The Necessity of Washing the Feet
Allah subhanahu wa ta’ala said,
وَأَرْجُلَكُمْ إِلَى الْكَعْبَينِ
“and your feet up to ankles.” Ibn Abi Hatim recorded that Ibn Abbas stated that the Ayah refers to washing (the feet).
It is recorded in the two saheehs that Abdullah bin Amr said, “The Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam was once late during a trip we were taking, and he caught up with us when the time remaining for the Asr prayer was short. We were still performing Wudhu (in a rush) and we were wiping our feet. He shouted at the top of his voice,
أَسْبِغُوا الْوُضُوءَ وَيْلٌ لِلْأَعْقَابِ مِنَ النَّار
“Perform Wudhu thoroughly. Save your heels from the Fire.”
The same narration was also collected in the two saheehs from Abu Hurayrah radhiAllahu anhu.
Muslim recorded that Umar bin Al-Khattab radhiAllahu anhu said that a man once performed Wudhu and left a dry spot the size of a fingernail on his foot. The Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam saw that and he said to him,
ارْجِعْ فَأَحْسِنْ وُضُوءَك
“Go back and perform proper Wudhu.”
The Necessity of Washing between the Fingers
In the hadeeth that Humran narrated, Uthman washed between his fingers when he was describing the Wudhu of the Prophet sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam. The collectors of the Sunan recorded that Laqit bin Sabrah said, “I said, ‘O Messenger of Allah! Tell me about Wudhu’. The Messenger sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam replied,
أَسْبِغِ الْوُضُوءَ، وَخَلِّلْ بَيْنَ الْأَصَابِعِ، وَبَالِغْ فِي الِاسْتِنْشَاقِ إِلَّا أَنْ تَكُونَ صَائِمًا
“Perform Wudhu thoroughly, wash between the fingers and exaggerate in rinsing your nose, unless you are fasting.”
Wiping Over the Khuffs is an Established Sunnah
Imam Ahmad bin Hanbal recorded that Aws bin Abi Aws said, “I saw the Messenger of Allah perform Wudhu and wipe over his Khuffs. He then stood up for prayer.”
Abu Dawud recorded this hadeeth by Aws bin Abi Aws, who said in this narration, “I saw the Messenger of Allah, sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam after he answered the call of nature, perform Wudhu and wipe over his Khuffs and feet.”
Imam Ahmad recorded that Jareer bin Abdullah Al-Bajali said, “I embraced Islam after Surah Al-Ma’idah was revealed and I saw the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam wipe after I became Muslim.”
It is recorded in the two saheehs that Hammam said, “Jarir answered the call of nature and then performed Wudhu and wiped over his Khuffs. He was asked, ‘Do you do this?’ He said, ‘Yes. I saw the Messenger of Allah, after he answered the call of nature, perform Wudhu and wipe on his Khuffs.’” Al-Amash commented that Ibraheem said, “They liked this hadeeth because Jareer embraced Islam after Surah Al-Ma’idah was revealed.” This is the wording collected by Muslim.
The subject of the Messenger of Allah sallAllahu aalyhi wa sallam wiping over his Khuffs, instead of washing the feet, if he had worn his Khuffs while having Wudhu, reaches the Mutawatir grade of narration, and they describe this practice by his words and actions.