Bismi Llahir Rahmanir Rahim
by Naielah Ackbarali
The umrah ṭawāf is a pillar (rukn) of the umrah, meaning that it is obligatory to perform.
The details of the ṭawāf were discussed at length in our FREE course: Umra For Women.
Obligatory (Fard) Elements of the Umrah Tawāf
In order for the ṭawāf to be valid and count towards the umrah, one must:
- be in a state of iḥrām for umrah,
- make the intention to perform ṭawāf before beginning it,
- and circumambulate around the Ka’ba for at least four out of the seven rounds.
If one were to perform less than four rounds, the umrah ṭawāf will not be valid and one will remain in a state of iḥrām until the ṭawāf is performed.
Mandatory (Wājib) Acts of the Tawāf
In order for the ṭawāf to be complete, free of sin, and without an incurred penalty, one must also perform the mandatory acts of ṭawāf.
The mandatory acts (wājibāt) of the ṭawāf are to:
- be in a state of ritual purity (must have wuḍūʾ),
- cover one’s legal nakedness (awrah) completely (from navel to knee for men and the entire body except face and hands for women),
- walk on foot during the ṭawāf – unless one possesses an excuse,
- complete all seven rounds around the Kaʿba,
- start each round at the Black Stone and end with it,
- make ṭawāf around the Ḥijr Ismaʿil and not pass through it,
- and perform the ṭawāf walking towards the right with the Kaʿba on one’s left side.
Every time one finishes a ṭawāf, one owes a two rakaʿāt prayer. Performing this prayer is mandatory (wājib) and it is sinful to leave it. One must pray it in a time that is not disliked. Praying it in the Sacred Mosque is best although one may perform it anywhere. It is disliked to delay offering this prayer until a later time because the sunna is to pray it immediately after finishing the ṭawāf – unless one possesses an excuse.
If a mandatory act of the ṭawāf is left, the ṭawāf technically counts, but one must repeat the ṭawāf correctly or a penalty will be due. Furthermore, if the mandatory act was left purposely, one is sinful.
Therefore, if one repeats the entire ṭawāf before leaving Makkah in the correct way, the penalty is dropped. However, a tawba is still due if the violation was committed purposely.
Yet, if one does not repeat the ṭawāf before leaving Makkah, then one owes a penalty of slaughtering a sheep for each mandatory act that was omitted. The sheep slaughtering must be carried out within the haram (sacred precinct). It is not permissible to eat the meat from this slaughtering because it is a punishment for the violation committed.
The violations and their penalties are briefly summarized in the chart below. Please note that if these same violations were committed while performing ṭawāf for hajj the penalties owed may differ. Children who have not reached puberty do not owe penalties for any violations that were committed.
Make sure to consult a scholar for further details inshaAllah.
Check out our FREE Umrah course for more details about the rulings related to umrah, as well as practical advice.
Read our Step-By-Step Umrah Guide.
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