From WikiHaj

Ṭawāf (طواف) is one of the obligations of 'umra and hajj. Tawaf is also a mustahabb worship that can be done any time.


Tawaf has the followings conditions for its validity.

  • Intention
  • Being in state of wudu' and ghusl;
  • Not to be najis;
  • Circumcision (only for men);
  • Covering one's private parts;
  • Clothes worn in tawaf should not be usurped;
  • Muwalat (performing acts consecutively) i.e. to perform the deeds continuously without interruption).


Intention refers to deciding to perform tawaf for 'umra or hajj for pursuit of Allah's pleasure and satisfaction. Tawaf would not be valid without this intention, even in some circles of tawaf. While making the intention, purpose of closeness and sincerity for Allah Almighty is a condition. Therefore, one should perform the act with pure intention of submission to Allah Almighty. If a person performs the act in order to pretend they are good [i.e. not as a submission to Allah, rather to show the people one's being excellent], he has committed disobedience to Allah Almighty and his act is void. One must decide while making intention whether the tawaf is for al-'umra al-mufrada or 'umra al-tamattu', and whether he is going to perform tawaf of hajjat al-Islam, hajj because of nadhr, mustahabb hajj, or hajj on behalf. It is not mandatory to pronounce his intention by tongue or to recall it in one's mind. Having intention to perform tawaf would suffice.

It is also most desirable that while circling around the holy Ka'ba, he should observe humility before Allah and with full concentration remember Allah Almighty by reciting supplications.

Being in State of Wudu' and Ghusl

During all obligatory tawaf, the person should be pure from janaba, menstruation, and nifas (puerperium). Moreover, he must always be in state of wudu'.

An obligatory tawaf is the tawaf which is a part of 'umra or hajj. So, tawaf of a recommended 'umra/hajj is also considered obligatory.

If a person's wudu'/ghusl is invalidated, his tawaf is invalid. He must repeat tawaf and its prayer even if it is due to ignorance, forgetfulness or he gets aware of this state after completion of 'umra/hajj practices.

Being in state of wudu' is not necessary for mustahabb tawaf. However, one must have wudu' for its prayer. But, a person in state of janaba, menstruation, or nifas is prohibited to enter the Holy Masjid al-Haram and his his/her tawaf is —by obligatory caution— invalid.

A mustahabb tawaf is the tawaf that is performed separately from 'umra and hajj, and it may be performed for oneself or performed on behalf of others. It is one of the mustahabb rituals to be carried out in the holy city of Mecca and it is mustahabb to perform tawaf as much as possible, as this practice brings great rewards.

If wudu' is invalidated during tawaf, there are two different scenarios that are discussed below:

  • In case, it occurs before reaching the middle of the fourth round (i.e. before reaching the third corner of the Ka'ba), one must disconnect his tawaf and only once the person has gained purity, he can repeat it.
  • In case, it occurs after the middle fourth round, he should discontinue his tawaf and complete it —after making wudu'— from the very place. It is conditional that muwalat (performing acts consecutively) should not be interrupted as judged by common people.

In case, one is unable to maintain muwalat, he/she should complete it with the intention of defective tawaf and perform another seven-round tawaf. Instead, he/she may perform only a seven-round tawaf with the intention of uncompleted tawaf or a separate new seven-round tawaf. Likewise, he/she may leave this uncompleted tawaf and perform a new seven-round tawaf after making wudu'. If a ghusl invalidation occurs, one must discontinue his/her tawaf and leave the Holy Masjid al-Haram immediately. If this situation arises before completing the middle of fourth round, the tawaf is invalid and he should start a new tawaf after making ghusl. In case, it occurs after the middle of fourth round, he should complete his tawaf —after making ghusl— from the very place. It is conditional that muwalat (performing acts consecutively) is not interrupted as judged by common people. In case, one is unable to maintain muwalat, he/she should complete it with the intention of defective tawaf and perform another seven-round tawaf. Instead, he/she may perform only a seven-round tawaf with the intention of uncompleted tawaf or a separate new seven-round tawaf. Likewise, he/she may leave this uncompleted tawaf and perform a new seven-round tawaf after making ghusl.

If a person is excused from doing wudu' or ghusl, he/she must do tayammum. If a person is unable to perform wudu' or obligatory ghusl, and he/she knows that the excuse is over by the end of tawaf, e.g. an ill person who knows that his illness will be cured, he/she must wait until excused is eliminated. After that he should do wudu' or ghusl. It is advised to wait for the excuse to terminate keeping in mind the time constraints. If a person becomes hopeless for the excuse to end, he/she should do tayammum and perform tawaf.

If a person, who is supposed to do jabira tayammum or wudu', performs tawaf and its prayer without getting purity due to ignorance about the ruling, they should repeat tawaf and prayer themselves if possible; otherwise, they should appoint a representative to do it on their behalf.

In the rituals of 'umra, state of keeping wudu' is mandatory only for tawaf and its prayer. However, maintaining state of wudu' for other rituals of 'umra is not obligatory; though it is better to do so in all situations.

If one doubts about his/her state of purity, one must act as follows:

  • If one doubts about wudu' before commencing tawaf, he/she should do wudu'.
  • If ghusl was obligatory for a person and before starting tawaf one doubts whether he made ghusl or not, he must do it prior to tawaf.
  • If a person was in a state of wudu' but now he doubts its validity, it is not obligatory for him to do wudu' again.
  • If a person who was not in a state of janaba doubts his state of purity, taking ghusl is not obligatory for him/her. Similarly, a woman who is doubtful whether she has started menstruation or not, taking ghusl is not obligatory for her.
  • After completing tawaf and before performing its prayer, if a person doubts whether he was in a state of wudu' or not, he/she should not be worried about his/her tawaf but one should make wudu' for the prayer of tawaf.
  • If a person starts tawaf with wudu' but during the tawaf doubts whether his wudu' is invalidated or not, one should not pay attention to this doubt and assume purity.
  • If a person doubts during tawaf whether he/she was in state of wudu' at the start of tawaf while he is sure he was in state of wudu' before that, one should suppose he was in state of wudu' and ignore the doubts. The tawaf would hold valid in this case.

But, if one —during tawaf— doubts whether he was in state of wudu' before tawaf or knows that he was not in a state of wudu' before tawaf, he/she should gain purity and repeat tawaf.

  • If a person, for whom ghusl was obligatory and during tawaf he/she falls in doubt whether ghusl has been performed or not, he/she should leave the mosque immediately, do ghusl and start the tawaf from the beginning.

Purity of the Body and the Clothes

While performing tawaf, one's body and the clothes should be pure from blood. On the basis of obligatory caution, the body and clothing should be pure of other inherently najis materials as well. However, purity of socks, handkerchief, and ring is not considered as a mandatory condition. The blood spot that is lesser than a dirham, and those blood from wounds, which does not invalidate prayer, does not make tawaf void either.

If a person's body is najis, they should if they can delay tawaf so that they may purify their body but there should not be shortage of time. If a person doubts regarding the purity of his/her body or clothes, he/she is allowed to do tawaf. But, if one is certain that the dress/body was najis and now doubts whether it was purified later, he/she is not allowed to do tawaf in it. If he/she comes to know after completing tawaf that his/her body or the clothes were najis, his/her tawaf is valid. If during the tawaf one's clothes/body become najis, e.g. if a person gets injured due to crowd and it is not possible for him/her to purify it without disconnecting tawaf, it is obligatory to discontinue tawaf, purify the body or clothes and return immediately to complete tawaf from the point of discontinuation, and it will be correct if muwalat is not damaged.

If a person sees impurity on his/her body or the clothes during tawaf but he/she does not know whether it occurred before or during tawaf, the ruling is the same as the last ruling.

During tawaf, if a person comes to know that his body or the dress is najis and he/she is certain that body/clothes got najis before the commencement of tawaf, he/she should follow the same as the last two rulings. One who happens to forget that their body/clothes are najis and becomes aware of it during tawaf should also follow the last ruling.

If a person happens to forget that his body/clothes are najis, performs tawaf with these clothes and remembers it after completing tawaf, his/her tawaf is valid. But, if he/she offers the prayer of tawaf with the same najis clothes/body, he/she will have to perform prayer again after its purification. On the basis of recommended caution, one should perform tawaf again after purification.


