Tawaf is an essential part (rukn) of ‘Umrah, and the tawaf al‑ziyarah (also called ‘tawaf al‑'ifadah') is a rukn of the Hajj al‑tamattu; Hajj al‑'ifrad and Hajj al‑qiran. As said earlier, the assumption of ihram is the first act of the pilgrim regardless of whether he comes for ‘Umrah mufradah or for any of the three types of Hajj.

Now, after the assuming of ihram, what is the next step for the pilgrim? Is it tawaf, or wuquf, or something else? The answer is: it depends on the purpose (niyyah) with which the pilgrim assumes ihram. If it is ‘Umrah, then the next step is tawaf, regardless of whether it is ‘Umrah mufradah or ‘Umrat al‑tamattu.’ Thus tawaf is the second step for the mu'tamir (pilgrim intending ‘Umrah), by agreement of all the legal schools.

However, if the purpose of ihram is Hajj only‑‑such as in the case of pilgrim on Hajj al‑'ifrad, or one intending to perform the Hajj al‑tamattu’ after getting through the acts of ‘Umrah‑‑the second step is (as shall be explained later) wuquf in ‘Arafat.

In other words, one who enters Makkah with the sole purpose of ‘Umrah or Hajj al‑tamattu’ performs tawaf before everything else, then sa’y and then taqsir. After this, if on Hajj al‑tamattu’, he assumes ihram for a second time; but he is not required to perform another tawaf after this ihram. The tawaf (pertaining to the Hajj acts), as we shall explain, comes after getting through the wuquf at ‘Arafat and passage through Mina.

Kinds of ‘Umrah in View of the Ahl al-Sunnah

The imams of the four Sunni schools distinguish between three kinds of tawaf:

1. Tawaf al-Qudum

It is the tawaf performed by the ‘outsiders', (i.e. those coming from outside Makkah and from beyond its outskirts within a radius of 88 km) on entry into Makkah. It is similar to the two raka'at of salat performed as tahiyyat al‑masjid (lit. ‘greeting of the mosque'), and so is also called ‘tawaf al‑tahiyyah'' The four Sunni schools agree on its being mustahabb, and no penalty is required for default according to all except the Malikis who require a blood sacrifice.

2. Tawaf al-Ziyarah

This tawaf (also called ‘tawaf al‑'ifadah')is performed by Hajj pilgrims after getting through the acts of Mina, the ramy of jamarat al‑‘aqabah, the sacrifice (dhibh), and the halq or the taqsir. The pilgrim performs this tawaf on returning to Makkah. It is called ‘tawaf al‑ziyarah' because it is performed on the visit (ziyarah) to the Ka'bah after leaving Mina. It is called ‘tawaf al‑'ifadah' because the pilgrims pour forth (‘ifadah' means ‘pouring forth') into Makkah from Mina. It is also called ‘tawaf al‑hajj' because by consensus of all the schools it is rukn of the Hajj.

After performing this tawaf all things become permissible for the (Sunni) Hajj pilgrim, even sexual intimacy with women. The Imamiyyah, who disagree, say that sex is not permitted before performing the sa’y between Safa and Marwah followed by a second tawaf, which they call ‘tawaf al‑nisa'.' This shall be further clarified presently.

3. Tawaf al-Wada’

It is the last tawaf performed by the Hujjaj before departing from Makkah. The Hanafi and Hanbali schools consider it obligatory, though all that is required of the defaulter is a sacrifice. The Malikis consider it mustahabb and do not require any penalty for the default. Al‑Shafi'i has two opinions on this matter. (al‑Mughni, al‑Fiqh ‘ala al‑madhahib al‑'arba’ah, Fiqh al‑Sunnah)

Kinds of Tawaf from the Imamiyyah Viewpoint

The Shi’ah agree with the Sunni schools about the legitimacy of the above three kinds of tawaf, and regard the second tawaf i.e. tawaf al‑ziyarah as a rukn of the Hajj whose omission makes the Hajj invalid.1 However, the first kind, i.e. tawaf al‑qudum is considered mustahabb, and may be omitted. Regarding the third, i.e. tawaf al‑wada; they agree with the Maliki school in its being mustahabb, there being nothing on the defaulter.

However, the Shi’ah add another kind of tawaf to the above three, the tawaf al‑nisa', which they consider obligatory, its omission being impermissible in ‘Umrah mufradah as well as in all the three kinds of Hajj (i.e. tamattu; qiran, and ifrad). They do not permit its omission except in case of ‘Umrat al‑tamattu; considering the tawaf al‑nisa' performed during the course of Hajj al‑tamattu’ as sufficient.

