Wiping over Sandals when Performing Wudū ―Shaikh Al-Albāni

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Ash-Shaikh Al-‘Allāmah, the great scholar of Sunnah and Hadīth, Muhammad Nāsir Ad-Deen Al-Albāni (rahimahullāh) stated: Wiping over the sandals (na’layn) is permitted. It is established as being ascribed to the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam), i.e. marfū’ in authentic narrations.[1]

It is mentioned in the book Fiqhus-Sunnah of Shaikh Sayyid Sābiq (checking of Shaikh Al-Albāni) the hadīth of Al-Mugheerah bin Shu’bah (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) that Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) performed wudū and then wiped (i.e. made mas’h) over his socks and sandals. Sayyid Sābiq said: ‘The wiping over the socks is what was intended, and the wiping over the sandals followed as a consequence of that.’

Shaikh Al-Albāni (rahimahullāh) stated: It can be understood from this speech that wiping over [just] the sandals is not permissible. So to remove this misunderstanding, I say: It is established from the Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) that he wiped (with mas’h) over his sandals alone, independently without the mention of socks as proven from the hadeeth of ‘Ali bin Abi Tālib (radiyallāhu ‘anhu), Aws bin Abi Aws Ath-Thaqafi and Ibn ‘Umar (radiyallāhu ‘anhumā), and authenticated by Al-Qattān as occurs in Sharh ‘Ulūmil-Hadeeth of Al-‘Irāqi (p. 12). I discussed its chains of narration in Sahīh Sunan Abi Dāwūd (no. 150, 156).

So these ahādīth prove the permissibility of wiping over the sandals. This practice is also established from some of the Salaf as will be mentioned shortly.[2]

So, here are some of the ahādīth that Shaikh Al-Albāni (rahimahullāh) was alluding to, and used as proof:

1. What has been reported by Ahmad and Ad-Dārimi through the route of ‘Abd Khair who said: “I saw ‘Ali perform wudū and wipe over his sandals. ‘Ali then said: ‘Had I not seen Allah’s Messenger (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) doing what you have seen me do, I would have regarded wiping the soles of the feet to be more correct than wiping their tops.'” Shaikh Al-Albāni said: “Its chain of narration is saheeh.”

Benefits: a) ‘Ali wiped his sandals because he saw the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) wiping his sandals in wudū. b) He saw the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) wiping the tops of his sandals and not the soles― and had he not seen the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) do that, he may have considered the soles to be the more correct part of the sandal to wipe. c) ‘Ali (radiyallāhu ‘anhu) has proven by this saying that the intellect is not given precedence over the revelation.

2. That which has been reported by Ahmad and At-Tabarāni in Al-Kabīr through the route of Aws bin Abi Aws who said: “I saw Ubayy one day making wudū and he wiped over his sandals. I said to him: ‘You are wiping over sandals?’ So he replied: ‘This what I saw the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) doing.'” Shaikh Al-Albāni said: “Its chain of narration is saheeh.”

3. That which has been reported by Al-Bazzār through the route of Nāfi’ that “Ibn ‘Umar would perform wudū and his sandals would be on his feet, and he would wipe over them―then he would say, ‘This is just as the Messenger of Allah (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) would do.'” Shaikh Al-Albāni said: “This is authentic in accordance with the conditions of Muslim (in his Sahih).”

4. That which has been reported by At-Tahāwi and others from Abu Dhibyān that “he saw ‘Ali urinate while standing, then he called for some water and he performed wudū and he wiped over his sandals (mas’h)―then he entered the Masjid, took off his sandals and prayed.” Shaikh Al-Albāni stated: “This is authentic in accordance with the conditions of Bukhāri and Muslim.”[3]

Allah (the Most High) stated: “Indeed, I am your Lord, so remove your sandals (na’layk). Indeed, you are in the sacred valley of Tuwa.” (Tāhā: 12) Ibn Al-‘Arabi Al-Māliki said: “Sandals were from the garments of the Prophets.” (Fat’hul-Bāri 10/308)

Al-Jawhari said: “Sandals according to the Arabs is footwear that does not encompass the entire foot. That which encompasses the whole foot and covers the ankles is the khuff (leather sock).”

Al-‘Allāmah Ibn ‘Uthaymīn (rahimahullāh) said: “This is the position of some of the Scholars―that it is permitted to wipe over the sandals if they cover most of the feet.”[4]

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قال الجوهري: النعل: الحذاء مؤنثة، وتصغيرها: نعيلة، وقيل: النعل عند العرب: حذاء غير محيط بالقدم، فإن أحاط بالقدم وغطى الكعبين فهو: الخف.
والنعل مؤنثة تأنيثا مجازيا، ولكل قدم نعل، وللرجل نعلان في قدميه، قال الله تعالى: {فَاخْلَعْ نَعْلَيْكَ إِنَّكَ بِالْوادِ الْمُقَدَّسِ طُوىً} [سورة طه: الآية 12].
[القاموس القويم للقرآن الكريم 2/ 274، ومعجم الملابس في لسان العرب ص 127].
قال ابن العربي المالكي: النَّعْلَ لِبَاسُ الْأَنْبِيَاءِ. فتح الباري لابن حجر (10 / 308) .

[1] Sahīh Sunan Abi Dawūd (1/293), see Ath-Thamar Al-Mustatāb (1/16), Mukhtasar Sahīh Al-Bukhāri (1/77).
[2] Tamām Al-Minnah (113-114).
[3] See Ath-Thamr Al-Mustatāb (1/16-17), Sahīh Sunan Abi Dawūd (1/282-285, 290-293), the notes of Shaikh Al-Albāni on the treatise Al-Mas’h ‘alal-Jawrabayn of Al-Qāsimi (43-47), Tamām an-Nus’h Ahkām al-Mas’h (82-83), Tamāmul-Minnah (110), the notes of Shaikh Al-Albāni on the book Ta’sīs Al-Ahkām (1/42).
[4] Liqā’āt Al-Bāb al-Maftūh (1/184) and Sharh Sahīh Al-Bukhāri (1/318-319). However, Shaikh Ibn ‘Uthaimīn held that is better not to wipe over the sandals but to wash the feet when wearing sandals. As for myself, I have opted for the position of Shaikh Al-Albāni based on the proofs ascribed to the Prophet (salallāhu ‘alaihi wasallam) and the actions of the Sahābah (radiyallāhu ‘anhum).

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  1. As salaam alaykum wa rahmatullaahi wa barakaatuh

    Very beneficial article. May Allaah increase you in goodness. Ameen.

    After reading this article, I wanted to know does one have to initially be in the state of Wudu (where the feet are washed) before they can start wiping over the sandals? i.e. similar to the wiping over the socks or it does not matter if one was upon initial wudu when they put their sandals on.

    Jazak Allaahu khair

    • Wa-alaikumus-salām wa-rahmatullāh wa-barakātuh,

      Question: “I wanted to know does one have to initially be in the state of Wudu (where the feet are washed) before they can start wiping over the sandals?”
      Answer: Yes. That is a must.

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