The sky has seven layers; man has seven souls. Each turning around the Kaaba represents a phase, a stage; man covers a phase and is elevated up to the seventh sky, above the material realm. Besides, it means to rise from the lowest step of the soul, which has seven steps, to the highest one. That is, from nafs al-ammarah (soul commanding the evil) to nafs al-mutmainnah (tranquil self); from the animal life to the spiritual life.
Circumambulating the Kaaba is a kind of worshiping taken from the order of the universe. The planets rotate around the sun, the electrons around the nucleus, the moth around the candle; rotating around such a center means allegiance with love.
Putting Allah SWT at the center of your life.
Tawaf is like prayer, except we can speak.
Lexically, tawaf means to turn, walk, etc around something. Everything in the universe, from the tiny atoms to huge galaxies, is in a state of tawaf. In the atom, electrons turn around the nucleus; in the galaxy, billions of stars rotate around the center of the galaxy with an incredible speed. As it is stated in the Qur’an, each swims along in an orbit. (Yasin, 40) The view formed by tens of thousands of Muslims walking around the Kaaba is like the view of a galaxy turning together with billions of stars. Therefore, it is necessary to let oneself be on the orbit in order to get full spiritual pleasure in tawaf. A Muslim who can enter this orbit lets himself be controlled by that spiritual flow and gets the pleasure of becoming a drop in the sea of the believers. The circumambulation around the Kaaba is regarded to be the symbol of the summary of the universe and creation, and surrendering to the divine pre-ordainment.
A person starts tawaf leaving the Kaaba on his left. It has a symbolic meaning. The heart of man, which is the place where Allah looks, faces the House of Allah in tawaf. Allah looks at the heart of man, not his shape, appearance, money and property. It also indicates that tawaf should be performed heartily.
A person enjoys the pleasure of being a believer around the Kaaba. It is very difficult to taste that pleasure, which takes place so vividly and enthusiastically, in any other place. The feeling of closeness experienced in that holy place makes hajjis feel at home. The Kaaba’s scent feels so acquainted and its coziness feels so comprehensive that no other love can be so attractive for a believer.
There is no difference among people who perform a prayer in congregation; similarly, there is no difference among people who circumambulate the Kaaba. All believers are equal there. There is no sign that differentiates a person from others. There exists unity, which is the symbol of oneness. It is necessary to be lost in the sea of believers and to melt in the congregation.
Allah does not want material things but a sound heart. “Oh hajji! Do not think that they want gold or silver from you. They want a sound heart on the day when wealth and sons are not beneficial.”
The angels encircle the heavenly Baitul Ma’mur in an ever-lasting Tawaf.
Some reports teach that it was in Makkah that our father Adam (‘alayhi al-salam) longed to go back to paradise and be in the presence of Allah. To console his loneliness, Allah commanded him to do tawaf around the space of the current Ka‘bah. Adam did, and he felt whole again.
Other texts teach that Nuh (’alayhi al-salam), Ibrahim (’alayhi al-salam), and many prophets before them (’alayhim al-salam), all did tawaf around Allah’s sacred House. Their spiritual energy and legacy fills the air. You will be walking in the footsteps and the heart-steps of Rasulullah (sallalahu ’alayhi wasallam) and his noble companions.
In tawaf, you will be mirroring the worship of the angels, the mala’ikah, those heavenly creatures created of pure light and enveloped in the worship of Allah. Texts teach that the Ka‘bah is connected in an imperceptible way to the Bayt al-Ma‘mur, the heavenly Ka‘bah of the angels, around which they are constantly in tawaf. Seventy thousand angels perform tawaf around this house and are replaced with others, never to return.
It feels so great making Tawaf around the Kaaba when you’re submerged in waves of human beings, hundreds of thousands from all walks of life, and you’re just one of many. It feels so great knowing that Allah sees you there, deals with you individually and answers your calls.
There is no compulsory recitation while performing Tawaf.
This is the center of the world of worship.
Angels have circumambulated beneath the Majestic Throne from time immemorial, praising and glorifying His Majesty in such throngs that, it is narrated, the heavens creak with their sheer numbers.
No one will make Tawaf against the flow. No one is going to do sa’i from the opposite side just to make a statement. No one can do that.
Regardless of how you put your ihram on, it will look the same.
Regardless of how much you try to carry with you, what else can you carry except the belt around your waist? Not much. You will carry the essentials. That is exactly the essence of this dunya. When you stand before your Lord, you should carry nothing but the essentials, the things that will help you go through the journey.
Tawaaf is approximately 1.2 to 1.86 miles depending on the crowd present.
One idea is to pick different dua or prayers for each round, or to pick the first round for seeking forgiveness, the second round for making dua for the community, etc.
Each Tawaf represents us tearing down one of the veils that prevent us from seeking nearness to Allah.