The schools of the Ahl al‑Sunnah state that there is no obligatory tawaf after the tawaf al‑ziyarah, after which sexual intimacy is permissible. The Shi'ah say that it is obligatory upon the pilgrim, after performing tawaf al‑ziyarah and the sa’y, to perform another tawaf, the tawaf al‑nisa; which derives its name precisely because of the sanction of permissibility of relations with women (nisa') following it.

They say that if the pilgrim defaults in regard to this tawaf, sexual relations are forbidden for man and woman (for men even the conclusion of marriage contract), unless he/she performs it in person or deputes another to perform it on his/her behalf; and if he/she dies without performing it or without deputing someone to do it for him/her, it is incumbent upon the heir (wali) to have it performed on the behalf of the dead person.

According to them, even in case of a mumayyiz child who fails to perform the tawaf al‑nisa' while performing the Hajj, even if he omits it by mistake or on account of ignorance, women are forbidden to him after adulthood nor he may conclude a marriage contract (‘aqd) unless he performs it himself or deputes another for the job.

To summarize, the Shi’ah consider three tawaf's to be obligatory for the pilgrim on the Hajj al‑tamattu’: (1) the tawaf of the conjugate ‘Umrah, of which it is rukn;(2) the tawaf al‑ziyarah (or tawaf al‑hajj), which is a rukn of the Hajj; and (3) the tawaf al‑nisa', which is also an obligatory part of it, though not a rukn similar to the Surat al‑Fatihah in relation to the salat. The Ahl al‑Sunnah agree with the Shi’ah in all except tawaf al‑nisa; which they do not recognize. However, of a pilgrim on the Hajj al‑'ifrad or Hajj al‑qiran, only two tawaf's are required by the Shi’ah.2

Entry into Makkah

All the schools agree that it is mustahabb for one entering Makkah to take a bath, pass through its heights during the approach towards the city, enter through Bab Bani Shaybah, raise his hands on sighting al‑Bayt al‑Haram, pronounce takbir and tahlil, and to recite whatever he can of certain prayers prescribed by tradition. The Malikis, however, disagree about the istihbab of raising the hands for the du’a'.

Thereafter, he approaches the Black Stone; if possible kisses it or caresses it with his hand or else just makes a gesture with his hand, and prays.

According to the Imamiyyah, it is mustahabb while entering the haram of Makkah to be barefooted, to chew the leaves of a plant called ‘adhkhir' used for refreshing the mouth, or to clean the mouth to purge its odour.

The Conditions (Shurut) of Tawaf

According to the Shafi'i, Maliki, and Hanbali schools ritual purity (taharah, i.e. freedom from hadath and khabath) is required; thus the tawaf of one who is Junub or a woman undergoing hayd or nifas, is not valid. Also, it is necessary to cover one's private parts completely as in salat.

The author of the Fiqh al‑Sunnah (p. 154, 1955) says: "In the opinion of the Hanafis, freedom from hadath is not an essential requirement. However, it is an obligation whose omission may be compensated through a blood sacrifice. So, if one performs tawaf in the state of minor impurity (hadath asghar) his/her tawaf is valid, though one is required to sacrifice a sheep. If tawaf is performed in the state of janabah or hayd,3 the tawaf is valid, though the sacrifice of a camel is required during the pilgrim's stay in Makkah."

According to al‑Fiqh ‘ala al‑madhdhib al‑'arba ‘ah (vol.I, p. 535, 1939): "The taharah of the clothes, the body, and the location of prayer (in salat) is (only) a highly recommended sunnah (sunnah mu'akkadah) from the Hanafi viewpoint; (this is true) even of tawaf, there being no penalty even if all the clothes are completely ritually unclean (najis)."

According to the Imamiyyah, taharah from hadath and khabath is a proviso for validity of an obligatory tawaf. In the same way, covering the private parts (satr al‑‘awrah) with a ritually clean cloth legitimately owned (ghayr maghsub) is also a requirement. Moreover, it should not be made of silk or the skin of an animal whose flesh may not be eaten, nor made of golden fabric –requirements which are the same as for salat.

