I understand that it is permissible to perform Masah on THICK SOCKS (Jawrbeen) in the Hanafi madhab and Fuqaha have stipulated the conditions for thickness to be:
1. It stays up for itself on the feet.
2. A person can walk with these socks (alone) to a distance of three miles without the socks being torn.
3. It is so thick that water is not able to seep through the socks to enter the feet when masah is made.
4. A person is not able to see his feet through the socks.
My first question is to please define and explain the first condition and what does it mean and how do you test it? Does it mean:
a) The socks have to stand like a shoe without putting feet inside of them?
b) The upper-part of the socks have to stand straight without putting feet inside of them?
Just how do you determine this condition?
Since we live in Europe and technology is advancing we have ski-materials e.g. jackets, gloves, socks, hats which are getting thinner and thinner i.e. the jackets worn 10-20 years used to be very thick and now-a-days they are very thin but they are constructed from materials which are wind-proof, water-proof and very durable and because of their thinness they are very comfortable to wear! I have seen the examples of THICK SOCKS from India/Pakistan e.g. the ones sold in Nizamuddin Markaz but they are VERY THICK (physically) and it is impossible for us in Europe to wear them to work, school, college etc. with our shoes YET doing Wudhu & washing feet is a practical reality for many of us everyday.
I also do trekking in snow and hills and a lot of times in the mountains it is very difficult for me to wash feet; sometimes taking off socks and washing feet is dangerous in extreme cold; the material I use in extreme cold weather is thin (e.g. jackets, gloves, socks, hats) but it is many times stronger than leather and more durable. I am sorry for the lengthy query but the point is that material nowadays is stronger, more durable but THINNER and due to its THINNESSS it CANNOT stand on its own! And as technology advances it will get thinner and lighter.
With respect to the first condition, it means that after one has placed his feet into the socks, it would remain firm unto his feet and stay on his feet without him using anything to fasten the socks or to keep it attached on his feet. In this manner, it means that he would be able to walk with the socks without them (i.e. the socks) slipping down the shin. This is fully explained by Allama Shami where he states, They (the Jaurabain) must be thick and firm in a manner that a person may walk for one farsakh (measure of length) and they would remain firm on his shin for themselves (Shami Vol.1 pg 269).
With respect to the socks which you have asked about, my opinion is that masah would be permissible on them once the conditions are met. As mentioned by the great faqeeh (jurist) Allamaa Ibn Abideen Shami, the purpose of the socks being thick is that:
1). A person may be able to walk upon them for a reasonable distance of one farsakh (that is three miles) without the socks tearing.
2) The socks, by being thick will prevent water or any liquid from seeping into it.
3) By being thick, it means that it is not made with such weak fabric where there are fine holes in them (like the regular nylon socks) which allows a person to see his feet through the socks.
This explanation shows that once the socks fulfill the requirements which have been placed in the conditions (mentioned), then masah will be permissible upon them.
Therefore, socks which are made of such fabric/materials which allow a person to walk upon them without tearing and also water/liquid cannot enter through them, would be allowed and would fall within the requirements placed for the Jaurabain.
In this regard, Allama Shami has mentioned in his book, saying, ‘Based on that which is mentioned in ‘Kaafi An Nasafi’ (name of a book), the scholars have stated that the reason for the impermissibility of performing masah over the Jaurabain which is made of cotton is due to the fact that one is not able to walk continuously on them (due to its weakness)’. Having quoted this Allama Shami writes, ‘this statement gives the benefit that if one can walk upon them for a certain distance without tearing, then it would be permissible to perform masah upon them’. (Shami Vol. 1 Pg. 269)
While continuing the explanation, he, Allama Shami quotes from ‘Al Khaniya’ (the name of a book) in which it states, ‘whatever is within the meaning of the khuf (i.e. the leather socks) with respect to continuous walking upon them for some distance and journey can be undertaken with them even if it is the woolen Roman socks, it will be permissible to perform masah upon them’. (Shami Vol. 1 Pg. 269)
Additionally, while explaining the condition of the Jaurabain being ‘thick’ Allama Shami writes (while quoting from ‘Nahr’ he writes, ‘The Jaurabain being thick refers to that which is not made of leather’. (Shami Vol. 1 Pg. 269)
These explanations,(as given by the great Hanafi jurist, Allama Shami who is well accepted as one of the most reliable and relied upon scholar), make it abundantly clear that the thin leather socks which is water proof and durable and also much stronger than other leather socks would fall within the meaning of the Jaurabain and also the Khufain and hence, masah will be permissible upon them.
With respect to giving examples of some of the modern socks upon which masah will be permissible, this is a bit difficult for me since we do not have a variety of socks here. Our climate being a more tropical one makes everyone wear basically the same type of nylon and cotton socks. As for the ones which have been spoken about on the different sites, I have not seen them personally.
As such, you can use the guidelines which have been explained – to know whether masah will be permissible upon them or not.
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan
This answer was collected from DarulUloomTT.net, which is operated under the supervision of Mufti Waseem Khan from Darul Uloom Trinidad and Tobago.