Tawaf is one of the Islamic rituals of pilgrimage
A pilgrimage is a journey or search of great moral or spiritual significance. Typically, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person's beliefs and faith...

. During the Hajj
The Hajj is the pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is one of the largest pilgrimages in the world, and is the fifth pillar of Islam, a religious duty that must be carried out at least once in their lifetime by every able-bodied Muslim who can afford to do so...

 and Umrah
The Umrah or is a pilgrimage to Mecca, Saudi Arabia, performed by Muslims that can be undertaken at any time of the year. In Arabic, Umrah means "to visit a populated place"...

, Muslims are to circumambulate
Circumambulation is the act of moving around a sacred object.Circumambulation of temples or deity images is an integral part of Hindu ritual. It is also practised in Buddhism. In Islam, circumambulation is performed around the Kaaba in Mecca, in a counter-clockwise direction...

 the Kaaba
The Kaaba is a cuboid-shaped building in Mecca, Saudi Arabia, and is the most sacred site in Islam. The Qur'an states that the Kaaba was constructed by Abraham, or Ibraheem, in Arabic, and his son Ishmael, or Ismaeel, as said in Arabic, after he had settled in Arabia. The building has a mosque...

 (most sacred site in Islam
Islam . The most common are and .   : Arabic pronunciation varies regionally. The first vowel ranges from ~~. The second vowel ranges from ~~~...

) seven times, in a counterclockwise
Circular motion can occur in two possible directions. A clockwise motion is one that proceeds in the same direction as a clock's hands: from the top to the right, then down and then to the left, and back to the top...

 direction. The circling is believed to demonstrate the unity of the believers in the worship of the One God, as they move in harmony together around the Kaaba, while supplicating to Allah.

Ritual details

The circle begins from the Black Stone
Black Stone
The Black Stone is the eastern cornerstone of the Kaaba, the ancient stone building towards which Muslims pray, in the center of the Grand Mosque in Mecca, Saudi Arabia. It is revered by Muslims as an Islamic relic, which according to Muslim tradition dates back to the time of Adam and Eve.The...

(Hajre-Aswad) on the corner of the Ka-bah. If possible, Muslims are to kiss or touch it, but this is often not possible because of the large crowds, so it is acceptable for them to simply point or hold up their hand to the Stone on each circuit. They are also to make the Takbeer prayer (Allahu Akbar) each time they approach.

For men, it is recommended to make the first three circuits at a hurried pace, followed by four times, more closely, at a leisurely pace.

At the end of the circling, Muslims go to the Station of Ibrahim to pray two NAF'L prayerrak'ahs, and then drink water from the sacred Well of Zamzam, before proceeding to the next ritual of the Hajj, the S'ay.

Muslims are generally advised to "Make Tawaf" at least twice—once as part of the Hajj, and again as their final activity before leaving Mecca.

Types of Tawaf

There are several types of tawaf that can be performed:
  • Tawaf al-nisa is a second tawaf that is performed during Umrah and Hajj. This type of tawaf is only recognised by Shia scholars.

  • Tawaf Qudoom ("arrival tawaf") is the tawaf performed by those not residing in Mecca once reaching the Holy city.

  • Tawaf Tahiyah is the tawaf performed after entering the Masjid al-Haram
    Masjid al-Haram
    Al-Masjid al-Ḥarām is the largest mosque in the world. Located in the city of Mecca, it surrounds the Kaaba, the place which Muslims worldwide turn towards while performing daily prayers and is Islam's holiest place...

     at any other times and is mustahab.

  • Tawaf Umrah refers to the tawaf performed specifically for Umrah.

  • Tawaf Wadaa ("farewell tawaf") is the tawaf performed before leaving Mecca.

  • Tawaf Ziyaarah/Ifadah (Tawaf al-Hajj) this tawaf is after throwing stones, sacrificing animals (hadi) shaving the hair.

Attempts at suggesting significance

Attempts have been made to establish a connection between the act of tawaf and orbiting motions of heavenly bodies. It has been proposed, for example, that the act of tawaf closely resembles the shape of a galaxy when viewed from above (Muhammad Eusha, "Scientific Significance of Circling the Kaba", The Daily Sun, 11th February). But this view has not been verified by qualified ulama
-In Islam:* Ulema, also transliterated "ulama", a community of legal scholars of Islam and its laws . See:**Nahdlatul Ulama **Darul-uloom Nadwatul Ulama **Jamiatul Ulama Transvaal**Jamiat ul-Ulama -Other:...


External links

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