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Online Quran Academy - Islamic Mentors

Tawaf in Hajj and Umrah: Significance and Method


Tawaf in Hajj and Umrah
Narrated by Hazrat Abdullah bin Umar (RA): The Prophet (SAW) kissed the Black Stone Corner (of the Kaaba) and then said, “I am starting the Tawaf on your behalf (O Kaaba), in the name of Allah, and Allah’s Apostle did not tell lies.” [Sahih al-Bukhari 1613]

Introduction to Tawaf

Tawaf is a sacred ritual at the heart of Islam and is considered one of the most significant practices in the Islamic faith. Muslims perform it during the Hajj and Umrah pilgrimages in Mecca. Tawaf is an act of devotion that brings Muslims closer to Allah (SWT) and demonstrates the unity of Allah’s (SWT) believers and servants worldwide. Who visit His home as an act of religious practice.

Tawaf originated in the era of Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) and his son Hazrat Isma’il (AS), who built the Kaaba with Allah’s (SWT) guidance. The Kaaba is the holiest structure at the heart of the Grand Mosque in Mecca. Tawaf is a spiritual journey that allows us to connect with our rich heritage and strengthen our bond with Allah (SWT).

For more information, please read our blog, The Historical Significance of Hajj in Islam.

The Meaning and Spirit of Tawaf

Tawaf comes from the Arabic word “Tauf,” which means to circle or go around something. Tawaf is the act of walking around or encircling something. In Islam, Tawaf refers to the ritual of circling the Holy Kaaba seven times in an anti-clockwise direction.

In this regard, Allah Almighty says in the Quran;

Surah Baqarah Ayat 125 highlights the importance of tawaf

And [mention] when We made the House a place of return for the people and [a place of] security. And take, [O believers], from the standing place of Abraham a place of prayer. We charged Abraham and Ishmael, [saying], “Purify My House for those who perform Tawaf and those who are staying [there] for worship and those who bow and prostrate [in prayer].” [Surah Baqarah Ayat 125]

This Quranic verse emphasizes the significance of Tawaf as a form of worship and spiritual purification. It highlights the sanctity of the Kaaba.

Pilgrims recite supplications based on Hazrat Muhammad’s (SAW) Sunnah during Tawaf, a physical demonstration of devotion to Allah (SWT). Discover the most essential supplications (Duas) for Hajj and Umrah to guide you spiritually during your journey. Check out our blog post on Essential Dua for Hajj and Umrah.

The Different Types of Tawaf

There are different types of Tawaf, each with its significance and rituals. Understanding these types can enhance our appreciation of Islamic worship. Let’s explore some of the different types of Tawaf:

Tawaf al-Qudum (Tawaf of Arrival)

This type of Tawaf is performed upon arriving in Mecca for Hajj. It’s an expression of gratitude and reverence as pilgrims approach the sacred precincts of the Kaaba. Tawaf Al-Qudum is the initial greeting Tawaf gives any Muslim who decides to perform Hajj Al Qiraan or Hajj Al-Ifraad.

Narrated by Hazrat Urwa (RA):

Hazrat Aisha (RA) said,

“The first thing the Prophet (SAW) did on reaching Mecca, was the ablution and then he performed Tawaf of the Kaba and that was not Umra (alone), (but Hajj-al-Qiran).

Urwa added:

“Later Abu Bakr and Umar did the same in their Hajj.” And I performed the Hajj with my father Az- Zubair, and the first thing he did was Tawaf of the Kaba. Later I saw the Muhajirin (Emigrants) and the Ansar doing the same. My mother (Asma’) told me that she, her sister (Aisha ra), Az-Zubair and such and such persons assumed Ihram for Umra, and after they passed their hands over the Black Stone Corner (of the Kaba) they finished the Ihram. (i.e. After doing Tawaf of the Kaba and Sai between Safa-Marwa.)

(Sahih al-Bukhari 1614, 1615)

This narration emphasizes the significance of Tawaf al-Qudum as the first act performed upon arrival in Mecca for Hajj.

For more information, visit our blog Sa’ee Between Safa and Marwah: A Pillar of Hajj and Umrah.

