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Lexically, Tawaaf means to turn, walk, etc around something. Islamically, Tawaaf is the circumambulation of the kaba seven times in anti-clock wise direction. People usually do this during Umrah or Hajj. It is the second compulsory act of Umrah. If one omits this act whether knowingly or because of ignorance of the rule, the Umrah becomes null and void, and as a result one's Ihram also becomes void. A Tawaaf is a complete act of going round the Kaba seven successive times. [1] [2]


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The Muslim who affirms the Oneness of Allah obeys the command of Allah in all matters, great and small. When he hears the words of Allah (interpretation of the meaning), “and circumambulate the Ancient House (the Kaba at Makkah)”Qur’an.Surah Hajj 22:29, he cannot help but obey them, so he circumambulates the sacred House out of love for Allah and in obedience to Him, hoping for mercy from Allah and fearing His punishment. And he does not go beyond what he has been commanded to do of Tawaaf, so he does not touch the stones of this House or think that it can bring benefit or cause harm. 


Starting place of Tawaaf

Tawaaf is started from Hajreh Aswad (stone) corner. Rukn-e-Yemeni (stone in direction of Yemen ) is in one corner and next to Rukne Yemeni is the Hajreh Aswad stone corner. From Rukn-e-Yemeni you have to recite dua " Rabbana Aatina Fid-Duniya Hasanathaw Wa Fil Aakhirathi Hasanathaw wa Qeena Aza Ban Naar". This dua should be recited from rukne yemeni to hajreh aswad during every round of Tawaaf.


Also 2 rakaats Nafil Namaz near Muqam Ibrahim alaihis salaam.If you did not get the place for this particular salah at this place then at your convenient place in Masjid E Haram. (Fatwa by Shaik BinBaaz)


The conditions for Tawaaf

  1. Intention (Niyyat) 
  2. Formal purification i.e. wudhu is farz(compulsory) according to some scholars and it is Mustahab(recommended) according to other scholars. If you perform wadhu then there is no difference of opinions.


Supplication during Tawaaf

Except for the specific supplication between the last stretch of each ‘Tawaaf’ of the Kaba, ie. between ‘rukne Yamani’ and ‘Hajar Aswad’, there are no specific or particular duas recorded in the authentic Sunnah which one needs to recite during the ‘Tawaaf’.  One may praise The Lord Most High and/or supplicate the Lord Most Merciful in any language and words in the ‘Tawaaf’.  It is Sunnah to recite this supplication during the last stretch of each ‘Tawaaf’ between the ‘rukne Yamani’ and the ‘Hajar Aswad’:


‘Rabbana aatena fid-dunya hasanah, wa fil-aakherate hasanah, wa qina adaab-an-naar.Quran.Surah Baqrah 2:201


(O our Lord, give us the good in the world, and give us the good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of the Fire.)


Types of Tawaaf

There are many types of Tawaaf around the Kaba


Tawaaf al-ifaadah during Hajj, which is also called Tawaaf al-ziyaarah (Tawaaf of visiting). It takes place after the standing in ‘Arafah, on the day of al-Adha or after it. It is one of the pillars or essential parts of the Hajj. 


Tawaaf al-qudoom (Tawaaf of arrival) for Hajj. This is done by the pilgrim who has entered Ihram for Hajj and by the pilgrim who is doing Qiraan, i.e., joining ‘Umrah and Hajj, when he reaches the Kaba. It is one of the obligatory duties or Sunnahs of Hajj – there is a difference of scholarly opinion. 


Tawaaf al-wadaa’ (the farewell Tawaaf), which is done after completing the actions of Hajj and when one has decided to leave Makkah al-Mukarramah. It is obligatory, according to the more correct of the two scholarly opinions, for all pilgrims except women who are menstruating or bleeding following childbirth, and the one who fails to do it must sacrifice an animal of the type that is valid as an udhiyah. 


The Tawaaf of ‘Umrah. It is one of the pillars or essential parts of ‘Umrah, which is not valid without it. 


Tawaaf in fulfilment of a vow made by one who vowed to circumambulate the Kaba. It is obligatory because of the vow. 


Voluntary Tawaaf. 


Each of these Tawaafs must include seven circuits, after which the person offers two rak’ahs behind Maqaam Ibraaheem, if possible; if he cannot do that then he may offer the prayer in any other part of the mosque. [3]


Concerning Women

A woman who is in menses when she wears or is already wearing Ihram of Umrah has to wait until her period ends to perform Ghusl and fulfill her obligations if there is enough time for her to complete the Umrah.


If the period continues until the time of wearing the Ihram of Hajj-e-Tamattu, there are two options open to her:

  1. If the menses start when she is wearing Ihram then the Niyyat should be changed from Umra-e-Tamattu to Hajj-e-Ifrad (Individual). After fulfilling the required rituals of Hajj-e-Ifrad she has to perform, if there is an opportunity, Umra-e-Mufrida with a Niyyat of Wajib.
  2. If her monthly period commences when she is already in the state of Ihram then she has the choice either to perform Hajj-e-Ifrad as in (1) or complete the acts of the Umra-e-Tamattu without Tawaaf and its Namaz. She would wear Ihram for Hajj-e-Tamattu and when she comes back from Mina after completing other rituals, perform her Tawaaf of Umrah before that of Hajj. In case the bleeding does not stop even after returning from Mina, she has to appoint some one as her agent to complete a Tawaaf on her behalf and complete the other rituals herself.


