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إِنَّ ٱلصَّفَا وَٱلْمَرْوَةَ مِن شَعَآئِرِ ٱللَّهِ فَمَنْ حَجَّ ٱلْبَيْتَ أَوِ ٱعْتَمَرَ فَلاَ جُنَاحَ عَلَيْهِ أَن يَطَّوَّفَ بِهِمَا وَمَن تَطَوَّعَ خَيْراً فَإِنَّ ٱللَّهَ شَاكِرٌ عَلِيمٌ
-Al-Baqarah ( البقرة )

Tafsir al-Jalalayn

Truly Safā and Marwa, two mountains near Mecca, are among the waymarks (sha‘ā’ir, plural of sha‘īra) of God, the [ritual] ceremonies of His religion, so whoever makes the Pilgrimage to the House, or the Visitation, that is, whoever prepares to perform the Pilgrimage [hajj] or the Visitation [‘umra]: the original sense of both terms [hajja and i‘tamara] is ‘to aim for’ and ‘to visit’, respectively; he would not be at fault, [it would not be] a sin, if he circumambulates them (the original tā’ [of yatatawwafa, ‘circumambulate’] has been assimilated with the tā’), by pacing quickly (sa‘y) between them seven times: this was revealed when the Muslims were averse to this [circumambulation], because the pagan Arabs used to circumambulate them, and there was an idol atop each mountain which they used to stroke. It is reported from Ibn ‘Abbās that this pacing [between the two] is not obligatory, based on the fact that when no sin can be incurred, the context implies free choice. Al-Shāfi‘ī and others, however, considered it to be a pillar [of the Pilgrimage rituals]. The Prophet made clear its obligatory aspect when he said that, ‘God has prescribed for you the pacing [sa‘y]’, as reported by al-Bayhaqī and others; and he [the Prophet] also said, ‘Begin with what God has begun’, meaning, al-Safā, as reported by Muslim; and whoever volunteers (tatawwa‘a: a variant reading is yattawa‘, the ta’ here being assimilated) good, that is, any good deed such as circumambulation or other, that is not obligatory on him; God is Grateful, for such a deed and rewards that person for it, Knowing, it.

Tafsir al-Jalalayn, trans. Feras Hamza
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