Tawaf al-Ziyara (Tawaf of Visitation)

Tawaf al-Ziyarah, also known as the Tawaf al-Ifadha, is a significant ritual performed during the Hajj pilgrimage in Mecca. This Tawaf takes place on the 10th day of Dhu al-Hijjah, coinciding with Eid al-Adha. It occurs after pilgrims have completed the ritual of standing at Arafat.

If you’re looking for more information on Tawaf, please visit our blog post linked below:

Tawaf al-Wada

Tawaf al-Wada, commonly known as the Farewell Tawaf, is the final Tawaf performed by pilgrims before departing from Mecca. This ritual holds significant spiritual importance as it marks the conclusion of the Hajj pilgrimage or Umrah. It symbolizes the pilgrim’s farewell to the sacred city and the Kaaba.

Narrated by Hazrat Ibn Abbas (RA):

The people were ordered to perform the Tawaf of the Kaaba (TawafalWada) as the last thing before leaving (Mecca), except for the menstruating women who were excused.

Sahih al-Bukhari 1755

This hadith highlights the significance of performing Farewell Tawaf before leaving Mecca.

Tawaf al-Nafl

Tawaf al-Nafl, also known as Voluntary Tawaf, refers to the optional or extra circles around the Kaaba. Muslims may perform these outside of the obligatory Tawaf rituals associated with Hajj and Umrah. Unlike the obligatory Tawaf, which has specific conditions and timings, Tawaf al-Nafl can be performed at any time and for various reasons. These include seeking blessings, supplication, or expressing gratitude to Allah (SWT).

We provide comprehensive knowledge about other Nawafil prayers in Islam. Read for more information about Voluntary Prayer.

Tawaf Al-Umrah

Tawaf Al-Umrah is a ritual performed during the lesser pilgrimage known as Umrah. Umrah is a non-mandatory pilgrimage to Mecca that can be undertaken at any time of the year, unlike Hajj, which has specific dates according to the Islamic lunar calendar.

Tawaf Al-Umrah involves circumambulating the Kaaba, the sacred structure in the center of the Masjid al-Haram. After Tawaf al-Umrah and the associated two rakats Salah, pilgrims perform Sa’i.

For more information about Umrah and how to perform it, see this blog post: What is Umrah in Islam?

Each type of Tawaf has spiritual significance and serves as a means of connecting with Allah (SWT) and expressing devotion and reverence toward Him. Understanding these different types enriches our understanding of Islamic rituals and deepens our spiritual connection to the sacred sanctuary of the Kaaba.

The other types of Tawaf, we discuss in Tawaf al-Ifadah and Tawaf al-Wada: Concluding the Hajj.

The Procedure for Performing Tawaf

Performing Tawaf, the ritual of circumambulating the Kaaba, is a deeply significant act of worship.

  • Before heading to Masjid Al-Haram, it is important to perform ablutions, including wudhu, and clean oneself of all major and minor impurities.
  • To begin the Umrah or Hajj, one must Enter the state of Ihram at one of the Meeqats. This involves wearing the Ihram clothing and making the niyat for Umrah or Hajj.
  • Once the pilgrim has entered the Mataaf, the area where pilgrims perform Tawaf in Makkah, they should perform Niyat (intention) in front of Hajre-Aswad.
  • This black-colored stone, located in the eastern corner of Kabbah, was sent from heaven to Hazrat Ibrahim (AS) while he was building it.
  • After performing the Niyat, pilgrims should face Hajre-Aswad, recite Takbir (Allahu-Akbar), and kiss the stone.
  • The pilgrim should then start walking in the anti-clockwise direction around the Kabbah, completing seven rounds on foot. The Tawaf must be completed in one go, and the pilgrim should only leave once all seven rounds are completed.
  • After completing the seven circuits, pilgrims should perform two Rakat of prayer behind the Maqam Ibrahim. 
  • After that, they must drink water from the Zamzam water while reciting the dua.

Following these steps, you can perform Tawaf with sincerity, reverence, and devotion, seeking closeness to Allah (SWT) and fulfilling this sacred worship ritual.

Key Rules of Tawaf

The following are the key rules that should be observed during Tawaf:

  • Keep the Kaaba on your left side while performing Tawaf. This is a fundamental rule of Tawaf.
  • It is prohibited to talk excessively, engage in worldly matters, or engage in any act that may invalidate the Tawaf.
  • Men should keep their right shoulder uncovered during Tawaf, known as Idtiba, as a sign of humility and submission.
  • It is important to observe proper etiquette during Tawaf, such as avoiding pushing or shoving other pilgrims and maintaining a respectful distance from the Kaaba.
  • Pilgrims are recommended to kiss or touch the Black Stone at the start and end of each circuit, but they can point towards it if this is not possible.
  • Dua: During Tawaf, pilgrims should recite specific duas or prayers.
  • Engage in voluntary acts of worship, such as reciting Quranic verses or making additional supplications, during Tawaf to enhance the spiritual experience.

Observing these key rules during Tawaf is important to ensure that the ritual is performed correctly and by Islamic teachings.

Duas and Supplications during Tawaf

During Tawaf, you may recite various Du’as (supplications) to seek blessings, guidance, and forgiveness.

SubhanAllahi walhamdu lillahi wala ilaha illallah wallahu akbar wala hawla wala quwwata illa billah
SubhanAllahi walhamdu lillahi wala ilaha illallah wallahu akbar wala hawla wala quwwata illa billah.

Glory be to Allah, and praise be to Allah, and there is no god but Allah, and Allah is the Greatest, and there is no power nor might except with Allah.

Special Circumstances Related to Tawaf

Alternative procedures can be followed to accommodate such special circumstances.

Adaptations for Pilgrims with Disabilities

If pilgrims cannot walk, they may perform Tawaf while seated in a wheelchair or on a stretcher and be pushed or carried around the Kaaba.

Similarly, if a pilgrim is temporarily unable to perform Tawaf due to illness, they may be allowed to delay the ritual until they have recovered. In cases where a pilgrim is permanently disabled and cannot perform Tawaf, they may be exempted from the ritual altogether.

Performing Tawaf on Behalf of Others

It is not permissible to perform Umrah or Hajj on behalf of a living person. However, Tawaf is considered acceptable for a living individual. Conversely, there is consensus among scholars regarding the permissibility of performing Umrah or Hajj, including Tawaf, for the “isal-e-sawab” (sending reward) of a deceased person.

Wearing Shoes

It is permissible to perform Tawaf in clean shoes. The Sunnah requires one to pray in shoes sometimes. If prayer in shoes is valid, then it is even more likely that performing Tawaf and sa’i in shoes is also valid.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

Can you wear socks during Tawaf?

In the state of Ihram, a sacred state entered into by pilgrims during the Hajj or Umrah, it is forbidden for men to cover their feet by wearing socks or any other form of footwear that covers the ankles. On the other hand, it is permissible for women to wear socks during Tawaf, regardless of whether they are in the state of Ihram.

Is it possible to perform Tawaf without Umrah?

Yes, Tawaf can be performed outside of Hajj and Umra because It is a sunnah worship that can be performed at any time to get closer to Allah (SWT).

Can you do Tawaf without Ihram?

According to some scholars, Tawaf can be performed without Ihram if it is not for Umrah or Hajj, and one is simply visiting the Kaaba. However, other scholars maintain that entering the Haram’s boundaries for Tawaf requires one to be in the state of Ihram, and failing to do so may necessitate. It is important to consult with a knowledgeable scholar.


Tawaf isn’t just a ritual; it’s a spiritual journey that surpasses the mere act of circling the Kaaba. It’s a moment for us to delve inward, seeking Allah’s (SWT) forgiveness, guidance, and blessings. It’s a time for reflecting on our life’s path and recommitting ourselves to living in harmony with the teachings of Islam. As we ponder the significance of Tawaf, let’s remember that its essence isn’t confined to the physical rituals alone but extends to the intentions and sincerity behind them. May the experience of Tawaf inspire you and me alike to lead lives imbued with purity, compassion, and gratitude, bringing us closer to our Creator and one another.







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Mohammad Matloob Khan
Mohammad Matloob Khan
12 days ago

Why Tawaf is done in anti-clockwise. There must be some significance. Request to please enlighten me. Jazak Allah Khair


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