It may be said that the Imamiyyah are even more stringent with regard to tawaf than salat. They consider a blood spot of the size of a dirham as pardonable for one performing salat, but not for one performing tawaf. Further, they consider wearing of silk and gold as impermissible even for women during tawaf (which is permissible for women in salat). According to the Imamiyyah, circumcision is a requirement for tawaf without which it is invalid, both for an adult man and a child (al‑Jawahir, al‑Hada'iq).

The manner of Performing Tawaf

According to the Imamiyyah and Hanbali schools, the purpose or niyyah must be specified in every tawaf; but according to the Maliki, Shafi’i and Hanbali schools, a general niyyah for the Hajj is
sufficient and no separate niyyah for tawaf is required. (al‑Jawahir, Fiqh al‑Sunnah) As pointed out earlier, niyyah as a motive behind all voluntary actions is an inevitable and necessary matter; as such, debate and controversy regarding it is futile.

Ibn Rushd, in his Bidayat al‑mujahid, writes: "The Sunni legists are in consensus on the opinion that every tawaf whether obligatory or not, begins from the Black Stone (and according to the Fiqh al‑Sunnah ends thereat). The pilgrim, if he can, kisses it, otherwise touches it with his hand. Then, with the Ka'bah on his left, starts moving towards the right to make the seven circumambulations, walking with a moderately fast pace (ramal) during the first three rounds and with an ordinary pace during the last four rounds. (The ramal4 applies to the tawaf al‑qudum performed on entry into Makkah by the ‘Umrah and Hajj pilgrim, not one on Hajj al‑tamattu; also no ramal is required of women pilgrims). Then he kisses al‑Rukn al‑Yamani" (the south‑western corner or rukn of the Ka'bah which falls before the one with the Black Stone mounted on it during the anti‑clockwise rounds made during tawaf.—Tr.).

According to the Imamiyyah, there are certain things obligatory (wajib) in tawaf they are as follows:

1. The niyyah, to which reference has already been made.

2. The tawaf should be made on foot, and in case of inability on a mount. Many Imamiyyah fuqaha' do not recognize this requirement and a group of them explicitly permit tawaf on a mount. They cite the precedent of the Prophet (S) who performed tawaf on camelback, according to traditions in al‑Kafi and Man la yahduruhu al faqih.

3. The condition that the tawaf should begin and end at the Black Stone is stated in this manner in many books of fiqh: "The tawaf should be begun at the Black Stone, so that the first part of one's body is in front of the first part of the Black Stone. Then the pilgrim begins moving with the Black Stone on his left, ending the last circumambulation exactly in line with the point where he commenced his first, thus ensuring that the seven rounds are completed without advancing or falling behind a single step or more.

The danger of advancing or falling behind necessitates that the first circumambulation should commence at the beginning of the Black Stone; because if begun in front of its middle, one cannot be sure of having advanced or fallen behind some steps; and if one began from its end, then the beginning may not be said to have commenced from the Black Stone ...." and so on and so forth.

The author of the Jawahir al‑kalam makes elaborate critical remarks about this kind of meticulousness, which show his balanced and moderate taste and temperament. This is the substance of what he has to say: "The difficulty and the exasperating haraj (impediment) inherent in realizing such a requirement is not concealed .... To give it consideration is to fall into silly scruples. The debate is similar to the depraved and unseemly musings of madmen.5 And it has been narrated of the Prophet (S) that he performed tawaf on camelback, and attaining this kind of precision is infeasible when on a mount."

That which can be understood from the remarks of the author of al‑Jawahir is that he agrees with the author of al‑Shara'i’, who confines himself to this statement, without adding another word: "It is obligatory to begin and end the tawaf at the Stone." It means—as is also apparent from his above‑mentioned remarks‑‑that in the opinion of the author of al‑Jawahir it is sufficient to fulfil this condition in the commonly understood sense. Al‑Sayyid al‑Hakim, in al‑Munsik, holds a similar position when he says, "The pilgrim performing tawaf should begin a little before the Stone with the intent of performing what is really obligatory. When he performs in this fashion he knows that he began at the Stone and finished thereat."

4. The Ka'bah must be on the left during tawaf. According to al‑Sayyid al‑Khu'i, it is sufficient to realize this requirement in the commonly understood sense (i.e. without giving scrupulous attention to precision); slight shifts of direction do not matter as long as the movement meets the requirement in the ordinary sense. According to him the only crucial factor is satisfaction of the requirement in its ordinary sense.

