another Ahl-Hadith Scholar Allamah Abdur Rahman Mubarakpoori Rahmatullahi Alayhi has mentioned in his book Tuhfatul Ahwazee:
“For the permissibility of masah upon normal socks, the scholars have stipulated the condition that they fall in the same category as that of leather socks. They should also be categorized under the Hadith relating to leather socks. Some of the scholars are of the opinion that if the socks are ‘mujallad’ (lower and upper leather sole) they will be under the category as that of leather socks.”
Therefore, masah upon normal cotton or linen socks is not established from the Qur’an, Hadith or consensus of the Ummah. Neither has any Imam made it permissible, nor has any scholar of Hadith deduced the permissibility of masah on such socks through analogy (Qiyas). Those people who are of the opinion that masah on such socks is permissible or imitate others who do so; such peoples Wudhu (ablution) is invalid, resulting in their Salaah (prayer) being invalid too.