Pilgrimage: How to do the tawaf?

Q432 :Could you please explain how tawaf should be done and what is permissible or required during tawaf? May I also ask in particular about the practice of people who lift their hands to greet the Ka'aba as they first see it when they enter the Mosque.

A432 : It is recommended as one sees the Ka'aba for the first time on arrival for his pilgrimage or Umrah to offer some supplication. It is said that such supplication is sure to be answered. Hence, one should make a short prayer for something he desires most, such as: "My Lord, admit me into heaven without causing me to face the reckoning." Lifting one's hands to greet the Ka'aba from a distance is not recommended. The proper way to do the tawaf is to come to the area between the corner known as Rukn Al Yamani and the corner of the Black Stone. Joining the worshippers about one meter before the corner of the Black Stone, one makes clear his intention to do the tawaf, which means to go around the Ka'aba seven times either in obligatory or voluntary worship. One must have ablution before starting, because tawaf is a form of prayer with the only difference from regular prayer being that it is not invalidated by ordinary talk. As one walks he is recommended to get to the Black Stone, kiss it and say: "In the name of Allah, Allah is Supreme." or "Bismillah Allahu Akbar." If the place is too crowded, one can lift one's hand and signal to it as he says these words. Then he walks in an anti-clockwise movement around the Ka'aba, going beyond the semicircle part known as Hijr Ismaeel or Al Hareem. As one reaches the corner known as Rukn Al Yamani, one touches it and says a little supplication. As he gets parallel with the Black Stone, he repeats what he did the first time, kissing it if he can, or signaling to it if he cannot. This is repeated seven times. When one finishes, one is recommended to offer two rak'ahs behind the place known as Maqam-e-Ibraheem. This does not mean that he should be very close to that place. During pilgrimage and in Ramadhan, the area is too crowded. He can be at a distance behind the Maqam or he can offer these two rak'ahs anywhere in the Haram. To offer two rak'ahs in Hijr Ismaeel afterward is also recommended. To stand at Al-Multazam beneath the door of the Ka'aba to offer supplication is also recommended. Tawaf is the same for men and women.

Our Dialogue ( Source : Arab News - Jeddah )