Tawaf: An obligation of Hajj and Umrah

Tawaf is a sacred act that involves the circumambulation around the Ka’ba, which is located inside Masjid-Ul-Haram in Mecca, as the word tawaf literally suggests to “to walk around”. Tawaf is one of a ritual of Umrah performed by Muslims from around the world. This sacred act involves encircling the Ka’ba 7 times in an anti-clockwise direction. Pilgrims are to perform ablution and then after putting on their Ihram (prescribed clothes) they move towards their next step of ritual which is tawaf. After entering the Mataf, pilgrims intend Infront of the black stone embedded in the Ka’ba which is a black colored stone. In the era of prophet Ibrahim, this stone was sent down to earth from heaven whilst the building of Ka’ba was in process. The pilgrims then read out loud takbir and kiss the black stone or if one cannot due to excess crowd then one can point towards it and start the tawaf in an anti-clockwise motion. Afterwards, pilgrims must drink the sacred water called Zamzam and pray. Tawaf is an obligatory act which is performed in Hajj and umrah. Umrah packages can make this process easier as umrah packages tailored to one’s taste can provide a hassle free and enjoyable journey. Umrah packages from USA have never been made easy, these packages offer flight rates, accommodation, guidance and transportation fitted in one package so whether you are taking an umrah package from New York or an December Umrah package from Seattle, umrah has been made easy and accessible for the pilgrims residing in USA.

Steps of Tawaf:

The ritual of tawaf also has some important steps to it. The initial and foremost step is doing ablution or ghusl where one is accommodated before putting on an ihram (prescribed clothing), the men must wear two pieces of white cloth and women must put on such attire that is modest and a veil that covers their head. Before starting the tawaf it is crucial to set intention also called Niyat which could be said verbally or said in heart to develop clear intentions before proceeding with their Umrah or Hajj. Next step is to kiss the black stone or if it’s not accessible then one should point towards it with their right hand, the black stone is called Hajr e Aswad which was sent down from heaven, according to Islamic history, it is said that the stone was pure white when it was first revealed but as the sinners started touching it or kissing it, it got dark due to their sins. After the first circuit is done, pilgrims pray two circuits (Rakat) in Maqam e Ibrahim. Afterwards, pilgrims start walking around the Ka’ba in an anticlockwise direction. The takbir and pointing towards the black stone is to be repeated after each tawaf or circuit. During the first three circuits (out of 7) men are encouraged to walk briskly with their chests out like a warrior, this action is also called Raml. Women do not perform Raml, they walk at their normal pace throughout the Tawaf. Pilgrims continue their tawaf until 7 circuits are complete. When pilgrim is performing hajj, they must perform farewell Tawaf or final tawaf before departing from Mecca. This tawaf symbolizes farewell to Ka’ba and marks the end of Pilgrimage. 

Significance of Tawaf:

Tawaf is a great ritual in Islam that is deeply rooted in core principle pf submission before the will of Allah (SWT) and attaining piety. Tawaf encourages the unity and brotherhood that is taught by Islam as racial and creed discrimination is eradicated and pilgrims are devoted in their own faith. Through tawaf one seeks closure to Allah (SWT). Furthermore, pilgrims walk on the prophetic traditions and history of Islam. Additionally, pilgrims spend their time remembering Allah (SWT) and doing supplications, prayers and reciting the verses from Quran. All these acts bring spiritual closeness to Allah (SWT). Physical and spiritual detoxification and cleansing takes place as tawaf serves as a meaningful act of Allah (swt)’s remembrance and renewal of believers. Their souls are purified, and their past sins are forgiven by the creator of Universe, Allah (SWT). All the impurities are removed from their souls and physical exertion during tawaf serves as a form of physical purification. 

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