• Tawaf

    Tawaf (Arabic: طواف) is one of the principal rites of the pilgrimage and refers to circumambulating or walking in circles around the Kaaba in an anti-clockwise motion. Seven complete circuits, with each one starting and ending at the Hajar al-Aswad, constitute one Tawaf.

    Meaning of Tawaf

    Linguistically, the word is derived from the Arabic verb Taafa (Arabic: طاف), which means “to walk around” or “to encircle something”. Its technical meaning is to perform seven anti-clockwise circuits of the Kaaba. One complete circuit of the Kaaba is known as a Shawt (Arabic: شوط).

    Virtues of Tawaf

    Abdullah ibn Umar I narrates:

    The Prophet ﷺ said: ‘120 mercies descend daily upon the House of Allah, 60 of which are for those who are performing Tawaf, 40 for those who are performing Salah, and 20 for those who gaze at the House of Allah.'1Tabarani.

    He also reports:

    I heard the Messenger of Allah ﷺ say: ‘Whoever circles the Kaaba seven times (Tawaf) and prays two Rak’ahs will have a reward as if he has freed a slave. A man does not raise his foot and bring it back down except that ten good deeds will be written for him, ten bad deeds will be erased, and he will be raised by ten degrees.'2Ahmad, Hadith No. 27862; Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 2956.

    He further narrates:

    Whomsoever makes 50 Tawafs of the Kaaba (ie. fifty by seven rounds), will be free of all his sins, just as the day his mother gave birth to him.3Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 866.

    Significance of Tawaf

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    The Tawaf is an act of devotion intended to spiritually bring the pilgrim closer to Allah. It is the only principal rite of Hajj and Umrah not associated directly with acts of worship performed by the Prophet Ibrahim S in ancient times. There are several interpretations that attempt to establish the significance of Tawaf:

    Al-Bayt al-Ma’mur

    One such interpretation is that when pilgrims perform Tawaf around the Kaaba, they are doing so in tandem with the angels that circumambulate al-Bayt al-Ma’mur (the Frequented House) in the celestial realm. Allah says:

    وَالطَّورِ- وَكِتَـبٍ مُّسْطُورٍ- فِى رَقّ مَّنْشُورٍ- وَالْبَيْتِ الْمَعْمُورِ

    By the mount. And [by] a Book inscribed. In parchment spread open. And [by] the frequented House.
    [Surah at-Tur, 52:1-4]

    Ibn Kathir V writes the following regarding al-Bayt al-Ma’mur in his Tafsir:

    In the two Sahihs it is confirmed that the Messenger of Allah ﷺ said in the Hadith about al-Isra, after ascending to the seventh heaven: ‘Then, I was taken to al-Bayt al-Ma’mur. It is visited every day by seventy thousand angels who will not come back to visit it again.’ The angels worship Allah in Al-Bayt Al-Ma’mur and perform Tawaf around it just as the people of the earth perform Tawaf around the Kaaba. Al-Bayt al-Ma’mur is the Kaaba of those who reside in the seventh heaven. During the Isra journey, the Prophet ﷺ saw Ibrahim S, who was reclining with his back on al-Bayt al-Ma’mur. It was Ibrahim who built the Kaaba on earth, and surely, the reward is compatible with the action. Al-Bayt al-Ma’mur is parallel to the Kaaba; every heaven has its own house of worship, which is also the direction of prayer for its residents. The house that is located in the lower heaven, is called Bayt al-Izzah. And Allah knows best.

    Cosmologically, the Kaaba is regarded as a reflection of al-Bayt al-Ma’mur in the seventh heaven and the Tawaf of the pilgrims reflects that of the angels.

    The Universe in Motion

    Another interpretation associates the act of Tawaf with the orbiting motions of heavenly bodies. Allah says:

    وَهُوَ الَّذِي خَلَقَ اللَّيْلَ وَالنَّهَارَ وَالشَّمْسَ وَالْقَمَرَ ۖ كُلٌّ فِي فَلَكٍ يَسْبَحُونَ

    And He is the One Who has created the night and the day, and the sun and the moon, each in an orbit floating.
    [Surah al-Ambiya, 21:33]

    This verse attests to the scientific fact that the sun and the moon are in orbit; we know that the moon revolves around the earth each month and the earth revolves around the sun each year. However, this circular motion is not just confined to the planetary system but includes the entire universe, from the smallest of atoms to the largest of galaxies.

    Modern science shows that electrons within an atom orbit the core, known as the nucleus, in an anti-clockwise motion. Some of these atoms are so small, they are invisible to microscopes. Similarly, our solar system orbits the galaxy, and these galaxies have their own orbit around a central axis. Since everything is made up of atoms that are in constant orbital movement, we come to the realisation that revolving around a central point, or Tawaf is a cosmic law. These systems are all obedient to the will of Allah, who has created them and manages them.

    In a similar manner, when Tawaf is performed, pilgrims are participating in this cosmic ritual just as the atoms and galaxies do in their subservience to the will of Allah.

