Question # 145: During Tawaf, some people touch the walls of the Ka’bah. What is the ruling on this matter?

bismi-llahi r-raḥmani r-raḥīm,

Assalamu ‘laikum warahmatullahi wabarakatuh,

All praise and thanks are due to Allah (سبحانه و تعالى), and peace and blessings be upon His Messenger (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

Dear questioner,

First of all, we implore Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) to help us serve His cause and render our work for His sake.

Shorter Answer: Touching the walls of the Ka’bah, except for Yemeni Corner and the Hajarul Aswad (Black Stone), is bid’ah (innovation) since it has no basis in shari’ah. Also, touching Maqaam Ibrahim is an innovation. As for the multazam, the part of the Ka’bah that is between the Black Stone and the door of the Ka’bah, it is recommended to cling by placing one’s chest, face, forearms and palms against it and call upon Allah saying whatever du’aa one wishes. It is to be noted that narration from Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم) concerning the Multazam is sounder than the ones narrated from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) as they used to do that when they entered Makkah. If one wishes, he may recite the du’aa that was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas; however, this supplication is not from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), but many scholars recommended it.

Long Answer: A similar question was put to Shaykh Muhammad ibn ‘Uthaymeen (may Allah have mercy on him), who replied as follows:

This is an action which some people do, seeking thereby to draw closer to Allah and to worship Him. Every action which is done with the intention of drawing closer to Allah and worshipping Him, but which has no basis in shari’ah, is an innovation, and the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) warned against that when he said: “Beware of newly-innovated matters, for every innovation is a going astray.” (Narrated by al-Tirmidhi; Abu Dawood)

It is not narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) touched anything apart from the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone.

On this basis, if a person touches any corner or side of the Ka’bah apart from the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone, then he is considered to be an innovator (follower of bid’ah). When ‘Abd-Allah ibn ‘Abbas saw Mu’awiyah ibn Abi Sufyan (رضي الله عنه) touching the two northern corners of the Ka’bah, he told him not to do that. Mu’awiyah (رضي الله عنه) said to him: “No part of the House should be ignored.’ Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said: “‘Indeed in the Messenger of Allah (Muhammad) you have a good example to follow” [al-Ahzaab 33:21]. And I saw the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) touching the two Yemeni corners,” meaning the Yemeni Corner and the Black Stone. So Mu’awiyah accepted what Ibn ‘Abbas said.

A more serious form of bid’ah is what some people do, namely touching Maqaam Ibrahim. It was not narrated that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) touched any part of the Maqaam.

The same applies to other actions that some people do, namely touching Zamzam or touching the pillars of the porticos – the ancient pillars built by the Ottomans. None of these actions were narrated from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم), so they are all bid’ah (innovations), and every innovation is a going astray. (From Daleel al-Akhta’ allati yaqa’ fiha al-Haaj wa’l-Mu’tamir -Mistakes made by pilgrims performing Hajj and ‘Umrah) 

The multazam (place of clinging) is the part of the Ka’bah that is between the Black Stone and the door of the Ka’bah. What is meant by iltizaam (clinging) is when the supplicant (person making du’aa) places his chest, face, forearms and palms against it and calls upon Allah saying whatever du’aa he wishes. There is no specific du’aa that the Muslim should say in that place…

What was narrated from the Sahaabah (رضي الله عنهم) concerning the Multazam is sounder than that which has been narrated from the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم).

It was narrated that ‘Abd al-Rahmaan ibn Safwaan said: When the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) conquered Makkah, I said: I will put on my garments, as my house was on the road, and I will wait and see what the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) does. So I went and I saw that the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) had come out of the Ka’bah, he and his companions, and they were touching the House from the Door to the Black Stone. They had placed their cheeks against the House and the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) was in the midst of them. (Narrated by Abu Dawood; Ahmad) Its isnad includes Yazeed ibn Abi Ziyaad, who was classed as da’eef (weak) by Ibn Mu’een, Abu Haatim, Abu Zar’ah and others.

