What Is Tawaf?

Every time one proceeds to the house of Allah to perform the Hajj or Umrah, one has to perform tawaf. The word tawaf is derived from the Arabic word taafa and means to encircle something or to walk around something. It is circling the Holy Kabah seven times in an anti-clockwise direction, starting from the black stone (Hajr e Aswad). Tawaf is a fundamental part of any pilgrimage; without it, neither Hajj nor Umrah are complete. Since many Muslims and non-Muslims are unclear about this sacred ritual and what is Tawaf in reality, this blog will answer this question and provide other relevant information.

What is Tawaf: An Act of Devotion

Tawaf is not just a practice of worship but also an act of devotion by which a person strengthens his relationship with Allah. Although tawaf is an extremely important aspect of the pilgrimages, circling the Kabah doesn’t mean that Muslims worship the Kabah; rather, they worship the owner of the Kabah, i.e., Allah SWT.

Al-Bayt Al-Ma’mur

Not only Muslims perform tawaf, but angels also do so around the Al-Bayt Al-Ma’mur, the heavenly counterpart of the Kabah in the seventh heaven. Just like Muslims, angels circle the Al-Bayt Al-Ma’mur around the clock.

Conditions of Tawaf

Certain guidelines must be followed when doing tawaf to ensure the ritual is carried out easily.

  • One should be in the state of Ihram while performing tawaf.
  • One should be in the state of wudu when performing tawaf.
  • One should do niyah to perform the tawaf. Tawaf performed by a minor who has yet to reach the age of discernment isn’t valid until the parents perform the niyah on the child’s behalf.
  • According to the Shariah, the pilgrim must be in a state of purity.
  • According to the Shariah, the pilgrim’s clothes must be clean and impure-free.
  • When performing tawaf, the Kabah should be on the left side of the pilgrim.
  • Continuity between the circuits of the Kabah must be observed.
  • Tawaf must be done within the confines of Masjid ul Haram. If a person performs tawaf outside the Masjid, he has circumambulated the mosque, not the Kabah.
  • Pilgrims should start the tawaf from the Black Stone.
  • One should circle the Kabah seven times in an anti-clockwise direction.

Types of Tawaf

Tawaf Al-Qudum

This tawaf is performed at the greeting tawaf when one intends to perform Hajj Al-Qiraan or Hajj Al-Ifraad. Ihram should be observed during this tawaf, and males should observe Raml and Idtiba. Pilgrims arriving for this Hajj can perform the tawaf anytime before the 9th Dhul Hajjah.

Tawaf al-Umrah

This type of tawaf is performed by pilgrims who intend to perform Hajj Al-Tamattu or a standalone Umrah outside the season of Hajj. Pilgrims who want to perform this kind of tawaf intend to perform Umrah and Hajj simultaneously. They first perform umrah, during which they perform tawaf al umrah, and then they proceed to Hajj.

Tawaf Al-Ziyarah

Tawaf al-Ziyarah, or tawaf al-fadah, is the tawaf carried out by the hajj pilgrims on the 10th of Dhul-Hijjah. This tawaf is carried out before returning to minah to perform the ritual of Rami Al-Jamarat (the ritual of stoning the devil)

Tawaf Al-Wada

This kind of tawaf is carried out by the pilgrims of Qiran, Ifrad, and Tamattu Hajj right before leaving Makkah following the completion of their Hajj. This tawaf doesn’t require Ihram and can be carried out in regular clothing.

Nafl Tawaf

Like nafl salah, this is the tawaf that anyone can perform as often as they like.

How To Perform Tawaf?

The process for performing all types of tawaf stays the same, but certain steps need to be followed for the tawaf to be valid, which are as follows:

  1. Before heading to Masjid Al-Haram, one should ensure that he has performed ablution and has cleaned themself from all minor and major impurities.
  2. According to the Shariah, both men and women must ensure that their bodies are covered. This means men should observe coverage from the navel to the knees, and women must cover their whole body except for their face and hands.
  3. Entering the state of Ihram at any Meeqat. (The location of Meeqat depends on the pilgrim’s geographical direction.)
  4. Making the niyah.
  5. Standing near the black stone in such a way that the stone is on the right side of the pilgrim and making the intention of performing tawaf to please Allah.
  6. Moving to the right, perform Istilam, kissing the black stone. If one cannot do that, he should try to touch it. If that is also impossible, one should point to the black stone with their right hand once and recite Bismillahi Wallahu Akbar.
  7. Men should observe Idtiba, where the right shoulder is left uncovered, and pass the upper Ihram garment from the right armpit, allowing it to hang from the left shoulder.
  8. The pilgrim should start circling anti-clockwise seven times while keeping the Kabah to the left.
  9. During the first three rounds, the men should observe Raml, which is walking faster with short and quick steps for the first three rounds of the tawaf. Both the Idtiba and Raml are the sunnah of the Prophet PBUH. The remaining rounds are performed by walking normally.
  10. During tawaf, one should ensure they don’t enter the Hateem because the Hateem is a part of the holy Kabah, so one should encircle it rather than enter it. Any round of tawaf made inside the Hateem won’t be considered tawaf.
  11. When one reaches the fourth corner of the Kabah (Rukh Yamani), one should touch it with the right hand or both hands, and as one walks between the Rukh Yamani and the black stone, this should be recited: Rabbana atina fid-dunya hasanatan wa fil-akhirati hasanatan wa qina azabin-nar
  12. One round of tawaf is completed when one reaches the black stone. Every time one reaches the black stone, they should perform Istilam.
  13. When the tawaf is complete, men should cover their right shoulder.
  14. Between the black stone and the door of the Kabah there is a very holy place about two meters in length, called Multazam. If one can reach this place, they should pray to Allah. If it is unreachable, one should face Mulazam and pray.
  15. After completing tawaf, one should head to Maqam e Ibrahim to pray Salah al-tawaf. If maqam e Ibrahim is unreachable, salah al tawaf can be prayed anywhere in Masjid Al-Haram.

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