Tawaf is circumambulation around the Ka’ba. Ibn ‘Abbas reported that Allah’s Messenger (pbuh) said, “Every day Allah descends a hundred and twenty folds of His Mercy to His slaves who perform Hajj (to His House). Sixty-folds of these are specified for people performing tawaf, fort-fold for those who pray there, and twenty for those who took at the Ka’ba.”
Tawaf involves seven times circumambulations around the Ka’ba which the pilgrims perform during the hajj and ‘umrah, in a counter clockwise direction. This 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 Ka’ba, while supplicating to Allah. Muslims do not worship Ka’ba. They worship what it represents.
Tawaf is the best form of ibadah to perform other than the obligatory salah in the Haram. It is sunnah to perform a tawaf of Ka’ba as a salutation to the Sacred Mosque upon entering it, unlike other mosques where on entering them a two rakah salah is performed as a salutation to the mosque.
Before starting tawaf, there is no requirement to make intention audibly as the intention is in the heart. The total number of circuits is always seven regardless of the type of tawaf one is intending to do. The majority of the scholars agree unanimously that the form of the tawaf whether obligatory or recommended, is that the pilgrim begins at al-hajar al-aswad.
Although there are a few different types of tawaf in general; in relation to 'Umrah, there could be three types of tawafs. These are namely: