Assalamualaikum SS Dato’ Seri Mufti. Is it permissible to wear shoes while praying?
Alhamdulillah, praise and thanks to Allah for the countless blessings He has blessed us all with. Blessings and salutations to the Prophet Muhammad PBUH, his wives, his family, companions and all those that follow his teachings to the day of judgement.
According to the 4th Edition of Kamus Dewan, shoes are defined as footwear (something worn on one’s feet), such as sneakers, slippers and others.
In a hadith from Syaddad bin Aus RA, the Prophet PBUH said:
خَالِفُوا الْيَهُودَ فَإِنَّهُمْ لاَ يُصَلُّونَ فِي نِعَالِهِمْ ، وَلاَ خِفَافِهِمْ
“Act differently from the Jews, for they do not pray in their sandals or their shoes.”
Sunan Abu Daud (652)
Imam al-Munawi in Faidh al-Qadir said: Indeed, they did not pray in their sandals. You may pray wearing them if it is pure from najis. Generally, some of the salaf scholars state if it came in contact with najis, but it has been worn walking on the land or soil, then it has been purified and it is permissible to be worn in prayer. This is stated in qaul qadim of Imam Syafie, but qaul jadid contradicts this. (See Faidh al-Qadir, 3/431)
Imam Badruddin al-‘Aini in ‘Umdah al-Qari said: “It becomes encouraged for the intention to mukhalafah (be different from) the Jews and not a sunnah. The reason is praying while wearing shoes does not come only by this meaning.” (See ‘Umdah al-Qari, 4/119)
Syeikh Syams al-Haq al-‘Azim Abadi in ‘Aun al-Ma’bud stated: At the very least, this hadith shows that it is sunnah. The same is stated in hadith from Abi Said al-Khudri and several other hadiths where it is sunnah to wear shoes while praying. Whereas the impermissible istidlal is in accordance with a hadith from Amru bin Syu’aib from his father from his grandfather from Abu Hurairah RA… Thus, Abd al-Rahman bin Abi Laila once said: “The Prophet PBUH prayed while wearing his shoes. Then everyone followed his actions, praying while wearing their shoes. Afterwards, the Prophet PBUH took off his shoes and everyone followed it. Hence, whoever wishes to pray while wearing his shoes, then he may do so and whoever wishes to take it off before praying, then he can do so.” (See Aun al-Ma’bud, 2/354)
However, the shoes worn in prayer must be pure from any najis. The Prophet PBUH said:
إِذَا جَاءَ أَحَدُكُمْ إِلَى الْمَسْجِدِ فَلْيَنْظُرْ : فَإِنْ رَأَى فِي نَعْلَيْهِ قَذَرًا أَوْ أَذًى فَلْيَمْسَحْهُ وَلْيُصَلِّ فِيهِمَا
“When any of you comes to the mosque, he should see; if he finds filth on his sandals, he should wipe it off and pray in them.”
Sunan Abu Daud (650) and al-Baihaqi in al-Sunan al-Kubra (3889)
Ibn Ruslan said: The word ‘الْأَذَى’ literally means something that is disgusting and dirty whether it is pure or najis. (See Syarh Sunan Abi Daud, 3/72)
It is stated in Subul al-Salam: The hadith shows the sanctioning of praying while wearing shoes or slippers. The same for the wisdom that when a person walks on soil or land it could purify his shoes from impurities. And what is apparent in the meaning for both of these is najis, whether the najis is wet or dry. (See Subul al-Salam, 1/137)
In our opinion, considering the situation and custom in Malaysia, it is completely different. Thus, not wearing shoes in mosques to pray is the norm and people would take off their shoes when entering their house. This is the best and prioritized than wearing shoes when entering the mosque to pray inside.
This has even become a norm in Masjidil Haram and Masjid al-Nabawi except for those wearing khuf. As for khuf, its permissibility is agreed and is applicable as well as practised by the salafussoleh to this day.
Hopefully, this explanation would be of benefit for us all in interacting with the evidences and hadith of the Prophet PBUH. We end this with the following supplication:
اللَّهُمَّ أَرِنَا الْحَقَّ حَقًّا، وَارْزُقْنَا اتِّبَاعَهُ، وَأَرِنَا الْبَاطِلَ بَاطِلًا، وَارْزُقْنَا اجْتنِاَبَهُ، وَلَا تَجْعَلْهُ مُلْتَبِسًا عَلَيْنَا فَنَضِلَّ، وَاجْعَلْنَا لِلْمُتَّقِينَ إِمَامًا
“O Allah, show us the truth as the truth and give us strength to follow it. And show us falsehood as falsehood and give us strength to avoid it and protect us from getting confused or influenced by it that we become from among the deviant. And bless us with righteous leaders.”