Q. In order to perform masah on socks one of the conditions is that water should not penetrate. When does this apply? Does it apply when you do masah or does it apply when you put your foot in a water bowl because when you do masah on thin socks water does not go through.
A. The water ‘not penetrating’ applies to the state when Masah is being performed on the socks. This means that if the socks have been made from material that the water can soak into them or be absorbed into them to the extent that the water reaches the feet, then Masah will not be permissible on these socks.
In Al Lubab, the commentary of Mukhtasar Al Quduri, it is mentioned, ‘Masah will be made on Al Jurabain according to Imam Abu Yusuf and Imam Muhammad when they are so thick that they do not absorb the water when Masah is made over them’. (Mukhtasar Al Quduri and Al Lubab Commentary of Al Quduri vol.1 pg.59)
While commenting on this, the great Jurist and author of Ash Sharhul Kabeer writes that the requirement which has been mentioned ‘that water should not penetrate them’ includes the condition that these socks should not be so thin that the feet (beneath the socks) can be seen, and it also includes the condition that the socks should not be of such material that they absorb the water. (Ash Sharhul Kabeer pg.120)
The author of Ash Sharhul Kabeer has also given the explanation of Qazi Khan in which he says that the socks should be so thick that the water does not pass through (them) to reach the feet, and the socks should not be of such fabric that they absorb the water. (Ash Sharhul Kabeer pg.120). The author also explains that the thin socks pulls the water into itself (that is, it absorbs the water) and in this way, the water reaches the feet. (Ash Sharhul Kabeer pg.120)
With respect to what you have said that while making Masah on thin socks, the water does not go through, this is based on what you may clearly see. However, based on the above explanation in Ash Sharhul Kabeer, it shows that when you make Masah on these thin socks, they tend to absorb the water into itself and in this manner, the water reaches to the feet. It is for this reason, the great jurists of the past have stated that it is not permissible to make Masah on cotton socks. (Ash Sharhul Kabeer pg.121)
And Allah knows best.
Mufti Waseem Khan