What Is Tawaf?
The word Tawaf is derived from the Arabic word ‘taafa,’ which means ‘to walk around’ something. Tawaf, as we know it, is moving anti-clockwise, completing the circle 7 times. Tawaf is the essential element of both Hajj and Umrah. This act of circumambulating begins and ends at Hajar al Aswad.
What Is The Historical Significance Of Tawaf?
The practice of Tawaf has its significance rooted in the Quran. One such verse that backs up the practice of Tawaf is:
“And He is Who created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon. They float, each in an orbit.” (Quran 21: 33)
This verse explains how the balance of the universe depends on the phenomenon of revolution. Tawaf, or circumambulating the Holy Kaaba, is reminiscent of this law of nature and symbolizes that Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) is the Omniscient and to Him, we submit.
The Holy Kaaba stands as a figure of a spiritual center for all the believers no matter where they are from, and with every round, there is a sense of equality that prevails in the eyes of Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى), everyone is equal.
Similar to how atoms revolve around a nucleus, it is Allah’s word that we submit ourselves to, and in one way or the other, Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) should be the center of our lives.
The responsibility of building the Kaaba and the directives for Tawaf was sent to Prophet Ibrahim (عَلَيْهِ ٱلسَّلَامُ), which reflects that Tawaf is more like a spiritual order.To understand the historical significance of Tawaf, this verse is important:
“And (remember) when We prepared for Abraham the place of the (holy) House, saying: Ascribe thou no thing as partner unto Me and purify My House for those who make the round (thereof) and those who stand and those who bow and make prostration. And proclaim unto mankind the pilgrimage. They will come unto thee on foot and every lean camel; they will come from every deep ravine” (Quran 22:26-27)
What Are The Rewards Of Tawaf?
Hajj and Umrah are significant spiritual experiences, and the rewards for fulfilling them with the best of your might are countless. When it comes to performing Tawaf, there are rewards for this practice, and it can be best understood through this Hadith.
Abdullah ibn Umar reported: The Messenger of Allah, peace and blessings be upon him, said, “Whoever circles the Ka’bah seven times and prays two cycles will be rewarded as if he had freed a slave. A man does not raise his foot, nor bring it back down, but ten good deeds will be written for him, ten bad deeds will be erased, and he will be raised by ten degrees.”
What are the Types of Tawaf?
There are five different types of Tawaf, and these are:
1. Tawaf al-Qudum (Tawaf of Arrival)
When the pilgrims enter the Masjid al-Haram, the Tawaf they perform on entering is known as Tawaf al Qudum. During this Tawaf, the pilgrims are to wear ihram, which is performed by those coming to perform Hajj beyond Miqat.
Also known as Tawaf al Tahiyyah, this Tawaf is carried out upon entering Makkah and serves the same purpose as the sunnah prayer Tahiyyat al-Masjid. This Tawaf must be performed before Wuquf al Arafat or on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah.
Pilgrims who come to Makkah for Umrah do not have to perform Tawaf al Qudum but rather have to perform Tawaf al Umrah that follows the same method but has different intentions.
2. Tawaf al-Ziyarah (Tawaf of Visitation)
Tawaf al Ziyarah, also known as Tawaf al Ifadah, is performed by all the pilgrims of Hajj on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah once they have changed their regular clothing and are out of the state of Ihram. This Tawaf is performed before the pilgrims move towards Mina, before performing Rami al Jamarat. This Tawaf can be performed from the dawn of the 10th Dhul Hijjah till sunset on the 12th Dhul Hijjah.
3. Tawaf al-Wida (the Farewell Tawaf)
Tawaf al Wida, often known as the farewell Tawaf is performed upon completing the Hajj. Pilgrims, before they leave Makkah, have to perform this final obligatory rite. If left unperformed, the pilgrims are to pay a Fidyah.
4. Tawaf al-Umrah
When people solely intend to perform Umrah, they are to perform this Tawaf as it is an obligatory practice, and not observing this causes the Umrah to be invalid. While performing this Tawaf, the pilgrims for Umrah are to be in the state of Ihram.
5. Tawaf al-Nafl
As the name suggests, Tawaf al Nafl is not obligatory and can be performed anytime. It is a nafi tawaf. Pilgrims can perform it as and when they like as a nafli ibadah.
What Are The Requisites Of Tawaf?