Compulsory matters in Tawaaf

  1. The clothes of Ihram must be free from Najasat.
  2. The body must be adequately clothed so as to hide the genital organs, as required in prayers.


Rules of doubts in Tawaaf

If the pilgrim does Tawaaf al-Ifaadah and forgets one of the circuits, and a long time has passed, then he should repeat his Tawaaf, but if only a short time has passed, he should make up the circuit that he missed. 


Tawaaf for ‘Umrah or Hajj must be seven circuits, and it is not acceptable to do less than that, because Allah has enjoined Tawaaf and said: “and circumambulate the Ancient House (the Kaba at Makkah)” Qur’an.Surah Hajj 22:29


And the Prophet (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace) explained that by his actions, and he did seven circuits and said: “Learn from me your rituals of Hajj.” Sahih Al Muslim 2286


Al-Nawawi (May Allah have mercy on him) said: The condition of Tawaaf is that it must be seven circuits, each one starting and ending at the Black Stone. If one step of the seven is omitted, then his Tawaaf does not count, whether he stays in Makkah or has departed and returned to his homeland, and it cannot be rectified by offering a sacrifice or anything else, from al-Majmoo’ (8/21). [4]


Tawaaf boundaries

  1. The Tawaaf should be performed outside the walls of Khana-e-Kaba and the C shaped wall of Hajr-e-Ismaeel.
  2. One should not pass over the protected dwarf walls of the Khana-e-Kaba or touch the wall of Hajr-e-Ismaeel or stretch hands over it. If this is done, that part Tawaaf is invalid and one has to return to the place where the mistake was made and after completion the whole Tawaaf needs to be repeated.


Muwalaat: All the seven rounds should be completed one after the other without stopping.


Mustahabaat/Recommended acts of Tawaaf

  1. To do Zikr or read Duas during Tawaaf.
  2. To indicate Hajar-e-Aswad when reaching in line with it on every round with the hands raised towards it and saying, "BISMILLAHI ALLAHU AKBAR".
  3. To walk with complete ease and peace of mind and with full reverence: neither too fast nor too slow.
  4. To be as near the Khana-e-Kaba as possible without violating the rules mentioned earlier.


Errors Related to Tawaaf

  1. Starting the Tawaaf at some point other than the site of the Black Stone, while it is obligatory to begin Tawaaf from the Black Stone
  2. Doing one's Tawaaf inside the Hijr of lsma'il, which means going around a portion of the K'abah rather than the whole of it since the Hijr of Isma'il is a part of the K'abah which would then be left out of Tawaaf. Such a Tawaaf is invalid.
  3. Doing ramal (i.e., taking quick short steps) during alI seven circuits while ramal is to be done only during the first three of the Tawaaf of Arrival (Tawaaf al-qudum).
  4. Struggling vehemently to kiss the Black Stone in this process and hitting or pushing people. Such acts, which are injurious to Muslims, are not permissible.
    * It should be noted that the Tawaaf remains perfectly valid without kissing the Black Stone. If one does not or cannot kiss the Black Stone. it is sufficient simply to point to it, saying "Allahu akbar" when one comes parallel to it, although one may be at a distance from it.
  5. Wiping one's hand over the Black Stone, seeking "blessings" (barakah) thereby is an innovation (bid'a) with no basis in the Shari'ah of Islam. The sunnah is to touch it or kiss it only when it can be done easily.
  6. Touching the four corners of Kaba or its walls, and wiping one's hands against them. The Prophet (peace be on him) did not touch any part of Kaba except the Black Stone and the Yemeni Corner.
  7. Saying specific formulas of supplications reserved for each circuit. The Prophet (peace be on him) did not specify any supplications except to say "Allahu akbar" when when he reached the Black Stone and, at the end of each circuit between the Yamani Corner and the Black Stone, he said: "Rabbana, atina' fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil-akhirati hasana wa qina adhaban-nar. "
    (Our Lord, give us good in this world and good in the Hereafter and save us from the punishment of the Fire.)
  8. Raising one's voice above the voices of others; whether in following or leading the Tawaaf as it causes confusion among the worshippers.
  9. Struggling to pray at the Station of lbraheem. This is contrary to the sunnah, besides being injurious to other worshippers. it is sufficient to pray the two rak'ats of Tawaaf after completing one's Tawaaf anywhere within the Sacred Mosque.