5. The Hajar Isma'il must be included in tawaf. That is the circumambulation should be made around it and without entering it, 6 and it should be kept to the left while making the tawaf. Thus if one passes between it and the Ka'bah during tawaf making it fall to his right, the tawaf becomes invalid.

6. The body should be completely out of the Ka'bah (because God says وَلْيَطَّوَّفُوا بِالْبَيْتِ الْعَتِيقِ which means that tawaf should be made around and outside the Ka'bah, not inside it). Also if one were to walk on its walls or on the protruding part of its walls' foundations, the tawaf would be invalid.

7. The tawaf should be performed between the Ka'bah and the rock called Maqam Ibrahim, which is a stone on which Abraham (‘a) stood during the building of the Ka'bah.

8. The tawaf should consist of seven rounds, no more and no less. Obviously, recognition of these points requires an informed guide to indicate them to the pilgrims.

After finishing tawaf it is obligatory to offer two rak'ah's of salat behind the Maqam Ibrahim regardless of the crowd; but if it is not possible, one may offer the prayer in front of it, and if that, too, is not possible, anywhere in al‑Masjid al‑Haram. It is not permissible to begin a second tawaf without performing the two‑rak’ah prayer. If one forgets performing them, it is obligatory on him to return and perform them. But if returning were not feasible, he can offer them wherever he can. This is true of the obligatory tawaf. But if the tawaf were a mustahabb one, he can offer the two rak’ah's wherever he can. (al‑Tadhkirah, al‑Jawahir, al‑Hada'iq)

This shows that the jurists of all the legal schools are in agreement over certain points: the tawaf starts and ends at the Black Stone; the Ka'bah should be on the left during tawaf; the tawaf should be made outside the Ka'bah; seven rounds should be made; kissing the Black Stone and the Rukn is mustahabb. However, they disagree with respect to the permissibility of break between successive rounds of the tawaf.

According to the Maliki, Imamiyyah, and Hanbali schools, continuity without break (muwalat) is obligatory. According to the Shafi’i and Hanafi schools, it is sunnah (i.e. mustahabb) to observe muwalat, so if there is a substantial break between the rounds without any excuse, the tawaf is not invalidated. (Fiqh al‑Sunnah). Similarly according to Abu Hanifah, if one leaves off after the fourth round, he must complete his tawaf if he is in Makkah; but if he leaves Makkah, he must compensate it with a blood sacrifice. (al‑Tadhkirah)

The schools disagree with respect to the necessity of the tawaf being undertaken on foot. The Hanafi, Hanbali, and Maliki schools consider it obligatory. According to the Shafi'i school and a group of Imamiyyah scholars it is not obligatory and one may perform tawaf on a mount. Also, they disagree with respect to the two‑rak'ah prayer (rak'atan) after tawaf. According to the Maliki, Hanafi, and Imamiyyah schools, the rak’atan—which is exactly like the daybreak prayer—are obligatory. The Shafi'i and Hanbali schools regard it as mustahabb.

The Mustahabbat of Tawaf

The book Fiqh al‑Sunnah, discussing the topic under the heading “Sunan al‑tawaf;” states, “Of things which are sunnah in tawaf are: kissing the Black Stone while starting the tawaf, accompanied with tahlil and takbir, to raise the two hands as in salat, to greet the Stone by drawing one's hands upon it (istilam), to kiss it soundlessly, to lay one's cheek on it if possible, otherwise to touch it only.” Other mustahabbat are: idtiba 7 for men, ramal, and istilam of al‑Rukn al‑Yamani.

According to al‑Lum’at al‑Dimashqiyyah, an Imamiyyah work, of things mustahabb in tawaf are: to halt in front of the Black Stone, to make the prayer later offered with the hands raised, to recite the Surat al‑Qadr, remember Allah—subhanahu wa ta'ala—, to walk peacefully, to draw one's hand on the Black Stone, to kiss it if possible otherwise to make a gesture, to draw one's hand on every corner of the Ka'bah every time one basses by or to kiss it, to draw one's hand on al‑Mustajar—which is in front of the door and before al‑Rukn al‑Yamani—during the seventh round, and to keep oneself as near as possible to the Ka'bah. To speak during tawaf apart from dhikr and recitation of the Qur'an, is makruh.

