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Is It Permissible to Begin Sa`i from Al-Marwah?

13 August, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaykum. What is the ruling on one who performed `Umrah and started sa`i from al-Marwah instead of as-Safa?


Wa `alaykum as-Salamu wa Rahmatullahi wa Barakatuh.

In the Name of Allah, Most Gracious, Most Merciful.

All praise and thanks are due to Allah, and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger.

In this fatwa:

As for your question, he who starts Sa`i from al-Marwah should not count the first lap as a pilgrim should start with what Allah Almighty started with in the Quran and should do as the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did.

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In his response to the question, Sheikh Muhammad Saleh Al-Munajjid, the prominent Saudi Islamic lecturer and author, stated:

What the one who performs Sa`i between as-Safa and al-Marwah Mounts has to do is to begin with that with which Allah Almighty began and with which His Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) began.

Allah, the Exalted, says, 

{Verily! As-Safa and Al-Marwah (two mountains in Makkah) are of the Symbols of Allah. So it is not a sin on him who performs Hajj or `Umrah pilgrimage of the House (the Ka`bah at Makkah) to perform the going (Tawaf) between them (As-Safa and Al-Marwah). And whoever does good voluntarily, then verily, Allah is All-Recognizer, All-Knower.} (Al-Baqarah 2:158)

The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) began his Sa`i from As-Safa, and he said, “I begin with that which Allah began with.”

The most correct view is that doing Sa`i in the proper order is obligatory. So, the one who begins with al-Marwah cannot count his first lap, and he must do another one instead.

Shaykh Muhammad al-Amin ash-Shinqiti (may Allah have mercy on him) said,

“It must be understood that the majority of scholars stipulate that Sa`i must be done in the proper order, which means to begin at as-Safa and end at al-Marwah. If he starts at al-Marwah, that lap is not counted. Among those who stipulated that it must be done in the proper order are: Malik, ash-Shafa`i and Ahmad, and their companions, and al-Hasan al-Basri, al-Awza`i, Dawud and the majority of the scholars.”

Abu Hanifah, however, was reported to have another point of view.

Shaykh Shihab ad-Din Ahmad ash-Shalabi said, in his commentary on Tabyeen ad-Daqa’iq,

“With regard to his statement, “If a person begins Sa`i from al-Marwah, the first lap should not be counted”, in Manasik al-Karmani it says, ‘Doing it, [i.e. Sa`i,] in a certain order is not an essential condition in our view; even if one begins at al-Marwah and comes to as-Safa, that is acceptable and he may count it, but it is makruh because he did not do it according to the Sunnah. Therefore, it is recommended for him to repeat that lap.’”

As-Saruji (may Allah have mercy on him) commented in al-Ghayah, “There is no basis for what al-Karmani said.

Ar-Razi (may Allah have mercy on him) said in Ahkam al-Qur’an, “If he begins with al-Marwah before as-Safa, that is not to be counted according to the well-known report from our companions. It was narrated from Abu Hanifah that he should repeat that lap, but if he does not do so, there is no blame on him. He regarded it as being like failing to follow the proper order of washing the limbs when purifying oneself.”

With regard to as-Saruji’s comment that there is no basis for what al-Karmani said, this needs further discussion.

The evidence quoted by the majority for this position is the fact that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) did that and said, “I begin with that which Allah began with.”

According to a narration reported by an-Nasa’i, he said, “Begin with that which Allah began with”, which is an imperative. Moreover, he said, “Learn from me your rituals of Hajj.” Thus, we must learn from him, follow his example with regard to our rituals, begin with that which Allah began with, and act in accordance with the Glorious Quran.” (Adwa’ al-Bayan, 5/250, 251)

In response to a question about someone who began his Sa`i with al-Marwah instead of as-Safa and therefore added an eighth lap, scholars of the Standing Committee said,

“If the matter is as you describe, that you did an eighth lap to complete the seven laps of Sa`i in the correct order, then your Sa`i is valid, because the first lap that you did, beginning with al-Marwah and ending with as-Safa, is invalid, as you did not do it in the prescribed manner.” (Fatawa al-Lajnah ad-Da’imah li’l-Buhuth al-`Ilmiyyah wa’l-Ifta’, 11/259, 260)

Allah Almighty knows best.