Tawaf is one of the sacred rites performed during Hajj and Umrah. During Tawaf, Muslims go round the Kaaba (literally cuboid in Arabic) seven times in a counterclockwise direction; however, like every rite in the Islamic tradition, Tawaf has its own methodology that needs to be observed during the ritual.
Here are the basic rules of Tawaf:
1.Tawaf begins when the Muhrim moves from Hajar al-Aswad (The Black Stone) towards Hatim.
2.The Muhrim is to move in an anti-clockwise direction by keeping the Hajar al-Aswad on his left at all times.
3.The first three circuits are performed at a hurried pace on the outward section of the crowd; the last four, closer to the Kaaba at a slower pace.
4. Seven rounds (circuits) make for a single Tawaf.
5. When a Muhrim faces Hajar al-Aswad, he can see a line made of black stone that moves across the floor of Masjidul Haram. The muhrim is to stand by this line for Niyyah (intention) for Tawaf.
6. Standing on this line will allow the Muhrim to face Hajar al-Aswad. This is an ideal position for Istilam (the act of kissing Hajar al-Aswad or gesturing towards it at the beginning and end of each circuit of Kaaba during Tawaf) of Hajar al-Aswad.
- Istilam or kissing Maqame Ibrahim isn’t permissible.
Tawaf’s methodology is also dependent upon wajibat (obligatory acts), muharramat (forbidden things), and markuhat (detestable or abominable acts) of Tawaf.
Wajibat of Tawaf
The following are obligatory acts upon the muhrim during Tawaf (if any Wajib act is overlooked, a Tawaf has to be started anew; otherwise, an expiation becomes due):
1.A muhrim should be free of minor and major impurities: he shouldn’t be without wudu (ritual washing or ablution); she shouldn’t be experiencing mensuration or lochia (blood discharge after child birth); he should be free from any ritual pollution that makes bath a necessity.
2.The portion of the body should be covered that’s typically covered during Salah (prayers), which is from the waist down to just below the knees for men, and the whole body from the wrists and ankles for women.
3.The Tawaf is to be performed on foot by those who are physically able to do so.
4.The Tawaf is to be initiated from the right side, i.e., to begin from Hajar al-Aswad to the door of Kaaba.
5.The Hatim must be encircled whilst performing Tawaf.
6.Seven rounds of Kaaba should be completed for the Tawaf.
7.Two Rak’at of Salah must be offered after every Tawaf.
Muharramat of Tawaf
These acts are forbidden during Tawaf:
1.A Tawaf can’t be performed without wudu or in a state of menstruation, lochia, or ritual pollution.
2.A muhrim can’t perform the Tawaf whilst in a state in which a large portion of the body is uncovered (a state that would make Salah invalid).
3.A Tawaf can’t be performed whilst riding or climbing on someone’s shoulders without a valid reason (physical illness or disability) or crawling or one’s belly or knees; it can’t be performed from the opposite side (clockwise movement round the Kaaba), as well.
4.The muhrim isn’t allowed to pass through Hatim during Tawaf.
5.It’s disallowed to leave Tawaf mid-circuit or at any point during the circuit.
6.A Tawaf can’t be initiated from any place other than Hajar al-Aswad.
7.It’s haram upon the muhrim to perform any part of Tawaf with his chest facing Baitullah; however, it’s permitted to face Baitullah when the muhrim reaches Hajar al-Aswad and stays in front of it.
Markuhat of Tawaf
These acts are considered to be “abominable” or “detestable” during Tawaf:
1.To engage in needless talk.
2.To buy or sell anything or to talk about the buying and selling of anything.
3.To recite Du’a or perform Dhikr (remembrance of God) in a very loud voice.
4.To perform Tawaf in soiled or dirty clothes.
5.To abandon Ramal (to strut) and Idtiba without any valid excuse in Tawaf.
6.To omit the Istilam of Hajar al-Aswad.
7.To raise both hands without facing Hajar al-Aswad.
8.To make long gaps between each circuit of Tawaf whilst being preoccupied with some other business.
9.To eat food during Tawaf.
10.To combine two or more Tawaf without offering the two Rak’at, which are required of the muhrim, after every Tawaf save for when it’s Makruh to perform them.
11.To perform Tawaf during the Friday sermon.
12.To begin Tawaf whilst Takbir or Iqamah for the congregational Salah is being recited.
13.To raise both hands without saying “Allahu Akbar” at the initiation of Tawaf.
14.To perform Tawaf whilst experiencing the need for urination or excretion.
15.To perform Tawaf whilst in a state of hunger or anger.
16.To perform Tawaf with shoes on without any valid excuse.
- To perform Istilam at any portion of Baitullah save for Hajar al-Aswad and Ruknul Yamani.