    The Kaaba represents the spiritual centre of the world, the spiritual axis around which the believer’s compass rotates, and turns to on a daily basis. Allah refers to the Kaaba as the Sacred House in the following verse, indicating its status as a symbol of the human encounter with the divine:

    جَعَلَ اللَّهُ الْكَعْبَةَ الْبَيْتَ الْحَرَامَ قِيَامًا لِلنَّاسِ وَالشَّهْرَ الْحَرَامَ وَالْهَدْيَ وَالْقَلَائِدَ ذَٰلِكَ لِتَعْلَمُوا أَنَّ اللَّهَ يَعْلَمُ مَا فِي السَّمَاوَاتِ وَمَا فِي الْأَرْضِ وَأَنَّ اللَّهَ بِكُلِّ شَيْءٍ عَلِيمٌ

    Allah has made the Kaaba, the Sacred House, standing for the people and [has sanctified] the sacred months and the sacrificial animals and the garlands [by which they are identified]. That is so you may know that Allah knows what is in the heavens and what is in the earth and that Allah is Knowing of all things.
    [Surah al-Ma’idah, 5:97]

    The circumambulation of the Kaaba is a continuous act of worship, 24 hours a day throughout the year. It does not cease, except for a few minutes during the five daily prescribed prayers. This act of Tawaf affirms the worship of one God; just as every orbit has one centre, there is only one God worthy of worship.

    History of Tawaf

    During the age of Jahiliyyah, the polytheists would perform Tawaf of the Kaaba in a naked state, citing it was a custom of their forefathers. They would separate themselves from their clothes and allow them to be trampled by the feet of the people until they were torn because they felt their clothes had become tainted by the sins they had committed, and so they wished to disassociate themselves from those clothes and those sins.

    Ibn Kathir V writes the following about the practice:

    The Arabs, with the exception of the Quraysh, used to perform Tawaf naked. They claimed they would not perform Tawaf while wearing the clothes that they had disobeyed Allah in. As for the Quraysh, known as al-Hums, they used to perform Tawaf in their regular clothes. Whoever among the Arabs borrowed a garment from one of al-Hums, he would wear it during Tawaf. And whoever wore a new garment, would discard it and nobody would wear it after him on completion of Tawaf. Those who did not have a new garment, or were not given one by al-Hums, would perform Tawaf while naked.  Women would also perform Tawaf while naked, usually at night. This was a practice that the idolaters invented on their own, following only their forefathers in this regard. They falsely claimed that what their forefathers did was in fact following the order and legislation of Allah.

    With the advent of Islam, Allah commanded the covering of the Awrah:

    يَا بَنِي آدَمَ خُذُوا زِينَتَكُمْ عِندَ كُلِّ مَسْجِدٍ وَكُلُوا وَاشْرَبُوا وَلَا تُسْرِفُوا ۚ إِنَّهُ لَا يُحِبُّ الْمُسْرِفِينَ

    O children of Adam, take your adornment at every masjid, and eat and drink, but be not excessive. Indeed, He likes not those who commit excess.
    [Surah al-A’raf, 7:31]

    Ibn Kathir V, explaining this verse, writes:

    There were people who used to perform Tawaf around the House while naked, and Allah ordered them to take adornment, meaning, to wear clean, proper clothes that cover the private parts. People were commanded to wear their best clothes when performing every prayer.

    The Prophet ﷺ refocused Tawaf to the worship of God and prevented the practice of performing Tawaf naked in the year before his farewell Hajj. Abu Huraira I narrates:

    In the year prior to the last Hajj of the Prophet ﷺ when Allah’s Messenger ﷺ made Abu Bakr the leader of the pilgrims, the latter (Abu Bakr) sent me in the company of a group of people to make a public announcement: ‘No pagan is allowed to perform Hajj after this year, and no naked person is allowed to perform Tawaf of the Kaaba.'4Al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 369, 1622 & 4655; Muslim, Hadith No. 1347.

    Types of Tawaf

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    There are five kinds of Tawaf:

    Tawaf al-Qudum (Tawaf of Arrival)

    This is the initial Tawaf carried out upon entering Masjid al-Haram in Makkah by those travelling from beyond the Miqat boundaries with the intention of performing Hajj al-Qiran or Hajj al-Ifrad. During Tawaf al-Qudum, Ihram is worn and Idtiba and Raml may be observed. This Tawaf is considered to be a Sunnah.

    It is called Tawaf al-Qudum (Tawaf of Arrival) as it is performed on arrival in Makkah. It is also referred to as Tawaf al-Tahiyyah (Tawaf of Greeting) as it has a similar purpose to the two Rakah prayer, known as Tahiyyat al-Masjid (Greeting of the Mosque), that is observed upon entering the mosque.

    It should be carried out by Hajj al-Ifrad and Hajj al-Qiran pilgrims after entering Makkah and before Wuquf at Arafat on the 9th of Dhul Hijjah at the latest. Umrah pilgrims don’t perform this Tawaf but observe Tawaf al-Umrah instead, which is identical with the exception of the intention.

    Tawaf al-Ziyarah (Tawaf of Visitation), also known as Tawaf al-Ifadah (Tawaf of Pouring Forth)

    This is carried out by all Hajj pilgrims on the 10th of Dhul Hijjah after leaving the state of Ihram and changing into regular clothing before returning to Mina to perform Rami al-Jamarat. Marital relations are prohibited until this Tawaf is completed.

    It is known as Tawaf al-Ziyarah (Tawaf of Visitation) as it is performed on visiting the Kaaba after leaving Mina. It is also called Tawaf al-Ifadah (Tawaf of Pouring Forth) because pilgrims pour forth into Makkah from Mina. It is sometimes referred to as Tawaf al-Hajj as it is, by consensus of all the schools of law, a Rukn of the Hajj.

