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Section I: The Definition of Circumambulation, its Description and Conditions

Firstly: The Definition of Circumambulation
Linguistically, circumambulation means revolving around an object.
Technically, circumambulation means worshipping Allah, Mighty and Majestic, by revolving around the Ka`bah in a specific manner.
Secondly: How to Perform Circumambulation
One starts at the corner with the Black Stone, faces it, touches it, and kisses it if one can do so without harming others in rivalry. One faces the Black Stone with one’s entire body then begins circumambulating with one’s left side toward the Ka`bah. One then walks around the Ka`bah until one passes behind the Black Stone, circling the Ka`bah, and reaching the Yemeni Corner. Then one returns to the corner containing the Black Stone, which is where one started circumambulation. This completes one round. One repeats until completing seven rounds.
Thirdly: Conditions of Circumambulation
1. Intention
The basic intention of circumambulation is a condition. This is the position of the majority: the Hanafis, Malikis, and Hanbalis. [1009] Shafi`is differed in the case that circumambulation is a part of the rites of Hajj or `umrah. The soundest according to them is that circumambulation as part of these rites is valid without an intention as long as it is not diverted to another purpose, such as seeking a debtor.
Is specifying the type of circumambulation a condition if it is part of the rites of Hajj or `umrah?
It is not a condition that one specify the type of circumambulation if it is part of the rites of Hajj or `umrah. Rather, if one performs circumambulation while forgetting the type of circumambulation or absentminded, that suffices the required performance of circumambulation at the given time. This is as long as he had already intended the rite in question: `umrah or Hajj. This is the position of the majority: the Hanafis, Malikis [1010] An exception according to Malikis is in the Arrival Circumambulation: it is a condition according to them that one not intend an optional performance of circumambulation. This is because it is wajib according to them. , and Shafi`is (according to the soundest).


2. Covering one’s nakedness
Covering one’s nakedness (`awrah) is a condition without which circumambulation is invalid. This is the position of the majority: the Malikis, Shafi`is, and Hanbalis. Ibn Taymiyyah related that it is wajib by consensus. [1011] There is consensus amongst scholars that covering one’s nakedness is wajib in circumambulation. They only differed whether it is a condition. The majority considered it a condition, contrary to the Hanafis.


3. Being free of minor and major ritual impurity for circumambulation
The circumambulation of a menstruating woman with no excuse
It is haram for a menstruating woman to circumambulate without an excuse. [1012] The generality of scholars hold that it is also invalid. Consensus that it is haram for a menstruating woman to circumambulate was related by al-Nawawi, and al-San`ani confirmed it.
The condition of being free of ritual impurities for circumambulation
There is consensus amongst scholars that ritual purity is legislated during circumambulation. However, they are of multiple views regarding whether it is a condition, the strongest of these being two:
The first position: Being free of ritual impurities is a condition for the validity of circumambulation. This is the position of the majority: Malikis, Shafi`is, and Hanbalis.
The second position: Ritual purity is a sunnah for circumambulation. This is one position amongst Hanafis, one narration from Ahmad, and the position of Ibn Hazm, Ibn Taymiyyah, Ibn al-Qayyim, and Ibn `Uthaymin.


4. Starting circumambulation from the Black Stone
Starting circumambulation from the Black Stone is a condition for the validity of circumambulation. The round that started after the Black Stone does not count. This is the position of the Shafi`i and Hanbali schools, one narration from the Hanafis, and one position amongst Malikis.


5. Keeping the Ka`bah to one’s left
It is a condition that the Ka`bah be on one’s left. This is the position of the majority: the Malikis, Shafi`is, and Hanbalis.
6. Circumambulating around al-Hijr
Circumambulating around al-Hijr [1013] Al-Hijr is the area surrounded by an arc-shaped wall under the Ka`bah’s waterspout, north from the Ka`bah. It is also called al-Hateem. Al-Hijr is part of the Ka`bah which Quraysh did not rebuild due to a lack of funds, but instead surrounded it with a wall. Some hold that six or seven cubits of it are part of the Ka`bah. Al-Hijr is referred to by many laymen as Hijr Isma`il. This naming is an error and has no basis. is fard. The circumambulation of anyone who does otherwise is not counted. Even if they were to walk on its walls, it would not count. This is the position of the majority: the Malikis, Shafi`is, and Hanbalis.


7. That the circumambulation occur in the place specific to it (inside al-Masjid al-Haram)
It is a condition that circumambulation be performed around the Ka`bah, within al-Masjid al-Haram, whether near it or far away from it. This is by agreement of the four schools of jurisprudence.


8. Circling the Ka`bah seven times
It is a condition that one circle the Ka`bah seven times. Fewer than this does not suffice. This is the position of the majority: Malikis, Shafi`is, Hanbalis, Kamal ibn al-Humam from the Hanafi school, and a group of the Salaf.
Doubting the number of rounds
If one doubts how many rounds one has performed while circumambulating, then one bases it on certainty, which is the lesser number. This is the position of the majority: the Malikis [1014] Malikis make an exception for an obsessive person by which they mean someone who doubts every day, even if once. Such a person abandons their doubt and ignores it. They have another position that such a person accepts their first thought. , Shafi`is, and Hanbalis.


9. Performing the rounds without interruption
It is wajib to perform the rounds without interruption. This is the position of the Maliki and Hanbali schools. This is the chosen position of Ibn `Uthaymin.
The ruling of interrupting circumambulation when prayer starts
When the fard prayer starts, one interrupts circumambulation with the intention of returning to it after prayer. When the prayer is over, one continues where one left off. This is the position of the majority: the Hanafis, Malikis, and Shafi`is. It is the position of the majority of scholars and Ibn Hazm
.
10. Walking for one able to do so
If one is able to, one must circumambulate while walking. This is the position of the majority: the Hanafis, Malikis, and Hanbalis.
The ruling of circumambulating while riding or being carried for one unable to walk
If one is unable to walk and circumambulates while riding or being carried, no expiation is due and there is no sin. Consensus on this was related by Ibn `Abd al-Barr, al-Baji, Ibn Qudamah, Ibn Taymiyyah, and Ibn al-Qayyim.


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