Ayatollah Sistani issues fatwa on performing Tawaf
Saudi officials have sought to ease human traffic around the Ka’abah by building a two storey walk-way surrounding the structure, but the question arises for pilgrims, whether performing Tawaf around the Ka’abah from above ground height is acceptable.
Following the arrival of the Hajj season and the increase in the number of pilgrims entering the Sacred Mosque, Saudi officials have sought to ease human traffic around the Ka’abah by building a two storey walk-way surrounding the structure.
But the question arises for pilgrims, whether – according to the sources of emulation – performing Tawaf (circumambulation) around the Ka’abah from above ground height is acceptable.
According to a statement issued by the office of Ayatollah al-Udhmah Sistani, “performing Tawaf on the lower level of the structure is permissible even by choice, as long as the sequence between the Tawaf and its obligatory prayer is preserved.
“And even if you were to pray the obligatory Tawaf prayer on the lower level of this structure close to the back of Maqam-i Ibrahim it is sufficient,” the statement adds.
Also according to the same statement, “if the higher storey of this new structure is lower than the roof of the Ka’abah, then there is no problem in performing Tawaf on it even by choice, of course there must not be a time gap between the Tawaf and the prayer of the Tawaf and the sequence must be preserved.”
If the pilgrim knows that because of the large mass of people and the time it takes to reach the Maqam-i Ibrahim, there will be a time gap between his Tawaf and its prayer, then according to obligatory precaution it is not allowed for him to perform Tawaf on the higher storeys.
However, if the pilgrim is forced to perform Tawaf on the higher storey of this structure – for example a disabled individual who must use a wheelchair – then even if an amount of time passes between his Tawaf and its prayer; because of his compulsion there will be no effect on his pilgrimage.
If a pilgrim doesn’t reach the conclusion that the higher storey of the structure is lower than the roof of the Ka’abah or he doubts in this issue, then he cannot perform Tawaf on it and if he is forced to, then in addition to the Tawaf he performed on the higher storey, he must appoint a deputy to perform Tawaf on the lower storey of the structure or in the main courtyard of the Sacred Mosque, but must himself perform it’s obligatory prayer.
It is said that the height of the Holy Ka’abah is approximately 15 metres, and it has been announced that the new structure for the Tawaf of people using wheelchairs is 13 metres high.”