    Tawaf al-Wida (the Farewell Tawaf), also known as Tawaf al-Sadr (Tawaf of Leaving)

    This is performed by Hajj pilgrims just before leaving Makkah after completing the Hajj. It is the final rite that is performed in Makkah prior to moving on to the next destination. Its performance is Wajib according to the Hanafi and Hanbali schools, requiring Fidyah as atonement if left unobserved, while the Maliki school regards it as a Sunnah, requiring no expiation if neglected.

    Tawaf al-Umrah

    This is the Tawaf that is carried out by those performing Umrah outside of the Hajj season and those who have the intention of performing Hajj al-Tamattu. It is an obligatory rite and its non-observance would render the Umrah invalid. During Tawaf al-Umrah, Ihram is worn and Idtiba and Raml may be carried out. Sa’i of Umrah is performed thereafter.

    Tawaf al-Nafl

    This is a voluntary Tawaf that may be performed anytime and as often as desired.

    Idtiba and Raml

    Idtiba and Raml is performed during certain types of Tawaf
    Idtiba and Raml is performed during certain Tawafs

    If you are performing Tawaf al-Umrah outside of the Hajj season or as part of Hajj al-Tamattu, or Tawaf al-Qudum as part of Hajj al-Qiran or Hajj al-Ifrad, it is Sunnah to perform Idtiba and Raml during Tawaf. In other words, if the Tawaf you’re performing is followed by Sa’i, Idtiba and Raml should be observed. This practice only applies to male pilgrims.


    Idtiba refers to the practice of uncovering the right shoulder during Tawaf. To do so, pass the top sheet of your Ihram (Rida) under your right armpit, allowing it to hang from your left shoulder. Your right shoulder will be uncovered for the duration of the Tawaf. The Prophet ﷺ performed Idtiba during the Hajjat al-Wida, as reported by Ya’la ibn Umayyah I:

    The Messenger of Allah ﷺ went round the House (the Kaaba) wearing a green Yamani mantle under his right armpit with the end over his left shoulder.5Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1883.


    Raml refers to the practice of walking quickly (not running or jogging), lifting the legs forcefully and sticking out the chest while moving the shoulders, so as to imitate a warrior. It is a Sunnah to perform this for the first three rounds before returning to normal walking pace for the final four rounds. The practice originated in the seventh year of Hijri when the Prophet ﷺ and his companions came to Makkah to perform Umrah. Abdullah ibn Abbas I narrates:

    When Allah’s Messenger ﷺ 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 (Madinah). So the Prophet ordered his companions to do Raml in the first three rounds of Tawaf and to walk between the two corners (Hajar al-Aswad and Rukn al-Yamani). The Prophet ﷺ did not order them to do Raml in all the rounds of Tawaf out of pity for them.6Al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 1602.

    Performing Raml may be difficult to perform because of crowding. If this is the case, walk as quickly as you can while moving in the manner described above, or stop and look for gaps in order to perform Raml properly.

    If you forget to make Raml in the first circuit and remember in the second, you may observe it in the second and third circuits. It is Makruh to make Raml from the fourth circuit onward, so it shouldn’t be performed in the latter rounds if it is neglected in any of the first three.

    Remember, although its performance is certainly virtuous, Raml isn’t obligatory. Therefore, if you feel you may cause harm to others by performing Raml, or you’re unable to carry it out due to old age or illness, don’t observe the practice.

    Requisites of Tawaf

    Tawaf is similar to the ritual prayer in terms of prerequisites, although excessive movement and talking are acceptable during its observance. Abdullah ibn Abbas I narrates:

    The Prophetﷺ said: ‘Tawaf around the House is similar to Salah except that you may talk during it. So whoever talks in it, then talk only good.'7Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 960.


    It is necessary to be in a state of Wudhu and be free from all major and minor physical impurities when performing Tawaf. You should also ensure that your clothing is ritually pure and clean, although there is no penalty if you do find impurities on your clothing during Tawaf. If your Wudhu is nullified during Tawaf, repeat the ablution and resume from where you stopped, regardless of the length of the interval.

    According to the Shafi’i, Maliki and Hanbali schools, the Tawaf of a woman in a state of major ritual impurity as a result of menstruation or post-natal bleeding is invalid. According to the Hanafi school, performing Tawaf in a state of minor ritual impurity (requiring Wudhu) would necessitate the slaughter of a small animal as expiation, while Tawaf in a state of major ritual impurity (requiring Ghusl) would necessitate the sacrifice of a large animal such as a camel or cow as atonement. The Tawaf would, however, still be considered valid according to this school.

    Also, bear in mind that contact between a man and a non-Mahram woman invalidates the Wudhu according to the Shafi’i school. However, if you find yourself constrained and you feel that contact with women is inevitable, you may adopt the view of the Hanafi school in this regard, which doesn’t stipulate this rule.

    Covering the Awrah

    You must ensure your Awrah is covered during Tawaf. The Awrah for a man refers to any part of the body between the navel and the knees, whereas the Awrah for a woman generally refers to the entire body with the exception of the face and hands.

    Within Masjid al-Haram

    Fairly obviously, the Tawaf must take place within the confines of Masjid al-Haram. Your Tawaf will still be valid if your view of the Kaaba is impeded by pillars or walls, or is completely out of sight as a result of being on an elevated level or below ground level. Tawaf may not be observed outside the mosque.

