Q. I have a room to pray at work but no particular Wudhu (ablution) facilities. I don't feel comfortable washing my feet in the sink or in the toilets at work because I look silly and plus my non-Muslim colleagues look at me funny and say its unhygienic, so what should I do?
A. In the name of Allah the most Beneficent and Merciful.
Wudhu is an act of worship and whilst it is obligatory it also carries great reward. Therefore one should not feel silly in taking part in an act of worship. However, there are many organisations who do not allow the washing of the feet in normal sinks due to various reasons. There are also many people who leave a lot of spilt water after they have finished, which gives the practice a bad name. If it is difficult for a person to wash their feet in public places then the following should be done:
As washing the feet is an obligation, the way around this issue is to wear leather socks known as Khuffain.
These are special socks made of leather which allow the feet to move freely so the toes can bend etc. (They are usually available in Islamic book shops.)
If a person performs full Wudhu at home then puts on these socks they can wipe over them when they need to do Wudhu again. Meaning the normal Wudhu would be done and then when it came to wash the feet they would just wet their fingers and wipe on TOP of the leather socks, first the right foot then the left. They would then not need to wash their feet.
If the person takes off the socks once full Wudhu has been done and broken, then they will need to do full Wudhu before they can put the socks back on. Once the socks have been put on they are allowed up to 24 hours (from when the Wudhu first broke) if they are a non traveller and up to 72 hours (from when the Wudhu first broke) if they are a traveller, before they need to take the socks off and wash their feet again.
They are allowed to wear normal socks on top of these special socks but need to wipe on these special socks when performing Wudhu (i.e. take off their normal socks but leave the leather socks on).
Please note some people wipe on top of normal cotton socks but according to all jurists in all four schools this is not permissible as the socks have to be waterproof.
Normal outdoor leather boots are also not sufficient as the feet cannot bend in these shoes.
Of course Allah knows best.