Is wiping permitted over cotton socks?
It is not permissible to wipe over cotton or wool socks which are commonly worn in our times, as they are not leather nor are they leather soled, neither are they thick;
The socks should be so thick that one would be able to travel wearing them only, they remain, due to thickness on the ankles, without any support, they should prevent the water from seeping to the feet straightaway.
It is not permitted unanimously to wipe over socks that do not fulfil of the following three conditions:
- Made of leather
- Leather soled
If one sows leather onto (normal cotton or wool) socks or one implants a leather sole on them or they are thick then according to Imam Muhammad and Imam Abu Yusuf, it is permissible to wipe over them, and this is the relied upon opinion of the Hanafi school.
It is stated in the books Munyat al-Musalli and Ghunya that according to Imam Abu Hanifah it is only permitted to wipe over socks made completely of leather or those that are leather soled.
The Sahibayn have stated that if the socks are thick then wiping over them is permissible. This is because if the socks are so thick that they do not allow the water to seep through to the feet then in terms of absorbing (water) they are the same as leather socks. If water eventually seeps through by rubbing or after some delay it does not matter as opposed to thin socks for they absorb water immediately and it seeps through to the feet straightway.
(The Imam gives further references, but we will suffice with the above translation.)
And Allah ﷻ knows the best
Imam Ahmad Rida Khan رحمة الله تعالى عليه
Translation by Dr Musharraf Hussain Al-Azhari Translator of Majestic Quran, www.majesticquran.co.uk