Part V: Pilgrimage (Al-Hajj)

Chapter 35

Tawaf of Kaabah

Meaning of Tawaf and its merits

         When you reach Makkah wearing Ihram with the intention of performing Hajj or Umrah, the first thing which you are obliged to do is to enter Masjid-ul-Haram and make Tawaf of the House of God (Kaabah) which stands in the middle of the courtyard of the mosque and is enrapped in black cloth.

         Tawaf literally means to go around something or to make a circuit of it. As a term of Islamic Shariah, it implies to go around the House of God and to make circuits around it with religious zeal and devotion as a rite of Hajj and Umrah or as an act of Ibadah (worship) for Allah’s pleasure with the hope of earning rewards from Him. Tawaf is one of the essential rites of Hajj and Umrah and it is an act of worship for every Muslim who visits Kaabah even though he is not on Hajj or Umrah mission.

         Allah, the One God and the Only God of the Universe, has enjoined the believers: “Then let them complete prescribed acts of cleanliness, and perform their vows, and go around the Ancient House i.e. the Kaabah” (22:29). We also come to know that the purpose of building the Kaabah was to provide a place of worship to mankind so that they could offer Sajdah and Ruku and also perform Itikaf in it and make Tawaf of it. The Qur’an tells us that after the Kaabah was built by Prophet Ibrahim and Ismail Allah commanded them: “…… and clean My house for those who go around it and who meditate in it and who bow down and who prostrate in prayer”. (2:125)

         Prophet Muhammad has described many merits and many rewards of making Tawaf of Baitullah. He said once: Tawaf of Kaabah is an act of worship like prayer (Tirmizi). Abdullah bin Umar reports that he heard the Prophet saying: “One who made seven circuits of this sacred House (of Allah), with full consciousness (and devotion), will have the reward of setting a slave free,” and he also heard him saying,” for every step that a person will raise up and place down on the ground during Tawaf, he will have a sin forgiven and a blessing recorded in his account” (Tirmizi).

Kinds of Tawaf

         Tawaf of Kaabah is of six kinds or types:-

1-            Tawaf Qudum (The First Tawaf): It means such Tawaf which is made when one intending to perform Umrah or Hajj enters Makkah. It is the first act to be done and it is obligatory for all those who are called Afaqis i.e. the persons who come from places situated outside of Meeqaat. This Tawaf is also called Tawaf al-Wurud (Tawaf of Arrival) and Tawaf al-Tahayyah (The Tawaf of Greeting).

2-            Tawaf of Umrah: It is obligatory for those who intend to perform Umrah to make this Tawaf when they enter Masjid-ul-Haram on their arrival at Makkah. It is a basic rite of Umrah and Umrah is not considered valid without it.

3-            Tawaf Ziarah or Ifadha: It is Fard (obligatory) for one who has come to perform Hajj and is one of the three Fard articles of Hajj without which Hajj is not valid. It is performed on 10th of Zil Hajjah after Rami and sacrifice and after cutting or shaving of hair and putting off Ihram. If it is not performed on 10th it may be performed on 11th or 12th of Zil Hajjah. The Qur’an enjoins this Tawaf on all pilgrims in Verse 29 of its Surah al-Hajj.

4-            Tawaf-e-Wida’ (Farewell Tawaf or Tawaf of Departure): This Tawaf is performed before leaving Makkah for home and is obligatory for the outsiders (Afaqi pilgrims). The Prophet has said: None should go back to his home without performing Tawaf Wida’ except a woman who is in menses (Haidh).

5-            Tawaf Nazr (Tawaf of Vow): It is Wajib (essential) for a person that he should perform Tawaf Nazr if he has made a vow to do so.

6-            Nafl Tawaf (Voluntary Tawaf): It can be performed at any time. Since Tawaf is an act of worship and the Prophet has described many merits and rewards of Tawaf for a Muslim, so he should perform it as many times as he can if he is at Makkah.

How to perform Tawaf?

         The method of performing Tawaf is very simple and it can be described as follows: When you arrive at Makkah in Ihram, enter in Masjid ul Haram through Bab-ul-Salam (gate of peace) which in the times of the Prophet was called Bab-Banu-Shaibah. When you look upon Kaabah, you should say Allahu Akbar (Allah is great) raising your hands or without raising them and then recite this Dua (supplication):

         O Allah! Add to honour, nobility and glory of Your House. (Tibrani)

         Then perform Wudu if you are already not in Wudu, and start Tawaf by kissing or touching Hajr-e-Aswad (the Black stone). You should start Tawaf from your right side i.e. you are to go around Kaabah keeping it on your left side (anti-clockwise). You are obliged to make seven rounds (called shoot) from Hajr Aswad to Hajr Aswad. In the first three rounds you would walk on swift pace (which is called Ramal). In the next four rounds you would walk on normal and your usual pace. You would start each round by kissing or touching Hajr Aswad and at seventh round you would complete Tawaf by kissing or touching this stone. After completing seven rounds, come to Maqam Ibrahim and offer two Rakaah prayer there. Then drink Zamzam water because it is sunnat. Thus you have performed your Tawaf of Kaabah.

