There is a difference of opinion among Muslim jurists regarding this issue. Some scholars are of the view that all of a woman’s body is `Awrah, including the feet, except the face and hands. Others hold that it is permissible for a woman to uncover her feet.
So, according to the first opinion, it is not permissible for a woman to uncover her feet while offering prayer, but it is permissible for her to do so according to the second opinion.
We think, it is better for a woman to cover her feet wearing socks if she can, but if not, she may uncover her feet.
Having stated the above, it becomes clear that covering woman’s feet is a controversial issue among Muslim jurists and that she is permitted to follow what is more convenient to her in this regard.
Elaborating on the issue whether woman’s feet are considered `Awrah or not, Dr. `Abdul-Kareem Zidan, professor of Shari`ah atAl-Azhar University, states the following: “The majority of Muslim jurists state that the woman’s feet is `Awrah. However, the Hanafis maintain that the woman’s feet are not `Awrah. I myself prefer the opinion of the Hanafis.
However, the Shafi`is, the Zahiris, Imam Al-Awza`ie, and Imam Malik, maintain that whole of the woman’s body is `Awrah except her face and hands.
However, some of the Hanbalis maintain that whole of the woman’s body is `Awrah because Imam At-Tirmidhi reported in his Hadith that the woman’s body is `Awrah (i.e. with the exception of her face and hands as daily dealing warrants uncovering them). Thus, the proponents of this opinion permitted the woman to uncover her face and hands because it is difficult for her to behave with them being covered in her daily life activities.”
Moreover, the eminent Muslim scholar, Sheikh Yusuf Al-Qaradawi, adds:
“With respect to non-Mahrem men and non-Muslim women, a woman’s `Awrah is her entire body with the exception of her face and hands, according to the interpretation we have preferred.
We agree with Imam Al-Razi’s argument that Islam has permitted the woman to expose those parts of the body, the face and hands, which need to be exposed in order to carry out daily business and for giving and taking; it has commanded her to cover what it is not necessary to expose, and has forgiven her accidental, inadvertent exposures or such exposures as are required by necessity. All this is in accordance with the flexibility of Islam.
Imam Al-Razi, states: “Since the showing of the face and hands is necessary, the jurists had no choice but to agree that they are not `Awrah, and since the showing of the feet is not necessary, they have differed concerning whether or not they are `Awrah.” (Tafsir of Fakhr al-Deen al-Razi, vol. 20, pp. 205-206)”