Circumcision is a necessary condition for the validity of tawaf of men. However, women are exempted from it. Tawaf of the uncircumcised man is void whether he is legally mature (baligh) or a minor.

Covering Private Parts

On the basis of obligatory caution, covering the private parts while performing tawaf is a condition. If a woman does not cover a few strands of her hair or a part of body that should be covered, her tawaf would be valid, although she has committed a sin.

Clothes of Tawaf Should not be Usurped

It is amongst the conditions of tawaf that a person who is performing tawaf is not wearing usurped clothes. Therefore, if he/she performs tawaf with usurped clothes, on the basis of obligatory caution, his/her tawaf is void.


Muwalat means performing the rituals consecutively.

On the basis of obligatory caution, conventional muwalat between the parts of the tawaf should be observed. It means that there should not be a long interruption so that the seven rounds are not considered as a single action. However, if somebody disconnects it in the middle of tawaf i.e. after 3.5 rounds in order to offer prayer or the like, there is no objection.

If a person discontinues his/her obligatory tawaf after completing 3.5 rounds to offer an obligatory prayer, he/she should continue it after prayer from the point of discontinuation and complete its seven rounds. But, if he/she discontinues before completing half tawaf and there is a long gap, on the basis of caution, he/she should perform tawaf from the beginning. In case, the gap is not long, it is not remote to say it is not necessary to observe caution in such a case. However, caution is desirable in any case. There is no difference whether the prayer is performed individually or with congregation and whether the time of prayer is too short or not.

It is permissible to disconnect mustahabb and obligatory tawaf. Though, it is caution not to interrupt an obligatory tawaf so long that muwalat according to common view would be destroyed.


There are seven things obligatory for a tawaf:

  • To begin tawaf from the corner of the al-Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone);
  • To finish each round of tawaf at al-Hajar al-Aswad (the Black Stone);
  • To perform tawaf from left hand side;
  • To perform tawaf out of Hijr of Isma'il (a);
  • Tawaf should occur out of Holy Ka'ba and Shadharwan.
  • Tawaf should be performed between the distance of Holy Ka'ba and Maqam Ibrahim (a).
  • Tawaf should consist of seven rounds (shawt).

It is obligatory to start tawaf from al-Hajar al-Aswad. It may start from any point in front of it. There is a line on the floor of Masjid al-Haram marking the start of tawaf. Moreover, it is not compulsory to commence tawaf [exactly] from the beginning point of al-Hajar al-Aswad and all parts of body passes by all parts of al-Hajar al-Aswad. Rather, if one starts his/her tawaf from the beginning —as judged by common view— of al-Hajar al-Aswad, it is sufficient. However, he/she should finish tawaf from the point of beginning i.e. if he/she starts tawaf from the middle of al-Hajar al-Aswad, he/she should finish it in the middle of it. It is no problem in entering tawaf place before al-Hajar al-Aswad provided that they intend their tawaf to start from al-Hajar al-Aswad.

It is not obligatory to stop in the front of al-Hajar al-Aswad after completing each round and then start the next round. A person may complete the seven rounds without stopping and should finish his/her seventh round from the very point from where he/she started tawaf. However, on the basis of caution, one may at the end of the last round go a bit further so as to gain certainty that start and end of tawaf is at same point. One should start tawaf from the front of al-Hajar al-Aswad like other Muslims without any hesitation or obsessive exactitude. It is not necessary to stop in front of the al-Hajar al-Aswad after completing each round.

It is obligatory to perform tawaf from the left side, i.e. the holy Ka'ba should be at the left side of the pilgrim. This rule is said in order to specify the direction of the movement. The criterion for the Holy Ka'ba to be on the left side is its meaning in the common view and not its exact meaning logically. So, if a person diverts a little while crossing by Hijr of Isma'il (a) or the four corners of the holy Ka'ba, his/her tawaf would be valid, and there is no need to tilt one's shoulder so that the holy Ka'ba would be situated exactly on his/her left hand side. If a person covers a distance while turning towards the Holy Ka'ba for kissing it during tawaf or a person has his/her face or back unintentionally towards the Holy Ka'ba due to crowd, or if a person turns his/her right side towards the holy Ka'ba, the tawaf is invalid and the person should cover such distance in normal mode again.