         Jabar has reported that when (during Hajjah-tul-Wida) we entered Kaabah with the Prophet, he kissed Hajr Aswad and started Tawaf. He walked at fast speed during first three rounds and walked at normal speed in the next four rounds. Then he came to the Maqam Ibrahim (place of Ibrahim) and recited verse 125 of Surah al-Baqarah, and then stood up for prayer keeping Maqam Ibrahim between himself and Kaabah (Muslim)

Supplications (Dua’s) of Tawaf

         To remember Allah and to invoke and make supplication to Him during Tawaf is a desirable act and is sunnat of the Prophet. However, neither the Qur’an nor the Prophet has prescribed any specific supplications of Tawaf. In the Ahadith various supplications have been mentioned which the Prophet or his companions used to recite while performing Tawaf. Easy to remember and popularly known among these are given below:

1)            When you begin Tawaf, kiss or touch Hajr Aswad (The Black Stone) and say:  Bismillah wa Allahu Akbar (with the name of Allah and Allah is the greatest) then recite the following supplication:

Allahumma iman-an bi-ka wa tasdiq-an bi-kitabika wa wafa-an bi-ahdika wa ittiba’-an li-sunnati nabyyika sallallahu ‘alaihi wa sallam.

“O Allah! I (have kissed the Black Stone and am moving round the Kaabah) having full faith in Thee, and having confirmed Thy Book; and for fulfilling my pledge with Thee, and following the way of Thy Prophet, upon whom be Allah’s peace and blessings.”  (Nayl al-Autar)

2)            After starting Tawaf, slowly recite the following Dua:

Subhan-Allah wal-hamdu-lillahi wa la elaha ill-Allahu wa-Allahu Akbar wa la haula wa la quwwata illa-billahi.

“Glory be to Allah; all praise is due to Allah; there is no god but Allah; Allah is most Great! We are helpless to do good or abstain from evil without Allah’s help.” (Ibn Majah, Nayl al-Autar)

Abu Hurairah has reported that I heard the Prophet saying: Whoso performs Tawaf of Kaabah and reads in it (the above mentioned Dua) and says nothing else, ten of his sins are forgiven and ten good deeds are written for him and his ranks are raised.  – (Ibn Majah)

3)            When you reach Rukn Yamani, then read between Rukn Yamani and Hajr Aswad the following Dua:

Rabbana aatina fid-dunya hasanat-an-wa fil-aakhirati hasanat-an-wa-qina ‘azab-annar.

“Our Lord, give us what is good in this world and also what is good in the Hereafter, and save us from the torment of Fire.”

4)            During Tawaf, to recite following Dua is also desirable:

La ilaha ill-Allahu wahdahu la sharika la-hu la-hul-mulku wa la-hul-hamdu wa huwa ala kulli shai’in Qadir.

“There is no god but Allah, the One! He has no partner; to Him belongs Sovereignty and all kinds of praise, and He has full power over everything. (Hisn Hasin)

Obligatory and Sunnat rules of Tawaf

1)            Tahara: One must be in state of purity and with Wudu when he performs Tawaf. If he needs both on account of sexual impurity (Janabat) he must perform bath. A woman who is in state of Haidh (menses) or Nafaas (bleeding after child birth) is not allowed to perform Tawaf. According to a tradition when Ayesha reached Makkah, her menses started. So Prophet told her to do every act which the pilgrims do except Tawaf which she can perform after purification (Bukhari, Muslim). However, a woman in Istihadha (bleeding other than Haidh or Nifaas) is allowed to perform Tawaf.

2)            Covering of Satar: If the men and women are in Ihram then they are permitted to perform Tawaf and there is no matter of concern. But if a person intends to perform voluntary or some other Tawaf, then he must be in proper and decent dress which covers satar completely. Before advent of Islam, the Arabs of the period of Jahliyah used to perform Tawaf while naked. Prophet Muhammad (PBUH) banned it and said: Nobody should go around Kaabah (i.e. make Tawaf) in a naked state. (Bukhari)

3)            To start Tawaf from Hajr Aswad with Istilam of it is obligatory. But if it is not possible to kiss it because of crowd, then to touch it with hand or stick and then kissing hand or stick is required. But if it is not possible then to make hint towards it with hand or stick, and to finish it at this Stone with Istilam of it is essential.

