Some Rulings Pertaining to Tawāf
  • Sun, 09/14/2014
Printer-friendly versionSend to friendPDF version

The tawāf is the rite of Hajj where the pilgrim circumambulates the Ka`bah seven times. Pilgrims commence the tawāf at the Black Stone, heading in the direction of the door of the Ka`bah, so the Ka`bah is on the left. They complete each circuit when they reach the Black Stone again.

However, they might sway from their course due to the crowding and the waves of people jostling to and fro, or because they have to care for others in their group, like the elderly. This may cause some pilgrims to turn all the way around or go back a bit while making their circuits. There is no problem with any of this. It has no effect on the Ka`bah being to the left as they make their circuits around it. What matters is to begin at the Black Stone and travel counterclockwise until finally ending up again at the Black Stone again.

This is what the great Shāfi`ī jurist al-Qaffāl used to say: “If he (temporarily) goes off course, going forward, backward, or sideways, his tawāf still counts.”

This is conditional upon their being crowding and difficulty, according to al-Juwaynī, because it is a deviation from the correct course. [Nihāyah al-Matlab (4/285)]

Tawāf al-Ifādah

This is the second essential pillar of Hajj. It is also known as the tawāf of Hajj. This tawāf can only be observed after standing on the Plain of `Arafah and spending the night in Muzdalifah. This is, as far as I know, a matter of consensus.

It is also what the Qur’ān clearly states: “Then let them complete the rites prescribed for them, perform their vows, and circumambulate the Ancient House.” [Sūrah al-Hajj: 29] The verse makes the tawāf the last of these rites.

Sheikh Siddīq Hasan Khān erred in ,em>al-Rawdah al-Nadiyyah (1/261) when he thought that the tawāf mentioned in a particular hadīth referred to Tawāf al-Ifādah. As a consequence of his error, he concluded that Tawāf al-Ifādah can be performed before going to `Arafah. The hadīth that he relied upon is a narration with ambiguous wording found in Sahīh al-Bukhārī.

A hadīth is sometimes narrated by meaning or in an abbreviated form. Therefore various narrations need to be correlated to accurately ascertain the meaning.

The timeframe for Tawāf al-Ifādah begins halfway through the night of Muzdalifah, since this is the time when those who have an excuse – like women, those who are weak, and those who are accompanying them – can depart from Muzdalifah. Scholars disagree as to whether people can start making Tawāf al-Ifādah after the middle of the night or whether they have to wait until dawn. Since scholars express two opinions on the matter, and since there is no specific textual evidence to resolve the question one way or another, it should be treated as something flexible.

It is possible to postpone offering Tawāf al-Ifādah until the end of the Hajj, so that a single performance of tawāf can count as both Tawāf al-Ifādah and the farewell tawāf. This can relieve a lot of difficulties, and reduce the severe overcrowding around the Ka`bah. It is possible to postpone the tawāf until the end of Dhū al-Hijjah. Indeed, even if it is offered after the month of Dhū al-Hijjah is over, it will still be valid.

Al-Nawawī states in Sharh Sahīh Muslim (8/193) that if a person forgets to make Tawāf al-Ifādah and circumambulates the Ka`bah upon his departure from Mecca with the intention of only making his farewell tawāf, then it will count for him as both. The same ruling applies to someone who does not know that Tawāf al-Ifādah is obligatory.

This ruling is a very good one. It brings about an easing of difficulties and provides a concession for the pilgrims.

Is ritual purity a condition for the validity of tawāf?

The majority of scholars require that a person performing tawāf must be in a state of ritual purity. This means that if the pilgrim is in a state of minor ritual impurity requiring wudū’, then he must make wudū’. Likewise, if he is in a state of major ritual impurity where he needs to take a full bath, then he must take a bath.

Abū Hanīfah permitted tawāf without ritual purity. This opinion has also been narrated from Ahmad b. Hanbal and is the preferred opinion of Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn al-Qayyim. Sheikh Ibn al-`Uthaymīn also ruled that a person making tawāf does not have to be in a state of ritual purity.