The practice of performing Tawaf has a certain protocol or pre-requisites that cannot be ignored or may invalidate one’s ritual performance. A few of the important things to take care of when performing Tawaf include:
1. Being In a State Of Purity
When performing Tawaf, one needs to have performed ablution and clean off from themselves any impurities. One must wear clean clothing, and if the wudhu is nullified during the Tawaf, you may do it again and resume from the point you stopped at.
Performing Tawaf during the state of ritual impurity, such as due to menstruation or post-natal bleeding, is not allowed for women. Many schools of thought render Tawaf, which is performed in this state, to be invalid.
2. Your Awrah Should Be Covered
When performing Tawaf, men, and women must ensure their Awrah is covered. Awrah refers to the parts of the body from the navel to knees for men, whereas, for women, Awrah is their entire body that they must not leave uncovered except their hands and face.
3. Tawaf Is To Be Performed Within Masjid Al-Haram
Tawaf is only carried out in the area of the Holy Kaaba rather than performing it anywhere outside Masjid al-Haram. The Tawaf is still valid if the Kaaba is not directly in the line of your sight due to your position or a certain elevation.
4. Kaaba’s Position Is Your Left-Hand Side
When performing the Tawaf, the Kaaba should always be on your left-hand side for completing the entire Tawaf. Tawaf should not be performed while facing the Kaaba but rather on your left. You may step back and face the Kaaba when performing salah or making a dua.
5. Making And Declaring Intention
The intention is the most significant preparation one has to make before performing an act. The intention is acknowledgment and commitment for one to carry out a certain practice, and before each Tawaf, the pilgrims are to declare their intention.
6. Where to Begin and End theTawaf
The starting and ending point of Tawaf is Hajar al Aswad. If you begin performing Tawaf from any other point, the steps taken will not be counted as Tawaf. You should start your Tawaf from Hajar al Aswad, and each time you reach it again, you’ll be able to keep a count of the circles.
7. Completing Seven Circles
To complete a Tawaf, you must perform 7 circles of moving around the Kaaba. Completing a full circle around the Holy Kaaba counts as one circle. For Tawaf to be completed, repeat the circles 7 times, and if you are in doubt, you may perform another circle or round.
What to Do At Different Stages in Tawaf
1. Before Performing Tawaf
An intention before Tawaf is mandatory. Making the Niyyah to perform Tawaf is an important act. There are certain prayers you can recite to make an intention for Tawaf. One is as follows:
Translation: O Allah, I intend to perform Tawaf of the Sacred Mosque, so accept it from me and make it easy for me.
2. During Tawaf
Although talking is allowed while performing Tawaf, one should avoid talking unnecessarily. The entire focus should be to devote one’s attention towards Allah (سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى) and walk with humility while remembering Allah(سُبْحَانَهُ وَتَعَالَى). You may recite this dua when you kiss or touch Hajar al Aswad while performing Tawaf. Please note it is not mandatory to kiss or touch the stone to perform the Tawaf; millions of people perform the Tawaf during Hajj and Umrah, and you can get suffocated or trampled if you decide to make your way toward the stone. Therefore, start your Tawaf when you reach the stone.
This is only one of the many prayers that you can recite.
Translation: In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest. O Allah, out of faith in You, the conviction in Your book, in fulfillment of Your covenant, and emulation of Your Prophet’s Sunnah (ﷺ).
3. Supplications During Tawaf
When starting the Tawaf, the supplication that you should make is:
Translation: In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest. O Allah, out of faith in You, a conviction in Your book, in fulfillment of Your covenant, and emulation of Your Prophet’s Sunnah (ﷺ).
4. Supplication At Rukn Al Yamani
The supplication to make at the point of Yemeni corner is:
Translation: O Allah, I take refuge in You from disbelief, poverty, and any humiliation in this world and the next.
5. Between The Rukn Al-Yamani and Hajar al-Aswad
According to the sunnah of Hazrat Muhammad (ﷺ), these are the two supplications that you can make when in between Rukn al Yamani and Hajar al Aswad.
Translation: O our Lord, grant us the good of this world, the good of the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the fire.
Translation: O my Lord, make me content with what You have given me as sustenance, grant me blessings therein, and grant me that which is better than what I have lost.
When performing Tawaf, the Holy Prophet Muhammad (ﷺ)recited these supplications during the Tawaf:
Translation: O Allah, I ask You for forgiveness and safety in the worldly life and Hereafter.