4)            Starting Tawaf from one’s right side is essential. According to Jabar, the Prophet came to Makkah; first of all he approached the Black Stone and kissed it and started Tawaf from his right side (i.e. anti clockwise direction)   – (Muslim).

5)            To pass around the whole of Kaabah including Al-Hatim is essential. Hatim is infact part of Kaabah and is called Hajr also. Around Hatim a wall has been made.

6)            To complete seven rounds in Tawaf essential.

7)            To complete seven rounds of Tawaf continuously without break is required. It is called Muwalaat. It is reported in Hadith that the Prophet made the whole of Tawaf continuously. However, according to Shafais and Hanafees, Muwalaat is not obligatory but it is Sunnat.

8)            To kiss (Taqbeel) or to touch Hajr Aswad (Istilam of it) in every round or circuit is required. It is reported in Ahadith that the Prophet used to kiss or touch Hajr Aswad in every round.

9)            To say Allahu Akbar or Bismillah wa Allahu Akbar while kissing or touching Hajr Aswad is obligatory.

10)         Iztiba’a: It is sunnat to do Iztiba’a in Tawaf of Hajj or Umrah: Iztiba’a means that you should draw your upper sheet from below your right arm and put it on your left arm so that your right arm is uncovered or naked. It is done to demonstrate your strength.

11)         Ramal: It means to walk on fast speed during first three rounds of Tawaf of Umrah or Tawaf-al-Qudum, in order to show that you are strong and powerful. It is reported in Ahadith that when the Prophet reached Makkah in 7A.H. with his companions to perform Umrah, the people of Makkah remarked: “What has happed to these people? They have become weak as climate of Madinah has destroyed their health”. At this the Prophet directed all the companions to do Ramal. When the polytheists saw them doing Ramal, they said: Are they same people about whom we had said that they are weak. Rather they are stronger than us”. – (Bukhari, Muslim, Abu Daud, on the authority of Abdullah bin Abbas). Iztiba’a and Ramal is, however sunnat for men, the women should not do it.

12)         To make Istilam of Rukn Yamani in every round is Sunnat. It means to touch Rukn Yamani. According to Abdullah bin Umar, the Prophet never abandoned to do Istilam of Hajr Aswad and Rukn Yamani in any Tawaf – (Abu Daud). However, one need not kiss it.

Regarding excellence of touching Rukn Yamani and reciting Dua (which has already been reproduced by us at serial No. 3 under the head “Supplications of Tawaf), the Prophet said: Seventy angels have been appointed at Rukn Yamani, who say Ameen when a person utters the above mentioned supplication.

13)         To remember Allah, to make supplications and to recite the Qur’an during Tawaf is sunnat. Although there is no prescribed dua for it, yet there are some supplications (which we have already reproduced above) which should be recited.

14)         Two Rakaah prayer after completing Tawaf: According to some it is Wajib and according to some it is sunnat that one must offer two Rakaah Nafl prayer at Muqam-e-Ibrahim after conclusion of Tawaf. It is mentioned in the Hadith reported by Jabar (relating to Prophet’s Farewell Hajj) that the Prophet, after completing his Tawaf, came to Muqam-e-Ibrahim, recited verse 125 of Surah al-Baqarah and then stood up for (two Rakaah) prayer keeping this Muqam (place) between himself and Kaabah.

15)         Drinking water of Zamzam after Tawaf and prayer is Mustahib (desirable). According to the above mentioned famous Hadith reported by Jabar, the Prophet came to Zamzam after Tawaf and prayer and drank its water and some of the water he put on his head… – (Ahmad)

Some other injunctions relating to Tawaf

1)            To perform tawaf on foot is Mustahib (better or preferable). However, in case of need one may perform it while riding e.g. in sickness, old age, weakness, etc. However, Nafl Tawaf may be performed on a conveyance.

2)            While performing Tawaf one should devote himself completely to remembrance of Allah and reciting of supplications. Although talking is not forbidden, but it should be avoided.

3)            Eating, drinking, trading, singing, frivolous talk are all forbidden. However, in case of extreme thirst, one can drink water. According to Ibn Abbas, the Prophet drank water while performing Tawaf. – (Masnad Imam Shafai)

4)            Tawaf can be made at any time during the day and night, the forbidden or undesirable times for the prayer are not applicable to Tawaf.

5)            If time of obligatory prayer approaches or a dead body is brought for funeral prayer or one needs fresh Wudu, one must do the needful and then resume and complete Tawaf from where he had broken it. This is the view of some Jurists.

If you forget the number of circuits you have made during Tawaf, you may start it all over again; but if someone trustworthy reminds you of the number of circuits you have made, you may continue and complete it accordingly.


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