It is impermissible for males to cover their ankles with their pants, trousers, shalwars, thoubs or any other form of clothing (socks excluded). There is a hadith narrated by Imam Bukhari that states:
“Whatever portion of the ankles is covered by the lower garment will be in the fire.” (Bukhari Vol. 2 pg. 861)
It is clearly understood from this hadith that to cover the ankles is a major sin since the warning of punishment of the fire of jahannam is not given with regards to minor sins. In Bazl-ul-Majhood, the commentary of the Sunan of Imam Abu Dawood, Maulana Khaleel Ahmad Saharanpuri writes, “Izaar in the above hadith refers to any such garment that covers the ankles from above going downwards like pants, shalwars, kurtas, thoubs etc. To cover the ankles with such garments is forbidden. Izaar does not refer to anything that is worn from below such as socks or khuffs. Hence, there is no sin in covering the ankles with socks or shoes. So if someone really feels the urge to have their ankles covered, they should wear socks. The prohibition of covering the ankles with garments worn from above is applicable in two conditions: a) while standing, and b) while walking. Thus, while seated or reclining, if the ankles are covered by one’s izaar, then there is no harm. Some people dwell under the serious misconception that it is only necessary to expose the ankles in salah. So upon entering the masjid, they fold up their pants and expose their ankles for the duration of the salat. When they are leaving, they fold their pants back down. It should be noted that this rule is not restricted to salah but is for all times and all places. Allamah Khaleel Ahmad Saharanpuri (RA) also states:
“This command applies to males and not females.” (Bazl-ul-Majhood pg. 57)
Once a Sahabi (RA) said to Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam), “My shins have dried up.” What he meant was that because his shins, including his ankles, were skinny, and thin, they seemed a bit unsightly, and he wanted cover them up. However, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) did not permit him to do so. Instead he (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said, “Verily Allah does not love the one who covers the ankles.” (Fath-ul-Bari Vol. 10 pg. 264)
Dear friends, think for a moment! Is it wise to deprive yourself of the love of Allah simply for covering the ankles? On another occasion, Rasulullah (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) said to another Sahabi (RA) who had his shawl dragging on the floor, “Is there not an example for you in my way of life?” (Fath-ul-Bari Vol. 10 pg. 263)
The question is actually an affectionate warning. Thus, the mere claim of love is not sufficient. Love, in reality, causes one to follow the beloved. As the poet says, “Verily the lover is obedient to the beloved.” The dictates of the love of Allah and His messenger (Sallallahu Alaihi Wa Sallam) demand that we do not disobey them. If we are obedient to them, then our claim to love them is true.
Source: The Four Actions