The Manner of Wiping Over the Socks [in Wudhu]
“I saw one of the brothers wipe over his right sock with his right hand, and over his left sock with his left hand, at one time — i.e. together. So my question is, Eminent Shaikh, is not the order and succession [both] from the conditions of wiping (mas’h) over the socks? Meaning, is it not legislated to wipe the right foot, and then to wipe, after it, the left foot?
And another question, O eminent Shaikh, is it more preferable that the wiping over the feet is done with the right hand, or is there ease in the affair? Give a ruling to us, may Allah increase you in reward.”
The Sunnah is to begin with the right foot before the left foot, as in ghusl (washing), due to the saying of the Prophet (sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam): ‘If you perform ablution then begin with your right,” and the saying of Ā’ishah (may Allah be pleased with her): “The Prophet (sallallāhu alaihi wa sallam) used to love beginning with the right when putting on his shoes, combing his hair, in his purification, and in all of his affairs.” [Its authenticity is agreed upon]
So if he wipes his right foot with his right hand, and the left foot with the left hand, then there is no problem if he starts with the right; and if he wipes them both together with the right or left hand, then there is no harm in that.
And the majority of Ahlul-Ilm have agreed that the starting with the right of the hand or feet is mustahabb (preferred) and not wajib (obligatory) — rather what is obligatory is the order of [washing] the face and arms, then (wiping) the head, then the feet.
As for the preceding of one hand over the other, or one foot over the other, then this is mustahabb and not wajib. And what is safest for the believer is that he begins with the right of the hands and feet in ghusl (bathing) and mas’h (wiping the feet), acting in accordance to the proofs from the Sharī’ah, and avoiding differing — and Allah is the guardian over granted success.”
— Distributed in the Arabia Magazine, issue, 230 Rabi’ Al-Awwal 1417AH (Majmoo’ Fatāwā wa Maqālāt Ash-Shaikh Ibn Bāz 10/105 – may Allah have mercy upon him)
(Translated by Abdullah Ibn Abee Khadeejah)