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Fiqh-us-Sunnah - 5. 74 - 1

Tawaf Must Be Performed Outside and Around the Ka'bah

Thus if someone were to walk within the Hijr (Commonly known as Hijr Isma'il, and situated to the north of Ka'bah, it is surrounded by a semicircular wall. Of this, only an area of six cubits (three metres approximately) extending from the Ka'bah is its part) his tawaf will not be valid, because both Hijr and Al-Shazarwan (Al-Shazarwan is the construction contiguous to the Ka'bah to which are fixed the rings holding the Ka'bah cover) are a part of the Ka'bah. Allah has commanded us to circumambulate around the Ka'bah and not inside it, saying: "...and circumambulate the Ancient House.'' (Qur'an 22.29) It is preferable, however, to remain close to the Ka'bah, if one can do so easily.

Fiqh-us-Sunnah - 5. 74 - A

Tawaf (circumambulation) should be immediately followed by Sa'i (between Safa and Marwah)

A short break in between the two, however, may be made. A longer interval because of a genuine excuse will also do no harm and is permissible. The Hanafi and Shafi'i schools hold that such a continuance (of Sa'i immediately after tawaf) is Sunnah of the Prophet.

Similarly there is no harm if one performs tawaf in parts and with long intervals in between, and even if it is done without any genuine reason. Such a person may continue the remaining rounds and complete his tawaf.

Sa'id bin Mansur reported from Humaid bin Zaid that he said: "I saw 'Abdullah bin 'Umar go three or four times around the Ka'bah, and he then sat down for a rest, while his servant fanned him. Then he resumed his Tawaf from where he had left it. Both Shafi'i and Hanafi schools hold that if one's ablution is void during the tawaf; one should redo it and resume the tawaf to complete its remaining rounds, regardless of the length of the interval.

It is reported that once Ibn 'Umar heard the call for prayer while he was performing his tawaf. He interrupted his tawaf and offered the prayers with the congregation. Then he resumed his tawaf from where he had left it.

'Ata is reported to have given a verdict concerning a person who had to interrupt his tawaf in order to participate in a funeral prayer, saying that such a person may resume his tawaf and complete the remaining rounds.

Fiqh-us-Sunnah - 5. 74 - B

Sunnah of Tawaf

It is Sunnah to perform certain acts in tawaf as given below:

  • Facing the Black Stone at the start of the tawaf while uttering a takbir (Allahu-Akbar), and a tahlil (La ilaha illahlah), and raising one's hands as they are raised in prayers, and if possible touching it with both hands and kissing it quietly, or placing one's cheek on it. Otherwise. one may touch it with one's hand and kiss the hand, or touch it with something, and then kiss it, or if even that is not possible, one may just point to it with a stick, etc. as is mentioned in some of the ahadith given below.

Ibn 'Umar said: "Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) faced the Black Stone, touched it, and then placed his lips on it and wept for a long time." 'Umar also wept for a long time. The Prophet (peace be upon him) said: 'O 'Umar, this is the place where one should shed tears.''' (Reported by Al-Hakim, who considers it a sound hadith with a sound chain of authorities)

It is reported by Ibn 'Abbas that 'Umar bent down towards the Black Stone and said: "By Allah! I know that you are a mere stone, and if I had not seen my beloved Prophet (peace be upon him) kissing you and touching you I would have never done so." The Qur'an says: "You have indeed in the Messenger of Allah a beautiful pattern (of conduct)."' (Qur'an 33.32) This was reported by Ahmad and others in slightly different words.

Nafi' said, "I have seen Ibn 'Umar touching the Black Stone with his hand, and then kissing his hand and saying: 'Ever since I saw the Prophet (peace be upon him) doing this, I have never failed to do that.''' (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)

Sowayd bin Ghaflah said: "I have seen 'Umar kissing the Black Stone and touching it." He further said: "I know that the Prophet (peace be upon him) was especially very particular about it.'' (Muslim) Ibn 'Umar reported that Allah's Messenger (peace be upon him) used to come to Ka'bah, touch the Black Stone and then say: Bismillahi wallahu akbar (In the name of Allah, Allah is the Greatest.)" (Ahmad) Muslim has reported on the authority of Abu Tufail that he said: "I have seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) making tawaf around the Ka'bah and touching it with a stick and then kissing the stick."

Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Daw'ud reported that 'Umar approached the Black Stone and kissed it. Then he said: "I know that you are a mere stone that can neither harm nor do any good. If I had not seen the Prophet (peace be upon him) kissing you, I would have never kissed you."

Al-Khatabi said: "This shows that abiding by the Sunnah of the Prophet (peace be upon him) is binding, regardless of whether or not we understand its reason or the wisdom behind it."

Such information devolves obligation on all those whom it reaches, even if they may not fully comprehend its significance. It is known, however, that kissing the Black Stone signifies respect for it, recognition of our obligation toward it, and using it as a means of seeking Allah's blessings. Indeed Allah has preferred some stones over others, as He preferred some countries and cities, days and nights, and months over others. The underlying spirit of all this is unquestioning submission to Allah.

In some ahadith which say that "the Black Stone is Allah's right hand on earth," we do find, however, a plausible rationale and justification for this statement. In other words whosoever touches the Black Stone he pledges allegiance to Allah, as it were, by giving his hand into the hand of Allah, just as some followers do pledge their fealty to their kings and masters, by kissing and shaking hands with them.

Al-Muhallib said: "The hadith of 'Umar refutes the assertions of those who say that 'The Black Stone is Allah's right hand on earth wherewith He shakes the hands of His slaves."' God forbid that we should ascribe any physical organs to Allah. The commandment to kiss the Black Stone is meant to test and to demonstrate palpably as to who obeys and submits. It may be compared with the command to Iblis to bow to Adam.

We have no definite evidence, however, to believe that any of the stones used in building the Ka'bah originally (by Ibrahim and Isma'il), is still in existence today excepting the Black Stone.