    The Kaaba on the Left

    The Kaaba should be on your left-hand side for the entire Tawaf. Should you face the Kaaba in order to make Dua or to perform Salah, take a step backwards before resuming your Tawaf and proceed as normal. If you’re knocked into a position where you’re facing the Kaaba, reposition yourself immediately. If you have taken a number of steps whilst facing the Kaaba, you may move backwards to where those erroneous steps were initially taken and proceed in the correct manner. If this isn’t possible as a result of heavy crowding, it’s advisable to repeat the circuit. Slight shifts of direction do not matter.

    Outside of the Kaaba

    You must be completely outside of the Kaaba whilst performing Tawaf, keeping in mind that part of its foundation extends beyond the cube structure of the Kaaba. The area known as Hijr Ismail, situated to the north of the Kaaba, approximately three metres away from the structure itself and surrounded by a semi-circular wall (al-Hateem), forms part of the Kaaba and must be avoided during Tawaf. You should walk around it rather than entering it, keeping it to your left-hand side. Similarly, the protruding lower construction located at the base of the Kaaba, known as the Shadharwan, which is present on the east, west and south walls and is about 3ft high, shouldn’t be touched. The Shadharwan holds the rings that support the cloth which covers the Kaaba (Kiswah) and is part of the Kaaba itself.


    An intention should be specified for each Tawaf. Although the intention for the obligatory Tawaf of Hajj or Umrah is included in the intention for the pilgrimage itself, it is still best to declare it prior to starting the Tawaf, verbally or otherwise.

    Begin and End at the Hajar al-Aswad

    You must begin and end the Tawaf at the Hajar al-Aswad. If it is started from elsewhere, the distance covered will not be taken into account until arriving at the Hajar al-Aswad.

    Completion of Seven Circuits

    You should complete seven circuits. If you have any doubts regarding the number of circuits completed during Tawaf, perform an extra circuit. If you have doubts after having completed the Tawaf, put your doubts to one side and regard it as a complete Tawaf.

    Method of Tawaf

    All methods of performing Tawaf are the same, regardless of the type you’re performing. As long as the requisites of Tawaf are fulfilled, as described above, the ritual will be deemed valid and complete. The following step-by-step guide on how to perform Tawaf includes Sunnah actions that an individual may obverse during Tawaf. Although many of these actions aren’t obligatory, they are certainly very virtuous as they were carried out by the Prophet ﷺ. However, if you can’t perform all of these actions due to crowding or other circumstances, don’t worry.

    Start of Tawaf

    Upon entering Masjid al-Haram, ensure you’re in a state of Wudhu and enter the Mataf, which is the area where Tawaf takes place. If your Tawaf requires it, perform Idtiba by uncovering your right shoulder. The recital of the Talbiyah should stop once the Tawaf commences.

    Starting Point

    Tawaf starts at al-Hajar al-Aswad
    Tawaf starts at the Hajar al-Aswad

    Proceed towards the corner of the Kaaba where the Hajar al-Aswad is situated. This corner is the one that faces a single minaret (the other three corners face two minarets). There is a green light on the wall of the Masjid opposite the Kaaba, which indicates where the Tawaf starts from. This is the starting point of each circuit. Stand just before this starting point facing the Kaaba.


    As with any other act of worship, make an intention to perform Tawaf solely for the sake of Allah. The following intention could be made:

    اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّيْ أُرِيْدُ طَوَافَ بَيْتِكَ الْحَرَامِ فَيَسِّرْهُ لِيْ وَتَقَبَّلْهُ مِنِّيْ
    Allāhumma innī urīdu l-ṭawwafa baytika l-ḥarāmi fa yassirhu lī wa taqabbalhu minnī.

    O Allah, I intend to perform Tawaf of the Sacred Mosque, so accept it from me and make it easy for me.

    The intention doesn’t need to be verbal.

    Kissing, Touching or Saluting the Hajar al-Aswad

    • Kissing – If you manage to get close enough to the Hajar al-Aswad, place both hands on it, place your face between your hands, say “bismi llāhi wallāhu akbar (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ وَاللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ)” and kiss it lightly. Some scholars have said it is preferable to kiss it three times if you have the chance.
    • Touching – If it is crowded, touch the Hajar al-Aswad with your hand(s) and kiss your hand(s). This is called Istilam.
    • Saluting – If it isn’t possible to reach the stone, as is likely to be the case, perform a symbolic Istilam from afar. To do this, face the Hajar al-Aswad directly and raise your hands up to your earlobes (as you would do when starting Salah). Ensure your palms are also facing it, as though your face and hands are on the Hajar al-Aswad and say “bismi llāhi wallāhu akbar (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ وَاللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ).” You may kiss your palms thereafter if you wish.

    The following supplication may also be read at the beginning of Tawaf or when you’re kissing, touching or saluting the Hajar al-Aswad for the first time:

    بِسْمِ اللَّهِ وَاللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ، اللَّهُمَّ إِيْمَاناً بِكَ وَتَصْدِيْقاً بِكِتَابِكَ، وَوَفَاءً بِعَهْدِكَ، وَاتِّبَاعاً لِسُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ مُحَمَّدْ

    Bismi llāhi wa llāhu akbar, Allāhumma īmānan bika wa taṣdīqan bi kitābika wa wafā’an bi ahdika wattibā’an li sunnati nabiyyika Muḥammadin ﷺ.

