This is an answer to a question I was sent. The question is: Some scholars say that you have to rub between the fingers and toes in the wudu right ? what is their proof and can you convince me of what is correct ?

الحمد لله رب العالمين

Verily the scholars have differed regarding the running of the fingers through the hands and the toes while making wudu. There are three opinions and they are as follows:

1) That it is obligatory.

This is the opinion of Ashawkani and Asanaani and the decision of Shaikh Al Albani.

2) That it is recommended

This is the opinion of the majority of the scholars.

3) That the obligation is specific for the toes, and as for the hands then running the fingers through them is recommended.

As for the third opinion then there are narrations which show that running fingers through toes and the fingers of the hand is a general order for both the hands and the feet and specifying that one is obligatory and the other recommended is false.

Abu dawud, Tirmithi and Nasaaee narrated that Laqit bin Sabrah said:
“I said. ‘O Messenger of Allah! Inform me about Wudu.’ So he said: “Perform Wudu well, and go between the fingers, and perform Istinshaq extensively except when fasting.”
Also in the hadith of Ibn Abbas:
“The Messenger of Allah said: ‘When you get up for prayer, perform ablution properly and make the water run between your toes and your fingers.'” {Narrated by Ibn Maja and others.}

But is this an order that makes the action obligatory or recommended?

Those who said it is obligatory said that this is an order, and the foundation is that the orders of the Messenger صلى الله عليه وسلم take the ruling of obligation unless there is an evidence to prove otherwise. As for those who said it is recommended, they said that what is intended is to make sure that water gets in between the toes. If that happens without rubbing with the fingers then that is acceptable, and if not then in that case one has to rub between his fingers and toes.

Al bassaam said: “What makes this order an order of recommendation is the reality of water and how thin it is and how it can reach what is between the toes without rubbing. (This is the meaning of his statement)

Al Baghawi said: Takhleel of fingers and toes is a Sunnah (recommendation) in Wudu if the water reaches between them without it, but if the toes or fingers and very close in a way that prevents water reaching then rubbing and letting water run through the fingers is obligatory.

The latter is the opinion of Shaikh Ibn Baz, and it is correct and stronger based on the hadith of Ibn Abbas mentioned above. “The Messenger of Allah said:

‘When you get up for prayer, perform ablution properly and make the water run between your toes and your fingers.'” This is possible without using your fingers.
Abdullah the son of Imam Ahmad said:
“My father was asked regarding the Takhleel of the fingers/toes in the wudu, he said: ‘I like it and if the water reaches then it is sufficient.'”
Ibn Al Qayyim رحمه الله said:
“The Messenger did not always make Takhleel between the fingers… He used to do it sometimes, that is why those who took care of narrating his full Wudu did not mention it, like Uthman and Ali and Abdullah ibn zaid and Arrubayi and others.”
And Allah knows best.