June 01, 2017 Abu Muneer Ismail Davids
Tags: tawaaf

General guidelines

Tawaaf is the best Ibadah to perform other than the fardh salah in the Haram. Tawaaf is superior to nafl salah in the Haram and there is no fixed time for tawaaf.

If you plan to perform tawaaf, then you should proceed directly to perform it when entering the Haram. Tahiyatul-Masjid salah is only performed if you plan to sit down prior to the tawaaf.

You do not need to be in Ihraam to perform nafl tawaaf and there is no sa'ee after nafl tawaaf. (There is no nafl sa'ee.)

The number of circuits to perform is always seven, regardless of the type of tawaaf (i.e. Umrah, Hajj or nafl). There is no niyah to be uttered audibly. The niyah is in the heart as with all other acts of Ibadah.

Tawaaf begins at Hajr-al-Aswad (Black Stone) and proceeds in an anti-clockwise direction. The tawaaf also finishes at the Hajr-al-Aswad. One should encircle (walk around the outside) the area called Hijr (the open area, under the roof's water spout, surrounded by a low wall).

There is no evidence from the Qur'an or the sunnah that one can perform nafl tawaaf on behalf of deceased (or living) relatives or friends. Dua in your own language, dhikr, and reciting Qur'an are all acceptable forms of Ibadah while performing tawaaf.

Tawaaf MUST be interrupted for fardh salah and recommended for janazah salah. Resume from where you have stopped. If you stopped half way through one circuit, ensure that you continue at the right place. This is important if you stopped for salah and moved positions several times before the actual salah. So it is important to remember exactly where you have stopped, otherwise start again with that round. If you are in doubt about the number of rounds you have made, rely on the lesser number you remember.

It is permissible to talk while performing tawaaf. Most scholars agree that one should only discuss necessary things and not merely engage in idle chat. Avoid performing tawaaf in groups or following and reciting behind a “leader”. The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) was the best of teachers and he did not lead anybody, or any group, in tawaaf, nor did he instruct his companions (may Allah be pleased with them) to do so.

You must have wudhu (as with salah) to perform tawaaf. Avoid raising your voice while performing tawaaf:

Narrated Abu Musa Al-Ash'ari (may Allah be pleased with him):

"The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) started ascending a high place or hill. A man (among his companions) ascended it and shouted in a loud voice: ‘La ilaha illal-lahu wallahu Akbar’. (At that time) Allah's Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) was riding his mule. Allah's Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) said:

                                                ‘You are not calling upon a deaf or an absent One’." (Bukhari)

Avoid walking against the flow of people. Rather walk right around to the starting place.

There is no need to actually stop on the brown starting line. This is not a place to stop or make salah on. It is a mere indication of where to start. Many people stop on this line and make all sorts of gestures towards the Black Stone, causing a great deal of congestion and confusion.

It is important to note that if one is unable to reach the Black Stone, one's Umrah or tawaaf is NOT decreased in merit in any way, but if one pushes and shoves his Muslim brethren in order to do so, he risks incurring Allah the Almighty's displeasure.


Why are we kissing the Black Stone?

Ibn Umar (may Allah be pleased with them) reported that Umar (may Allah be pleased with him) kissed the stone and said:

"I am kissing you, whereas I know you are a stone, but I saw Allah's Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him)) kissing you (that is why I kiss you)." (Muslim)


Types of Tawaaf

Ø  Umrah Tawaaf (1) 

Ø  Welcome Tawaaf (Tawaaf-al-Qudoom) (2)

Ø  Tawaaf for Hajj (Tawaaf-al-Ifadah also known as Tawaaf-as-Ziyarah or Tawaaf-al-Hajj) (3)

Ø  Farewell Tawaaf (Tawaaf-al-Wadaa) (4)

Ø  Nafl Tawaaf (5)

(1) & (2) You should be in Ihraam.

(2) This Tawaaf is performed by those pilgrims performing the Qiran or Ifrad method of Hajj.

(1) & (2) Ramal (to walk briskly in the first three rounds) and Idtiba (to have your right shoulder open) are required for these tawaafs.

Narrated Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him): “When Allah’s Messenger (Peace Be Upon Him) and his companions came to Makkah, the pagans circulated the news that a group of people were coming to them and they had been weakened by the fever of Yathrib (Al-Madinah). So the Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) ordered his companions to do Ramal in the first three rounds of Tawaaf of the Ka’bah and to walk between the two corners (The Yemenite corner and the Black stone). The Prophet (Peace Be Upon Him) did not order them to do Ramal in all the rounds of Tawaaf out of pity for them.” (Bukhari)

(3) This is one of the pillars of Hajj and MUST be performed by ALL pilgrims.

(4) This is the last act to be performed before leaving Makkah.

(5) This tawaaf can be performed at any time and as many times as possible.

(3), (4) & (5) No Ihraam, no Ramal and no Idtiba for these tawaafs.


How to perform Tawaaf

The niyah is in the heart (Umrah, Ifadah, Wadaa etc.)