It was narrated from ‘Amr ibn Shu’ayb that his father said: I circumambulated the Ka’bah with ‘Abd-Allah, and when we came to the back of the Ka’bah I said: Will you not seek refuge with Allah? He said: We seek refuge with Allah from the Fire. Then he proceeded to touch the Stone, and he stood between the Corner and the door, and placed his chest, face, forearms and hands like this, and spread them out. Then he said: This is what I saw the Messenger of Allah (صلى الله عليه و سلم) do. (Narrated by Abu Dawood; Ibn Maajah) Its isnad includes al-Muthanna ibn al-Sabaah, who was classed as da’eef (weak) by Imam Ahmad, Ibn Mu’een, al-Tirmidhi, al-Nasaa’i and others.

But these two ahadith corroborate one another. Shaykh al-Albani classed it as sahih in al-Silsilah al-Saheehah. And he narrated that Ibn ‘Abbas (رضي الله عنه) said: “The Multazam is between the Corner and the door.”

Shaykh al-Islam Ibn Taymiyyah said: If (the pilgrim) wants to go the Multazam – which is the area between the Black Stone and the door – and place his chest, face, forearms and hands against it and make du’aa and ask Allah for what he needs, he may do so. He may do that before the farewell tawaf, for it does not matter if this iltizaam (clinging) is done at the time of the farewell tawaf or at another time. The Sahaabah used to do that when they entered Makkah. If he wishes he may say the du’aa that was narrated from Ibn ‘Abbas: “O Allah, I am Your slave, son of Your male slave, son of Your female slave. You have caused me to ride that which You have subjugated to me of Your creation and You caused me to travel through Your land until You caused me to reach Your house by Your grace, and You have helped me to perform my rituals (of pilgrimage). If You were pleased with me then I hope that you will be more pleased, otherwise be pleased with me now before I depart from Your House, for now I am about to depart if You permit, without turning to anyone but You and seeking to visit any house other than Yours. O Allah, give me good health in my body and protect my religious commitment; let me find my family well and safe upon my return and help me to obey You so long as You keep me alive, and join me, and give me the good of this world and the Hereafter, for You are able to do all things.”

If he stands by the door and prays there without clinging to the House, that is also good. (Majmoo’ al-Fataawa)

(The above reply is based on various answers by Islamqa.info on the topic)

As for Hajarul Aswad (Black Stone), facing it at the start of the tawaf while uttering a takbir (Allahu-Akbar), and a tahlil (La ilaha illahlah), and raising one’s hands as they are raised in prayers, and if possible touching it with both hands and kissing it quietly, or placing one’s cheek on it. Otherwise, one may touch it with one’s hand and kiss the hand, or touch it with something, and then kiss it, or if even that is not possible, one may just point to it…

Nafi’ said, “I have seen Ibn ‘Umar touching the Black Stone with his hand, and then kissing his hand and saying: ‘Ever since I saw the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) doing this, I have never failed to do that.”‘ (Reported by Bukhari and Muslim)

Bukhari, Muslim and Abu Dawood reported that ‘Umar approached the Black Stone and kissed it. Then he said: “I know that you are a mere stone that can neither harm nor do any good. If l had not seen the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) kissing you, I would have never kissed you.” Al-Khatabi said: “This shows that abiding by the Sunnah of the Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) is binding, regardless of whether or not we understand its reason or the wisdom behind it.”

There is no harm in crowding around the Black Stone so long as no harm is caused to other people. Ibn ‘Umar used to struggle hard to get through the crowd in order to reach the Black Stone, so much so that sometimes (he was struck on the face and) his nose would bleed. The Prophet (صلى الله عليه و سلم) said to ‘Umar: “O Abu Hafs! You are a strong man. Do not crowd others around the Black Stone. You may hurt a weak person. But if you find an opportunity to reach it in order to kiss it or touch it, do it. If not, then say ‘Allahu-Akbar’ and continue (your tawaf).” (Reported by Ash-Shafi’i in his Sunan) (‘Fiqh Us-Sunnah’ by As-Sayyid Sabiq)

Allahu A’lam (Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) knows best) and all Perfections belong to Allah, and all mistakes belong to me alone. May Allah (سبحانه و تعالى) forgive me, Ameen.

Wassalaam