    In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest. O Allah, out of faith in You, conviction in Your book, in fulfilment of Your covenant and in emulation of Your Prophet’s Sunnah ﷺ.

    It can be very difficult to get to al-Hajar al-Aswad
    It can be very difficult to get to the Hajar al-Aswad


    • Don’t cause hardship for other pilgrims by trying to force your way to the Hajar al-Aswad.
    • The Hajar al-Aswad, the Rukn al-Yamani and the Multazam are scented with perfume. If you touch any of them while in Ihram, you may incur a penalty if the fragrance is transferred to you.
    • Make sure you don’t move back a few steps after having performed Istilam; Tawaf must be continued from the point at which you kissed or saluted the Hajar al-Aswad.
    • If there is a queue to kiss the Hajar al-Aswad and you want to wait, queue before the start of the first circuit or after completing the final circuit, thereby making sure you complete the Tawaf in a continuous manner.
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    Start the Tawaf

    Turn to your right, ensuring the Kaaba is on your left side and begin the first circuit of your Tawaf. Proceed in an anti-clockwise direction, making sure you walk around the Hijr Ismail.  If you walk through it, the circuit won’t count and it will have to be repeated. If your Tawaf requires it, perform Raml if there is sufficient room to do so.

    During Tawaf

    Tawaf should be performed with extreme humility, keeping in mind the greatness of the Kaaba. Avoid talking about unnecessary and worldly things and avoid eating and drinking during your Tawaf. Imam Nawawi V said:

    One must pay good attention to one’s sincerity, devotion, presence of heart and etiquette in both one’s apparent and hidden actions; gaze; demeanour and manner because the Tawaf is prayer. It is necessary to uphold all its etiquettes and fill the heart with the emotions of one who is performing the Tawaf of His house.

    Dhikr & Dua

    During your Tawaf, you may recite prayers and supplications. Duas are accepted during Tawaf, so you may supplicate in any language and in any manner you prefer. There are recommended Quranic and Prophetic supplications you can make, which you can memorise and learn the meanings of. You may also recite the Quran and send Salawat upon the Prophet ﷺ. Making Tawaf without reciting any invocations is also regarded as an act of worship. Regarding this, Imam Ibn Hibban V said:

    Specifying a Dua would take the moment away, because with specific Duas, one will merely be repeating words, whereas this occasion is for any Dua and for remembering one’s Lord with humility and sincerity.

    Salah During Tawaf

    The Tawaf should be completed in a continuous manner with no interruptions between circuits. However, if a congregational prayer is due to start, you must join the congregation and resume your Tawaf from the position that you stopped. The circuit need not be repeated. These rules also apply if you need to repeat your Wudhu.

    Al-Rukn al-Yamani
    The Rukn al-Yamani

    Rukn al-Yamani

    Upon reaching the Rukn al-Yamani (the Yemeni Corner), the corner just before the Hajar al-Aswad, touch it with both hands or your right hand if you are near enough to do so. If you manage to touch it, recite “Allāhu akbar (اللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ)” as you touch it. If it’s too crowded, as is likely to be the case, proceed without pronouncing Takbir or gesturing towards it. It is a Sunnah to recite the following Dua between the Rukn al-Yamani and the Hajar al-Aswad:

    رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِي الدُّنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَفِي الْآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَقِنَا عَذَابَ النَّارِ

    Rabbanā ātinā fi d-dunyā ḥasanatan wafi l-ākhirati ḥasanatan wa qinā ‘adhāba n-nār.

    O our Lord, grant us the good of this world, the good of the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the fire.
    [Surah Al-Baqarah, 2:201]

    Other Corners

    It is not a Sunnah to touch the other two corners of the Kaaba, known as Rukn al-Shami (the Syrian Corner) and Rukn al-Iraqi (the Iraqi Corner). This is based on the narration by Abdullah ibn Umar I, who said:

    I have not seen the Apostle of Allah ﷺ touching anything of the House (the Kaaba) except the two Yamani corners (i.e. The Hajar al-Aswad and Rukn al-Yamani).8Muslim, Hadith No. 1267; Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1874.

    The reason the Prophet ﷺ did not touch these corners was because they weren’t built on the foundations of the Kaaba originally built by Ibrahim S. The Hajar al-Aswad and the Rukn al-Yamani, were, on the other hand, laid on the foundations raised by Ibrahim S.

    End of Circuit at the Hajar al-Aswad

    Returning to Hajar al-Aswad marks the completion of one circuit. Begin the second circuit after kissing, touching or saluting the Hajar al-Aswad as described earlier. You should recite “Allāhu akbar (اللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ)” (as opposed to “bismi llāhi wallāhu akbar (بِسْمِ اللَّهِ وَاللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ)”) while performing Istilam at the completion of each of the seven rounds. You will be performing Istilam a total of eight times during the Tawaf – one prior to the start of the Tawaf and one at the end of each of the seven circuits.

    Complete the Tawaf

    Proceed in the same manner until you have completed seven circuits. Performing Istilam at the start of Tawaf and at the end is a highly emphasised Sunnah, and performing Istilam on the other six occasions is desirable.

    If you are in a state of Idtiba, i.e. you have your right shoulder uncovered, cover your shoulder with your Ihram.