Start at the Hajr-al-Aswad (black stone):

Ø  Kiss it if possible;

Ø  If not, touch it with your right hand (Istilam) and kiss your hand;

Ø  If this is not possible, then face the Black stone and with your right hand gesture towards it ONCE only, and DO NOT kiss your hand.

Say once only:

بِسْمِ اللهِ وَ اللهُ أَكْبَرُ


In the name of Allah, Allah is Greater



Proceed in an anti-clockwise (towards the Maqaam Ibraheem) direction.

Supplicate, make dhikr, recite Qur'an.

Walk around the Hijr area and not through it.

Once you reach the Rukn-al-Yamani (the southern corner) touch it with your right hand (Istilam) and say اللهُ أَكْبَرُ (Allahu Akbar). Do NOT kiss it. If you are unable to touch it, do not gesture towards it, but proceed towards the Hajr-al-Aswad, without saying اللهُ أَكْبَرُ

It is sunnah to recite the following between the Rukn-al-Yamani and the Black Stone corner (note that the dua stops at …adhaabannaar):

رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَ فِي الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَ قِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

      “Rabbanaa aatina fidunya hasanatan wa fil aakhirati hasanatan wa qinaa adhaabanaar”

         Oh Allah, give us the good of this world and the good of the Hereafter and protect us from the punishment of Hellfire. 

{Surah al-Baqarah (2), part of ayah 201}

Once you reach the Hajr-al-Aswad again you have completed 1 circuit.

Continue by once again either kissing, touching or gesturing towards the Black Stone and say only:

اللهُ أَكْبَرُ

“Allahu Akbar”

Allah is Greater

Proceed and repeat the aforementioned steps until you have completed 7 circuits.

Upon completion of the Tawaaf, proceed to the Maqaam Ibraheem or any place in the mosque if this area is too crowded.

It is commendable to say:

وَ اتَّخِذُوا مِنْ مَقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلَّى

“Wattakhithu min Maqaami Ibraheema musalla”

And take the station of Ibraheem as a place of prayer.

Cover your right shoulder and perform 2 rak'at of prayer. I cannot stress enough that it is acceptable to perform the 2 rak'at anywhere in the mosque. As with the kissing of the Black Stone, remember it is best to avoid harming and causing difficulties to fellow Muslims.

If you are fortunate enough to perform it near the Maqaam, then stand with the Maqaam between you and the Ka’bah (if possible).

It is sunnah to recite Suratul-Kafirun (109) after Suratul-Fatiha in the first rakah and Suratul-Ikhlas (112), after Suratul-Fatiha in the second rakah.

For nafl tawaaf or Tawaaf-al-Wadaa: At this point you are completed.


Some hints for Tawaaf

During the very busy periods of Hajj the tawaaf area around the Ka'bah is extremely crowded with people performing tawaaf. It is like being in a can of sardines and one can get severely squashed and bruised.

If you cannot stand being pushed and squashed we suggest you perform your tawaaf on the roof level. It is much easier than the middle floor level as the middle floor has lots of people and pillars to negotiate. The roof can also get very crowded but from experience it is much more comfortable. It may take a while longer due to the bigger area you need to cover. Walking normally, with a fair crowd, one circuit can take about 15 to 20 minutes to complete.

Apart from the pushing, it is not recommended for women to be in such crowds, if it can be avoided. It is a sin for them to be touched by strange men. And believe me some men are in the tawaaf area for that!

The bottom level around the Ka'bah is the quickest, but it is also for the bravest, during these busy times.

If you start your tawaaf on the ground level, and find it too difficult to continue, it is acceptable to go to the other floors to complete the seven circuits. It is best to try and complete a circuit prior to going upstairs. If you go halfway through a circuit, then you should redo that circuit. (The distance covered to get upstairs does not count as part of the tawaaf.)

It is also acceptable to go outside the mosque to use the escalators (which is sometimes easier) to get upstairs.

Start your tawaaf as far out as possible (as indicated - start tawaaf / 1st Circuit):

Proceed to walk slowly inwards, closer to the Ka'bah.

Try to maintain this position and complete the 1st circuit followed by circuits 2 to 6.

On the 7th circuit start moving slowly towards the outer side again.

At the end of the 7th round, walk quickly diagonally along the starting line, in front of the people.

Because everybody stops on this line, if you walk quickly, you will find a clear path most of the way.

If you encounter any “human-chains”, just wait until they pass and then move on.

If you have women with you, we suggest you remain on the outside for all seven circuits.

About getting to kiss the Black Stone. Sometimes the pilgrims actually form a queue. You may wait very long in this queue as there are thousands of others that push in at the front. There is no easy way other than waiting your turn. Do not even consider taking the females to try and kiss the stone. This is looking for trouble. Rather go at a less busy time if possible.

Touching of the Rukn-al-Yamani corner is also virtually impossible.

Do NOT walk against the flow of people!

After finishing the two rak’at salah it is sunnah to proceed to the well of zamzam and drink your fill. The well entrance is gone now, so you need to drink from the taps against the wall.

Then return to the Black Stone and kiss it if possible, saying "Allahu Akbar". If it is not possible proceed to the sa'ee area without gesturing or saying "Allahu Akbar".