Mistakes made during the Farewell Tawaaf

Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (May Allah have mercy on him) said: “It was proven in al-Saheehayn that Ibn ‘Abbaas (R) said: “The people were commanded that the last thing they should do in Makkah was to circumambulate the Ka’bah, but an exception was made for menstruating women.” Sahih Al Bukhari, 1755; Sahih Al Muslim, 1328. So Tawaaf should be the last action of Hajj that a person does. [5]


People make several mistakes when performing the farewell Tawaaf: 

  1. Some people do not make Tawaaf the last thing that they do, rather they go down to Makkah and do the farewell Tawaaf when they still have to stone the jamaraat, then they go out to Mina and stone the jamaraat and then leave. This is a mistake and that does not suffice as the farewell Tawaaf in this case, because it is not the last thing that the person does in Makkah, rather the last thing that he does is stoning the jamaraat. 
  2. Some people do the farewell Tawaaf and then stay in Makkah after that. This means that their farewell Tawaaf is invalidated, and they must do another one when they are going to leave. But if a person stays in Makkah after doing the farewell Tawaaf in order to buy something or to load his luggage etc, there is nothing wrong with that. 
  3. Some people, when they do the farewell Tawaaf and want to leave the Mosque, walk backwards, saying that they do not want to turn their backs to the Ka’bah. This is a bid’ah (innovation) which was not done by the Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace) or by any of his companions. The Messenger of Allah (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace) venerated Allah and His House and if this were indeed an act of veneration towards Allah and His House, the Prophet (peace and blessings of Allah be upon him) would have done it. The Sunnah is, when a person has completed the farewell Tawaaf, to leave the Mosque walking forwards, even if he turns his back towards the Ka’bah in this situation. 
  4. Some people, after doing the farewell Tawaaf, stop at the door when leaving the mosque and turn to face the Ka’bah, as if bidding farewell to it, and they make du’aa’ or say salaams and so on. This is also a kind of bid’ah, because the Prophet (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace) did not do that. If it were something good the Prophet (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace) would have done it. [6]


Scientific approach

Everything in the universe, from the tiny atoms to huge galaxies, is in a state of Tawaaf. In the atom, electrons turn around the nucleus, which is like the heart, with a dizzying speed; in the galaxy, billions of stars rotate around the center of the galaxy with an incredible speed. They rotate as if they worship the Creator that created them.


As it is stated in the Qur’an, each swims along in an orbit, Qur’an.Surah Yaseen 36:40, Allah created such system. Similarly Allah gave command to Muslims for Tawaaf. We are not innovating anything new in this circumambulation. .


MISCONCEPTION: Does Muslims Worship The Kaba?

This is an evident lie. If any Muslim wants to offer Salah, So someone may offer in North or South or East or West direction. Now question comes that which direction should he face. So Allah commands us Muslims to face Kaba as it is mentioned in Qur’an: “We see the turning of thy face (for guidance) to the heavens: now shall We turn thee to a Qiblah that shall please thee. Turn then thy face in the direction of the Sacred Mosque: wherever ye are, turn your faces in that direction.”  Qur’an. Surah Baqarah 2:144


Kaba is the Qiblah i.e. the direction Muslims face during their Salah (Prayers). It is important to note that though Muslims face the Kaba during prayers, they do not worship the Kaba. Muslims worship and bow to none but Allah.


1. Islam believes in firm unity

If some Muslims live towards the west of the Kaba they face the east. Similarly if they live towards the east of the Kaba they face the west. Hence following unity among Muslim Ummah.


2. Hadith of Umar (R)

Regarding the black stone, hajr-e-aswad, there is a hadith (tradition), attributed to the illustrious companion of the Prophet Muhammad (May Allah honour Him and grant Him Peace), Umar (R) narrates “I know that you are a stone and can neither benefit nor harm. Had I not seen the Prophet (pbuh) touching (and kissing) you, I would never have touched (and kissed) you”. Sahih Al Bukhari Vol 2: 675, 1597 (NE) and Sahih Al Muslim 1270


3. People stood on Kaba and gave the adhan

At the time of the Prophet, people even stood on the Kaba and gave the ‘adhan’ or the call to prayer. One may ask those who allege that Muslims worship the Kaba; which idol worshipper stands on the idol he worships?

So there is a great and clear difference between the actions of those who believe in Tawheed and Islam, and the manifestations of idolatry and shirk. The one who does not pay attention to this difference will become confused, and will no longer be able to differentiate between kufr and faith.


Scholars view

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyah (may Allah have mercy on him) said: 

As for submission, devotion of the heart and acknowledgement of divinity and Lordship, these can only be directed towards Allah alone, and if directed towards anyone or anything else they are utterly false. As for prostration it is connected to the commands of Allah, because Allah has commanded us to prostrate to Him, and if He had commanded us to prostrate to any of His creation other than Him, we would have prostrated to that one in obedience to Allah if He wanted us to venerate the one to whom we were prostrating. As He has not commanded us to prostrate, then we should not do it at all. The prostration of the angels to Adam was an act of worship to Allah, obedience to Him and a means of drawing closer to Him, and it was a way of honouring and respecting Adam. And the prostration of Yoosuf’s brothers to him was a greeting, Majmoo’ al-Fataawa (4/360, 361). 


Thus we may differentiate between many cases in which actions may appear outwardly to be similar, but in fact one is Islam, Tawheed and faith, whereas the other is shirk, kufr and idolatry. This clarifies that Kaba is a sacred structure in Islam and Muslims do not worship it. [7]











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