    After Tawaf

    Maqam Ibrahim
    Maqam Ibrahim

    Salah al-Tawaf

    After completing the Tawaf, carry out Salah consisting of two Rakahs, preferably in a position where Maqam Ibrahim is between you and the Kaaba. However, keep in mind that since  Maqam Ibrahim is situated within the Mataf, there is often nowhere for pilgrims performing Tawaf to move except around and almost over the top of those praying just beyond Maqam Ibrahim, resulting in a great deal of congestion. Therefore, if it isn’t possible to perform the prayer there as a result of crowding, it can be performed anywhere in Masjid al-Haram.

    While moving to the place where you intend to perform the two Rakahs, it is recommended to recite the following:

    وَاتَّخِذُوا مِنْ مَقَامِ إِبْرَاهِيمَ مُصَلًّى

    Wattakhidhu min maqāmi Ibrāhīma muṣalla.

    And take the Maqam Ibrahim as a place of Salah.
    [Surah al-Baqarah, 2:125]


    • According to the Hanafi and Maliki schools, this Salah is Wajib, while the Shafi’i and Hanbali schools regard it as Mustahabb.
    • This Salah can be performed at any time, apart from Makruh times.
    • If it is not performed immediately, it may be observed later.
    • It is Sunnah to recite Surah al-Kafirun (Surah 109) in the first Rakah and Surah al-Ikhlas (Surah 112) in the second, after Surah al-Fatiha.
    • Make sure you also make plenty of supplication after the Salah, as this is one of the stations where Dua is accepted.
    • If an obligatory or optional prayer is performed after the Tawaf and an intention is also made for Salah al-Tawaf, then that prayer will suffice for Salah al-Tawaf. However, it is better to perform Salah al-Tawaf independently.
    • If you have started a second Tawaf without praying the Salah for the first Tawaf, perhaps due to it being a Makruh time or forgetfulness, you must perform the Salah for both Tawafs after the second Tawaf. Two Rakahs must be performed separately, one after the other.
    • If you’ve forgotten to perform the Salah for the first Tawaf and have already begun a second Tawaf, you may stop and perform the Salah for the first Tawaf, as long as you’re still in your first circuit. If one or more circuits have been completed, complete the second Tawaf and perform the Salah for each Tawaf as in the previous point.
    • If you’ve forgotten to perform the Salah altogether and have returned home, the Salah may be performed at home. No penalty will be due.


    Zamzam is available throughout the Haram
    Zamzam is available throughout the Haram

    After you have completed your Salah and made Dua, drink Zamzam water which is available in Masjid al-Haram.

    The entrance to the old well of Zamzam has been covered to allow for more room to do Tawaf. Therefore, Zamzam water can now only be taken from the various water fountains and dispensers around the Haram.

    The Prophet ﷺ said: “The water of Zamzam is for whatever purpose it is drunk for.” Before drinking the Zamzam water, make an intention that its consumption will be a means of fulfilling your wishes, whether that is good health, success in this world, or protection from the tribulations of the grave. When drinking the water, it is Mustahabb to stand and face the Kaaba, say Bismillah, pause to take a breath three times, and say Alhamdulillah after finishing. You may recite the following Dua after drinking the water:

    اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ عِلْمًا نَافِعًا وَرِزْقًا وَاسِعًا وَعَمَلًا مُتَقَبَّلًا وَشِفَاءً مِنْ كُلِّ دَاءٍ

    Allahumma innī as’aluka ‘ilman nāfi’an, wa rizqan wāsi’an, wa ‘amalan mutaqabbalan, wa shifā’an min kulli dā’.

    O Allah, I ask You for knowledge that is beneficial, provision that is abundant and a cure for every illness.

    You may also make any other supplication of your choosing as it’s another station where Duas are accepted.


    Pilgrims clinging on to the walls of the Kaaba
    Pilgrims clinging on to the walls of the Kaaba

    After you have finished drinking Zamzam water, you may proceed to the Multazam, which is the area between Hajar al-Aswad and the door of the Kaaba.

    The Multazam is almost impossible to get to during Hajj season due to the large crowds that gather. However, it is accessible during other parts of the year.

    If it is possible to reach the Multazam, raise your hands above your head, cling to the wall and press your chest and cheeks against it. It is a Sunnah of the Prophet ﷺ and yet another station where supplications are accepted, so you should lengthen your Dua here.

    If you can’t reach the Multazam due to the crowds, you may face it and supplicate from a distance.

    Istilam of the Hajar al-Aswad

    Prior to performing Sa’i, it is a Sunnah to perform Istilam of the Hajar al-Aswad. You will be performing Istilam for the ninth time, following the eight times you performed Istilam during Tawaf. This Istilam is only applicable if you’re going to perform Sa’i immediately after the Tawaf.

    Supplications for Tawaf

    During Tawaf, you may recite the following Duas:

    At the start of Tawaf

    The following Dua was recited by Ali ibn Ali Talib I:

    بِسْمِ اللَّهِ وَاللّٰهُ أَكْبَرُ، اللَّهُمَّ إِيْمَاناً بِكَ وَتَصْدِيْقاً بِكِتَابِكَ، وَوَفَاءً بِعَهْدِكَ، وَاتِّبَاعاً لِسُنَّةِ نَبِيِّكَ مُحَمَّدْ

    Bismi llāhi wa llāhu akbar, Allāhumma īmānan bika wa taṣdīqan bi kitābika wa wafā’an bi ahdika wattibā’an li sunnati nabiyyika Muḥammadin ﷺ.