Adopting this opinion also contributes to lessening the problem of overcrowding, especially considering the difficulty of getting to the wudū’ facilities on that day. The hadīth being used to prove that wudū’ is essential for tawāf is the following related from `Ā’ishah. [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (305) and Sahīh Muslim (1211)]:
We left with the Prophet (peace be upon him) thinking about nothing but the Hajj. When we reached Sarif, I began to menstruate. The Prophet (peace be upon him) found me crying. He asked: “What makes you cry?”

I said: “I wish, by Allah, that I did not make Hajj this year.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) surmised: “Perhaps you are menstruating?”

I said: “Yes.”

The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: “That is something that Allah has decreed for the daughters of Adam. You should do everything that a pilgrim does, except that you should not circumambulate the House until after you become clean.”
This hadīth, as we can see, is not conclusive evidence that ritual purity is a condition for tawāf.

Though we say that a pilgrim should observe this act of worship in a state of ritual purity, if he offers tawāf without wudū’, or breaks his wudū’ during tawāf and does not renew his wudū’, his tawāf will be valid.

What about a woman whose menstrual period is protracted and will not come to an end until after the scheduled date of departure for her Hajj party? This is a situation that can cause serious hardship for many women. Ibn Taymiyah and Ibn al-Qayyim said that she should wear something to safeguard against the blood and offer her tawāf in the state that she is in, due to the dire necessity that her circumstances entail. This appears to be the correct ruling. It concurs with the opinion of Abū Hanīfah and a well-known narration from Ahmad b. Hanbal.

Flexibility in the rulings on tawāf

One way that Hajj is made easy for the pilgrims is that it is not required to perform sa`ī between Mount Safā and Mount Marwah immediately after performing tawāf. There is no problem even if there is considerable time between performing these two rituals. This is the Shāfi`ī position, and one that al-Juwaynī mentions no disagreement about in the school of thought. [Nihāyah al-Matlab (4/303)]

Another way that Hajj is made easy for the pilgrims is that pilgrims offering Hajj according to the tamattu` option only have to perform one sa`ī. This was the position of Ibn `Abbās and one of the opinions narrated from Ahmad b. Hanbal and adopted by Ibn Taymiyah. The evidence for this is the hadīth where Jābir related: “Neither the prophet nor his Companions made the circuits between Mount Safā and Mount Marwah more than once, and that was after the first tawāf.” [Sahīh Muslim (1215, 1279)]

The Farewell Tawāf (Tawāf al-Widā’)

Pilgrim are supposed to make tawāf the last act they perform before leaving Mecca. This is called the farewell tawāf. However, there are some exceptions to this.

For instance, menstruating women are exempt from performing the farewell tawāf. This concession is established by the Sunnah.

Ibn `Abbās relates: “The people were commanded to observe their last act of Hajj at the House, except that menstruating women were exempted from this.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (1755) and Sahīh Muslim (1328)]

`Ā’ishah relates: “We performed Hajj with the Prophet and performed Tawāf al-Ifādah on the Day of Sacrifice. I mentioned to Allah’s Messenger that Safiyyah got her menses and he said, ‘Is she going to detain us?’ So we informed him that she had performed Tawāf al-Ifādah on the Day of Sacrifice. Thereupon he said, ‘Then you can depart’.” [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (4401) and Sahīh Muslim (1211)]

The same ruling applies to those who are unable to perform the farewell tawāf due to difficult circumstances, like sickness, incapacity, or a scheduled departure time for the group. In such cases, the obligation to perform the farewell tawāf falls away.

There is also ease in the fact that Tawāf al-Ifādah can stand for the farewell tawāf as well if it is postponed to the end of Hajj. This is because it is a tawāf occurring as an act at the end of the Hajj. In this case, it is permissible to perform the sa`y after Tawāf al-Ifādah and then depart.

There is also ease in the fact that pilgrims who have performed the farewell tawāf can remain in Mecca afterwards in order to fulfill a need, eat something, or take a rest if they are tired. Pilgrims are not expected to put themselves in danger by having to drive in a state of fatigue.

The proof for this is where `Ā’ishah relates that she performed tawāf and sa`y and then joined up with the Prophet. [Sahīh al-Bukhārī (1560) and Sahīh Muslim (1211)] The Prophet did not regard her performing sa`y as separating her tawāf from her departure. This shows that it is not necessary to depart from Mecca immediately after performing the farewell tawāf. Therefore, people can stay around to be joined by the rest of the people in their group, no matter how long they need to wait for them.