The Ahkam of Tawaf

According to the Imamiyyah, if a woman undergoes hayd during tawaf she discontinues tawaf and performs sa’y, if it happens after the fourth round. Then she completes the tawaf after attaining taharah, and she is not required to repeat the sa’y. But if the hadath occurs before completing the fourth round, she waits until the day of ‘Arafah. If by that time she regains taharah and is in a position to complete the remaining acts, she does so. Otherwise her Hajj is converted to Hajj al‑'ifrad.

As mentioned earlier, the Hanafis permit tawaf for a woman in the state of hayd, and do not require taharah. According to the Hanafi work Fath al‑Qadir, one who leaves three or fewer rounds of the tawaf al‑ziyarah should sacrifice a sheep; if four, he remains in the state of ihram as long as he does not complete the rounds of tawaf. But if he leaves off more than four rounds, it is as if he had not started the tawaf at all.

According to the Imdmiyyah, if after completing the rounds of tawaf one doubts whether he performed them correctly as required by the Shari’ah or whether he performed the exact number of rounds, his doubt is of no consequence. His tawaf is considered valid and complete and there is nothing upon him. But if the doubt occurs before finishing the tawaf, he should consider whether he has performed at least seven rounds, such as when he doubts whether he made seven or eight rounds. If he is certain of having performed seven rounds, then his tawaf is considered valid.

However, if he is not certain of having performed seven rounds‑‑as in the case when he doubts whether he is in his sixth or seventh round, or in his fifth or sixth‑‑in that case his tawaf is invalid and he should start afresh. It is preferable in such a case to complete the present tawaf before starting afresh.8 This is true of a wajib tawaf. In case of a mustahabb tawaf, the basis is the least number of rounds under seven one is certain of having performed, regardless of whether the doubt occurs during or after the last round.

For the non‑Imamiyyah schools, the rule is the least number of rounds one is certain of having performed—a rule which is similar to the one they apply to the doubt in the number of rak’ah's of salat.

These are the ahkam, the mustahabbat, and the wajibat of tawaf, which, like the ruku’ and sujud in salat, is always the same in all cases, whether as a part of the ‘Umrah mufradah, ‘Umrat al‑tamattu; Hajj al‑qiran, or Hajj al‑'ifrad, and regardless of whether it is tawaf al‑ziyarah, tawaf al‑nisa; tawaf al‑qudum, or tawaf al‑wada’.

As mentioned above, the tawaf is the next act after ihram in ‘Umrat al‑tamattu; but in the Hajj its turn comes after the pilgrim has gone through the rituals of Mina’ (on the ‘Id day) as shall be explained later.

  • 1. According to the author of al‑Hada'iq, Hajj is invalid if tawaf is omitted intentionally, but not if omitted by mistake; although it is obligatory to perform it after omission.
  • 2. According to Ibn Rushd, in his Bidayah, the four Sunni schools agree that the pilgrim of Hajj al‑ramattu 'and its related `Umrah is required to perform tawaf twice; the one on Hajj al‑afrad is required to perform tawaf once. They disagree regarding Hajj al‑qiran, in which case according to al‑Shafi`i, Malik, and Ahmad ibn Hanbal, one tawaf is required, but two according to Abd Hanifah.
  • 3. According to al‑Jawahir, al‑Masalik al‑`Urwat al‑wuthqa and other works of Imamiyyah fiqh, it is not permissible for one in the state of janabah or hayd to enter or pass through al‑Masjid al‑Haram or Masjid al‑Rasul (al‑Madinah), to say nothing of tarrying (makth) therein. However, it is permissible for one in the state of janabah or hayd to pass, without stopping or halting, through other mosques.
  • 4. `Ramal' means walking fast, without running or making a rush. According to the Imamiyyah work al‑Lum`ah, ramal is mustahabb in the first three rounds of tawaf—a position which is exactly the same as that of the four Sunni schools.
  • 5. The author of al‑Jawahir makes this remark when comparing those who stipulate such kind of conditions for tawaf to others with a similar attitude with regard to the niyyah of salat.
  • 6. Hajar Isma`il ibn Ibrahim (`a) is the place where his house was built, and there he buried his mother.
  • 7. By `idtiba is meant the style of wearing the rida' whose hanging sides are drawn under the right armpit and then thrown over the left shoulder. In the book al‑Fiqh `ala al‑madhahib al‑'arba`ah, the istihbab of idtibta'is ascribed to the Hanafi, Shafi`i, and the Hanbali, not to the Maliki, schools.
  • 8. This is in agreement with the fatawa of al‑Sayyid al‑Hakim and al‑Sayyid al‑Khu'i.