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Can You Explain the Supererogatory Acts of Tawaf?

07 August, 2019
Q As-salamu `alaykum. What are the acts that a pilgrim is encouraged to do while performing Tawaf?


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:

It is sunnah for a pilgrim to perform the following acts while performing tawaf:

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1- Facing the Black Stone

2- Al-‘Idtiba` (Uncovering one’s shoulder)

3- Ramal or Jogging

4- Touching the Yemeni Corner

5- Offering Two Rakahs After Tawaf

Elaborating more on these supererogatory acts, Sheikh Sayyed Sabiq states in his well-known book, Fiqh As-Sunnah:

It is sunnah to perform certain acts during Tawaf as given below:

1- Facing the Black Stone at the beginning of tawaf while uttering takbir (Allahu-Akbar), and tahlil (La ilaha illahlah), and raising one’s hands as they are raised in prayer, and if possible touching it with both hands and kissing it lightly, or placing one’s cheek on it.

Otherwise, one may touch it with one’s hand, kiss the hand, or touch it with something, and then kiss that something, or if even that is not possible, one may just point to it with a stick, etc. as mentioned in some of the hadiths referred to 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.” Likewise, `Umar also wept for a long time. The Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) said: ‘O Umar, this is the place where one should shed tears.”’ (Al-Hakim)

2- Al-‘Idtiba` (Uncovering one’s shoulder)

Ibn Abbas (may Allah be pleased with him) reported that the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) and his companions stated their intention to perform Umrah from al-Jiranah by wearing the clothing of ihram but leaving their right shoulders uncovered, bringing their ihram up from under their right armpits while covering the left shoulder. (Ahmad and Abu Dawud)

The majority of scholars hold a similar view and claim that doing so is helpful in ramal (jogging) while making Tawaf. Imam Malik is of the opinion, however, that doing so is not recommended, for it is not a known practice, nor did he see anyone doing so.

3- Ramal or Jogging

Ramal means walking quickly and vigorously while moving one’s shoulders and taking small steps, giving a sense of strength and energy. Ibn Umar reported that Allah’s Messenger (peace and blessings be upon him) jogged from the Black Stone around the Kabah and back to the Black Stone again three times, and then walked the remaining four rounds. (Muslim)

If a person does not jog during the first three rounds, then he is not required to make it up in the last four rounds. Ramal (Jogging) and idtiba’ (uncovering one’s right shoulder) are prescribed for men only while making tawaf for Umrah. When a pilgrim performs Hajj, tawaf is always followed by sa`i (walking between Safa and Marwah).

Women are not obligated to jog or uncover their right shoulders because they must cover themselves properly. Ibn Umar said: “Women are not obligated to jog around the Kabah nor while making sa`i between Safa and Marwah.” (Al-Baihaqi)

4- Touching the Yemeni Corner

This is based on the statement of Ibn Umar in which he said: “I never saw the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) touching any other parts of the Kabah except the two corners: the Black Stone and the Yemeni corner.” And he added, “No matter how hard and difficult the circumstances, I have never failed to touch these two corners – the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone – ever since I saw the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) doing so.” (Al-Bukhari and Muslim)

5- Offering Two Rakahs After Tawaf

It is sunnah to offer two rak`ahs after completing the tawaf at the Station of Ibrahim (peace and blessings be upon him), or at any other place in the Sacred Mosque, regardless of whether it is a supererogatory tawaf or an obligatory one (as in Hajj or Umrah).

Jabir reported: “When the Prophet (peace and blessings be upon him) came to Makkah, he circumambulated the Ka`bah seven times, then went to the Station of Ibrahim and recited the verse, “And take of the Station of Abraham a place of prayer.” (Al-Baqarah 2:125) He prayed behind it, and then went to the Black Stone and kissed it.” (At-Tirmidhi)

In these two rakahs, it is sunnah to recite Surat Al-Kafirun in the first rak ah, and Surat Al-Ikhlas in the second rakah, after reciting Al-Fatihah. (Muslim)

These two rakahs may be offered at any time of the day or night including the prohibited times.

Allah Almighty knows best.

Editor’s note: This fatwa is from Ask the Scholar’s archive and was originally published at an earlier date.