    In the name of Allah, Allah is the greatest. O Allah, out of faith in You, conviction in Your book, in fulfilment of Your covenant and in emulation of Your Prophet’s Sunnah ﷺ.

    At the Rukn al-Yamani

    It is recorded in the Mustadrak of al-Hakim, that whoever recites the following Dua at the Yemeni corner, seventy thousand angels say “Amin” to it:

    اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَعُوذُ بِكَ مِنَ الْكُفْرِ وَالْفَاقَةِ وَمَوَاقِفِ الْخِزْيِ فِيْ الْدُنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ

    Allāhumma innī a’ūdhu bika mina l-kufri wa l-fāqati wa mawāqifi l-khizyi fi d-dunyā wa l-ākhirah.

    O Allah, I take refuge in You from disbelief, poverty and from any humiliation in this world and the next.

    Between the Rukn al-Yamani and the Hajar al-Aswad

    The following two supplications were recited by the Prophet ﷺ:

    رَبَّنَا آتِنَا فِيْ الدُنْيَا حَسَنَةً وَّفِيْ الآخِرَةِ حَسَنَةً وَّقِنَا عَذَابَ النَار

    Rabbanā ātinā fi d-dunyā ḥasanatan wa fi l-ākhirati ḥasanatan wa qinā ‘adhāba n-nār.

    O our Lord, grant us the good of this world, the good of the Hereafter, and save us from the punishment of the fire.

    اللَّهُمَّ قَنِّعْنِيْ بِمَا رَزَقْتَنِيْ وَبَارِكْ لِيْ فِيْهِ، وَاخْلُفْ عَلَ كُلِّ غَائِبَةٍ لِّيْ بِخَيْرٍ

    Allāhumma qanni’nī bimā razaqtanī wa bārik lī fih(i), wakhluf ‘ala kulli ghā’ibatin lī bi khayr.

    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 passing the Mizab al-Rahmah, between the two corners, the Prophet ﷺ recited:

    اَللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الرَّاحَةَ عِنْدَ الْمَوْتِ وَالْعَفْوَ عِنْدَ الْحِسَابِ   

    Allāhumma innī as’aluka r-rāḥata ‘inda l-mawti wa l-‘afwa ‘inda l-ḥisābi.

    O Allah, I ask You for comfort at the time of death and forgiveness at the time of reckoning.

    During Tawaf

    It is recorded in Ibn Majah that the following Duas may be read during Tawaf:

    اللَّهُمَّ إِنِّي أَسْأَلُكَ الْعَفْوَ وَالْعَافِيَةَ فِي الدُّنْيَا وَالآخِرَةِ

    Allāhumma innī as’aluka l-’afwa wa l-’āfīyata fi d-dunyā wa l-ākhirah. 

    O Allah, I ask You for forgiveness and safety in the worldly life and Hereafter.

    سُبْحَان اللّٰهِ وَ الْحَمْدُ لِلّهِ وَلآ اِلهَ اِلّا اللّهُ، وَاللّهُ اَكْبَرُ وَلا حَوْلَ وَلاَ قُوَّة اِلَّا بِاللّهِ الْعَلِىّ الْعَظِيْم َ  

    Subḥāna llāhi wa l-ḥamdu lillāhi wa lā ilāha illa llāh(u), wa llāhu akbar(u), wa lā ḥawla wa lā quwwata illā billāhi l-’aliyyi l-’aẓīm.

    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 Most High and the Most Great.

    Where to do Tawaf

    Ground Level

    Tawaf on the ground level becomes extremely crowded at peak times
    Tawaf on the ground level becomes extremely crowded at peak times

    The ground level is the quickest but is also the most crowded, especially during peak times. Be prepared to be pushed, squashed and possibly have wheelchairs knocked into the back of your legs.

    If you’re performing Tawaf on the ground level, it’s advisable to begin the first circuit as far out as possible, then slowly move towards the Kaaba, completing circuits 2-6 in close proximity to the Kaaba, before slowly moving away from the inner circle on the final circuit.

    If you start Tawaf on the ground floor, but you’re struggling to cope with the crowds, it is acceptable to continue and complete your Tawaf on another floor. If you move to another floor midway through a circuit, you will need to redo that circuit on the new floor, so it’s best to try to complete the circuit prior to moving.

    Middle Level

    The middle level is also crowded and has pillars that you need to negotiate.

    Roof Level

    The roof level is less crowded and is a good option for those who want to avoid being squashed by others. However, the Tawaf will take considerably longer to finish as there is a larger space to cover.

    YouTube video

    Tawaf Tips & Advice

    YouTube video
    • Exercise patience and consideration for others.
    • Talbiyah should not be read during Tawaf.
    • Walking in front of someone performing Salah during Tawaf is permissible.
    • If a congregational prayer is due to start, you must join the congregation and resume your Tawaf from the position you stopped, or you may repeat the whole Tawaf again.
    • If your Wudhu breaks during Tawaf, you may repeat your Wudhu and resume your Tawaf from the position that you stopped, or you may repeat the whole Tawaf again.
    • If you feel tired during Tawaf, take a rest and drink some water. You may then resume your Tawaf from the position that you stopped.
    • If you are unsure about whether you still have Wudhu, a new Wudhu won’t be required, and the Tawaf will be deemed valid.
    • If you lose count of the number of circuits you have performed, use your best judgement to ascertain the remaining number of circuits. If you are informed about the remaining number of circuits from someone else, take their word for it.
    • Be fully aware of what’s going on around you, especially if it’s crowded. You may well collide with people or wheelchairs.
    • Become acquainted with the jurisprudence of Tawaf, so you know what’s permissible, impermissible or disliked.


