Conditions of Tawaf

The conditions of Tawaf are as follows:
1. One must be clean from all major and minor physical impurities.
2. One must cover one’s `awrah.
3. One must complete seven rounds of the Ka`bah.
4. One must begin and end one’s Tawaf at the Black Stone.
5. The Ka`bah should be to one’s left.
6. Tawaf must be performed outside and around the Ka`bah.
7. Tawaf should be immediately followed by Sa`I.

Elaborating more on these conditions, we cite what Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq states in his well-known book Fiqh As-Sunnah:

“The conditions of Tawaf are:

1. One must be clean from all major and minor physical impurities.

Ibn `Abbas reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: “Tawaf is (similar to) prayer…but Allah, the Almighty, has made talking for one (engaged in Tawaf) permissible. So, whoso speaks (while performing Tawaf) should say only good things” (At-Tirmidhi and Ad-Daraqutni).

There is consensus that if one suffers from an illness that causes one to be continuously impure physically, such as leaking urine or continuous bleeding in the case of a menstruating woman, one may perform Tawaf without incurring any penalty or need for making compensation.

2. One must cover one’s `awrah.

The male should cover from the navel to the knee, and the female all her body except her face, hands, and feet. Abu Hurayrah reported: During the Hajj for which Abu Bakr was appointed the leader by Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him), before the Farewell Hajj, Abu Bakr sent me with a group to announce the Day of Sacrifice—Dhul-Hijjah 10—and to proclaim: “No idolater nor any naked person shall be allowed to perform Tawaf of the Ka`bah after this year” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim).

3. One must complete seven rounds of the Ka`bah.
Thus, if one leaves even a single step in any of the seven rounds, that round will not be counted. If one is doubtful as to the number of rounds performed, one must assume the least number of rounds, and then complete the seven rounds. In cases where one completes a Tawaf and then finds oneself not so sure about the number of rounds performed, one incurs no penalty nor is required to d
o anything.

4. One must begin and end one’s Tawaf at the Black Stone.

5. The Ka`bah should be to one’s left.

Circumambulating with the Ka`bah on one’s right is invalid. Jabir (may Allah be pleased with him) reported: When Allah’s Messenger arrived in Makkah, he went to the Black Stone, kissed it, and then walked on its right side. He jogged three rounds and walked the remaining four (Muslim).

6. Tawaf must be performed outside and around the Ka`bah.

Thus if someone were to walk within Al-Hijr, his Tawaf will not be valid, because both Al-Hijr and Al-Shazirwan (Al-Shazirwan 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” (Al-Hajj: 29). It is preferable, however, to remain close to the Ka`bah, if one can do so easily.

7. Tawaf should be immediately followed by Sa`i.

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.”