Tawaf is an arabic word which means going about. It is one of the islamic ritual of pilgrims. During the Umrah and Hajj, muslims go around the Kaaba (the sacred place in Islam) seven times, in anticlockwise direction. The first three circuits at a hurried pace on the outer part of the crowd, followed by four times closer to the Kaaba at a leisurely pace. The circling is believed to demonstrate the unity of the believers in the worship of the One God, as they move in harmony together around the Kaaba, while supplicating to the Almighty.Each circumambulation gets to completion when a person returns back to Hajr-e-Aswad. If possible, a person should approach to touch or kiss Hajr-e-Aswad, if not, he can just point towards it with his right hand.
There are seven types of Tawaf:
It is performed by an outsiderwhen he has arrived at Makkah whether for Hajj, Umrah, Business or a visit. It is also called a welcome Tawaf. It is sunnah for Aafaaqi (who lives outside Makkah) who performs hajj Qiraan and it is not a Sunnah for those who are performing Hajj or Umrah even if they are an Aafaqi (outsider).
Aisha said, “The first thing the Prophet (?) did on reaching Mecca, was the ablution and then he performed Tawaf of the Ka`ba and that was not `Umra (alone), (but Hajj-al-Qiran).”
It is also called Tawaf-ul-Hajj.It’s performed by those who enter Makkah to perform the ritual of Hajj, which makes this an obligation upon the pilgrims. It can be performed after completing the smaller rituals in Mina: jamarat al‘aqabah (throwing of pebbles), dhibh (sacrifice), and halq or taqsir. This Tawaf is mandatory. Hajj would be invalid, if it is not performed. It can be performed from the dawn of 10th Zil haj to 12th Zil haj.
An obligatory (wajib) Tawaf that’s performed as a final ritual of Hajj, before a pilgrim leaves Makkah. It is a farewell Tawaf and performed as a final ritual of Hajj when a pilgrim leaving Makkah. It is wajib. Prophet ? said: “Let none of you leave Makkah before making a Tawaf around the Ka’abah, as the last of Hajj rites”
It’s a non-obligatory or optional (nafl) ritual of Tawaf and can be performed at any time.Tawaf-ul-Nafl is considered better than performing a nafl salaat. It can be performed at any time and as desired. Perform Tawaf as much as you can, when you are in Makkah because this privilege cannot be gained anywhere in the world.
Tawaf-ul-Umrah is a part of Umrah and performed as a integral ritualof Umrah. It is obligatory for the one who performs Umrah.
This Tawaf’s intimately associated with the pledge made before Allah. If an individual makes a pledge that he’ll perform Tawaf if his desire is fulfilled by God, then he’s obliged to come through and complete the ritualIf a person pledged that he will perform Tawaf if his desire is fulfilled by Allah.
It is performed when a person enters in Haram (sacred boundary of makkah). Tawaf-ul-Tahiyaah is Mustahib.After Tawaf, the person has to offer two units behind Maqam-e-Ibrahim (if possible, otherwise they may offer that two units prayer anywhere in the mosque).