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Why Do We Do Tawaf 7 Times?

24 June, 2023
Q As-salamu `alaykum. What is the significance of doing ‘tawaf’ around the Ka`bah 7 times?


Wa`alaykum As-Salaamu Warahmatullahi Wabarakatuh.

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:

  • There are symbolic acts that represent the Divine Wisdom. We are not required to search for this hidden wisdom.
  • Acts like tawaf or circumambulating around the Kabah are Ta`budi in the sense that we must fulfill them regardless whether their immediate benefits are clear to us or not.

In is response to the question, Sheikh Ahmad Kutty, a Senior Lecturer and an Islamic Scholar at the Islamic Institute of Toronto, Ontario, Canada, states:

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Acts like tawaf, sa`i, and others, which are related to the category of `ibadat, are orders of Allah the Almighty.

We believe they have infinite wisdom, for Almighty Allah is Al-Hakeem (the All-Wise). He does not order anything unwise, and yet in order for us not to disrespect Allah the Almighty the scholars have classified them as Ta`budi acts, which means that we cannot pinpoint one particular reason in the sense that if that reason is not there we can dispense with the act. This cannot be done in the case of Ta`bud; they are rituals that we must fulfill regardless whether their immediate benefits are clear or not.

Having said this, however, the purpose of tawaf is to symbolically represent the idea that our life should revolve around thinking and remembering Allah Almighty. The believer is the one who subsumes all his thoughts in one big thought, that is, Allah the Almighty.

The Kabah is the center and the focus that we are directed to turn in our prayers. By making tawaf we are re-enforcing the centrality of this spiritual focus in our life.

It also connects us with the tradition of Prophet Ibrahim (Abraham), peace be upon him, who was a perfect monotheist.

By performing this rite consciously, we are re-enforcing such ideals as Prophet Ibrahim, Isma’il and Muhammad (peace be upon them all) manifested in their lives.

Allah Almighty knows best.

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