While performing tawaf, it is obligatory to be out of Hijr Isma'il (a) so that Hijr of Ismail (a) would be inside the circle of tawaf. If a person performs his tawaf from the inside of the place of Hijr Isma'il (a) or on its wall, his/her tawaf is void and tawaf must be repeated. If he/she does so in one of the rounds of tawaf, only this round of tawaf is void. If a person performs tawaf from inside the Hijr purposely, such a person is ruled the same as the person who neglects the tawaf purposely. If he/she performs tawaf from inside of the Hijr inattentively, he/she is like the person who has neglected the tawaf inattentively.

It is obligatory to perform tawaf outside the holy Ka'ba and out of "shadhrawan", which is connected to the walls of Ka'ba at the bottom. Placing one's hand on the wall of the Hijr Isma'il (a) and the holy Ka'ba during tawaf is no problem.

According to the popular viewpoint, tawaf should be performed between the Ka'ba and the Maqam Ibrahim (a) and with regards to the other sides of Ka'ba, the tawaf should be performed by maintaining the same distance. However, the stronger viewpoint is that performing tawaf within this distance is not a condition. One may perform it — beyond this limit — in all the parts of the Masjid al-Haram especially when the crowd prevents the pilgrim to perform tawaf in this area. However, in case it is not crowded, it is better to perform tawaf within this area. It is not remote to say it is valid although it is against caution to perform tawaf above the land of the Masjid al-Haram [new construction] up to the parallel areas of the wall of the holy Ka'ba so that it is called circling around the holy Ka'ba. Whenever a person is unable to perform tawaf in the courtyard of the Masjid al-Haram and is compelled to perform tawaf on the second floor, on the basis of obligatory caution this person must perform tawaf in the 2nd floor by himself and appoint a representative who performs tawaf on his behalf in the yard of the mosque. In this way, he should perform prayer on the second floor and his representative should perform prayer in the courtyard of the mosque. If he can offer the prayer in the yard, this prayer would be sufficient for him.

It is obligatory to perform seven rounds of tawaf.

Neglecting Tawaf and Deficiencies and Doubts

Tawaf is one of the elements of 'umra and if a person neglects it purposely until the end of its time, his 'umra will be void and there is no difference whether he is aware of the ruling or not.

It is not obligatory to perform tawaf immediately after arriving in the holy city of Mecca. One can delay it unless the time becomes too short to perform normal wuquf at 'Arafat (which starts from the noon on the 9th of Dhu l-Hijja until sunset on the same day). There should be enough time for pilgrim so that he may perform other ritual after performing tawaf, becomes muḥrim for hajj and goes to 'Arafat on time.

If 'umra of a person becomes invalid, by obligatory caution, change their hajj al-tamattu' to hajj al-ifrad and to perform al-'umra al-mufrada after hajj al-ifrad. The next year, they perform 'umra and hajj al-tamattu' if they were obligatory for them. If a person forgets the tawaf but remembers it before expiration of its time, he/she has to perform it with its prayer followed by sa'y.

If a person forgets the tawaf and he remembers it after the end of its time, he should perform it with its prayer at any possible time. However, if he remembers it after returning to his native country, then the person should return to Mecca and perform tawaf followed by its prayer. If this task requires extraordinary hardship, then a representative should be hired for this task. Performing sa'y is not obligatory after performing missed tawaf and its prayer.

For a person who neglects tawaf deliberately or forgetfully and one who has not performed some part of tawaf unintentionally, things will not become halal until they perform tawaf themselves or their representatives perform it on their behalf. If a person cannot perform the tawaf even with assistance, within its time frame due to a disease, fracture or other health reasons, they carry him circling around Ka'ba if possible, or else he/she should hire a representative.

If a person after finishing tawaf and returning, i.e. after going out of tawaf place — doubts about the rounds taken during tawaf, the doubt should be ignored and tawaf is valid. But if a person doubts during the course of tawaf about the number of rounds and is doubtful whether he/she has performed seven rounds or less, his/her tawaf is invalid and he/she should perform tawaf again.


  • The Rites of Hajj, In Accord with Fatwas of Grand Ayatollah Sayyid Ali Hosseini Khamenei, Hajj and Ziarah Research Center