Praise be to Allaah.
The majority of scholars,
including Abu Haneefah, Maalik and al-Shaafa’i, are of the view that it is
better to wash the feet. They said: that is because the basic principle is
washing the feet, so that is better.
See al-Majmoo’, 1/502
Imam Ahmad was of the
view that wiping over the socks is better. He gave the following evidence
1 – It is easier, and the Messenger of Allaah (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) was never given the choice between two
things but he chose the easier of the two, so long as it was not a sin; if
it was a sin he would be the furthest removed of the people from it.
Narrated by al-Bukhaari (3560) and Muslim (2327).
2 – It is a concession, and the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) said: “Allaah loves concessions to be taken
as He hates sin to be committed.” Narrated by Ahmad, 5832; classed as saheeh
by al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 564.
3 – Wiping over the socks
involves being different from the people of bid’ah who reject it, such as
the Khaarijis and Raafidis.
There are many ahaadeeth from the Prophet (peace and
blessings of Allaah be upon him) which indicate that he did both: he washed
his feet and he wiped over his khuffayn (leather slippers). This led some
scholars to say that wiping and washing are the same. This was the view
favoured by Ibn al-Mundhir (may Allaah have mercy on him).
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah and his student Ibn al-Qayyim
were of the view that either may be better depending on the circumstances of
his feet. If a person is wearing socks it is better to wipe over them, and
if his feet are bare, it is better to wash them, and he should not put socks
on in order to wipe over them.
This is indicated by the hadeeth of al-Mugheerah ibn Shu’bah
(may Allaah have mercy on him) who wanted to take off the Prophet’s khuffayn
in order to wash his feet. The Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah
be upon him) said to him: “Leave them, for I put them on pure,” so he wiped
over them.” Narrated by al-Bukhaari, 206; Muslim, 274. This indicates that
wiping is better for one who is wearing socks.
This is also indicated by the report narrated by al-Tirmidhi
(96) from Safwaan ibn ‘Assaal (may Allaah be pleased with him) who said: The
Messenger of Allaah (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon him) used to
tell us when we were travelling not to take off our kufoof for three days
and nights, except in the case of janaabah, but if one defecated, urinated
or slept (there was no need to take them off). Classed as hasan by
al-Albaani in Irwa’ al-Ghaleel, 104. The command to wipe indicates
that it is better, but that applies to one who is wearing socks.
Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah said:
Conclusion: what is better for each one is that which is
suited to his circumstances. For the one whose feet are bare, it is better
for him to wash them, and he should not put on socks so that he can wipe
over them, because the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allaah be upon
him) used to wash his feet when they were bare, and he would wipe over them
if he was wearing khufoof. End quote from al-Insaaf, 1/378
Ibn al-Qayyim said in Zaad al-Ma’aad (1/199):
He is not required to do more than is required with regard to the situation of his feet. If he is wearing khufoof, he should wipe over them and not take them off, and if his feet are bare he should wash them, and he should not put on socks so that he can wipe over them. This is the most correct opinion concerning the issue of whether wiping or washing is better. This is the view of our Shaykh (i.e., Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah). End quote.