What is the wisdom behind ramal? It is reported by Ibn ‘Abbas that when the Prophet (peace be upon him) and his companions came to Makkah, they were weakened by the fever in Yathrib. Thereupon the idolators said, ”A people weakened with fever have come to you and they are afflicted with evil.” Allah, the Almighty, informed His Prophet (peace be upon him) about their saying. So he commanded them to jog through the first three rounds of tawaf around the Ka’bah, and to walk between its two corners. When the idolaters saw the Muslims jogging, they said: “Are those the people you said are weak because of the fever? They are stronger and sturdier than us!” Ibn ‘Abbas added: “The Prophet (peace be upon him) did not command them to jog all through the seven rounds in order not to overexert themselves.” This was reported by Bukhari, Muslim, and Abu Daw’ud, whose wording is given here.
‘Umar was of the opinion that jogging be stopped as there was no longer any need for it after the Muslims had become strong and powerful. But he decided, however, to leave it (in its original form) so that the future generations of Muslims could share a form and a feeling similar to that observed and felt by early Muslims. Muhibbuddin At-Tabari said: “Sometimes certain instructions are prescribed in the religion for a specific reason, and later even though that specific reason no longer exists yet the instructions still remain valid.”
Zaid bin Aslam reported from his father that he said: “I heard ‘Umar ibn Al-Khattab saying: ‘Why jog around the Ka’bah today’? Why uncover our shoulders (in tawaf)? Allah has made Islam strong and powerful, and banished disbelief and the disbelievers, yet we shall never abandon what we used to do in the time of the Prophet (peace be upon him).”