    • Performing Tawaf with your husband or your Mahram is not a requirement, although it is advisable to be accompanied by someone.
    • If Salah starts, women are to pray in designated areas unless they can’t reach the area due to crowds. Make every effort to move into one of these designated areas as Salah is due to begin.
    • The Tawaf area can become extremely crowded, so it is advisable to perform Tawaf on another floor where there is less of a crowd.
    • If you’re performing Tawaf on the ground level, it’s a good idea to perform Tawaf away from the inner circle of people who are closest to the Kaaba and where it is most crowded.

    Jurisprudence of Tawaf

    Shuroot (Prerequisites)
    To make an intention for Tawaf.
    To perform Tawaf in its correct time, e.g. Tawaf al-Ziyarah during Hajj.
    To perform Tawaf in Masjid al-Haram.
    Wajibat (Necessary Actions)
    To be in a state of Wudhu and free of anything that necessitates Ghusl, for example, menstruation.
    To keep the Awrah covered, i.e. the portion of the body which must be concealed. For men, it is from the navel to below the knees and for women, it is the whole body up to the wrists and ankles.
    To perform Tawaf by foot for those who are able to.
    To start the Tawaf from the Hajar al-Aswad.
    To perform Tawaf in an anti-clockwise motion, keeping the Kaaba on the left.
    To perform Tawaf outside and around the Kaaba, moving around the Hijr Ismail.
    To complete seven circuits of Tawaf.
    To perform two Rakahs Salah after Tawaf.
    Sunnan (Virtuous Actions)
    To face the Hajar al-Aswad at the start of the Tawaf.
    To perform Istilam of the Hajar al-Aswad.
    To be in a state of Idtiba if you’re performing Tawaf in a state of Ihram.
    To perform Raml for the first three circuits of Tawaf if you’re in a state of Ihram.
    To perform each circuit of Tawaf continuously.
    Makroohat (Disliked Actions)
    To turn your back towards the Kaaba.
    To engage in frivolous or worldly talk during Tawaf.
    To buy or sell anything during Tawaf.
    To eat food during Tawaf.
    To perform Tawaf while being hungry or angry.
    To perform Tawaf while needing to answer the call of nature.
    To perform Tawaf with shoes on without an excuse.
    To perform Tawaf in dirty clothes.
    To do Dhikr or Dua in a loud voice, such that it would disturb others.
    To omit Idtiba or Raml during a Tawaf in which it is a Sunnah.
    To omit Istilam of the Hajar al-Aswad.
    To perform Istilam of anything other than the Hajar al-Aswad or the Rukn al-Yamani.
    To raise hands without facing the Hajar al-Aswad.
    To engage in other activities between circuits, thereby lengthening the duration of the Tawaf.
    To perform Tawaf during the Jumuah Khutbah (Friday sermon).
    To start Tawaf while the congregational prayer is due to begin.
    To raise your hands during Tawaf as you would when making Dua or to fold your hands as you would during Salah.
    Muharramat (Forbidden Actions)
    To perform Tawaf in a state of ritual impurity.
    To perform Tawaf in the opposite direction, i.e. clockwise.
    To perform Tawaf naked or revealing a portion of your body, to the extent that it would invalidate your Salah.
    To perform Tawaf riding, crawling or on someone’s shoulders without a valid excuse.
    To pass through the Hijr Ismail during Tawaf.
    To begin Tawaf in a place other than the Hajar al-Aswad.
    To omit any of the Wajib elements of Tawaf.


    1 Tabarani.
    2 Ahmad, Hadith No. 27862; Ibn Majah, Hadith No. 2956.
    3 Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 866.
    4 Al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 369, 1622 & 4655; Muslim, Hadith No. 1347.
    5 Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1883.
    6 Al-Bukhari, Hadith No. 1602.
    7 Al-Tirmidhi, Hadith No. 960.
    8 Muslim, Hadith No. 1267; Abu Dawud, Hadith No. 1874.


    • Assalamualaikum. Very good article. However, in the section Virtues of tawaf, the first two hadith is consideree dhaif. I think it’s better to update the article with explanation.
      Praise be to Allah.

      • And your point being?

        When did weak hadiths in relation to virtuous acts become prohibited to relate?

        Please save us from your Albani-riddled brain & let the actual scholars & students of knowledge speak.

        Imam Nawawi, an actual scholar, May Allah have mercy on him & other authentic scholars, have repeatedly spoken about the validity of weak hadiths in regards to virtues/virtuous actions.

        Go learn from an authentic sheikh first before spewing your misguided opinions on others.

        Fear Allah.

    • This is really good & knowlegdeable literature.
      I ask Allah to give us good in this duty of Umra & Hajj, may Allah put us among the frequent residents of the 3′ mosques; Al-Aqsa mosque – Jerusalem, The Prophet Muhammad S.A.W. mosque – Madinah & The Grand Mosque – Makkah.