Translation: Glory be to Allah. All praise is due to Allah. There is no god besides Allah. Allah is the Greatest. There is no power or might except with Allah, the Highest and the Greatest.
6. Performing Salah During Tawaf
Tawaf should be done continuously, but in case there is a time of prayer, and congregational prayers start, you must perform your prayer first in the same position you stopped at. After the prayers, you will continue your Tawaf from where you stopped. There is no need to repeat the circle.
7. At the End of A Circle
When you complete onecircle, you are to begin the second one with either kissing, touching, or saluting the Hajar al Aswad and reciting (أَكْبَراللّٰه). This should be done after completing each round.
8. Salah al-Tawaf
After the Tawaf, it is important to perform Salah al Tawaf. These two Rakat prayers must be offered in a position where Maqam Ibrahim is in the middle of your position and the Kaaba. If you can’t perform it because of the massive crowd, you may offer the prayer anywhere in Masjid al-Haram and recite the following prayer
Translation: And take the Maqam Ibrahim as a place of Salah.
There are certain things to be careful about when performing Salah al Tawaf. Although this salah is wajib, it can be performed after and at any time other than makruh times for prayer. In the first rakah of salah al Tawaf, it is a sunnah to recite Surah al-Kafirun and then Surah Ikhlas.
If you begin to perform a second Tawaf without performing the salah al Tawaf for the first one, you will have to offer this prayer twice. Two Rakahs for each salah al Tawaf are to be offered. Make plenty of dua during the salah al Tawaf.
Tawaf Tips and Advice
- When performing Tawaf, be patient and considerate of others performing Tawaf with you.
- Do not read Talbiyah out loud when performing Tawaf
- You may rest or drink water if you tire while performing the Tawaf and continue from the same point you took a break at.
- Be mindful when performing Tawaf and actively look out for yourself and others.
- You can perform Tawaf on the ground, first, and roof floors. Performing Tawaf on upper levels will save you from being in crowds.
Conclusion for How to Perform Tawaf During Hajj? A Step-by-Step Guide
Regarding pilgrimage, Tawaf is one of the most integral elements. Whether performed as nafl or obligatory, one must be careful about the requisites and take care of the farz and sunnah practices. Tawaf reminds us to remember our Lord and that all the praise there belongs to Him.
Can I do Tawaf without ihram?
Since there are 5 types of Tawaf, not all of them require you to wear an ihram. Tawaf can be done without wearing an ihram if you are not performing Umrah or Hajj.
How many rounds around the Kaaba are in one Tawaf?
7 circles or rounds around the Holy Kaaba make on Tawaf, given that you begin and end your Tawaf at Hajar al Aswad. 1 whole round around the Kaaba is one circle.
How long does Tawaf take?
Tawaf is an important element of Hajj and Umrah both. Depending on the crowd, the time taken to complete the Tawaf varies. In seasons with less crowd, 300 meters is covered per circle, making it a total of 1.4 kilometers for you to walk. Covering this distance would take about 15-20 minutes.
Can you do Tawaf with shoes?
Wearing shoes to perform Tawaf is permissible unless the shoes are clean. If your shoes are not clean or may have any impurities, it is better to perform Tawaf without them.
Can you do Tawaf without wudu?
One of the requisites of performing Tawaf is being in the condition of purity for which ablution or wudu is necessary. Tawaf cannot be performed without having done the wudu.
Can you perform Tawaf on behalf of others?
Tawaf is a sunnah and obligatory practice in both Hajj and Umrah. If one is performing Umrah or Hajj on behalf of someone, they have to carry out the obligatory practice of Tawaf, but one cannot perform Tawaf on behalf of someone otherwise. However, performing two rakat nafl prayers is allowed.
Can women perform Tawaf while menstruating?
Regarding whether women can perform Tawaf while menstruating, there are different opinions among different schools of thought. The common opinion is that women cannot perform Tawaf while menstruating and can carry out other activities.
How many Tawaf are there in Hajj?
There are 4 different types of Tawaf that pilgrims have to perform during Hajj. On arrival, pilgrims are to perform Tawaf ul Qudum, followed by Tawaf al-Ifada and Zyarah after the sacrifice, and then Tawaf al Widaa or the farewell Tawafat the end of the Hajj.